Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • glossary terms

    a
    Adhesive
    Modern glues come in a variety of types and offer a range of bond strengths. To determine the correct type for a woodworking project consider the follow characteristics: how much working time (also called open time) it allows before the glue begins to set, how resistant it is to moisture, how long it takes to cure, and how rigid the hardened glue line becomes.
    Adjustable Clamps
    Term popularized by the Adjustable Clamp Co. that refers to a number of different styles of clamps, typically consisting of a screw, a bar or pipe and a moveable shoe (allowing for a wide clamping range).
    Air-Dried Lumber
    Lumber that is cut and dried without the use of a powered kiln. Typically stacked and stored outside in a covered area, the wood dries and reaches a moisture content close to or equal to the relative humidity.
    Aluminum Oxide
    An aggressive sandpaper or honing-stone abrasive often distinguishable by its light gray color.
    Apron
    A horizontal member connecting the upper parts of the legs of a table. The aprons also support the tabletop.
    Arkansas Stone
    A fine-grained natural honing stone used to sharpen chisels, plane blades, and other woodworking cutting tools made from steel. Cut from naturally occuring Novaculite stone primarily in Arkansas. Color varies from white to gray-black. It is used with a lubricant such as oil or water to prevent loading the stone with fines and maintained with a wash of mild soap, water, and a fine brush to keep the grain open. (edited by Dudley Higgins)
    b
    Baltic Birch Plywood
    Formerly a trade name, now used generically for a high-grade birch plywood made of many very thin veneers. Baltic birch is stronger and more stable than other birch plywood. Alternately referred to as Russian birch, and typically sized in metric thicknesses and as 5-ft. by 5-ft. sheets. (edited by Jason Young)
    Bandsaw
    A tablesaw is the first stationary power tool that many woodworkers buy, but a bandsaw is usually not far behind. In some woodshops, where handling large pieces of plywood is not part of the usual repertoire, a bandsaw may actually be the first choice. Bandsaws excel at two things: cutting curves and resawing thick planks into thinner ones. Yet they also can be used for straight-line ripping and even joinery.
    Bandsaw Blade
    What makes a bandsaw blade right for the job depends on the material you're cutting, the type of saw you own, and whether the cut is straight or curved. Blades are sold by their length, in inches, which varies from machine to machine. There are carbon steel, bi-metal, and carbide blades to choose from, as well as a variety of tooth configurations and blade widths.
    Bar Clamp
    Properly any clamp with a bar, including throat clamps and panel clamps.
    Bearing Surface
    The portion of the joint or surface that bears a load.
    Bed
    A piece of furniture for sleeping; and, the part of a power tool upon which rests the item or material to cut or shape. In furniture, beds occupy the predominant place in a list of furniture types, since from earliest times they were often the most important piece of furniture in a household. (edited by Phil Gilstrap)
    Bench
    The terms bench and form can be used interchangeably to refer to backless and elongated wooden seating. Originally a bench may have been freestanding and movable, whereas a form referred to a bench fixed to the wall. Furthermore, the term bench has acquired the additional meaning of a work surface, such as a cabinetmaker's workbench.
    Bench Chisel
    A moderately sized chisel on which the back edges are lightly chamfered.
    Bending Wood
    Bending wood doesn't require superhuman strength. There are a few common recipes and procedures that can be employed to create curved parts from straight boards. They include steam bending and bent laminations.
    Bending Wood
    Bending wood doesn't require superhuman strength. There are a few common recipes and procedures that can be employed to create curved parts from straight boards. They include steam bending and bent laminations.
    Biscuit Joiner
    In the space of a few seconds, a plate joiner (now more commonly known as a biscuit joiner) cuts matching ovoid slots in mating pieces of wood to accept a thin wood spline called a biscuit. The glued joint is very strong, and the process is both fast and accurate.
    Board Foot
    A volume of wood equal to 144 cubic inches. The formula for calculating board feet is: [length (inches) times width (inches) times thickness (inches)] divided by 144. Wood sold in bulk can vary in its dimensions and is therefore sold by volume.
    Bow
    A type of warp in which a board is not flat along its length but rather bent like a bow.
    Box
    A box is a lidded wooden container distinguished from its larger cousin, a chest, primarily by its smaller size; the demarcation between a large box and a small chest often being a matter of opinion.
    Box Joint
    The box joint, sometimes called a finger joint, interlocks two boards at a corner. It is similar to a dovetail (with the grain going in the same direction), however, instead of angled tails and pins, box-joint fingers are straight.
    Brad
    A short, thin nail used for light-duty fastening.
    Brad-Point Drill Bit
    A drill bit designed for boring holes in wood, featuring a sharp point to prevent skidding over the surface and spurs to start the cut.
