interior design

History of wood balusters: A closer look at spindles

Whether they are regarded as wood columns, spindles or balusters, it does not alter the fact that they are a wood product and you regularly see it but very rare to think about. In this day and age, spindles, balusters and columns can be stone, metal, or wood; but for the purpose of this article, we pay much attention to wood element. Regardless of its component, the available variation in terms of manufacturing balusters speaks to their broad aesthetics and appeal.

While balusters are regarded as a famous wood product at this point, their story goes a little deeper than that. They are also a part of rich history. From the modern day age to prehistoric times, spindles, balusters and wood columns have morphed in to a uniform and sleek shafts utilized for decoration, support, and stability in everything from the columns of the ancient fortresses to the porches and even stairway of your very home.

The style and shape of balusters emanated from the etymology of the word, which originates from the Italian word “balustra” which means “wild pomegranate flower”. Balusters were named after this because of their similarity to pomegranate flower that is half-open.

While the etymology directs toward Italian origins where balusters eventually became famous in the period of Renaissance, they actually date earlier to the Assyrian Palaces of Ancient Mesopotamia. In this regard, they were utilized as window balustrades which are tagged as a row of balusters. As time went by, they were in the balconies of the palaces in Verona and Venice, where they can still be found up to this point in time.

Historians on Architectural developments are having a difficulty in pinpointing an inventor of the modern column or baluster. But, the limelight is being enjoyed by Guiliano da Sangallo, the famous architect of Tuscany’s Medici Villa. Because of the baluster’s linked to the Medici Clan, it also obtained and excellent privilege in the works of Michelangelo, whom the family has dearly loved and looked up to over the years. As time passed by, balusters have also been regarded as spindles and columns.

Over the years, wood balusters and columns of all complexities and sizes have been utilized primarily as cabinet accents, porches, spindles, railing supports and even newels. At this point in time, balusters have been prevalent in these applications and more innovations, in both commercial and homes. It has proven over time its appeal, use, and immortal aesthetic.

Various models of wooden balusters

Various models of wooden balusters

Beauty in waste

Kaltimber is a hardwood decking and flooring specialist company which aim to provide high quality standards of production and finished goods. Our wood has been reclaimed or salvaged from ethical and legal sources. Hardwoods take thousands of years to grow and they deserve our utmost respect; as such we have a ‘full circle’ production, where we reduce waste and utilize our woods to the max.

With that in mind we aim to reuse as much as possible anything available. A good example is the piece in the picture here under. This a deco item made of a 4x15x20cm feet (leftover from a production - reclaimed from a bridge in East Kalimantan) and a 4x15x55cm board eaten by clams after many years serving as underwater structure of a harbor.

Wood inspires us with unique creations, we do not constrain wood to our ideas



papan kayu ulin

Your floor and its reactions to greenhouse effect.

I have a vacation home and when we left our floors were fine. Now they are weird shapes and or are making noise when we walk across it. Why is this happening?

greenhouse and wood floor

This is known as the “greenhouse effect”. Your hardwood flooring will still react to moisture and humidity changes within the home even if you are not there for extended periods of time. Most of the time, a house has been closed off, its central air units and other humidity control devices, if any, have also been shut off during your absence. This causes the heat that is trapped by the house during the day to stay in the house. When the house cools at night, condensation will form in various places of the home and over time this constant “up and down” effect wreaks havoc on your hardwood flooring. Once you’ve entered the home and caused constant humidity levels to re-balance in the home, you’ll need to take measures on repairing cupping, crowning or even buckling if it has occurred.

When you leave the home again, leave some of the windows a bit open to allow for proper ventilation of the home. Use window blocking bars, sticks in the window sills or other security devices to prevent the windows from opening fully in your absence.






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