Whether you want to become a carpenter as a job, or just want to be able to make some really cool things out of wood, you’ll probably hear a lot about millwork and casework as you set about building things. While they can be shoved under the umbrella of carpentry, both millwork and casework are their own separate things, and the difference between them is very important.
Millwork is woodworking that is produced in a mill and it is custom made to a specific customization. Examples of this would be doors, flooring, trims, and wall paneling. They need to be built into the space they are designed for. You can’t just go out and buy a new door right off the shelf, instead, you need to have it made for the size of the frame. Same with flooring and wall paneling, you need measurements to accurately have the items built for you.
Custom items, panels, and anything that is purposely built into the space with millwork supplies are considered millwork. On the opposite end of the spectrum, is casework. Casework basically means making boxes.
Bookshelves, storage boxes, and cabinets are all casework, and all casework is premade stock goods. If you walk into a furniture store and see the storage items you can grab ready-made off the shelf, then it’s casework that’s built with standard measurements. It either comes made in a box or you have to assemble it.
So, the main difference between the two items is how they are made. Casework is ready-made boxes and cabinets, and millwork is anything that is custom made to fit the space it is assigned too. You’ll probably be using and dealing with both of these woodworking types as you build your next project or if you ever build or remodel a house.