Introductory comments

As a note about the logo above, where as well a "glossary" other terms -- dictionary, lexicon, and thesaurus -- are also mentioned: these terms are not included just for decoration. Instead, as this project becomes more complete, you will see greater concern toward a "conceptual approach" to terms such as "Shaper Cutter", "Router Bit", and "Jointer Knife", "Plane Iron", "Saw Tooth", "Moulding Cutterhead", all terms that -- at bottom -- designate tools possessing a "Cutting Edge", and so forth, but because they have different profiles on their edges, and are contained on different tools -- even though they have the same function -- they are identified by different labels.

Another example to illustrate the "conceptual approach" are the following terms that are parts of Joints: "Tenon", "Biscuit", "Spline", "Tongue". While each is different, at bottom, they perform the same function.

By showing these kinds of relationships among these terms, this glossary will also function as a thesaurus.

Among the sources consulted in constructing this glossary is the Oxford English Dictionary, because it -- alone -- is the dictionary that prides itself in having the "original", i.e., "first" use of a term in the context of a specific meaning. With that understanding, you would think, for example, that the term Trunnion, in it its connotation as the under-structure of a circular saw's Arbor assembly, would be featured in the OED's entry for trunnion. As of 4-2005, this was not true. Thus, in constructing this glossary, necessarily, I had to depend on a variety of sources. All of these sources are listed appropriately as part of the information given for each entry.

Other sources that I will consult regularly are:

(1) Raphael A Salaman's Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, c 1700-1900 and Tools of Allied Trades, Revised edition. London: Unwin, and Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1989.

Truly, this work is an amazing piece of scholarship, evidently virtually a life-long pursuit of the primary author, Raphael Salman, but in later parts of the project, many other hands, spread across the globe, made contributions. The bibliography of sources -- overall, between 300 to 350 tiles -- occupies almost 10 pages.

(2) Vic Taylor, Woodworker's Dictionary , Hemel, Hempstead, England: Argus Books,1987; Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1990. 260 pages.

The contents of Taylor is largely based on the "Woodworker's dictionary" -- a monthly series in Woodworker Magazine from 1962 to 1970 -- contains what I estimate is 5,000 entries, i.e, definitions and cross-refences. Numerous drawings enhance many entries, but there are no sources cited.

According to its "Introduction", the Woodworker's Dictionary includes "a wider coverage of antique furniture, furniture decoration, and the updating of materials and techniques; ... woodworking terms used in the USA, together with many examples of purely American furniture designs; ..., some French terms are necessarily included because of the enormous influence of French designers and craftsmen, [but] the book is primarily devoted to British and American furniture and woodwork".

Claiming to be "a comprehensive and fully illustrated dictionary of terms relating to all types of woodworking, including cabinetmaking, carpentry, joinery, upholstery, and furniture repair, this is a reasonably cheap -- on bookfinder.com -- home reference for anyone who works with wood. Woodworker's Dictionary covers such workshop practices as making joints, polishing, turning, carving, sharpening tools, and the tools themselves. It also contains information about antique furniture. Two appendices give definitions of well-known designers, craftsmen, and furniture periods".

The book's author, Vic Taylor -- an editor of Woodworker Magazine -- has been associated with woodwork and furniture making throughout his career. During his career in both England and the United States, he has both written and illustrated books on woodworking and articles for woodworking magazines. While I can't find any direct evidence to bear out my hunch, that Charles Harold Hayward had a hand in the origin of this dictionary is, for me, a given, a fact that cofirms my conviction that the book is solid.

(3) Eric Sloane A Museum of Early American Tools New York: Ballantine, 1964;

(4) Graham Blackburn The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Woodworking Handtools, Instruments and Devices Containing a Full Description of the Tools Used by Carpenters, Joiners, and Cabinet-Makers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.

(5) Peter C. Welsh Woodworking Tools, 1600-1900 Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1966 (Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology: Paper 51 Bibliography 227.)

(While the focus of sources 1, 2 and 4 treat only tools of an earlier vintage -- definitely pre-1900 -- these tools remain essential to any history of woodworking.)

(6) Joseph Aronson, The Encyclopedia of Furniture. New York: Crown Publishers, 1938.

