The HobbitHouse Ilustrated Glossary of Woodworking terms

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S1S --- Surfaced on one Side; a very rare surfacing designation indicating that one surface has been planed. Normally planks are S2S or S4S. I've never bought an S1S plank, so I don't even know if it normally refers to one edge or (more likely) one face.

S2S --- surfaced on two sides; means that a plank has been surfaced on both flat faces. Compare/contrast to RGH.

S4S --- surfaced on four sides; means that a plank has been surfaced on both flat faces and both edges. Compare/contrast to RGH.

saber saw --- (1) synonymous with what is more commonly called a reciprocating saw
saber saw --- (2) A hand-held saw, more commonly called a jig saw

saddle --- synonymous with cricket

SAE --- The Society of Automotive Engineers. Having started out in 1906 as the Society of Automobile Engineers, to promote standardization among automobile parts, it fairly soon expanded to include other forms of locomotion and was renamed (Automotive instead of Automobile) to indicate that broader range. It now publishes international standards for numerous things from oil to machine tool sizes. For example, the two forms of screw threads in use throughout the world are metric and SAE.

sag --- Refers to the existence of, or the amount of, sagging

sagging --- (1) The characteristic of a downward bend in load bearing beams
sagging --- (2) Moving off of true, such as a fence that has started to lean over away from vertical.
sagging --- (3) The characteristic of a downward movement of the surface of a finishing agent. Usually this is due to the application of too much material but it can also happen due to excessive heat after the finishing agent is applied. I once saw a house that had partially burned down and the paint on the outside of a still standing wall had an amazing amount of sagging in various places (actually, I think this might have been what is technically called curtaining.

sag resistance --- The ability of a finishing agent to be applied on a vertical surface, at proper film thicknesses, without sagging.

sanded panels --- Interior or exterior plywood panels that are sanded at the factory for use in applications where smoothness and appearance are important. These panels are ideal for furniture, cabinets, doors, fences, signs, etc.; they save time because they may be finished with little or no preparation.

sanding sealer --- A sprecially forumlated, very hard finishing agent that is the first finishing coat applied to wood. Its purpose is to seal and fill, but not obscure, the grain of the wood to which it is applied. Such products are formulated to give better filling and sandability than normal topcoat products. After the sanding sealer is applied, the surface is then sanded before subsequent finishing coats are applied. Some sanding sealers also act as a barrier coat and it is NOT a good idea to use sanding sealers before staining (only before using other finishing agents such as polyurethane, lacquer, and shellac) because stain absorbtion can be blotchy if the stain is applied on top of a sanding sealer.

sandpaper --- A "tool" consisting of some kind of abrasive grit (at one time including acutal sand, and in any case it often FEELS like sand) bonded onto a backing (paper being one type). This is used to smooth surfaces (usually wood, sometimes metal, sometimes finishes), or sometimes to make them rougher for better adhesion of a bonding or coating agent or to reduce glare from the surface. Very rough sanding may be done as one of the processes of removing an old finish. Belts for power sanders in particular, and to a lesser degree flat sheet sandpaper, can be cleaned with a sandpaper cleaner. The primary characteristics of sandpaper are:

sandpaper cleaner --- Also called an "abrasive belt cleaner" and a "sandpaper cleaning block", this is a square rod of gum material formulated to remove dust from sandpaper so as to increase its useful life. These rods are particularly effective on powered sanders (used as shown in the composite pic below) but can also be used, somewhat less successfully, on sheets of sandpaper by putting the sheet face up on a hard surface and then rubbing the rod over the surface. Even on a power sander these rods abrade away quite slowly and tend to last a long time. Examples:

sandpaper cleaning block --- seesandpaper cleaner

sandwich panel --- Either foam core plywood or a similar construct where honeycombed paper or cardboard filler is used. Such panels are used for insulation and not for structural strength.

sap --- the mineral- and nutrient-bearing water that flows up a tree from the soil, up through the trunk, out through the branches and on to the leaves. That outer portion of the tree that carries the sap is called, not too surprisingly, the sapwood, but it only carries sap when the tree is very young; after that it carries water and the sap is what flows DOWN the tree in the phloem from the leaves into the cambium to feed the tree growth.

sapling --- a very young tree in which no heartwood has yet formed; thus the name, because the tree is entirely sapwood. Saplings are typically small in diameter, with a DBH of 2 to 5 inches.

sapling stand --- a stand of trees whose average DBH is between 1 and 4 inches.

sap stain --- synonymous with blue stain

sapwood --- This is the living, outer zone of wood, next to the bark. In the living tree the sapwood contains some living cells (the heartwood contains none), as well as dead and dying cells. The sapwood carries water up from the roots to the branches so that they can produce the leaves that both engage in the photosynthesis that fuels the tree's growth and also produce the seeds that allow the tree to propagate. Sap, which contains sugars, comes down from the branches in the inner bark (phloem) and both feeds the tree growth that takes place in the cambium and also is fed into the sapwood by the rays where the sugars (nutrients for the tree) are stored over the winter.

In most species, the sapwood is lighter colored than the heartwood and in all species it is weaker in decay resistance than the heartwood. As the tree grows and ages, the inner sapwood layers become heartwood and new sapwood is produced in the region out next to the cambium. Because it contains live, active cells, it is much more susceptible to biodegrade than is the heartwood. For a cross section of a tree and a description of the various portions, see tree growth

Sapwood is generally more permeable than heartwood and this makes it easier to treat with preservatives that inhibit decay. In some species, the demarcation between heartwood and sapwood is razor-sharp but in others it can be fuzzy and vague. The thickness of the sap layer varies considerably by species; in some species, there basically is no heartwood. Persimmon, for example, has a pencil-sized (or smaller) core of heartwood that is ebony black and the entire rest of the tree is sapwood. In some trees the sapwood is very thin, but it is always there. In some trees the boundary between heartwood and sapwood is razor-sharp and in others it can be quite vague. See the term demarcation for examples.

sash --- The internal frames (there are normally two of them) of a sash window that move in the window frame and that hold the panes of glass.

sash clamp --- specialized form of long bar clamp

sash cord --- The rope that attaches the sash weight to the sash in a sash window.

sash gang --- A series of saw blades (either circular saw blades or band saw blades) that are fixed vertically in parallel with each other so as to be able to rip a cant into several planks all at the same time.

sash weight --- The counter weight that hangs inside a wall next to a sash window and is attached to the sash by a sash cord, to make it easy to raise and lower the sash.

sash window --- The very common type of window consisting of two sections (sashes) which move inside the window frame, sliding past each other vertically, and which has a grid of rails and stiles in each sash that hold the panes of glass. On old style sash windows, each sash is attached by a sash cord to a sash weight inside the wall that makes it easy to move the sash up and down; newer models are made with lighter weight sash frames and do not need counterweights. Sometimes called a "hung sash window" or a "double hung sash window". Examples:

satin --- see finish rating

sausage quilt --- A form of quilted figure that is particularly dramatic and has elongated billowing "quilts" that look like rolls of sausage. Here is a pic of sausage quilted makore veneer:

saw --- A device used to cut wood and/or other materials. There are a large number of types of saws, the most common of which are discussed in some detail in this glossary, under the following links: Types of saws:



saw arbor --- see arbor

sawed veneer --- Veneer produced by sawing rather than the more normal method of veneer slicing.

sawhorse --- A pair of A-frame constructs, each connected near the middle and then the pair connected at the top by a crossbeam. Sawhorses are usually used in pairs to hold wood for cutting. They come in plastic, aluminum, and wood, and are frequently homemade in wood. Metal brackets are available that make it particularly easy to make your own. They can be very simple or get fancy, with shelves and other additions. Examples:

sawing --- Using any type of saw to cut into and/or all the way through, wood.

saw kerf --- see kerf

saw log --- A log that is large enough and high enough in quality to be used to create lumber. Compare/contrast to pulp logs and cordwood. Saw logs have to be straight and without excessive taper so that they can be converted to planks. With some exotic woods such as cocobolo, the trees are naturally malformed and if made of more common wood would never be considered for sawlogs, but given the beauty and rarity of such wood, what is acceptable as a sawlog for such exotics can be radically different than what is acceptable for more common woods. Also, sawlogs for exotics can be smaller in both diameter and length than sawlogs for very common woods.

sawmill --- A facility where logs are converted into lumber. See circularsaw mill and bandsaw mill.

sawn veneer --- Veneer that is cut from the side of a log or thick plank with a saw instead of being peeled in a rotary veneer cutter or sliced in a veneer slicer. Hobbyist and home craftsmen who want to create veneer create sawn veneer for the simple reason that the size and cost of commercial veneer creation (see links below) is not within their budget. Compare/contrast to sliced veneer and and rotary cut veneer.

sawn veneer flooring --- Some flooring material is made using the same construction techniques as plywood except that the constructs are in the form of planks rather than panels. When the top layer of such a construct is made using veneer that is created using sawn thin wood, it is called sawn veneer flooring and if it is created using veneer peeled off of a log using rotary cutting, it is called peeled veneer flooring. Some reports note that both such products can be installed in a basement over concrete, and that statement seems to imply that solid wood flooring cannot, but I don't see why there should be such a distinction.

saw rasp --- a rasp with saw teeth and often a supporting knob in addition to the handle, so that it can be conveniently used with two hands for a lot of force. The cutting area often looks like a bunch of hacksaws blades put close to each other in a corrugated fashion. Examples:

saw sized lumber --- Lumber that has been sawn to the dressed size rather than being sawn slightly oversized and then dressed. This is done for uses where a rough surface is desired or acceptable.

saw timber --- synonymous with saw log

sawtooth drill bit --- A type of drill bit used for drilling wood (never metal, and only relatively soft materials other than wood). Like a Forstner bit, it makes a hole with a flat bottom except for a small center mark but Unlike Forstner bits, these bits cut the rim with a sawing action and thus produce less heat, albeit at the cost of a slightly less smooth hole surface. Examples:

sawtooth machine bit --- synonymous with sawtooth drill bit

sawyer --- A person who saws logs into planks. May be an individual operator or part of a sawmill team.

scaffold --- A temporary work platform, generally put up around or along the outside of a building to give workmen a place to stand while working on the outside of the building.

scaffold nail --- A nail, usually the size (see nail sizes) of a 10d or a 16d common nail, which has been given a double head so that it can easily be removed because the 2nd head is not driven into the wood and provides a place where a hammer claw is easily inserted to remove the nail; used in scaffolds, bracing and any temporary fastening job where the nail must later be removed. Here's a diagram of some common sizes of scaffold nails. Note that the length does not count the heads, just as is true with single-headed common nails. I have personally found these nails to also be very useful as hangers; that is, if I'm thinking of driving a nail in until the head protrudes by 1/4" or so I have a place to hang something by a cord in the shop (my flashlight for example), these nails work great.

scales --- A term used to descibe small bookmatch pairs of thin wood that are destined to be used as the sides of either knife handles or gun handles. These are pretty much always made from highly figured exotic woods or burls. Examples:

scale stick --- a calibrated stick used to estimate wood volume in a log.

scantling --- A word with many meanings, but as regards woodworking, it has two relevant ones, the first of which has to do with shipbuilding and is so varied in use and definition that I'm not going to try to clarify it here, and the second of which is, basically, construction lumber with a small cross section. A two by four is an example of a scantling but I don't think anything bigger than a 2x4 would be considered a scantling. See lumber sizes for other "sizes" of lumber.

scar --- Wood defect caused by an injury to a growing tree, such as might be caused by a tree's growing around wire, or having been heavily scratched by a bear's claws, or other such trauma.

scarf joint --- A joint that is made by cutting or notching two same-thickness boards at an angle at their ends and then gluing and/or screwing them together to make one longer construct. Various kinds of internal notching and/or splines may be used to strengthen the joint. The length of the scarf is usually several times the thickness of the boards but there is no hard and fast rule. Alternate forms of scarf joint do not use a full angled cut but have some combination of offset cuts on the two ends and/or in the middle. Some of the more common types of scarf joints are given individual entries in this glossary as listed below, after which list there are examples of the "standard" scarf.
Examples of "standard" scarf joint:

schoolmarm --- A logger's term for a tree stem that branches into two or more trunks. One of the reasons that I started this glossary in the first place was that I found so many utterly moronic definitions out there on the Internet, and this term had one of my favorites. I found a definition of schoolmarm as "any tree that has one or more trunks".

scissor hinge --- A type of hinge that two long, flat, parallel plates that are hinged in a way that can be either in-line or offset and which are affixed one to the top (or bottom) of a door and the other to the frame above (or below) the door. That is, the plates are horizontal, unlike the more common vertical (hinge) leaves. If the hinge point is in line with the plates, this is a type of pivot hinge, examples of which can be seen in the lower left of the composite pic below. The offset pivot is more common for these hinges as can be seen in all of the other pics below. The name derives from the rather obvious similarity to scissors. With an in-line pivot, these require that the door being hinged either have a gap away from the frame, or that it have a rounded back edge, one of which is needed so that the back door edge can clear the frame when the door is opened. one feature that distinguishes this from the pivot hinge is that on the pivot hinge one (small) part of the item being hinged rotates in the opposite direction from the main body of that item whereas with the scissor hinge, the entire hinged object rotates all in the same direction. Examples:

SCMS --- Sliding Compound Miter Saw

scoot --- A grading term for inferior hardwood lumber. I've never seen this in actual use, so it may be an obsolete term.

scorp --- A drawknife with a curved (sometimes completely circular) blade, used for hollowing out objects such as bowls and chair seats. Examples:

scrag mill --- A high-speed sawmill designed to saw small diameter logs. A scrag mill typically has two circle saws arranged in parallel which remove two slabs with one pass of the log producing a two-sided cant. Not all sawmills have a scrag capability and so are limited to handling only larger diameter sawlogs.

scraper --- There are four types of scrapers used in woodworking. The first is the cabinet scraper which is used to produce a fine surface finish on flat or lightly curved surfaces, and second is the lathe scraper which is used to produce a fine finish on curved items in a lathe. These two are each frequently called, within their own context, just a "scraper" but in this glossary I have given them their full names and each has its own term with a full discussion, so as to clearly distinguish them from the other scrapers. Wood turners do not refer to a "lathe scraper", they just say "scraper" (or possible "round-nosed scraper" or one of the other sub-types) and likewise, when people are talking about creating a finish on a flat wood surface in cabinetry, they do not talk about a "cabinet scraper", they just say "scraper", so the distinction in this glossary using the "full" names is purely for clarity and does not reflect actual usage. There are several different types of lathe scraper, so the URL above just points to "lathe tools" which lists the various lathe scrapers. The next two are the paint scraper and the razor blade scraper. The first of these is used to remove paint from wood and metal and the second is used to remove paint (and sometimes other things) from glass. Each of the four is illustrated with its term.

scraping --- (1) Scraping cuts on a wood lathe are specific cuts where the bevel of the lathe tool is held clear of the wood and the cutting edge scrapes the surface of the wood. Scrapers have to be kept very sharp to avoid crushing the wood instead of scraping it cleanly. The term is also sometimes used to describe the incorrect use of a tool that should be doing a shearing cut but which, due to improper presentation of the edge to the workpiece, is instead doing a scraping cut.
scraping --- (2) Wood surface scraping done with a cabinet scraper to remove very thin layers of a flat or lightly curved surface.

scraping cut --- see scraping

scrapper blade vise --- an obscure specialty item that is not actually a vise but is a rubber pad for protecting the sides of cabinet scrapers put in a bench vise to be held for filing or burnishing. It holds the scraper above the vise for access and sometimes one jaw will have a magnetic property that holds the scraper in place until the bench vise closes.

scratch awl --- An awl specifically made for scratch lines in wood. I have no idea which came first, the awl or the scratch awl, but I strongly suspect that the awl came first and woodworkers noticed that awls were useful for marking lines in wood and so wood tool manufacturers then started marketing awls as "scratch awls"; there are no real differences between the two except for where they are sold. Woodworkers often make their own scratch awls by taking a screw driver which has a broken point and would otherwise be tossed out and grinding the end down to a point. Many awls sold as scratch awls LOOK exactly like a screwdriver with the end ground down to a point. Examples:

scratch brush --- An apparently pretty loosely used term meaning a wire brush that is used to, among other things (1) burnish metal after soldering, (1) clean iron castings, and (3) produce a low-gloss finish on metal by putting light scratches in the surface and probably numerous other applications that I have not bothered to dig up.

screed --- (1) A long, very straight board used for smoothing and evening the surface of freshly poured concrete (horizontally) or wall plaster (vertically).

screed --- (2) A strip of wood laid down (along with others just like it) and attached to a concrete floor as a nailing platform for a plywood subfloor or for tongue and grooved flooring.
screed --- (3) A smooth flat layer of concrete, plaster, asphalt, or similar material
screed --- (4) an accurately leveled strip of material placed on a wall or floor as guide for the even application of plaster or concrete

screw --- [verb] To use a screw (see noun definition below) to join objects.
screw --- [noun] One of the six simple machines, the screw is a helical inclined plane (called the "thread") on a shaft (called the "shank") that converts rotational force (torque) into linear force, with a conversion factor based on angle of the thread and the diameter of the shank. Screws have many uses, but in woodworking they are primarily fasteners used to hold objects to wood and/or to hold pieces of wood to each other. They are one of the two primary fasteners used with wood, the other being nails. Screws are particularly well suited for use with wood because they do not, on many woods (but not all), require a threaded (or even pre-drilled) hole, they just sink into the wood and grab. Some woods require pre-drilling either because they are too hard to accept the screw without a hole to take up most of the shank or because although they will accept the screw without a hole, they will most likely split without it. See also bolts vs screws.

