Glossary of Woodworking Terms

I have attempted use descriptions and definations of terms in a basic way that can be understood by the average person rather than getting too technical. Where terms are referenced in another section of "Sawdust Making 101" or "Bench Notes" a red link follows the term and takes you there for more information.

 


A to G ----- N to T ---- U to Z
  • Hand Plane link
    A tool to smooth and true wood surfaces, consisting of a blade fastened in frame at an angle with hand grips to slide it along the board.
  • Hardboard link

    A manufactured board similar to particle board but with a much smoother surface, commonly refered to as Masonite, a popular brand.

  • Hardwood link
    Lumber from the group of trees with broad leaves, this has no reference to the actual hardness of the wood.
  • Heartwood
    The wood from the pith extending to the sapwood, darker in colour due to gum, resins, and other materials which make it less susceptable to rot.
  • Hinge

    A mechanical device that connects two solid objects, allowing rotation between them.

  • Hold Down

A type of iron clamp, fitting into a hole in a bench, tightened or loosened by hammer taps.

  • Hollow Grinding

A concave bevel on a chisel, gouge, or knife.

  • Horned Dado link
    This is caused by the outside blades of a stacked dado head cutting deeper than the chipper blades.
  • Infeed
    The side of a power tool where a board enters.
  • Janka Test
    A hardness test, usually for wood flooring, rating is pounds of pressure required to press a steel ball .444 inches in diameter one half way into the wood.
  • Jig
    A device used to hold work or act as a guide in manufacturing or assembly.
  • Jig Saw

    A power tool that cuts by moving a blade up and down as it is guided through the cut.

  • Joiner
    A joiner is a type of a carpenter that cuts and fits joints in wood.

    The point at which two or more peices of wood are joined together.

  • Jointer link
    A machine to true the edges of boards usually in preparation for gluing.
  • Kerf link
    The width of a saw cut, determined by the thickness and set of the blade.
  • Kick Back
    This is when a workpiece is thrown back by a cutter, prevented using anti-kick back devices on power tools such as table saws.
  • Kiln
    A heated chamber for drying lumber where the air flow, heat and relative humidy can be controled.
  • Kiln Dried
    Lumber dried in a kiln.
  • Knockdown

    A furniture design that allows it to be easily disassembled by the use of special hardware or joinery.

  • Knot
    The portion of a branch or limb that is embedded in the wood.
  • Laminate
    The product of bonding layers together as in beams or plywood.
  • Linseed Oil
    Is an amber-colored, fatty oil extracted from the cotyledon and inner coats of the linseed. The raw oil extracted from the seeds by hydraulic pressure is pale in color and practically without taste or odor. When boiled or extracted by application of heat and pressure, it is darker and has a bitter taste and an unpleasant odor.
  • MDF link
    Medium density fiberboard, very stable underlay for counter tops etc. to be covered with laminate.
  • Milk Paint
    A paint made with milk solids, chemically akin to casein glue, often the original finish on antique furniture.
  • Mission Style

    Mission Style is a design that emphasizes simple horizontal and vertical lines and flat panels that accentuate the grain of the wood (usually oak). Gustav Stickley produced Arts and Crafts furniture often referred to as being in the Mission Style.

    FREE MISSION STYLE PLANS

  • Miter Box
    An apparatus to guide a saw to make miter joints.
  • Miter Gauge
    A guide with an adjustable head that fits in a slot and slides across a power tool table to cut material at an angle.
  • Miter Joint link
    Pieces are cut on an angle to make a joint.
  • Molding (Moulding)
    A strip of material with a profile cut on the facing edges, used for trimming.
  • Morse Taper
    The standard for the taper on the shanks of drill chucks, drill bits and lathe centers. The different size tapers are designated by numbers, #1 being the smallest, #3 is common for drill chucks.
  • Mortise link
    A cavity or hole cut to allow a tennon to pass through to make a joint.
  • Muntin

    A strip of wood or metal separating and holding panes of glass in a window or door.


