19th CEN­TURY MILLWORK

A RIOT OF EX­TE­RIOR AND IN­TE­RIOR ORNAMENT IN WOOD.

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Along with cheap la­bor, the new me­chan­i­cal saws and mass man­u­fac­ture that came with the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion cre­ated a bur­geon­ing mar­ket for wood em­bel­lish­ment, inside and out. “Ginger­bread” was even added to ear­lier houses, es­pe­cially when the own­ers added a new front porch.

The Vic­to­rian era’s most com­mon or­na­ments are still in pro­duc­tion: from big wood brack­ets un­der the cor­nice to bull’s-eye cor­ner blocks in win­dow trim. The lo­cal mill­works usu­ally can closely match any sur­viv­ing piece you bring in. Choose com­po­nents cut from durable, in­sect-re­sis­tant, di­men­sion­ally sta­ble wood with a low mois­ture con­tent (kil­ndried po­plar, Western red cedar, red­wood, ma­hogany). For el­e­ments not at eye level, or in ex­treme con­di­tions, to­day’s resin and en­gi­neered sub­sti­tutes are a good op­tion; when they are painted, it’s hard to tell them from wood. The keys to longevity are good de­sign (in­clud­ing flash­ing as nec­es­sary), non­cor­rod­ing fas­ten­ers, caulk, and paint. Be­fore you in­stall any wood ornament, be sure to prime all sur­faces. Add two coats of paint to ev­ery ex­posed sur­face, and main­tain the fin­ish.

Hand­some oak en­try doors are pe­riod re­place­ments for miss­ing orig­i­nals; the beveled-glass pan­els are also sal­vage and com­ple­ment those still on the house. Stair­case and trim are orig­i­nal.

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