Screws, even when you limit the discussion to ones used in woodworking, come in a bewildering variety of shapes, sizes and materials but most of those are somewhat endemic to the definitions of the individual screw types and so are discussed with them. However, there are two significant characterists which, with a few exceptions, are used on number types of screws and these are the head type and drive type so I have given them their own sections and discussed particularly with individual screws where it is pertinent to do so. The categorization below is based primarily on the USES of screws but also included some based on their head types or drive types. The entire issue of nomenclature for bolts and screws was perhaps the biggest mess I encountered in compiliing this glossary. See also screw and bolt drive types and screw and bolt head types

Here is a list of some of the more commonly used types of screws:

screw and bolt drive types --- Screws and bolts have a large number of drive types, some of which are common to both, some of which are used only, or mostly, with one or the other, and many of which are specialty types not used in woodworking at all. Following the composite pic below of some of the more common types is a list of types and, for some of them, links to a further discussion of them and/or the type of screw or bolt they are used with. I have included only some of the specialty types that are not used in woodworking. Basically, I just got tired of using VISIO to DRAW the damned things when they don't even need to be here anyway. A particular drive type may or may not be closely related to a head type

screw and bolt head types --- Many screws and bolts have a name that pretty much totally defines their configuration but in addition to this, there are type of heads that are used with screws and/or bolts that can have two or more drive types and the name is usually based on the shape, and less often, the function, of the head. Examples:

binding head screw binding --- undercut under the head or with extra wide head, so as to trap (bind) electrical wires or connectors. That is, the type is defined more by function than by shape, so there are several head types several drive types
bugle --- a curved countersink, mostly used to avoid crushing drywall; usually has a phillips drive
button --- like pan but more curve on top and always has a Allen drive socket
cheese --- like a flat fillister but thinner (about half as high as wide). The definition calls for a cylindrical wall but in practice they are sometimes sloped (so the wall is a cone section, not a cylinder). Drive slot is most often flat head. Also, in practice, lower profile flat fillisters, which SHOULD be called cheese head, are in fact still called fillisters
countersunk --- angled sides to allow flush mount (non-protruding head). The bugle head is also a countersunk head, but what is shown here is the "standard" straight (but angled inward) wall. Drive can be any style. This type of head is not, as far as I am aware, ever used with large bolts, just screws and the small bolts that are often called machine screws.
mirror screw dome --- same as mirror (but term is also loosely used for other domed heads)
fillister --- high cylindrical-walled head with a rounded top and deep drive slot for a flat head screwdriver and with less tendency for cam-out than normal flat head slots. There are fillister heads that use an Allen drive instead of a flat head and even some that use a Phillips head drive, but mostly you will find them with flat head drive slots. Typically used in a counter-bored hole.
flange --- integral wide washer provides extra holding surface. Drive can be any type but seems to be most often Phillips slot or hex head.
same as countersunk flat --- same as countersunk
flat fillister --- same as fillister, but without the slight curve on top. Although technically a flat fillister with a head that isn't very high is called a cheese head, in practice this distinction is often not made. Also, as you can see in the composite image to the left, items sold as "flat fillister" have a full sized head and should be called just fillister (check out the silver one on the left).
set screw headless --- this is a set screw
hex --- hexagonal head, very common, easy to drive with socket set, crescent wrench, pliers, etc. This is the most common head for bolts and has largely replaced the older square head.
hex washer --- like hex but has an attached washer-like flat flange. Typically, the outer portion of the hexagonal part is raised above the inner portion to provide extra gripping area for the driver. There is a specify type of these that are slotted (see below; slotted hex washer)
knurled --- has indentations, usually a cross-hatch, so you can turn it with your thumb and forefinger. It may or may not also have a drive slot
low head socket cap --- what it says; a socket cap head that is lower than usual. In practice, I found a great many items sold as "low head" socket caps that had the same high head as normal ones.
same as spade paddle --- same as spade
mirror screw mirror --- screws with various kinds of separate decorative tops that go over the actual screw
oval --- like a countersunk head but with shallow-domed top instead of the normal flat top of a countersunk head
pan --- domed cylinder; the exact shape will vary a fair amount depending on manufacturer; there may even be a flat area on the top or it may look more like a round head
same as oval raised --- same as oval
round --- hemispherical, mostly for decoration (similar to mirror, but the top is integral to the screw not a separate item); the exact shape will vary a fair amount depending on manufacturer; in practice, items sold as "round head" can look more like a pan head
round washer --- round top and with an integral washer under it; the top is usually not as domed as on the normal round head, it's more like a truss head.
serrated flange --- same as flange head but there are serrations on the bottom of the head that are raised on the side opposite the insertion direction so as to inhibit vibrational loosening of the screw or bolt (exactly as on a serrated flange nut). This head is found almost exclusively on hex-head bolts.
shouldered spade --- same as spade but with a flange ("shoulder") above the threads
slotted hex washer --- hex washer head but also slotted for a flat head screwdriver
socket cap --- a cylindrical bolt head that takes an Allen drive (ocassionally other types of drive). The rim of the head may have ridges to make it easy to turn with pliers rather than the inserted driver
same as socket cap socket head --- same as socket cap
spade --- you turn it with your thumb and forefinger; this is a subset of the thumb screw and has a particular name because of the shape of the head
square --- drives with a wrench or pliers; although relatively inexpensive to manufacturer, this is primarily the precursor to the hex head and has largely been replaced by that.
trim screw trim --- small head (the screw version of a finishing nail)
truss --- has a very shallow dome head. It also has a low edge which some definitions say is to inhibit tampering, but since they use standard drive types, that doesn't make much sense; the edge is usually low enough to prevent pliers from being used on them but nothing else. The SHAPE of the truss head is used on some security head types but items sold specifically as truss head are NOT security types. Some items sold as truss head are what would be more accurately called a round washer head (see above).
undercut --- Shallow-head countersink that provides a little extra thread length for a given screw length

screw chuck --- A chuck with a single screw, fixed in the center, to which the workpiece is attached on a wood lathe. Examples:

screwdriver --- A hand tool with a handle and a special-shaped end that fits into whatever kind of screw that the tool is designed to work with. Like screws themselves, screwdrivers come in a VERY wide variety of styles, with the two most common (by far) being the drivers for flat head screws and Phillips head screws, which are the only two shown in the composit pic below although there are more than a dozen other kinds. This is just to give a very brief example of some of the styles of handles. See also screw and bolt drive types . Examples:

screw pocket --- see pocket screw hole

screws vs bolts --- see bolts vs screws

scribe --- (1) To mark with a pointed tool, generally to put a reference point on wood or metal to show where a cut or other operation is to be performed.
scribe --- (2) To shape the edge of a workpiece so that it will fit exactly against another surface such as a wall or ceiling.

scroll chuck --- A chuck for a wood lathe (well, OK, metal lathes use them too). They may have 3 or 4 jaws (or even more), and the jaws come in various forms, the most common being a kind of staircase piece of metal and the other being circular arcs (see four jaw chuck for pics). What all scroll chucks have in common is that the operational mechanism is based on a scroll plate which is a spiral-grooved plate that acts as a gear for the underside of the jaws (see scroll plate for pics). The good news about scroll chucks is that they are a form of self centering jaw chucks and are thus easy to use. The bad news is that like all self centering jaw chucks, they are somewhat sloppy in alignment compared to independent jaw chucks, and cannot be fine tuned for centering. The jaws either compress inward on the outside of a cylindrical projection at the back of the blank, or to expand outward to grip the inside of a hollow cylindrical projection at the back of the blank. Some versions have flat edges, some have dovetailed edges for extra holding power. It is immediately apparent when looking at chuck whether it is a scroll chuck or an independent jaw chuck, because a scroll chuck only has one adjustment hole whereas on an independent jaw chuck, every jaw has an adjustment hole. Examples:

scroll plate --- The spiral grooved plate that is the heart of a scroll chuck. Examples:

scroll saw --- [also scrollsaw] Sometimes called a jig saw, although that term now more commonly means a different (but vaguely similar) tool. The common "jig saw puzzle" is cut with a scroll saw when homemade out of wood but when made industrially from cardboard, they are pressed out with sharp curved blades.

An electric or pedal operated saw useful for cutting very intricate curves. It is basically a motorized fret saw, although it has blade varieties that make it even more versatile than the fret saw, and of course being power driven can be a big advantage over a fret saw. In British usage, this term refers to what in the USA is called a fret saw. Like a fret saw, the scroll saw usually has a blade that is 5 inches long and in fact fret saws and scroll saws sometimes have interchangeable blades. The scroll saw is also somewhat similar to a band saw but the blade moves up and down rather than in a continuous loop as it does in a band saw and the band saw blades do not get down to the amazing narrowness of fine scroll saw blades. The scroll saw cuts on the downstroke and the workpiece is supported by the table.

One of the most important characteristics of a scroll saw is the "throat", which is the distance from the blade to the rear frame; this determines how big a workpiece can be used in a given saw. Small scroll saws may have a throat as little as a foot, and really big ones go up to 30 inches or so, but the typical hobby grade saw is about 18 inches. Another very important characteristic is the amount of vibration, but that's not something you can tell much about from the spec sheet because if they mention vibration at all, they will say it has little to none and sometimes they lie. Excessive vibration will shorten blade life but more importantly it will greatly reduce the enjoyment of using the tool. A fine scroll saw is a real pleasure to use but few things are more frustrating than one that causes the workpiece to jump around and which breaks blades frequently. Yet another important characteristic that can be overlooked when selecting a scroll saw is the ease of changing blades. People who make a lot of use of scroll saws change blades constantly, so this becomes more important than it might seem to the novice.

Blades can be fed through very small holes drilled in the workpiece, so that internal openings can be sawed out of a workpiece, thus allowing an infinite variety of highly intricate, complex designs. The thin blade has a tiny kerf, which can be an advantage, and the fineness of the cut allows for stack-cutting veneer (with little to no splintering) which can be very useful for marquetry and parquetry. There are many types of blades for different applications, including one that has reversed teeth on the bottom portion of the blade, which makes for a very smooth cut on the bottom surface of the workpiece and that can be very important for some objects such as toys, where both sides of the workpiece will be visible.


scuffing --- see scuff sanding

scuff sanding --- Sanding a finished surface very lightly in order to remove the shine or roughness of the surface before applying the next coat (or a new coat if refinishing) and/or to provide a slightly rough surface for the next coat to adhere to.

sealant --- see sealer

sealer --- An undercoat; a finishing agent that is applied as the first coat on woods which are very absorbent, either because they are soft or because they have large pores. The purpose of the sealer is to prevent localized variable absorption of layers of finishing agents because that can cause blotchiness.

sealing --- Applying a sealer

seasoned --- Wood that has been dried, either by air (see air dried) or in a kiln (see kiln dried) to remove moisture so as to improve serviceability. Also used to describe cordwood that has been air dried for at least one year; cordwood is never kiln dried but burns much more efficiently if the moisture content has been reduced by air drying.

seasoning --- The process of bringing wood to the point where it is considered to be seasoned.

seat cut --- In a bird's mouth joint this is the horizontal cut in the angled member; the cut that creates the face that sits on a top plate or other horizontal framing member. Compare/contrast to heel cut. Example:

secondary colors --- Any of the three colors formed by mixing together equal amounts of two primary colors. In the RGB color space, they are magenta (the combination of red and blue), yellow (the combination of red and green), and cyan (the combination of blue and green). Here is an illustration of the primary and secondary colors:

secondary tool force --- A side effect of using certain types of tools. The most prominent example is using a twist drill bit in a drill press. The drill bit has two primary forces (pressure downward and a rotary force caused by the cutting edges moving rotationally) and one secondary force which is the force that the twist edges exert in an upwards direction on the workpiece. If the only other force being applied to the workpiece is a lateral force, such as your hand, holding it against the rotational twisting force, then the piece may move up sharply when the drill exits the lower side. After having had this happen to you approximately once, you'll learn to either clamp the workpiece or hold it against the upward secondary forces.

secondary wood --- The material that is used in furniture but that is not seen. Examples are drawer bottoms and sides, cabinet backs and other hidden parts. Compare/contrast to primary wood.

secondary wood products --- A categorization that includes literally thousands of wood-based products such as millwork, kitchen cabinets, wood containers, prefabricated buildings, moldings, doors, window and door frames, trellis, cabinets, laminated trusses, treated lumber, wood containers, pallets and skids, prefabricated floors and sections, and on and on. Compare/contrast to primary wood products.

secondary xylem --- A very technical botanical term that would be of interest to you only if you are a botanist, and if you are a botanist, you are reading the wrong glossary!

second cut --- The designation for a particular degree of cut for files. File cuts go in the following order, from most rough to most smooth: rough, middle, bastard, second cut, smooth, and dead smooth, so a second cut file is somewhere in the middle and towards the smooth end. The term does not in any way constrain the shape of the file (flat on both sides, curved on one side, etc.)

second growth --- timber that has grown up after the removal, whether by cutting, fire, wind, or other agency, of all or a large part of the previous stand.

secret --- Synonymous with blind. With regard to a haunch, it sometimes is used to mean a sloping haunch.

section --- (1) see cross section
section --- (2) A part of or an area of. For example, "One section of the top is blotchy".

security bolt --- A term that designates a very wide variety of screws and bolts that have the common characteristic of being designed so as to deter casual removal. The most widely known of these is the one we've all seen on public bathroom stalls where the designers seem to feel that since we all have a lot of free time while sitting on the John, and of course we all carry screwdrivers around with us, we would disassemble the stalls while we were doing our business so that by the time we were ready to pull our clothes back up, it would be a good time to do so since the disassembled stall would be collapsing around us and we would no longer have privacy. To thwart these devious machinations, the stalls are assembled using a type of screw (or bolt) that can be driven IN with a flat head screwdriver but which cannot be UNscrewed with the same tool. This type is called a "clutch head screw". The security features for these devices generally involve modifying a standard head type or using a totally weird head type. Modification often just consists of putting a post in the middle of the head so that a normal driver won't go in and you have to have a similar driver that has a hole drilled in the end. One of the cutest weird heads is the "snakeeye" head which has two little holes and requires a special driver. Security bolts/screws are little used in woodworking, so I have not broken out the various kinds in this glossary. The composite pic below shows many of the most common and as you can see, I have included both screws and bolts.