    Breadboard end
    A breadboard end is a narrow piece that is mechanically joined to the end of a larger panel. The purpose is to support and maintain the rigidity of the panel, while allowing the panel to shrink or expand across the grain.
    Built-in
    Although strictly an oxymoron, since by definition furniture in the woodworking sense is generally understood to refer to movable pieces, the term built-in furniture may be taken to mean fixed architectural elements that provide the same function as their movable namesakes.
    Bullnose Plane
    A plane with a blade close to the front so that it can get into corners.
    Burl
    A warty growth on a tree trunk. Often used in wood turning or for making veneer. Sometimes known as a burr. (submitted by Bruce Bartlett)
    Burr
    The thin wire edge you can feel on the back edge of a blade after honing the bevel.
    Butt Joint
    The butt joint is the simplest way to join two pieces of wood, forming a seam along the grain. This joint is not used to increase the length of a board, but to increase the overall width of a panel.
    c
    C-Clamp
    A clamp with a fixed head and a handscrew shaped like the letter C.
    Cabinet
    The term cabinet is now generally understood to be a medium to large size piece of furniture dedicated to storage, which is accessed by doors and may consist of many small drawers or open shelving.
    Cabinet-Grade Birch
    A general-purpose grade of plywood with a knot-free surface, but where the veneers may not match.
    Carcase
    The structural frame of a cabinet.
    Carving
    Primarily an ornamental treatment today, carving on furniture has its origin in purely practical reasons, such as the need to shed water, prevent dust buildup, disguise joints, or provide softer edges. Similar to molding, which may be thought of as a form of carving, carvings evolved to lessen the chance of damage, either to the woodwork or the user.
    Chair
    The simple definition of a chair as a movable seat, with a back, for a single person gives no indication of the truly vast range of objects that qualify under this description.
    Chamfer
    A beveled edge.
    Check
    Longitudinal cracks in the ends of boards caused by drying.
    Chest
    A chest may be defined as a storage receptacle, larger than a box, with access through the top, usually via a hinged lid. It may also be thought of as the ancestor to practically all furniture designed for storage, including buffets, bureaux, cabinets, chests-of-drawers, credenzas, dressers, highboys, lowboys, and sideboards.
    Chisel
    A woodworking chisel is a basic handtool that consists of a metal blade sharpened on a bevel at one end and a wood or plastic handle. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and blade types.
    Chopsaw
    A powered circular saw mounted on guides with a fence to ensure accurate cuts at any angle. Also known as miter saw.
    Chuck
    The part of a tool that holds a bit.
    Circular Saw
    The circular saw is a crossover tool more popular with home builders and home-improvement hobbyists than woodworkers. However, with the right features and techniques, the circular saw can succeed in the wood shop at cutting sheet goods, straight edges, and ripping and cross-cutting lumber to length.
    Clamp
    Clamps (or cramps, as the English like to say) come in a variety of sizes and styles. A clamp can be as simple and inexpensive as a heavy rubber band, but most woodworking clamps are constructed largely of metal and can develop hundreds of pounds of pressure.
    Cleat
    A piece fastened to or across something to give it strength or hold it in position.
    Clock
    The clock became an article of furniture as a result of the discovery by Galileo of the pendulum, which made necessary a long case to protect the cords and chains on which the weights providing the movement were hung.
    Collet
    A device that holds a bit in a chuck by compression.
    Coloring Wood
    Woodworkers are sometimes baffled and intimidated by the many choices available to them when they want to add color to their projects. Some techniques are easy to accomplish, others can be more complicated, but just like applying clear finishes, none of the methods used to add color are really too difficult to master with a little practice.
    Combination Square
    A measuring and layout tool that combines a sliding rule with a base capable of measuring both 45 degrees and 90 degrees.
    Common Pine
    A grade of pine that is structurally sound but that allows for knots. Grade 1 pine has the fewest knots, whereas Grade 5 has the most.
    Compound Miter Saw
    A miter saw capable of tilting the blade off the vertical, a critical attribute for cutting crown moldings.
    Compressor
    It's hard to overstate just how useful an air compressor can be in a woodshop. Compressors not only power a wide range of tools -- everything from nail guns to spray guns and sanders -- but they also clean off dusty tools and people.
    Conditioner-Stain or Prestain
    A sealer coat used on hard-to-stain woods. It soaks into the areas of end grain and seals them, making subsequent coats of stain absorb more evenly.
    Corner Chisel
    A chisel with two adjoining faces used for squaring corners.
    Counterbore
    (n.) The bit used for counterboring a hole. (v.) The act of making a larger-diameter enlargement in the outer end of a hole for accepting a plug or a nut and washer.
    Countersink
    (n.) - The bit used for countersinking a hole. (v.) The act of making a funnel-shaped enlargement in the outer end of a hole for accepting the head of a fastener.
