Woodworking Glossary [2023 Updated]

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

Welcome to the Woodworking Glossary, a comprehensive index of woodworking terms and their definitions that will help you understand more about woodworking. Each word has a complete definition, and several have links to other pages that further explain the term. Enjoy. (Download the Glossary as a PDF at the Bottom)

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

See My Woodworking Books Here

Woodworking Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | #’s

| A |


This is a common and strong building and construction shape where you place two side pieces in the orientation of the legs of a letter “A” shape, and then cross brace the middle. This is useful on project ends, and bases where strength is needed.


Abrasive is a term use to describe sandpaper typically. This is a material that grinds or abrades material, most commonly wood, to change the surface texture. Using Abrasive papers means using sandpaper in most cases, and you can use it on wood, or on a finish in between coats or for leveling.

Absolute Humidity

The absolute humidity of the air is a measurement of the amount of water that is in the air. This is without regard to the temperature, and is a measure of how much water vapor is being held in the surrounding air.


Acetone is a solvent that you can use to clean parts, or remove grease. Acetone is useful for removing and cutting grease on a wooden bench top that has become contaminated with oil.

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!

Across the Grain

When looking at the grain of a piece of wood, if you were to scratch the piece perpendicular to the direction of the grain, this would be an across the grain scratch. Going across the grain is going over the grain lines at 90 degrees to their visual direction.

Actual Dimensions

The dimensions written on a board and the actual dimensions can be two different things. The actual dimensions are the dimensions you measure on the individual piece itself, no matter what the tag says. These are piece specific, and represent the actual piece in question.


When one piece of material is glued to another with an adhesive, it is said to have adhered to the second piece, which is called adhesion. It’s essentially one piece sticking to another piece, which is done with glue most of the time.


The adze is a small wood carving tool that looks like a hatchet but with the head turned 90 degrees. It’s used to rough wood to shape and remove lumps and high spots. This leaves a hand hewn look, which is very popular for some types of woodworking projects.

African Blackwood

This is a very dark wood species that is found in central and southern Africa, and it is commonly seen in clarinet and oboe bodies and horns. It’s a difficult wood to work by hand, but it turns exceptionally well, and is a very dense species that smooths out really nicely.

African Mahogany

This species of wood comes from Africa, in the more tropical areas, and is a less expensive alternative to Honduran Mahogany. The wood has a nice brown coloring, can have ribbon figure, and is easily found in most hardwood and fine woodworking stores.

Africal Padauk

This fun species is a very interesting wood that starts out as bright orange when freshly cut, then slowly oxidizes down through the reds into finally a brown. The red coloring is the most common, and it’s actually a fairly inexpensive wood for the beautiful coloring.

Against the Grain

Most frequently noticed when planing a piece of wood, the direction of the grain when encountering a bit or blade is said to be against the grain when the cutting action lifts out and separates the wood along the grain lines. In contrast, when you cut with the grain, it the wood cuts cleanly, and does not cause internal wood damage.

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!

Air Cleaner

This is a device that has a fan and a filter, which pulls in air from the shop, passes it through the filter, and returns it to the shop. These are nice to have, and they can significantly improve the air quality. You can buy one of these, or there are lots of plans online for making one with a furnace filter and a box fan.

Air Compressor

An air compressor is a pump and a tank that stores compressed air. The air is then sent through an air line and to a pneumatic tool that uses the air as a power source. These come in small sizes as well as very large units. They are not expensive, and they are convenient to have in the shop.

Air Dried

Lumber that is dried in the outside air, without any additional effort other than the surrounding air is said to be air dried. This is a slower process than kiln drying, but it can result in less cracking and warping of the wood as the process is a lot slower. This is one way of removing moisture from wood, also called seasoning.

Air Dried Lumber

This is lumber that has been dried naturally with air, and is at a low enough moisture content to sell to woodworkers and carpenters for making into projects. This will still need to acclimate to the shop before using, but will balance faster than green wood or wet wood.

Air Gun

This is a term used to describe an air nozzle, which is an attachment for an air hose that blows compressed air for use in cleaning and dust removal. High pressure air comes through the air gun and can be used for drying finishes, cleaning, and any other instance where high pressure air is needed. See Air Nozzle as well.

Air Hose

This is a long hose that is connected to the air compressor and an air tool. The air hose gets the air from the tank to the tool, providing the power. There are different grades of air hose, and in general you get what you pay for. Look at the rating so you know it can handle the pressure your compressor can supply.

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

See My Woodworking Books Here

Air Line

Another name for an air hose, the air line brings the air from the compressor to the tool. See Air Hose for more details on this term.

Air Nozzle

An air nozzle is an attachment for the air line that allows you to blow high pressure air. This is useful for cleaning and helping finishes dry a little faster. See Air Gun as well for more information.

Air Quality

This is a general term used to describe the overall quality of the air in a given area. For the sake of woodworkers, this is typically the shop. It’s a good practice to do everything you can to ensure that the air quality in your shop is excellent, because it will be better for your body.

Air Tool

Any tool that uses air as the source of power can be called an air tool. These are also called Pneumatic Tools, and they include wrenches, spray guns, drills, and more. These are some of the most powerful tools you can use, and they run completely on pressurized air.


This North American hardwood is a lighter weight, light colored species that is commonly used in cabinet making and electric guitar bodies. It’s easy to work, readily available, and you can even find pieces with lots of knots that have a great look on a woodworking project.

Aliphatic Resin Glue

Also referred to as AR glue, this is the primary type of glue used for wood to wood joints. Titebond, and many other woodworking glues are Aliphatic Resin glues. This is the familiar yellow glue that you see in woodworking applications, and it’s made by several companies.

All Purpose Blade

This is for table saws mostly, but you can use the term for other saws as well. An all purpose blade is a blade that is good in many different applications like rip sawing, cross cutting, fine and smooth cuts. This is a blade that is good for everything but excellent at nothing. It’s a compromise blade that stays on the tool most of the time.

All Thread

All thread is a long piece of metal rod that is threaded from end to end. It’s all threads, with no shank, and no head at all. You can use this as is, or you can cut it to length and use as much as you need. Lengths can be as short as a foot and as long as several feet. They also come in lots of widths and thread sizes.

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!

Allen Head Bolt

A machine bolt or machine screw that takes an allen key to turn is called an allen head bolt. These are common in furniture that you have to assemble yourself. The size of allen key for the bolt can vary depending on the size of the bolt, and you can find them in metric and standard sizes.

Allen Wrench

An allen wrench is an L shaped piece of metal with six sides, and used to turn an allen head bolt. These come in a number of sizes, as well as being metric and standard. They can have flat ends, or ball ends that allow the tool to turn a bolt from an angle rather than being inserted directly into the opening.

Alternate Top Bevel

This is a style of creating the teeth that are on a table saw blade. The alternating top bevel is where one tooth is beveled to the left and the next tooth is beveled to the right. They alternate like this all the way around the blade, and together they allow the blade to cut through wood.

Aluminum Oxide

Aluminum oxide is an abrasive, and the very fine version is used to polish wood and other materials. It is mainly found in rubbing compounds and buffing compounds, but it can also be more coarse and used to coat paper, creating sandpaper. 

Ambrosia Maple

This is a type of Maple wood that has been infested by the Ambrosia Beetle, and you can tell because there will be heavy streaking of deeper color, as well as holes. This is technically insect damage, but the coloring looks good and is therefore thought of as positive in most cases.

Aniline Dye

This is the chemical dye found in most dye stains that are either mixed with water or denatured alcohol. This type of dye chemically changes the color of the wood, and provides a really deep and expressive color. It highlights the grain variations, and you can mix the dyes to create custom colors.

Annual Growth Rings

Every year, as a tree grows, it makes another ring around the center. This ring is grown on the outside of the tree, and goes completely around the trunk. When you cut down a tree, you can count the rings and see how many years the tree was alive. The rings have a light and dark section for summer and winter wood.

Anti Kickback Pawl

These are little spring tensioned feet that are on the table saw near the riving knife. They hold down the pieces as they pass through the blade, and only allow them to travel in one direction. In the event that the tool grabs a piece of wood and pushes it back, the pawls dig in and hold the board. This is a safety feature.


On a table, the pieces of wood that go around the base and provide structure and protection against warping is called the apron. These are typically a few inches tall, and follow the same general shape as the table top. The legs can attach under the apron, and its a visual part of the table.


A turning shaft on a motor that holds a blade or cutting tool is called an arbor. Your table saw has an arbor that holds the blade, and so does your router. It’s similar to a mandrel, in that it is a shaft that turns.

Architects Rule

An architects rule is a triangle shaped ruler that stands up, and has different scales of measurement on the three sides. It makes drafting plans much easier, and it helps you draw things to scale.

Architectural Router Bits

There are many different classifications of router bits. Architectural router bits are larger bits in general, and they are used to make things such as crown molding, and molding patterns. They are often used in sets, and create a very nice look when molding or trim pieces are created.

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

See My Woodworking Books Here


This North American hardwood is light in color with very pronounced grain and open pores. The wood is strong, and typically used in making baseball bats on the lathe. It’s also good for lots of other turning projects, and where you might want to use the emphasized grain to your advantage. 

Assembly Time

The assembly time is a reference to using adhesives like wood glue. This is the amount of time that you have to get your project or joint put together before the glue starts to set. At that point, the glue is no longer effective and you would need to start the process over in order to get the best bond. Most glues give you enough time.


The acronym ATB stands for Alternate Top Bevel, which is a method of designing the teeth on a table saw blade to most effectively remove wood with each cut. One tooth will be beveled to the left, and the next will be beveled to the right. Together, they remove material from the area where the blade enters the wood, clearing the slot.

Auger Bit

This type of drill bit is meant for rough drilling in wood, and is long, spiraled, and has a spiral tip that aggressively digs into the surface to start the bit. They are used in construction for making deep holes that are also wide in some cases. This is not a precision bit, and will leave rough walls on the opening.

Auxiliary Fence

An Auxiliary fence is an additional fence added to an existing fence. This serves a purpose, and is typically part of a jig or a sawing fixture. These can also be called sacrificial fences, and can be cut into or damaged without actually affecting the factory fence.


Used to mark holes and lines, an awl is a rod shaped piece of metal with a point at one end and a rounded handle at the other end. You put the handle in the palm of your hand, and press the metal point into the wood surface to create starting indents for drilling, and scratched lines for cutting.


This is a wood cutting tool with a long wooden handle and a wedge shaped metal head. The edge of the metal head is sharpened, and by swinging the tool and making contact with the metal edge of the axe head, wood is removed from a larger piece. These are used for hewing wood and for cutting down trees.

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!

| B |

Backer Board

Most commonly used in tile work, this is a cement board that helps prevent moisture from seeping through into the wooden parts of the house. In woodworking, a backer board is a piece of wood that you put behind your project to prevent the drill from blowing out the back end as it exits the piece.


This is a rectangle shaped hand saw that has a stiffener on the top edge of the blade. These are commonly used to make dovetails, and other cuts where you do not have to go all the way through the material.

Ball End Allen Wrench

This is an allen wrench with a rounded end on the longer of the two legs. The nice thing about these kinds of allen wrenches is that if you can get the ball into the end of the bolt head, even at an angle, it will still turn the bolt. This is great for harder to reach bolts.


A baluster is a short column, spindle, or pillar that holds up a horizontal piece, like a railing. These are often turned round on a lathe, and can be very detailed and ornamental. They also come in other shapes, and can be plain looking and square too.

Band Clamp

These are used for clamping oddly shaped items, and they use a thick band, almost like a belt, which tightens, holding the piece. These are commonly used for clamping round items or clamping around squares and rectangles like in the case of picture frames.

Band Saw

This is a very versatile power saw that will allow you to do both straight and curved cuts. The tool works by turning a loop shaped blade around a couple of wheels, and there is a table top where you place and cut your wood. As a beginning woodworker, a band saw can save you a lot of money and let you make several different types of cuts.

Bar Clamp

Any clamp that uses a rigid bar to hold the ends of the clamp can be called a bar clamp. These are common in woodworking, and come in a number of different styles. Each one has a solid metal bar that holds the features of the clamp, and can therefore be called a bar clamp.

See Also: 6 Huge Tips for Buying Woodworking Clamps


The outermost part of a tree is comprised of bark. This layer protects the living layer of the tree that is underneath, and provides shelter from weather, insects, and other damaging forces. The bark can be removed when making projects, or retained for what is called live edge woodworking.

Barrel Hinge

These small hinges are great for making ornamental projects like jewelry boxes. They are small hinges with fluted or knurled barrels on both ends. Each barrel is pressed into a drilled hole, and the hinge mechanism completely packs into the two barrels, allowing a flush closure without any gaps from your hardware.

Base Plate

On a router, the piece that slides along the wood as you use the tool is called the base plate. These can be colored, clear, round or other shaped. They can also come in replaceable forms, and for use as jigs for cutting circles. You can buy replacement base plates as needed, and universal plates that fit many different routers.


Commonly used for wood carving, and for making electric guitar bodies, Basswood is a light colored, easy to work, and softer hardwood. You can find it commonly in many woodworking stores and it’s easy to carve, and light weight as well.


A batten is a long flat strip of wood that you use to secure down other pieces of wood. You can also use them to hold pieces in place through clamping pressure such as in a batten press. These are typically shaped longer and flatter, and are used to hold other pieces against a flat surface like a wall.

If You Like My Posts, You'll Love My Books

See My Woodworking Books Here

See Also: How to Make a Baton Press


The bead shape is a decorative addition to a piece of wood that is often accomplished with a router. It’s a half circle or half cylinder, where the half sticks up on the piece of wood. This is done by removing everything else from the piece, exposing the bead shape. They can be singles, or several next to each other.

Beading Tool

In wood turning, a beading tool is a long piece of metal with a cup shaped profile that you use to create a bead shape on a piece of wood turning. These are common on the lathe, and they are a fast and easy way to make decorative beads on spindles.


The longer part of a tool with a moving stock is typically called the beam. On a marking gauge, the longer part is called the beam, and the movable part is called the stock. These are typically square in profile, and the longer part of the tool.


Most often found on router bits, these allow you to make contact with an edge or a template, and it limits the travel of the router bit. The bearing turns as the router bit turns, which lets you follow the template or the guide, making straighter and more reliable router cuts.

Bearing Guide

This is another term similar to bearing, and associated with router bits. The bearing guide is a bearing on a router bit that allows you to use the bit to follow a template or a guide. This gives you much more control over the tool, and your cuts will be a lot cleaner looking.

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!


This is a common wood species for making into woodworking and carpenter’s benches. The light color, and the hard wearing density are both good to have on a bench, and the fact that the wood is abundant and easily sourced is good too. This is a nice, plain hardwood for making woodworking projects.

Belt Sander

This hand held tool is a power sander with a rotating belt, and used to remove material and shape wood very rapidly. The belts come in different grits, and depending on the grit that you choose, you can smooth surfaces really quickly, or remove a lot of material quickly as well.

Belt/Disc Sander

The belt/disc sander is a bench top tool that has a sanding belt and a sanding disc built into the same tool. They both turn on when the tool is given power, and you get the versatility of a belt sander with a disc sander to help shape your woodworking projects.


The bench is the centerpiece of the woodworking shop. Your bench can be made from anything, but it’s a horizontal space where you can make your projects. These can be simple, like a couple sawhorses and a piece of wood, or elaborate with all the features. A bench is a common first project for new woodworkers.

See Also: 15 Best Tips for Making an Economy Woodworking Bench

Bench Dog

The bench dog is a post that sticks up out of the surface of the bench and is used as a stop for clamping pieces of flat wood to the surface. These are removable, and can either be made or bought. There are wood and metal versions, and they are a useful part of a woodworking bench.

Bench Dog Holes

Bench dogs provide a stop that slips into the top of the bench and provides an end to the clamping actions that is applied by the front or end vise. The hole that the bench dog goes into is called the bench dog hole, or dog hole, and they can be either square or round depending on your design.

Bench Grinder

The bench grinder is a small tool with usually two grinding wheels. One wheel will be more coarse than the other, and there are a couple of tool rests on each side. The motor turns the wheels, and they are used to sharpen metal tools and grind/shape metal parts and pieces.

Bench Knife

This is a versatile, small, sharp knife that you have handy on your woodworking bench. You use it for several things like marking, outlining, and cutting. It’s a utility tool that has a ton of uses that you only recognize when you have the tool with you. This is similar to carrying a pocket knife. It’s very useful when you have it.

Bench Plane

A bench plane is a larger hand plane with a wooden handle called a tote, and is used to flatten and level larger boards prior to building a project. This is the manual version of a thickness planer, and you can carefully even out a surface with the sharp blade and flat sole.

Bench Stop

Another name for a bench dog, this is a small peg that is either square or round in shape, and it goes into a dog hole on your woodworking bench. It only goes so far in, leaving about an inch or more sticking out from the surface. This provides an end point and allows you to edge clamp larger boards using the vises on the bench.

Bench Top

The top surface on your woodworking bench is called the bench top. These are commonly made from laminated pieces of wood arranged in parallel lines. There are functional bench tops that you can make from plywood, and there are high end bench tops you make from fine hardwoods. 

Bending Iron

When bending wood, a bending iron is a form that is heated to steam the water present in the piece of thin wood, allowing it to bend. These can be forms where the wood is clamped in place, or they can be round shapes that you press the wood against to bend into custom shapes.

See Also: 10 Helpful Tips for Using a Guitar Side Bending Iron

Bending Wood

You bend wood by getting the pieces wet, and applying heat. Once the heat turns the water into steam, it allows the wood fibers to slide past one another, and the wood bends without breaking. There are several methods to bending wood, and they include steam, heat, lamination, and kerfing.


A bevel is a flat surface created on the edge of a piece of wood, and it’s made by destroying the corner at 45 degrees to the faces. You can do this with a hand plane, or a router. A bevel breaks the sharp edge of the corner, and can be an intentional decorative feature.

Bevel Router Bit

There are router bits specifically designed to create a bevel profile, and you can use them in your router to create bevels of any size and style you desire. These bits make the process of creating bevels very easy, and you can quickly and accurately apply a bevel using a router bit with a bearing guide.

Beveled Edge

When the edge of a board has a 45 degree flat section where the corner of the wood used to be, it is said to be a beveled edge. You can do this with a table saw, a hand plane, or a router.


A chunk of wood used for another purpose is called a billet. These are cut or split, and they are sized for certain projects that require a piece of the exact size and species. Think of a billet as a pre sized chunk of wood made for a specific purpose.


This is a feature in wood where small dots appear on the surface of wood wood, creating a figure that is not normally present on common looking pieces of the same species. The figure is called birdseye, and can make a piece of wood far more interesting and valuable.


This wood is most commonly seen in plywood, and it creates a skin for the boards that is very even in coloring, and mostly free from knots and other defects. The wood itself is light in color, fairly plain, and easy to cut, carve, and machine as you make different projects.

Birch Plywood

One of the most common types of plywood available to woodworkers, that you can find in a large number of stores is Birch Plywood. The centers are going to vary, but the faces are skinned with Birch, which is a light colored and relatively defect free type of wood.


In woodworking, a biscuit is a small wafer shaped piece of wood that is used as a floating tenon in between two pieces of material. Slots are created on each side of the two pieces being joined, and then the biscuit is glued in between them, adding additional strength against the joint breaking.

Biscuit Joiner

This is the tool that is used to create the slots for gluing biscuits in between boards to strengthen the joint. The power tool uses a spinning blade to create a slot that the biscuit fits inside, and there are guides and measuring methods on the tool itself to ensure that the two biscuit slots match when the boards are aligned.

Biscuit Joint

A joint where two pieces of wood are glued together with biscuits in between the pieces at regular intervals is called a biscuit joint. The biscuits need to be present for it to be a biscuit joint, and they can be installed every few inches to make the joint stronger than if it were only glued.


The term bit is used for any spinning metal tool that is used to cut or shape wood. Routers, drills, and Dremel tools all have bits. They are the piece that does the work, and they are turned by machines that are either hand held or full size depending on the application.


Another name for African Blackwood, this is a very dense, and very dark colored wood species that is commonly used in making woodwind instruments like the oboe and the clarinet.


Any flat piece of metal used for cutting and that has a sharp edge can be called a blade. This is also used for some tools where the thinner portion is called a blade, even though it is not used for cutting. An example would be a machinists square having a blade, and a table saw having a blade.

Blade Guard

On table saws in particular, this is the plastic piece that covers the blade and protects you from touching the sharp teeth while in use and while turned off. This is a cover that does not get in the way of using the tool, but still protects the blade from being accidentally touched while in use.

Blade Holder

When storing blades for different tools, a blade holder is a storage method that keeps the blades stored in a safe manner until they are needed. Sometimes these hang on the wall, and sometimes they store away under the workbench. They can hold one or more blades, and are meant to keep them protected and safe.

Blade Plate

A blade plate is another name for a throat plate or an insert. This is the small piece of plastic or other material that surrounds the blade, and is designed to be removed and replaced if damaged. This is the biggest on the table saw, and they are available in different styles.

Blade Rim

The rim of a blade is the outermost section where the teeth are. This is a term associated with circular blades, and it’s the farthest area from the center. Your rim needs to be flat and true for your saw blade to work the way it was intended by the manufacturer.

Blade Runout

This is a measure of the amount of wobble that a table saw blade has in it’s rotation. There is some wobble in a blade sometimes, and this creates a cut that is not exactly the same size as the thickness as the blade. In extreme cases, the blade can become unsafe and not usable when the runout gets too large.

Blade Stabilizer

On thinner blades, sometimes they are best used with a plate that helps keep the saw blade straight and even throughout the cutting process. These allow a certain amount of the blade to pass above the stabilizer, but does limit the depth of cut somewhat.


Any piece of wood that is roughly the size needed to complete a project. These are intentionally cut and created to serve the purpose of making the project, and are common sizes. For example, pen blanks are about six inches long and 3/4 inches square on the end. This is the common blank size, and they are sawn for the purpose of making pens.

Blast Gate

On a dust collection system, there is a need to conserve the pressure and suction for the tools that are in use. For the tools that are not in use, a blast gate is a sliding plastic or metal plate that blocks the piping going to that machine, and can be opened by sliding. This allows you to direct the suction where it is needed the most.


This term is used mostly with dovetail joinery, and is used to describe when the dovetails are not allowed to go all the way through one or both sides of the mating board. When you can see them, they are not blind. When the joining board covers them, they are said to be blind.


The acronym for Boiled Linseed Oil is called BLO. In an effort to make it easier to write about boiled linseed oil, it is common to see the acronym BLO instead.

Block Plane

The block plane is a smaller, handheld plane used for smoothing out surfaces, and for removing high spots on your woodworking projects. It’s great for bringing inlays flush, evening up edges on boards, and doing shaping work on edges and corners.


This naturally red hardwood is dense, with a grain that is more closed than African Padauk, which is also a red colored wood. The pieces tend to warp if not dried really carefully, but you can make beautiful and richly colored red parts and pieces for your projects with this wood.


In wood finishing, blushing occurs when the finish is done in an area where the humidity is really high, and is common with sprayed finishes like lacquer. This results in a milky white looking semi-translucent layer on the project, and it’s definitely not the desired result.


When drilling, as the drill bit exits the bottom side of your piece of wood, it can press away fibers, causing them to break apart from the surface, which causes damage. This is called blowout, and it can be prevented by using a sacrificial backer board below the piece as you drill.


Any piece of wood that is mainly flat in shape can be considered a board. This can be any species, and nearly any shape as long as you could call it flat. The length and the width don’t matter as much, though flatter and wider pieces tend to be called boards more than narrow or rounded pieces.

Board Foot

Wood is sold by volume, not length. A board foot is a measurement of volume based on a 12 inch by 12 inch by 1 inch unit. There is a mathematical formula where you multiply the length, width, and thickness in inches, and then divide by 144 to get the answer into board feet.


This Central American and Mexican species of wood is a dense, and oily type of wood that is a mixture of yellow/brown and black streaks. The look is amazing, and though you will pay a little more for Botoce, it makes excellent handles, turning projects, and tools.

Boiled Linseed Oil

This is a common woodworking finish that is very easy for beginners to use. The finish is made from linseed oil, but then metallic dryers are added to the formulation to help the finish fully cure. Under normal conditions, natural linseed oil never dries fully. The dryers fix that problem, and this is an easy beginner finish.


The large center part of the tree, also called the trunk is the bole. If you were to envision a tree with all of the branches removed, it would look like a tall single piece of wood tapering towards the sky. This is the bole, and it is also called the trunk of the tree.


When two pieces of material are glued together, they bond together. There are also mechanical bonds where something physical holds the pieces together. Chemical bonds and mechanical bonds form joints, and they are also present in the layers of finish that are applied to a project.

Bond Failure

When two pieces of material come apart because of a breakdown in the process that the adhesive or bonding method is supposed to handle, this is called a bond failure. For example, if glue gets too hot, and melts, the bond fails, and the two pieces fall apart.

Book Matched

When you cut a piece of wood open through the edge, almost like filleting a fish, and then fold open the two pieces like opening a book, bit is called a book match. If you look at the pattern of the grain, it will be a mirror image through the middle, and you can create some beautiful looks with this sawing technique.


The act of boring is similar to drilling, and a bore is the term for the hole or opening left by the boring process, which can be done with a drill, router, or Dremel tool. This is most often used in conjunction with a mill, and the making of larger cavities in wood.


This is when a piece of wood bends while drying out, and the bend is through the faces of the board. This results in a “U” shape, and can make the entire piece useless. Bowed wood is not as easy to work with, and it can cause problems when machining that can be safety risks.

Bow Saw

A staple of old world craftsmanship and hand tool fame is the bow saw. This is a wooden frame that has two legs on a center pivot. The blade is at one end of the legs, and at the other is rope for applying tension. as the rope pulls on the one end, the other pulls apart, tightening the blade. 

Box Joint

Another name for a Finger Joint, the box joint is made with a series of interlocking fingers that are all the same thickness, and are cut into the end of a board with a jig. This is done most often now on a table saw. The interlocking increases the gluing surface, and makes the joints very strong.


A brace is a manual type of drill that looks like a curved piece of metal with a handle in the middle and a handle at the top. You hold the top still, and rotate the middle handle, which turns the bit at the bottom, carving into a piece of wood and removing material. 


A small pointy metal tip on a bit or a drill can be called a brad, or a brad point. These assist in tracking, and help you drill exactly where you intend to drill. These are commonly seen on Brad Point Drill Bits, which are specially made to start better than the more common twist bits.

Brad Point Bit

In general, drills are lazy, and they take the easiest path every time. A good brad point on a drill bit can help track the bit better, and make the drilling experience more accurate. This very sharp center point digs into the wood first, providing stability throughout the drilling process.

Brad Nail

These are fine wire nails that are meant to be shot from a pneumatic nailer, or nail gun. You can find them in different thicknesses and lengths, and there are specific nail guns that are capable of shooting the different types that you can use. They come in large volume packages, but they go quick in the shop.

See Also: Brad Nails are Not the Same as Regular Nails

Brad Nail Gun

The tool that shoots nails with the help of an air powered system is a nail gun. This is also called a pneumatic nailer, and they are a very helpful tool for assembly. These look similar in shape and design to a heat gun, but they are fitted for firing brad nails into wood with one pull of the trigger.

Branding Iron

There are devices that you can buy with your logo or company name on them that are meant to be heated either electronically, or with a torch, and used to brand wood. These are fun to use, because they make adding your makers mark to your completed projects easy and quick.