Selecting Aronson goes along with my conviction that this history of woodworking should be "document-driven"; that is, as much as is possible, the history of woodworking should speak for itself, especially through documents contemporary to periods that the history covers. During his lifetime, Aronson had a reputation as an authority -- maybe "the" authority -- on furniture history. Extended articles in his Encyclopedia cover "Modern", "England", "France", "Spain", "German", "Spain", "Sweden" and "American" furniture topics, and briefer articles treat, furniture joinery and construction, furniture design and designers, and furniture woods, among other topics. In addition -- and perhaps most significant -- during his lifetime, Aronson himself recognized as a furniture designer in his own right. While his coverage of furniture topics are "broad-brush-stroke", rather than detailed, throughout the Encyclopedia of Furniture, Aronson speaks with the authority of an expert with a command of the subject matter, which is just what I need to guide me in writing entries on furniture periods and other matters associated with any analysis of how -- in their selection of woodworking projects -- woodworkers confronted the construction of furniture.

(7) Harvey Green,Wood: Craft, Culture, History. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Wood: Craft, Culture, History is the first book in my experience that looks at the "culture of wood", or maybe it's "the woodworking culture". Whatever, upon spying it, I realized a heretofore unrecognized truth about amateur woodworking: amateur woodworking is a "culture", similar to a "participatory" sport, like golf or tennis or racquetball, but -- at least in my experience -- has not gotten such recognition. Why? This neglect of observation is obvious, in my view, though, for the following reason: Woodworking is an activity engaged in by "insiders", who are not taken to introspection about their activities, while "outsiders" who may be looking in -- and possess the analytical skills needed to expose woodworking as a culture -- fail to understand the chemistry involved.

(8) the web-based ARTFL Project http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/ARTFL/projects/encyc/

(9) the Walt Durbahn "Dictionary of Carpentry Terms", 1947, included in Fundamentals of Carpentry, volume 1. Its usefulness belies by its deceptively slight appearance, it is a source marred only by a misleading title: at least half of its entries relate to woodworking.

(10) Aldren A Watson, Country Furniture. New York: Thomas Y Crowell, 1974. Profusely illustrated with pen drawings by the author, this book -- picked up for next to nothing at a library book sale -- features a twenty page glossary, where most entries include one illustration and a fairly large, very useful bibliography. Coverage is up to late 19th century. Not a how-to-do-it or project book, this book explores the tools and processes of what Watson calls the "country furniture-maker", before the introduction of powered equipment.

(11) and, finally, any other sources that I encounter and that prove useful. The latter I will cite on the spot.

But my intent -- with the assistance of a group of Editorial Advisors -- is to look widely among other sources, especially woodworking manuals, documents contemporary to a particular era, old newspapers, online databases of the 19th century and later, etc., etc.

I am not claiming to be an expert woodworker.

Finally, I want to declare at the outset that I am not an expert at any of the topics discussed in this website -- i.e., "Woodworkinghistory.com". Instead, on the matter of "expert", I can claim to be an expert researcher, that is, "expert" in my skills in exposing what experts about topics covered in the website state or claim about the broad range of woodworking topics.

While I lack academic credentials in lexicography -- the art of dictionary making -- I have dabbled in the field, the primary evidence being my editorship of the set of ten dictionaries of concepts for Greenwood Press.

One final, personal note:

In the Glossary, the main entries are in given in bold type . Later, as I continue to work toward completing the whole website, I ill (1) insert hyperlinks as aids to navigation and (2) locate appropriate images to upload.

Glossary A

ASTM standards for Screws


See Glues and Gluing

Adjustable Square

see Combination Square


Aesthetic Movement (1875 - 1885)


Air Cleaner

Usually located high in the center of a shop, the Air Cleaner is designed to remove the very small particulates that the Dust Collector misses.


See Kiln-Dried

Air System

See Compressed-Air Systems

Air Tools

See Compressed-Air Systems

Allen Screw and Wrench

Alternating Top Bevel (ATB)

Amateur Woodworker

Ammonia Fuming of Oak

Angle Iron



Arts and Crafts Movement

See Appendix 11: Origin of the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts Styles


Auger Bit

Glossary B

Back saw

Ball Bearings

Bamboo Caning


Bandsaw (Band Saw)




See Bushing and/or Ball Bearing


See also V-Belt

Belt Sander

Bench dog

A small piece of metal which may be fitted in a hole in a workbench so as to project enough to act as a stop or brace for a piece of work.

(Source: Home Craftsman 4 May-June 1935 page 220.)

Bench Screw

A threaded metal or wood bolt in one end of which a handle can be inserted to make a vise or clamping attachment on the workbench.

(Source: Home Craftsman 4 September-October 1935 page 44.)

Bending Wood:

Source: Matt Berger “All About Bending Wood” Fine Woodworking ?


need image

Biscuit Joiner

Bow Saw

Brad Point Bit

Glossary C


Treated together with Carpenter, Joiner, Mechanic, Craftsman. Briefly, a Cabinetmaker is a woodworker who makes cabinets and does the finer kind of joiner's work.