    Crook
    A type of warp in which a board isn't straight end-to-end along the edge.
    Cross-grain
    Grain that runs perpendicular to the length of a board.
    Crosscut
    A cut across the width of a board.
    Cup or Cupping
    A condition of a piece of wood in which it is warped across its wid.
    Cupboard
    One or more boards for storing cups formed the first cupboard. As a place to deposit leftover or surplus food for distribution to the poor as a form of alms, built-in shelves, and later, freestanding enclosed shelving units -- or cupboards with ventilated doors -- became known as almeries or aumbries.
    d
    Dado
    A square-bottomed groove running the width of a piece. Properly, a groove runs lengthwise, a dado across the width.
    Desk
    A desk is a table dedicated to reading or writing and, as such, originally implied a sloping top.
    Dimensional Lumber
    Lumber that has been dried to about 10% moisture content and surfaced on four sides to standard dimensions.
    Door
    There are a number of design and construction options to consider when making doors for cabinets and other woodworking projects.
    Dovetail Joint
    Considered one of the strongest and certainly the most beautiful of joints, the dovetail exacts a stiff price in terms of skill for the strength and good looks it provides. The dovetail joint provides considerable mechanical strength because when the joint is assembled, it can't be twisted or racked. And the shape of the dovetail (pins on one end and tails on the other) makes it impossible to take apart in one direction and difficult in the other.
    Dowel
    Relatively speaking, the dowel is a modern innovation in joinery that has come about with the invention of power tools and jigs. As mechanical means of joining two boards, dowels are adequate substitutes for more traditional joinery techniques.
    Drawer
    From quick and easy to hand-cut and fussy, there are a number of ways to design and construct drawers for furniture. Drawer fronts can be inset (or flush), full overlay, or half overlay. The construction can range from dovetail to nailed and glued. And hardware can range from none at all to metal drawer slides and factory-made knobs and pulls.
    Drill Press
    Drill presses are precision tools, capable of boring holes in exact locations at carefully controlled depths.
    Drill-Driver
    The technical name for an electric drill that drills holes and drives screws. Drills with power cords have gradually morphed into cordless tools that are used as much for driving screws as they are for boring holes.
    Drill-Driver Accessory
    Drills and drivers are versatile tools, thanks to the variety of bits and accessories available to woodworkers from chucks to jigs to specialty bits.
    Dust Collection
    Woodworking inevitably creates piles of shavings and clouds of airborne dust -- at best a housekeeping inconvenience and at worst a serious health hazard. There are a variety of devices that will help, from ceiling-mounted air cleaners and efficient shop vacuums to full-blown dust collection systems that can serve several stationary tools at once.
    Dye Stain
    A water- or alcohol-based stain that penetrates the surface of the wood and often enhances the appearance of the grain.
    e
    End Grain
    The open grain showing at the end of a board, and sometimes on the face of the board.
    Engineer's Squares
    An all-metal fixed square.
    Epoxy
    Epoxy resin is a versatile material that finds uses as diverse as boatbuilding and fine furniture making. It can be used in finishing, as an adhesive, or for a variety of specialty applications such as inlay. Epoxy is also a waterproof glue. Open times are typically short, with the cure time ranging from five minutes to overnight depending on the formulations and conditions.
    f
    Face Grain
    The familiar cathedral grain pattern seen on the face of most flatsawn boards.
    File and Rasp
    Files and rasps are shaping tools that with practice can offer more control than power tools while reducing the amount of time you'll have to spend sanding.
    Fixed-Base Router
    A router in which the motor and bit are fixed while the bit is turning.
    Fixture
    A device for supporting work during machining.
    Flat Sawn
    A method of sawing logs by cutting along the length of the boards. This is the most cost-effective way to produce lumber. Also said to be sawn through-and-throug.
    Forstner Bit
    A type of drill bit used mostly for larger-diameter holes. Two or three spurs are surrounded by a toothed rim. Forstner bits work well for angled cuts or when part of the bit must be off the workpiece.
    Frame and Panel
    Frame-and-panel construction is a popular method for making doors, cabinetry, and a variety of furniture and architectural components. Its primary purpose is to create a large panel with minimal wood movement.
    g
    Garnet
    A soft abrasive best suited for sanding bare wood. It leaves a slightly burnished surface that often results in a lighter, more even color when used before staining.
    Gel Stains
    Stains that are thickened for ease of use on vertical surfaces.
    Glue-Up
    The assembly and glue-up phase is a critical step of any woodworking project. To ensure the quality and integrity of the finished piece, the final assembly process requires adequate preparation and an assembly strategy.
    Grain
    Generally refers to the direction of cells in a piece of wood. The term also refers to the appearance of a board, which is distinctive for each species of wood as well as for how the piece was cut from the log.