Breadboard End

This is a method of stabilizing a set of edge laminated boards, and it involves gluing a piece of wood across the ends of those boards that is perpendicular. This board is often mortised into the individual pieces, holding them together and preventing wood movement.


This African species of wood is a beautiful pink/brown with a wavy looking grain and a beautiful figure. It’s also an inexpensive type of wood that looks so much better than the price would have you think. It’s dense, and good for acoustic guitar backs and sides as well as tool handles.

Buck Saw

This is a frame saw, similar to a bow saw, and was traditionally used for cutting pieces of logs to length. That was called bucking, though you could use the saw for any kind of woodworking that you would need and it can still be called a buck saw.


Sometimes a tree forms a ball of wood that does not grow in the standard direction, and has grain and figure going in all directions. This is called a burl, and offers you some of the best looking and the most interesting looking wood in the world. They are rare on some trees and common on others.


When you use a hardened steel tool to draw out an edge on a piece of softer metal, this is called burning, or to burnish an edge. You see this the most on cabinet scrapers, and is the process for creating the microscopic cutting edge that allows the tool to work.


This is the name for any tool that is used to draw out a burr on a cabinet scraper. They can come in many different configurations, and some are more expensive than others. In general though, they do the same thing, and use a piece of hardened steel to create the burr.

Burnishing Tool

Another name for a burnisher, this is a tool used for drawing out a burr on a piece of softer steel like a cabinet scraper, allowing the tool to cut properly. They are sold in several different designs, and you can easily find one that works well for you.


The small sharp edge that is drawn out by the burning tool or burnisher is called a burr. It is easy to feel the burr on the end of your cabinet scraper, and you can tell when you need to give it more attention as it dulls. Your burnisher can replace the burr fast, and get you back to scraping and leveling your work.


A bushing is a sleeve, made from metal or plastic, that is inserted into a hole, or another object is passed through, and can come in a large number of sizes. Bushings can help you while making jigs, or they can be used on your actual woodworking projects in some cases.

Butt Joint

When you join the end or edge of one board to the face of another board, you create a butt joint. You can join them together in any way that you choose, but the orientation of the two pieces, end or edge to face is what gives the joint its name.

Butterfly Joint

This is a type of inlay used to hold pieces of wood together and prevent them from splitting. It is a bow tie shaped piece of wood that is typically about 1/4 inch thick or more. The grain runs the length of the piece, and it’s inlaid across a place where the main board is failing, or may fail and crack over time. 


A great type of wood for carving, Butternut has a weak grain that does not create hard and soft spots when carving by hand. It also looks very even, and can be used to create any number of projects that require a lighter, and easier to work and machine type of wood.

| C |

C Clamp

This is a clamping tool used for holding material while making projects. The body of the tool is a solid metal spine in the shape of a letter “C” and there is a threaded screw that tightens down into a pad at the bottom of the clamp. These come in lots of sizes.

See Also: 9 Great Tips for Storing Wood Clamps

CA Glue

The abbreviated name for Cyanoacrilate Glue is called CA glue, and it’s other common name is super glue. This is a fast acting adhesive that can be sped up even further by using an activator spray, and it forms a quick but sometimes brittle bond.


A staple in woodworking, a cabinet is any fully enclosed box shaped project with openings for access at the front, which can also be covered with doors or sliders. Think of your kitchen cabinets, and bathroom cabinets.

Cabinet Door

The covering for most cabinets is called a cabinet door. These can be solid, or they can have openings or glass on their faces. They are hinged on one side, or they slide on railings to provide a closure for the cabinet. They can be simple or really elaborate.

Cabinet Door Hinges

The mechanical means for attaching a cabinet door to a cabinet is a cabinet hinge, and these come in a number of shapes and styles. They can be part of the design, or they can be minimized and hidden from view. They serve to allow the door to open and close easily.

Cabinet Door Router Bits

Making cabinet doors is a common function in woodworking, so much so that there are special tools made just for the purpose. Cabinet door router bits come in a set typically, and they are the few bits you will need to make cabinet doors from smaller stock.

Cabinet Saw

The term cabinet saw is another word for table saw, but is also used for larger saws that are not able to be transported as easily as a contractors saw. These have a cabinet below the table top where the motor and adjustments are housed.

Cabinet Scraper

This is a thin piece of metal that you burnish along the edge with a piece of hardened steel. You then use that edge to smooth and shape wood surfaces. The scraper can be curved or flat along the edge, and is typically shaped like a rectangle.

Cabinet Maker

A person who makes cabinets as their personal expression of woodworking is called a Cabinet Maker. These can be any kind of cabinet, though typically cabinet makers build solid enclosures that look good in a home or in a shop.

Cabriole Leg

This type of leg is an ornately curved furniture leg that has a ball foot. The curves are created by sawing away material and exposing a nice curve that is decorative, and enhances the overall look of the piece. These can be made on the band saw with a little practice.


A caliper is a fine measuring tool that has a mouth on one end and is slid open by hand. The measuring can be in any scale, through most of the time they are meant for finer measurements like thousandths of an inch. They sometimes have a dial as well.


The cambium layer of a tree is the live layer near the bark layer that is responsible for growing and making the tree larger. This is where the tree expands as it ages, and is the section of the tree that is the most active during the entire time the tree is alive.

Canary Wood

This South American wood species has an overall brown tone, but with very pronounced color streaks in some cases that make the wood very beautiful and desirable. It’s said to have great acoustical properties, and also has a depth to the pieces that has to be seen to be fully appreciated.


This is a very dense metal that is used in many different woodworking tools, though it normally shows up as a cutter of some kind. These can be individual small cutters on a planer or jointer, or they can be removable carbide inserts that go on the end of lathe tools.

Carbide Cutter

The small piece of carbide that is sharpened to a cutting edge and used to shape material is called a carbide cutter. This is a piece of very dense material that holds an edge really well, and is used for different cutting and shaping operation in woodworking.

Carbide Insert

A piece of carbide, shaped like a square, or sometimes in different shapes, and used to shape wood. These are also called Carbide Cutters, and they are common in planers, jointers, and on carbide tipped lathe tools.

Carbide Lathe Tool

Lathe tools that have carbide tips on the ends of their bars are called Carbide Lathe Tools. These are an alternative to High Speed Steel lathe tools, and they do not have to be sharpened, which removes the additional cost of sharpening equipment and jigs. Inserts are replaced when dull.

See Also: How to Make a Carbide Lathe Tool

Carbide Tipped

When a tool has a carbide cutter at the tip, which does the cutting or shaping of your material, it is said to be Carbide Tipped. This is a common way to refer to carbide lathe tools, as they have carbide inserts on them.

Carbide Tool

Any tool with a carbide tip or carbide insert that does the cutting and shaping of wood can be called a carbide tool. These are common in lathe work and in milling.

Carbide Turning Tool

Another name for a Carbide Lathe Tool, this is a long handled, shafted tool with a carbide insert at the tip, used to shape pieces of wood on the lathe. They come in several shapes, and each works the wood differently.


The shell or body of a woodworking project like a cabinet or box or frame is called a carcass. It is the carcass where you attach other things like doors, drawers, sliders, and hardware. The carcass serves as the frame and structure for the rest of the piece.

Card Scraper

The card scraper is another name for the Cabinet Scraper. This is a thin piece of metal upon which a sharp edged is created with a burnishing tool. The scraper is the dragged or pressed along a piece of wood to shape and level the surface.


A carpenter is someone that makes things from wood. These can be any kind of project, but the term can also mean a maker of larger woodworking projects like furniture, benches, cabinets, and things of that nature.

Carpenters Bench

The carpenters bench is a general term for a bench made from pieces of laminated hardwood, with vises and bench dog holes to assist in the process of making projects. These vary in type from era to era, and purpose to purpose, but they share common features and design elements.

Carpenters Pencil

A large pencil that is half an inch wide, and quarter inch tall, and does not roll is called a carpenters pencil. These also have wider lead centers for writing, and are sold and packaged as carpenters pencils or woodworking pencils.


The act of making things from wood that are sometimes larger in nature like cabinets, furniture, and benches is called carpentry. There are individual branches and specialties but they can all be called carpentry.


The process of using a sharp edged tool to remove wood from a larger piece in an effort to reveal a shape or a design is called carving. There are lots of different styles of carving, and they can be many different sizes and designs.

Carving in the Round

This particular style of wood carving is the process of making three dimensional figures that are carved on all faces and sides. They represent real models of objects and people, and there are no flat areas or bad sides. Everything on the object is hand carved for a purpose and a look.


Making boxes, cabinets, and carcasses is called casework. This involves truing boards, making joints, and fitting pieces together. This is the process of making wooden projects that are means to house or contain other things, and are larger in size.


A caul is a piece of wood or other material that is purpose made for assisting in a clamping operation. Many times, clamps needs a little help spreading out the forces and holding the wood properly. A caul is made to help in this case, and is used to make the clamp work better.


The most common type of cedar is also called Aromatic Cedar or Tennessee Cedar, and is the familiar Cedar wood that has that great smell. The wood itself is not dense, but has a great looking brown and pink coloring that can really make some great looking projects.

Center Line

Drawing a line of symmetry down the center of a piece is the process of making a center line. This center line is then used as a reference point for making other measurements and drawing features on the project.


The acronym CFM stands for Cubic Feet Per Minute, and is a common term used when discussing vacuum systems and how much air they can move. It’s a measurement of volume, and systems that pull more CFM generally have more power.


A chainsaw is a flat metal bar with a chain and teeth powered by a small gas or electric motor. It is used to cut larger pieces of timber, and to shape wood. This is a rougher tool, and can be found in many sizes.


A chamfer is a bevel, but one that does not go all the way from one face of the piece to the other. Instead, it starts and ends without going completely from face to face, and it creates a flat, 45 degree face along the end or the edge of a board, usually for a decorative effect.

Channel Locks

This is a brand of locking pliers that allow the jaw to be positioned in different channels in the body of the tool, expanding the capacity, and allowing it to grab larger items. This is similar to a pliers, but with more adjustments to how wide the jaws can open.


When a piece of wood is cut with an edged tool, it sometimes reveals a silky, shiny layer that can be seen by rotating the piece in a light. This shimmer and sparkle shows up at certain angles of the light bouncing off the piece, and is very beautiful.


This is a defect found in boards, typically when they have been kiln dried, or dried faster than needed to properly dry them. The defect shows as small splits or openings where the wood fibers pull apart on the surface, and they look like knife cuts. There can be several in one area, or only a few. 

Chemical Bond

When two layers of finish or adhesive bond together through a chemical process, it is called a chemical bond. An example of a chemical bond is one layer of lacquer attaching to a previously sprayed layer of lacquer through softening the previous layer and adhering together.


This American Hardwood is medium brown in coloring, light weight, but strong. It’s a common wood used in furniture making, and has a long established relationship with woodworkers. The color darkens and deepens with exposure to sun light.


A piece of wood that snaps off a larger piece, which is very small itself can be called a chip. This is often referred to in a negative context, because when a piece chips out, it’s typically a mistake, or some error that needs to be corrected.

Chip Board

This term refers to the medium to darker brown, thinner board that you can find in sheets, also sometimes called backer board. This is a thin skin of factory made wood product that is good for backings or temporary bench tops during messy work.

Chip Carving

Using a sharp knife to remove small pieces of material from a flat surface, leaving a nice looking pattern behind is called chip carving. This is a method of decorating woodworking, and only requires a few tools to get started.

Chip Out

Chip out happens when your tools do not function as intended, and you end up chipping the board in several places, causing damage that needs to be repaired. The chips can come from feeding against the grain, or accidentally making contact with a bit or blade.


A staple among woodworkers, the chisel is an edged tool, available in many widths, that is used to remove material from a larger piece of wood. They come in lots of shapes and sizes, and are sometimes used in conjunction with a mallet.

Chop Saw

This is another name for the Miter Saw, which is a tool used for cutting pieces of wood to length after being cut to width by other means. These have a head that is pulled downwards, and a circular saw blade makes the cut.


The chuck is a feature on the lathe as well as on drills and drill presses. It has jaws that move inwards and outwards together, and they grip tightly on bits or blanks. They move by rotating another part of the chuck, and tighten by hand or with a key or keys.

Chuck Key

The chuck key is a small tool used to tighten down a chuck when holding bits or blanks. It allows the jaws to get tighter than if they were tensioned by hand, giving a much firmer grip on the bit or blank.

Chuck Tool

Another name for a Chuck Key, this is a tool used to tighten a chuck. This term is also used more for lathe chucks, that have different looking means of tightening rather than a small key. They use bars, and T handled tools, so they are a little different but perform the same task.

Circular Saw

The circular saw is a handheld saw that is used for making straight cuts in wood. It has a round, flat blade, and is held in one hand while the blade is advanced through the piece. These come in several sizes and are also available in guided models that cut faster.


A device used to hold one abject to another object, or an object to a surface with force is called a clamp. There are many types and styles, and they are useful holding tools for woodworkers, especially in the gluing and assembly phases of projects.


When a board is free of defects, and in general looks very plain, without any variation, this is called a clear board. Sometimes it can refer to being clear of defects only, and other times it can mean clear of any surface differences including natural things like knots and discoloration.


A cleat is just a piece of wood used in such a way that it holds down or up another piece of wood. It can be large or small, and it can also be used on a vertical surface, like in the case of a French Cleat. Sometimes, on table tops, you’ll see small cleats underneath holding the top in place.

Clearance Hole

In the drilling process for piloting a wood screw, the larger hole made for the shank to pass through is called the clearance hole. This is typically just large enough for the screw to pass through the hole without any wobble, but without catching on the walls of the hole.

Climb Cut

On tools that have rotating bits with cutters, the typical direction of cut is against the rotation of the bit. On a climb cut, the motion of the piece as it advances through the bit is with the rotation, which has benefits but also has risks, and requires more force to hold the tool.

Closed Coat

This is a term that refers to how much sandpaper coverage there is on a sheet. Sheets with near 100% coverage with particles are said to be closed coat. This is a more aggressive and higher quality sandpaper, because you get more grit for the amount of paper backing.

Closed Grain

When looking at a piece of wood, if you cannot see the open pores on the surface with the naked eye, the wood is said to be closed grained. Examples of closed grain wood are Maple and Pine, both of which have pores that are not visible outside of magnification.


On a drill, the clutch is used to limit the amount of force that the drill will create before disengaging. This is typically a turned dial around the chuck that sets the clutch point, and it’s useful for preventing damage by screwing too deeply or too aggressively.

CNC Router Bits

Router bits that are specifically made and sold for use in computer controlled cutting machines are called CNC router bits. These are not that different from regular router bits, however they are designed to work specifically in the different CNC systems available to woodworkers.


This is the general term for when something is not smooth. It’s typically used when talking about sandpaper, and the more coarse something is, the more rough or scratchy it is. Coarse sandpaper is used for more aggressive wood removal than fine, which is the opposite term.

Coarse Abrasive

An abrasive that removes material quickly and aggressively is called a coarse abrasive. This can be a relative term too, because one paper will always be more coarse than another, even if they are both very fine. In general though, a coarse abrasive is a rough abrasive that does the job of smoothing a surface rapidly.

See Also: The Ultimate Guide to Sandpaper Grits

Coarse Grained

A piece of wood is said to be coarse grained when it has large grain lines and a rough looking grain system in general, when compared to finer grained pieces. Examples can be of any species that has wide grain lines, and a look that is a little wide and large for the normal look of the species.

Coated Abrasives

There are several coated abrasives, the most common being sandpaper. This is a piece of backing paper or cloth with a coating of adhesive and particles that are rough and gritty. The coating holds the particles in place while you sand, keeping them doing their job longer.

Cocobolo Wood

This is a South American and Mexican hardwood of the Rosewood family. The colors range from deep browns and purples to reds and oranges. The dust can cause allergies, but the wood works really well, polished nicely, and is a very exotic looking species to work with.


A collet does a similar job to a chuck, in that it holds the shank of a bit. The difference is that the range of adjustment is very low, and collets are designed to hold one size shank, and then be tightened typically with a ring that compresses the collet, securely holding the bit.

Collet Runout

On tools with collets, like routers and Dremel tools, there can be variation in the collets that causes the bit to run slightly out of true. The measurement of this variance is called runout, and it can be very small or quite noticeable.

Combination Blade

The combination blade is a way of referring to an all around blade, or an all purpose blade that is used for general woodworking in your shop. A table saw blade that is good for ripping and cross cutting is a good example of a combination blade, and it’s what you’ll use most of the time.

Combination Machine

When you combine the features of at least two different woodworking machines into one, you end up with whats called a combination machine. These are good for saving space, and also for saving money. They work off the same motor in most cases, which makes manufacturing them less expensive.

Combination Square

This is a useful measuring tool for woodworking, and it consists of a ruler and a stock. The ruler can be short or long, but most are about 12″ to 16″ in length. The stock has a 90 degree and 45 degree stop, and typically a level and a scribe too. They are good for making lines that are square to the edge of a board.

Common Lumber

The lumber that you find in most hardware stores, and the kind that is the most used in woodworking around the house is called common lumber. This is not the worst of the bunch, but it’s not the best either. It’s a good, all around, middle of the road quality piece of wood.

Common Nail

This is the classic nail, with a flat head and a straight shaft. They are the basic nail for attaching one piece of wood to another piece of wood, and they have no additional features. These nails are designed for one thing, and that’s to hold pieces of wood together.


This is a helpful device for marking circles. A compass will have a point on one end, and on the other end a fixture for holding a marking device. The legs open to allow you to draw different sizes of circles on your plans and projects.

Compass Plane

The compass plane is a small, handheld hand plane used for making rounded profiles on wood projects. The sole of the plane is heavily curved, and this allows the tool to be used in more of a digging manner than a smoothing manner as in traditionally shaped planes.

Compound Miter

A miter that has two angles is called a compound miter. This is essentially the combination of a miter and a bevel in the same cut. These are used for making complex angles in projects, and they require some calculation to get right.

Compound Miter Saw

There are some miter saws that have more features than others. While most miter saws allow different cutting angles, the compound miter saw also tilts the head, allowing you to make different beveled cuts as well. They can be made in conjunction too.

Computer Controlled

A system that is controlled, operated, or monitored by a computer is a computer controlled system, and in woodworking the most common form is the CNC. This is a computer controlled spinning cutter that is programmed to make certain cuts and patterns in wood.

Conditioning Wood

This is another term for seasoning, which is the process of allowing a piece of wood to dry out enough that it can be used to make things without fear of them falling apart or deforming. It can also refer to applying a wood conditioning product, which evens out the absorption of stain in pieces of wood.


Trees that produce cones as their seed pods are called conifer trees, and are typically less dense than deciduous trees. These trees also do not drop leaves, and they produce softwoods like Pine and Douglas Fir.

Contact Adhesive

This is a specialty adhesive that is applied thinly, and allowed to get a little tacky. Then, when you apply pieces of material to the adhesive, they adhere on contact quickly. This is commonly used when adding a laminate skin to a particle board substrate, like on kitchen counter tops.

Contractors Saw

This is the name for a style of saw rather than an actual specific tool. A table saw that can be mobile, and has features that make it easy to port around the job site and then set up for use can be called a contractors saw.


This is the process where a log is converted into lumber in a mill. There are different ways to mill a log, but they all end up making pieces of wood that are suitable for making things in woodworking. They can be different sizes and thickness as well, depending on what the mill is producing, and who is buying.


When you undercut the profile of a piece of molding in an effort to make a joint that looks flush to the joining piece of molding, this is called a cope, and the action is called coping. This is common in molding joints on baseboards and crown.

Coping Jig

There is a jig that you can use to make the coping process easier, and you use it to help you get better copes and therefore better joints. A couple companies make them, and you can find one that meets your needs easily.

Coping Saw

This saw has a very fine blade, and a bent, “D” shaped frame with a handle. The frame allows clearance into larger pieces of wood, and the smaller blade is really good at making very intricate and complex cuts.


The center of a piece of plywood is called the core, and depending on the manufacturer, the cores can vary wildly in quality and makeup. This is the area inside the skins that are on the outside, which is the part of the plywood that you can see. In contrast, you can only see the core on edged and ends.

Corner Clamp

This specialty clamp is made for holding two pieces of wood together in a 90 degree orientation while glue dries. They are made by several different manufacturers, and work by holding both legs of the joint firmly, and with good clamping pressure.


A type of cavity made with a special drill bit, the counterbore is characterized by having flat sides, and a flat bottom. Depending on the drill, it can also have a very smooth set of vertical walls, and a very smooth bottom.


This is an intentionally made hole in a piece of wood with tapered sides, and is typically used to sink the head of a wood screw with the same tapered head profile into the surface. You can do this by hand with a countersink tool, or with a drill and a countersink bit.


A curved shape or cut into a piece of material. Think of the bottom side of a curved bridge, that shape is a cove shape. This can be done in a number of ways in woodworking, one of which being the cove cut on a table saw.

Cove Cut

A cove cut is a method of using the table saw to create a coved or curved cut in a piece of wood by using guides to send the wood through the saw blade at an angle. The saw blade makes contact over a wider field, and removes wood leaving a coved shape behind.


Sometimes, wood will split apart as it dries, and what was once a solid piece of wood can sometimes develop a large opening. This can get even worse over time, and the cracks typically follow the path of lease resistance. This is mainly from drying improperly, but it can just happen sometimes too with a natural product like wood.


This is the British term for a clamp. The term can be used to describe any type of clamp, and sometimes clamps of English origin will have this name on the packaging and in the product description.


A defect in wood, mainly from the way wood is dried and stored, a crook is when wood bends through the edges of the board. This leaves one edge concave, and one convex. The drying of wood properly prevents most bending defects, including crooks.


When cutting a piece of wood, any time you make a cut across the grain, or perpendicular to the grain, you are making a crosscut. This is common on a table saw with a slide, and it’s the type of cut you make to cut material to length.

Crosscut Blade

This is a blade that is specifically made and featured to address the difference in workability when cross cutting a piece of material instead of ripping. Going across the grain, the experience is different for the blade, and there are specific blades to make it easier and better.


The term crossgrain typically refers to a defect or a blemish, and it is common to hear about a crossgrain scratch or a crossgrain defect on a piece of wood. This is a mark that goes perpendicular to the grain, and is much harder to remove or repair.


The area on a tree where two branches create a “Y” shape is called the crotch, and this sometimes creates a really interesting and rare grain pattern. Wood from the crotch can be more expensive due to the rarity and beauty as well.

Crow Bar

A curved metal bar about a foot long, with a 90 degree bend on one end, and a smaller bend on the other is called a crow bar. This is used for removing nails, breaking apart materials that are glued or nailed together, and generally light demolition work.


A defect in wood where it bends across the faces, from edge to edge, with the middle of the face moving upwards, and the edges moving downwards. This can happen when wood dries poorly, or when it is glued down and then changes in moisture level.

Cubic Feet

A cubic foot is a measurement of volume, and is derived by multiplying the length, width, and height of an object in feet. For example, a cubic yard is 27 cubic feet in volume, because it is three feet on a side, or 3 x 3 x 3 = 27

Cubic Feet Per Minute

In dealing with air movement, the amount of air that is blown out or sucked in per minute is measured in cubic feet, and expressed as CFM or cubic feet per minute. This is most often associated with vacuum systems, and in general a higher CFM is better.


When a piece of wood is said to have a cup shape, it’s a bend along the length that is across the face, and from edge to edge. This results in the middle of the board moving downwards and the edges moving upwards. This can happen as wood dries too quickly. Think of the shape of a house gutter. 


The phenomena of cupping is also called a cup bend, and is when a piece of wood bends along the length, like a hot dog bun, resulting in the middle of the board being lower than the two edges of the board, which press upwards, creating a trough or cup like appearance.


The name for the most common figure seen in Maple wood is called Curl. This is a waving and undulating of the grain, which is from stresses that the tree was under during its life. This is a really beautiful type of figure when present in wood, and can be seen on many species.


Wood that has curl is said to be curly. There can be Curly Maple, Curly Cherry, and any number of other wood types with curl. Even though the species is the same, the fact that the figure is present in the piece makes it worth naming it differently in conversation.

Curly Figure

Curly figure is also the name for Curly wood, and you can find this type of wavy grain pattern on a lot of different species. The most common is Maple, and if you look at the back of a violin, you can see fine examples of curly figure.

Curly Maple

On occasion, Maple will have a layered, and flowing figure to the grain, which is called curl, and changes the name of the piece from regular Maple to Curly Maple. The wood is technically the same species, but it’s a difference in the look that makes the naming important.

Curve Tool

This is a general term describing a number of tools that are made for assisting in the drawing and the transferring of curves from one surface to another. These can be used in making woodworking plans, figuring out complex molding patterns, or anything else where you are drawing or working with curves.

Curved Knife

This is a short, flat blade about half an inch wide and about three inched long, sunk into a handle that is about three inches long. It is used for melting hot filler material in furniture repair, but also has a lot of other uses in repair and finishing.

Cut List

A list of pieces for a project, with the measurements, and the amount of pieces needed in each particular size is a cut list. This is an efficient way of ensuring that you are cutting all of your pieces, and it lets you plan your wood purchases better.


Any small piece that is removed from a larger piece of wood without the intention of using the piece is called a cutoff. It’s common to see a cutoff bin in a hard wood store where smaller pieces are sold for a discount rather than being thrown away.

Cutoff Blade

A cutoff blade is a term for mainly metal cutting blades. These are the type used on a chop saw or a miter saw, and they are used for cutting pieces of metal to length. You could also call a miter saw blade for wood a cutoff blade, since it does the same thing for a different material.

Cutoff Saw

This is a saw that is meant for cutting pieces of metal to length. It looks like a miter saw for wood, but it has a special blade that is meant for cutting through metal. It also has specific features on the bed of the saw where you can lock a piece of metal in place while cutting.


Any bit or cutting implement can be called a cutter. Carbide tips can also be called carbide cutters, and the sharp part on a router bit can be called a cutter as well. This is a common term for a lot of different cutting parts on tools.

Cutter Head

A rotating piece of metal with knives or cutting inserts is called a cutter head. These are present on molders, planers, and jointers. It’s the part that turns, making the cuts and shaping the wood as it passes through the machine.

Cutting Diagram

This is a drawing that shows how to cut all of the pieces for a particular project. It also shows how to arrange them so that they are making the best use of the wood, and minimizing the amount of waste from each board.

Cyanoacrylate Glue

This is the long name for super glue, or CA glue. It’s a fast drying, high tack glue that is great for non wood materials. It creates a quick and strong bond, but the bond can also be brittle and subject to impact failure.


The cyclone is a tornado effect, and in woodworking you will see it in cyclone dust collectors that use a system where the larger pieces and heavier pieces are removed from the debris stream into a secondary vessel, and only the finest dust makes it through to the collector bag.

| D |

D Handle

This is a type of hardware of attachment that has a handle that is roughly “D” shaped, and can come in many different sizes. This is common for making projects with handles, and you can also see it on shovels and when buying braided cable attachments and fittings. 


A dado is a flat bottomed and flat walled cut made across the grain in most cases, running through a board. It is shaped like a “U” and the dado can be made in a number of ways. One way is with a dado blade set on the table saw, and another is with a router and a straight bit.

