The Woodwork of a Craftsman Bungalow
I've noticed that there is a fair amount of new construction around town that borrows from the old Craftsman style. Although the facade of these houses may have the odd triangle knee brace or square column, the interiors I've seen lack the great old Craftsman woodwork. To me, that's the difference between a Craftsman house and all others. It's the woodwork that I remember from the houses in the Irvington neighborhood that I grew up in. Now this is my burden. As I try to "recreate" an old Craftsman house, I now understand why new construction doesn't have so much of the old detailed woodwork. Labor.
For the past few months, I've done nothing but try and add the Craftsman style woodwork. It's a lot of work and it is going to take me many more months. It doesn't help that I'm not trained as a finish carpenter, that I never even worked with hardwoods before, and that my employer still expects me to work full-time. So, I work on the woodwork most weekends and many evenings. I trial. I error. And, slowly I see signs, things I recognizes from the old neighborhood. The interior is starting to look, well, Craftsman. This is encouraging. I seem to be on the right path.
What have I learned? 1/4" oak plywood makes for nice wainscoting panels. Always pre-drill solid oak before hammering a finish-nail. Minwax's "Red Oak" stain on oak creates a nice dark reddish-brown that reminds me of old houses. Left-over floor finish works on vertical surfaces too. But, the most important thing I've learned is that it takes a lot of time, practice, and patience to recreate Craftsman woodwork.
A week ago I stained the upstairs wainscoting. Some pictures are below. Up next, I'm returned to the main stairs to get the them prepared for staining and finish. They will get the same color as the wainscoting. After the stairs, I hope to get to the woodwork in the master suite. I need to get this done by May as we are expecting a new resident here in Hillsdale house by then.