    Grinder
    A grinder offers a quick way of sharpening dull edges and resurrecting nicked or chipped edge tools. They range from bench grinders (mounted to a bench) for sharpening tools and grinding away material, to hand held right-angle grinders used in furnituremaking for shaping wood.
    Groove
    A wide kerf running the length of a piece. Properly, a groove runs lengthwise, a dado across the width.
    Gullet
    The valley between the teeth on a sawblade.
    h
    Hammer and Mallet
    Woodworkers are forever pounding, tapping, or adjusting something, or so it seems. There are nails to drive, plane irons to set, furniture to assemble, and dovetails to chop. And for all of these jobs, there is at least one specially designed hammer or mallet.
    Hand Screw
    The modern version of this clamp, patented in 1901 by Hans Jorgensen, has two swiveling steel screws, driven by a handle on each screw, that pull together the wooden jaws. The swiveling screws allow this clamp to hold work with non-parallel surfaces. Earlier handscrew clamps had non-pivoting wooden screws and required parallel surfaces. (submitted by Tom O'Brien)
    Hand-Sanding Block
    A block of felt, cork, rubber, or wood around which sandpaper is wrapped. A sanding block ensures flatness when sanding.
    Handplane
    Handplanes represent an important group of tools, not only for woodworkers pursuing traditional techniques but also for woodshops that rely mostly on machines. Planes do everything from remove milling marks on the edges of freshly sawn or jointed lumber to surfacing large table tops.
    Handsaw
    Power tools have largely replaced handsaws in the toolboxes of many carpenters but furniture makers, especially those who like to cut joinery the traditional way, could not get along without them. There are many styles and sizes to choose from and yet there are only two traditional types of Western saw -- rip and crosscut. Japanese crosscut saws, which many Western woodworkers have adopted, are fundamentally different.
    Hardboard
    A very dense homogeneous product made by combining finely milled sawdust with binders and adhesives. This is the material used to make pegboard. Often used for jigs and drawer bottoms.
    Hardwood
    The wood of deciduous trees, which are those that lose their leaves in autumn.
    Hatch Mark
    Straight or squiggly lines drawn on a workpiece to show where the parts of a joint overlap. It's an informal marking, intended to delineate the area where glue will be applied.
    Heartwood
    The mature wood in a tree between the pith in the center and the sapwood near the edges.
    Holdfast
    A forged piece of curved iron used to fasten a workpiece securely to a workbench top by way of holes in the benchtop. (submitted by Tom Fidgen)
    Hollow Grind
    A concave profile on the bevel of a chisel or plane blade, usually created when the bevel is ground on a bench grinder.
    Hollow-Chisel Mortiser
    Mortising machines are really specialized drill presses that combine an auger with a hollow chisel to bore square holes. The auger removes most of the waste, while the chisel edges shear off remaining material on the sides of the cut.
    Honing
    Part of the sharpening process where a blade's bevel is abraded with ever finer abrasives at a set angle (most often 30 degree) to make it level, flat, and smooth.
    Horizontal Mortiser
    A drilling machine with the bit oriented horizontally rather than vertically. The machine's table supports the work piece and can be adjusted up or down. The work piece is the fed into the bit either by hand or with the aid of an X-Y Table. (submitted by Scott M. King)
    i
    India Stone
    A honing stone made from aluminum oxide grits.
    Industrial Machinery
    Shapers and combination machines, to name a few, are powerful woodworking tools more commonly found in professional and production woodshops.
    j
    Jacking
    A condition that occurs in a screw-fastened joint when the threads grip the upper piece and force the two pieces apart as the screw is driven. Can be prevented by boring a properly sized pilot hole in the upper piece.
    Jigs
    A device used to maintain parts in the correct position during cutting or assembly.
    Jigsaw
    A hand power tool with a reciprocating blade used for cutting curves. Jigsaws are versatile, maneuverable power tools that can make both straight and curved cuts. A jigsaw cuts with a saber-shaped blade that moves up and down as it cuts.
    Joinery
    The process of joining pieces of wood together; the word embraces many methods.
    Jointer
    A stationary power tool with a rotating cutterhead set between two tables. Jointers are used to flatten and straighten the face of a board, or make an edge square to the face.
    k
    Kerf
    The groove left by a saw. Sometimes refers to the material removed in making the groove.
    Kickback
    When a piece of wood binds on a tablesaw blade, and the speed and power of the blade launches the wood back at the operator with potentially lethal force.
    Kiln
    A chamber for drying wood using a complex interplay of heat, steam, and sometimes vacuum.
    l
    Lacquer
    Lacquer is often regarded as the best all-around finish for wood. It dries quickly, and it's durable. There are several different types of lacquer available to woodworkers.
    Lag Screw
    A long, large-diameter coarse screw with a hex head.