A to G ---- U to Z
  • Nominal Size link
    The rough sawn dimension a finished piece of material is referred to, for example what is referred to as a 2 X 4 is actually 1 1/2" X 3 1/2".
  • Ogee link
    An S shape that is made by making one cut to produce two identical pieces.
  • Open-Coat link
    Grit covering 70% or less of the surface backing of sandpaper is referred to as open-coat. This is used on softer wood or paint removal because the chips will not clog the sandpaper as easily.
  • Outfeed
The side of a power tool where the board exits.
  • Particle Board
    A generic term for material manufactured from wood particles and bound together with glue.
  • Phillips Head link
    A type of screw head requiring a driver in the shape of +.
  • Pilot Bit link
    A router bit with a bearing at the end of the cutter that rides against the edge the material or a template to guide the cut.
  • Pitch link
    The number of teeth on a saw blade per inch.
  • Pith
    The soft core in the center of a log.
  • Plain Sawn
    Boards are sliced from the log with the cut tangent to the growth rings.
  • Plane

    Also refered to as a bench plane, a tool for smoothing and flattening boards

  • Plumb
    A term used to describe something that is perfectly perpendicular to the earth relative to gravity. A plumb bob on the end of a string will give you a line that is plumb or straight up and down.
  • Plunge Router link
    A router in which the motor can slide down into the base to insert the bit in the material.
  • Plywood link
    A glued wood panel usually 4' X 8' made up of thin layers of wood laid at right angles to each other.
  • Pocket Hole link
    A hole drilled on an angle with a step bit to make a butt joint. The larger hole is for the screw head to enter, and the smaller hole is for the shank.
  • Primary Wood
    This is the wood that is on the main or primary surfaces of a piece of furniture. These are the premium or money woods of the cabinet. Woods of lesser value, that are on the sides or not seen is called Secondary Wood.
  • Proud
    To just protrude above the surface so it is sticking out a bit.
  • Quarter Sawn
    Boards which have been cut so that the wide surfaces are aproximately 90 degrees to the anual growth rings, this type of cut reduces cupping of the boards.
  • Rabbet
    A groove in the edge or face of a board, usually a rabbet is referred to on the edge, a dado is refered to on the face.
  • Rack and Pinion
    A system using two gears, one round, one flat to move a part, an example would be a drill press, a round gear connected to a handle works with a flat gear on the column to raise and lower the table.
  • Radial Arm Saw link
    Circular saw that runs on an overhead track, the track mechanism swings in relation to the table to make miter cuts.
  • Radial Drill Press link
    A drill press with the head mounted on a tube which is laterally and vertically adjustable, this type gives greater throat clearance but is not as solid as a conventional drill press so run out can be a problem.
  • Rail
    A horizontal member between chair legs or between styles or vertical members of a door frame.
  • Raised Grain link
    The roughened condition of sanded wood when the hard latewood rises above the soft earlywood when moisture is applied.
  • Rake link
    The angle at which the leading edge of the teeth are cut on a saw blade.
  • Rasp

    A long and flat steel tool with raised teeth for shaping wood, some rounded on one side.

  • Rip Cut
    A cut which runs through the length of a board parallel to the grain.
  • Robertson Head link
    A screw head requiring a driver with a square tip, also referred to as a socket head.
  • Rotary Planer
    A power hand tool with rotating blades that smooths the surface of material.
  • Rough Lumber
    Boards which are sawn, edged and trimmed but not run through a planer.
  • Router link
    Basically a high speed motor with handles and an adjustable base with a collet that accepts profile bits to cut dados, rabbets, or shapes.
  • Sandpaper
    A form of paper where an abrasive material has been fixed to its surface.
  • Sapwood

    The wood lighter coloured wood on the outside of a log, this wood is more susceptable to rot than heartwood.

  • Sawhorse link
    A trestle usually used in pairs to hold wood for cutting.
  • Seasoning
    The time it takes for wood to dry. Wood air-dries and takes one year for every inch of thickness. It refers to a year, a season.
  • Secondary Wood
    This is the material used in furniture that is not seen or on the sides or back of an object. These are the materials that make up the drawer sides, dust panels, backs and other hidden parts.
  • Set link
    The teeth are offset on each side of the blade to allow clearance for the thickness of the blade.
  • Shaper link
    A machine with an interchangable rotary cutter head to cut profile shapes on the edge or face of material.
  • Shellac
    Resin flakes dissolved in alcohol used as a finish for wood.
  • Shy
    A term for an adjoining object being below the object it is next to. This means a little below the surface. See Proud and Flush.
  • Snipe
    The tendency to gouge the trailing end of material when running it through a joiner.
  • Softwood link
    Wood manufactured from trees with needles or scalelike leaves, has no reference to actual hardness of the wood.
  • Spade Bit link
    These are an inexpensive bit, suitable for general use, they get their name from their shape.
  • Splating

    A change in the texture, strength and color of wood caused by colonies of fungus growing within the dead wood.