security butt hinge --- synonymous with security hinge

security hinge --- [aka security butt hinge]. This is a standard butt hinge but with an addition. Consider a standard butt hinge on an outward-opening door. The (hinge) barrel will necessarity be exposed to the outside which means the (hinge) pin could be removed from the outside. If this is done, then the door can be opened from the hinge side because the (hinge) knuckles on the door leaf will simply slip past the knuckles on the frame leaf once the pin is removed. What is added to the security hinge is a set of protrusions on each leaf that mate into matching holes on the other leaf and even protrude slightly into the door edge and the frame. With these in place, the door cannot be opened on the hinge side even with the pin removed. Example:

security screw --- A type of screw that is designed to resist casual removal. These are little used in woodworking. They are identical to security bolts except that they meet the definition of a screw rather than bolt (see bolts vs screws)

segmented --- Made up of small pieces or strips of wood glued together. Butcher blocks are segmented, as are some styles of turned wooded bowls. Segmented differs from laminated in that laminated generally carries the sense that the pieces of wood being joined are large in two dimensions and thin in the other and it is the broad faces that are joined whereas in segmented work any edges can be joined and the wood pieces are generally not so extreme in relative dimensions. See segmented bowl.

segmented bowl --- A turned wooden bowl that is not made from a single piece of wood, but rather from a number of pieces glued together in some design. Segmented bowls come in a staggering variety of styles and the examples shown below hardly even touch the surface of showing some of the variety available. If there are gaps among the glued up pieces, it is called an open segmented bowl. The upper middle two are mine. Compare/contrast to other lathe turnings. Examples:

sel --- A commonly used abbreviation for select.

select --- (1) As regards softwood, this refers to lumber which has been graded strictly for its appearance, with few defects allowed.
select --- (2) For hardwoods, this refers to lumber which is one grade below firsts and seconds.
select --- (3) For wood flooring, this refers to flooring selected for a minimal occurrence of knots and mineral streaks (but it may include sapwood).
select --- (4) For veneer, this is a common reference to A Grade veneers when veneer grading standards are applicable.

selected sizes --- Wood other than dimension lumber that you order from a mill or lumber yard, cut to your exact specification of length, width, and thickness for a specific project. This will cost more per BF than otherwise but there will be little or no waste at your end, so it might average out on cost and in any case it can save you a lot of time in cutting.

self centering bit --- A specialized drill bit designed to bore perfectly centered pilot holes for hinge mounting screws. The bit uses a standard twist drill bit inside a retractable spring-loaded sleeve. A tapered end on the sleeve fits into the countersink on a hinge screw hole to automatically center the bit when you press the sleeve against the hinge. Commonly referred to as "Vix" bits after the brand name of the original version, self-centering bits come in various sizes to accommodate different screw gauges and hinge hole sizes. Examples:

self centering chuck --- Synonymous with scroll chuck; the term emphasizes the fact that scroll chuck jaws automatically move synchronously and maintain their centering, unlike the jaws on an independent jaw chuck.

self closing hinge --- Any type of hinge that has a mechanism that causes the hinge to automatically close the hinged object once it is released. Examples include the cam lift hinge and the spring loaded hinge.

self drilling screw --- synonymous with self tapping screw

self tapping machine screw --- Also called a "thread-cutting screw", this fastener is somewhat similar to a self tapping (wood) screw. It has a portion at the bottom that looks, not like the scraper on the self tapping (wood) screw but rather an actual machine tap and rather than coarse threads, it has the same relatively fine threads of a machine screw. These screws have a straight shank and are typically a hard metal such as steel that are being driven into a hole in a soft metal such as alumninum. The hole is drilled in the soft metal but then one of these fasteners is used rather than tapping it. The drive slots can be most any type, as can the head style. A similar device for use in wood is the self tapping screw. Examples:

self tapping screw --- Also called the "self threading screw", this is a coarse-threaded screw, usually made of steel and with a straight, rather than a tapered, shank and a cutting ridge at the bottom that scrapes out room in wood for the threads; these are not used in metal. As the screw is driven into raw wood, the scraper opens up a hole in the wood and then the threads tap themselves in. These do not work well in really hard woods without a pilot hole. The drive slot on these can be most anything, as can the head style. There is a small-bolt equivalent, for use in metal, called the self tapping machine screw. Examples:

self threading screw --- synonymous with self tapping screw, NOT synonymous with self tapping machine screw.

selvage --- Primarily a term having to do with cloth, as regards woodworking, it is synonymous with side laps.

semi-concealed hinge --- synonymous with partially concealed hinge

semi gloss --- see finish rating

SEMS fasteners --- SEMS threaded fasteners are assemblies that combine bolts or screws with washers, collars, specialized stampings, or other components. They come in a wide variety of sizes and configurations and have the advantage that the washers and other components are captive and thus speed up assembly and also can't fall off and get lost during assembly. I have found only anecdotal information as to where the name "SEMS" comes from (it was supposedly from an early patent) and am not yet confident enough in it to repeat it here. Other anecdotal information says the name is an abbreviation of asSEMbled. Examples:

sequence match --- A veneer slip match made from consecutive sheets from a flitch. Also called "running match".

serrated --- Notched with a series of ridges or grooves. Serrated surfaces improve gripping ability and serrated blades cut more quickly than straight-edge blades. A standard handsaw is just a flat piece of steel with one serrated edge.

serrated flange nut --- A flange nut that has ridges on the flange that bite into the surface and are angled such that they keep the nut from rotating back in the direction that would loosen it. Because of the serrations, such nuts cannot be used with a washer since that would defeat the operation of the serrations. Although the definition does not require that these be hex head nuts I have never seen them in any other form. Also called a "wheel lock nut". Examples:

set --- (1) [verb] To become hard. This is a term used to describe the end result of an adhesive's curing.
set --- (2) [verb] To bend saw teeth to the right and left of the blade in order to cut a kerf wider than the blade itself.
set --- (3) [noun] The amount by which saw teeth are offset on each side of the blade to allow clearance for the thickness of the blade.

set bolt --- synonymous with tap bolt

set screw --- A headless bolt (which by some definitions makes it a screw, since bolts have heads) that has a recessed slot for a flat head screw driver, or more commonly a hexagonal recess for an Allen wrench. Set screws are used, for example, to tighten metal rods (such as at the end of a bowl gouge) into a metal handle, where a protruding head would be a serious problem. This term is badly misused, being often used to designate a bolt that has a head; such an object is NOT a set screw even if it is being used in a similar function, it is just a regular bolt since set screws by definition don't have heads. In addition to providing a tightening force against a potentially rotating shaft, set screws are also used in a way that causes an unthreaded section at the end of the shank (see "dog" below) on their end to be inserted into a hole in such a shaft to provide total prevention of rotation. The types of ends most commonly available on set screws include:


settling --- The sinking of particulate matter or heavier components in a finishing agent to the bottom while it is sitting in a container. This settling out requires that the finishing agent be stirred, usually vigorously, before it can be successfully used again.

sewing machinge hinge --- identical to butler tray hinge

sex bolt --- A term that refers to a nut/bolt pair where the bolt can be pretty much ANY type of bolt but the nut is abnormal in that rather than being a relatively flat section of metal with internal threads and no head, it is a headed tube with internal threads. The underside of the female nut's head is often serrated to provide gripping force and there is usually no drive slot on the head of the nut. Sometimes the head of the nut is knurled. Sex bolts are frequently used in security application (see security bolt) since with an undrivable nut head and a security head on the bolt, it is very difficult to remove the whole assembly once it is in place. Although it is true that most any type of bolt can be used with the nut from a sex bolt pair, the "true" version most often has a cylindrical unthreaded section at the top of the shank, just under the head, that has the same outer diameter as the nut. The bolts in these bolt-nut pairs are often connector bolts. Examples:

sex nut --- (1)see sex bolt
sex nut --- (2) Any male human.

shade --- (1) see color terms
shade --- (2) An area in which direct sunlight is blocked

shade intolerant --- A characteristic of certain tree species that means they will not grow well (or at all) in the shade of other trees.

shade tolerance --- The ability of a species of tree (or other plant) to develop and grow in the shade of, and in competition with, other trees or plants.

shake --- (1) A split (as opposed to sawn) shingle which is used to cover the side or roof of a house. Cedar and redwood are favored woods for shakes because of their decay resistance. Shakes were traditionally split with a froe but modern shakes are machine produced and in fact are sometimes machined on one side for a better fit. Shakes are overlapped to prevent rain from getting in.
shake --- (2) A separation of wood along an annual ring (ring shake) or cracks radiating from the heart (heart shake and also star shake). It can be caused by frost, stress due to wind, or by stress that occurs in the felling of the tree. Although they are due to mechanical processes, shakes are not generally considered to be drying defects; some resources either state or imply that it COULD be something that occurs during drying, so I'm not positive about that but in this glossary, I do not list shakes as drying defects.

shallow detail gouge --- A detail gouge that has an extra shallow cannel. See also lathe gouge shape comparison. Examples:

shallow fluted gouge --- synonymous with spindle gouge; compare/contrast with "deep fluted gouge" which is synonymous with bowl gouge. That is, bowl gouges have a relatively deep flute and spindle gouges have a relatively shallow flute, thus the alternate names.

shank --- A term with a bewildering variety of definitions; as regards woodworking the term refers to the cylindrical shaft of a nail, screwdriver, drill bit, cutting tool, etc. For cutting tools that have a tang going into a handle, the shank is the portion of the tool between the tang and the blade. For screws and bolts, the shank is generally taken to mean the smooth portion below the head and above the threads, but is also sometimes used to refer to the threaded portion as well, especially in situations where the distinction being made is between the head and the rest of the fastener. For nails the shank is everything but the head, whether or not it includes rings or spirals for greater holding power. For screwdrivers, it is generally taken to mean the everything from the edge of the handle down to (but not including) the end portion with the shaped tip (flat, Phillips, etc.). For turning and carving chisels and gouges it designates a portion starting at the edge of the handle and moving most, or all, of the way down to the working end of the tool where the cutting edge is. Shanks can be bent (particularly on carving and turning tools) or straight and can have most any cross section, although most are round (as on screws) or rectangular (as on files).

shank hole --- A hole drilled in a workpiece to receive the unthreaded upper portion of a wood screw or a bolt (when such exists). So that the threaded portion can pass through it, the hole often has to be larger than the shank itself would require it to be because it has to pass the threaded part through first before the shank gets there and on many screws and bolts, the threaded portion has a larger diameter than the shank.

shaper --- Also called a spindle shaper, this is a power tool, usually floor mounted (but there are bench models) that is used to cut decorative trim and molding and to edge planks in various ways for joints such as tongue and groove and glue joints. The tool has adjustable infeed and outfeed fences to allow for different cutting depths and the number of different sizes and shapes of cutting bits is practically unlimited. A router can be turned into a light duty version of a shaper by mounting in in a table with adjustable fences (see router table) and the bits for routers and shapers are often interchangeable, although there are some heavy duty shaper bits that are too hefty for use with a router. Examples:

sharpening stone --- Cutting edged tools such as chisels, gouges, plane blades and so forth become dull with use and need to be brought back to a fine cutting edge. Sharpening stones are compositions of various sizes, shapes, and materials, both natural and synthetic, that are used for that purpose; the cutting edge and the stone are rubbed against each other to sharpen the edge. There are coarse grit stones for rough sharpening down to fine grit stones for honing.

Traditionally, sharpening stones have been naturally occurring stones but over time the quarries that produce high quality stones have been heavily mined and now natural stones of high quality are hard to obtain, thus expensive. Also, modern technology allows for the creation of synthetic stones that are superior to natural stones (some will argue with this, but I think they are mostly being romantic, not practical). Bonded abrasives have a well controlled consistency of grit and can provide a faster cut than natural stones.

The most basic sharpening stone is a moderately thin rectangle of material against which a flat edge is moved, but they also come in curved shapes for gouges. Most stones today are artificial and the flat ones come with different grits on the two sides. Most stones are wetted down with either oil or water both to lubricate the sharpening process and also to create a slurry that carries off the swarf. Natural sharpening stones have been used for thousands of years but are less available today and have been replaced by numerous artificial compositions that are mostly better than natural stones. One of the problems of sharpening stones is that their surfaces become uneven with use and this can decrease their effectiveness. One solution in modern times is to use a diamond sharpening stone to dress a non-diamond stone. Sharpening stones that are formed as narrow cylinders that are rotated are a type of grinding wheel. Images of sharpening stones are show below the following set of related terms: Examples of sharpening stones:

shaving --- [noun] A small wood strip of indefinite dimensions developed incidental to woodworking operations such as the use of certain lathe tools or the straight slicing operation of planes or chisels.
shaving --- [verb] Slicing off a thin layer of wood; producing the thing described in the noun definition above.

shaving horse --- No, this is not an equine with a razor in its hoof, it is a long wooden bench with a clamp mechanism on one end, operated by the craftsman's foot. Traditionally, these are made in a somewhat rough style and would never be considered cabinetry. They are used to clamp a billet so that it can be worked with a spokeshave or other hand tool. There are a couple of styles and variations within them. Examples:

shear --- (1)[verb] to cut with scissors or shears
shear --- (2)[adj] Having to do with forces that tend to move two objects in parallel to each other. As regards wood, this is used to describe longitudinal forces that move portions of a single piece of wood in a direction parallel to the grain of the wood, and also to forces that tend to move two structural members in parallel with each other, along each others surface. In common usage, shear carries a connotation of "sideways", so for example when you see a reference to "shear forces" cause by wind, these are taken to be forces parallel to the ground, or "sideways" relative to the house.

shear cut --- see shearing cut

shearing --- (1)[verb] Cutting the hair or wool from an animal
shearing --- (2)[verb] Cutting thin metal sheets by stressing it between strong metal blades.
shearing --- (3)[adj] Involving movement between two parallel surfaces such as the cutting edges of tin snips (making a "shearing cut") or forces that want to force movement between two parallel surfaces (a "shearing force").

shearing cut --- When the edge of a lathe tool is presented to the work surface at a very close angle, almost tangentially, thus giving a cut that peels off a thin layer of the workpiece, leaving a very smooth surface. skew chisels when used in their normal manner in spindle turning give such a cut, as do the edges of bowl gouge. Compare/contrast to scraping.

shears --- large, strong scissors-like cutters that have parallel cutting edges such as tin snips or tree branch trimmers.

shear strength --- The ability to resist forces that tend to move objects in parallel with each other. For example if a pair of 2x4's were put face to face and then nailed together in the middle with a single nail, it would be the shear strength of that nail that would resist any effort to move the pieces in a way that would cause the faces to slip along each other. Within a single piece of wood, the shear strength is the ability of the wood to resist forces that would cause internal slippage, along the grain, of one side of the piece relative to the other.

shear wall --- A wall, covered with sheathing, that is specifically designed to resist the lateral (shearing) forces caused by wind and earthquakes.

sheathing --- The structural skin, usually made of plywood or other composite materials, on the outside surfaces of framing. It goes over the studding or rafters and provides support for snow and wind loads and backing for attaching exterior facing materials such as wall siding and roof shingles. Plywood subflooring is also sometimes called sheathing.