    Lap-Joint
    The lap joint comes in a number of styles and applications, but each follows the same general principle: Two joining parts are cut to overlap.
    Lap-Joint
    The lap joint comes in a number of styles and applications, but each follows the same general principle: Two joining parts are cut to overlap.
    Lathe
    All lathes consist of a motor that turns the work through the headstock, a set of rails that supports a tool rest and an adjustable tailstock that moves along the rails. Where lathes differ is in the size and power of the motor, the maximum length of work that can fit between head and tail stock, the maximum diameter of work that will fit between the headstock and the rails (called the swing), and the method used to control the turning speed of the work.
    Legs, Feet, and Bases
    The foundation of any piece of furniture is the base on which it rests. In addition to providing structural support, the base will set the tone for the design. Whether you're constructing feet or legs, there are a number of options to consider.
    Light-Fastness
    The ability of a product to resist a change in color when exposed to light.
    Long Grain
    Grain that runs parallel to the length of a board.
    Long Grain
    Grain that runs parallel to the length of a board.
    m
    Marking Tool
    Marking gauges and knives are simple but essential layout tools for furniture making. There are several styles, but all of these tools are used to scribe reference lines in wood, either with the grain or perpendicular to it. A marking gauge has a narrow fence and a short pin used to mark layout lines.
    MDF
    Medium-density fiberboard, made by combining finely milled sawdust with binders and adhesives. Sold in 4x8-ft. sheets like plywood, MDF is strong, heavy, stable, and easy to machine and paint.
    MDO
    Medium-density overlay, a type of plywood with a tough, smooth coating. Also called signboard.
    Measuring and Marking Jig
    Every woodworking project, from simple to complex, involves measuring and marking. In projects that lean toward complex, standard marking tools don't always suffice. In these cases, a jig or fixture can help.
    Measuring Tool
    Accurate measurements are the foundation of just about anything produced in a shop. Measuring devices are just as varied as the objects they are designed to measure, good for extremely small distances as well as very large ones.
    Micro-Bevel
    A secondary, narrow bevel applied to the cutting edge of a plane blade or chisel.
    Milling Lumber
    Square and straight stock is essential to woodworking. If you lay a foundation of accuracy when milling lumber, then your joinery and assembly have a much better chance of going together smoothly and sweetly.
    Miter Box
    A device for guiding a handsaw for making square crosscuts or angled miter cuts.
    Miter Joint
    A miter is the division, into two equal parts, of an overall angle created by intersecting (frame) parts. In order for miters to be effective and look good, they must fit together perfectly. Any minute inaccuracy will affect both looks and strength.
    Miter Saw
    An electric saw that swivels on a base used for making square crosscuts and angle cuts at virtually any angle from 0 degrees to about 50 degrees (depending on the brand). Mitersaws have evolved from basic tools that could make simple miter cuts in relatively small stock into much more complicated machines that are indispensable to all kinds of carpenters and furniture makers.
    Mortise and Tenon
    This is the description of mortise and tenon that will show up on glossary page and on hover of a term
    Mortise Gauge
    A handtool with a narrow fence and two short adjustable pins used to mark the sides of a mortise.
    Mortise-and-Tenon Joint
    A mortise-and-tenon joint is a means of joining two pieces of wood at an angle (usually 90°) to each other. A protruding tenon, cut at the end of one piece, fits into a corresponding recess, called a mortise, in the other. This joint is a staple in the construction of chairs, tables, cabinets, frames, doors, windows, and paneling.
    n
    Nib
    A slight roughness left on the surface of paint, varnish, shellac, and similar coatings that can be removed by a light sanding.
    Nominal Dimension
    Standardized widths and thicknesses of lumber sawn from a log. The actual sizes are reduced by shrinkage in the drying process, and by planing. (submitted by Bruce Bartlett)
    o
    Oil Finish
    Terminology in the coatings industry can be confusing: what is often called an oil finish is in fact an oil and varnish mixture. Examples of oils commonly used in these formulations are linseed, soybean, and tung oil. Takes a long time to dry but enhances the grain.
    Oil/Wax Finish
    A very old recipe that combines oils, beeswax, and some dryers. Imparts a soft patina.
    Open Grain
    Describes a type of ring-porous wood with large open pores. (submitted by Bruce Bartlett)
    Open Time
    The length of time available after adhesive application for adjustment of the parts being joined. After the open time has elapsed, adjustment becomes more difficult and may weaken the adhesive bond. Open times vary in length depending on the adhesive. For example, so-called instant glues and contact cements have very short open times, measured in seconds. Open time can be sometimes be controlled by application of heat or a catalyst. (submitted by Tom O'Brien)
    p
    Paint
    The most obvious, and often the most overlooked way to add color to wood is to paint it. Some purists scoff at the idea, but it's a time-honored technique that's as old as custom-built furniture.