  • Spline link
    A thin strip of wood fitted between two grooves to make a joint.
  • Spokeshave link
    Used to shape curved surfaces, consists of a blade fastened between two handles, blades come in straight, concave and convex curves.
  • Square link
    An insturment used to lay out or test right angles, with two arms at 90 degrees to each other, the longer and wider arm is the blade, the shorter narrower arm is the tongue.
  • Stacked Dado Head link
    This style of dado cutter has two outside saw blades, the width of the dado is set using a combination of chipper blades and shims between them.
  • Stickers
    Strips placed between layers of lumber for drying.
  • Story Stick
    A "Story Stick" or "Story Pole" is a scrap strip of wood used to record dimensions for a project on site, then the dimensions are used in the shop to build the project. This method reduces the chance of error due to misreading numbers etc.
  • SWMBO
    "She Who Must Be Obeyed"
  • Style or Stile
    A vertical member of a door framework attached to the horizontal rails.
  • T - slot
    A slot milled in the shape of an upside down T to hold special bolts for clamps or jigs.
  • Table Saw link
    A circular saw mounted under a table with height and angle adjustments for the blade.
  • Tack Cloth or Tack Rag link
    A cloth permeated with a sticky substance to wipe up the dust from sanding when finishing a project.
  • Taper Cut link
    A cut where the width decreases from one end to the other, these are usually done on a table saw with a jig.
  • Tearout
    The tendency to splinter the trailing edge of material when cutting across the grain.
  • Template
    A pattern to guide the marking or cutting of a shape, often a router is used with a piloted bit.
  • Tenon link
    A projection made by cutting away the wood around it to insert into a mortise to make a joint.
  • Thickness Planer link
    A power-fed rotary planer that trims the surface of a board to a certain thickness.
  • Toggle Clamp
    Clamps which can be attached to a base or table to hold work.
  • Tongue and Groove
    A joinery method where a board has a protruding tongue on one edge and a groove on the other, the tongue of one board fits into the groove of the next.
  • Torx Head
    A screw head requiring a driver in the shape of a star.
  • Try Square link
    A square with a steel tongue in a wooden handle.
  • Turning link

    An ornamental or functional part formed by rotating it on a lathe and shaping it with a chisel pointed tool.

  •  Twist

    A longitudinal twisting of wood due to uneven seasoning or grain.



Tool Use and Safety

Air Compressors

Band Saws

Circular Saws

Drill Presses

Hand Drills

Jointers

Miter Saws

Radial Arm Saws

Routers

Sanders

Scroll Saws

Shapers

Table Saws

Thickness Planers

Wood Lathes



 

  • Varnish
    A liquid preparation that dries to a hard lustrous coating.
  • Vee Joint
    Tongue and groove boards with their top corners beveled so when the two boards come together a V is formed.
  • Veneer
    A thin layer of expensive wood bonded to a thicker piece of cheaper plywood to give the appearance of the expensive wood but at a reduced price.
  • Warp
    To bend or twist to the pull of the grain in the wood.
  • Winding Sticks

    Two narrow, thin, pieces of material whose edges are perfectly parallel which are placed on each end of a workpiece. The worker then sights across the top of them to determine if the piece is flat.

  • Witness Marks
    These are marks put on boards or pieces to keep them in order during gluing, joining and assembly.
  • Wobbly Dado Head link
    A single blade dado cutter where the blade is adjusted to wobble the width of the cut.
  • X-Acto Knife
    This is a razor like blade in a handle, the blades come in various shapes, very handy for fine work.
  • Yardstick
    A wooden rule 36" long.
  • Zero Clearance Insert

    A blank insert for a table saw, the blade is raised up through it to create a kerf close to the sides of the blade.



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