Cabinetmakers work in solid wood, typically Hardwood, though Veneers of highly prized wood may be used for decorative purposes. As "finish" carpenters, Carpenters can work at the same level of excellence as cabinetmakers; mostly carpenters engage in the initial stages of construction, activities that lead up to the point where a construction needs finishing touches; for example, finish carpenters takeover where Moldings for ceilings and banisters for stairways are precisely cut and mounted.


Cabinet Scraper


Carbide and Carbide-tipped


Carcase Saw

Carpenter's Pencil

Cast Iron

Castellated Nut

A nut with a series of notches on one face to allow a Cotter Pin to pass through a hole in a shaft or a bolt. The pin prevents the nut from turning. ( Home Craftsman 4 November-December 1935 p. 94)

Cathedral Grain



Chamfer plane


Ornamenting metal by the use of special tools known as chasing tools. A chasing tool is held against the metal and tapped with a hammer.

Source:Home Craftsman 4 May-June 1935, page 220.


Chest of Drawers

Chip Carving


See Tear-Out.


Chop Saw


Circular Saw

Circular Saw Blade

: the central component of a circular saw.



Clinch Nails


Philip Leon, "Woodworker Meets Wordworker," Popular Woodworking (April 2002), p. ? ["Out of the Woodwork" column.] Collet : See also Chuck. elu collet 1992
On the left is the image of the collet system in my early 1990s Elu router.

(Source: [Anonymous] "Elu Router", Shopnotes 1, no 1 1992, page 10 Image used with permission.)

(The significance of routers in the amateur woodworking movement warrants an extended treatment of the router's development. Click here for an account that traces back to the first decade of the 20th century up to the recent past


Combination Square

Combination Woodworking Machines

Compressed-Air System

Constructive Design

See Design

Coped Joints


Cordless Tools

Cotter Pin


Countersink Bit

Court Cupboard



Cross-lap Joint

Curved-Leg Table

also Tripod Table (see article,Woodsmith , 28, no 168 December 2006 pages 22-26, plus other details on subsequent pages.


Cyma Curve

Glossary D

Dado, also Dado Blades, Dado Head, Dado Set, Dado Plane

Another entry, on Woodworker's Joints, such as Dado, Mortise and Tenon, Rabbetts, treats together, comparatively, many examples as Woodwork Joints




Diamond Match

A veneering term, it applies to the manner in which veneer is laid. When the face veneer of plywood is so laid as to form a diamond figure it is called a "diamond match."

Source: Home Craftsman 4 November- December 1935, page 94.

Distributive Education

Do-It-Yourself Movement



Dowel, Biscuit, Floating Tenon, all serve a similar function: See also glossary_woodwork_joints.htm

Dowel Screw

A Dowel threaded on both ends.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 November- December 1935 page 94.


Drill Bit

under construction 2-4-11

Drill Chuck

under construction 2-4-11

Much more to come, but briefly, a component part of a Lathe or Drill Press for holding securely the shank of the drill bit while the bit itself bores holes into wood or metal.

Drill Press


A screw that is driven home or nearly home with a hammer instead of a screwdriver.

Source : Home Craftsman 4 November-December 1935 page 94.

Dust Free

A finish on a woodworking project -- i.e., chair, table -- is dust free when it has sufficiently dried that any dust collecting from the surface will not adhere. Ex: Four-hour varnish will be dust free in four hours.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 September October 1935 page 44.

Glossary E

Eames, Charles



Edge, Edging

For the woodworker, "finishing" an edge of a table top, a chair seat, any larger surface, is never dismissed easily. Will it have a Beveled Edge, a Profiled Edge, a Molded Edge, an Edge-band. Will the Edge-to-Edge Joint or Edge-Joined Boards be simply glued? Have Splines? Have a "Biscuit"?


Edge-to-Edge Joint


Electric Drills

Empire Style


English Tudor furniture


Equilibrium Moisture Content

See also Appendix 8: The Anatomy and Physiology of Wood

According to its moisture content, wood will either emit or absorb moisture from the surrounding air until the moisture in the wood balances with the moisture in the air. When this point is reached, the wood is said to be at equilibrium moisture content (E.M.C.). Since wood is exposed constantly to daily and seasonal changes in the air's relative humidity, the moisture content wood itself makes changes are constant, even if only slightly, but therefore changes in its dimensions. This is the reason doors and drawers often stick during humid weather but work freely the rest of the year.