    Panel Clamp
    A clamp used for joining wide panels. The work rests on the bars to keep the bottom side flat, while the narrow-throated jaws grip the edges of the panel. Sometimes called a sash clamp.
    Period Furniture
    Throughout history, trends in furniture design have evolved alongside societies, the materials they had access to, and advancements in technology. Today's historian thus has a variety of characteristics to apply to furniture to determine the date in which it was made.
    Pigment Stain
    An oil- or water-based stain that colors the wood by applying a light film of pigment on the surface.
    Pilot Hole
    A small-diameter hole used to guide a screw or larger drill. When used in reference to screws, it refers to a hole as long as the screw with a slightly smaller diameter.
    Pipe Clamp
    A type of clamp made up of removable head and screw mechanisms mounted on standard black iron pipe.
    Pith
    The center of a tree. Generally this wood is not desirable for woodworking.
    Planer
    A benchtop planer is basically a sheet metal box with a movable motor and cutterhead assembly that's adjusted up and down over a fixed bed by means of a hand crank. It has a flat table and a rotating cutterhead to remove wood from the top of a board until it reaches the desired thickness
    Plug
    Also called bung. A round, tapered cylinder of wood set into a counterbored hole and cut flush. When installed properly, a plug is virtually invisible. Proper plugs are made with face grain showing at the top.
    Plunge-Base Router
    A router that is designed to be raised and lowered into position while the bit is turning.
    Ply
    A layer of veneer in a plywood panel.
    Pneumatic Nailer
    Air-powered nail guns offer many advantages that the hammer-and-nail approach, no matter how honorable, can't hope to match.
    Pocket Hole
    A long, angled hole bored in the face of a board near the edge that nearly pierces the side of the board. A pocket-hole jig is a tool used to drill the angled holes needed for pocket-hole joinery.
    Polyurethane Adhesive
    A waterproof adhesive that cures in the presence of moisture.
    Power-Tool Jig
    The anticipated use for any given power tool is only a small portion of what it can actually accomplish in the shop when coupled with innovative jigs and fixtures.
    Push Stick
    Push sticks, push blocks, hold-ins, and featherboards are simple little things, usually made up from scraps around the shop. But there's a common thread among the woodworkers who unfailingly use them -- more than likely they've got all ten fingers.
    q
    Quartersawn
    A method of sawing logs that involves rotating the log to yield the maximum amount of clear, straight, dimensionally stable lumber.
    r
    Rabbet
    This simple joint, in which the ends of boards are joined at right angles by removing a portion of one board's thickness to accommodate another board, is very easy to make. In addition to increasing the glue surface, the rabbet also provides support and alignment for the two pieces.
    Rabbet Plane
    A plane with a blade that extends to the edge of the sole, a feature particularly useful when cutting or trimming rabbets.
    Rack
    (v.) To be forced out of square and into a parallelogram shape.
    Radiused
    A rounded surface. Usually used in reference to corners and edges.
    Rail
    The horizontal part of a frame.
    Ray Fleck
    The peculiar grain structure shown in quartersawn lumber caused by the sectioning of storage pockets in the grain. The degree of flecking varies from species to species.
    Resaw
    The process of ripping a board (on a bandsaw or tablesaw) to make it thinner.
    Riftsawn
    A board that shows the growth rings on the end grain as lines running about 45 degrees off the vertical.
    Rip
    A cut made the length of a board, parallel to the run of the grain.
    Root Diameter
    The diameter of the core of a threaded object, such as a screw or drill bit.
    Router
    There are many variations on this tool but only two basic types: fixed base and plunge routers. Some routers are available as kits that include both a fixed base and a base for making plunge cuts. These offer a less costly alternative to buying two different tools.
    Router Accessory
    Routers get much of their versatility from the wide assortment of bits, guides, and work tables that are available for them. Although many jigs and fixtures can be made in the shop, sophisticated accessories are readily available from a variety of manufacturers.
    Router Jig
    Out of the box you can use a router for edge shaping, routing slots for inlay, and trimming laminate. Shaping trim is probably the first and foremost use for the machine, and there is a large and ever-growing selection of router-bit profiles to choose from. However, it is with the addition of jigs and fixtures that the tool's versatility multiplies.
    s
    S2S
    Boards that are surfaced on two sides but where the edges are not necessarily machined. S4S boards are surfaced on four sides.
    Sander
    Sanders come in as many varieties as any tool in the shop, from detail sanders that can reach into corners or smooth molding profiles to heavy belt sanders that quickly grind down uneven edges and flatten rough panels to stationary drum sanders.
    Sapwood
    The younger wood near the bark of the tree. In many species this wood is a different color than the heartwood and is less stable.