Dado Bit

For the router, there are bits specifically sold for making dadoes. These can vary in diameter, but they are typically sized for the different thicknesses of plywood, making them a one pass solution to what used to require at least a couple passes to accomplish. These are still straight flute bits.

Dado Blade

A dado blade is a stack of table saw blades and chippers that are adjusted to a certain width, and turned on the table saw to make dado cuts. You set the width of the cut by adjusting the dado stack, and then you set the depth on the table saw height adjustment. This makes cutting dadoes very fast and easy.

Danish Oil

This is an easy to use, wipe on finish that you can find in most hardware stores. It’s a mixture of oils that soak into the surface of the wood, providing a nicer look, and popping the grain. The product goes on with a cloth, and all you have to do is wipe it on thinly, and allow it to dry.

See Also: Danish Oil For Adding Age to Wood

Dead Blow Mallet

The dead blow mallet is a special mallet with a hollow head, filled with heavy material like lead shot. When you swing, the shot falls slightly after the mallet head makes contact, absorbing the recoil, and stopping the head from bouncing back afterwards.


When wood rots, falls apart due to age or conditions, or otherwise deteriorates, it can be called decay. When wood is not cared for, it can decay. This is something you should control for in your wood storage methods, and you can actually keep wood for a very long time if you do it well.


Trees that bare large leaves that fall each season and grow back are called deciduous trees. These are typically your hardwoods, and though they are denser in general than the softwoods, there are some notable exceptions like Balsa wood, which is very light, but is still technically a hardwood.

Deck Screw

This is a specific type of wood screw that has a strong head, and aggressive threads for use on outdoor projects that see weather and are exposed to the elements. They have a coating that helps protect them more than regular screws of the same design but that are not meant for exposure to rain and climate.


Any spot on a board that is not desirable, or that comes from poor storage, or damage can be seen and referred to as a defect. This can include knots, warps, cracks, checks, and even physical damage like dents, dings, scratches, and accidental spills. Anything that you don’t like about a board can be seen as a defect.


This is the allowable movement under pressure for a piece of wood of a given length and thickness. It varies by purpose and code, but in general a piece of wood is pressed in the middle as it is held up on both ends, and the amount it moves with a certain amount of pressure is the deflection.


A mechanical device that is meant to be used for pulling moisture out of the air is called a dehumidifier. These come in many different shapes and sizes, but they plug into the electric, and they have a system for drawing in air and removing the moisture, which is collected in a small bucket.


When two pieces of wood that have been glued together come apart, this is called delamination. The causes can be many, but as long as you make good joints, and use fresh glue, you can be assured that the chances of an indoor project that has been cared for delaminating are pretty low.

Denatured Alcohol

This is ethanol alcohol that has been poisoned in order to allow it to be sold without paying for alcohol taxes, and is used in different woodworking and wood finishing processes. It cannot be consumed, and it is a fairly inexpensive solvent which can be used in cleanup or in making shellac from flakes.


Density is a measure of the amount of matter inside a given size of material. For example, more dense woods are heavier, and this is because they have more mass and more density. Balsa is not dense, Iron Wood is very dense, and that explains the weight difference though the pieces may have the same volume.


This is the term used for anything that prevents a machine wheel from spinning. It can be as simple as a pin that locks the wheel in place and prevents movement, or it can be as elaborate as a mechanical means of stopping the motion with electronics and levers.

De-Waxed Shellac

Shellac that has undergone a process for removing and filtering out the wax content is called de-waxed shellac, and is commonly seen in the form of shellac flakes or chips. This is sold by the pound in different color variations, and you mix it with a solvent like alcohol to create a liquid finish.

Dial Indicator

On some precision tools, there is a round dial with measurements listed around the rim. These are meant to help make it easier to read the measurements on the device, and can be calibrated to take extremely fine readings with a high degree of accuracy.


When measuring a circle, the distance from one edge of a circle straight through the center point of that circle, and to the opposite end is called the diameter. This is equal to two times the radius, and can be multiplied by Pi to determine the circumference. 

Diamond Dresser

This is a “T” shaped tool with a post on one end and a flat head on the other. The head is covered with diamond particles, and it it used to true up a grinding wheel. Over time, grinding wheels lose their square, and need to be flattened. A diamond dresser is perfect for that purpose.

Dimensional Lumber

Wood that is sold with dimensions that are smaller than advertised on the price tag is the most common time that you will run into dimensional lumber. It’s the most noticeable on a 2×4, which actually measures 3-1/2″ by 1-1/2″ instead of a full two inches by four inches.

Direct Drive

A motor where the shaft turns the main part of the machine being animated is a direct drive motor, and it uses no other methods of changing the direction or force of the motion. An example would be a grinder, where the motor axle turns the grinding discs without belts, pulleys, or any other middle part between them.

Disc Sander

The disc sander is a motorized tool with a flat sanding disc and a table top that covers the bottom half of the disc in a housing. The tool is used for sanding wood, and in particular sanding wood square. You hold your pieces against the table top, and advance them into the disc as it turns downwards.


Any difference in color on a piece of wood that is outside of the normal range for the species can be called discoloration. It’s a term that describes a defect in the piece of wood, and it can be from the place the wood was grown, insects, damage, or improper storing.


On a woodworking bench, or a carpenters bench, there are little round or square pieces that stick out of the surface and assist in clamping longer boards with the vises that are on the bench. These are called dogs, or bench dogs, and they allow the vise to clamp pieces nearly as long as the bench itself.

Double Stick Tape

Used mainly in wood turning, this is a special kind of tape that has adhesive on both faces, which allows it to be used in between pieces of wood. The usual way this is done is to attach something to a piece of wood on a face plate, where you drill into the sacrificial piece, and not into your actual project. The tape holds the project piece instead.


A common joint in woodworking, this is where pins and tails are created with a saw, and you can think of them as interlocking fingers with angles on their faces. These are brought together with glue, and they create a beautiful as well as strong joint for corners of boxes and drawers.

Dovetail Saw

There are special saws made for cutting dovetails, and these are called dovetail saws. They are essentially back saws, though some of them have different tooth sets and sizes in order to make the process of hand cutting dovetails as easy as possible for the new and experienced woodworker.

Dovetail Jig

A special jig that you use with a router, the dovetail jig takes the manual work out of creating your pins and tails, and you get to use a router instead. There are several different machines on the market, and you can find them even at the lower price points.

Dovetail Key

The dovetail key is a bow tie shaped piece of wood about a quarter inch thick that is used for preventing larger pieces of wood from cracking and splitting over time. They are cut with the grain running left to right through the bow tie shape, and are inlaid perpendicular to where the future crack or split may reside. 


This is a wooden cylinder, typically slightly longer in length than in diameter, and made from several different types of wood. They are used for a number of things like filling holes, reinforcing joints, and making hinge pins for wooden hinges. You can find them in many diameters, and they are useful to have in the shop.

Dowel Center

This is a little metal cover that goes over the end of a dowel used in joinery, and then the adjoining piece is brought next to the point. The pieces are bumped together, and the point creates an indent where the hole for the dowel in the adjoining piece needs to be drilled.

Dowel Joint

Any woodworking joint that is strengthened and reinforced with the use of dowels and glue is called a dowel joint. This is one of the best joints that a new woodworker looking to stop using metal fasteners and hardware should try, and it’s very easy to learn. You just drill holes and insert dowels with glue.

Dowel Points

Another name for the Dowel Center, and probably the more common name, Dowel Points are used to mark the adjoining piece of wood with a couple dents that indicate where to drill. These dents are perfectly centered on the dowel locations, so they make the pieces fit together really well with dowels in between them.

Dowel Rod

Another name for a Dowel but longer, the dowel rod is a long rod of wood that had a consistent diameter, and is used for several operations in woodworking. These range from filling holes, to making hinge pins, and reinforcing joints with dowels in between them.

Doweling Jig

Since dowel joints are popular, there are jigs made and sold to be used in making the process easier, and a doweling jig is simply a jig that you buy which helps you align your boards for drilling to make the joints look great after you drill and install the dowels.

Downdraft Table

This is a table with lots of holes on the surface. The holes are small, so you can work without losing your piece, and there is a vacuum connected to the bottom of the table. This pulls air through the holes, and your sanding dust is carried away about as fast as you can make it.


This is a name for a Japanese style pull saw where the teeth are set so that the cutting action happens on the pull stroke, rather than the push stroke. Since the blade is being pulled instead of pushed, it does not have to be as thick to resist bending. These saws are capable of making very thin kerf cuts in wood.

Drawer Glide

A drawer glide is a metal channel with another metal channel inside, and they slide in and out of each other with bearings. One end is mounted to a drawer, and the other to the carcass, and the unit allows you to open and close the drawer easily. These are located on the sides of the drawers, and you need two glides per drawer.

Drawer Slide

Another term for drawer glide, the drawer slide is a metal item with a track inside of another track, lubricated, and smooth running with bearings in most cases. One of the tracks is screwed to the carcass of the piece, and the other to the drawer sides. Together they allow the drawer to open and close easily.

Drawer Stop

These can come in a few different variations but it’s essentially a small piece of wood or other material that is used to stop a drawer from coming all the way out of its opening. This prevents the drawer from falling out, and stops it at a certain point where it is still balanced in the carcass and not in danger of falling and being broken.


This is a hand tool used for carving. It has a flat metal blade in the middle with two wooden handles on each side. The tool is pulled by the handles as the blade goes into the wood. it’s useful for rounding edges, and tapering pieces of wood. I t can also be used to create round tenons on the end of pieces of wood.

Dremel Tool

The brand name for a rotary tool, this is the most common brand and in many cases the rotary tool is simply called a Dremel tool no matter what manufacturer actually made the tool. It’s a hand held tool with a spinning tip that takes different bits, and it’s used to cut and shape wood, metal, plastic, and other materials.


When something in woodworking is attended to, or finished, it is said to be dressed. You can dress the ends of decorative dowels on a piece of furniture by chiseling them to a pyramid shape. You can also dress the ends of frets on a musical instrument by sanding them flush and tapering their ends. Dressing can also be seen as trimming, or finishing several of something.


The act of finishing or attending to/final carving of some part of woodworking is called dressing. Its a way of completing a portion of the project what was initially left incomplete until a later stage where those parts are attended to, and completed. The act of doing such is called dressing.

Dressing a Grinding Wheel

Flattening a grinding wheel with a special tool that is made for the purpose is called dressing, and it’s a method of squaring the wheels. You can also thing of dressing in the context of preparing or truing some tool prior to use, in order to get the best from it.


A common tool in woodworking, the drill is a means of turning a cylindrical metal bit, also called a drill, that is fluted in a way that it removes wood, creating a round opening. Both the tool that turns the bit and the bit itself are called drills, and the term can be understood for both.

Drill Extension

Sometimes, a drill bit is not long enough, and an extension is used to increase the ability of the drill to reach a certain depth. These only work when the hole being drilled is larger in diameter than the drill extension, otherwise it will not go through the hole.

Drill Press

The bench top or floor standing alternative to the hand drill, the drill press is a larger version that helps you drill holes that are perpendicular to the surface very easily. It comes in many different sizes, but is equipped with a head that turns the bit, and a table top where the wood is placed in preparation for drilling.

Driver Bit

On a powered drill or screw gun, the metal shaft with a matching tip for the type of screws being used is called the driver bit. These can be flat, Phillips, square drive, etc, and are used in the drill to become a powered screwdriver. 

Drop Cut

This is a very specific cut on a table saw where the piece is lowered over the turning blade, making a cut inside the borders of the wood piece, without cutting through the borders. This is a very technical, and very difficult operation in woodworking, and should only be undertook by someone with experience and understanding of their tools. 

Drum Sander

Used for smoothing out larger surfaces, the drum sander has a rotating drum in a housing that is covered with sandpaper. As pieces of wood pass through the housing, they make contact with the drum and they are sanded smooth. These can be many different sizes, and some are even open ended, so a 12 inch drum sander can effectively sand a 24 inch wide piece if it’s open ended.

Dry Fit

When fitting parts together, a dry fit is the way that the pieces come together before glue has been applied. This is a method of testing the fit, and solving problems before they end up begin glue covered problems. It’s also a way of seeing how the pieces will fit taking into consideration some expansion after the glue is applied and the wood swells from the moisture.

See Also: Glue Covered Problems Are Harder to Fix

Dry Rot

Wood that has been left alone in poor conditions for a long time can begin to deteriorate, even without the presence of water and moisture. This is called dry rotting, and it can make a piece of wood completely useless.

Dry Run

A dry run is a test run or a process or technique with the live elements removed. For example, you may test a cut on your table saw with the blade off and retracted fully into the housing of the saw. This could be to test a new jig, or see how the piece slides along the fence before having to do it for real with the blade spinning. Any time you test something with the live elements removed, turned off, or disabled, you can call it a dry run.

Drying Oil

This is an oil that will dry to a hard film in the presence of air. Some oils never dry, and are not drying oils. However, drying oils are used in mixtures to encourage them to dry completely when they might not otherwise. 


Thin panels made of gypsum in most cases, these boards are also called wall board, or sheet rock, and are made to quickly and easily cover the framing of walls to create a surface that can be sanded and painted. This is the common material that makes up walls in the majority of homes in industrialized countries.

Drywall Screw

Screws that are made particularly to be used in the installation process of drywall are called drywall screws. These are similar to wood screws, and they have an aggressive thread set, and sink easily into the surface of the drywall, making it easier to mud over them and conceal the screws later.

Dual Bevel

Also called double bevel, this is a miter saw that can tilt in both directions rather than just one. On most saws, in order to save money the bevel tilt only goes in one direction. On better appointed saws, the tilt can go in both directions, increasing the ability of the saw.


Any system of tubes or hollow pathways that are used to remove something like air, vapor, or debris from an area is called ducting. Your dust collection system hoses and pipes are called ducting, and this is a key component in systems that use air as a means of removing debris or chemicals from an area.

Dust Collection System

The dust collection system is a method of removing sawdust from tools while they are in use, and collecting the dust and debris in a canister for disposal. It includes the collector itself, ducting, pipes, and fittings. The entire apparatus used to make the collection of dust possible is called the dust collection system.

Dust Collector

This is a machine with an impeller, motor, filter, and a collection bag. It brings air and dust into the collector through piping, and then filters out the debris into a collection bag or canister. The air is forced through a filter, returning it to the room. Once full the collector can be emptied, and more dust collection can resume.

Dust Mask

When working around airborne dust, the dust mask is a paper or cloth mask that covers the nose and mouth, reducing the amount of dust that can be breathed into the lungs. These are not perfect, and they can still allow some dust to make it though the mask. It’s recommended to be careful around airborne dust, even while using a mask.

Dust Nibs

When finishing, sometimes dust particles fall onto the surface of the project and then the finish traps them under the layer. These are felt as little bumps, and they are considered defects in the finish. Dust nibs come from finishing in a place with too much airborne dust.

Dust Port

The opening or the connection point for the ducting that connects the dust collector to the individual machine is called the dust port. These come in different diameters and they allow the tubing to be connected and removed easily.

Dutchman Joint

Another name for the butterfly joint or the dovetail key. This is a way of using a bowtie shaped piece of wood to hold two sections of a larger piece of wood together and prevent them from splitting or cracking. The pieces are inlaid with a chisel, and the grain runs perpendicular to the crack.

| E |

Early Wood

This is the part of the annual growth of a tree that happens in the first part of the growing season. The cells are typically larger than those produced later in the season, and it’s the first portion of growth in the warmer months of the year.


This term means to reduce the sharpness of the edges of a piece of woodworking. Also called breaking the corners or rounding the corners, easing the sharp edges makes the project easier to hold, and less likely to be off-putting as it’s handled and inspected.

Edge Band

When you edge band a piece of wood, you apply a thin strip of wood veneer that is glued or heat pressed into place. This is most commonly used for covering up the ends of plywood, and making them look like solid wood.

Edge Banding Tape

Edge banding tape is another name for edge banding, which is a roll of thin wood or other material that’s meant to cover the ends in edges of plywood. These hide plywood layers, and make this look more attractive.

Edge Belt Sander

And edge belt sander is a large sanding tool with a rotating belt that is held horizontally. You lay pieces of wood on the table top, and advance them into the moving belt, which helps you sand their edges smooth.

Edge Glue

When you glue one piece of wood to another piece of wood along the edges, this is called an edge glue. It’s common to orient boards like this when making a tabletop, or a larger piece of wood from several smaller planks.

Edge Grain

When you look at a board along the edge, which is the longer length between the faces, the way the grain looks is the edge grain. It also can be considered the edge grain orientation when you’re discussing how that edge grain actually looks on the piece.

Edge Joining

Gluing several pieces of wood together along their edges is called edge joining, and results in an edge joint. It’s commonly seen when making larger pieces for projects that are constructed of smaller strips of wood.

Edge Molding

This is a type of molding that is used to disguise and cover up the edges of plywood and other manufactured sheet goods. It makes the board look like real wood, and helps you use sheet goods in your woodworking without revealing the look of stacked plys and particle board on the edges of your projects.

Edge Molding Router Bits

Router bits that are designed to cut smaller and more intricate designs into pieces of molding are called edge molding router bits. These are smaller than others, and used to create beautiful designs on molding that can be used to disguise the use of sheet goods.

Edge Trimmer

This is a catch all name for any method of removing the excess from edge banding. The tool can be a hand held non-powered tool, or a power tool with a spinning bit. Either one can be called an edge trimmer, and they are useful for dressing the edge banding and making it look nice on the edges of the boards.


When working with dust collection systems, there is a lot of different terminology covering the ducting to each one of the tools in the system. An elbow is typically 90 degrees but can sometimes be a catchall term for any short section of bent tubing used to change direction of the run.

Engineered Wood

There are some types of wood that are partially made by humans. They incorporate different materials as well as real wood in order to create something that has unique properties and still has somewhat of a wood look. This can be called engineered wood.

See Also: 10 Incredible Ways Teekri Wood is Better Than Natural Wood

Engineers Square

And engineers square is a small square with a fixed stock and blade, that holds a perfect 90 degree angle. These are not adjustable, and instead are permanently held in that position, and are very useful for layout and marketing.


Epoxy is a resin based adhesive that has a lot of different applications in woodworking. It can be used to glue one piece of wood to another, or it can also be used to glue a most any type of material to almost any other type of material.

Epoxy Glue

The term epoxy glue is sometimes used in place of the term epoxy, and also the term two part epoxy can be used to describe the same thing. This is a very strong resin-based adhesive, and a very useful item to have in the shop.

Equilibrium Moisture Content

When a piece of wood reaches a balance point between the amount of moisture that it contains in the amount of moisture in the surrounding air, this is said to be the equilibrium moisture content for that piece of wood.

European Hinge

European hinges are also called face frame hinges. These are drilled into the backs of the doors, and they allow them to sit flush on the surface of the face frames. They are adjustable, and very common in kitchen and bathroom cabinet design.

Expansion Bit

This is a drill that looks kind of like a paddle or spade bit, and it’s used for drilling holes in wood. The difference is that it has a perpendicular metal plate that can be moved and it changes the diameter of the drill. This is not as common anymore, but it does allow you to drill holes of different diameters with one tool.

Extension Cord

When running temporary power solutions from place to place around the shop, it’s useful to have an extension cord, which is a long length of copper wiring in a protective jacket with a male power plug on one end and a female power plug on the other.

Extension Table

On a table saw, adding an addition to your table top that gives you more capacity to rip pieces to width is called an expansion table. It will have a means for moving your fence farther as well, and it basically lets you cut larger pieces with your existing saw. 

| F |


The face of a piece of wood is most often the largest surface that you’ll see, and it shows the grain of the board that you are working with. In most cases, when wood is commonly shaped, the faces are the largest surfaces. There are two, one on the top and one on the bottom.

Face Frame

On cabinet work, a face frame is placed over the front of the carcass to cover all of the ends of the plywood and create the openings for the different doors and drawers. These are typically edge jointed or pocket screwed together.

Face Frame Hinge

The term face frame hinge is another way to say European hinge, and these are hinges that allow the cabinet doors to sit on top of the face frames and still open and close without making contact or rubbing.

Face Plate

On the lathe there is an accessory that screws onto the headstock, providing a flat round plate to which you can screw and mount different pieces of wood. You then turn them on the machine and remove the screws and face plate when finished.

False Front

When making drawer boxes, sometimes the drawer is constructed out of four pieces of wood for the sides and then one for the bottom. Then, a better looking drawer front is added on one of the ends. This makes the piece below the false front.


This is the acronym for Firsts and Seconds, which is the highest grade given to lumber that will be used in manufacturing and woodworking. This is the best stuff and is used for fine woodworking projects, cabinet making, and similar projects.

Fascia Board

On a home, the part of the eaves that you can see, that faces outwards where the roof tiles or shingles end is called the fascia board. This is the most visible part of the area, and it faces away from the house.

Feather Board

Most often used on the table saw, a feather board is a piece of wood with several cuts made very close to one another that leave thin fingers of wood behind. Wood can pass through it in one direction, but not in the other, and it helps guide pieces into the table saw safely.

Feed Rate

The feed rate on a tool is a measure of how fast a piece of material is drawn into the tool and processed out the other side. This is common to read about on machines that automatically feed themselves when you just add the wood.

Feeler Gauge

This is a measuring tool that is made of thin strips of metal, and it used by slipping one or more of them into a tight crack or area. When you get a good fit, you remove the tool, and add up the thicknesses on the individual metal strips to get a measurement of the crack or gap.


Most often found on the table saw and the band saw, the fence is a movable metal or plastic bar that sits parallel to the cutting direction of the blade. It’s used to set the width of cut, and can make lots of different size cuts depending on the capacity of the tool.


On many tools, there is a metal band somewhere in the center where the shaft and the handle meet. This is called a ferrule, and its use to hold the wood together at the joint and prevent any splitting due to stress or use of the tool.


The individual strands or splinters of wood are called the wood fibers or just fiber. Plants are made from stringy, rough, long strips of tissue. These are called fibers, and they collectively form the tree. 


Another name for curly figure or curl in maple, fiddleback figure is named after the backs of violins that have a very intense and beautiful look to them. This is some of the most beautiful wood that you can find, and it’s a piece to create projects with.


When an example piece of wood has a phenomena in it where the grain pattern is far more interesting than normal pieces, it is said to have a figure. The most common types of figure are quilt and curl, and they can significantly raise the price on a piece of wood.


A file is a metal tool with sharp grooves or small spikes on it that is used to aggressively change the shape of a piece of wood through a process of rubbing. Files can be fine or coarse, big or small, and there are good at removing wood quickly.


Defects and accidents in woodworking projects need to be corrected before the project can be finished, and that’s where wood filler comes in. A filler is any type of material meant to be packed into a defect and then sanded flush prior to finishing.

Film Finish

Wood finishes that set up on the surface and create a film are called film finishes. Examples would be varnish, lacquer, and polyurethane. This is in contrast to finishes like natural oils that penetrate the surface and do not form a film.

Finger Joint

Another name for a box joint, the finger joint is a system of evenly placed pins and notches on the ends of a piece of wood that interlock together to form a joint. This is most often accomplished on the tablesaw with a finger joint jig.

Finger Joint Jig

This is a very common jig for new woodworkers to make on a table saw, and it uses an indexing pin and the miter gauge in order to make regular cuts on the ends of pieces of wood that can later be interlocked together to form boxes.


On the end of a vertical spindle or post, sometimes there is a decorative, lathe turned piece that trims out the top and adds a finished look. This is called a finial, and some of these are very elaborate, dainty, and delicate. They are an easy way to add a touch of flair to a handmade project.


After a project is complete, a protective layer is applied in order to keep the wood from absorbing and releasing too much moisture too quickly, and to make the wood look nicer. There are many different chemicals that do this process, but they can all be called a finish.

Finish Repair

When scratches, dents, and or other damage occurs on a finish, the process of restoring that finish back to day one quality is called finish repair. This typically consists of filling the damage, sanding it level, replacing color, and then finally replacing the clear finish.


The act of applying a finish is called finishing. This is the most common final step with any woodworking project, and it involves applying a series of layers that protect the project from seasonal changes in humidity, handling, and other sources of damage.

Firsts and Seconds

Abbreviated FAS, this is the best quality lumber that is taken from the tree after it is milled. This is the grade that is made into cabinets, and sold to fine woodworking stores that in turn sell the wood to woodworkers. If you are looking for the best wood with the least defects, then firsts and seconds are what you need.

Fishtail Chisel

This is a chisel with a very narrow blade and a tip that flairs out widely, and has a sharp edge. It’s useful for getting into tight places, and is considered one of the specialized carving and chiseling tools available to woodworkers.


Another term for hardware, fittings are any metal parts that need to be attached to the project after the woodworking phase has been completed. These can include hinges, handles, locks, and corner protectors.

Fixed Base Router

A router where the base does not allow you to plunge in and out of the project is called a fixed base router. This is the most common type of router, and in fact it’s more often to call a plunge router by a specific name and every other fixed base router simply a router.


This is another name for a jig, and the fixture is simply a method of assisting you through some process in woodworking to make the task easier, repeatable, and more uniform. You can use the terms interchangeably, and you will make plenty of these as a woodworker.

Flat Gouge

This is a carving tool with the shape and size of a gouge, but the bade itself is flat. This is a contrast to the standard gouge shape that has a bow or sweep. 

Flat Head Screw

A screw that has a head with a single slot through the middle and no other method of turning it into or out of a hole is called a flat head screw. These were more common in the past, and have since been made the minority by Phillips head screws.

Flat Head Screwdriver

In order to install and remove flat head screws, you need a flat head screwdriver. This is a handled tool with a long blade that comes to a flat tip. The tip sits inside of the slot on the top of the flat head screw.

Flat Sawn

When the grain of a board runs parallel to the faces of the board, it is said to be flat sign. This is a term that has to do with the way the lumberyard mills the trees, it’s due to them simply sawing flat pieces right off the top until the log is gone.

Flat Screwdriver

The flat screwdriver is a handled tool with a skinny metal rod sticking out of the center that comes flat at the end into a shape that fits a flat head screw. This it can also be called a bladed screwdriver, and you use them to turn in an out flat head screws.

Flattening Agent

Most wood finishes when they are manufactured or actually a gloss, this is the natural sheen that comes just from using the product as it is. In order to achieve duller sheens like satin, matte, and flat, a flattening agent is added to the mixture.

Flat Top Grind

This is a type of saw blade carbide shaping that has a flat top without an angle like in the alternating top bevel style of saw blade. These are less expensive to make, and they cut and clear their own material. Rather than having specialized teeth, every tooth does the same job.


A large piece of wood taken from the outside of a tree that you need to re-saw in order to make into usable lumber and boards is called a flitch. This is a big piece of wood, and you would have to saw it further to make pieces that are useful.

Floating Tenon

This type of woodworking joint involves two pieces of wood that when brought together have an opening in between them where a smaller piece of wood resides. The two holes have glue applied to them, and then a wood tenon is inserted, and the pieces are clamped together.


Went two surfaces are the exact same height, they are said to be flush. You can also say that the surfaces are true, and if you were to close your eyes, you shouldn’t be able to feel any difference between the two of them with your fingers.

Flush Out

To flush out a surface is to make the surface flush. This can mean one solid surface, or a surface that’s made of several different parts that all need to be brought down to the same level. This is a very common process in woodworking.

Flush Trim Bit

There are special types of router bits that have flat edges and a bearing on the bottom, and are used to trim any overhanging pieces flush to the piece below. These are called flush trim bits, and they are a very useful bit to have for your router.