shed --- (1) A single story outbuilding used for storage
shed --- (2) A type of roof; see shed roof

shed dormer --- a dormer that has a shed roof. Examples:

shed roof --- A roof with a single plane with an area that is either horizontal or at a low angle to the horizontal, but which does not tie into any other roofs areas. Not surprisingly, this is the kind of roof that you would be most likely to find on a shed but it is also used on larger structures such as single-story storage buildings and on shed dormers. Note that on a shed dormer, the shed roof does not strictly follow the definition in that it DOES tie into another roof plane. Also note that most sheds do NOT have a shed roof but rather have a gable roof. Examples:

sheen --- synonymous with gloss

sheet goods --- Panel-sized sheets of composite materials.

sheet metal connector --- (1) A flat rectangle (and sometimes other shapes) of sheet metal, perforated so that nails can be driven through; used to join wood in exactly the same way as nail plates.
sheet metal connector --- (2) Any of a huge number of different kinds of formed sheet metal parts used to join pieces of ductwork or other parts.

sheet metal screw --- As the name says, this type of screw is designed to work with sheet metal. Since the sheetmetal is always thin, and these screws never have fine threads because they would not grab the sheet metal; instead, the threads are relatively coarse and very sharp. They are also threaded all the way up to the bottom of the head and occasionally will have a self-threading cutting ridge at the end. In any case, because of the sharp, full threads, these screws make good self tapping screws for use in wood. They tend to be relatively thick and are rarely very long. Their drive slot is typically flat head or phillips head, rarely allen head, and the head style can be most anything but a very common head type has a straight-up hex rim plus a flat-head drive slot. They usually have a straight shank (rarely a tapered one like a wood screw) but they are pointed on the end. Although I have occasionally seen screws sold as sheet metals screws that were countersunk, that doesn't make sense to me since thin sheet metal could pull right through a countersunk head, so it seems to me that they should always have a flat bottom on the head (and most of the ones you see DO have that), regardless of the shape of the top of the head. I think such countersunk "sheet metal screws" are more likely to be useful with wood. Examples:

sheetrock --- synonymous with drywall

sheet veneer --- synonymous with flexible Veneer

shelf clip --- A small device for holding adjustable shelving, this piece of specially bent and formed steel works in conjunctioni with a set of upright steel rails that have slots into which these fit. Best described with an image, so see below. Compare/contrast to shelf pin. Examples:

shelf life --- The period of time during which a finishing agent or adhesive or other chemical, when stored according to the manufacturer's instructions (packaging, temperature, relative humidity), retains its expected properties.

shelf pin --- A small device for holding adjustable shelving, this consists of a cylinder that goes into the upright side of a shelving system with a projection that may be a cylinder or some form of flattened piece that holds the shelf. Generally, there will be a symmetrical rows of holes up the front and back of both sides of the uprights and 4 of these will be used, with the shelf pins, to support each shelf, which can then be moved up/down by moving the pins. These are almost always made of brass or steel but light-use versions come in plastic. The holes are always1/4" for all types. Some of the flat-projection version have a hole that can be used to screw the shelf in place, after which it is no longer adjustable without removing the screws. Also, you will occasionally see these sitting in a recess in the bottom of the shelf which keeps the shelf from moving front-to-back but weakens the support since it halves the amount of wood being supported by the pin (see the lower left corner of the composite pic below for an example). Compare/contrast to shelf clip. Examples:

shelf support joint --- A joint that is a combination of a half blind dado and a blind mortise and tenon joint. Although it's a little hard to tell in the drawing below, the tenon is a stub tenon. This joint can be used as a knockdown joint, but the dado is too shallow for my liking (I drew it exactly as it appeared in the book where I found it). Example:

shellac --- A colored resin secreted by a bug (the lac bug) in parts of Asia; it is secreted as part of the formation of their cocoons. It is harvested, processed, and sold as dry flakes which are then dissolved in denatured alcohol to make liquid shellac which is a wood finishing agent, and it is also sold in the form of dry flakes. It is very hard and tough and since it has a natural color (most commonly orange, but there are others), it can act as a stain and sealant at the same time. It is hypoallergenic and is used in the food industry as well as a wood finishing agent. Shellac has been in use for thousands of years and was heavily used as a wood finish in the 1800's and early 1900's. It was overtaken by lacquer, which is more durable, In the 1920's. Shellac has a strong bonding ability to wood. The "standard" composition is a "3-pound cut" which means 3 pounds of flakes in one gallon of denatured alcohol, but cuts all the way down to a "1-pound cut" are used by woodworkers. A 1-lb cut dries VERY quickly (minutes) and even a 3-lb cut doesn't take too much longer. Shellac is sometime used as a barrier coat in which case the inherent small amount of wax is removed (else other finishing agents won't stick well to it) and the resulting composition is called "dewaxed shellac". A barrier coat (or two) of dewaxed shellac is pretty much a necessity when attempting to use polyurethane as a finish on oily woods such as cocobolo. Compare/contrast to other finishing agents.

shell auger drill bit --- A very long, usually quite skinny, auger drill bit Used for drilling long holes in things such as electric lamp stands. Although the name is sometimes used for a long skinny twist bit or brad point bit it really is supposed to only describe a particular type of drill bit that is designed to avoid the problem of those type bits wandering off course slightly when drilling long holes through spindles, where you want to come out of the other end in the center of the opposing face.

shim --- [noun] A small tapered piece of wood that is inserted in, or next to, a workpiece to bring the piece to a correct angle relative to its surroundings. Most commonly used to bring one side of a cabinet or bookcase up a little so that the shelves are perfectly level. They are also used as needed in framing to bring elements into proper alignment. Shims are also sometimes used under bookcases to give them a slight backward tilt for one or both of two reasons; first to give extra assurance that they will not tilt forward and fall over if someone pulls a little on the outer edge of a shelf, and second to put the rear edge of the top shelf back against the wall when the base is out a little due to molding. This is NOT a very professional look and is mostly used with cheap shelving in kid's rooms.
shim --- [verb] To level an object by inserting a shim (see noun definition above) under it.

shin --- A part of the human anatomy; used to find coffee table edges in the dark.

shingle --- A small square or rectangular piece of wood or man-made material that is used to cover a roof or the sides of a house. When made of wood, a shingle is typically thicker at one end (the butt end) and thinner at the other end (the tip). Wooden shingles are also called shakes and were traditionally hand-cut with a froe but are now manufactured. Roofing shingles are most often manufactured products, siding shingles are made of wood, most often cedar (usually western red cedar). Shingles are always overlapped when laid down so that the surface will shed water. For illustrations and further discussions, see siding shingles and roof shingles.

shiplap joint --- A particular kind of plain lap joint where planks are rabbeted on one edge and reduced on the other edge (with another rabbet or some other kind of cut), so that when several are placed together, they form a rain-resistant panel. The joint is also used for vertical wall panels, but less often --- house siding is the classic use of this joint and sometimes the planks used for it are pattern lumber to give it a more elaborate look. Examples:

shiplapped lumber --- Lumber that has been rabbeted on both edges so that it is ready for use in construction situations (generally siding) where shiplap joints are needed.

ship's carpenter --- The resident woodworker back in the days of wooden ships. This craftsman had to be both what is now called a carpenter and also a cabinetmaker because he was required to do all of the woodworking both large and small, rough and fine.

S hook --- A metal rod that has been bent into the shape of the letter "S". The ends may or may not be closed. One use for these is to attach a solid-link chain to something, and they are used for other hooking and fastening operations. Often, one will open up one or both end with pliers and then close them again on another object (such as a chain link). Examples:

shooting board --- A shop-made jig for using a hand plane to sharply dress the edge of a miter cut or to hold a plank for edge or end planing (also with a hand plane). They are normally 45 degree jigs (or 90 degree jigs) but could be otherwise for specialty cuts. Also, the 45 degrees can be measured against the edge or against the face. Often they are made with a strip of wood attached along the end to provide a grip on the edge of a workbench. Examples:

shop built drum sander --- Most major woodworking tools are not readily amenable to home construction, but the drum sander is one that a great many hobbyists build for themselves, and so I present the shop built drum sander as its own entry in this glossary. There are many styles, but the basic idea is to replicate the functionality of one of the commercial forms (either the floor model or the pneumatic type). Compare/contrast to other forms of power sander. Examples:

shop lumber --- see factory and shop lumber

short bent --- Refers to tools that have a long shank with a tight crank near the end of the blade, for getting in deep hollows. See, for example, cranked chisel. Compare/contrast to long bent. Examples:

short grain --- A term used to describe a situation where the general direction of wood fibers lies across a narrow piece of wood. Properly cut splines are always short grain pieces. Compare/contrast to long grain. Example:

short pack --- Many mail order wood suppliers will provide packages of wood of all the same species, put up in predetermined board foot packages, such as 20 board feet or 50 board feet. The packs will contain a variety of widths and lengths of the same species of wood. Most short packs are of surfaced 3/4" thick wood, but some may contain other thicknesses as well. Short packs are an excellent way to purchase wood for the beginner if you don't have a specific project in mind but would like to have some wood of a particular species to try out and to use for small projects. These lots are also sometimes called "random widths and lengths".

shorts --- Sections of lumber generally too small for most furniture applications but suitable for some craft work. There is no hard definition, but roughly speaking shorts would not be longer than two to three feet. Some vendors sell packs of shorts all of the same species, or of mixed species, called a "short pack.

shoulder --- (1) The square end of a workpiece at the sides of a tenon or tongue. On a spindle turning, there can be an area called the "shoulder" but it is more commonly called the pommel.
shoulder --- (2) Handled tools such as files and lathe tools sometimes have a flange on the tool which prevents a tang driven too far into the handle and splitting it and that flange is often called the shoulder. Similarly cup hooks and similar constructs often have a flange that is sometimes called a shoulder.

shoulder bolt --- Sometimes (technically incorrectly) called a "shoulder screw", this is a bolt (NOT a screw) that has an unthreaded shoulder below the head and then a threaded portion. Depending on the application for which it is designed, a shoulder bolt may have a the outer diameter of the shoulder larger than the outer diameter of the threads or the same as the threads. Shoulder bolts are designed for various metalworking applications, not woodworking (although they are used in various woodworking power tools). See bolts vs screws. Examples:

shouldered dado --- This is a cross between a dado joint and a tongue and groove joint and the plank with the shoulder looks exactly like the one used on the corner tongue and groove joint. To my surprise, all of the Internet pics I found of this joint, and all of the published ones as well, had the rabbet on the lowerface of the horizontal piece and the tongue on the upper face. I may be missing something, but to me that is nonsensical since it would leave the lower half of the horizontal plank unsupported and subject to cracking at the internal corner. Although I do not show them in this glossary, clearly the joint could, like many such joints, be done as a half blind joint (see half blind dado) or a blind joint (see blind dado). See also tongue and groove dado. In the example below, I have drawn the joint as I feel it should be constructed; that is, with the rabbet on the upper face and the tongue on the lower face:

shouldered lapped dovetail scarf --- A lap scarf joint in which the lapped portions are shaped as a dovetail joint but there is a setback (the "shoulder") that provides additional support in one direction. Examples:

shouldered sliding dovetail --- synonymous with half blind sliding dovetail

shoulder screw --- synonymous with shoulder bolt

shoulder washer --- A type of washer that is like a flat washer with a "shoulder" that physically insulates a screw or bolt from the area just below its head. These are used primarily when affixing thin sheets of one metal to something using a screw or bolt of a different metal. The shoulder keeps the thin metal from touching the screw or bolt and because shoulder washers are normally a form of electrical insulator, the the physical insulation is accompanied by electrical insulation and prevents galvanic corrosion. Simple electrical insulation is the reason they are often used in electrical systems (such as computers) when screwing down printed circuit boards with metal screws. Examples:

shovel --- There are religious wars and utterly contradictory definitions to be found regarding the difference between a shovel and a spade, so keep in mind that the definition I provide here is only one of many and chosen purely because it is the one that I had as a preconception when I started digging into the definitions. A shovel is a hand tool used to dig up soil or move clumps of stuff (Neither "clumps" nor"stuff" will be defined in this glossary ... use your imagination). A shovel has a flat digging edge, unlike a spade, which is a form of shovel with a pointed digging edge. If you would like to reverse the two definitions, you will find plenty of support, so take this definition with several grains of salt. Part of my reason for preferring this definition is that most "snow shovels" are devices with flat bottoms. Example:

shower door hinge --- synonymous with pivot hinge

shrinkage --- As regards wood, this is the reduction in dimension or volume which takes place in timber when it is dried out, expressed as a percentage of the original dimensions or volume of the green piece. Shrinkage occurs in three directions in wood: radial, tangential and longitudinal. Taken as a whole, the total shrinkage of a 3-dimensional piece of wood is called volumetric shrinkage. Radial shrinkage is always less than tangential shrinkage, which is why quartersawn boards have less movement in service than flat cut boards. Longitudinal shrinkage is generally negligible, the other two are not. Volumetric shrinkage is a direct function of the three linear shrinkages; in practical terms, the volumetric shrinkage will be slightly more than the sum of the radial and tangential shrinkages, so an example set of shrinkages might be: tangential 6%, radial 4%, volumetric 11%. See also expansion.

shrink-tubing --- A special formulation of flexible plastic that is shaped into hollow tubes that shrink when subjected to heat, as from a heat gun. Primarily used to cover electrical wire joints.

shrub --- Anything that looks like a small tree but doesn't meet the definition of "tree"; a low-growing woody plant with lots of branches. Also called a "bush".

shy --- In woodworking, this word is used in its sense of "below"; used to describe a situation where a portion of an object, or an adjoining object, is slightly below the main object. Compare/contrast to proud (above) and flush (level with).

siccative --- a substance that promotes drying. This may be a catalyst included as part of a finishing agent or a stand-alone material (for example, one often finds a small cylinder in bottles of pills, which is a siccative to keep the pills dry.

side cut --- Defined as a plank in which "pith is not enclosed within the four sides of the piece", which seems a little stilted to me; I don't recall having ever seen that term used anywhere, but perhaps that's just my limited experience. In any case, it's clearly the opposite of boxed pith.

sidecuts --- Side lumber that has been reduced to small planks, usually 1x3 to 1x6. Sidecuts are not thick enough to make dimension lumber (which is generally at least 2 inches thick when rough and 1 3/4" thick when surfaced) so it is either used as waste wood or to make small planks (generally 1x3 to 1/x6) or slats.

side cutting scraper --- A lathe tool; This term refers to a few differently shaped lathe scrapers that all have the purpose of scraping the inside surface of bowls and other containers in face turning and are rarely used in spindle turning. They are sometimes quite similar to hollowing tools. Some have a straight edge scraping surface and are called "diamond side cutting scrapers" and some have a curved scraping surface and are called "round nose side cutting scrapers" and some have a rounded section that merges into a flat section. Some have a bit of a hook, much like a hollowing tool, but I have not encountered the term "hook nose side cutting scraper". I've seen one side cutting scraper that has a long straight scraping edge and is called a "box scraper" but having found only one vendor for this tool, I have not included it in this glossary as a term. Unlike bowl scrapers, side cutting scrapers do not come in inboard and outboard versions, although I personally have had occasion to wish that they did. Examples:

side elevation --- see elevation

side grain --- The wood grain as you look directly onto the side edge of a plank. Compare/contrast to end grain, edge grain, edge grained, and face grain.

side grained --- I have seen this defined only as "another term for flat grained" but I've never seen it used and I don't follow the logic behind the term. Logically, to me, "side grained" would mean the OPPOSITE of "flat grained", that is, it would be synonymous with quartersawn.

side laps --- The non-exposed edge on rolled roof shingles --- that is, the edge area that has no granule overlay and that is designed for the placement of nails and sealant. The side laps will not be exposed to the elements but will be nailed (or glued) and then covered by an overlap of the next layer of material. Side laps are also called selvage.

