Although the interior finish of a building is not of such vital importance as the constructive portion, yet the impression which a building makes upon the owner, or the occupants, is largely influenced by the character of the finish and the care exercised over minor details, and the architect or his superintendent should give as much care to the inspection of the finish as to any other portion of the work, and should especially look after all the little things to see that they have not been overlooked by the workmen or improperly done. The young architect should remember that every defect, whether in material or workmanship, is quite sure to be discovered in time, and may reflect seriously upon the person whose business it was to look out for and correct it.
Inspection of Stock. - As soon as the stock for the interior work is delivered at the building it should be closely examined for defects, such as sap, knots or pitch, and any defective pieces should be marked in such a way that there will be no chance of their being used. If the superintendent has not entire confidence in the work of the contractor, he should endeavor to ascertain personally if the finish has been dried as required by the specifications, or test it as described in Section 13.
Doors. - The doors will of course be made at the shop, and as it is not always possible to tell from the appearance of the completed door whether or not it has been made according to the specifications, a written guarantee should be required for all hard wood doors. A veneered door can be told by examining the edges of the door, where the thickness of the veneer can be seen. The ends of the doors will also generally show how the stiles have been glued up.
Smoothing Up. - After the stock for the joiners work has been inspected it should be carefully smoothed up by hand (unless it has been done by special machinery at the mill), see Section 155, and the superintendent should see that this work is thoroughly done.
Compare with Details. - All mouldings, panel work, etc., should be carefully compared with the detail drawings to see that the latter have been carefully followed, and the placing of the door frames so that the doors will swing as shown on the plans should be looked after. It often happens that it is advisable to swing a door in a different direction from that indicated on the plan, owing to a register opening or radiator coming in the way. In such cases the superintendent should consult with the architect regarding the proper change to be made before the frame is set.
The superintendent should also take pains to see that the details for the fittings, etc., will work out properly to fit their allotted place in the building, and that all changes that may be required on account of alterations from the original plans are made.
Door Frames. - Door frames should be tested to see that the jambs are plumb and the head level. Frames are often set so that the head is not square with the jambs, which makes very unsightly work and should be guarded against. The superintendent should caution the foreman of the joiners to have the nails driven in the quirks of the mouldings, as far as possible, in putting up the finish.
Splicing. - When the casings or architraves for the doors and windows are sent to the building in random lengths, the superintendent should be watchful to see that the carpenter does not undertake to splice them (see Section 171), and it will be well to caution the foreman beforehand that this must not be done. Horizontal finish, such as the base, chair-rail, cornices and picture moulding, must occasionally be spliced, and the superintendent should see that the adjoining pieces are properly matched and jointed. Another thing that should be carefully watched is the putting up of the chair-rail and picture moulding. The joiner often puts these up "by his eye," which is sometimes not very true, so that when the walls are prepared or decorated it will be found that the mouldings are far from level, the fact being made conspicuous by the frieze or pattern of the paper or decoration. The superintendent should test all such mouldings by measuring from the floor or ceiling, or by a spirit level. Before the house is turned over to the painter the superintendent should try all the doors and windows to see that the former swing and shut properly, and that the latter move easily up and down without being loose enough to rattle, and that the sash are properly balanced and hung with the proper cord or ribbon. If any are found that do not work properly he should see that they are fixed before the painters or finishers commence work.
Stairs. - The erection of the stairs should be carefully watched to see that they are put up in accordance with the specifications and in a workmanlike manner. If they are built by the Boston method (see Section 186) the carriages should be examined to see that they are put so that the treads will be perfectly level and the risers all of the same height. The workmen sometimes make mistakes in cutting the carriages, and then try to make them answer by tipping them slightly or by adding to the upper and lower risers if they are too short, or cutting a little off from these risers if the carriages are too long. Such misfits should be carefully watched for and condemned immediately if detected, the cost of a new set of carriages being insignificant compared to the harm done to the stairs.
When built by the English method the wedging and blocking up of the finish work from the carriages should be carefully looked after.
As the work draws toward completion the superintendent should carefully read the specifications and make notes of everything that has not been done, or that he is not sure has been done properly, and should have any work that is not properly put up corrected.