Flute Bit

Another name for a straight bit, a flute bit is a cylindrical shape router bit with at least two long cutting blades, and is used to make opening is in wood. These come in a number of different lengths and diameters, and are a staple among router bits.


On tools, anything that touches the floor or the table top and is used to hold up the tool can be called a foot. These are typically made from some material that holds well and has good characteristics for using the tool like vibration dampening or high friction.

Forstner Bit

This is a special type of drill bit that is made with a center shaft and a puck shaped head with at least two cutters and a center point. It’s used to make holes that have smooth walls and flat bottoms. They come in a wide range of sizes as well.

Fractional Measurements

The English system or the American system of measurement is based on fractional measurements which is where fractions of a whole are part of the way that size or volume is expressed. For example, 1/4 inch is a fractional representation of length based off a whole inch.

Frame and Panel

A standard on kitchen cabinet doors, frame and panel construction is where four boards are created that make a frame, and a center panel is housed in grooves between them. This creates a door with a panel in the middle and four frame elements around it.

Frame Saw

A saw that is made from a wooden frame, holding the blade, and providing a way to add tension is called a frame saw. These can come in different sizes, and they are an old fashioned hand powered way to cut wood that many people still enjoy using to this day.


The act of building a structure, typically the wooden components to a house, is called framing. This is a wide term though, and can be used for any wooden structure that is built, even if it’s the final structure or the hidden structure or frame inside the final project.

Framing Chisel

This is a special chisel used in the framing process, and it has a rectangular or square blade with a single bevel, a sharp edge, and a handle that can be struck without breaking. These are great for making mortises, and are a useful tool in the practice of framing.

Framing Lumber

Specific pieces of lumber that are used in framing is called framing lumber. These can be anything really as long as they are being used to frame.

Framing Nail

Nails that can be shot from an air powered gun in most cases, and in rapid succession are called framing nails, and they are used to build frames for houses typically. These are found on strips that are then loaded into the nail gun, and shot as the house frame is assembled.

Framing Nailer

The tool that shoots framing nails using pneumatic power is called a framing nailer. This is no different than any other nail gun, with the exception that it shoots a very specific type of nail used in the framing process.

Framing Square

The common square that most people associate with the term square, this is a “L” shaped piece of flat metal that usually measures one foot on the short leg and two feet on the long leg. It’s useful for framing, and also for many other measuring and marking tasks in woodworking.

French Cleat

A French cleat is a method of hanging and object on a vertical surface. It’s comprised of two interlocking blocks that both have 45 degree angles cut into them. The piece mounted to the wall has the angle facing up, and the piece hung from the wall has the angle facing down, and they interlock.

French Polish

The French polish is a method of applying shellac by rubbing the surface of the project repeatedly, depositing a layer after layer after layer of heavily thinned shellac with a pad called a rubber. This is a beautiful finish and requires practice to accomplish.

See Also: High Gloss French Polishing

Fret Saw

This is another name for a coping saw, and it’s a thin bladed saw with a D shaped frame and wooden handle used to make very fine precision cuts including tight curves. This is the manual version of a scroll saw.

Fret Work

Cutting out complex and elaborate shapes with a fret saw or coping saw is referred to as fretwork. These fine saws are capable of cutting out a very detailed and elaborate designs, and it can be fairly time-consuming but rewarding at the same time.

Friction Finish

A friction finish is one that is applied typically on the lathe, and it utilizes the spinning action of the lathe to generate heat and set the finish. These are commonly made of evaporating solvents and waxes, and it’s the friction and heat that’s at the finish instead.

Friction Polish

The friction polish is another term for friction finish. This is a method of using heat to instantly set a finish that is designed to be applied in this manner, making the pieces usable right after the finish is applied.


The froe is a handled tool with a flat blade coming away from the top at a 90 degree angle. The edge is sharpened, and it is used to split wood. The blade is driven into the top of the log being split, and the tool it then pulled down, twisting the blade in the slot, and splitting the wood.

Full Extension Slide

On drawer glides, when the drawer is able to be pulled out completely and the back areas of the drawer are easily accessible, the slides are said to be full extension slides. In other words, they allow the drawer to extend out the full length.

Fumed Wood

Some types of wood are locked in chambers and then exposed to airborne chemicals which change the color of the wood. This is called fumed wood, and the most notable example that you may not be aware of is American Walnut, which looks gray, but that’s from the fuming.


Fuming is the process of exposing wood to airborne chemicals in order to change the color of the wood. This is most commonly done with walnut in order to change the color from a light brown to a light gray.


A common woodworking project, furniture is any piece that’s meant to be used in the home and either sat upon or eaten at or use for decoration that doesn’t hang on the wall. This can include desks, beds, sofas, and more.

Furniture Maker

This is a fun branch of woodworking, and anyone who makes furniture can call themselves a furniture maker. Technically this is still woodworking, but the main project associated with this particular branch is making furniture pieces for the home.

Furniture Repair

Anytime that you have to fix something on a piece of furniture, it is called furniture repair. There are entire professions dedicated to furniture repair, as customers who have enjoyed having their furniture for a long time will pay to have it fixed rather than buy new.

| G |


Garnet is a type of shellac that refers to the color, which is much darker than the more commonly used shades of shellac like amber. This is instantly visible when applying the finish, and is sometimes a very desirable look.

Gel Stain

This is a type of stain that is a little thicker than most common wood stain, and the reason for that is to help the stain absorb at a more even rate. This results in much more even coloring across-the-board, regardless of differences in density.


Generators come in a lot of different sizes and styles, but the main idea is that a motor which is powered by gasoline in most cases turns a shaft that creates electricity. You can then plug electric items into the generator and run them as if they were plugged into the wall.


This is a catchall name that can be used to describe any type of glue from wood glue to white glue, epoxy, to polyurethane. This is the quick and easy word when you don’t necessarily know the type of glue but you want to describe an adhesive.

Glue Laminating

Glue laminating is the process of gluing several pieces of wood together to form a larger blank. This can be done for reasons of structure, stability, beauty, or all of the above. This is where glue is used only with no other support methods like dowels or biscuits.


The term gluelam is the short version of the term glue laminating. It’s used to describe any time where pieces of wood are adhered together with glue in the hopes of creating a larger blank for some woodworking process.

Glue Line

Whenever you are gluing two pieces of wood together, even the best joints in the world will still show a very fine glue line in between them. This is where you can actually see the edge of the glue layer, and in a poor joint this can be very easy to see.

Glue Pot

Some glues need to be used while hot, and in order to do that you can use a glue pot to keep the glue warm while in use. These are meant to be used with hide glue mostly, and are very good at keeping the even temperature required to use the glue.

Glue Up

The term glue up is used to describe the assembly process of woodworking project, particularly when it has to do with glue. Doing the glue up is doing the process where you glue all the pieces together for your project.

Goncalo Alves

A beautiful hardwood, Goncalo Alves is also called Tiger Wood, and it has a nice mix of medium and dark brown streaks. It also darkens over time with exposure to light, and has a very warm look.


This is a term for a metal tool that is used in wood turning or wood carving, depending on the type. It’s typically a curved or U-shaped profile with a cutting edge and used to remove wood from a larger piece.


The grain of a piece of wood is the lines and design that is displayed on the piece of wood itself. This is what gives would its unique character, and rare and beautiful grain patterns are highly sought after by woodworkers and artists.

Grain Direction

The general layout of the grain itself is considered the grain direction. By looking at a piece of wood, you can tell how the different layers and growth rings interact, and in what direction they are running. This is important when using edged tools to shape the wood.

Grain Pattern

Another name for the grain, the grain pattern is the look and appearance to the grain that is present in the piece that you’re looking at. It’s a common thing to talk about the grain pattern of a piece of wood.

Grain Figure

This is a less common term, but the grain figure has to do with what type of figure is present on a given piece of wood. This can be quilted, curl, or any other type of grain figure that’s different from standard or plain based on the species.


In woodworking, a piece of wood is said to be green when it is freshly cut and still has the moisture content of the living tree or at least more moisture than what would be considered fully dry and seasoned.

Green Wood

Green wood is also a term for green, which refers to any type of wood that has not been seasoned to the point where it is safe to work with. This can be freshly cut wood, all the way down to wood that has not acclimated to the local area.

Green Woodworking

There are times when it’s beneficial to work with green wood, and with the act of working with green wood is called green woodworking. One notable example is working on the lathe, because the wood is so much easier to turn when it is green.


Grit is the small particles that are on sandpaper, and it’s also a scale that used to measure the coarseness of those particles. Numbers that are higher denote finer particles and numbers that are lower denote more course articles.


A groove is a dado that runs with the grain of a piece of wood, but can also be used simply as another method of naming a dado. These can be made with router bits, or they can also be made on the tablesaw with a dado blade.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt

This is a special type of wall outlet that trips its own breaker in order to cut the power in the situation where there is an issue. This can be due to getting the outlet wet, or due to a power issue and a tool. This is a common safety feature in areas that get wet.

Growth Ring

Every year the tree grows, another growth ring is deposited on the outside surface of the tree, growing the trunk wider. You can count the growth rings to determine how old a particular tree is, and the rings turn into the grain pattern on cut wood.


A device used to protect a blade or a bit from contact with your fingers is called a guard, and they come in lots of different shapes and forms. The point behind guards is to protect the users from injury while operating the tool.


A guide is any feature that is meant to assist in the direction or movement of something else, or to keep it stable during motion. Think of the guides that are on tools that keep the blades working as they are supposed to.

Guide Blocks

On a band saw, the guide blocks are small metal, composite, or ceramic blocks that help keep the saw blade from twisting during operation. This helps the saw cut better, and is a safer user experience in general.

Guide Collar

This is found on some routers, and is a metal bushing that screws into the router base, and has a collar of a certain diameter that sticks out below that. This is called a guide collar, and is used along with templates to route different designs and inlay cavities.


On a saw blade, the gullet is the valley in between two teeth. The tips of the teeth are typically the highest point in the gullet so typically the lowest point. These are shaped in a certain way that helps clear the saw as it works.


A gusset is an angle shaped brace that is typically on a 45 degree angle or shaped like a triangle, that helps prevent movement between a top and a base. You can do this in a lot of different situations, but the point is to stabilize a piece with gussets.

| H |

Hack Saw

This type of saw has a metal frame with a handle and a thin metal blade with a tooth set that is designed for cutting through metal. Even in woodworking, there will be opportunities to cut through metal, and a hacksaw is an inexpensive tool for the purpose.

Half Blind Dovetail

A dovetail where you cannot see the pins on the face of one of the boards is called a half blind dovetail, or a half blind dovetail joint. This is a common joint when making drawers when you want the strength of the dovetail without seeing the mechanics of the joint on the face of the drawer.


Having a short handle with a metal head, a hammer is a tool that is designed for driving nails into wood, and there is also sometimes a claw which is used to pull nails out of wood on the other side of the head. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes.

Hammer Drill

This tool is used for drilling holes in concrete, and it’s a drill that also has a hammering action which helps break up the concrete as the turning drill pulls debris backwards to clear the hole. These are very useful for drilling through concrete.

Hammer Head

The part of the hammer that makes contact with the nail when driving a nail through a piece of wood is called a hammer head. They come in a number of different sizes and shapes, and they are all purpose made for a specific task.

Hand Hewn

This refers to a piece of wood that has been shaped into a usable board by hand, and you can tell that the work was done by hand due to the minor differences on the surface compared to work that was done by a machine.

Hand Plane

The hand plane is a small woodworking tool that holds a blade on an angle and it’s slid a crossed a piece of wood in order to level the surface and remove material. The tool is typically a couple inches wide and maybe 4 to 6 inches long, though they come in many shapes.

Hand Router

This is a term for a router that is held by hand rather than a router that is held in a base on a router table. You can also use the term router without saying hand router and it’s understood that you’re referring to the same tool. Sometimes, it can also refer to a router plane, which is the non-motorized version. 

Hand Saw

Any saw that is operated by hand, without any mechanical means or machine power is called a handsaw. They can be for wood or metal, and they can be for rough cuts or fine cuts. If it is a non-powered saw, then it is considered a handsaw.

Hand Screw

The hand screw is a woodworking clamp with two wooden jaws and two threaded rods that go through the bodies of those jaws. When turned, the screws articulate the wooden pieces to grip and hold as needed during a woodworking process.

Hand Tools

Tools that are operated by hand with no electric motors or machines involved are called hand tools. For nearly every modern machine, a hand tool version can be found, and in many ways they are just as good as the power version.

Hand Wheel

On some tools, there are adjustment wheels that allow you to change settings or positioning on the tool. You crank the hand wheel and something moves in a certain direction. They allow you to make adjustments, and control how the tool works.

Hard Maple

Maple is a great looking wood species that has a uniform looking light color, with pores that are very small and cannot be seen by the naked eye. The wood is easy to work, abundant, and a reliable species to use in woodworking and cabinet making.


A type of engineered wood or sheet good, hardboard is a thin brownish piece of material that is made from compressed sawdust and a binder. The resulting board is smooth on one side, and can be used to skin the tops of benches and in others areas an inexpensive top layer is needed. 


This is a chemical that you add into another chemical like a resin which causes the mixture to solidify and harden. This is common in filler materials where you need to use a hardener before you use the product.


Hardness is a term associated with density, and it’s a measure of how hard a piece of material is, particularly how hard a piece of wood is. There are some types of wood that are much harder than others, and hardness is this reference word.


Anything that you add to a woodworking project after the actual woodworking is done is called hardware, and this can include handles, clasps, hinges, and other fittings that are not made out of wood during the initial construction. These can also be called fittings.


A piece of wood is considered a hardwood but it has broad leaves that fall to the floor each season and new leaves show up next year. In general these types of wood are harder than softwoods, but it really has nothing to do with the density.


This is a metal loop with a flat metal piece that flaps down over it with a slot. You can put a lock on the slot, and the hasp will prevent the two pieces from coming apart, which is useful in the case of a jewelry box or a lidded box.


A hatchet is a short ax, which has a short handle and a metal head that is sharpened and designed to shape wood. They can be meant for splitting wood or they can be meant for creating boards by hand from larger logs.


The very center of the tree is called the hardwood, and it goes from the bottom of the tree to the top. It tapers from the bottom up, and is generally crumbly and in most cases not a very usable portion of the tree when it comes to woodworking.

Herringbone Pattern

A common pattern in musical instrument making, and an old fashioned design, the herringbone consists of a central line, with angular lines that are short running off on both sides. It resembles a fish spinal bone, and is a way to trim out edges or hide joinery in woodworking projects.

Hide Glue

This is a type of adhesive that’s made from the bones and connective tissues of animals, mostly cows. The glue has been around for a very long time, and is considered particularly by instrument makers to be the finest that you could use on any wood to wood joints.

Hide Glue Brush

Hide glue needs to be applied with a natural brush, so there are special brushes that are made for this purpose and they are called hide glue brushes. If you are going to work with hide glue, definitely invest in a nice brush.

Hide Glue Pot

Since hide glue needs to be applied while warm, and loses its adhesive properties if not secured before it cools down, a hide glue pot is a small vessel with a heating element that keeps your glue at the right temperature for use.

High Grade

Any tool or material that’s considered very good is often referred to as being high grade. This is a general term that you could use to talk about anything that is high quality, and that is a better version than others you may be familiar with.

High Quality

The terms high-quality and high-grade can be used interchangeably, and they both refer to materials and tools that are far better than the average.

High Speed Steel

This is a special kind of steel that is processed to hold an edge better, and stay sharper longer than traditional steel. It is used on lathe tools and other cutting tools because it is of higher quality than standard steel.

High Volume Low Pressure

High volume low pressure is often referred to by the acronym HVLP. This is a system for spraying that does not require as much pressure as other systems, and yet still delivers a good volume of finishing product on the piece that you’re spraying.


A type of hardware, the hinge consists of two main pieces that are connected by an articulating section that allows them to move freely. These are common on the lids of boxes, on cabinet doors, and on doors in your home.


This is the acronym for a high-volume low-pressure spraying system, which is designed to use less air pressure but still force a good amount of spraying chemicals in order to finish a woodworking project properly.

Hobby Knife

The hobby knife is a small, sharp razor blade knife with a pointy blade and a pen shaped handle. You can use a number of different blade shapes, and they all fit into the head of the pen shaped handle which you hold while operating.

Hog Off

This is the term that is most often used with lathe work, but it’s when you intentionally remove a large amount of material in one pass, or much faster than normal. It’s not generally a good practice, but it’s effective at removing a lot of material.

Hold Down

A hold down is a type of clamp that is mounted to a flat surface on one side, and can spin freely in some cases as well. You press down on a lever or toggle, and the other clamping end grabs the piece of wood or material and holds it against the flat surface.

Hold Fast

Another name for a hold down, a hold fast is secured to a flat surface like a tool table top or an assembly table, and the clamp is very useful for holding pieces in an assembly jig, or holding pieces while they are drilled on the drill press.

Hole Saw

This is a tool with a central arbor, and several different rings of different diameters that all have saw teeth on one side. You select the appropriate ring, install it on the arbor, and then use a drill to cut a larger hole. These can be up to a few inches in diameter.

Hollow Form

Making a project on the lathe that ends up being hollow in the middle is called hollow form turning, and it’s a practice that requires a lot of time and patience to perfect. This is mainly because you can’t see your cutting edge inside the vessel, so you have to work with your other senses. There are also tricks to the process and jigs you can make you help you make hollow items on the lathe.

Hollow Ground

When shaping the edges of chisels and other edged tools, the way that the bevel is made to produce the edge is called the grind. A hollow ground edge has a sloped or curved bevel that is indicative of the round grinding tool used to produce the edge.

Hollow Turning

On the lathe, turning projects that are hollow on the inside is called hollow turning. This can be accomplished by actually hollowing out the insides of a piece of wood or by turning a few pieces stacked together and then reassembling them into something hollow on the inside.

Hollow Vessel

In wood turning, a vessel shape that is hollow in the inside is called a hollow vessel. This can be a jug or bottle shape where the inside has been removed with a hollowing tool. This type of wood turning is advanced, and a lot of fun once you get there.

Honduran Mahogany

The type of Mahogany that comes from the Mexico and South America is called Honduran or Honduras Mahogany. This is a fairly even colored brown tree with interesting grain and many times also shimmers when rotated in a light, which is an interesting and beautiful aspect of the wood.

Honduran Rosewood

This Rosewood is native to Belize, and ranges from light to dark brown with some purples in the darker colors. It is a true rosewood and can be extra oily at times. This is a beautiful type of wood, and you can use it for making fine woodworking projects or musical instrument parts.


The process of putting a very fine edge on and edged tool like a hand plane or a chisel is the process of honing. When you hone a tool, it takes sharpening to the next level and creates an edge that is extraordinarily effective.

Honing Guide

When you are honing your tools, since the edge is extremely delicate, a honing guide will help keep the tool at the proper angle while making passes on your stone or with your machine. These are not expensive, and are very helpful.


The curve on a saw tooth is called the hook, and its a way of referring to the part of the blade tooth that curves forward like a birds beak. Some hooks are more aggressive than others, and some have no hook at all. It’s all part of the way that the blade is designed to remove wood.

Hot Melt Adhesive

The type of adhesive that you melt in a glue gun is called hot melt adhesive. You could also use the term to describe any glue that you need to melt before applying. The most common that you will see is the hot glue gun, which is a staple among crafters and has some woodworking uses as well.


The acronym for High Speed Steel is HSS. This refers to a steel that has undergone processes to make the metal stronger and better able to hold an edge when sharpened. This is a benefit to the woodworker, because it means a sharper tool and having to sharpen it less often.

Hybrid Table Saw

A table saw with the external look of a cabinet makers saw but with the less expensive internal mechanisms of a contractor model saw is called a hybrid table saw. This is a way of getting the large base, table top, and ripping capacity into your shop without spending as much as a full blown cabinet saw.


An item that attracts water and absorbs water is said to be hydrophilic. This object or material mixes with water really well, and without resistance or the need for other methods of encouragement.


An item or compound that does not mix well with water, repels water, or requires extraordinary encouragement methods to mix with water is said to be hydrophobic. 


Something is said to be hydroscopic when it takes in and lets out moisture in response to changes in its environment. For woodworkers, wood is a hydroscopic substance so you need to control for those changes when you build and finish your projects.

| I |

Impact Driver

An impact driver is a type of drill that provides a hammering action when it encounters resistance, which helps continue to turn the shaft. Where most drills may slow down, the impact driver keeps on pressing forward.

In Feed

On a tool, the in feed is the area where you feed material into the tool. This is common on thickness planers, and you slide the material along the in feed, where it is brought into the machine and exits through the out feed.

In the White

A woodworking project is said to be in the white when it is fully completed but has not received a finish yet. This is a project that is completely ready to be finished, but nothing has yet been applied to the wood to protect it.


This is a common measurement in the imperial system, and an inch is a short measuring unit that is commonly used to build woodworking projects when not using the metric system. It is an arbitrary length determined long ago, and fractions are used to express portions of that length.

Induction Motor

A motor that is based on induction technology principles is called an induction motor. This is the common alternating current motor that you see in your larger woodworking tools. 


This is a method of following a template or creating cuts based off of a master form. An index is simply a way of locating a piece of material in order to receive some sort of woodworking process in a controlled and measured way. 

An example of an index in use is My Guitar Fretboard Slotting Jig.


When you create a shallow cavity in one piece of wood, and then glue in a matching piece of another material, which could also be another type of wood, and then sand the whole thing flush, this is called an inlay.

See Also: The Easiest Wood Inlay Ever

Inlay Cavity

The opening, hole, or recess where an inlay piece is glued is called the inlay cavity. This is the negative that is sunk below the surface of the project, and a matching piece of material is then pressed into this cavity.

Inlay Materials

This is a term that has to do with any of the materials used in in inlay work. These can be the different types of pieces, different materials like shell, metal, and bone, and anything that’s not a tool but used for the inlay itself.

Inlay Piece

The positive side of the inlay is called the inlay piece. This is precisely cut and measured to fill the cavity completely, without any gaps or openings around the border. It’s done by hand mostly, and takes skill and practice to accomplish.

Inlay Tools

This refers to any tools that have to do with inlay work, which can be a scribe, router bits, small sanding sticks, and any other tool that has to do with creating inlays. There are many different tools available, and they can all be called inlay tools.


The small, typically brightly colored pieces of plastic or composite material that are placed around blades and spinning bits are called inserts. These protect and surround the blade or bit, and they also give a visual indication when you are getting your fingers too close to the cutting area.


This is the process of cutting different pieces of wood in different colors and grain patterns, and arranging them together to create a design. The designs are easy to understand, and it’s obvious what the project is meant to represent.

Interlocked Grain

On pieces of wood that are more intensely figured than others, you run into a phenomenon called interlocked grain, which is also called interlocking grain. This is a grain pattern that does not really have a specific direction, and is almost woven together.

Interlocking Grain

This is another name for interlocked grain, and it is a term that is used to describe any type of wood that doesn’t have a definite green pattern because the directions are intertwined, creating special challenges for milling and smoothing.


Iron is a dense metal that is used on many different woodworking machines. It’s very heavy, and that makes it exceptionally good for vises, table tops, and adding weight to woodworking machines in order to stabilize them.

| J |

Jack Plane

This is a universal purpose woodworking plane with a high angle iron and a handle at the back side. There is also a knob on the front so you can use both hands to operate the tool. It’s good for smoothing operations as well as breaking edges or trimming things flush.


The part of the doorway that houses the door is called the jamb. In particular, it’s the vertical parts. This is where you will see your reveal, and how well the door fits inside the casing. A good closing between the jamb and the door means a door that opens and closes well, and seals against drafts well too.

Janka Hardness

A test of the denting resistance of wood, the Jank Hardness is a score given to a piece of wood after it completes the test that is a way of determining how hard the piece is. It’s another way of determining and classifying the properties of different types of wood as they relate to each other.


Any time you create something in your shop that is used to assist you in a woodworking process, this can be called a jig. There are many different jigs that you can create in woodworking, and you’ll discover them as you work on different projects.

Jig Saw

This is a handheld electric saw with a short blade that is moved up and down rapidly by the electric motor. You advance the saw with one hand, following the lines drawn on your piece of wood, it makes mostly rough cuts.


The act of joining one piece of wood to another piece of wood is called joinery, though there are basic versions and very high-end versions. Complex wood joinery can be a skill that you pursue your entire life, the basic joinery can be learned in an afternoon.

See Also: 7 Easy Woodworking Joints for Beginners

Joinery Router Bits

Specific router bits that are meant to assist in joinery tasks are labeled as joinery router bits. These are not dis-similar to other router bits, they are just specially made for creating different types of joints using a router or router table.


This is a tool that varies in size, but it has two long plates with a gap in the middle where a spinning arbor with blades turns rapidly. Wood is slid across the one table, passes over the blade, and lands on the other table. While passing the blade, the surface is smoothed and evened out. It’s used to smooth faces and edges.


When one piece of wood is joined to another piece of wood, the intersection between those two pieces is called a joint. There are many different types of joints in woodworking, and all of them can be referred to as a joint, no matter their style.

Jointer Plane

This is a longer hand plane that is specifically used to true up the edges and faces of longer boards. The sole of the plane is much longer than others, and that’s in order to help it self level and only target the higher spots on a board as it is used to plane it flat.


This is a machine that is similar to the jointer, and sometimes a little wider. It’s used for flattening the edges of boards as well as the faces, and it uses a rotating arbor in the middle of the table top where boards are slid across.


Similar to a stud, just with a different orientation, an joist is used to hold up a ceiling or a floor. While studs support the walls, joists give their support to floors and ceilings by being evenly spaced, and spreading out the forces associated with providing the support.

| K |


The width of the opening that a sawblade leaves behind is called the kerf. It’s also a measurement of the width of the teeth themselves, and it can be seen as a slot on a piece of wood, especially on the tablesaw.

Kerf Bending

If you make several cuts that are close to each other but don’t go all the way through a piece of wood, it creates a weak point, and allows the wood to be bent. This is called kerf bending, and it’s common on acoustic guitar linings.

Kerf Cutting

This is the process of making several cuts that are very close to each other, but that don’t go all the way through the piece of material. This will allow the material to be bent, and if done properly, the piece will not break.


Kerfing can be referred to as the act of creating kerf cuts, but can also be a long strip that has already been cut and is now flexible due to the process. It can also be used to refer to any lengths of kerfed wood.

Keyhole Bit

A router bit that is shaped like a T, the keyhole bit is plunged into the surface of a project, and then advanced an inch or so in one direction before it is returned to the starting position and removed. This creates a keyhole shaped opening that can be used to hang projects on the wall.

Keyhole Saw

A handheld saw with a wooden or plastic handle and a thin, long blade. Also called a drywall saw, its meant to be used by making an initial hole with the tip of the blade, and then sawing with the tool inside the opening. This is commonly used to cut holes in drywall.

Kick Back

This is most common in a tablesaw, and refers to in a piece of wood gets pinched between the blade and the fence, and is thrown back at the operator. This is called a kickback, and it can be dangerous, and cause injury.

Kiln Dried

In an effort to speed up the seasoning process after wood has been milled, some sellers will place the wood in a large furnace and raise the temperature and move around the air. This causes the wood to dry faster, and make it sellable more quickly.

King Post

The upright piece of wood in the center of a roof truss is called the king post. The design is that the king post helps support the weight from above by working with the other connecting boards in the roof truss.