side lean --- A logging term referring to one of the two natural leaning forces found in many trees, the other being head lean; side lean is the lesser of the two.

side lumber --- A board from the outer portion of the log that cut-off when it is being first cut at the mill. While one side is flat, the other is an arc.

side play --- In a hinge, this is the amount that (hinge) leaves can move relative to each other and perpendicular to the (hinge) pin. This is essentially a measure of how loosely the pin sits inside the (hinge) barrel. See hinge dimensions.

siding --- The final layer applied to the outside of a structure, normally put down over sheathing but it could be nailed directly onto the studs. It might be long strips of aluminum or it could be cedar siding shingles or other material, but it is normally put down in an overlapped (see shiplap joint to prevent rain and snow from getting in.

siding shingles --- A particular form of house siding material, often made from cedar shakes (but other materials are also used) overlapping each other to keep rain out. Compare/contrast to roof shingles.Examples:

silica --- In woodworking terms, this is basically sand inside the tree. What happens is that trees take silica from the soil and combine it internally with oxygen to form silicon dioxide which is a one of the many forms of sand. This can be murderous on cutting edges and it is important to know when you are working with a new exotic wood just how much silica it might have. It varies greatly among species but is also dependant on growing conditions so can vary greatly within a species.

sill --- (1) When used referring to a whole house, it is the lowest horizontal member of the structural framework. It sits on the foundation and supports the lower structural beams and frame uprights above it. In this use, it is also called a sill plate (reference definition #1 of sill plate) and a "sole plate" and a "mud sill".
sill --- (2) When used referring to a part of a window in an unfinished building it is synonymous with sill plate (reference definition #2 of sill plate)
sill --- (3) When used referring to a part of a window in a finished building, it refers to the portion of the bottom of the window frame that sticks out a little both into a room like a little knick-knack shelf, and outside the building, where it is sloped down to facilitate runoff of rainwater.
sill --- (4) When used referring to a doorway, it is a non-structural member placed at the bottom of the doorframe, directly below the door and with a downward sloping face on the outside to facilitate runoff of rainwater.

sill anchor --- A threaded metal bolt that has its head and upper portion mounted upside down embedded in the concrete of a wood frame house foundation. It projects through holes in the sill plate which it then holds down with washers and nuts.

sill plate --- (1) The lowest horizontal member of the structural framework. It sits on the foundation, is normally bolted to it with sill anchors, and it supports the lower structural beams and frame uprights (studs, etc) above it. Aka "sole plate" and "mud sill". Often to protect the plate timber from splitting, the attaching bolt will be used with a plate washer.
sill plate --- (2) The bottom framing member of a window frame.


silviculture --- The art and science of growing and tending forests, to achieve various possible objectives including but not limited to commercial ones. This includes understanding, and to varying degrees controlling, the growth, composition, health, and quality of the plants in the forest.

simple machine --- A basic, fundamentally simple mechanical device that changes the direction or magnitude of a force. There are 6 simple machines defined in classical mechanics and Woodworking tools all make use of one or more of them. They are:

single bottom cooperage --- synonymous with white cooperage

single cranked hinge --- A hinge that has a crank in one (hinge) leaf. There is a specialty type called (appropriately) the flush cranked hinge that is shown in the 4 smaller pieces in the middle of the composite image directly below. If both leaves have the crank, then it is a double cranked hinge. See hinge parts for a discussion of the parts that make up the hinge. Examples:

single cut --- A designation regarding files that indicates that the cutting ridges are arranged as a single set of parallel rows, as opposed to double cut in which there are two crossed sets of ridges. Example:

single demountable hinge --- This is a somewhat complex type of hinge that has the tab mechanism that is fully explained elsewhere (see double demountable hinge) but only on the door leaf not the frame leaf which is a more traditional style and may use one wood screw but more often uses two of them and they usually go through oval clearance holes so as to allow for up/down adjustment of the leaf positioning. This is a partially concealed hinge because only the barrel and part of the frame leaf are exposed, and it is a type of flush hinge as you can see in the pics below. As shown in the mounting pic in the upper right some (but NOT all) of these hinges can be mounted only if the entire back edge of the door be given a reveal (an edge rabbet). The second hinge from the left below is one such. The term "demountable" in the name is somewhat misleading since it would normally imply that no screwdriver is required to demount the hinge (see lift off hinge), but that is not the case with this hinge. Examples:

single mortise hinge --- Any hinge that has only one (hinge) leaf sitting in a mortise. This would normally be the edge hinge (whether it's on the edge of the door or the edge of the frame) because it wouldn't make sense to mortise a face mount and leave the edge mount proud since that would leave a gap between the door and the frame. See hinge mounting positions and styles for an illustration.

single phase --- Standard house electrical current is single phase alternating current. This is sufficient for heating and most small to modest sized appliances and tools but has the significant drawback that the single phase cannot directly create a revolving magnetic field to start motors, so single-phase motors need additional electrical trickery to get started; that works OK on smaller motors, but not on large industrial motors, so they use three phase electricity.

single shouldered sliding dovetail --- A slightly simpler joint than the sliding dovetail in that only one edge gets the dovetail cut. It seems nonsensical to me to create this joint with the single dovetail cut on the LOWER portion of the joint, but that's the way it was drawn in the books I saw it in, so that's the way I show it here but if I were to do the joint, I would do it with the flat side down as I believe that would avoid a slight possibility of a crack developing in the horizontal plank. Example:

single wedged mortise and tenon --- see single wedged tenon

single wedged tenon --- Mortise and tenon joints are sometimes strengthened by various wedging techniques (see wedged tenon) and this is one of them, specifically one where there is only one wedge. Although the single wedge could be inserted vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, this term normally refers to a single wedge inserted horizontally. This is generally the best way to use a single wedge since all of the force is longitudinal relative to the grain of the piece with the mortise and thus will never cause a split in that piece. Example:

sinker --- short for sinker nail

sinker nail --- A type of framing nail but thinner than a common nail (somewhat like a box nail), and coated with adhesive (they are a type of cement coated nail) to enhance holding power. They usually have a slightly countersunk, funnel-shaped, head so as to sink flat with the surface of the framing member into which they are driven. They often have a grid stamped on the top of the head exactly like a framing nail. Examples:

sintered --- formed into a mass by heat (but not melting) and pressure. See sintering.

sintering --- The bonding of powdered materials (usually either ceramic or metal) under pressure and at a temperature lower than the melting point of the particles. This technique results in very dense, strong material. In woodworking this is most often encountered in circular saw blades that are designed to cut ceramics and masonry.

sized for spacing --- A notation in APA rated sheathing and other trademarks indicating panels may be trimmed during manufacture to length and width tolerances of +0, 1/8 inch. This trimming is designed to promote proper panel spacing.

sized lumber --- Lumber that has been manufactured to the dressed. This may be done through dressing the lumber, or it may be saw sized.

sizing tool --- A hook shaped attachment to a square parting tool, used so that the workpiece can be sized to a pre-set dimension. This is particularly useful when an operation has to be performed repeatedly. Also called a "hook gate". Examples:

sketch face --- A sometimes very elaborate joining of veneer into a pattern of panel size. Sketch facing often uses a combination of book matching and butt matching and is commonly used with burl and crotch veneers. It is also done even more elaborately using laser-cut veneer to produce very elaborate patterns.

skewchigouge --- A lathe tool reportedly designed by English turner Allan Beecham; works as a both a skew chisel and a gouge, thus the name skewchigouge. Sold by several manufacturers, it reportedly does not catch easily and can be used to turn beads, coves and most any other shape that can be turned with a skew chisel and/or a lathe gouge. Examples:

skew chisel --- A lathe tool; a chisel on which the cutting edge is not square to the sides of the tool but rather is at an angle (most commonly 30 degrees) off of square. The cross section taken perpendicular to the long dimension is normally a rectangle, but if it is an oval, then the chisel is called an oval skew chisel and there is one extreme case of this where the shank is a cylinder and the tool is called a round skew chisel. Skew chisels exist as both carving chisels and lathe chisels. When used with a wood lathe, they are present to the spindle with the cutting edge perpendicular to the axis of the spindle, thus removing material via slicing, not scraping. Skew chisels can also be used in exactly the same way as a square nose chisel but with the added advantage that they can get into slightly recessed areas whereas the square nose chisel cannot. I use them this way regularly when doing the versions of my bowls where the bowl surface extends under the side and a square nose scraper just can't do the job. One of the problems sometimes encountered with the skew chisel is that the rectangular cross section presents a sharp edge to the tool rest when using the tool at an angle (the normal mode of operation) and this easily catches on the tool rest. Consequently, some vendors produce skew chisels with slightly rounded edges, like the one in the upper right corner of the composite pic below, and of course the oval skew chisel totally avoids the problem. Examples:

skinning --- The formation of a thin solid or semi-solid layer on the top of a liquid finishing agent during storage (e.g. in a can), caused by partial curing or drying. For some finishing agents, after the can is opened, skinning is almost automatic given a little time, but can usually be inhibited by using commercially available gas sprays that replace the oxygen in the top of the can and thus prevent curing. I have personally had terrible problems with skinning in cans of spar polyurethane, which is what I use to finish my bowls.

skip --- Term used to describe the grooves that sometimes occur in wood when it is fed through a surface planer and comes out not entirely smooth. The surface looks something like that of a washboard or the waves in the ocean. See also hit and miss and hit or miss.

skip plane --- see skip

skirting --- synonymous with baseboard

skirting board --- synonymous with baseboard

skylight --- A "window" in a roof

slab --- (1) There does not seem to be any good firm, widely accepted, definition but generally it means a broad flat piece of wood, often with bark on both edges. In general woodworking usage, slab implies thicker than normal, so a plank that goes from one side of the tree to the other may not be called a slab it if is only 3/4" thick, but a 3" thick by 8" wide plank would be called a slab even if it didn't have any bark on either edge. Also, in general use, slab implies relatively thick and not too long compared to width, so a piece 8"x3"x24" would be called a slab but a piece 8"x3"x96" would more likely be called a beam, and a piece 24"x2"x72" would be called a slab. Anything big enough to make a table-top out of would likely be called a slab. I have never seen wood thinner than 3/4" called a slab. In short, it is a loosely defined term. I have also seen one definition that said this term refers to the outer "plank" removed from a log, having one flat and one curved surface, in preparation for cutting the log into planks.
slab --- (2) A poured concrete section laying horizontally. See also slab on grade

slab on grade --- A large monolithic concrete slab that covers the ground at the base of a structure and serves as both the entire first floor of a structure and also as the perimeter footings.

slack cooperage --- Cooperage used as containers for dry, semidry or solid products. The staves are usually not closely fitted and are held together with beaded steel, wire, or wood hoops. Compare/contrast to tight cooperage.

slash --- Branches and other woody material left on a site after logging.

slash grain --- synonymous with flat cut

slashsawn --- [also slash sawn] synonymous with flat cut

slat --- (1) A vague term used to describe a fairly thin, not very wide piece of wood that is considerably longer than it is wide. Something that is 2" wide and 1/8" thick and 2' long is clearly a slat and something that is 6" wide an 1" thick a 3' long clearly is not, but where in between does something move from a slat to a board? That's what's vague about the definition.
slat --- (2) A short plank or square of wood used as part of a parquet flooring. Flooring "slats" are just short sections of normal flooring planks and can thus be wider and thicker than what is described in definition (1) above. Normally not over about 9" long, and no more than 3" wide. Also called "blocks".

sledgehammer --- A tool that consists of a large, cylindrical metal head attached to a long handle, used for REALLY serious pounding of things such as a splitting wedge. Typically has two flat sides on the head (think of a large tin can but made out of steel and with a handle stuck through the middle of the length). Examples:

sleeper --- A strip of wood laid down (along with others just like it) and attached to a concrete floor as a nailing platform for a plywood subfloor or for tongue and grooved flooring. This is also one of the definitions of screed. In some of the English language world, the term refers to what we in the USA call a "railroad tie" (the wooden beam that goes crosswise under railroad tracks).

sliced Veneer --- Veneer that is sliced in a machine with a very long, heavy, strong metal knife that is sharpened to a razor edge and which slices off the paper-thin layers of veneer in sheets, which are kept in order (sometimes called "flitch order"). Compare/contrast to sawn veneer and rotary cut veneer.

slick --- synonymous with framing slick.

sliding compound miter saw --- A compound miter saw that has the added advantage that the blade is mounded on a track so that rather than act only as a cut-off saw with mitering capability, the tool becomes more similar to a radial arm saw in that it can cut wider planks (but it still does not have the full versatility of a radial arm saw since it can't rip). Like its less expensive sister, it can be had in a battery-driven version. Examples:

sliding dovetail --- A joint that is very similar to a dado joint across, for example, the upright side of a bookcase, or on a drawer slide, except that the groove and the mating piece are in dovetail shape, not rectangular and thus the mating piece cannot be pushed into the joint across its width but rather has to be slid in from the side. If the groove doesn't go all the way through, the joint is called a half blind sliding dovetail (also "shouldered" and "stopped"). Obviously, there cannot be any such thing as a blind (that is, full blind, not half blind) sliding dovetail joint because you couldn't get the tail into the groove since both ends would be blocked. Examples:

sliding T-bevel --- synonymous with bevel square

slight --- When applied to a wood defect this means that the defect is barely noticeable and does not interfere with the overall aesthetic appeal of the surface.

slip --- [noun] synonymous with slip stone
slip --- [verb] When the edge of a tool slides unintentionally off of the surface to which it is being applied.

slip joint --- (1) A joint such as that in an adjustable tripod, or other telescoping device, where there can be a continuous range of motion or a set of fixed positions.
slip joint --- (2) synonymous with through bridle joint

slip joint hinge --- synonymous with lift off hinge

slip joint pliers --- The "common" type of pliers that are what most people mean when they say the word. Also called "gas pliers", they have an opening at the pivot so that there are two positions for jaw closures, one wider than the other. The jaws are serrated and about 1/4" by 1/4" in surface area and they close flat on each other and there is a curved serrated area behind the jaws that is used for gripping nuts and pipes. These pliers also have, as do many other types of pliers, a small cutting area used to cut wire or small nails. They may or may not have insulated handles. As shown in the pics below, there is little obvious difference among brands of these pliers and they all follow the same style very closely, BUT ... this is an excellent example of the difference between cheap tools and good tools where the difference is not obvious at a casual glance. Cheap slip joint pliers unintentionally emphasize the "slip" in the name but well-made ones are precision tools and will give much more satisfactory performance. The really good ones always have machined surfaces instead of being just cast the way the cheap ones are. Examples:

slip matched --- see slip matching

slip matching --- A form of veneer matching matching where consecutive sheets are placed next to each other in exactly the same orientation to form a repetitive pattern. This is most commonly done with quartersawn and rift cut veneers, since is can look a bit jarring if done with flat cut veneer, but here are examples of both types, showing that it CAN look good with flat cut as well. Examples:

slip stone --- [also slipstone] A curved edge sharpening stone stone used for sharpening non-flat blades such as gouges.

slip tongue --- A spline used to reverse direction when installing standard tongue and groove flooring. Example:

slope --- (aka "grade" or "pitch" or "incline") The increase or decrease in altitude over a horizontal distance, expressed as a percentage. For example, a change of altitude of 20 feet over a horizontal distance of 100 feet is expressed as a 20 percent slope. May also be expressed as a ratio, so a 20 foot rise over 100 feet of length would be expressed as a pitch or slope of 1:5 (or 20:100 if you're not mathematically inclined).