    Saw Blade
    Although blades for a miter saw or a tablesaw represent a sizable investment, they have a great deal to do with the quality of cut and how much attention a sawn edge will need after it comes off the saw.
    Scroll Saw
    Scroll saws are very useful for specialty work such as inlay and marquetry, fretwork, instrument making and for detailing period furniture and architectural millwork. They cut with a short up-and-down motion, just like a coping saw, in material up to about 2 in. thick.
    Sealing and Priming
    Most finishes are self-sealing, meaning that the first coat that goes on the wood soaks in, dries, and does the job of preparing it for subsequent coats of finish just fine. But there are three reasons to consider using another type of finish as the sealer coat.
    Select Pine
    A grade of pine that is nearly clear, allowing for only a few pin knots.
    Set
    On a saw blade it refers to how a saw tooth bends away from the centerline of the blade. The combination of the alternately set teeth creates the kerf width. In gluing, it refers to the process in which the glue dries. (submitted by Jason Young)
    Shank
    The unthreaded portion of a wood screw just below the head. Also, the portion of a router bit or drill bit that fits into a chuck.
    Sharpening
    The tremendous variety of cutting tools found in a woodworking shop has helped to create a similar variety of sharpening systems. They range from the plain to the exotic, and almost always rely on some kind of abrasive material.
    Shellac
    Shellac is often used as a sealer coat and as a barrier coat between other finishes, such as oil and varnish, or when refinishing antique furniture. Over itself, each coat of shellac melts into and bonds with any previous coats.
    Shelves or Bookcase
    While a case suggests a closed object, bookcases are now very commonly open fronted, and as such are often really no more than a simple series of shelves designed to hold books.
    Side Grain
    Straight, even grain running along the edge of a flatsawn board.
    Sideboard
    The first sideboard was doubtless a simple shelf on the wall near a dining table used for plates and food during meals (in distinction to a cupboard which constituted a more permanent repository for plate and cups). By the 18th century, the sideboard had retreated to the kitchen where it became a more utilitarian item sometimes known as a Welsh dresser, containing not only open shelving but also enclosed cupboards below -- effectively becoming the ancestor of today's kitchen cabinetry.
    Silicon Carbide
    A very aggressive sandpaper abrasive intended for use on finished surfaces.
    Softwood
    The wood of conifers.
    Sole
    The bottom of a plane; its plane of reference.
    Solid Wood Lumber
    A term used to describe hardwood and softwood lumber, as opposed to manmade wood products and sheetgoods like plywood and multidensity fiberboard (MDF).
    Spalted Lumber
    Partially decayed wood with irregular discoloration bounded by darker zone lines. Spalting is considered a weakness in certain woods and highly sought after in others. (submitted by Bruce Bartlett)
    Specialty Joint
    Joinery can always be accomplished with simple means, but with a little creativity a simple joint can become a complex one. Combining components of several joints into one advanced operation can be accomplished to create a wide variety of specialty joints.
    Spline Joint
    A spline is a strip of wood, plywood, or other material (such as Masonite), inserted into matching grooves or plows, along the edges of two boards. The purpose is to reinforce and align the edges. A spline can be used as a substitute for the tongue and groove.
    Splitter
    A piece of shaped wood or metal that sits behind the tablesaw blade to prevent kickback by keeping the wood from binding on the blade. A riving knife is a variation on the splitter.
    Spray Gun
    In professional shops, where time is money, spray guns rule. And new innovations in spray equipment have made this technique suitable for the hobbyist.
    Stickering
    A method of stacking wood that keeps air circulating around all sides. Rather than piling one board atop another, several pieces of wood about 1 in. high rest between each layer to allow air to circulate. A sticker is a small piece of wood placed between layers in a stack of wood to provide space for air to circulate.
    Stile
    The vertical member of a frame.
    Stop Collar
    A ring that fastens in place around a drill bit or countersink to control the depth of cut.
    Stretcher
    A structural member between the legs of a chair or table.
    Surface Preparation
    No matter what type of finish you choose to put on a project, the end result will depend upon the degree to which the surface was properly prepared.
    t
    Table
    Although there are innumerable uses for tables, they all share one thing in common: a surface, typically flat and horizontal, that may be used for working on or eating from. Beyond this there are probably more kinds of tables than there are types of any other class of furniture.
    Tablesaw
    A tablesaw is capable of a wide range of jobs -- from ripping solid lumber and sheets of plywood to precise crosscuts and joinery. Few tools are as versatile or used as often.
    Tablesaw Accessory
    Tablesaws are central to many woodworking shops, and a long list of accessories make these versatile tools even more useful, and safer, than they already are.
    Tablesaw Jig
    The tablesaw is not only the centerpiece of nearly every woodworking shop, it is almost a prerequisite for the practice of woodworking. The tool's unrivaled specialty is ripping lumber to width. But with the addition of simple jigs and fixtures, the tablesaw can become one of the most versatile machines in the shop, adapting itself to almost any operation.