This is a small tree from Brazil, and it produces a Rosewood that is beautiful to work with. It has a similar color and look to other Rosewoods, with browns, blacks, and purple hues. It can be worked well, and turned into smaller projects and inlay pieces.


The knockdown style is a way of building projects where they can be assembled and disassembled without the use of glue, and they maintain structural integrity while assembled and in use.

Knockdown Furniture

Pieces of furniture that have been created in the knockdown style are furniture pieces that can be disassembled and transported to other locations, and then reassembled without the use of glue or screws and are completely stable.


Any length of metal with a sharp edge on one side that is use for cutting, marking, or carving, can be called a knife. They tend to have wooden handles and are smaller items, in some cases there are large examples as well.

Knife Belt Sander

This is a belt sander, but with a long belt that is very narrow, and used to get into tight places in order to sand them smooth. They can vary in size dramatically, but they are very useful at standing tight areas.

Knife Scales

On a knife, the flat wooden pieces that make up the faces of the handle are called knife scales, and you can make them as a fine woodworking project. You can even get a nice kit or you can make your own scales, and create your own pocket knives.


On a piece of wood, occasionally you will see a mostly round shape with concentric grain lines showing on the face of the board. These are from branches that were in the tree, and they are called knots. Sometimes these are desirable, and sometimes they are not.

Knotty Wood

Types of wood that have a very large number of knots are often referred to as knotty wood or the term knotty with the species afterward. This is a type of figure, and is a way of describing the particular piece of wood.


This is the brand name that is most synonymous with pocket hole jig systems and all the different accessories and tools that go along with those. They are the leader in the space, and you can get started with pocket hole joinery very easily.

See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – The Kreg Jig

Kreg Clamp

This is a specific type of clamp that automatically adjusts to whatever thickness of material you are using and is helpful when installing pocket screws. It prevents the pieces from moving, and ensures a flush joint after screw installation.

Kreg Jig

The Kreg Jig is a system for creating pocket holes with your drill and then installing screws in those holes to hold pieces of wood together. It is a system that comes in a number of different configurations, and it is very useful for making face frames.

Kreg Screws

These specific screws that come with the Kreg Jig that are designed to be a certain length and have a square drive. These are available where Kreg Jigs are sold, and they are a necessary component in the process.

| L |

Lac Bug

This is an insect that deposits shellac on the trees which is then harvested, collected, and processed in order to make shellac flakes. The flakes are then mixed by the final user into a finish that is applied to woodworking projects.


This is not actually one tree but many that can produce this effect depending on the way they are sawn. The lace effect is an appearance on the surface of oval shaped figure that has a lacy appearance. It’s beautiful when finished, and can make an excellent looking woodworking project.


Lacquer is a clear finish that is used by many different woodworkers, and is a very common method of finishing furniture. It is able to be brushed on or sprayed, and it’s an easy finish to work with as a beginner. It’s also the common finish for furniture and factories.

Lacquer Thinner

This is a specific solvent that is mixed with lacquer in order to thin the mixture. This is useful for spraying, and for giving the lacquer a little bit more time to dry, which allows the imperfections to settle out.

Lag Screw

A big screw with coarse thread‘s and a hex shaped head, the lag screw is meant for securing one piece of material to a wall, utilizing the frame inside the wall. They are very strong, and are good at holding two pieces of material together.


This is the term for gluing multiple pieces of wood together to form a larger blank, and it’s also a term that refers to the thin hard material that’s on counter tops. You laminate wood together, and you can have a laminate top on a counter top.

Laminate Trimmer

Another name for a trim router, the laminate trimmer is a smaller version of a router that’s meant to trim laminate skins and veneer skins that are applied to other pieces of wood. It’s great at bringing them flush to the rest of the wood.

Laminated Blank

When several pieces of wood are glued together in order to create a blank that is used for a specific purpose in woodworking, to make a specific project, this is called a laminated blank. There can be many different looks and sizes, and they are all made of wood.

Lap Joint

When two pieces of wood are joined together by excavating material from one and material from the other where they cross, causing the two pieces to lie on the same plane, this is called a lap joint. There are a couple of different styles, but they are all called lap joints.

Late Wood

The wood growth that happens later in the growing season is called the late wood, and it is typically characterized by smaller and more densely packed cells. Each year, both early and late wood growth occur and can be seen on the annual rings when the tree is cut.


This is a rubber material that is used to make many different things including protective gloves that can be used while applying finishes. There may be an allergic reaction when using latex, so be careful if you choose to use this style of glove.

Latex Gloves

The most common product made with latex is latex gloves, which are a disposable gloves that are meant to protect your hands while working with finishes. They are sold in boxes, and they come in different sizes depending on how big your hands are.

Latex Paint

Paint that is filled with engineered plastic polymers that have long replaced the natural rubbers that used to be in coatings is called latex paint. These cover really well, and they also clean up with water, which makes the finishing up part of the process really easy.


The lathe a tool that is used to turn pieces of wood into different shapes. It is a horizontal tool that spins a piece of wood while different tools and cutters are used to change the shape of that piece of wood. This is a great tool for a beginner, and a lot of fun to work with.

Lathe Tools

All of the different cutters, chisels, and tools that are used while shaping wood on the lathe are called lathe tools. This is a catchall term that can be used to describe any type of tool used on the lathe, no matter the type or manufacture.

Lathe Turning

The process of going from a rough blank to a final piece on the lathe that is called lathe turning, and there are a lot of different projects that fall on this list. It’s easy to pick up for a beginner, if you can spend a lifetime learning how to use the tool.


Generally speaking, any crisscross shape made out of thin strips of wood can be called a lattice. There are a lot of different ways that you can make the design, and they are typically used decoratively around the home or outside.


This is the acronym for light emitting diode. These are very special lights that produce a large amount of brightness without producing very much heat, and they can last a very long time in your shop.

LED Light

Another term for a light that is based on LED technology. These lights are far more common today than they ever have been, and the price point is far lower as well. They are very bright, and can make your shop feel a lot more inviting.

LED Shop Lights

These are very specific shop lights that are LED based and hang from the ceiling, similar to a fluorescent light fixture. They are portable many times, and you can install them in several different configurations on your ceiling to brighten your shop.


This is the tool that is used to determine if a surface is level or not. It is a long tool with vials that have a small bubble inside of them. By tilting the bubble between a couple indicators it can show which way you need to tilt the surface in order to make it level.

Level Surface

The surface that is perpendicular to the force of gravity is considered a level surface. You can determine if the surface is level by using a tool called a level and checking the surface from several different directions.

Light Emitting Diode

This is the long version of the acronym LED. The light emitting diode is a technology that produces a very bright light that is useful for a number of different applications. It runs cool, and the prices have come down significantly over the years.

Linear Foot

When measuring distance, and you measure in a straight line the distance of 1 foot, you have measured one linear foot. There can be several linear feet along a straight line, and it’s simply a method of measuring a straight distance by the foot.

Linseed Oil

This is a natural plant oil that has been used in wood finishing for a very long time. It is mainly a mixture today with other agents that help create a better finish, but you can still find natural linseed oil in woodworking stores and online.


A type of drive belt for a motor and a shaft, the linkbelt allows you to change the size of the belt by adding or removing links. This is a nice way of ensuring that you get the right belt, and you can change the size to suit most tools in the size range.


When one surface overhangs the other surface by an amount that’s not very large, it is said to have a lip. This can be as big as a couple inches, but typically not any bigger than that, it is a common feature on tops of furniture pieces.

Live Center

Common on a lathe, the tailstock can accept an accessory called a live center, which is a cone shaped piece of metal with a Morris taper on the tail, and the head spins freely. This makes turning between the centers a much smoother operation with less friction.

Live Edge

On a piece of wood, when freshly milled from the factory, the edge that was on the outside of the tree is called the live edge. This is typically cut off when a tree is built to be sold as lumber, but is sometimes retained for its beauty.

See Also: The Trick to Making Inexpensive Live Edge Slabs

Live Edge Table

A table that makes use of the live edges on slabs of wood is called a live edge table. This is a very beautiful type of woodworking, and creates a very natural looking piece of furniture that is truly unique.

Lock Miter 

This type of joint is a miter style joint that also has a small spur in the design that helps hold the two pieces together when they are glued. You can make this type of joint with a router bit, and its a great way to add strength to your miter joints without needing to add metal fasteners.

Lock Miter Bit

The router bit that is used to make a lock miter joint is called a lock miter bit. These are common, and easy to find, and you can easily make strong miters that hold together really well. These are much stronger than standard miters where only the faces join together.

Locking Joint

Any type of joints that creates and interlinking connection between two pieces that can’t be pulled apart even without glue can be considered a lock joint. These types of joints are fully functional without any type of adhesive or hardware.

Locking Pliers

A set of pliers with a locking mechanism that closes them tightly and can be adjusted for different thicknesses of material is called locking pliers. These are very useful in situations where you need to remove a stuck bolt or nut


This is the name for a tree trunk. It can also be called a bole, and the log is the first form of a tree that enters the mill in order to be turned into wood that can later be used for many different types of woodworking projects.


The person that cuts down the trees that are used for different manufacturing processes, including woodworking, is called a logger. They use different tools to bring down the trees, and then additional equipment to pull them away to the mill.


The act of cutting down trees in order to use them for some manufacturing or industrial processes called logging. There are specific tools and machinery for the job, and it involves cutting down and hauling away trees.

Loose Knot

Any not that is present in a piece of wood but is also loose, or somehow partially separated but has not fallen out is called a loose knot. Something like this needs to be stabilized in most cases before you can fully use the material.


This is a general term used to describe just about any type of wood that is about to be used in some type of building or woodworking process. Most of the time it refers to construction grade wood, but it can really refer to any type of wood.


The lumen is a measure of the amount of light that comes off of a light source. It is common to see shop lights measured in lumens, and you can use that as a reference to see if one light is going to be brighter or dimmer than the next.


A person that builds musical instruments, namely string instruments, is called a Luthier. They can be any type of stringed instruments, and they can vary from old fashioned instruments all the way to modern electric instruments. They just need to have strings.

| M |


The tolerance for being cut, carved, milled, and otherwise shaped is considered the machineability of a piece of wood. It’s expressed as being either favorable or unfavorable, by saying something as good machinability or bad machinability depending on how easily it works.

Machine Screw

A machine screw is a screw with a finer thread set that is very even, and does not self start. They have heads that are meant to be turned in by different tools, and are most commonly used in situations where they go into a piece of metal that has a matching set of threads.


There are many different individual types of Mahogany, and they can have some variation, but they in general all have a mostly brown appearance with lighter and darker grain lines as well. The trees are easy to work, sand well, and take a finish really well too. Some species are less expensive than others.


This is a woodworking tool that is shaped like a hammer, but can also come in many other shapes that looks similar to a hammer. It’s typically made of wood, and is used in an assistive manner in wood carving and chisel use.


Used on a lathe, a mandrel is a metal rod that has a way of being held in the headstock or the chuck and supported by the tailstock. Pieces of wood are threaded into the mandrel and then it supports them while being turned to shape. 


Anytime that you draw on a piece of wood in order to denote a certain measurement, like in anticipation of making a cut on a piece of wood, you can call that a mark. These are typically a small fine line, and it’s associated with a specific measurement.

Marking Gauge

A marking gauge is a handheld tool with a wooden beam and an attached wooden stock. The stock can slide around the beam, and is used to set a distance that can be easily marked along the edge of a project or board.


This is the process of cutting it then sheets of veneer into different shapes, and arranging them next to each other to create a flat picture or design. These can be extraordinarily beautiful, and experienced marquetry artists create amazing works of art.

Materials List

Anytime that you are making a project, when you create a list that has everything you need in order to complete the project, you have made a materials list. These are a really good idea, because when you go to the store it can help ensure that you bring everything you need home with you.


The acronym MBF stands for M (the Roman Numeral for 1000) and BF (board feet). Therefore the entire term stands for 1000 Board Feet. It’s a way to identify a large quantity of wood, and typically has to do with price and selling the wood to a mill or for a large private purchase.


This is the acronym for medium density fiber board. This is a man-made material that is a type of plywood, but it is made from resins and sawdust. It’s a very uniform product, and it’s also very heavy.


Establishing the distance from one point to the next is called measuring. This is a very common practice in woodworking, because anytime you need to create a part or a piece for a project, you need to measure in order to cut it to size.

Measuring Stick

A flat wooden stick that is typically up to a few feet in length and about an inch wide is called a measuring stick. These have graduations on at least one side, and are useful for measuring small to medium sized objects and shorter measurements.

Measuring Tape

A measuring tape is a longer measuring device that uses a flexible metal band that is rolled up on itself in a smaller housing. You pull out the end of the measuring tape, and keep on pulling until you have enough tape to measure the distance you need.

Mechanical Bond

When one item is bonded to another item without any chemical means, and only physical means, it’s called a mechanical bond. This can be as simple as putting a screw through one board and into the next.

Medium Density Fiberboard

This is the full name for MDF, and medium density fiber board is a factory made material that is used by woodworkers in place of real wood. It’s made from different resins and sawdust, it is a dense material.

Metric System

This is a system of measurement that is more common in European countries than it is in the United States, and it’s all based on multiplying and dividing by 10. There are no fractions, and converting from one unit to the next simply involves moving the decimal point.

Milk Paint

A special paint made from casein and other additives, the powder is mixed with water, and a liquid paint is produced. Color is added through the addition of pigments, and milk paint shades are very rustic and old fashioned looking, which is part of their charm.


This is where wood is sent in the form of logs, and where is transformed into usable pieces of wood for woodworkers. They are equipped to cut the larger logs down to size, and the wood is then dried and sold for many different purposes.


When you say that you are doing millwork, you are cutting different pieces of lumber down to size for use in different projects. This can also be referred to as milling, and it’s where you are reducing the size of larger pieces in order to create the pieces that you need to use.

Mineral Spirits

A petroleum distillate used in thinning finishes, Mineral Spirits is sold in a metal can in most hardware stores and woodworking stores. You can use it as a thinner or a solvent, and it will come up now and again as you learn different finishing techniques.

Mineral Streak

This is when there is a colorful streak through a piece of wood that is the result of sucking up certain minerals through the root system and up through the body of the tree. This creates a mineral streak in the wood, and it can be very beautiful and unique.

Mineral Oil

A petroleum distillate, mineral oil is a food safe penetrating oil that can be combined with beeswax or carnauba wax in order to make a food safe finish that can be used on items that may come in contact with food or young children.

Mission Furniture

A style of furniture, made from mostly oak, with clean vertical lines, and an emphasis on the grain of the wood rather than the construction. This was a big diversion from the over the top furniture of the previous era, and a welcome change for a more restrained and clean look.

Mission Style

Mission furniture can also be refereed to as Mission Style furniture or Mission Style construction. Any time you make something using the design philosophy of Mission Furniture, you are creating something in the Mission Style, and that can be any kind of project, not just furniture. 


A Miter is an angled cut, that typically goes through the edge of the board and to the other edge, it is made with any type of saw but most commonly a miter saw. This is an angled cut, and it allows the boards to be placed around corners like in the case of baseboards.

Miter Box

This is a small wooden trough shaped tool that has premade cuts that help you create miters of specific angles using a handsaw. It is common that you can make 90 degree and 45 degree angle miter cuts with a miter box and a handsaw.

Miter Gauge

These are common on tools that have table tops, a miter gauge is a tool that assists in making cross cuts and also making those cuts at certain angles. It has a gauge that allows you to set the angle, and a tightening knob to secure it in place.

Miter Joint

When you minder the ends of two boards and then join them together, this is called a miter joint. This is common when making a picture frame, or joining the ends of some baseboard when installing trim in a house.

Miter Saw

A saw that is specifically designed for miter cuts is called a miter saw. These are most commonly power tools with a head that can be pulled down while the saw blade makes the cut. These are also called chop saws.

Miter Slot

Found on most cutting tools, the miter slot is a cut made into the table top of the tool that is typically about 3/4 inch wide and about 1/2 inch deep. It accepts several different tools and jigs that use the slot for a reference as it runs parallel to the blade.

Modified Wood

Wood that has been changed through the use of heat is called modified wood. It is also called Thermally Modified Wood, or Thermowood. This is essentially baking a piece of wood until it reaches an even coloring throughout, strengthening the cells, and making in many ways a better wood product. 

Moisture Content

The amount of moisture that is present in a board is called the moisture content. It’s important when working with wood to make sure that the moisture content is in balance with the surrounding environment so that it doesn’t shrink or swell, causing damage.

Morse Taper

The common taper that you will find on lathes and other tools using a friction fitting for certain parts of the tool, this is a gradual taper that allows one piece to become centered inside another and then fit by pressure and friction. The taper fits into the female side, and can then be removed by tapping it out from the inside.


The female side of the joint, or the opening where the tenon is inserted is called the mortise. It’s made with power tools or hand tools, and it created to allow the tenon inside with a firm fit. Glue is then used to hold them together.

Mortise and Tenon

When one piece of wood is created with a tenon on the and, and is then inserted into a mortise with glue, this is called a mortise and tenon joint, or simply a mortise and tenon. There are both powered and hand methods for making this type of joint, and it is one of the strongest in woodworking.


This is a machine that is used to create mortises. It typically has a chisel type head with a auger drill bit in the middle, which is advanced downwards by pulling a lever. Through making multiple passes, you create a mortise.

Mortising Chisel

A specific type of chisel with a flat face and a flat bevel is called a mortising chisel, and it’s used to create mortises in wood by hand. These are chisels that are meant to be driven by a mallet, and they are very strong.


Molding is another name for trim that goes around baseboards around cabinets, and around your ceiling. This can be very fancy, with lots of different curves and angles, they can also be very simple as well.

Molding Plane

This tool is a hand plane with a sole and blade that have a very specific shape, which is used to create some of the interesting and beautiful profiles found in custom wood molding. This is the non-power version of a router with a molding bit.


This is just another spelling for molding, and the two can be used interchangeably depending upon where you read the word. This is any type of trim molding that can be found on baseboards, and around cabinets in kitchens.

Monkey Wrench

Typically used in plumbing, this is a long metal wrench with a set of jaws that are adjustable, and used to turn pipes and pipe fittings as they screw together. They come in several different sizes, and some are very heavy.


This is the acronym for a Morris taper one, which is a very specific sized taper that is used on the lathe, and other woodworking machines.


This is the acronym for the morris taper two, which is the more common of the major tapers, and it is found on the lathe as well as several other woodworking machines.

| N |


This is a cylindrical piece of metal that can vary in length, but is typically far longer than it is wide. There is a head at the top, and a hammer is used to drive it into two pieces of wood, holding them together.

Nail Gun

Typically powered by air, the nail gun is another name for a pneumatic nailer, or a brad nail gun. These are used to fire very thin nails to hold pieces of wood together while assembling projects. They serve as holding methods while the glue dries.

Nail Puller

This is a special tool with a cloth on the end, typically made from metal, and can be anywhere from a few inches to several inches long. It’s entire purpose is to pull nails, and ahead is designed in such a way that it uses leverage to help pull them out.

Nail Set

The nail set is a piece of metal that’s round, a few inches long, and comes to a taper at the tip, which is about the size of a nail head. The tip is placed on top of a nail that has been driven flush to the surface of a board, and is used with a hammer to push the head below the surface slightly.


This is another name for a nail gun, a nailer is a device that uses air to drive nails into pieces of wood, these can be very large nails as in the case of construction, or smaller nails for assembly and finish work.

Natural Edge

When a tree is cut down, the outer most part of the tree is typically cut away from boards that are used to make different projects. This part is called the live edge or natural edge, and it shows the exact shape of the outside of the tree as it stood in nature.

Natural Edge Turning

This is a special type of wood turning where a log is mounted in a certain way that the operator preserves the live edge of the tree or the natural edge, and it’s used as a focal point in the final wood turning project.

Natural Finish

Any finish that is made of natural oils that are not processed or mixed with petroleum products can be called a natural finish. Manufacturers will stretch this definition a little bit, but in general these are plant oil and insect-based finishes.


This acronym stands for non-grain raising. This is a specific type of wood stain that does not cause the grain to swell and pop out above the surface. This is useful because it eliminates the step of raising the grain and sanding it back before applying your stain.


The material called nitrile is an alternative to latex that has far fewer allergies and reactions related to its use. This is the most common type of material used in protective gloves, and has now become as inexpensive as latex.

Nitrile Gloves

An alternative to latex gloves, nitrile gloves are made from material that causes far less problems and allergies for the average person. These gloves are easy to find, because they are mostly colored blue, and sold anywhere gloves are sold.

Nominal Size

This is part of the interesting side of wood selling, and it’s a way of selling something smaller than expected for the larger dimension. For example, a piece that is said to be 1 thick is actually closer to 3/4 inch thick. Likewise, a 2 thickness is usually around 1-1/2 inches. You will get used to it. In the beginning, just carry a tape measure so you can check the sizes for yourself and get the right amount of wood for your projects.

Non Drying Oil

Oils that are present in finishes that do not ever fully dry are called non drying oils. These will reduce in wetness over time but they will never fully dry when exposed to air. In order to dry out, they need help from other means, typically chemical in nature or sometimes physical like in the case of heating.

Non Commercial Wood Species

Any species of wood that is not used for commercial purposes can be considered a non-commercial wood species. These are fairly rare, because in most cases any type of wood that can be sold for a manufacturing process could be considered commercial wood.

Non Grain Raising

The acronym for non-grain raising is NGR, and this is the type of wood stain that you can use to color your projects without raising the grain. Some stains causes the wood fibers to swell and creates a rough surface, but non grain raising stain will not do that.

See Also: Using My New Fiebings Dye Stains

Non Piloted Router Bit

A router bit that does not have a bearing, which is used to guide the router bit, is called a non-piloted router bit. These are just as common as piloted bits, and you need to use a fence or another means of guiding the router to achieve a straight cut.


This is a fairly wide term, and can cover any small bit of material that is removed to create an opening where something else can be placed inside. This opening is called a notch, and just about any small opening cut into a piece of wood where another piece will go can be called a notch.

| O |

Off Cut

While making woodworking projects, there are pieces that will fall to the floor and not be needed as you are creating the actual pieces for the project. These are called off cuts, or drop, and they become scraps that can be used for other smaller projects.


The Ogee pattern is one of the most famous patterns in all of woodworking, and it’s classic to see on the edges and trim molding. It has a curvy look, and there are router bits and molding planes that can help you create this pattern on the edges of your work.

Oil Base

Any type of finishing product that has a petroleum distillate in the mixture can be called an oil based finish, and they are some of the most common. Like it or not, oil base finishes do still outperform the alternatives quite handily.

Oil Finish

The term oil finish is used to describe any type of hand applied oil that creates a finish for your woodworking projects. This can be oils that penetrate, and also oils that form a film on the surface with the aid of other chemicals.

Oil Paint

Pigment based paint that has oils in the mixture is called oil paint, and is most commonly seen in tubes and called artists oils. They’re used by painters primarily, but can also be used with natural plant oils to create pigmented finishes.

Oil Stain

Most woodworking stains are oil based, so it is not uncommon to see them called oil stain, instead of oil based stain. This is a term that you can use to describe any type of wood stain that is made from petroleum products.

Old Fashioned Woodworking

There is a segment of woodworking that uses older methods, older tools, and typically doesn’t do any type of power in the shop at all. This is called old-fashioned woodworking, and can be very pleasing and fulfilling if it’s a segment of woodworking you wish to pursue.

Old Growth

Trees that are older, and have been on the earth longer tend to grow at a slower rate than newer trees. These represent themselves as growth rings that are much tighter, and in many cases produce wood that is superior to the wood grown for woodworking purposes today.

On Center

This is the way of measuring something that is round, or locating a hole for a screw. When you measure for that location, you measure based on the center of the head of the screw rather than the edge, because that will allow you to drill a hole where the center of the screw will pass through.


This is a term used to describe dimensional lumber, and a one by is actually a half an inch thick, which is standard for dimensional lumber. Most of the time, you can just take half an inch off of the measurement and you’ll have the actual size of the piece.

One Off

A term for woodworking projects, a one off is a project that you build from start to finish one time with no intention of ever building again, or building in multiples. This can be a fun side project, or something that you only intend on making one time.

Open Coat

Some sandpaper has a lot more open space between the grains than others. For a sandpaper to be considered open coat, typically 50% of the paper is visible and the other 50% is covered with sand and grit. When it’s closer to 100%, it’s called closed Coat.

Open Time

The amount of time that you have to work with an adhesive before it starts to set, and does not adhere as well, it’s called the open time. This will vary between adhesives, but in general each of them will give you long enough to get your joint correct.

Open Grained

Species of wood that have large open pores that can be seen with the naked eye is called open grained wood. These are some of the most beautiful types of wood that you’ll ever work with, though you’ll have to fill the grain before finishing if you want a level surface.


The person that uses a woodworking machine for some woodworking process is called the operator of that machine. The term is not as often use for hobby woodworking as it is for operators of a woodworking machine in a plant or factory.

Orbital Sander

This is a power sander that is held in the hand, and orbits the sanding pad in order to help you efficiently sand the surfaces of your woodworking projects. These are made by several different manufacturers, and if you have projects to sand they are very useful.

Oriented Strand Board

A type of particle board, oriented strand board is made out of larger particles of wood that are pressed together with adhesives to make a type of board that is much less expensive, but is still strong enough to use for different types of woodworking.


This is the acronym for oriented strand board, which is a type of engineered wood that is made from larger particles which are glued together. The process creates an inexpensive piece of particleboard that can be used in a number of different ways.

Oscillating Drum Sander

This woodworking tool is made of a base and a table top, with a vertical spindle that sticks up from the center. The spindle rotates and bobs up and down, and takes different sandpaper tubes. They are use for standing curves and edges of projects.

Out Feed

Where a piece of wood exits a tool, that is called the outfield. It’s most easily noticed on a thickness planer, where the board exits the machine and comes out the other side a little bit thinner than it was when it entered.

Outboard Turning

In wood turning, most of the time the piece is over the bed of the lathe. With outboard turning, the head of the lathe is turned away from the bed, which allows much larger pieces to be turned and carved with the tool.


When you glue a decorative piece of wood to the top of another piece of wood, like an embellishment, this is called an overlay. They come in a lot of different designs and shapes, and you can even make them yourself.

Overlay Door

This kind of door is common in cabinets, and it’s a door that does not go into a jamb when closed. Rather, it lays on top of the face frame. Most cabinets that are in kitchens and bathrooms are like this, and the hinges allow the door to open and then rest against the face frame when closed.

| P |

Paddle Bit

Use for making larger holes, the paddle bit is a type of drill bit with a flat head that almost looks like the head of a shovel, and has a long point at the center. They are in an inexpensive way of making a larger diameter hole, and you can find them in sets.


Bright orange when freshly cut, this wood oxidizes over time to a deep red and then finally turning brown. The wood is a pleasure to work with, and it comes as a shock to most people when they see it because they have a hard time believing that there is truly a red tree that makes red wood.


This is a general term used for any colored liquid mixture that is used to add a layer of color to another surface. You can use paint on your woodworking projects, though it is not as common as stain, and you can tint paint to nearly any color you desire.

Paint Brush

An applicator for paint, a paintbrush is a small handheld item with a handle, metal ferrule, and bristles. The bristles are dipped into paint, and used to transfer it to the surface that needs to be painted. They come in several sizes and styles.


