Textbook Makers: A History of American Studio Craft by Janet Koplos and Bruce Metcalf
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Glossary of Wood Terms

For the purpose of general reference, the scope of these glossaries extends beyond terms used in the textbook. Other Glossaries: Ceramic Fiber Glass Metal Wood

Scroll down or select a first letter range: <a-f> <g-m> <n-s> <t-z>

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Aniline dyes
a type of luminescent stain used to tint wood with color Return to Top
wooden panel that connects the surface and legs of a table or chair Return to Top
Band saw
a power saw employing a continuous loop of toothed metal band Return to Top
an outgrowth on a tree, caused by irregular growth patters in the tree’s seed bearing process; treasured by woodturners for their irregular grains Return to Top
smooth or glossy by or as if by rubbing or polishing Return to Top
using tools to cut into wood Return to Top
Centrifugal force
a force that pushes the momentum of circular movement to the outside of the circle Return to Top
scorched or burned wood Return to Top
any device that holds wood in either jaws or wood is fitted into a cylinder of the chuck which is mounted on the headstock of a spindle Return to Top
cone-bearing trees; softwoods Return to Top
Cross grains
grains in which fibers run against the tree’s vertical axis Return to Top
Cross-axial woodturning
an alternative method of turning wood off its central axis, producing objects that are asymmetrical and off-center Return to Top
Curly grains
grains which combine irregular and wavy grain patterns Return to Top
trees that shed their leaves seasonally; hardwoods Return to Top
A table in the shape of a half-moon Return to Top
Diagonal grains
grains that result from cutting a spiral grain into a board Return to Top
A method of joining wood at corners by the use of interlocking pins and tails. Return to Top
to make or stain black the wood in imitation of ebony Return to Top
a large circular metal disk to which a woodworking object is attached while being turned on a lathe Return to Top
a synonym for patterned, as a result of the grain or the particular cut of a piece of wood Return to Top
Finger joint
also called a box joint, a type of joint made by cutting complementary rectangles into two pieces of wood that fit together at a right angle, like two hands with alternating fingers. It is stronger than a lap joint, and is often an aesthetic choice of the woodworker to show off the grain of the wood. Return to Top
an ornamental element, made in any material, to place on the top of a decorative object Return to Top
a tool used to shape wood on a lathe Return to Top
the patter in which fibers are arranged within the wood Return to Top
trees that produce seeds in pods Return to Top
the hard, central part of the trunk of a tree, consisting of the old and matured wood, and usually differing in color from the outer layers; it is technically known as duramne, and distinguished from the softer sapwood or ausuruum. Return to Top
Holtzapffel lathe
a traditional woodturning machine with carving attachments powered by the lathe instead of by hand; used for ornamental or decorative work Return to Top
Interlocked grains
grains in which spiral grains switch direction Return to Top
Irregular grains
grains which result from irregular growth patterns around knots and other irregularities in the wood Return to Top
A device used to make special cuts, guide a tool, or aid in woodworking operations. Return to Top
Jig saw
a narrow saw mounted vertically in a frame for cutting curves or other difficult lines Return to Top
the process of gluing different gradations of boards together to make specific shapes, which are carved into the final shape, and polished Return to Top
a machine designed to center a piece of wood on an axis; as it turns, the woodturner can cut into the wood to create symmetrical objects Return to Top
decorative patterns formed when thin layers of wood are inlaid into the surface, usually of furniture Return to Top
Mitered joints
A joint with two mitered surfaces connected by a spline. Return to Top
a notch, hole, groove, or slot made in a piece of wood to receive a tenon of the same dimensions Return to Top
cells that store nutrients in both hardwood and softwoods Return to Top
the soft, spongy substance comprised of cellular tissue which is found in the center of the stems of many plants and trees, especially those of dicotyledonous or exogenous classes Return to Top
Plain sawing
an economic sawing method in which the heart of the tree is “boxed out” producing stable boards Return to Top
the degree to which wood absorbs water Return to Top
Radial sawing
the most stable but least economic method of board sawing, involving cutting boards perpendicular to the growth rings of the tree Return to Top
a machine with a vertical, drill-like cutter for cutting designs into wood or for decoratively edging it Return to Top
small tapered feet that recall wooden shoes Return to Top
a piece that has been polished or scraped with sandpaper Return to Top
the process of making abrasions or grinding into the wood as it turns Return to Top
the process of removing wood in very thin layers as it turns Return to Top
Slash sawing
a board sawing technique in which boards are cut in the same direction throughout the tree, producing weaker boards Return to Top
trees that produce seeds outside of a seed pod Return to Top
naturally decayed wood with distinctive markings; used for its decorative effect Return to Top
Spiral grains
grains that wrap around the circumference of the tree Return to Top
the individual wood strips that form the sides of a barrel Return to Top
Straight grains
grains in which fibers run parallel to the trees vertical axis Return to Top
a horizontal support element of a table, chair or furniture object Return to Top
a projection on the end of a piece of wood used to join with a mortise Return to Top
cells found in softwood trees that transmit water throughout the tree, as well as strengthen the tree’s structure Return to Top
Turned wood
shaped by tools while it revolves about a fixed axis, such as a lather; cylindrical forms (dowels, rungs) and circular designs are made in this way Return to Top
Vascular cambium
the thin layer of tissue between the bark and the growth layers that produce the xylem Return to Top
the process of finishing a surface with a thin layer of a specific wood, giving the object the appearance of being a solid mass of that wood Return to Top
a hollow or concave utensil for holding anything; a hollow receptacle of any kind Return to Top
Wavy grains
grains which form wavy patterns in otherwise straight grains Return to Top
the process of carving wood as it spins in place on a lathe Return to Top
cells that develop into wood; it is the supportive and water conducting tissue consisting primarily of tracheids and vessels Return to Top