In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, wood millwork grew in popularity, and homes were trimmed off and completed with millwork that was used both for decoration as well as for increasing the utility of a home or building. Often times millwork is custom designed, and though it was originally crafted only out of wood, today, millwork is comprised of a variety of materials.
However, for many, there is nothing quite as beautiful as a piece of wood crafted from a designer’s mind to fit perfectly with the décor of a home. The problem begins when customers and designers forget that, unlike many synthetic products used today for millwork, wood does have its limitations. However, if you recognize that these “limitations” are not necessarily limitations, but instead are unique characteristics to make a piece your own, chances are you can work closely with your lumber supplier for the perfect piece of wood for your project.
The first uniqueness in wood millwork is sizing. Ultimately, you have to realize that your project may be limited to the size of the maximum widths and lengths that a particular species can yield. For example, most mahogany wood planks are around 6” wide. Yet, if you have a vision for an 8” wide crown moulding constructed from Mahogany, you must realize that lead time may take longer as it will take some time to find that wide of a plank. Also, you should consider that such searches for a unique size will certainly raise your price. While the 8” wide crown moulding may certainly be beautiful, you have to decide if it is worth the time and money, or if you would be equally satisfied with a more standard 6” width.
The second uniqueness that tends to be a bigger issue is color. With synthetic products manufactured from a machine, color is often uniform and perfect. However, Mother Nature often can create masterpieces on her own, but you must remember that those masterpieces will certainly have variations in color and appearance.
If you are looking for a rather long board length of say, 20 feet or more, you will certainly have color variation to deal with. Again, it will take some searching to find that length or to find enough boards to make that length. This does increase lead time, and again, it will certainly increase your pricing.
Non Representative Samples
Another problem lies in the wood “sample.” Although you take a sample into a room to envision the final product, you must remember that, again, wood is a natural, organic product that will certainly have variations in the color and appearance in its final destination. You must be aware that it is extremely difficult to get every piece to match perfectly if you are doing the crown moulding of a great room. You can choose a wood that can be stained for uniformity, or you may choose a species that has a pretty uniform color and grain pattern, leaving little room for noticeable variation.
In the end, there are so many unique factors that must be considered when you are designing and installing wooden millwork. However, use that uniqueness to your advantage. Plan for it, recognize the uniqueness, and embrace it. Make your millwork one of a kind that will stand out against the synthetic, machined materials that are being mass produced today. By having an in-depth conversation among customer, designer, and lumber supplier, your dream vision can be recognized and achieved.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company can provide you with your millwork product and will appreciate your vision from blueprint to final product while also ensuring quality control. Combining an extensive inventory of wood products with a millwork crew that takes extreme care in even the smallest of details, J. Gibson McIlvain Company can mill hardwood flooring, custom panels, architectural millwork, or mouldings, and ship the product nationwide to your job site.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.
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