A pallet is a item used by shippers to safely get their freight from one place to another, and it allows a forklift to pick up their products. They are made of slats and runners, and typically 4‘ x 4‘ square and less than 6 inches tall.

Pallet Wood

Any type of wood or pieces of wood that are salvaged from a shipping pallet can be called pallet wood, and this is a type of reclaimed wood. Very popular with new woodworkers, pallet wood is an inexpensive source of building materials.

Pallet Project

Woodworking projects that are made from re-purposed wood that has been taken from shipping pallets can be called a pallet project. These are extremely popular, and they make use of a resource that is normally thrown in the garbage.


A large, flat, and thin piece for a project is called a panel. You can think of the flat part in the center of your cabinet doors as a panel, though any large flat surface that is held up by other pieces of wood can also be called a panel.

Panel Saw

This is a method of sawing large sheets of plywood into smaller pieces, and it makes use of a hand held circular saw. There is a frame that holds the saw and allows wood to be ran up and down, as well as left and right. Instead of moving the saw the wood is pushed through in most cases.

Particle Board

A type of engineered wood, particleboard is made out of small wood particles and a binder which holds them all together. Machinery then presses them into the shape of usable boards or sheets, and they are sold to woodworkers as an alternative to natural wood.

Paint Thinner

This is a solvent that is used to thin and clean up after the use of oil based paints. It’s sold in the hardware store or the woodworking store in metal cans, and you may end up using it if you use paints.

Painters Tape

The blue tape that is found in hardware stores in the paint section is called painters tape, and it’s a slightly less sticky version of masking tape. This is good for any time you need to tape something temporarily, but want to be able to remove it later without damaging the piece.

Palm Sander

Any type of small electric handheld sander can be called a palm sander, and it’s a catchall term for orbital sanders, random orbital sanders, and anything small and handheld. This is a bread-and-butter tool for woodworkers who make different projects.


The pantograph allows you to trace one picture and reproduce it at a different scale on another piece of paper. It is the low-tech way of blowing up an image, and can be useful for scaling things like inlays to a project of a different size.

Parting Tool

Used on the lathe, this is a narrow tool with a pointed tip that is used to separate a section of wood from the main piece that is being turned by the lathe. It’s common to say that you are going to part off a portion of your blank with a parting tool.


This is a hook shaped piece of metal that rides along a gear where the teeth pass through the pawl in one direction but not the other. This allows the gear or shaft to turn in one direction but not turn in the other. 

Peg Hooks

Any small hooks that are designed to be used in conjunction with pegboard can be called peg hooks, and they come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. You can find hooks to hold just about any type of tool, and they are very useful.

Peg System

This is the term used for the system of pegboard and peg hooks that works together to hold all of your tools and display them on the wall. It’s useful because The system takes advantage of the wall space, conserving valuable floor space in your shop.


These are large pieces of thin material, typically pressed board, that has holes in a graded pattern that can be used to hold different types of pegs. These pegs are then used to hold up your tools, which allows them to be displayed openly on the walls of your shop.


Another name for peg hooks, these are small metal hooks that come in a number of different shapes and are used with pegboard to store your tools on the wall. It’s a great system, and keeps your tools in a place where they are easy to reach at all times.

Pen Lathe

A term for a tiny lathe, the pen lathe is simply a small lathe that is used primarily by pen makers, who don’t need a very large tool in order to create their projects. These are attractive to many beginners, because they are inexpensive.

Penetrating Finish

Any type of finish that sinks into the wood rather than laying on the surface is called a penetrating finish. These are most commonly seen with oils that do not create a film but simply absorbed into the upper most layers of the wood.

Phenolic Resin

This is the original plastic, and is a set of polymers that are used in a number of different applications. The common woodworking cross over is when you buy resin plates or blocks to make into parts for your homemade jigs. The stuff is great to work with, and makes excellent non-marring surfaces when used on a jig or fixture.


A type of screwdriver and drive style, the Phillips head looks like a cross where a double bladed tip is inserted to turn the screw in or out. It holds more firmly than a flat screw head, and does not allow the head to slip out as easily.


Anything that has a sensitivity to light or that changes in the presence of light is said to be photosensitive, or have photo sensitivity. For woodworkers, it’s most noticeable in species like Cherry, which darkens deep in in color in the presence of sunlight.

Piano Hinge

This is a very long hinge that can be sometimes several feet in length, with holes for screws every inch or two. These are used in applications where the movable door or opening is heavy, and this is a much more supportive hinge.


The name for the individual vertical pieces of wood on a picket fence. Each of these boards is characterized by the corners being cut off at the top, creating the iconic pointed shape that is familiar for the type of fencing.


The small particles that are in stains are called pigments, and you can think of them almost like talcum powder, but with a color. This is mixed with a carrier and a binder, and wiped on the surface of wood to add color.

Pigment Stain

Any type of wood stain that uses pigment as at least part of the method for delivering color to the surface of a project can be called a pigment stain. This is a powdery like substance that has a specific color, and the liquid stain has this in its mixture.

Pilot Hole

When drilling a piece of wood in order to use a screw is a faster, a pilot hole removes a portion of the wood to allow the screw to go through the piece without cracking or breaking the wood. This is accomplished by using a drill bit of the size of the screw shank between the threads.


There are a number of different objects that can be called pins, but in general any short cylindrical items inserted into an opening to temporarily hold something together. There can be pins of many different sizes, and they serve to lock things together.

Pin Knot

This is a very tiny knot that can be found on several different types of wood. It is many times considered a mark of beauty, especially when there are many of them on a single board, though in reality it is a defect that may have to be worked around or sawn off.

Pin Nailer

The same for a specific pneumatic nailer, the pin nailer uses 23 gauge nails, which are very fine, and about the same thickness as a sewing needle. The name comes from the fact that the nails are so thin.


An abundant North American wood, Pine is a soft wood with needles and that drops cones to reproduce. The wood is easy to work, common, and a staple in making wood for building homes. If you want to practice on something inexpensive before going on to a higher end species, start with Pine to get your techniques down.

Pipe Clamp

There are special clamps that allow you to hold together very large pieces of work which use pipes as their spines. The fittings are sold by themselves, can you simply buy a length of pipe and attach them in order to use the clamp.

Pipe Wrench

In plumbing, there are special purpose wrenches that are used to turn metal pipes for the purposes of assembling or disassembling them. These can also work on large nuts, and sometimes find their way into woodworking shops.

Pin Router

This is a routing setup where a cylindrical pin is used to guide a template which is attached to a piece of wood that is being cut. The pin acts as a bushing or bearing would on a router bit, and it allows the user to guide the template along the pin while the router bit cuts from below.


The term pitch is another way to say angle. You can refer to the blade pitch or the blade angle interchangeably, which both refer to the same thing. You can tilt a blade to a pitch of ten degrees, or another setting for the pitch.


The center of a tree, where the wood material is loose and mushy is called the pith. This is typically a useless part of the tree, and needs to be removed from any lumber that is cut from that log. Not all trees have a useless pith, and in some species it is strong enough to stay in the boards.

Pivot Block

This is a band saw guide that is set like a fence, but at a 90 degree angle to the way that a fence is normally positioned. The end of the block is tapered or rounded, and it acts like a fence. The key difference is that it allows the user to pivot the board as it goes through the band saw, allowing the operator to counteract the tendency of the band saw to turn in one direction or the other. It’s useful for re-sawing long pieces of wood.

Plain Sawn

At the sawmill, when a log is sawn into flat sections from the top to the bottom, and not rotated at all, this is called plain sawn or flat sawn. It is an efficient way of sawing wood but doesn’t always maintain the best grain orientation.


This is a universal term used to describe any number of hand held tools that are used for leveling wood. These include hand planes, block planes, jack planes, jointer planes, etc. It can also be a name for any flat surface in drafting.


A large board with faces that are bigger than the edges is called a plank. The term is general, and any larger piece of wood with a large flat face can be called a plank, even if it’s not being used in a way that you would think planks should be, like for flooring.


This is a tool used to flatten pieces of wood, and they can come in several sizes. They are generally box shaped, with a head that has rotating knives which smooth out and reduce the thickness of a piece of wood as it’s passed through.


A small handheld tool used for gripping tightly, the pliers uses the force of the hand and multiplies it through a lever to grab items, turn nuts and bolts, or hold things steady as necessary while using a tool in the other hand.


A barrel shaped piece of wood which is extracted by a tool called a plug cutter is called a plug, and it resembles a short length of dowel rod. These are typically used to cover over screws and woodworking projects to disguise their use.

Plug Cutter

A plug cutter is a small tool that fits in a drill press which cuts barrel shaped cylinders of wood from a larger flat piece. The tool cuts these plugs, which can then be used for a number of different woodworking operations.


When something is perfectly vertical, it is said to be plumb. This is the perpendicular version of level, which is when something is perfectly horizontal. To check plumb, you can use a bubble level sideways, or a string and a weight.

Plumb Bob

Used to check plumb, the plumb bob is a heavy piece of metal with a point at the tip, and is suspended by a piece of string. Once the movement settles, the plumb bob creates a perfectly vertical line that is perpendicular to the force of gravity.

Plunge Cut

On a router, when the base of the router allows you to turn on the machine, and press down words, causing the bit to enter the surface of the wood, this is called a plunge cut. Several routers have this feature, and it can be very useful.

Plunge Router

Some routers have the ability to press downwards into a piece of work while the unit is running. This is an intentional design feature, and it allows you to dive the tool into the work without having to do two separate operations.


Engineered wood that is made out of several thinner plys all stacked together and glued into one larger board is called plywood. It’s typical that the core layers are not very good looking, and the exterior faces are better looking.


When a system uses air, and air pressure in order to give power to different tools, it is said to be pneumatic. Basically just think of a nail gun or a air wrench, and understand that it’s the air pressure that gives the tool its power.

Pneumatic Nailer

The type of nail gun that he uses compressed air to fire nails into pieces of wood is called a pneumatic nailer. This can also be called a nail gun, or simply a nailer. It’s a way of fastening one piece of wood to another piece of wood.

Pneumatic Sprayer

This is a method of applying finishes to woodworking projects where compressed air is shot through a spray gun which picks up the finish and deposits it on the surface of the project. This can also simply be called a spray gun.

Pocket Hole

An angled hole made with a drill, a pocket hole is used to join two flat pieces of wood together by fastening a screw through their edges. There are special tools and jigs that make the process easier, with the most common brand name being Kreg.

Pocket Hole Jig

The pocket hole jig is a small plastic and metal item that is clamped to a piece of wood and it helps in aligning pocket holes to the proper orientation and depth. It makes the drilling process very easy, and the results are reliable and repeatable.

Pocket Hole Screw

There are special screws that are used and sold with pocket hole jigs, they are self starting, and they also tend to have square drive heads. These screws are also manufactured at the proper length for different thicknesses of material.


This is a clear finish that is available in liquid form in a can and also in a spray. It’s good for an easy to apply clear finish, and is made of polymers and urethane that are combined in a solution. Applied as a liquid, once the solvents evaporate, only the solids are left behind. 

Polyvinyl Acetate Glue

Also called White Glue, this is abbreviated as PVA glue. This is the common school glue that you may have worked with as a kid, and can still use on crafts and work with paper. It has some woodworking applications, but in general Aliphatic Resin glue is more useful for your wood to wood joints.


A North American hardwood, Poplar is a common tree that produces lumber that you can find in many places including your local hardware store in most cases. The wood ranges from a tan color to all shades of green, purple, and black. Some of the more varied pieces of Poplar are very beautiful, even with the low cost associated with the species.

Positive Stop

This is an angle adjustment on a tool that is pre-set with a groove or notch that the tool can easily be placed into. The easy to find angles on a miter saw like 30 degrees, where it locks into a slot as you turn the base is called a positive stop. It’s a way of making the common angles easy to lock into when making cuts.


A vertical piece of wood embedded in the ground is called a post. This can be any size, but typically it is a larger piece that is used for structure when building the rest of the project.

Pot Life

This refers to the amount of time that glue can remain open and in the glue pot before it starts to lose its ability. This will vary from type to type, but it refers to a period of time in which you can safely use your glue before it goes bad. This is most often associated with hide glue.

Power Strip

Plugging everything into power outlets in your shop can be a little difficult, and that’s where the power strip, which is a long plastic or metal item with several female plugs and one male can come in handy. It’s an efficient way of plugging several tools into one power source.

Pre Drill

Anytime that you drill pilot holes, or drill holes that help locate screws later on in the project, this is called pre-drilling. When you pre-drill for your screws, you make it easier for the screw to enter the wood and reduce the risk of breaking or splitting.

Preventative Maintenance

Nearly all tools require a little bit of work and upkeep in order to have them running at their best and helping them last longer. This is called preventative maintenance, and you can find out all about it in your users manuals.

Primary Wood

The main wood species that you’ll be using in any project can be called the primary wood, and it’s also a term that is used to talk about the most prevalent or most easily visible wood species out of a particular project.


When one surface sits slightly above another surface, the higher of the two surfaces is said to be proud of the other one. You can also use the term high, and in most cases this is a situation where the taller surface needs to be sanded down to match the shorter surface.


This is the acronym for pressure sensitive adhesive. This is a type of glue that is applied thinly, allowed to tack slightly, and then pressed against another surface that is undergoing the same treatment. The pressure causes the surfaces to adhere together.


This is the acronym for pounds per square inch. You are most likely to run into this when dealing with pneumatic tools, and checking the pressure required to operate the tool safely. It’s a measurement of pressure, and it’s common on air tools.

Press Fit

When you can press one part or piece into another part or piece without requiring any tools besides the strength of your hands and arms, this is it to be a press fit. It’s even more common that it’s just the strength of your fingers, and it’s a joint that is tight enough to hold the piece but not so tight that it has to be forced inside.

Pull Saw

Most American saws have their teeth set so that way they cut on the push stroke, in contrast, Japanese saws have the teeth set differently, so they cut on the pull stroke. These are called pull saws, and they can make a very thin kerf cuts on wood.


Ground up rock that is precision ground and filtered to a uniform consistency and sold for the purposes of polishing wood is called pumice. It can come from several different sources, and is made of volcanic rock that is pulverized and sifted.

Purpleheart Wood

This is a beautiful wood species that has a bright purple color when freshly cut, which changes over time with exposure to sunlight becoming even deeper and more colorful. If you want to make a statement with a very unique type of word, Purple Heart is a good choice.

Push Stick

When making cuts on the tablesaw, many times it’s difficult to properly guide the piece when making a thin rip. In a case like this, rather than risking your fingers, a push stick is simply any stick shaped piece of wood with a notch on the end that she used to push other pieces through a saw.

PVA Glue

This is the acronym/name for poly vinyl acetate glue, which is most commonly referred to as white glue or school glue. This is a very common type of adhesive that has a lot of different uses, and is inexpensive and easy to find.

| Q |

Quarter Sawn

When milling wood, pieces that are cut so the annual growth rings are perpendicular to the faces of the wood is said to be quarter sawn. This is not the most efficient way of milling lumber, so pieces with this type of grain orientation are less common.

Quarter Sheet

When talking about sandpaper, if you take a full sheet of sandpaper and separate it into four equal size pieces, you then have a quarter sheet of sandpaper. The most common time you’ll run into this is when buying a palm sander that takes quarter sheets of sandpaper.

Quarter Sheet Sander

This is a type of handheld sanding instrument that is a powered tool, and the individual pieces of sandpaper that are used are all quarter sheet in size. This can be any type of sander, as long as it takes a quarter sheet.


Wood that is quarter sawn is said to also be quartered. These terms can be used interchangeably, though it’s more common to hear the term quartersawn instead of quartered. They both mean the same thing though, which is pieces of wood where the grain lines run perpendicular to the faces.

| R |


This is a type of cut in woodworking where you create a notch, shelf, or ledge shaped feature on a piece of wood. It’s typically made along the edge or the end, and it’s a cut that does not go all the way through the piece of wood in either of the two directions. Instead, it forms a notch or a ledge that runs the entire length of the piece.

Rabbet Bit

There are special router bits and sets of router bits that are used to make rabbets in woodworking, and these are called rabbet bits. They come in a number of different sizes, and you can choose both the height and the depth of your rabbit simply by picking the right bit.

Rabbet Joint

When you join one piece of wood to another piece of wood using a rabbet on at least one of those pieces, it is said to be a rabbit joint. This is an effective way of increasing the gluing area, and helping the pieces stay together longer.

Rabbet Plane

Special hand planes that are designed for creating rabbets without using a tool like the router is called a rabbet plane. These have the blades set in a certain way so that it cuts flush with the tool bed, and allows you to create rabbits without using power tools.

Radial Arm Saw

This type of power saw uses a post and an arm that holds the saw above a work area. The piece you want to cut is placed on that work board, and the saw can be moved around and positioned to make many different cuts on that piece.


The distance from the center of a circle straight out words towards its edge is called radius. This is helpful in woodworking, because many times you will be need to put a radius of a known size on the corners or edges of your wood. It’s also helpful in creating plans.


Rails are the horizontal pieces in a cabinet door made of rails, stiles, and a panel. The rails are at the top and the bottom, and they are horizontal in orientation. The stiles are on the sides, and the panel is in the middle.

Rail and Stile Bit

There are router bits sold just for the purpose of making raised panel doors for cabinets, and they are called rail and style bits. These will make a set of rails and stiles that fit together really well, and allow for the cabinet door making process to go along more smoothly.

Raise the Grain

An important part of applying a finish, raising the grain is the last step where you wet the wood surface in order to cause the fibers to swell, and some to pop out. You then come back and carefully sand them away, creating a very flat surface that’s ready to accept a finish.

Raised Grain

When applying at finish, or in some cases when a piece of wood gets wet, it can cause the grain to swell and wood fibers to pop out of the surface in random places. This is said to be a raised grain, and it needs to be sanded out before the finishing process can continue.

Raised Panel

On the cabinet door, the center panel which is between the rails and the styles can sometimes have a particular appearance where it pops outward or raises up. This is done by treating the edge in such a way that it pushes the panel forward. In this type of cabinet, the panel is said to be a raised panel because of that feature.


The rake is the angle of the part of the saw tooth that makes contact with the wood. Its called the rake, and it is measured and named to distinguish the type of angle that it has, so you know what kind of blade you are buying and how it will perform.


This is below the tooth, and sets the maximum amount of cut that the tooth can take with each pass through the wood. It’s placed just below the height of the tooth, allowing only a certain amount of wood to be taken off by the tool each time is goes through the material being cut.

Random Orbital Sander

This is a type of palm sander that uses electric power to quickly vibrate and turn a standing pad in random movements in order to help stand your woodworking projects. These are very common, easy to find, and a staple for woodworkers.


This is a metal tool with a handle, and several (hundreds or more) little teeth hammered out of the surface. It is used to abrade wood, and to file it to shape. Rasps come in different shapes, and with different levels of coarseness depending on what type of application you need it for.

Rattle Can

Another name for a spray can, like spray paint or lacquer, the rattle can is a pressurize can that is designed to help apply spray finishes. There is a small glass bead in the can which rattles as the product is shaped, giving the can its name.

Razor Blade Knife

This is a small handheld tool with a retractable and replaceable razor blade used for a number of different cutting and marking operations in woodworking. These come in several different styles, but they all hold replaceable razor blades.

Razor Knife

Another name for a razor blade knife, this is a small handheld tool that takes replaceable razor blades. The tool is used for cutting mainly, and once the blade becomes dull, it’s easy to replace by removing the old one and replacing it with a new blade.


The act of removing an old finish from a piece and reapplying a new finish is called refinishing. This can be as simple as sanding off the old finish, or as involved as using a chemical stripper to completely remove the previous layer of finish before applying a new layer.

Reciprocating Saw

The reciprocating saw is a barrel shaped, handheld electric saw that is very useful for demolition and construction style work. It accepts a number of different blades that can be used to cut metal, plastic, or wood. There are both cordless and corded models available as well.


When a material use for a project has been used for something else previously, particularly being salvaged or recovered from an older project, it is said to be reclaimed. This can be any type of material, though and woodworking is the most common is wood of course.

Reclaimed Project

Any project that is made using reclaimed materials as the source for the build can be considered a reclaimed project. This does not have to be wood, but in most cases for woodworkers that is where the source of the materials will be.

Reclaimed Wood

Any wood that was once used for a different purpose, whether that is a structure, project, or even a shipping pallet, that is then harvested for use again can be called reclaimed wood. Think of it as wood that is been recycled.


A common North American softwood, these trees are large, and are used in making many different woodworking projects. The wood is easy to work, light tan to deep brown, and with a reddish tint in some cases. 

Red Oak

A major variety of Oak, Red Oak is the most common used in making cabinets and furniture. The wood was a reddish tint when compared to white oak, and it is open grained with that classic Oak look that you are likely familiar with.


When caning a chair seat, there are certain types of cane that are called reed, an they are sold in rolls for use in making custom chair seats. If you are making a new chair, or repairing an older chair, this plant fiber is used to weave a seat that is strong and comfortable. 


The re-planting of trees and intentional growing of forests that were once cut down is called reforestation. This is a good thing, because re-growing these forests can help restore them to the same levels as they were before we started harvesting from them.

Relative Humidity

The amount of humidity in the air, expressed as a percentage, is called the relative humidity. This is used to describe how much water vapor is suspended in the air at any given time, and is useful for woodworking to understand how wood expands and contracts in different climates.

Relief Cut

Mostly used when cutting curves, a relief cut is a cut that comes in perpendicular to the curve, and allows little portions of wood to fall off as the saw makes the main cut. These are common when cutting tight curves on a bandsaw.

Repair Knife

In the wood finishing and repair trade, a small knife with a curved and flexible blade is called a repair line, and it’s used to help apply different fillers and waxes. These additives are used to disguise defects and damage, and repair a finish.


The act of sawing larger billets of wood into smaller pieces that are commonly sized for woodworking projects is called resawing, and in the tool that does it can be called a re-saw, no matter what type of tool it actually is.

Resaw Fence

A slightly taller fence that is used for the purposes of milling taller pieces of wood down into smaller pieces for use in woodworking is called a resaw fence. These can be purchased, or they can be made in the shop and fitted to the saw.


Many softwoods have a sticky substance that is anywhere from clear to amber that is secreted by the wood, typically around knots. This is called resin, and in most woodworking projects it would need to be removed prior to finishing. This can also refer to the resins used in epoxy products.


This is a type of file that is narrow, with a curved head. The tool is used for filing away concave surfaces, and they have several different shapes and levels of coarseness. You can typically find them in sets for all of your smaller filing needs. 

Rift Cut

This refers to pieces of wood that are milled with the grain running perpendicular to the faces because it was cut radially at the mill. Imagine the pieces radiating from the center of the log almost like a snowflake shape. It’s a very wasteful way of cutting the log, but it gets a lot of good looking pieces rather than only a few good looking pieces and a large number of plain pieces.

Rift Sawn

Another term for Rift Cut, this is where wood is cut from the center of the log outwards, making it appear to be quarter sawn, and wasting a ton of wood in the process. 

Right Angle

An angle that measures 90 degrees is called a right angle. This is useful to know in woodworking because most of your legs are going to be oriented at a right angle to your tops, which makes for a piece that stands up straight and doesn’t wobble.

Right Angle Attachment

The right angle attachment is a small attachment for your drill that changes the direction of the drive 90 deprees. This is very useful for tightening and removing screws that are not easily accessible by the drill due to its size.


This is the type of cut that goes along the length of a board, and it is used to cut pieces of material to width. It is most common on a table saw, though there are many other tools that are capable of doing a rip cut.

Rip Blade

On any tool that is making ripped cuts, when use a very specific blade that is designed to make rip cutting far more easy and clean, that blade itself is set to be a rip blade. It can also be called a ripping blade, or a rip cutting blade.

Rip Cut

Another name for a rip, this is the type of cut that goes along with the grain of a piece of wood, it is used to cut pieces too width. It happens most often on the tablesaw, and the cut is made in the same direction as the grain piece of wood, no matter the size.

Rip Fence

Most common on the tablesaw, this is a long piece of wood, metal, or both that is slid left and right and locked into place in order to set the size of a piece of wood that will go through the table saw. It’s a way to set the width, and then boards are pushed through the saw and cut to that with.

Riving Knife

On the backside of a table saw blade, there is a thin piece of metal on some models that looks like a reverse shark fin. The riving knife is about the same thickness as the blade itself, and it serves to hold the pieces exiting the saw apart, preventing them from pinching the blade.

Rotten Stone

This is a special type of pumice that is very fine, and is used for smoothing wood as well as filling in the pores of open grain pieces of wood. It’s a slightly old-fashioned technique, but is still used today by a number of woodworkers.

Rotary Cut

In the production of wood veneers, when a log is spun, and then a knife is brought up to the spinning log, it creates a sheet of wood that is cut around the log itself, almost like unrolling a roll of paper towels.

Rotary Tool

The most often used name for this tool is a Dremel tool, which is the most popular brand of rotary tool. This handheld tool has a rotating shaft that takes a number of different bits that can be used for shaping and cutting different materials.


In woodworking, the rotation of a bit is a term used to describe the way in which a bit turns and more commonly the direction. The direction is important, because it can affect the way that you need to feed the wood in order to get the best results.

Rough Cut

Any piece of wood that has gone through the initial milling phases and has heavy tool marks on the piece is said to be rough cut. This is the initial dimensioning phase at the mill, and it’s when the wood is closest to its original state.

Rough Sawn

Rough sawn is another way of saying rough cut. This is wood that is only been through the initial milling phases, and has not yet been processed into the clean and smooth pieces of wood that you are familiar with seeing at a woodworking store.

Roughing Gouge

In the wood turning, the roughing gouge is a long metal tool with a wooden handle where the middle portion is shaped like a U, and sharpened at the tip. This tool is used to remove large amounts of material on a lathe quickly and easily.

Round Over

There are a lot of different ways to do this, but a round over is just a process or a look where the corners and edges are given a radius instead of allowed to be sharp. This makes the piece look nicer, and also takes away any sharpness.


To route something is to use a router to create some sort of look or woodworking process on a piece of wood. It’s the act itself. You could say that you are going to route a rounded edge onto a board for example.


The router is a handheld tool with a spinning bit at the center, and a plate that is designed to hold the tool perpendicular to your project. It accepts a number of different bits, and each of them do something different.

Router Table

When a router is mounted upside down in a tabletop, the tool now becomes what is called a router table. These can also be fitted with fences, lifts, and other accessories that make the process of routing easier and even safer too.

Rubbing Compound

There are goopy, syrup like compounds that are made with carriers and grits that are used to polish cured finishes. These are called rubbing compounds, and they come in a number of different grits. They can we use to hand polish a finish to a high sheen.

Rubbing Out a Finish

The process of hand polishing a finish using different compounds and cloth is called rubbing out a finish. This can also be called finishing the finish, and it’s where you remove any inconsistencies in the level of the finish itself.


On a turning machine part or spinning bit, the amount of wobble in that bit is called run out, and it’s essentially a way of talking about the limitations of the tool itself, or the accuracy or damage to a bit or a blade. Most tools have a little bit of run out, but anything out of the acceptable range can cause problems when making cuts.


The term rustic is used to describe a style of woodworking where pieces are created using methods that are designed to intentionally make them look old. It’s the art of making a new piece of woodworking look like it has been around for a very long time.