sloped haunch --- see sloping haunch

sloped haunch mortise and tenon --- A haunched mortise and tenon joint in which the haunch is not rectangular but rather is cut at an angle. This is usually done so the the haunch does not project through to the top of the mating piece and thus creates a joint that does not mar the upper surface. Such haunches are also called "secret" haunches. Examples:

sloping haunch --- A tenon haunch cut at an angle; commonly used when a haunch would otherwise become an open haunch. The angle makes it invisible rather than open. For an example, see sloped haunch mortise and tenon.

slot --- A rectangular groove in wood. Compare/contrast to notch.

slot joiner --- synonymous with biscuit joiner

slotted nut --- (also, slotted hex nut) synonomous with castle nut

slotted screw --- Any screw designed to be used with a flat head screw driver. See also flat head screw definition (2).

slotting cutter --- A router bit designed to groove the edges of boards for spline-joint assembly.

slurry --- A mixture of a liquid, usually water, with fine particles of an insoluble material such as rock or stone. Slurry is a byproduct of operations such as rock mining, metal working, and metal sharpening. The point of creating a slurry is to carry off the solid particles so that they do not get in the way of furthering the operation that created them. For example, some sharpening stones will become clogged with swarf unless a liquid such as water or oil is used to form a slurry to carry it off of the stone as the sharpening progresses.

small knot --- A knot no more than 3/4" inch in diameter. This definition is often seen, but I'm not aware of any governing body that has, or even can, dictate this definition as absolute. See knot sizes for comparison with other knot size "definitions".

smile --- synonymous with sweep

smoke --- Visible gaseous product of incomplete combustion. Made up of hot gas and suspended particles of carbon and tarry substances, or soot. Wood gives little smoke if burned when dry and if the fire is given a good supply of air, but green wood gives off a large amount of smoke when burned. When wood is burned in a fireplace, it will over time result in a build up of creosote.

smooth --- (1) Refers to wood that is fine textured
smooth --- (2) Refers to wood that has been well surfaced (but which may NOT be fine textured). An example of this usage would be "the plank was very smooth after planing"
This term can be ambiguous (as in "the plank has a smooth surface", which could mean smoothly finished or fine textured, or both). For both definitions, compare/contrast to rough.

snag --- A dead or dying tree, or portion of same, that is still standing. Snags provide food and cover for a wide variety of wildlife species.

snipe --- The tendency to gouge the trailing end of a plank when running it through a jointer due to the outfeed plate being set a little too low and thus allowing the plank to drop down as it leaves the infeed plate. In the drawing below, I have greatly exaggerated the extent of a typical gouge, just to show the shape.

snow guard --- Short vertical spikes of some sort placed near the edge of a sloped roof to prevent snow buildup from sliding off the roof, or at least to break it up if it does slide, so that the concentrated weight doesn't crush the bushes in front of the house. This can be particularly useful to have in the area over a door, so as to help prevent built up snow from dumping down on your head when you close the door behind you and slightly shake the house.

socket --- A tapered cylinder at the end of a tool such as a file or chisel, by which the handle is attached. Compare/contrast to tang. Examples:

socket cap screw --- synonymous with allen head bolt

socket head cap screw --- synonymous with allen head bolt

socket screw --- synonymous with allen head bolt

socket wrench --- A type of wrench with a cylinder on the end (the "socket") that has an internal hexagonal shape; comes in many different sizes to fit numerous different sizes of nuts, bolts, and other fasteners. These wrenches generally come in sets with a varying number of sockets included and are available in both metric and English units. Most such wrenches have a ratchet mechanism and in fact are sometimes called just "ratchet wrenches", but there are many styles, not all in sets and not all with ratchets. Also, the term "socket wrench" is applied to both box wrenches and combinatinon wrenches when they have a ratchet mechanism. Examples:

soffit --- In general use the terms "soffit" and "soffit area" refer to the underside of the eaves), running the length of the side of a house and from the wall to the fascia. Technically, this area should only be referred to as the "soffit area" and any covering it has is the "soffit", and if it does NOT have a soffit, then it is the "soffit area" only in the sense that it is the area where the soffit would go if there WERE a soffit (sometimes writing this glossary makes my head hurt!). Further, soffits also exist in areas other than just the eaves of houses, but I have not yet fully explored that concept and will add it here once I have. The soffits discussed here so far are most properly described by the term "eave soffit". Eave soffits usually have mesh-covered openings so that air can circulate in the attic without allowing birds and bats and squirrels to get in. If the soffit area is not covered, it is specifically referred to as an open soffit (should actually be "open soffit area") and if covered it is sometimes called a "closed soffit" although that term is technically a total misnomer and should be "closed soffit area". The soffit is frequently cut from engineered panels of some sort (plywood, particleboard, etc.) and then painted. The air circulation created by openings in a soffit covering is explicitly referred to as "soffit ventilation". The soffit may be horizontal or it may follow the slope of the roof (in which case it is generally nailed directly to the underside of the rafters. Examples of "eave soffits":

soffit board --- synonymous with soffit in the strict literal definition of that term. That is, "soffit" is fairly often used incorrectly to describe what is properly called the "soffit area", but "soffit board" always means the soffit, not the area that it covers.

soffit ventilation --- House ventilation that occurs from under the eaves, or at the roof edge, up into the attic and is normally facilitated by openings in the soffit. If there is no soffit, the ventilation is STILL (somewhat incorrectly) called the soffit ventilation because it refers to ventilation in the "soffit area" (in the sense that this area is where the soffit would go if there WERE a soffit). It all makes my head hurt.

softening --- Pieces of scrap wood used to protect workpieces from metal vise or clamp jaws.

soft rot --- Decay that develops in the outer wood layers under very wet conditions, such as in cooling towers, dock timbers, and boat timbers. It is caused by fungi and it leaves the wood intact but spongy and without structural strength.

softwood --- A general term for wood from trees classified botanically as gymnosperm. Commercial timbers of this group are nearly all conifers. The term has no reference to the relative hardness of the wood; the softest wood in the world (balsa) is a hardwood, not a softwood and some softwoods are harder than some hardwoods. The name DOES derive from the fact that on average, a hardwood will be harder than a softwood, and in fact most hardwoods are harder than most softwoods.

The residential construction industry uses softwoods exclusively for framing, never hardwoods, and it is used in relatively large-sized pieces. Construction and industrial plywood and other panel products may use either variety, but are more commonly manufactured of softwoods. Though some of this construction wood, such as that used for siding, must be of good appearance, most requires only adequate strength because it will ultimately be completely hidden from sight. Because of these factors, and because construction requires material of uniform size which can be stockpiled economically (meaning a relatively small number of standard sizes), softwood lumber is manufactured to standard sizes (called dimension lumber) and is measured accordingly whereas hardwood is cut to width in whatever way maximizes the number of board feet obtainable from a log. The "waste" portions of softwood logs that are cut into standard commercial sizes and used for pulp, chipboard, etc.; it does not actually go to waste at all.

soil auger --- Also called an "earth auger", this is a large, powered version of an earlier woodworking tool, the bar auger and it is used to dig out soil for fence posts and landscaping (planting small trees or bushes). They have a large helical cutting spiral around a long shank and are typically driven off of a backhoe or similar machine. I've seen ads for soil augers with cutting edges up to 4 feet in diameter (of course, you'd need one hell of a backhoe to drive that puppy!). Examples:

soldering --- a method of joining two similar or dissimilar pieces of metal by using a 3rd metallic element or compound which melts at a lower temperature than the other two. If the temperature is below 450 degrees Celcius, then the process is called soldering. If the temperature is above 450 degrees Celcius but below 800 degrees celcius, then the process is called brazing. If the temperature is above 800 degrees Celcius, then the process is called welding, but unlike soldering and brazing, welding actually melts and fuses the two materials in addition to adding a third.

sole --- As regards woodworking, this is the flat bottom cutting surface of a tool such as a plane or drawshave.

sole plate --- synonymous with sill plate

solid core --- refers to a door or panel made with veneer on the outside and some form of solid interior. See plywood for a further discussion of typical core materials. Compare/contrast to hollow core.

solids by volume --- Percentage of the total volume in a finishing agent occupied by nonvolatile compounds. See also solids content.

solids by weight --- Percentage of the total weight in a finishing agent occupied by nonvolatile compounds. See also solids content.

solids content --- The nonvolatile matter in a finishing agent. The ingredients in a coating that, after drying, constitute the dry film. Solids are composed mostly of the binder and the pigment.

solid wood banding --- see edge banding

soluble --- Capable of being dissolved in a liquid (which is called the solvent). You will often see the term "water soluble" meaning that something (e.g. sugar) dissolves in water. Substances can be soluble in some liquids but insoluble in others. Compare/contrast with insoluble.

solute --- The stuff that is dissolved in a solution. If a solute comes back out of solution, it is then called a precipitate.

solution --- A liquid made up of a solvent and a solute. See also precipitate. Compare/contrast to suspension.

solvent --- a liquid capable of dissolving other substances. Plain water is a good solvent for sugar, as most coffee drinkers know. As regards woodworking, the term is likely to be used regarding liquids that act as thinners for finishing agents. Examples are acetone, mineral spirits, isopropyl alcohol (aka "rubbing alcohol"), and turpentine. Solvents are also used as, or in, cleaning agents, particularly if they dissolve oil and/or grease. The item being dissolved is called the solute and together the solvent and the solute form a solution. Some solvents used in finishing agents can give off vapor that causes bubbling if care is not exercised in the application.

SOSS hinge --- SOSS is actually a brand name. These are, like the barrel hinges (type 1), a type of concealed hinge and have the same multiple flat plates as the barrel hinges but generally more of them and the mounting portion requires elongated mortises rather than a round ones and they use heftier mounting screws, all of which makes this type, unlike the barrel hinges, useful for load bearing applications. Note that there are numerous styles of hinges that are similar to SOSS hinges, particluarly in body shape, but they are different and are listed in the 2nd composite pic under concealed hinge. The main difference is that the SOSS hinges, as you can see below, have multiple flat plates that make up the moving part of the mechanism whereas the look-alikes have slightly different mechanisms. Note that some of the examples below are not sold by SOSS; they are knockoffs that are sold as SOSS by other companies. Examples:

sound --- (1) see sound knot
sound --- (2) a term used to describe a wood that has no mechanical defects that mar the surface or degrade its strength, such as checks and splits. A board could be warped and stained but still be sound because that does not mar the surface or degrade the strength.

sound cutting --- A section (cut from a tree) that is free from rot, pith, shakes and wane. It will admit sound knots, bird pecks, stain streaks, and pin holes.

sound knot --- A knot that is solid across the surface, at least as hard as the surrounding wood, and shows no indication of decay. In doing research for this glossary, I found that there is considerable confusion/disagreement around the term sound regarding knots. Some sources either state or imply that sound implies intergrown, which is not true. Sound refers to the knot itself, NOT to its relation to the surrounding wood, which is what intergrown characterizes. That is, intergrown means that a knot will not move when the wood goes into service because the knot is intergrown into the surrounding wood, but intergrown does not imply that the knot is sound. An intergrown knot could have cracks or even a missing center, whereas a sound knot does not have any substantial cracks and certainly does not have any voids or decay, but a sound knot could be ready to fall out of the plank with just a touch. Personally, I think that sound SHOULD encompass the meaning of intergrown as well as what it does mean, but I don't get to make the rules or define the terms, I just report on them.

At any rate, for a knot to be OK in a plank that is to be put in service, it should be both sound AND encased; that way it can be painted over and it will effectively disappear, unless it happens to be a resinous knot, in which case it may exude resin after going into service, and this can bleed through finishes. I have door frames in my home that have obvious brown knots showing through the paint, making it obvious that the frames are made of knotty pine instead of the more expensive clear pine. See resin bleedthrough. Examples:

spade --- There are religious wars and utterly contradictory definitions to be found regarding the difference between a spade and a shovel, so keep in mind that the definition I provide here is only one of many and chosen purely because it is the one that I had as a preconception when I started digging into the definitions. A spade is a type of shovel, specifically one with a pointed bottom rather than the standard flat bottom. If you would like to reverse the two definitions, you will find plenty of support, so take this definition with several grains of salt. This definition agrees with the "spade" card suit, which has the pointed shape, but does NOT agree with the "spade drill bit" shape, which is that of what I call a shovel. Obviously if you reverse the definitions, you get a reversal in those agreement/disagreement but in neither case do you get total agreement. It DOES agree with the "snow shovel" being a flat-bottomed device, which they are. Part of my reason for preferring this definition is that I am a long-time card player and the suits of cards are NOT "hearts, shovels, diamonds, and clubs". Example:

spade bit --- synonymous with spade drill bit

spade drill bit --- A form of drill bit that is in the shape of a metal rod that flares out into a rectangular shape at the bottom, with a flat scraping edge ground into the very bottom, along with a pointed projection at the center of the bottom; the projected may or may not be threaded to pull the bit into the wood as it is pushed from the other end. These are the least expensive, but also in most ways the least effective, drill bits. They are suitable for general use but should not be used if really smooth hole sides are desired. There is a specialty version, the adjustable spade bit that allows for a variable sized hole to be drilled. Examples:

spalt --- see spalted

spalted --- Dead wood that has undergone a particular form of bacterial decay that often looks like a black ink line of varying thickness and great irregularity drawn through the wood but is sometimes more vague. When it is very sharply defined black lines it is sometimes called "black-line spalting" --- in some trees, oak for example, spalting is rarely black-line and in fact is often VERY vague, amorphous, blotchy black or dark-gray areas. In some woods, spalting causes some color changes other than black. I've seen some spalted woods that are very colorful. Black-line spalted wood is a favorite of bowl turners since it makes for a very dramatic look, as you can imagine from the pic below.

Spalting can be encouraged by keeping a dead tree moist but since spalting is a form of decay, if spalting wood isn't stabilized at the right time it will just progress further into rotten wood. Wood that is really heavily spalted and still completely solid is rare (but not unheard of), since advanced spalting is generally accompanied by enough decay to soften at least some areas of the wood. Spalted wood that has soft areas but is not too far gone into the process of rotting can often still be used in craft projects by treating the wood with a stabilizer. Below is a composite pic showing black-line spalting in maple veneer and amorphous spalting in a white oak plank. To see more pics of spalted wood, click here: spalted wood pics.

spalting --- (1) The process that creates spalted wood.
spalting --- (2) The lines in spalted wood

span --- [noun] The horizontal distance between two supports of a structural member. See also total span and clear span.
span --- [verb] To bridge across (as in "The joists will span the full width of the room")

spandrel --- A term that seems to have numerous somewhat-related definitions. Here are the most prominent ones:
spandrel --- (1) The space below a staircase
spandrel --- (2) The space at the sides of an arch or between arches
spandrel --- (3) The vertical space between windows of two adjacent stories on a building
spandrel --- (4) The external area below store-front windows

Examples of all 4

spandrel closet --- A closet built into the triangular space underneath a staircase.

spanner --- British for wrench

spar polyurethane --- a form of spar varnish

sparse grained --- synonymous with loose grained

spar varnish --- An exterior grade varnish with resistance to moisture and weathering. Named for its original use on the spars of ships. Some formulations contain a UV blocker.

spear point chisel --- A lathe tool that is used to cut sharp corners or "V" shaped grooves. It has a spear shaped pointed cutting (scraping actually) edge that is usually ground to slightly less than 90 degrees since at a full 90 degrees it would be very unforgiving in scraping out right angles whereas with a little less, it can be used to work on one edge and then the other without danger of damaging the surface not being concentrated on. This tool is also called a "square end scraper" (not to be confused with a square nose scraper, a "diamond point chisel", and a "diamond point scraper", depending on the manufacturer. Examples:

special --- A wood figure term that is applied only to a particular type of figure in one species, specifically etimoe. The figure is really neat and reminds me of nothing so much as the way smoke from a cigarette can sometimes take on a broken ripple effect when the air currents are just right. I don't know if it exists in lumber or not; I have only seen it in veneer. Here are some veneer examples:

species --- see taxonomy for a discussion

specification --- A detailed set of known and salient information about a substance (such as an adhesive or finishing agent) or a tool. For a glue, one of the specifications might be how long it takes for the glue to harden. For a tool, one of the specifications might be how deep a cut it can make.

specification sheet --- [usually called spec sheet] The sheet (or sheets) of paper on which a manufacturer spells out the specifications and components of a tool or machine. These days, many spec sheets can be found on-line. The list of things that might be described in a spec sheet is almost limitless, but simple things include items such as weight, dimensions, power requirements, color, strength, speed of moving parts, and so forth.

specific epithet --- see taxonomy for a discussion

specific gravity - The ratio of the weight of a body to the weight of an equal volume of water at 4 degrees Centigrade. The same as relative density, which is now a deprecated term. To somewhat complicate things as regards wood, there is the issue of the moisture content of the wood, which has a great effect on its weight per unit volume. The WEIGHT of wood used in specific gravity calculations is always the ovendry weight (no moisture), but the VOLUME used can be any of green, airdry, or ovendry, and thus the wood can be said to have 3 different specific gravities based on which state of moisture content you are talking about. When no MC is specified, green is assumed. This is counter-intuitive to me, since the weight is ovendry weight, I think the volume should be ovendry volume as the standard, but it isn't, green is. I don't get to make the rules, I just report on them.

