Millwork: A process involving adjustments and quality control measures.
Even though you may have spent days, even weeks, choosing the perfect quality lumber and perfect color for your millwork project, you can quickly become dismayed when milling the wood and noticing unsightly ripples or lines, which will ultimately detract from the beauty you intend in your finished product. While you knew to spend a great deal of time on the wood choice itself, you may have overlooked the importance of the quality of the tools you used to mill your product.
Blades, feed rate, and board support all become of utmost importance in carefully milling your mouldings. The most beautiful piece of wood can be quickly ruined by one or all three of these factors. Because the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) created standards in order to meet certification, you must ensure that no more than 21-22 knife marks are allowed per inch. Knife marks are those tiny parallel lines you can see in your milled product.
J. Gibson McIlvain has a Millwork Supervisor and team that are obsessive over knife marks, perfecting their craft until their millwork results in just 13-15 knife marks per inch, way below the industry standard. The finished product will feel smooth to the touch and have a seamless appearance.
Because a finish or sealant, as well as natural lighting, will highlight knife marks, ensuring that the product is milled properly with the minimum knife marks possible will create a beautiful product, virtually free of any markings.
In order to ensure excellence, J.Gibson McIlvain Company spent many test runs through the years, hitting the reset button, and repeatedly attempting to get as few knife marks as possible. Although the first few tries had results of 18 knife marks per inch (again, below the standard), it was not good enough for our obsessive crew who wanted to get those numbers down to 13.
With numerous conversations between the crew members and multiple adjustments, the final product we now offer our customers is smooth, and knife marks aren’t even visible enough to be counted.
Subtle changes such as bevel angle or the height of the tracer can make the biggest changes in knife marks. Other changes will need to be made specific to certain wood species, which may mean your project requires settings altogether different than the previous wood species that was just run through the machine for another project.
Millwork is a process that requires constant adjustment specific to the materials used; however, the end product of smoothness and no visible knife marks is worth it as the moulding’s beauty will never be interrupted by unsightly marks highlighted in natural sunlight.
Because you have spent so much time choosing the perfect wood and will also spend an equal amount of time installing and showcasing your millwork, the process of milling using the right blade, feed rate, board support, and adjustments becomes extremely important. J. Gibson McIlvain Company takes millwork and quality control in their mills seriously and recognizes that the best way to produce the smoothest product is to make adjustments, have conversations, and to continually have a crew and millwork supervisor who strives for perfection for the customers of J. Gibson McIlvain Company.