Also called distressing, this is a process of using artificial means to mimic the look of natural age marks on a piece of woodworking. There are a lot of different ways to make a new piece of wood look old, and they can all be called rustication.

| S |


This acronym stands for surface to surface, and this is where the lumber is surfaced or flattened on two sides, typically the faces, prior to being sold to the stores and finally the customer. 


The acronym represents three faces of the wood being surfaced, typically the large faces and one edge. This creates a nice 90 degree edge and two flat faces, giving the woodworker an initial reference point to start marking out their project.


The means four surfaces have been smoothed prior to being sold. Rough lumber has the faces and the edges flattened and smoothed, which makes the best looking wood in the shop because it doesn’t have any rough areas other than the ends, which are expected to be rougher.

Sacrificial Fence

When a secondary fence is created and attached to the original fence in order to prevent damage to the original fence, this is called a sacrificial fence. It’s called that because you can cut through it and not ruin your tool.


Safety is a general term that describes the act of preserving yourself and your body and making good decisions while being a woodworker. There are different things that you can do, and equipment that you can wear to make yourself safer in the shop. If you’re serious about woodworking, you need to be serious about safety as well.

Safety Glasses

These are special glasses that are designed to withstand an impact and protect the eyes from damage during and different processes in woodworking. They can be elaborate or plain, cheap, or expensive. You get what you pay for, and it’s very difficult to be a blind woodworker, so make sure to invest in a nice pair.

Safety Guidelines

The suggestions and statements that come from the manufacturer about how to properly operate a particular tool can be called safety guidelines. These are important to know before you use a tool, especially tool that you have not used before. They are designed to keep you safe.


The process of using abrasive particles to grind and abrade the surface of a piece of wood in an effort to change it shape or make it smoother is called sanding. There are a number of different ways to sand a piece of wood, but the process of grinding away and wearing away material is the same.

See Also: 17 Important Tips on How to Sand Wood

Sanding Drum

Any barrel or cylinder shaped part of a tool that is covered in sandpaper and used for the purposes of sanding wood is called a sanding drum. These are common in the larger sanders that are used to flatten pieces of wood.


Abrasive particles that are stuck to a piece of thick paper with adhesive is called sandpaper, and it’s used to shape and smooth pieces of wood. There are a lot of different types of sandpaper, but the essential process is the same where there are gritty particles attached to a flexible backing.

Sandpaper Cleaner

This is a small piece of beige colored rubber that is almost like a large pencil eraser, and used to help remove saw dust that is lodged between the particles on a sanding belt. They are not expensive, and they come in a number of different sizes.


The sapwood in a tree is the layer under the bark that is alive and carries the water and nutrients throughout the trunk. Its the active and living part of the tree in the sense that the vascular movement of food and water goes through this area and then out to the rest of the parts of the tree.


Any item that uses metal teeth to cut through wood can be called a saw. These can be powered or non-powered, and there are many different tools that can all be called saws. Some examples are the table saw, band saw, hand saw, and pull saw. 


A smaller woodworking bench with top boards laid side by side for the top, and a slot down the middle is called a sawbench. The slot allows for cutting larger pieces of wood on the surface of the bench without doing damage to the bench itself. 


A sawhorses a four-legged wooden item with a single beam across the top and is used to hold up large pieces of wood while cutting in building. These can be made in the shop, or they can be purchased, and they can also be several different sizes.


The act of using a saw to separate one piece of wood into more than one piece is called sawing, and it can be done in a number of different ways. The word still works just the same though, and anytime you use a saw to cut a piece of wood, it can be called sawing.

Saw Rasp

A special type of wood rasp that is made from bent hacksaw blades that could be used on a hack saw is called a saw rasp. This is a tool that is handheld, and meant to be used for shaping and smoothing pieces of wood.


The person that operates a saw, particularly in a sawmill is called a Sawyer. This is an occupation, and this is the person that is responsible for cutting pieces of wood from larger logs and producing wood that is more usable to the average woodworker.


The saws all is a brand name for a tool called a reciprocating saw. This is a handheld power tool with a long body, and that accepts several different blades. These can be short or long, and used to cut through many different construction type materials.


Used to measure the weight of an object, a scale can be either a manual or digital, and serves to provide information about the weight of a particular object. This is useful when you make your own finishes, particularly shellac.

Scarf Joint

This type of joint involves cutting the ends of a couple boards that are being jointed together to a shallow angle, then bringing the faces of those cuts together and gluing them into one board. It’s a way to do an end to end joint with a far larger gluing area than if they were simply glued with a butt joint.


The score is a handheld tool that has a metal hoop at the end with one edge of it sharpened for use in shaping wood. It’s typically used to hollow out or dish out a flat piece of wood, like an example of a wooden chair that has a carved bottom.


Another name for the cabinet scraper, the scraper is a thin piece of metal that is typically rectangular in shape, and use to smooth pieces of wood. The edge is burnished to make it sharp, and it’s pushed or pulled along the wood surface.

Scratch Awl

This is a metal tool with a point on the end and a small wooden handle on the other side. It’s used for marking very fine lines, and is a useful item to have in the shop because unlike a pencil it never runs out of its ability to mark for you.


A method of joining one piece of wood to another piece of wood through mechanical means, a screw is a slender and long piece of metal with threads that advance the screw into the wood by turning in one direction. Turning in the other direction retract the screw.

Screw Driver

This tool has a round shaft with a screwdriver tip and a handle on the other side. The tip can vary based on the type of screw that they are designed to install and remove. It’s use is to hand tighten and loosen screws on a woodworking project.

Screw Extractor

When a screw head is stripped, and cannot be removed with the matching screwdriver, a screw extractor helps by allowing you to make a small hole, and retract the stripped screw quickly and easily. These come in sets of different diameters.

Screw Gun

Another name for a drill, or a driver, the screw gun is a power tool that is used for quickly and easily driving screws into a project. There are several different brands and styles, but they’re all very good at repeatedly driving wood screws.

Screw Insert

This is a barrel shaped metal piece with rough threads on the outside and machine threads on the inside. It’s turned into a hole that is pre-drilled into a piece of wood, and sits flush to the surface. The insert provides machine threads for screwing in a bolt, and can be used as a way of bolting pieces of wood together.

Screw Pocket

The hole made for installing pocket hole screws is called a screw pocket. This is typically made with a jig, and results in an angled hole that the screw can go through and the head can rest upon while inside. The entire body of the screw is hidden in this style of joinery.


The scribe is a small cylindrical piece of metal that comes to a sharp point. It’s purpose is to mark pieces of wood with a very fine scratch that can later be used for cutting pieces of wood to size. Unless you lose it, or damage the tip, a scribe will always be able to make very fine marks.


The act of using a scribe is called scribing. It would be common to say that you were going to scribe a line on a board in order to cut it to that specific length. Unlike a pencil, the scribe never runs out of its ability to make marks.

Scroll Chuck

A chuck where all of the jaws move at the same time as the body is rotated is called a scroll chuck or a scrolling chuck. These are nice to work with because they always center themselves, and center the work material that is held in the jaws.

Scroll Saw

The is a tool used for making fine cuts through wood, and it uses a fast moving fine blade. The tool typically has a deep throat with a long overhead arm that holds a blade on one end. The other is held at the bottom. Thin pieces of wood are passed through the saw, and inside cuts are also possible with the tool.

Scuff Sand

The process of scuff sanding or to scuff sand a project is to just lightly go over the project and rough it up just a pinch with some sandpaper. This isn’t the same as traditional sanding were you would ensure that you went over 100% of the piece, this is a quicker version intended to scuff up the surface slightly.

Sealer Coat

A single coat of finish that seals the wood surface and prepares it for subsequent coats is called a sealer coat. This is normally the same product as the final coats, and it is allowed to dry a little more before the next coats are added. This creates the barrier needed to prevent the additional coats from just soaking in.

See Also: Why You Need to Seal Wood After Staining


The process of allowing a piece of wood that was recently cut to dry out to where the moisture content is low enough to use on a woodworking project is called seasoning. There are a number of different ways to season a piece of wood, and they include natural methods like just waiting, or artificial means like drying in a kiln.

Secondary Bevel

The secondary bevel on an edged tool is the actual bevel that leads to the sharp edge. This is typically different than the primary bevel, which is the one you can see dominantly when you are looking at the tool. 

Secondary Wood

The species of wood that you use on your accents, and in minor places on a woodworking project is called the secondary wood. This is a term that used in conjunction with primary wood, which is the species that used for the largest parts project.


The word select is used when identifying a certain pile of wood or a certain grade of wood that is slightly better than the average of what came off of the mill. This is a slight upgrade to the basic pieces, and it sold for a little bit more because of that fact.

Self-Centering Bit

Any bit that has a means to center itself while being used is called a self centering bit. This is typically a spur or a point that digs slightly ahead of the bit, causing it to stay in the center as is drives through the wood.

Self-Centering Punch

This kind of punch has a bevel around the collar that centers around the holes in a hinge or hasp. The tool automatically does this as you apply pressure, and when you strike the punch, the indent occurs in the center of the hole, exactly where it is needed.

Self Leveling Finish

Any finish that is mixed with enough thinner that it has more wet time that is used to allow the product to self level and smooth itself is called a self leveling finish. A good example is wiping varnish, which is a varnish with a lot of thinner, allowing the product more time to self level before becoming dry.

See Also: 14 Easy Tips for Using Wiping Varnish

Self Sealing Finish

A finish that does not require any other means other than itself to be sealed and strong as a finish is called a self sealing finish. This is seen in stain that also has a finish in the mixture, saving you a step.


This refers to the way the teeth on a saw blade are made, oriented, and designed. You can refer to a blade by the tooth set, or the set. It’s the way that the teeth tip from side to side, allowing the saw to make a slightly bigger channel than itself, to allow for clearance.

Set Screw

This is a small barrel shaped machine screw that does not have a head. The tips can be a rounded point or a sharper point, and the other end has a hex pattern or Allen wrench drive that is embedded within the top of the screw itself. It can be turned completely inside of a hole because it has no head.

Set Time

The amount of time that it takes for glue to be strong enough to work with, but not quite where it needs to be in order to be considered a full strength bond is called a set time. There is the open time, which is how long you have to work with it. The set time, which is how long you have to wait in order to be able to handle the project. Then, the full cure time which is when the glue reaches its maximum strength.


A shake is a wooden shingle that is made from splitting a log into flat sections. Each section is a shake, and each one of them is used in a similar manner to roofing shingles.


On a screw, the top most portion that does not have any threads, or in the case of a screw that has threads the entire way, this would be the center core of the screw, both of these can be called a shank.

Shank Hole

When piloting for a wood screw, it’s not uncommon to drill a hole that is slightly larger on the top most piece of wood allowing the screw to pass through without actually gripping. This allows the screw to grab the second board with its threads, and tightly pull it to the first.


A shaper is a large industrial woodworking tool that essentially looks like a router table, just much larger. This is the type of tool that can take a 4 x 4 and turn it into a railing in a single pass on each side through one gigantic spinning bit.


When an edged tool cuts very well, and has a very fine edge, it is said to be sharp. This is a positive term that is used to describe edged tools that cut really well, and the opposite of this term would be dull.


The act of intentionally creating a sharp edge on a tool, or a knife is called sharpening. There are a number of different ways to sharpen something, and you can do this process both by hand and with the help of machines.

Sharpening Jigs

Any jig that is designed in an effort to make the process of sharpening easier, with better results, that is more effective, can be considered a sharpening jig. If you are interested in sharpening your tools, it’s definitely a good idea to start with a jig to make things easier.

Sharpening Stone

Any natural or man-made stone that is used for the purposes of sharpening edged tools and knives is called a sharpening stone. These are harvested from nature, and they’re also made in factories to precise grit levels and sold for those who sharpen their own tools.

Sharpening Tools

Any of the tools that are involved in the sharpening process can be called sharpening tools. These can be your jigs, stones, and even mechanical and electrical means of sharpening. Basically, anything involving the sharpening process are your sharpening tools.

Shaving Horse

A shaving horse is a bench/sit on tool that holds a work piece in front of you as you use a draw knife to remove material and shape the piece. This is powered by a person, who holds the clamp in place with their feet on a lever and uses their hands to carve. 


The amount of reflection or shininess that is seen on the surface of a finished project is called the sheen. This can go all the way from dead flat, which is not shiny at all, all the way up to high-gloss, which is extremely shiny and reflective.

Sheet Goods

Large flat pieces of human made wood, like particleboard, plywood, and MDF are collectively called sheet goods. It’s common and woodworking to make a list of the wood that you will need, and then also make a list of the sheet goods that you will need to complete a project.

Sheet Metal Screws

This is a special screw that is designed to self start and hold into a piece of sheet metal. These have a self starting tip, a hex head that is driven by a socket, and a medium thread set that allows them to easily be screwed in with a drill.


One of the oldest finishes ever known to be used, shellac is actually a secretion by the lack bug which is deposited on trees. The makers of shellac harvest the secretion, and process and refine it into flakes. These flakes are then mixed with a thinner, like alcohol, and the shellac mixture can be applied to a woodworking project.


A fine piece of wood that has a wedge shape, the shim is used to help in alignment of projects like cabinets, and doorways. They can be tapped in between two surfaces, and the wood shim will drive them farther apart the more the shim is tapped.


This refers to a series of boards that have a tongue and groove on the long sides and fit together. They are used mostly in decoration now, and mainly as wall coverings. The individual boards can be left plain, painted, stained, or any combination of treatments can be used.

Shiplap Joint

The shiplap joint is the tongue and groove or rabbet system that allows pieces of shiplap board to connect to each other when installed. This particular joint gets the name because shiplap is the most common way that the joint is seen.


Planing the edge of a board until it is flat and square is called shooting. This is a common practice in woodworking where a piece of wood needs to be straightened and made true. It’s an important step in woodworking, and it prepares the boards before building a project.

Shooting Board

The shooting board is a special board that fits on the bench, and is used to aid in the process of shooting the edges of a board straight with a hand plane. The board makes the process easier, and helps you make straight edges on your pieces of wood.


The space for you do your work is called your shop. It doesn’t actually have to be a dedicated building, or anything special. Your shop can be a dining room table. The only thing that matters is that you’re able to do the work that you love, and produce woodworking projects.

Shop Lights

Specific lighting that you use in your woodworking shop is called shop lights. These can be incandescent, fluorescent, or LED. They tend to have the shape of a hanging fluorescent light fixture, plain looking, and utilitarian.


As a piece of wood loses moisture as a response to the changing environment, it gets smaller, and this is called shrinkage. Instead of worrying about shrinkage, simply use word that is fully acclimated to your area, and you won’t have to worry about it.


This is another term for short, or lower than. It’s common to say that a piece is just shy of an inch tall, meaning that it’s a little smaller than an inch. This can be used interchangeably with the word shorter, or short of.

Skew Chisel

This common wood turning chisel has a flat blade with a angled cutting surface that is ground to a sharp edge. It has a wooden handle, and is meant to be used on the lathe to perform a number of different cutting and shaping processes.

Skip Tooth

A blade where there are some teeth deleted from the normal amount of teeth per inch is called a skip tooth blade, and these can come in several different styles. 


On a table, the vertical boards that form a box or a rectangular shape underneath the table top, and help give it support and protection from warping is called the skirt. This also helps support the legs, and is typically where the legs are anchored.


A slab is a piece of wood that is cut from a log, going from top to bottom and edge to edge. There are no additional cuts or shaping, it is literally a slice of the bole of a tree that goes from top to bottom and the edge to edge. These are categorized by having the live edge present on both sides, and taking the shape of however the tree was shaped in nature.

Slab Cut

A piece of wood that is cut from the tree the same way that you would cut a slab from a tree is called slab cut. This is essentially just sawing slices off the top of the log, from the top of the tree to the bottom, until there’s no more of the log left.


A common attachment/jig for a tablesaw, the sled allows you to cut pieces of wood to length on your tablesaw without having to ride them along the fence. This can be dangerous with thinner pieces of wood, but the sled carries them, in the rear of the sled becomes the support.

Sliding Bevel

The sliding bevel has a wooden stock and a metal blade, and there is a long channel in the blade that allows it to slide back-and-forth across the anchor point at the top of the wooden handle. This is use for different measuring and marking operations, and transferring angles.

Sliding Dovetail

When you create a dovetail cavity on a piece of wood, and then attach another piece with a matching profile by sliding it into place. This is a very strong joint, and it can also be used in making drawer slides.


Used to sharpen gouges and other rounded carving tools, the slipstone is a sharpening stone that is curved, and allows you create an evenly sharp and true edge on a curved tool. These are useful with gouges and other rounded carving tools.


A dado shaped long groove in a piece of wood is called a slot. It can also be in a piece of flat metal, like in the case of a machine table top. These are made parallel to the blade, and a number of assistive tools and jigs can be used for different types of cuts.

Slot Cutter

A specialty router bit, the slot cutter comes in a couple of different forms, but it’s main duty is to create slots in wood that are later used for other things. One of the more common uses is a T slot cutter, which can then be used for hanging pegs in your shop.


When a piece of wood exits a powered cutting machine, like a thickness planer, sometimes it can dip down and cause the blades to go a little extra deep on the last few inches. This is called snipe, and a well adjusted tool will not cause snipe on the wood passing through.

Soft Wood

The term softwood is a general term that actually refers to evergreen style trees, and the wood that they produce, like pine or fir. It actually doesn’t have anything to do with the density at all, though in general softwoods are less dense than hardwoods.


The bottom of the hand plane, or any type of hand operated plane is called the sole. This needs to be maintained perfectly flat in order for the tool to operate the best that it possibly can, and that involves sanding and leveling the sole as needed.

Spade Bit

Another name for the paddle bit, the spade bit is a drill with a flat head that is typically pretty wide, and has a long point at the center. It’s used to drill holes that are wider than standard drill bits, and they are inexpensive.

Spalted Wood

Spalting is a process where fungus infects a tree and then creates interesting color patterns in the wood. It can take an otherwise average looking piece and make it look extraordinary. These pieces are easy to find, and you can create a very unique look.

Spanish Cedar

The evenly colored light brown wood called Spanish Cedar has a mild aroma of Tennessee cedar, and is an easy to work hardwood with a great look. It’s often used in cigar boxes, and in the lining of humidors. It works similarly to Mahogany, easy to cut and sand, with a decent weight.

Specialty Clamps

Any clamps that are made for a very specific purpose that is not extraordinarily common in woodworking can be called specialty clamps. These are less versatile, though they are very good at the one specific task for which they are designed and sold.

Specialty Router Bits

Router bits that are made for one very specific task, and are basically useless for any other task are called specialty router bits. These are designed for one thing, and they do that one thing very well.

Specialty Tools

Certain tools, which are designed for one very minor aspect in woodworking can be called specialty tools. This is also a term that is used to describe the specific tools needed to build a certain project in addition to the standard woodworking tools found in most shops.

Specific Gravity

This is a measurement but also a comparison. The specific gravity is based off a standard, being water. It’s a measure of the density of the substance as being more or less than the standard, and then associated with a number. It’s just another way to evaluate the properties of wood, like density, weight, etc.

Speed Square

The speed square is a small triangle shaped piece of metal, with a ruler on one side and markings for measuring angles on the other. There is also a lip on one of the legs that lets it hook on the edges of boards really easily. It’s useful for marking angles and in framing.


In woodworking, a spindle is a length of wood that is typically round though can sometimes also be squared, and is used for decorative purposes. There can be structural uses as well, as spindles are a common design feature on chairs, for both look and structure.

Spindle Molder

The spindle moulder is like a giant router. It handles larger bits, and can perform very large routing and shaping types of tasks effortlessly. This is not a common small shop tool, but it can bring a lot of power into a shop when needed.

Spindle Sander

A spindle sander is a vertical sanding drum or cylinder that comes up from the center of a flat base. The piece being sanded is laid on the base, and then brought into contact with the spinning sander. This is useful for sanding the edges of projects and keeping them 90 degrees to the faces.


Used in joinery, a spline is a flat piece of wood that is inserted into a slot in between two other pieces of wood that assists in making the joint stronger. These add glue area, and also can be used as a decorative feature when you allow them to be seen.

Spline Joint

When you make a joint using a spline, you create a spline joint. This is a flat piece of wood that is squared, and then inserted in a slot that is made on a table saw typically. The spline adds strength, and it also adds to the look when using a contrasting piece of wood.


When a piece of wood comes apart naturally, opening a crack through solid wood, it is said to have split. These are anywhere from hairline cracks that you can see through, all the way to a piece that is separated in two.


This is a common name that you use for a number of different power than non-powered ways of splitting lumber. It can be as simple as a splitting maul, which is driven by a sledgehammer. That we can be as fancy as a pneumatic splitter.


A tool use for shipping wood, the spokeshave is an edged tool that is similar to a hand plane, except it has two handles, which are pulled towards the user. The blade removes material, and the user can shape spindles and dowels easily.


This word typically has to do with wood finishing, but a spray is a propelled or forced atomization of finishing chemicals that are shot from a can or a gun on to a woodworking project. A rattle can is a type of spray, and you can also spray finish in a booth.

Spray Adhesive

This particular type of adhesive comes in a pressurized can, and is sprayed on the two surfaces that are going to be adhered together. Sprayed adhesive is common in upholstery work, and can be useful for gluing a piece of cloth to a piece of wood.

Spray Booth

The spray booth is a dedicated area where wood finishing takes place using a pressurize spring system to deliver the finish to the project. There are safety features in place, and as well as a fan that removes vaporizing chemicals from the air as it draws in fresh air.

Spray Can

Another name for a rattle can, a spray can is a pressurized container that holds propellant in finishing chemicals used to finish woodworking projects. These chemicals can include paint, or any number of clear finishes like lacquer or polyurethane.

Spray Gun

A common name for wood finishers, any device that uses an airline to spray finish onto a project can be called a spraygun. This includes both high-pressure systems and low pressure systems. It’s the handheld part of the system that is called the spraygun.

Spray Lacquer

Lacquer that is specifically designed and packaged to be sprayed from either a rattle can or a pressurized spraying system is called spray lacquer. Many times it has to be thinned in order to flow through the gun properly.

Spray Paint

This is the common term for rattle cans or spray cans that have paint inside. The paint can be any type or any color, though it typically refers to solid colors in applications that are opaque, and can’t be seen through.

Squeeze Out

When two pieces of wood are glued together, the pressure from the clamps and drives some of the glue out of the joint. This is called squeeze out, and it’s an indication that the joint was well coated with glue before the clamps were applied.

Stacked Dado

Another name for a dado blade set, this is a stacked series of blades and chippers that are used to make dado cuts in pieces of wood. The name comes from how the individual pieces are stacked together and then used in that orientation on the saw to make a wider cut than a traditional single table saw blade.


Any chemical which is meant to be applied to wood, that changes its color for a specific need is called a stain. There are chemical stains, dye stains, pigments things, and gel stains. These all accomplish the coloring task in a slightly different way, but are all called stains.

Steam Bending Wood

The process of using heat and steam in order to soften a piece of wood and make the fibers pliable enough to bend is called steam bending. This method involves a special bending chamber where hot steam is introduced, and the piece is stored for a time until it’s pliable.

Steel Square

This is the common square that you will see in most wood shops. One side is 12 inches long and the other is 24 inches long. It’s flat, and is useful for a lot of different measuring, marking, and layout tasks.

Steel Wool

Very thin metal fibers all wadded up together in a ball, steel wool comes in a few different grades, and is useful as an abrasive. You can commonly find this in the paint department in most home-improvement stores, and it’s useful for fine smoothing and scuffing between finish coats.


When pieces of wood are stacked on top of each other, smaller pieces are stuck in between them in order to increase the airflow around the entire stack. These little pieces that are stuck in between are called stickers, and they’re typically made from a throwaway species of wood.


The stiles are the vertical batons of a rail and stile door construction. You can get router bits that are made to create these pieces, and they make creating panel doors for cabinets and other case work really easy.


On most tools, the stock is part of the tool that is movable in many cases, and used to make adjustments, then locked into place. On a marking gauge for example, the stock is moved along the beam, which sets the length that the tool will make marks for mortise and tenon joints.


A mechanical means for terminating the motion of a jig, or a piece of woodworking equipment is called a stop, and there are many different tools that can have a stop installed. It can be either with a clamp, or sometimes the tools have stops that allow you to create a specific setting as needed and quickly.

Stop Block

When you clamp a block of wood to a tool and then use it as a way of stopping a piece of material for the purposes of measurement, this is called a stop block. It’s the fast way of creating a repeatable measuring system.

Straight Bit

The straight bit is another name for the flute bit on a router. This is a very common woodworking bit with two blades, and it forms a channel with parallel sides. Depending on the size of the bit, the width of the channels can vary.

Straight Cutting Router Bit

Another name for the straight bit, or the flute, the straight cutting router bit is a cylinder shaped bit with two blades, which is used to create channels and cavities that have straight walls which are perpendicular to each other.

Straight Grained

Any piece of wood where the grain runs from end to end in a regular, straight, and even manner is said to be straight grain. This is essentially a piece of wood that was cut perfectly with the grain, and doesn’t have any variation going on.

Strength to Weight Ratio

There are a number of different ways to determine this, but essentially the strength to weight ratio is a measure of how strong a piece of wood is at a certain size versus how much it weighs. It’s one way of objectively determining strength among the pieces of wood because it takes density out of the equation.


Most commonly found on dining chairs, a stretcher is a small piece of wood that links one leg of the chair to another. This effectively makes it twice as hard to flex the chair leg, and creates much more stability in the chair.


This is a piece of leather that is coated in fine sharpening compounds and use to hone an edged tool to be razor sharp. This is a step beyond sharpening, and creates an edge that is unbelievably sharp, making using the tool nearly effortless.


The carcass or the body of a piece of wood working itself can be said to be its structure. This also refers to the elements within a build that hold up the rest of them, or are considered to be the bearers of the weight of the project itself.

Structural Integrity

This term is used when evaluating the ability of a project to remain in tact as the builder intended when they build it. A product with structural integrity is good at remaining the way it was built, and a project with poor structural integrity is close to falling apart.


In a wall of a home, the vertical pieces of wood which are commonly two by fours are also called studs. Depending on the code in the area where you live, they are spaced it a certain distance apart from one another and help support the structure of the home.


When a tree is felled, the portion that’s left sticking out of the ground is called the stump. Depending on how valuable the wood is, sometimes companies go back to the stumps of trees that were cut many years ago and harvest them for sale.


This is a term used to describe any backing layer or under layer that serves as a supporting structure to a more desirable looking layer. For example, kitchen cabinets typically have particleboard as the substrate to which the more attractive laminate is glued.

Summer Wood

The parts of the tree that grow in the summer are called the summer wood. This is also called the early wood, and it normally larger and more light in color than other parts of the tree ring system. These can sometimes be wider depending on the length of the season and the abundance of water.


Any flat plane on a piece of wood or a project can be called a surface. There are vertical surfaces, horizontal surfaces, and surfaces of every different shape in orientation. Anything you can touch or see is a surface.

Surfaced Lumber

Lumber that has gone through additional steps to smooth out and flatten the faces and edges is said to be surfaced lumber. This is typically more expensive than rough cut lumber because additional steps and machinery were needed to make it look the way it does.


The angle or curve of a carving tool is called the sweep. They are numbered, and as you progress through the system, the curve becomes tighter and tighter. You can use the numbers as a guide to picking out the right carving tool for your needs.

