Community Post

Need advice of historic preservation-wood

Hi there,

I have a home that was built in 1910. It is nothing extraordinary from a millwork or design perspective, but I am just curious what the woodwork inside and such is made of. It is all painted today. So looking for soeone who knows what type of wood was used during that period in this style of home. Anyone know any resources? If there is some way to know how a house looked inside when it was built, that would be good to know. QAny help would be great.


0 thoughts on “Need advice of historic preservation-wood

  1. Our house was built in 1901. The interior woodwork is all fir. It was ‘combed’ with dark paint to make it look like oak. There was an abundance of douglas fir here and it’s pretty safe to assume at first that your woodwork is fir.

    We have discovered that when we take our trim off (removing earthquake-damaged plaster) it is a good idea to pull it out just enough and hacksaw thru the nails behind the trim to get it off without breaking or cracking. The wood is pretty brittle.

    Millwork Supply at 2225 First Avenue South is a great resource for old millwork. They’ve kept the old bits and create new ones to cut new millwork to match old.

    The guys at Stewart Lumber at 1761 Rainier Ave S are helpful. If you took a small piece of your woodwork to them I’m sure they’d ID it for you.

    Historic Seattle is a great resource. They have given great classes on double-hung windows and other old house features. You might check back issues of This Old House magazine at the library, too.

  2. Our house is 1907, with fir floors. Fir (when it’s been refinished) is a warm orangey-brown color—it’s a soft wood that shows scratches. Our woodwork is painted, and we were able to match the original pattern at Millwork Supply.

  3. GREAT! Thank you. Where do I find Historic Seattle? I thought it may be an actual location or something. Thanks for the Google tip!

  4. The way I find it is I type Historic Seattle into the googles. (Sorry, I can’t help being a smarta$$, it’s in my nature. No offense intended.)

    I get The office is located at 1117 Minor Avenue on First Hill. There are various events and activities posted on the website. I find no classes posted at the moment.

    Their Bungalow Fair in late Sept is apparently well-renowned nationally and w/in walking distance at Town Hall. Every year I say I’m going and then I don’t. Maybe this year!

  5. For more info on the materials used to build your house and other fun bits of info, you can contact the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives. They have individual assessor records w/photos of all houses and buildings from 1937. You’ll need to provide your tax parcel number for your property.

    Old property record cards generally contain: the record of tax assessments, photographs of the buildings, description of construction, date of construction, small sketch of the exterior plan of buildings (including dimensions), segregation dates, numbers for land parcels, some ownership information, and some excise numbers. Occasionally, (for post-1937 construction) building permit numbers are included.”

    You can order copies of these cards, and the photos (in various sizes) are available for purchase.
    Contact info here.