Since water at 4 degrees Centigrade weighs about 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, a specific gravity of 1.0 means a density of 62.4 lbs/ft**3. Anything heavier than that will sink, and there are several species of wood that are often heavier than that even when seasoned. Lignum vitae and African blackwood always sink. Both bloodwood and Gaboon ebony are right on the edge when dry and sometimes they will sink and sometimes they won't, depending on the tree; when green, they will always sink. Most woods have a specific gravity less than 1 even when green, and thus float even when freshly cut.

The lightest wood in existence is Balsa wood which is a hardwood. It has a specific gravity of about .15 on average and it can go a little below .1 for some trees, so it is used as in floatation devices; with a specific gravity of .15 it is 85% as effective as a weightless shell of pure vacuum, so you really can't get very much better than balsa for a floatation device.

spec sheet --- short for specification sheet

speed nut --- see spring nut

speed square --- A trademarked name (owned by Swanson Tool Co.) that, like "kleenex" and "xerox", has entered the language as a generic term whether the owner likes it or not. It now refers to any instance of what is more generically called a "rafter angle square", which is a triangular shaped measuring tool with one right angle, marked off with various lines that lay out angles for various framing activities such as cutting rafters. It helps framers avoid having to do complex math to figure out various angles, thus saving much time and leading to the inclusion in the original trademark name (named by the inventor Albert Swanson) of the word "speed". Examples:

SPF --- Spruce-Pine-Fir

spigot --- A rectangular or cylindrical projection on the end of a workpiece, made to fit into a recess such as a socket in a chair seat or in a spigot chuck.

spigot chuck --- (1) A chuck with a deep recess into which a spigot on the workpiece can be driven. In this use, the term is synonymous with "jam chuck".
spigot chuck --- (2) synonymous with cup chuck although I think it would be incorrect to call a shallow cup chuck a spigot chuck.
spigot chuck --- (3) synonymous with scroll chuck. I think this use of the term is incorrect, albeit fairly widespread.

spike --- A large nail, usually over 4"; bigger than a 20d nail. See also nail sizes. One example is a gutter spike. Note that in the woodworking sense, the term spike is not used to mean a "railroad spike" which has a particular kind of head and is generally rectangular in cross section and is not at all like woodworking nails.

spike knot --- A knot cut at an angle to its long axis so that the exposed section is elongated (much longer than wide). Spike knots may be intergrown or they may be encased and they may be sound or they may be unsound. Examples:

spike top --- A live tree that has a dead barkless top, sometimes without branches as well. This is a sign of a tree that is not happy, and other problems may follow. Some reports say it is common in cedar.

spindle --- (1) synonymous with arbor. See also spindle shaper
spindle --- (2) A long slim cylindrical piece of wood, usually turned on a lathe, decorative and with axial symmetry. These are used as staircase rails, the backs of certain types of chairs, and as a decorative touch on various pieces of furniture. Compare/contrast to other lathe turnings.
spindle --- (3) [also drop spindle] A a wooden spike weighted at one end with a circular whorl; it may have an optional hook at either end of the spike and is used for spinning fibers into thread so they can be woven into cloth.
spindle --- (4) An upright spike used to hold papers waiting for processing.

spindle --- (5) The shaft in either the headstock or tailstock of a lathe (see headstock spindle and tailstock spindle).

Examples of definition (2):

spindle gouge --- A lathe gouge specifically designed for spindle turning. Spindle gouges are typically lighter and shorter than bowl gouges and have a shallower flute, for which reason they are also called "shallow fluted" gouges. There is a particular way of shaping the end of a spindle gouge (and it's also used on bowl gouges) called the fingernail grind and when this is used, the tool is sometimes called a "fingernail gouge". When the flute is particularly shallow, the spindle gouge is often called a "detail gouge" (because it's great for doing fine details on spindle turnings), and when the flute is so shallow that it almost isn't there, the tool is called a "shallow fluted detail gouge". See also lathe gouge shape comparison.Examples:

spindle roughing gouge --- synonymous with roughing gouge

spindle shaper --- see shaper; the name spindle shaper seems to be to distinguish a motor powered table-based shaper in which the cutter is on an arbor (or "spindle") from any hand-held shaping device.

spindle steady --- synonymous with back steady

spindle turning --- Lathe turning of a long slender piece with one end attached to the headstock and the other end attached to the tailstock. It's called spindle turning for the simple reason that the result is a spindle. Compare/contrast to face turning. Example:

spiral grain --- Wood in which the fibers follow a regular spiral direction (right-handed or left-handed) around the trunk of the tree instead of the normal vertical course. It is a form of crossed grain. Wood that alternates between left-hand spiral grain and right-hand spiral grain is called interlocked grain.

spiraling system --- synonymous with texturing tool

spiraling tool --- synonymous with texturing tool

spiral nail --- A nail with a spiral ridge down the shank, somewhat like the threads of a screw but with a MUCH lower angle. They are used especially for hardwood flooring because the holding power makes them much more squeak-free than regular nails. They are also used for siding, fencing, and sometimes for pre-built rafters although with todays nail guns all kinds of framing are more likely to be done with coated straight nails rather than spiral nails. Examples:

spire --- a sharply pointed, tapering shaft that is mounted on top of a building; often found on churches where it is topped by a cross. The word derives from the same root as "spear". When a spire is topped not by a cross but by some other turned or carved decoration, that item is called a finial. On some buildings there is a constuction on top that is so complex that is arguable how much of it is the spire and how much is still part of the building. For example, in the next-to-rightmost building in the composite pic below, the whole thing seems to be a spire on a larger building (not shown) but the upper part looks like what is more traditionally called a spire. Also on the Chrysler Building (the leftmost building), is the whole upper part a spire, or just the very top part? Examples:

spirit level --- [usually just "level"] A device that measures whether or not an object is horizontal (according to gravity). In its simplest form it is a curved glass tube with an air bubble and when the air bubble is positioned between marked lines, you know the device is horizontal. Such glass tubes are generally contained in long rectangular constructions of wood, plastic, or metal and there may be more than one tube, at different angles so that the device can be used to tell when an object is vertical in addition to when it is horizontal. Sometimes spirit levels are put into other devices (e.g. an adjustable square) as an "extra". The name derives from the fact that the liquid used is often some form of alcohol because the low surface tension allows for a smaller bubble and more accuracy. Examples:

splash block --- A section of concrete or stone that is put at the bottom of a downspout so that the water doesn't dig a hole in the soil.

splat --- A slat of wood up the middle of a chair back. In practice, it seems to be used for any chair back that is not a ladderback or totally solid, and most often seems to be used with any type of vertical slats or even quite complex shapes of bent wood, or formed wood, much more elaborate that a simple slat.

splice --- To join the ends of veneer or lumber elements together. For lumber, this is often done as a finger joint and for veneer it is often done at the veneer factory using various techniques that do not show through to the face of the veneer.

spliced veneer --- veneer that has been joined in any one of several matching effects through the a process of splicing, usually done in the veneer factory without the use of tape but the term applies equally to veneer that is spliced by a craftsperson even if tape is used on the back.

spline --- A thin piece of wood that fits in the mating grooves cut into two pieces of wood to add strength to a joint primarily by adding a mechanical barrier to joint movement but also by providing a larger glue area. Proper splines are always cut short grain for strength; if a spline is long grain it may split along its length but when cross grain, it strongly resists such splitting. Here are a couple of examples:

splined edge miter joint --- A joint that is used at the long edges of two planks, as in the side/bottom of a box, and that is mitered, usually at 45 degrees on each plank, and then strengthened by the addition of a spline. Compare/contrast to edge miter joint. Examples:

splined end miter joint --- A joint that is used at the vertical intersection of two planks, as in the side/front of a drawer, and that is mitered, usually at 45 degrees on each plank, and then strengthened by the addition of a spline. Compare/contrast to end miter joint. Examples:

splined face miter joint --- A joint that is used in a picture-frame type situation where two planks come together at 90 degrees in the same face plane, at their ends, and are mitered, usually at 45 degrees, and then the joint is strengthened by the addition of a spline. Compare/contrast to face miter joint Examples:

splinedframejoint --- synonymous with splined face miter joint

splined miter joint --- see splined edge miter joint and splined face miter joint

spline joint --- A joint that uses a spline. Just about every kind of joint that present two flat surfaces to each other can be strengthened by a spline. Such joints can be blind, half blind, or through. Here are a few examples of the dozens of varieties that could be made with splines:

split --- A longitudinal fissure in the wood; a crack along the grain. There are two types of splits with subtypes in each, as follows:

split nut --- A nut that is, as the name suggests, split on one side or on two opposite sides, such that either (1) the sides of the nut can be moved away from the bolt so that the bolt can slide freely past the nut, or (2) the nut can be tightened on the bolt and the pressure can be released using the same mechanism that is used to tighten it. The first type is used, for example, on bench vises so that the jaws can be opened widely very rapidly by opening the split nut and then when the split nut is closed, the jaws can be adjusted with fine granularity to clamp down on a workpiece. Similarly, it is used on positioning systems such as in a metal lathe where the use of a split nut allows for rapid movement to a coarse-granularity positioning and then the fine-granularity position is achieved after the split nut is closed up again. The second type seems to be used only in plumbing and does not relate to woodworking. The right-most pic in the composite below is the first type and all the others are the second type. Examples:

split ring lock washer --- A washer that is somewhat like a common flat washer except that there is a radial split in the washer and one side of the split is raised. This causes a spring-like action that exerts pressure against the bottom of the screw or bolt head as the raised part is compressed by the head and this tension is designed to prevent the screw or bolt from coming loose due to vibration. Split ring lock washers are rarely used with wood screws; they are designed for use against metal surfaces and are used with bolts. Split ring lock washers CAN be used effectively on wood surfaces if a flat washer is put between the lock washer and the wood surface, but lock washers are rarely needed in wood because wood won't generally vibrate a screw out of it the way threaded metal will. There is an extra-thick version of the split ring lock washer and it is called the high collar lock washer. Split ring lock washer is what is commonly meant by the term "lock washer" but there are several other types. It is also called a "split washer". See lock washer types". Examples:

splitter --- A table saw safety feature. It is a wedge of thin metal that rides behind the blade so that case hardened wood will not pinch in on the blade. The splitter usually has pawls attached to it. A considerably better version of the splitter is the riving knife.

splitting maul --- A large long-handled maul with a heavy wedge-shaped head that is used to split wood. This version of a maul is much like a sledgehammer except that it has one wedge-shaped edge instead of two flat edges. Examples:

splitting nut --- The condition when a cutter or drill roughly breaks through the bottom or back of a workpiece. I have this definition from only one source and have no faith in it but it could be right. I have never seen it used.

splitting wedge --- A large chunk of metal that is a couple of inches wide on one end and tapers down to a cutting edge. This is tapped into the end or side of a log section and then whacked with a maul or a sledgehammer so that it is driven down into the wood and splits the log. Examples:

split turning --- A technique used where two identical semicircular items are required. One method is to make a complete turning from solid stock and then saw the piece in half. A better way is to glue two pieces of stock together with a leaf of paper in the joint and then make the turning. When the turning is complete the paper allows the pieces to be separated, typically by striking a horn with a chisel and then removing the horn by cutting/sanding.

split washer --- synonymous with split ring lock washer

splotch --- synonymous with blotch

spoke shave --- [also spokeshave] A drawknife of a design originally used for shaping spokes, now used for making any rounded edges such as cabriole legs, other chair legs, canoe paddles and so forth. Spokeshaves have handles on both sides of a central blade and are normally used with a pulling (inward stroke) motion. Some reports say these were originally made with metal bodies with tangs for the handles and the central part sharpened as the blade, but I've seen very old ones that were wood with an attached blade. At any rate, they are nowadays frequently made with a replaceable blade in the middle. Examples:

spontaneous combustion --- The condition under which a chemical compound creates enough heat due to internal reactions that it will burst into flame with no external source of ignition. This is something that will VERY readily happen with rags soaked with certain oil-based finishing agents if they are put into a confined space where the heat will build up but where they have sufficient oxygen to support ignition. Such agents always carry warning labels. Personally, what I do with such rags is soak them in water and then put them in a sealed plastic bag before tossing them out. I have done this religiously ever since I once had a small fire in a metal can due to spontaneous ignition of some rags soaked in linseed oil.

spp. --- An abbreviation meaning the plural of species; used only as a follow-on to the name of a genus. For example, if you have a piece of wood that is some kind of rosewood (genus Dalbergia), but you're not sure which kind, you can specify the "species" of the wood as "Dalbergia spp." (note the period) meaning that it is some form of Dalbergia.

spray --- An application technique for putting a finishing agent or adhesive onto a wood surface. Spraying is a particularly good technique for controlling the amount of agent that is applied and is widely used in the application of paint and some other finishing agents. Spraying does occasionally have a drawback in that the sprayable versions of some agents have different characteristics than the spreadable versions. For example, sprayable polyurethane is, in my somewhat limited experience, a very inferior product compared to the spreadable kind.

spreading --- In woodworking as in normal English, this term means to move apart, to separate. It's used mostly to discuss movement where items are not SUPPOSED to move apart (such as rafters and the means to inhibit such movement (such as collar ties.

spring angle --- The angle measured outward from a wall to the back of a piece of crown molding that is properly fitted to the wall, as shown in the cutaway diagram below. Formally, this is the "crown spring angle", but it is normally just called the spring angle.

spring clamp --- A type of clamp in which a steel spring is used to create pressure. Such clamps have limited clamping force and are used for small, relatively weak, clamping jobs, but they have the great advantage that you can put them on and take them off with a simple squeeze and they are very useful for many craft projects. Examples:

spring loaded center punch --- synonymous with machinist center punch

spring loaded hinge --- Any type of self closing hinge that uses springs to do the closing. Examples:

need to add spring loaded hinge pics

spring nut --- There are a number of different style devices, all used to capture bolts, that are referred to in various intermixed and only loosely defined ways. The most common names are push nut, speed nut, flat speed nut, spring nut, and U-nut, depending on the shape (but, again, the names are not applied consistently). They all have three common characteristics: (1) they work partially on a springing action which causes them to put pressure on the threads of the bolt and thus helps hold the bolt in place, (2) they are not amenable to tightening on the nut side because unlike a machine nut, for example, they present little or no surface on which a wrench can work, and (3) they can be put onto the bolt quickly because the springing action allows them to be slipped down over the end of the bolt and then the final tightening is done by turning the bolt. When they consist of folded-over flaps, they are called U-nuts and because of their ability to go on the bolt quickly, they are also called speed nuts. Some look a bit like an internal tooth lock washer with internal prongs, but the prongs point UP so that the bold threads will grab them, rather than pointing down so that they grab the object being clamped. Examples:

spring pivot --- synonymous with floor closer

spring wood --- [also springwood] see early growth

spruce-pine-fir --- A categorization of construction lumber that can consist of dimension lumber from pretty much any species from the three general types of tree mentioned (spruce, pine, and fir) all of which have numerous species), all of which have similar characteristics and are suitable for constuction lumber.