Synthetic Steel Wool

These are flat pads that are engineered to have a similar abrasiveness to steel wool. They come in several colors, and are a nice alternative that is sometimes easier to handle than regular steel wool. They range from fine to very fine, and are not expensive.

| T |

T Bolt

A very specific type of bolt, this piece of hardware has a large flat head that meant to be used in a T track system. These are what allow you to add different attachments to the system, and create your own way of holding down your woodworking projects or different drilling or milling operation.

T Nut

Used to secure one piece of material to another, a T nut is a barrel shaped nut that has almost a top hat like appearance, with a couple of downward spurs from the rim of the hat. As a bolt is tightened, the nut is drawn inwards, causing the spurs to penetrate the wood, and lock the two pieces together.

T Slot

Also called a T track, the T slot is a special channel it’s used in a system where you can create different holding methods for your shaping, milling, and drilling operations. It’s a nice system, and it can take many different attachments.

Table Saw

The bread-and-butter of most woodworking shops, the tablesaw is a large saw with a flat table, and a circular blade that protrudes vertically from the center. It’s used to cut pieces of wood to width, and comes in several different sizes and styles.

Table Skirt

Also called a skirt for short, the table skirt is a set of vertical pieces of wood that are placed perpendicular to the table top, on the bottom side. They mirror the shape of the table, just a little further inwards. The purpose is to help control flex across the table, and give the legs something to anchor against.

Table Top

On nearly all tools that are freestanding or benchtop models, there is a large flat surface, typically made of metal, and it’s called a tabletop. This is where the wood that is being cut or shaped is placed, and they can vary in size.


The tack for an adhesive is a term that has to do with the initial grip, or sometimes a conversation about how fast the initial grab is. It’s common to talk about the tack of a type of glue, or how tacky the glue is.

Tack Cloth

These are used to clean debris off of the surface before finishing, the tack cloth is a piece of cheese cloth typically that has a sticky substance soaked into the fibers. When wiped on the surface, it removes all dust and sanding debris and prevents it from ruining the finish.

Tack Time

The time it takes before an adhesive grabs really well, and holds on so tight that it’s difficult or impossible to take apart is called the tack time. This can vary from adhesive to adhesive, but typically this is the point of no return.


This is a general woodworking term that has to do with the back end or the bottom end of just about any tool, project, or solid object. The tail or tail end is simply a way of referring to the back, bottom, or rear of something.

Tail Stock

On a lathe, the tail stock is the part of the lathe that holds up one end of a spindle, allowing it to spin freely, and providing support for turning. The tail stocks can typically also accept a number of different fittings including a drill chuck, which allows you to drill on the lathe.

Tambour Door

This is a flexible door that is made from many small, long sticks of wood glued to a flexible backer. The pieces and backer become one unit, allowing the door to be installed in a couple of dadoes, and following through them like a train on a track.


A universal term, tape can describe any roll of flexible material with adhesive on one side. This can be electrical tape, masking tape, painters tape, duct tape, or any other type of tape can generally be referred to as simply tape.

Tape Measure

A small square item with a retractable ruler on the inside, the tape measure is a fast and convenient way of measuring short and long distances. Most tape measures can measure a range from as small as 3 feet, up to about 30 feet.


When a shart decreases evenly in width from one end to another, it said to taper. The most common time that you’ll run into a taper is working on the lathe where the headstock in the tailstock have typically a morse taper one or a morse taper two configuration.


This is a closed grain hardwood with a nice coloring, and with a high oil content. It’s one of the most durable and desired woods in furniture making, and is fairly expensive. It is a tropical hardwood, and there are several different varieties depending on the region.

Tear Out

When using powered planing tools, like a thickness planer, sometimes the cutting action pulls out wood fibers from the board. This is called tear out, and it’s not a desirable effect. This can be from dull blades, or using the tool improperly. Also, some woods just tear out more than others, and have to be handled carefully.

Teeth Per Inch

Referring to saw blades, the amount of teeth per inch is a measurement of exactly how many teeth there are per inch of blade. Typically, the more teeth, the finer the cut, and the less markings that will be on the wood afterwards.


Using heat to alter the molecular structure of metal is called tempering. It is typically used to make pieces of metal stronger, and harder, but also remove the brittleness that often times comes with hardness. Most metal tools and blades have undergone some type of tempering process.


Any flat rendering of an object, that makes it easier to replicate or reproduce that object, particularly when it comes to layout, we call a template. A template is easy to make, and if you build it well the first time, you can use it to easily measure and mark for many different versions of that same project without spending nearly as much time.

Template Guide

On the router, the template guide is a bushing that allows you to easily follow a template with your router, while the bit cuts through the wood. This is a fun way to do it different patterns and shapes, and also makes router inlay possible.

Template Making

The action of building templates that can then be used for different marking and layout purposes is called template making. This is a part of the process that can be a little less enjoyable sometimes, but it’s definitely worth it to use that template to make projects, because it reduces the amount of time it takes to measure and mark to nearly nothing.


In a mortise and tenon joints, the part of the wood that goes into the mortise is called the tenon, and it’s one of the strongest joints in woodworking. You can make tenons on the table saw, with a router, or even install floating tenons as well.


Any surface that is not flat, is said to have texture. The texture may be very plain, or uneven, or it may even be very regular. Anything that is not flat has some sort of texture, and depending on what type it is, the texture may even be named.

Thermally Modified Wood

Wood that has bee heated to a very high temperature but not allowed to burn in an effort to change the properties of the wood is called thermally modified wood. This can bring out colors and patterns not often seen in wood, and also gives the wood properties that it would not have if not for the heat treatment.


Another name for heat treated wood or thermally modified wood. This is wood that has been super heated but not allowed to burn, causing the cells in the wood to harden, and changing the properties of the wood.


Adding solvent to a mixture of finish is also called thinning of the finish. The solvent is designed to evaporate, more solvent that goes into a mixture of finish, the thinner the product becomes. This is where the term thinning gets its origin.

Threaded Insert

A threaded insert is a small barrel shaped piece of metal with coarse threads on the outside and machine threads on the inside. These can be installed in a piece of wood and then a machine screw used to hold different pieces together.

Tiger Wood

Another name for Goncalo Alves, this is a beautiful piece of wood with a light brown to dark brown tone, and very dark streaks in some pieces. It deepens over time, and the pieces are a pleasure to work with.


Typically when a bolt is turned toward the right, it has the effect of closing the gap between the two pieces, and tightening it together. This is a process of pushing two things together with more and more force.


On many table saws, the blade can be tilted one way or another. Blades that tilt left to right are called left or right tilting blades. It’s common that a tablesaw tilt will only go in one direction or the other.

Tilt Blade

Also called tilt, the tilt blade is simply a way of saying that you have a specific table saw with the blade tilted to one side. They can be called a tilt blade tablesaw, but it’s such a common feature that most table saws will tilt anyway.


This is a catchall term that is used to describe any type of wood. It can be used for anything from a full-size tree, all the way down to smaller pieces of wood. In general, it’s typically used for larger pieces, but any kind of wood could be called timber.

Timber Frame

Any construction where the framing elements are made from wood timber can be called timber frame construction, and this is still a common method for making buildings and houses.


The part of a tool, most commonly tools were sharp edges, like in the case of tools used on a lathe, that makes contact with the wood while performing some sort of woodworking or shaping operations is called the tip. Lots of different things have tips, and in general it’s the useful end of a tool.


When joining two pieces of wood together at a 90 degree angle, driving a nail in at a 45 angle between the two of them is said to be a toenail. This is a term that is used most commonly when the framing houses or walls.

Toggle Clamp

This type of clamp holds on to the bench or tool table top, and has a toggle arm and a clamping foot. When the toggle arm is actuated, the foot presses down, and it locks in place. It can be adjusted, and used to hold down different thicknesses of material.

Tongue and Groove

Any system for joining several pieces of wood or other materials together where one piece has a long slot and the other piece has a wooden protrusion, that fits in the groove is called tongue and groove. It’s common on the flooring, and makes the installation process easy.

Tool Rest

On the lathe, a tool rest is a bar shaped piece of metal with a vertical post that can be rotated and moved around. The user rests the carving tools and holds them up while the tip is advanced into the work piece to shape it.


There are several teeth on every blade, and a single tooth is any one of these teeth that actually do the cutting as the blade makes contact with the wood. They can be made of steel, but they can also be made of carbide.

Tooth Set

The way that the teeth are oriented and placed on a saw blade is called the tooth set. There are a lot of different types of tooth sets, and they all have their individual purpose in woodworking. Depending on what you are using the blade for, pick out the tooth set that makes the most sense.

Torpedo Level

A small level that is used for rough measurements, the torpedo level is a mini version of the full-size level and it fits in a tool bag. Most of them have two bubbles or three, which allows you to check horizontal, vertical, and 45 degree orientations.


Torque is a twisting force. This is like other forces, but the direction is twisting or spinning instead of being linear.

Torx Head

A type of screw drive style, the torx head, which is also sometimes called a star is a style of screw and bolt that requires matching tools to tighten and loosen them. These have a star shaped pattern that the driver locks into two advance and retract the screws or bolts.


The acronym for teeth per inch, TPI is a measurement of how many teeth a particular blade has per inch blade. In most cases, the more teeth means a finer cut, and smoother results that require less sanding and finishing.


The part of the staircase that you step on is called the tread. This can be made from wood, stained, painted, or even covered in carpet. When talking about a staircase, the place you set your foot as you climb and descend the stairs is called the tread.


The large wooden things with green leaves or needles on them that are outdoors and used to make the wood you use to enjoy woodworking are called trees. Everyone was a beginner once, don’t let anyone stop you from learning.


The process of making a part or a project even, flat, or square, can be called truing. It’s a widely used term that generally refers to making something flat and uniform. Think of it like taking something out of square and bringing it into square.


The center portion of a tree that sticks vertically out of the ground is called the trunk, which is also called the bole. This is the part of the tree that is most commonly sawn into logs which are milled into boards that can be used for woodworking.


The name for a metal tool with a stock and a fixed blade at 90 degrees, and used to mark right angles is called a try square. Sometimes, other right angle marking devices are called by the same name as well.

Tung Oil

Oil from the tung nut is called tung oil, and many different types of finishes actually bare this name. Some of them don’t even contain any tung oil, so pay good attention to the ingredients list on what you’re buying. Sometimes you buy tung oil, sometimes you buy marketing.

Tungsten Carbide

The official name for carbide, tungsten carbide is used in a lot of different tool making operations, particularly when it comes to making cutters and tips. For example, on a router, most of the bits have carbide cutters.

Turn Between Centers

When using the lathe, turning a piece of wood that is held between the spur center in the headstock in the live center in the tailstock is called turning between centers. This is a pressure holding method where a piece of wood is held on the lathe well being shaped.


Making different shaped pieces of wood on the lathe is called turning. It’s also called wood turning, though the term turning can be used for short and woodworkers will understand what you mean. This is a process of using the lathe to create any part, piece, or project.

Turning Blanks

Specifically dimensioned pieces of wood that are milled and sold for the purposes of using on the lathe are called turning blanks. These come in a number of different sizes, but they are specifically meant for certain projects like making pens, bottle stoppers, and game calls.

Turning Kits

There are special kits that are made and sold to the wood turning community for building a certain projects on the lathe. These are called turning kits, and they can be pens, pepper mills, bottle stoppers, screwdrivers and more.

Turning Tools

The tools that are specifically used in lathe work or in the wood turning operations are called turning tools or lathe tools. The terms can use interchangeably and they both refer to the long wooden handled tools with steel or carbide tips that are used for shaping on the lathe.

Twist Drill Bit

The most common style of drillbits, the twist bit is a cylinder shaped piece of metal with two twisting grooves around the outside. The tips are sharpened, and it is used to drill holes of specific sizes in pieces of wood.


A piece of wood that is 8/4 thickness is sometimes also called a 2-by or two-by piece of wood. It’s twice the thickness that boards of a one-by thickness are milled at. The boards are thicker, and they are more expensive because there is more wood.

Two Part Epoxy

One of the strongest pieces available, two part epoxy is a reactive adhesive that works by combining equal parts of two different chemicals together. These form a reaction, and harden into one. This type of adhesive is great when we need to glue just about anything to just about anything else.

| U |


This is the acronym for ultra high molecular weight polyurethane. It’s a plastic material used for making jigs, fixtures, and assisting items in woodworking. You can get it in a number of different sizes and thicknesses, and it’s useful to work with.


In wood carving, this is a type of effect where you cut away wood from directly under a feature of the design. The deepest part is right under the design, and then it slopes gradually back up to the level of the rest of the piece. This created a shadowing effect, and gives your wood carving more of a three dimensional feel.


This is the name of an older model of saw that the Delta company made, and it was a cabinet saw, or stationary table saw. This is widely considered one of the best saws ever made.


This is the substance that creates the layer in a film finish of polyurethane. It’s a lab made crystalline substance that is thinned, and then applied to a project. Once the thinner evaporates, the solids are left behind, forming a protective layer.

Utility Knife

Any sharp knife that allows you to use interchangeable and disposable razor blades can be called a utility knife. There are many different designs, but the most common is a handheld knife with a slide on the top that opens and retracts the razor blade.

| V |


The V-Block is a useful item to have in the shop, and it’s one you can make yourself. This jig is used as a centering method, and a way of holding round stock on a drill press. Since gravity pulls everything towards the earth, the item in the V-Block is pulled deep into the notch of the device, holding securely while drilling.


Used in wood carving, the V tool is a carving implement with the shape of a “V” at the tip. It’s useful for making lines, and V shaped cuts in wood, and a common tool for wood carvers.


This is the most general term used to describe any type of machine that sucks air and debris into itself, separating the debris into a receptacle and expelling the air. This can be anything from a small handheld unit, all the way to a large dust collection system.

Vacuum Chuck

There are certain kinds of chucks for the lathe that operate on a vacuum system that hold up the piece of wood against the faceplate through air pressure rather than mechanical means. These are called vacuum chucks. 

Vacuum Press

A method of clamping, the vacuum press holds pieces in place with a thick plastic film and through removing the air, creating pressure. This pressure is held as long as needed, and the press acts as a clamping device. This is useful when clamping a lot of loose items to a flat item, as it’s good at holding everything in place at the same time.

Vapor Respirator

A respirator that is specifically designed to handle the chemical vapors that are associated with finishing supplies are called vapor respirators. These come in several different types depending on what kind of chemical you’re trying to control.


A clear finish, varnish is made by combining oil and resin together. This is a very common finish, and you can get it in a number of different styles depending on what you are finishing. It creates a film on the surface, and can be applied by a brush, rag, or spray equipment.


In wood carving, a veiner is a fine tool with a cutting head that creates almost a line or a thin channel when pressed through the wood. This is used to create fine details on the wood carvings like hair.


Very thin sheets of wood are called veneer. These can range in thickness depending on the manufacturer, but are generally around a 1/16th inch or less. These are made from nearly every wood species, and are used as the faces of plywood, and in marquetry work.

Veneer Press

Used to glue veneer in place on larger boards, the veneer press is a large clamp system that evenly holds the thin layer of veneer in place while the glue dries. It typically has a large flat caul on one end, and that is used to spread out the force and get a nice bond without any bubbles or missed spots.

Veneer Roller

The veneer roller is a handheld tool that allows you to grip the shaft with both hands and has a roller at the top. The tool is used to press the veneer sheets in place on top of the substrate in order to glue the two pieces together.

Veneer Tape

Special adhesive tape used to hold pieces of veneer together at their edges is called Veneer Tape. This is a common tool for those who are making designs from veneer, and it a useful way of holding the pieces together.

Veneer Core Plywood

Plywood that’s made out of a lot of thin sheets all laminated together into one is called veneer core plywood. This is a common type of plywood, and you can tell by looking at the edge that it’s made out of several different layers of veneer.

Vernier Calpier

This type of caliper is used to take measurements on the outsides and the insides of items, and consists of a flat beam with a C shaped mouth. You slide the center portion of the beam away to open the jaws, and the measurement  is taken off the beam.


Any container or roundish, symmetrical item that can hold a liquid can be called a vessel. This is a common term for some of the artistic wood turning projects that resemble goblets, vases, or other items that could hold liquid or at least shaped like they could.


These come in many different configurations but a vice is just a method of holding your project while performing different woodworking operations upon it. There are many styles, but typically it involves turning a crank that presses one plate against another.

See Also: How to Choose Your Woodworking Bench Vise

Vice Grips

This is a tool that looks like a pliers, but has a mechanism inside that allows the jaws to be set to a certain opening and then locked in at position. This is useful because it allows the tool to grab an object with a much firmer grip than a human could produce on their own.


The viscosity of a liquid is the measure of how fluid the liquid is, or how runny. A liquid with a high viscosity flows very freely where as a liquid with a low viscosity doesn’t move as much, think of honey, or syrup having a low viscosity compared to water.

| W |

Wall Stud

In walls, there are vertical beams that are positioned at regular intervals and these are called wall studs, or studs. They provide structure to the wall, and help create something that can stand up strong in buildings and homes.


A wash is another name for a wash coat. You can wash a piece of woodworking before applying the final coats of finish, or you can wash it with a diluted color to add a different effect.

Wash Coat

The wash coat is the first light coating of a finish that is applied to a project right on top of the bare wood. This is typically a sealer coat that helps the next several coats build up a layer on the surface.


When a piece of wood bends or flexes as a result of gaining or losing moisture, and the result in a board that is not straight, this is called a warp. It can take many forms and directions, but in general and defect that looks like the wood is not straight can be called a warp.


When cutting wood for a project, the pieces of fall to the ground are often called drop or waste. The waste wood is the bits and pieces that are not useful for the current project and are sawn off or carved off in the process of creating pieces for the project.


Sometimes, at the mill, a piece of wood is ran through the saw at just the right speed that the blade teeth cause an up and down pattern on the face of the cut similar to an old wash board. This is called washboarding, and is something that has to be planed out to be corrected.


This is a special type of sharpening stone that is meant to be used after soaking in water, and water is also used as a lubricant. These are made in factories, and have a nice and even and consistency and a very fine grit.


The process of using different techniques to create a weathered and distressed look on a piece of wood is called weathering. These are typically low impact distressing methods that stimulate natural weather-based aging on wood.

Web Clamp

A general term for a clamp that uses a strap or a band to tighten as the clamp tightens. These are common when you have an oddly shaped thing to clamp or hold together.


Anything shaped similarly to an isosceles triangle that is meant to force two objects apart and can be pressed in between them is called a wedge. This is useful when laying planks near each other and needing to separate one that has bent.


A beautiful wood species, but a little on the splintery side, Wenge is a combination of chocolate browns and blacks in almost a speckled and grainy pattern. The wood is not terribly expensive, and makes fun smaller projects.


Another name for a Waterstone, this is a factory made sharpening stone with very fine particles that are all extremely uniform. They create a very sharp edge on knives and tools, and they are not expensive.

White Glue

The common, white color to glue that is also called school glue is white glue. This is useful in woodworking to a small degree, but is really a better performer for gluing paper and cloth together when compared to using wood glue for gluing pieces of wood together.

White Oak

The lighter color variation of Red Oak, White Oak does not have the slight pink tinge that Red Oak has, and the rest of the look is similar to any other kind of Oak that you have seen before. The pieces have a large open grain, with darker lines accenting the grain.

White Wash

Adding a coat of white, either full strength or diluted to a project is called whitewashing the project. This can be used to create a rustic look, and a lot of times if glaze or some other tinting method is used over the white wash.

White Wood

Another way of saying in the white, white wood means pieces of wood that are completed into a project but a finish has not been applied yet. Essentially, your projects are all white wood projects before the finish is applied.


Using a small bladed knife to carve hand held pieces of wood into different things is called whittling. It’s typically a word that has to do with rougher looking carvings and things that you can do by hand with one simple blade.

Wide Belt Sander

This is a belt sander with a very wide belt that is used to smooth out large flat panels. These are sometimes large machines that may even have several belts a different grits that are useful for smoothing out and leveling large flat surfaces.

Winter Wood

The portion of wood that grows in the colder months is called the winter wood, and typically this is a very thin layer, or the edge of the summer wood layer. It’s often times darker as well.


Cellulose-based material harvested from trees and used for different woodworking operations is called wood. There are many different types, and they are available in nearly every color, density, and green pattern that you could imagine.

Wood Carving

The process of using edged tools, typically blades and shaped carving implements is called wood carving. There are many different disciplines in the field of wood carving, but when you use tools to change the shape of a piece of wood in three dimensions it can be called wood carving.

Wood Conditioner

A product used to make wood absorb stain at an even rate, this is a wipe on product that essentially seals the surface of the wood, and then the stain cannot penetrate unevenly. It’s also called pre-stain conditioner.

Wood Glue

The type of glue that is specifically formulated to perform the best any time you are gluing one piece of wood to another piece of wood is called a wood glue. The common formulation is aliphatic resin glue, also called AR glue.

Wood Failure

When a joint is stressed, and it falls apart, if the break happens through the wood and not add the glue, it is said to be wood failure. Essentially, whenever a piece of wood breaks, causing a project to stop functioning, it can be said that the wood failed.

Wood Filler

Though it comes in many different forms, wood filler is basically a paste like material that is pressed into voids and abscesses or defects in a piece of wood and allow to dry. It is then sanded level to the surface, and the defects are disguised.

Wood Seasoning

The process of drying out a piece of wood from the full moisture content of when it was alive to the extremely low moisture content where it is useful for woodworking is called wood seasoning. This can be done artificially with the kiln, or naturally by just waiting.

Wood Turning

When in object is made on the lathe, it is said to be turned, and the process is called wood turning. Any time that you make something on the lathe, it is a wood turned project, and is a product of the wood turning branch of woodworking.

Wood Wool

Another name for steel wall, wood wall is a fibrous bundle of metal strands that are all in a similar diameter. These pads are used for a number of different sanding and smoothing operations in woodworking and wood finishing.


A person who uses tools to make something from wood is called a woodworker. There are many different disciplines and categories in woodworking, but it always takes a person, a woodworker to do the work.


The process of making things from what is called woodworking. Even though the tools and the methods may be very different, any time a piece of wood is changed into something that is more useful than it originally was, it can be called woodworking.


This term has to do with how easily or how difficult a piece of wood is to work with. For example, you could say that any easy species of wood to sand and cut has a good work ability or an easy work ability.

Working Life

The amount of time that a tool or a project is expected to last is called its working life. This can be used to talk about how long the tool will last, or how long something or function properly.

Working Properties

How something performs as you are working with it normally is called the working properties of the item. This can be tools, materials, or anything that you work with. It has to do with any property associated with that item.

Worm Drive

A worm drive is a type of conversion of motion where a shaft with a toothed or flapped gear spins, and then the connection is another round circular gear that changes the direction of the rotation. This is in many table saws and in other machinery as well.

Worm Hole

A hole that a bug was living in, and that leaves holes and tracks on pieces of wood is called a worm hole. These are more common on some trees than others, and under the right circumstances it can be a mark of beauty and part of an intentional design.


Wood that has a lot of worm hole distressing is called wormy wood, and you can buy it specifically to be made into projects that have a rustic and older look to them. Many different species can have wormy figure, and you just have to look around for it.


A piece of metal with either open ends on both sides or an open and closed and on the other side, the openings are set to a certain size in order to turn hex head bolts. These are useful any time a bolt needs to be loosened or tightened.

| X |


The letter “X” is used to describe dimensions, particularly when one is compared or referenced with the other, like in the case of a 2×4. You can substitute the word “by” for the “x.”

X Axis

On a graph, this is the horizontal axis.

XActo Knife

Another name for a razor blade knife, this is the most common brand name that’s associated with the tool, so like Kleenex is a common term for facial tissue, X-Acto knife has become in many circles the common tool name for the razor blade knife.


The study of wood and learning all about wood.

| Y |

Y Axis

The vertical axis on a graph is called the Y axis.


A unit of measurement, three linear feet is called a yard. There are many different methods of measuring a yard, including a yardstick, and any measuring device that allows you to measure at least 3 feet in length can also be used to measure yards.

Yard Stick

A flat piece of wood that is 36 inches long in length and marked on an edge to be able to measure accurately is called a yardstick. These are a common measuring tool, and are used with the imperial measurement system.

Yellow Glue

Another name for wood glue, or aliphatic resin blue, yellow glue is the type of adhesive that used to bond one piece of wood to another. This is the bread-and-butter blue for woodworkers when making wood to wood joints.


How much you get when you perform a woodworking process or a milling process is called the yield. For example, when you know a tree into 2 x 4‘s, the amount of 2 x 4’s to get from the tree is called the yield.

| Z |

Z Axis

On a three axis measuring system, the Z axis moves from a flat plane of the X and Y axis vertically into the third dimension.

Zebra Wood

This is a really fun wood to work with, and it has an interesting characteristic where there are light and dark bands of color right next to each other in each board. This gives it the look of a zebra hide, and is where it gets it’s name from. Well quartered pieces will exhibit the most of this look, and you can make excellent projects with the species.

Zero Clearance Insert

Most commonly used on a table saw, this is a throat insert that has a slit that is just wide enough for the blade to fit through. This allows you to cut very fine pieces without having to worry about them falling in between the gap between a standard insert and the saw blade.

| #’s |

0000 Steel Wool

Made of long, thin strands of metal, steel wool is used as a fine abrasive, and usually as a final step before finishing. It’s also used to level a dry finish without removing too much material. It comes in “0” grades, where 0 is the coarsest and 0000 is the finest. For general woodworking and finishing, grab a package of 0000 steel wool and you will have what you need.

1/64 Inch

When you divide an inch into 64 even segments, each one is 1/64th of an inch.

1/32 Inch

When you divide an inch into 32 even segments, each one is 1/32nd of an inch.

1/16 Inch

When you divide an inch into 16 even segments, each one is 1/16th of an inch.

1/8 Inch

When you divide an inch into 8 even segments, each one is 1/8th of an inch.

1/4 Inch

When you divide an inch into 4 even segments, each one is 1/4th of an inch.

1/2 Inch

When you divide an inch into 2 even segments, each one is 1/2 of an inch.

1 Inch

In the Imperial measuring system, an inch is a relatively small measurement that is used to describe the size of objects, and the distance of objects that are not very far apart.


Wood sold by the quarter system is labeled like this. 4/4 means 4 quarters of an inch, or one inch. This is not typically the case in the stores however, as the wood is often times thinner than the measurement would indicate.


Wood sold by the quarter system is labeled like this. 6/4 means 6 quarters of an inch, or one and a half inches. This is not typically the case in the stores however, as the wood is often times thinner than the measurement would indicate.


Wood sold by the quarter system is labeled like this. 8/4 means 8 quarters of an inch, or two inches. This is not typically the case in the stores however, as the wood is often times thinner than the measurement would indicate.


Wood sold by the quarter system is labeled like this. 12/4 means 12 quarters of an inch, or three inchs. This is not typically the case in the stores however, as the wood is often times thinner than the measurement would indicate.


Wood sold by the quarter system is labeled like this. 16/4 means 16 quarters of an inch, or four inches. This is not typically the case in the stores however, as the wood is often times thinner than the measurement would indicate.

Woodworking Glossary PDF Westfarthing Woodworks


Post Author-

  • More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
  • 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
  • Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
Buy My Books on Amazon

I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post.

Come See What I'm Making on Etsy!

Check Out My Shop!


You Can Find My Books on Amazon!

woodworking and guitar making books

An Exclusive Member of Mediavine Home

Westfarthing Woodworks LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.