Source: Willis Wagner, Modern Woodworking: Tools, Materials, Procedures. South Holand, IL: Goodheart-Willcox, 1974; Ernest Joyce, Encyclopedia of Furniture Making New York: Sterling, 1979, page 103.

Glossary F

Face Frame

Fairing off

Associated with boat building, fairing off means to scoop out a curved surface to gain an even, flowing curve.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172

Feather Board

Files, Rasps, etc.

Finger Joint

Firsts and Seconds(FAS)

: A grade for Wood, it designates the quality of a piece of wood.

Flat Sawn

Wood cut tangentially from a log, where the Grain falls in a lateral direction, rather as in the more ideal, Quarter Sawn, where the Grain, in direction, flows more or less from a board's top surface to its bottom surface, a condition identified as "Vertical Grain".

Flathead Screw: The head of a Screw that, in shape is flat, rather than round or oval. Flathead screws are designed to sit flush in a Countersunk hole.

Fleam (teeth)

Floating Tenon

See also Mortise and Tenon


Level or even with the adjacent surface.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172.

Folding Rule

[definition below is borrowed from w f m goss, bench work in wood, rev ed, 1905 - section#18]

18. Rules are measuring strips, and are usually made of Boxwood. Their size is expressed by their length in inches or feet, as a "6-inch rule," a " 2-foot rule".

For convenience, using small brass hinges, they are made to fold, -image in goss] and one is said to be "two-fold" when made of two pieces, "four-fold " when made of four, and "six-fold" when made of six pieces. Fig. 28 shows a four-fold rule.

To preserve the rule from wear, the better class are "bound" by a strip of brass which covers each edge : others are "half-bound," having only on edge covered and still others are "unbound," having no edge protection.

Carpenters' rules are usually graduated to eighths of inches on one side, and to sixteenths on the other Besides the regular graduations, other numbers are frequently represented ; but their purpose is so varied that their interpretation cannot be given here.

Sources: W F M Goss, Bench Work in Wood, rev ed, 1905 - section #18; Harvey Green, Wood: Craft, Culture, History New York: Viking, 2006, page 434.

Foot-Powered And Hand-Powered Woodworking Machines

Forstner Bit

Fractional-Horse Power Motor

Frame and Panel

Fret Saw

see extended entry. See also Scroll Saw

Fret Sawing

Furniture Design and Designers

Glossary G


See Dado


General Shop



Glues and Gluing

Golden Rectangle



A measure of the coarseness of an Abrasive, such as Sand Paper. The higher the number, the finer the grains. (The number is the number of grains per inch.)


A furrow running the length of the board with the grain. See also Dado. Also the Groove in the top of a table on Table Saw, or other power tool that employs a Table as part of it assembly. The groove is used to guarantee that, in relation to the saw's Blade, the Miter Square, Sled or other similar Jig slides accurately on the tool's table.

Glossary H


See High Speed Steel


A rounded convex member of a molding; half of a circle.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 January-February 1935 page 124


Hand Plane

see Plane

Hand Saw




(see p. 228 of Paul Nooncree Hasluck, 1891.)

High Speed Steel (HSS)

Often abbreviated as HSS. Material used to make Jointer Knives, Shaper Cutters, Saw Blades and Router Bits. Not as Hard nor as brittle as Carbide.

Home Mechanics

Home Shop Movement

Horse Power (hp)

The unit of power measurement. 1 hp equals 33,000 ft-lb of work per minute. The woodworker is usually more interested in the electrical equivalent of 746 W - 1 hp. As a general guide for circular saws it is generally reckoned that a motor needs '4 hp for each lin (25 mm) depth of cut, though many saws have lower hp. When only thin wood or softwood is being sawn the motor can be of smaller hp.

Source: Vic Taylor, Wood-worker's Dictionary , Hemel, Hempstead, England: Argus Books,1987; Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1990, page 119.

Horizontal Mortiser

Household Art

Glossary I

In the White

Cabinet work before any finish has been applied.

Source: Anonymous, Home Craftsman 4 January-February 1935, page 124.

Induction Motor

See Appendix 21: History of the Fractional Horsepower Motor in America

Online Source: John English Motors in the Shop-- "The Differences Between Universal and Induction Motors," WOODezine 2 Issue 3 March 2004 http://www.woodezine.com/03_2004/54025_motors.html

Industrial Arts

Infeed Table

Where the Workpiece is inserted or placed on a power tool's point of operation (i.e., "table"), specifically, that portion of a machine's work surface located forward of the cutting mechanism, e.g., a Jointer's Cutterhead, a Tablesaw's Blade,


To decorate with ornamental designs by setting in small pieces of material in the body of a piece of work which is made of different material from the inlaid pieces; also, the designs so made.


