The Terms Used in General Carpentry and Joinery

Against the grain Working a piece of wood in the wrong direction so that the shavings are taken off in a in a rough and ragged fashion.
Air Dried Lumber In woodworking. The oldest method of drying out or seasoning timber. Allowing air to circulate naturally around the lumber.
Annual Rings The annual growth rings in timber or lumber that can be seen when the timber is cut across the grain.
B
 
Barefaced Tenon A tenon having only one shoulder. Typically, where members with two different thicknesses meet.
Base Block Also called a skirting block. Mostly a plain rectangular block to make a break between the skirting board and the architraves around a door.
Base Moulding Moulding on the top of a baseboard
Base Shoes Used to cover the gap between the skirting and any new floor covering in renovation work when the skirtings are left in place.
Baseboard Also called a skirting board. A usually moulded board at the base of an internal wall to provide a cover for the wall to floor joint and to protect the wall surface from mopping or scrubbing of the floor.
Beading 1.) A small half-round convex moulding.
2.) A row of half spherical bead shapes.
Birds mouth Joint A joint at the base of an angled member that is designed to stop it sliding.
Biscuit Joint Joints in wood and panel products similar to butt joints but made with oval lengths of a composite material (biscuits) in slots cut with purpose made power tool, a biscuit jointer.
Bolection Moulding A raised moulding, projecting proud of the face frame to trim around timber panelling to walls and doors.
Bridle Joint A joint between two members that is in effect the opposite of a mortise and tenon joint.
Butt Joint The simplest of all woodworking joints. The jointing surfaces of each member has right angle or square ends and edges.
Butterfly Joint A loose key joint named for its shape like a butterfly. Also known as a dovetail key joint. Used mainly in remedial work to stop timber splitting.
C
 
Cabinetmaking A building or manufacturing trade concerned with making or manufacturing wood or timber items in a workshop or factory situation that will later be used in a building. The making cabinets, cupboards, wardrobes etc. That will be built into a building.
Carpentry A woodworking and building trade concerned with the heavier aspects of construction with wood. Framing and joining timbers in a structure.
Cavetto A concave, quarter hollow shape
Cavetto A concave, quarter hollow shape
Chamfer A bevelled edge connecting two surfaces
Cornice 1). A moulded projection that crowns or finishes the part to which it is fixed.
2). A mould of wood or plaster that is fixed to cover the internal walls to ceiling joints. US. Crown mould.
3). The exterior trim to a structure mostly at the meeting of the wall to the roof. Mostly masonry as in classical architecture but also timber.
4). The moulding forming the top member of a window or door frame.
Cover Batten A flat moulding that is used to cover the joints in sheet or flat panel material.
Crown Mould 1.) A moulded board, often quite large and ornate that is fixed to cover the internal walls to ceiling joints.
2.) A moulding serving as the finishing member of a structure.
Cupping The tendency in some sections of timber to dry out in a curved shape following the lines of the growth rings.
Cyma Recta A type of ogee with the concave part is uppermost
Cyma Reversa A type of ogee with the convex part is uppermost
Cyma, Ogee A moulding with double curvature. combining ovolo and cavetto.
D
 
Dado 1.) The middle part of something. The middle portion of a pedestal between the base and the cornice.
2.) A rectangular groove or trench cut across the grain of a board or plank.
Dado Head A woodworking machine cutter head that consists of two circular saw blades separated by cutter blades of varying widths for cutting dados.
Dado Panelling Wooden panelling from the base or baseboard to the dado
Dado Rail, Chair Rail A moulded rail set normally around chair back height to protect wall surfaces.
Dentil Mould In woodworking and masonry. A carved mould consisting of regular square tooth-like blocks.
Double Tenons Two tenons side by side. Used for jointing wider members.
Dovetail Joint A type housing or keyed joint where one member has a wedge-shaped end set into a similar shaped recess. This page defines: –
Common Dovetail, Lapped Dovetail, Half Lapped Dovetail, Secret Dovetail
Dowel Joint Joints in wood similar to butt joints but made with short lengths of round section timber of various standard sizes (dowels) and corresponding drilled holes.
E
 
Egg-and-Dart Hand carved or machine-made egg shapes alternating with V-shapes
F
 
Fillet An angled strip separating two surfaces, or between the fluting
Finger Joint A factory method of joining random lengths of timber into standard long lengths. Used to produce flooring and mouldings.
Fluting Usually half-round grooves. cut into the surface of a column in regular intervals.
Framing Scarf Joints End joints for heavy framing members
G
 
Green Lumber Lumber that has not been seasoned.
Grounds Wooden or pressed metal battens fixed to rough wall surfaces to give an even fixing for wooden panelling or plasterboard etc.
Gunstock Style A door style that reduces in width, typically wider at the bottom where the door may be panelled and then reducing at the top where it may be glazed
H
 
Halving Joint A half lap joint where two pieces are lapped over each other. Can be Corner Lap, “T” lap or Cross Lapped.
Hammer Key Joint An end joining technique where a hammer shaped tenon is set into a similar shaped recess. Often used in conjunction with wedges to pull the joint tight.
Hardwood 1.) A tree with broad leaves belonging to the Angiosperms.
2.) Wood cut from a hardwood tree. Typically, with hard close grain and with characteristics of strength and durability
Hardwoods List The commonly used hardwoods in woodworking
Haunched Tenon A tenon that does not run through the full width of the member, but it has a cut down section, the Haunch that allows the use of external wedge fixings. Used typically at the corners for doors and windows etc.
Heartwood The wood at the centre of a tree. The oldest and the best quality
Housing Joints Joints that have one member, usually with a plain end set into or housed into another member. Used in joinery and carpentry.
On this page also: – Through Housing, Stopped Housing, Dovetail Housing.
J
 
