Carpentry glossary of terms

We have created the following carpentry glossary of terms to try and explain any jargon you have seen or heard.

Architrave
A decorative moulding surrounding a door or window.
Beading
A narrow strip of wood or mdf with a half round profile used as edging.
Bookmatch
A run of veneers arranged side by side to create a mirror image of grain patterns.
Bow
A warp in a run of timber.
Cantilever
A projecting beam (or other part of a structure) that is secured at one end only.
Carcass
A box or frame structure of a piece of furniture.
Caulk
A type of filler used to seal joints and gaps for example where skirting board meets a wall.
Chamfer
To bevel the end of a board at a 45’ angle.
Chipboard
A manufactured material made from wood chips pressed together and bound by resin.
Counter-sink
A type of screw and practice where the screw head does not protrude above a surface.
Cross grain
A wood grain that goes against the run of a length of timber.
Dado
A decorative paneling applied to the lower part of an internal wall.
Dado rail
A decorative moulding applied to an internal wall at a height of around 1m. Originally designed to protect a well from chair backs.
Dowel
A short round length of wood used to join timber together at a joint or to plug fixing holes.
End grain
The exposed surface of wood after cutting across timber.
Fibreboard
A lightweight and weak manufactured board often used when making cheaper furniture.
Finial
The decorative ornamental shape at the end of staircase newels. Often a ball or spike shaped ornament.
Flush door
Doors which have plain smooth sides, either in solid form or paneling applied to the surface of a door.
Grain
The appearance, size and direction of the fibres of the timber.
Hardboard
manufactured board made with compressed particles of wood formed together. One side of the board smooth with the other side rough. Hardboard in sheet form is often used and subfloor covering to give a smooth and flat surface.
Head
The top horizontal section of a window or door frame.
Hip
The meeting of two pitched roof surfaces, which meet at an external angle.
Jamb
The upright section of a door frame.
Jig
A device used to hold or guide work whilst cutting.
Kerf
The width of a saw cut, determined by the thickness of the saw blade.
Knot
A section of a branch or limb that is embedded in the timber.
Limb
A branch of a tree.
Medium-density fibreboard (MDF)
Compressed wooden fibres manufactured into sheets. A popular, and inexpensive building material.
Mitre
A 45 degree angle joint that neatly joins two pieces of timber together.
Picture rail
A rail placed a short distance below the ceiling used in combination with ornate hooks to hang pictures and paintings.
Plumb
Something that is perfectly perpendicular to the earth, relative to gravity.
Plywood
A board manufactured with a number of layers of wood or veneer stuck together at right angles to the previous layer.
Proud
To just protrude above the surface.
Purling
The main structural roof support timber: usually situated half way up the roof span: to which rafters are nailed.
Rafter
The supporting framing timber, sloping from ridge to wall plate.
Straightedge
A tool used for marking or cutting true and straight.
Stud wall
A timber framed internal wall faced with plasterboard that is non load bearing.
Subfloor
Flooring in modern houses usually consist of a subfloor for support and a floor covering used to give a good walking surface. Subfloors often have electrical wiring, plumbing, and other services placed within them.
Timber frame
A method of building where the structure of the building is created using heavy timbers.
Tongue and groove
A joining method that interlocks planks together producing a flat surface. Most commonly used in wooden flooring and paneling.