Instruction Sheets

In Progress, 2-23-09

International Style

Glossary J



A hardwood from Brazil (aka, Brazilian Cherry) characterized by a deep orange to flame red color. Tight grained and usually knot free, it is handsome replacement for "old growth" cherry. Dense and hard, it machines well with sharp carbide cutters.



(Source: Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 )


See Woodwork Joints

Filleted Joint:

similar in appearance and function as Spline. A joint made rabbeting two workpieces where they abut (i.e., at their edges) and inserting and securing in the rabbeted groove, called a Fillet.

Source: Webster's New Dictionary 2d ed unabridged, page 947

Filleted Joint [image needed] filleted joint


Glossary L

Landscape panel

A wood Panel in which the grain runs horizontally rather than vertically.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172

Lap Joint

see Woodwork Joints

A method of attaching two workpieces, where half the thickness is removed from both pieces, creating a -- a Rabbet -- to form a Joint, with the same thickness as the original.


Lathe Chuck

Lineal Foot

[under construction 3-31-09]

Having length only, pertaining to a line one foot long, as distinguished from a square foot or cubic foot or Board Foot. See also Measurement.

Lineshaft Drives

Link Belt

This example of a Link Belt, [image needed] comes from the Woodcraft website

Left-Tilting Blade

See Right-Tilting Blade.




[good account and diagrams in blackburn 1997]

Lock-Miter Joint

Profile common in Shaper Cutters and Router Bits.

Loose Tenon

[temp -- cross ref will take readers to Mortise and Tenon eventually] both parts of the workpieces to be joined are Mortised with a separate tenon to hold them together. Differs from a traditional mortise and tenon which has the tenon as an integral part of the end grain part of the Mortise and Tenon joint. See Floating Tenon.

Lumber Grading

Glossary M



see Woodworker's Manual See examples in the Woodworker's Manuals sections.

Marking Gauge

The marking gauge marks a line parallel to the edge of a workpiece.

marking guage

Marking gauges are of two types: Some marking gauges have sixteenth-inch graduations along the beam, while others are unmarked and require setting with a rule. The "unmarked" type is shown in the jpg on the left.

Marking Knife

The professional woodworker and contributing editor to Woodworker’s Journal [date ?] Ian Kirby, notes his preference for a marking knife “is a two-blade Swiss Army knife. Its size and shape”, he claims, “allows for complete control and pressure at the cutting edge.” The blade, thin, but sturdy and easily sharpened, also cuts veneers.





see also Craftsman, Cabinetmaker, Woodworker .

Mechanic is, according to Stephen Shepherd, an old term for Craftsman

Source: Stephen Shepherd, Shepherd's Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker Green River Forge G.S.L.C., Utah , 1981, page 35. (Not online, this book is said to be "...the ultimate tome on working with wood the old fashioned way, sans power tools, sans high-tech." Smithsonian Magazine 13, No 1 April 1982 Vol. 13.)

Medium Density Fiberboard


[Fabricated out of compressed wood fibers. Used for furniture and trim that will be painted. Also used in woodshop for table tops on shopmade power tool stands, and for creating Jigs. Machines well. Doesn't hold threaded screws securely.] Will eventually discuss MDF and Particle Board together, but not Plywood


Manufactured sheets of 4' x 8' particle board, used as a base for vacuum press gluing.

Milled Timber

Mineral Spirits (MS)

Used as a general solvent in the shop for dilution of finishes and cleaning of brushes/equipment. A light wipe down will reveal glue spots and show the color of the wood after finishing.


An angled cut, used for creating Joints in many woodworking applications. See Miter Joint

Miter Fence

The sliding fence used for cross cutting on the table saw. Usually the fence can be adjusted for various angles (miters) of crosscut.

Miter Saw

See also Chop Saw.

Miter Square

also Miter gauge (sp. Mitergage) R A Salaman, Dictionary of Woodworking Tools Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1989, pages 476-477, gives several examples.

Moisture Meters

See also Appendix 8: The Anatomy and Physiology of Wood The moisture content of wood can be determined by using an Electric Moisture Meter. Meters are usually calibrated to cover a range from 7 to 25 percent with an accuracy of plus or minus 1 percent of the moisture content.

Two types of meters are available: One determines the moisture content by measuring the electrical resistance between two pin-type electrodes that are driven into the wood. The other types measures the capacity of a condenser in a high-frequency circuit in which the wood serves as the dielectric material of the condenser.



