What is Architectural Woodwork?

What is Architectural Woodwork?

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Put simply, architectural woodwork – sometimes known as architectural millwork – refers to any custom-made wood that is left exposed in the interior of a building, either residential or commercial, when the build is finished. Of course, the reality is a lot more complex than that. Architectural woodworking is a creative process involving the design and build, often by hand, of beautiful structures such as staircases, trims, and ornate moldings.


What is Architectural Woodwork – the Detail

Architectural woodwork or millwork requires a detailed set of architectural shop drawings which are used to build the required piece. This piece can be a design element in a room or it can have a functional use – often both. The point is that the piece will be seen and/or utilized by users of the space, whether that’s in a home or in a commercial property.

Architectural woodworkers often work with fine woods, creating beautiful designs using intricate cuts. An experienced woodworker has a deep knowledge of different design practices, techniques, and cuts, and will use a range of manual and powered tools to create attractive, custom or semi-custom made woodwork pieces.

Architectural woodwork is typically part of the structure of a building, and that means that woodworkers also need to understand other trades. It is often essential to know plumbing and electricity specifications and locations before any woodwork starts, as well as specs for build elements such as framing and flooring.


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Examples of Architectural Woodwork

Almost anything made of wood which is either built into or attached to the interior of a building can be classed as architectural woodwork. This can include:

  • Shelves
  • Paneling
  • Ceilings
  • Staircases
  • Moldings
  • Cabinets (for example in kitchens, bathrooms, storage, offices, and closets)
  • Doors
  • Trim
  • Flooring

Structural elements of a building such as supports and beams are sometimes put in the category of architectural woodwork, but are more frequently classed as general carpentry.


Architectural Woodwork Firms

Architectural woodwork companies either work across a range of buildings and have a wide project scope or they specialize in certain areas within a building, such as kitchens or offices.

An architectural woodworking company can radically change the overall look and feel of a room or space with attractive design and skillful build.


Architectural Woodwork or Architectural Millwork?

As we’ve seen, architectural woodwork and architectural millwork are descriptions which are used interchangeably. Architectural woodwork clearly refers to a piece that is made out of wood. Architectural millwork, on the other hand, can (and normally does) refer to a piece made out of wood, or it can refer to non-wood materials such as plaster, plastics, and laminates. Non-wood materials are generally used in commercial projects.


Contact us to find out more about how you can join the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s Quality Certification Program and build your reputation for high-quality woodwork that will help you generate repeat business and greater demand for your services.


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