What Is Architectural Woodworking?

Dan Cavallari

Architectural woodworking is the process of creating products made from wood that will be used for the design and function of buildings and structures. This usually involves making strong, attractive pieces that will be used or seen by homeowners. Structural elements can fall under the category of architectural woodworking, but more often, beams and supports will fall under the category of general carpentry or framing. Furniture, flooring, cabinets, doors, stairways, and many more structures found in the home or in a building can be considered architectural woodworking.

A bevel gauge, used to create, duplicate and measure angles, is a fundamental tool of woodworking.
A bevel gauge, used to create, duplicate and measure angles, is a fundamental tool of woodworking.

In many cases, architectural woodworking is done to finish a home or commercial space. Sometimes a company that specializes in this type of woodworking will focus exclusively on kitchen and bathroom remodeling, while others may have a broader scope and work on projects throughout a home or office. The aesthetic of a space can be altered significantly by hiring an architectural woodworking company to build structures and accents within a space. These woodworkers can design and create structures both inside and outside of a building to create a pleasing aesthetic.

Building furniture, flooring, cabinets, doors and stairways often fall under architectural woodworking.
Building furniture, flooring, cabinets, doors and stairways often fall under architectural woodworking.

The practice of architectural woodworking often involves working with fine woods, and it also often involves cutting or milling those woods into intricate designs or compelling cuts. An architectural woodworker will have extensive knowledge of different furniture styles, design practices, woodworking techniques, and so on to create a piece that will work exceptionally well in a space. The woodworker will use a variety of manual and powered tools to accomplish this, and he or she may work on-site in the home or at a dedicated shop. The size and scope of a job will dictate where the woodworker works.

One of the biggest draws of architectural woodworking is a customer's ability to get custom-built furniture or other items rather than prefabricated items common in other homes. The homeowner may work directly with the woodworker to come up with designs and ideas for accents and furniture within the home; in many cases, the woodworker will design a plan for a consistent aesthetic all the way throughout the home. Sometimes high-end homes are finished by hiring an architectural woodworker to create a pleasing and functional aesthetic within the home. Most lower- to mid-range homes will not feature such woodwork, as custom woodwork can end up becoming quite expensive. The task of creating custom items is time-consuming and requires significant skill, so the cost will often reflect this.

Architectural woodworking often involves adding the finishing touches to a home or commercial building.
Architectural woodworking often involves adding the finishing touches to a home or commercial building.

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