A "molding" is a workpiece -- such as the Stile and Rails of some Cabinet doors -- with a profiled surface, the Profile created by a Moulder (also Moulding Machine) Router or a Shaper.

Molding Cutterhead

See Shaper Cutter

Miter Slot: and/or Miter Square:

Morse Taper


As in "mortise and tenon", a mortise and tenon makes a very strong joint. A mortise is a hole in a workpiece -- it can be round, square, rectangular, or whatever shape needed -- designed to receive a tenon.(In woodworking joints, a tenon has a function that is similar to a Dowel, Biscuit.
Click here for a more extensive entry on this important term

Mortise and Tenon Joint


"... strips [of wood] between any sort of panel, such as Wainscoting."

Source: Philip Leon, "Woodworker Meets Wordworker," Popular Woodworking April 2002, page 88. ["Out of the Woodwork" column, Philip Leon, "Woodworker Meets Wordworker."]

Glossary O


Ornament in Woodworking


The portion of a tool's table top, after the cutter -- Tablesaw, Shaper, Router Table --where a machined workpiece is removed, following operation.

Outside Curves

A specialty of the Bandsaw

Glossary P


Screw head designed to sit atop the material. Often used in metal work as a "sheet metal" screw.

Pattern Book


Wooden Plugs to cover screw heads.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172.

Phillips Screwdriver

Name for patented cross (+) shaped screwdriver that is self centering. Comes in numerical sizes, #0 (tiny) to #2 (large). Occasionally in larger sizes. See also Posidriv and Reed and Prince.

Phillips screw or screwdriver: The Phillips screw or screwdriver (you can't have one without the other) was actually the invention of J. P. Thompson, who couldn't find anyone willing to manufacture the screws.

Henry F. Phillips (2066484 -click here for text of patent) of Portland, Ore., purchased the rights for the recessed crosshead design and obtained patent protection. He entered into a business arrangement with the American Screw Co. in Providence, R.I., which was better equipped to manufacture, the product. Phillips and the American Screw Co. prospered when automobile makers universally switched to Phillips screws.

Source: Philip Leon, "Name Brand Tools", Popular Woodworking December 2006, page 104

Pigeon Hole

Pilot Hole

Pin Router

See Router.


A small gear designed to mesh in a larger gear or a toothed rack.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 January-February 1935, page 124




Plywood Grading

Pocket Screw

A method of attaching face frame (and outer) members where a Jig is used to drill a Pilot for a Screw at an acute angle. This is used extensively in kitchen cabinet construction where the screw pockets will not be visible and where speed of construction is more important than project longevity. [Pocket screw - bottom of the angled "mortise" is flat and a flat bottom rather than a conical? Charlie B's comment]


A liquid plastic coating used to seal and finish wood. Diluted 50%-50% with MS forms a "wiping poly". Used where a durable finish is needed.

Portable Motor Driven Saw (A Skilsaw)

Portable Power Drill


Profile surface

See Molding


See Golden Rctangle See discussions by R J DeCristoforo, Woodworking Mistakes and Solutions, New York: Sterling, 1996, pages 135-138. (No preview available on Google Print.); and Donis A Dondis, A Primer of Visual Literacy, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1973.


[under construction] A Tenon, Lap, or similar part of a Joint that projects out from, or above, a surface. In Finishing, the projected material is Sanded and/or Planed flush. Flush itself is a term with a meaning closely related to Proud, in that instructions woodworking projects often specify "leave proud" or "sand flush".


PVA Glue

Aka as Carpenter's Yellow Glue. A glue said to bond more strongly than the wood itself, used for general gluing of woodwork. Not suited to wet applications, as it is water soluble.

Glossary Q



A metal support for holding lids of chests and cases, and drop fronts of desks.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172.


A rounded convex cut on a Molding or a complete molding which in cross-section is a quarter of a circle.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 January-February 1935 page 124.

Quarter-Sawn Oak

Quartered Oak

Queen Anne Leg

see Cabriole


Quill Feed

Glossary R


or earlier Rebate: See Dado.


Radial Arm Saw (RAS)

Radial Bearing

A support which assumes the load at right angles to the axis of the shaft.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 1935 July- August page 260.


The horizontal ends of a cabinet or door frame.


Red Oak

A strong, coarse grained wood used extensively for trim in Craftsman-type homes and, when quarter sawn in Mission-style furniture. Red oak is porous to the point that it cannot be used for tight cooperage.