    Throat Clamp
    A type of clamp where the head and screw are at least 4 in. or so from the bar.
    Throat Plate
    The removable insert around a tablesaw with a slot for the sawblade.
    Tongue and Groove Joint
    These joints consist of a short tongue cut along one edge, usually centered on the thickness of the material. On the other edge, a corresponding groove runs the length of the edge of the board. One advantage is the edges are registered, requiring little planing or cleaning up later. Another advantage is the increased glue surface. The single disadvantage might be that the joint is visible from the end of the panel.
    Trim, Molding, and Edging
    Dress up an edge, conceal end grain or plywood edges, or add detail to a base or top with any number of trim, molding, and edging techniques ranging from simple to sophisticated.
    Tung Oil
    Natural oil made from the seeds of the tung tree. Slow drying but flexible.
    Turning
    Wood turning is the shaping of wood using a wood lathe and hand-held chisels. Turning falls into two broad categories -- faceplate turning and spindle turning. Each one relies on a special set of tools and techniques. Faceplate turning is used for bowls, vessels, and other round objects, while spindle turning is used for such things as furniture legs and decorative elements.
    Turning Tools and Accessories
    Turning is its own specialty, and turners have developed a wide variety of cutting tools, some of them highly customized, that can be roughly divided into four basic groups: gouges, scrapers, chisels and parting tools. Like carving tools, they come in a wide range of sizes, and they can be custom-ground to suit individual preferences.
    Twist
    A defect in a board in which the ends of the board are not in the same plane.
    v
    Varnish
    Varnish is a term used to describe any film-forming reactive finish made from combining a vegetable oil (which cures by polymerization) with one or more modifying resins, dissolved in a petrochemical-based solvent to facilitate its application.
    Varnish
    Varnish is a term used to describe any film-forming reactive finish made from combining a vegetable oil (which cures by polymerization) with one or more modifying resins, dissolved in a petrochemical-based solvent to facilitate its application.
    Veneer
    A thin slice of decorative wood glued to the surface of a stable but less attractive substrate. Also, the thin layers of wood laid up into plywood.
    Veneer Core
    A type of decorative plywood with a core made up of thin veneers.
    Veneering and Inlay
    The use of veneer or other materials as ornamentation on the surface of wood is known generally as inlay. However, there are a number of variations on this technique. Inlay can be as simple as a thin line or small dot, or as elaborate as a mosaic of colorful woods.
    w
    Waney Edge
    The natural edge of a board that may include the tree bark. (submitted by Bruce Bartlett)
    Warp
    Any deviation from flatness or straightness of a board; it includes bow, crook, cup, and twist.
    Wax
    Many different kinds of natural and synthetic waxes are mixed into commercially available polishes used for furniture. In and of themselves, waxes offer little protection against moisture, chemical and abrasion damage to the surface of wood, and for that reason they cannot be considered stand-alone finishes applied to raw wood surfaces. But applied over other finishes, such as lacquer, shellac, and varnish, hand-rubbed wax finishes make the surface feel, look, and smell good.
    Wet Sanding
    Sanding with special sandpaper (or synthetic steel wool) soaked in water. Rather than making dust, wet sanding makes slurry. If you wipe down or hose off the slurry before it dries in place, you get a smooth finish with less mess.
    Wind
    Used to describe a warped or twisted board. Also, such a board is said to be in wind. (submitted by Bruce Bartlett)
    Winding Sticks
    Two straightedges often in contrasting colors used to test for the amount of twist in a board. By placing one across each end of a board and sighting over them, the amount of twist is revealed. (submitted by Rob Millard)
    Wood Science
    In woodworking, this term refers to the physical properties of lumber, from it's structural make-up to the way it responds to the environment. Wood comes from trees. This is the most important fact to remember in understanding the nature of wood. This quote from R. Bruce Hoadley's Understanding Wood should be the first thing that comes to mind when you're puzzled by by a piece of wood.
    Workbench
    A workbench is essentially a table fitted with various holding devices, such as benchstops and vises, made sufficiently strong and massive to be used for a variety of woodworking operations. The modern workbench derives from two separate pieces: a table for planing wood and a bench for supporting wood to be sawn.
    Workshop Safety
    Woodworking is a solitary hobby, and it requires tools and techniques that are inherently dangerous. These two factors make workshop safety a top concern for any woodworker. When working in the shop it is important to protect your eyes, ears, and lungs, and take great care when using hand and power tools.
    Workshop Systems
    Effective workshop systems including heating and cooling solutions, dust collection and ventilation, and plumbing for compressed air.
    y
    Yellow Glue
    A commonly used wood glue, requiring close-fitting joints and firm clamping pressure.