VOCABULARY VICTORIAN MILLWORK
BALUSTRADE A better word than the inexact “banister,” it means the assembly of a top rail, balusters or spindles, and a foot rail or bottom moulding, used on a staircase, balcony, or porch. BARGEBOARD The trim piece, carved or pierced or otherwise embellished, fixed to the projecting edges of a gable in the roof. Very popular in Gothic Revival architecture, also common on Queen Anne and Tudor houses. BRACKET A projection from a wall or vertical surface providing structural or visual support under overhangs such as a cornice or balcony. Scroll- sawn wood brackets were popular. CORNER BLOCK A square used at corners where mouldings and trim change direction around windows, doors, and mantels, eliminating the need for miter joints. Most common was the bull’s eye, a set of concentric circles, which is still available as stock millwork. Foliate ( leaf and flower pattern) blocks were also popular in the Victorian era. FINIAL An ornament, usually pointed, atop an architectural element such as a gable or newel. FRETWORK An openwork ornamental design consisting of repeating elements within a band or border. The infill may be designs cut with a scroll saw, or repeated turnings, or ball- and- spindles. GINGERBREAD A reference to an excess of applied wood ornament, commonly referencing Gothic Revival and Victorian Queen Anne houses. SPANDREL The triangle formed between an arch and the outside frame. In stairbuilding, the vacant or filled triangle under the stair, and also the triangular ornaments applied to an open stringer where risers meet treads. In historical millwork, the ornament used to span the top of a doorway or bay, and also in corner treatments. SPINDLE A slender, lathe- turned element used in a balustrade or as part of decorative fretwork.
These companies sell stock and custom Victorian mill work, with many period designs. Blue Ox Millworks blueoxmill. com Cumberland Woodcraft cumberland wood craft. com The Gingerbread Man gingerbreadman. com Mad River Woodworks ma driver wood works. com Pagliacco Turning & Milling pagliacco. com Vintage Woodworks vintagewoodworks. com Western Spindle westernspindle. com