Reed and Prince

Right-Tilting Blade


Cutting lumber lengthways, with the Grain. Rip blades have fewer square top (chisel) teeth (typically 24) and large Gullets. A rip cut produces long strands of shavings.

Riving Knife

A Riving Knife, similar to a Splitter, is widely used in Europe and now is becoming more frequent in America. A Riving knife is a) the same thickness as the kerf width of the saw's Blade and b) stays close and equidistant to the top rear quarter of the saw blade, keeping the kerf open behind the cutting face regardless of the depth of cut.

Random Orbital Sander (ROS)

Used for general finish sanding. The "doubly circular" motion -- an awkward term for describing the combination of "orbital" and "circular" motion -- of the sander produces a smooth finish on most woods. Comes in both electrical and "air-driven' models.

Riven Oak


Rule Joint

A hinged joint, usually consisting of two half-round members, used on Drop-leaf tables.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172.

Ruler File

A curved file for working in recessed areas. Commonly used in conjunction with carving chisels. Source: Home Craftsman 4 March-April 1935, page 172.

Run Out

Glossary S

SAB: Select and Better

a lumber grading term

S4S: Surfaced Four Sides

Indicates that the lumber has been planed smooth on all four sides. See Jointer/Planer syllabus.

Saber Saw

click here for extended entry


See Shop Safety





See Circular Saw See also Japanese Flush Cut and Rip Dozuki Saws

Saw Horses

also known as Carpenter's Trestles. On Carpenter's Trestles, "In 'ripping' planks or pieces of wood of a few feet in length, a pair of carpenter's trestles will be required; and these will allow a knee to be placed on the plank to hold it steady, if necessary, either in ripping or cross-cutting." Source: George Ashdown Audsley, Amateur Joinery in the Home: A Practical Manual for the Amateur Joiner on the Construction of Articles of Domestic Furniture. Boston: Small, Maynard, and Co, 1916, p. 29.



See Draw-knife


Scratch Stock



Scroll Saw

Seasoning of Wood


A drawing of an object showing how the object would appear if it were cut apart at a given Plane. Section views appear on Working Drawings to reveal the inner construction of the object. home craftsman 4 march april 1935, p 172.

Select and Better

A lumber grade

Serpentine Front

A curved front, that, alternately, is concave and convex, of a piece of furniture as a Desk, Secretary or Chest. home craftsman 4 march april 1935, p 172



Shank Hole

The shank hole is to allow the shank part of a screw, that area with no threads on it, to move effortlessly through the wood. Notice that bits for predrilling screws have a narrow part on the end, then a wider part, then some will have a tapered part, the last is the countersink for flat headed wood screws, the middle is the shank area and the narrow part is for the threads.


Also Router

Shaper Cutters

click on this link for discussion of Router Bits, Shaper Cutters and Jointer and Molding Knives.

Shaving Horse

[include material by James R. Blackaby,"How the Workbench Changed the Nature of Work American Heritage Of Invention & Technology. fall 1986,: 26-30 ISSN:



cross reference with Bushing

Shooting Board

Also Miter Shoot click here

Shop Safety


[ 8-18-08] See discussions of Shopsmith history on these pages: invention, late 1940s; developments in 1950s




Spindles in the Arts and Crafts style


Steel Square (Roofing, Rafter or Framing Square)

Click here for an extended entry on the steel square

Stile and Rail

label for source code

These are terms applied to the upright and lateral members of a framework, such as a cabinet door. Mostly, stiles run the full length of the door's frame, and rails are fitted between them, usually with mortise and tenon joints. (The space between the stiles and rails is filled in with a panel.) In a door, according to its mode of "hanging", stiles are often often identified according to whether the stile is the "hinge" stile or the "closing" stile.


See Spindle, above

Glossary T


[eventually make one entry for each] Teeth per Inch or Threads Per Inch. Often used in reference to band, scroll, or jig saw blades. Number of threads per inch in a machine screw or pipe thread.


A term in the vocabulary of woodworking with many connotations. As well as the common piece of furniture for eating, working, includes top surface of "Table" Saw , Shaper , Drill Press , and other similar power machine tools.

Briefly, "Table Saw" is frequently also called a "Bench Saw" or a "Contractor's Saw". A Bench Saw, as the name implies -- a Bench Saw comes without legs to support it -- sits on a "Bench" or specially built Table or Bench. Perhaps the most popular power tool among woodworkers today, a Table Saw features a Circular Blade driven by an electric motor mounted underneath the table, with the Blade -- adjustable by height and angle -- projecting up through a narrow opening -- the Blade Slot -- in the table.