Joinery A woodworking and building trade concerned with the heavier aspects of construction with wood. Framing and joining timbers in a structure.
K
 
Kiln Dried Lumber In woodworking. A method of seasoning timber using heated kilns to dry the timber to the required moisture content.
Knot A hard-cross grain mass of wood that is formed in the trunk of a tree where a branch grows. They can weaken the timber or disfigure the surface.
L
 
Loose Tenons A tenon joining two mortised members.
Loose Wedged Tenon A tenon running through a mortise with extra length to allow for a small mortise and a wedge at right angles to secure the joint. Typically, in large heavy joints.
Lumber Timber Wood from trees that has been converted into usable sections for the woodworking trades
M
 
Medullary Rays Cells or ribbons of tissue in a tree that extend from the pith to the bark to move food horizontally in the tree.
Mitre Joint A joint between two members at an angle to each other. Each piece is cut to exactly half of the joining angle. Mostly the angle is 90 degrees, so each piece is cut at 46 degrees.
Also on this page: –
End Mitre, Face Mitre, Rebated Mitre, Tongued Mitre, Bastard Mitre
Mortise and Tenon A method of joining two members, with a recess, the Mortise in one of the members and a narrowed shouldered piece the Tenon to the other one.
N
 
Notched or Cogged Joints Heavy carpentry floor and roof framing joints.
O
 
Ovalo A slightly recessed quarter round to a corner of a larger piece.
P
 
Parting Bead A small rectangular section that has a half round on one end. Used to separate the sashes in a sliding sash window.
Picture Rail A rail fixed between the dado rail and the cornice to hang pictures from.
Pith The central core of a log, soft with no strength and seen as a fault in timber.
Q
 
Quad A quarter round bead.
Quarter Sawn Wood logs sawn into quarters to maximise the quality of the finished planks.
Quirk The slight recessing of a mould like an ovalo
R
 
Raking Mould A sloping mould made to a profile that will neatly match up against a horizontal mould.
Reeding Repeated rows of small beading. Used on decking boarding.
S
 
Sapwood The wood between the heartwood and the bark of a tree. Not as resistant to decay as heartwood.
Saw Milling The act of sawing wood in an industrial application.
Sawmill A factory where logs of wood in the rough are sawn into usable sizes for the construction and woodworking industries.
Sawyer A person with the trade of sawing wood
Scarf Joint A method of end joining members. From ply the solid timber.
Scotia A wooden moulding with a concave face that is fixed to cover the internal walls to ceiling joints. UK and Australian terminology.
Scribed Joint A joint between two mouldings that has one of them cut to the shape of the other. Usually this is done with a coping saw, hence it’s alternative name of Coped Joint in North America.
Seasoning Lumber In woodworking. A method treating timber to dry out excess moisture and bring it to the required moisture content.
Shakes longitudinal splits in a log or piece of timber. Often caused by hasty or poor seasoning.
Slab Sawn Lumber or timber sawn vertically straight out of the log. This is the cheapest way of sawing up logs into planks
Slip Feathered Tenon A wide tenon with loose tongues or slip feathers set into the shoulder to give more strength to a standard mortise and tenon joint.
Softwoods List The commonly used softwoods in woodworking
Softwood wood 1.) An evergreen tree or pine tree.
2.) Wood cut from a softwood tree. Typically, with wide and open grain.
Stub Tenon A short tenon set into a shallow mortise that does not go the whole way through the member. Also known as a Blind Tenon.
Stump Tenon A tenon with a partly recessed shoulder. Used in heavy framing as an alternative to a double tenon.
T
 
Timber Defects Faults that affect the strength and looks of timber.
Tongue and Groove Joint The main joint used to join solid timber floorboards. Also now used for joining many men made products.
Tongued Joint A type of narrow housing joint, using a thin tongue rather than the full thickness of the timber as in a standard housing joint.
Tree A perennial plant with a woody structure that is exogenous. That is, it grows on the outside, a small amount each year. The source of wood.
Tusk Tenon A strong load bearing joint for trimmers in heavy floor framing.
Twin Tenon A tenon joint with two separate tenons, one above the other. Typically used in wide door rails where the rail is too deep for a standard Mortise and tenon joint.
Twist The tendency in timber for the edges to move out of parallel
W
 
Wainscot A wooden panelling from say 900 to 1500 high (3 ft to 5ft) to the bottom of internal walls.
Waney Edges Edges or corners of sections of timber that encroach into the area of the bark.
Winding Sticks A pair of straight battens that are used to sight across to determine if a piece of timber or a frame is twisted or not.
With the Grain Working a piece of wood along the grain so that the shavings are taken off in a smooth fashion.
Wood Grain In Joinery, the direction of the natural fibres in wood. The lines by which the wood can be split and by which it is sawn out of the log to make useful timber.
Woodworking The practice of making something out of wood. A manual or machine skill.