Tripod table

A small pedestal table with three curved legs supporting the pedestal.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 May June 1935 page 22.

Table Insert

zero clearance throat plate

Also Throat Plate or Zero-Clearance Throat Plate.

The image shows a so-called "zero-clearance-insert", where -- to reduce Tear Out or Chip Out -- the gap between the blade (and teeth) are minimized.


The projection of the seat part at the rear of a chair where back spindles are supported. A Windsor chair is of this construction.

Source: Home Craftsman 4 January-February 1935, page 124.


see Fine WoodworkingSeptember, 1978, and March-April, 1979. -- note to self: need photo of tambour on Hoosier

Taper, Taper Cut


An "off-square" or angular cut, especially on a furniture part, such as a table or chair leg, that gives one end of a workpiece a narrower dimension than the other end. On tables designed with tapered legs, for example, two of the four sides -- the inside edges -- are tapered, giving the legs a "rakish" look, that softens their often heavy, squarish appearance. Also "Socket" for holding a Spindle on a Shaper .

Taper Jig

A device for cutting tapers on the Table Saw. [need image]

Tear Out

Tear Out is the term given for the small (and sometimes large) pieces of wood that separate from the surface of a board when working it with a tool, typically at the exit point of the saw blade, router bit, or drill. Similar to Chip-out. Throat Plate or Zero Clearance Throat Plate, above is an example of a Jig designed to minimize tear-out.

Template (also Templet)



See Planer


The process of making a board of equal thickness on the two wider, flat sides. Thicknessing your own wood saves you time and money. While this simple technique is normally done on a thicknessing Planer, you can also do it with these four tools -- Belt Sander, Bandsaw , Jointer and Overarm Router.

Source: Blurb from Shopsmith's Hands On No 7 September-October 1980, page 4

Threads-Per-Inch (TPI)

Throat Plate

See Table Insert

Thrust Bearing

: "A support which assumes the load of a shaft parallel to the axis of the shaft preventing it from moving longitudinally"

Source Home Craftsman 4 1935 July-August page 260. Yikes! A simpler definition comes from the anatomy of the bandsaw, where two "thrust bearings", one above the table, one below, placed at the back of the blade, prevent the blade from bending as workpieces move from the infeed side to the outfeed of the table. For Resawing operations, ie, making cutting Veneer, especially, where infeed pressure is exceptionally great, the thrust bearing is essential for maintaining the blade's straightness. See my syllabus on the Bandsaw.

Tilting Arbor/Tilting Table

see Appendix 3: Evolution of the Tilting Arbor Saw


Nailing a stud to the bottom plate at an angle; usually at 30 degrees from the stud. 45 degrees is best (if possible)



A wikapedia entry on "torque"

Torsion Box

Trestle Table

Under Construction 12-1-10; See Table


Truth to Materials

Try Square


Glossary V


Vacuum Clamping

sometimes Vacuum Press

Employing air pressure, a method of gluing slices of veneer to substrate. However, vacuum pressing can encompass numerous other gluing tasks, where larger surface flat areas of a project need to be forced together with pressure.

Sources: David Shath Square, The Veneering Book. Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1995; Greg Elder, "Vacuum Veneering", Fine Woodworking no 56 (January-February 1996), pages 70-71; Jeff Jewitt, "Buyer's Guide to Vacuum Veneering", American Woodworker no 44 (April 1995), pages 50-53; [Anonymous] "Vacuum Clamping System", ShopNotes no 40 (July 1998), pages 16-25.


As in variable-speed headstock (for work with a Lathe) or variable-speed electric motor (for work with a Router)

Variable-speed motors, in the generally accepted use of the term, are motors where the rate of rotation is adjusted by a controller. The intention of the variable speed function in a tool is safety of the tool's operator. On a Router, for example, an overly large Bit, rotating at 24,000 rpms, is dangerous. However, if the rotation rate is reduced to 10,000 rpms, the chances of an accident that will injure the router's operator is greatly reduced.

Veneer Press

Image below -- a "do-for" until I get something more permanent -- shows my home-made press for making torsion boxes, but in a pinch would work as veneer press:


Veneers and Veneering

Vise, Vice

Glossary W




Western Red Cedar



Winding Sticks

Windsor Chairs

Wood Anatomy

Wood Screws

Wooden Age

Woodwork Joints


Woodworker Encyclopedias

Woodworker's Manuals


Woodworking as Critical Thinking

Woodworking as Culture

Woodworking Magazines

Woodworking Tools

Woodworking Tools (theories of)




Glossary W Old