spurdrive --- A type of wood lathe drive center used for spindle turning. It has a cone point in the center for placement but more importantly has gripping projections (generally either 2 or 4) that press into the end of the spindle. The spur drive has a Morse taper so as to go directly into the headstock and transfer the rotational force from there to the workpiece. Also sometimes called a "drive center" but that term also includes the Steb drive which is a more elaborate version of the spur drive. When used with hard woods it is advisable to cut grooves in the end of the spindle to accept the spurs; in soft woods, the spurs can be simply pressed into the spindle by tightening the tailstock. Examples:

square --- see steel square

square cut --- The tail cut on a rafter when it is cut-off perpendicular to the edge of the rafter as opposed to in a vertical plumb line which is called a plumb cut. Examples:

square edge --- (1) synonymous with jointed flooring.
square edge --- (2) Refers to a sharp 90 degree edge cut as opposed to a rounded edge, such as is found on dimension lumber such as the 2x4's you find at the hardware store, or the micro bevel that is put on most flooring planks.

square end scraper --- synonymous with spear point chisel even though it sounds as though it should be synonymous with flat nose scraper

square head bolt --- A bolt with a 4-sided head that can be easily turned with a crescent wrench. Such bolts may be threaded all the way along the shank or not. Examples:

square head nut --- (also "square nut") A machine nut with a 4-sided outer rim.

square joint --- A term sometimes used to describe a tongue and groove joint in which the tongue is not eased or beveled on its edges but is left entirely square-edged.

square nose chisel --- synonymous with flat nose scraper

square nose scraper --- synonymous with flat nose scraper

square washer --- A washer that is just a square of metal with a hole in the center. Sometimes called a "square flat washer" which doesn't really make sense to me, since a "flat washer" is round so that's like saying a "square round washer". Also, I am quite sure that some vendors sell plate washers, even heavy duty ones, under the name square washer but I don't think that a small, thin square washer would ever be sold as a plate washer. Examples:

squaring up --- A term that could be used in many contexts in woodworking and that has a very specific meaning in terms of flooring, specifically the process of starting the first row of flooring parallel and perpendicular to walls in order to have the rest of the floor run true all the way across the room.

squeeze-out --- The small bead of adhesive, or individual drops of adhesive, pushed out of a joint under clamping pressure. The exact method of dealing with squeeze-out depends on the type of adhesive and the type of wood. One technique is to just wipe it off before it dries, being careful not to spread it around. Another is to wait for it to dry and then scrape it off with a cabinet scraper, chisel, or other blade.

stab cut --- Making a cut in wood or paneling by pushing a cutting edge straight into the material. This is necessary, for example, if you need to open up a new hole in drywall for an electrical outlet.

stabilizer --- see wood stabilizer

stable --- Refers to wood that has been dried to equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere and which can be expected to NOT move unless there is significant change in atmospheric moisture content. Stability varies greatly with species; some species will have little movement in service regardless of moisture changes and others will have large movement with only modest changes in moisture. Also, it is very important to keep in mind that moisture is not the only factor in stability. Wood can be properly dried and in moisture equilibrium, but NOT be stable, because it is tension wood. Compare/contrast to unstable.

stacked head dado cutter --- The dado is one of the simplest and most widely used joints in woodworking and since it cannot be made with a single pass of a normal circular saw blade, special dado cutter blades have been developed. There are two fundamental types, the stacked head dado cutter which is discussed here and the adjustable dado blade which is discussed as its own term in this glossary. The stacked head dado cutter is not a single blade, but rather a set of circular saw blades consisting of two outer blades which are identical normal circular saw blades and then a set of chipper blades that cut out the portion of the dado groove in between the channels cut by the outer blades. The outer blades make smooth vertical groove walls and the chippers do most of the work of removing the bulk of the wood from the groove, and you can use as many or few chippers as needed to get the right width of dado groove. The chippers usually cut a 1/8" swath each, and shims, typically of cardboard, give fine tuning to the groove width. At least one manufacturer (Freud) makes a stacked head dado cutter that has a dialable width instead of shims but it is very expensive (over $250, compared to less than $100 for a normal stacked head set) and you still have to choose how many chippers you want to put in.

Because the outer blades of the stacked head dado cutter set normally have just a little larger diameter than the chippers, the resulting cut is called a horned dado cut. Examples:

staff bead --- The innermost strip of timber holding a sliding sash in a window frame.

staging --- synonymous with scaffold

stain --- (1)[noun] Any one of a number of chemical agents used to change the color of wood and/or add protection from moisture. The main difference between a stain and a dye is the size of the particles of the pigment. Stains are more or less watered down paint with large pigment particles that sit on the wood and give it color but at the expense of obscuring the grain. Dyes have extremely small particles of pigment; so small that light actually passes through them. Dye particles are so small that they soak way down into the structure of the wood at a molecular level rather than sitting on top of it and yet they still change the color while having very little effect on the appearance of the grain. Still, I think anyone who stains or dyes wood should be shot. Compare/contrast to other finishing agents.
stain --- (2)[verb] To treat wood with a finishing agent that changes the color of the wood (see noun definition directly above) and protects it from moisture. There is at least one type of stain, called "natural" stain, that does NOT add any color to wood but just protects it from moisture.
stain --- (3)[noun] Discoloration of wood due to a number of causes. The effects of this discoloration are sometimes included (and are included in this glossary) in discussions of wood FIGURE, since they do in fact affect the appearance of the wood. Even though I adhere to this convention in this glossary, I am not entirely comfortable with it because by the same logic, a DENT in a plank could also be called "figure" and that would be just silly. Some of the most common types of wood stain are:

stain bleedthrough --- When tannin found in certain types of wood (such as oak, cedar, or redwood) migrates (bleeds) through the finishing agent, causing discoloration. A similar phenomenon is resin bleedthrough.

staircase --- a set of stairs and their supporting structure. See also stairwell.

stairs --- A unit of steps from one floor of a building to another. The stairs and their support structure are called the staircase and the opening in the floor is called the stairwell.

stair stringer --- Also called a "carriage", this is an inclined member that supports the treads of a stair. The one on the open side of a staircase is the outer stringer, the one against the wall is the wall stringer. Stringers come in two different types: the first is a plank with routed areas for the treads and risers and the second is a saw-tooth-shaped cut-out plank where one surface supports the tread and the risers are nailed to the other. As you can see in the pic below, stairs can be "open" (see open staircase) in which case they do not have risers as they do when they are closed staircases. Here are some examples:

stairway --- synonymous with staircase

stairwell --- The opening in a floor where a staircase comes through.

stand --- (1) A group of forest trees of sufficiently uniform species, composition, age, and condition to be distinguishable as a group from the forest or other growth in the same area. In forestry terms, a stand is a group of trees that is considered a homogeneous unit for management purposes. Common usage: "A stand of pine".
stand --- (2) A set of legs, usually steel, or a cabinet (also usually steel) on which a power tool such as a belt sander sits. Also refers to the column (yep, also steel) on which a floor model drill press sits.

standard overlay face frame door --- see face frame door

standard reveal face frame door --- see face frame door

standing bead --- A bead which is wholly raised above the surrounding wood. See the term bead for illustrations. Compare/contrast to inset bead.

standing bolt --- synonymous with stud bolt

standing timber --- Timber still on the stump. Also known as "trees". Why we need a separate phrase from "trees", I don't know, but I guess it's to distinguish it from "fallen timber", which of course would be trees NOT still on the stump. And if the tree is still ON it, then that part that is destined to become the stump, is NOT a stump (yet, anyway) so the way this definition really SHOULD read is something like this: "a tree that is still attached to that part at the bottom that it will NOT be attached to once it is cut down". Sometimes this all just makes my head hurt.

standing tree --- see standing timber

staple --- Like a "normal" staple that one would find in an office, a woodworking staple is a U-shaped metal fastener, but unlike the office variety where the ends are bent around to hold a stack of paper together, a woodworking staple has the sides driven directly into the wood and not bent around. Also, staples used in woodworking tend to be heavier and stronger than those found in an office, although the small end of woodworking staples would be pretty much the same size and strength as the large end of office staples. In woodworking, staples are used to hold roofing, shingles, and other relatively thin items, to underlying wood.

star checked knot --- A knot having radial checks from its center outwards. Such a knot is, by definition, unsound, but there is no implication as to whether it is intergrown or encased.

star drill --- A solid steel chisel, usually hexagonal in cross section, with a slightly flared end that is in the shape of an "X". Used to break up, or drill holes in, masonry and stone. It is generally stuck with a heavy hammer or a short-handled sledge hammer. Examples:

star shake --- A type of wood shake which consists of a group of splits running outward from the pith. This is also be referred to as heart shake. Example in white mulberry:

starter hole --- A small, shallow hole created as a guide for a screw or a screw-type element such as an eye hook. A deeper hole would be called a pilot hole.

starved joint --- A joint that is poorly bonded because not enough glue was applied.

star wheel dresser --- A device for dressing a grinding wheel. It consists of a handle that holds a rotating set of steel edges. The dresser is pressed against the rotating grinding wheel and the hard steel edges smooth out any irregularities that have developed in the grinding wheel surface. Examples:

stave --- see barrel stave and bow stave

steady --- synonymous with backsteady

steady rest --- synonymous with backsteady

steaming --- There are several reasons for subjecting wood to steam, including:

stearate --- A material applied to sandpaper grit that gives it a soap-like coating that causes it to have a smoother action than would otherwise be the case and therefore makes the sandpaper better for use on finishes (as opposed to on wood or metal) where the use is really more of a buffing action than any rough abrasion.

steb drive --- A type of wood lathe drive center used for spindle turning. This is a modern improvement on the spur drive. It has a spring loaded center cone surrounded by a ring of sharp serrated ridges as the drive mechanism. This invention from England has a benefit for novice wood turners doing spindle work in that the cone can be pressed into the workpiece fairly lightly thereby assuring that it will just start spinning if a catch happens, rather than causing kickback or even potentially having the spindle piece pop off the lathe. Originally, the Steb drive was designed to be used in a lathe chuck, but there are now versions with a Morse taper for use directly in the headstock. For experience turners, this drive center has the added advantage that you can back off the pressure from the tailstock, thus allowing the spring loaded cone center of the Steb drive to push the workpiece away from the serrated drive rings, thus allowing the workpiece to stop spinning for inspection without stopping the lathe. Well, that's the threory anyway ... personally, I wouldn't recommend this even for experienced turners. Examples of both chucked and tapered Steb drives:

steel --- An alloy of iron with small amounts of carbon, this material is widely used in most forms of construction, most specifically in both hand and powered woodworking tools. There are numerous grades of steel and the hardness and other characteristics of the material depend on the exact composition of the allow plus the manner in which it is heat treated. In lathe tools, carbon steel tools provide extremely sharp edges that don't stay sharp very long and high speed steel provides just slightly less sharp edges that stay sharp quite a bit longer. Even better, in some uses, is a formulation known as carbide.

steel ruler --- A standard 12" flat ruler, about 1" wide, but made from steel for rough use in the shop. There are numerous styles, showing various gradations in both English and metric units. Examples:

steel square --- A flat steel measuring device shaped like the letter "L" with ruled marks on both legs and often on both sides as well. Also known as a "carpenter's square" and a "framing square". The longer and wider arm is the called the blade, the shorter narrower arm is called the tongue. Examples:

steel wool --- A small pad of fine steel wire, used to clean metal surfaces, scrape old finishing agents when refinishing surfaces, buff newly applied finishing agents, etc. Steel wool comes in "sizes" (refers to the thickness of the wire strands, not the size of the pad) 0000 (VERY fine), 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 (very coarse). Note: steel wool should not be used on oak (and some other woods) as small particles will embed in the wood, combine with atmospheric moisture, and create metal stain. See also synthetic steel wool.

steep slope --- Roof slopes above 33%. Steep slope roofs usually require some special considerations during installation. People falling off due to the steepness is, for example, considered bad form and is discouraged in the construction trade. Compare/contrast to low slope.

stem --- for a tree, this is synonymous with bole

stem wood --- synonymous with bolewood

step bolt --- (1) a heavy-duty bolt used on the corners of towers (eg a radio tower) to provide something to step on as a worker climbs the tower; this is not a woodworking item.
step bolt --- (2) synonymous with carriage bolt

step drill bit --- A stepped-pyramid-shaped metal cone with stepped-diameter cutting cylinders that can make numerous different-sized holes in thin material (mostly used for sheet metal). Examples:

step flashing --- Metal flashing pieces installed at side walls and chimneys for weather proofing.

sticker --- a narrow strip of wood (a typical size would be about 1" wide by 3/4" thick) that is used to separate planks that are drying so as to allow air flow to ensure proper drying. Stickers are used whether the wood is being air dried or kiln dried and they are usually placed 12 to 18 inches apart and directly over any support beams under the stack. Placing stickers as close as possible to the end of the boards helps to limit end checking and reduce warp. Here's a drawing of a through and through cut log drying with stickers separating the planks

sticker stain --- A brown or blue stain that develops in lumber where it has been in contact with the stickers during drying. This generally happens because of moisture that is trapped between the sticker and the lumber. This is NOT synonymous with sticker stripe.

sticker stripe --- A strip of wood that has a slightly different color than the surrounding area of a plank because that portion was covered from air and light by a drying sticker whereas the surrounding area was not. The sticker stripe can be lighter or darker than the surrounding wood depending on how the wood reacts to exposure to light and/or air. Sticker stripes are usually cross-grain, because stickers are normally placed cross-grain. Sticker stripe is NOT the same as sticker stain.

sticking --- A section of what looks like molding but that is an integral part of a larger piece of wood such as a frame. This is as opposed to nailing or gluing molding onto a plank --- the sticking is formed as part of the creation of the special plank, which is typically used for rail and stile construction, most often in window frames. For an example, see mortise and tenon with mitered sticking.

stiffener --- In framing, this refers to any elements used to support or stiffen the slender webs of I beams and/or to enhance compressive strength of the webs at support points or points of high bearing stress.

stiffening collar --- A flat collar that mounts on a saw's arbor directly next to the blade. It is used to make more accurate cuts by eliminating blade wobble and to dampen the sound the saw generates.

stile --- The vertical member of a frame on a door or window. In general, any flat vertical piece in a construction. See rail and stile construction.

stitch bolt --- A long bolt through mechanically laminated timber (similar to glulam but using bolts instead of, or in addition to, glue) that holds the laminations together. That is, this is not a TYPE of bolt, it is a type of USE for bolts.

stock glulam --- Glulams which are manufactured to common, standard dimensions and characteristics, and kept in inventory for immediate job site delivery. May be cut to customer-specified lengths.

stone --- As regards woodworking, this term is used as an abbreviation for sharpening stone.

stop --- Depending on context, this term has numerous uses in woodworking, generally having some part of using the word in its normal English language sense. See stop block, bench stop, drawer stop, stopped, and stopped joint.

stop block --- A small piece of wood, clamped or otherwise temporarily affixed to a fence, a workbench surface, or a workpiece. It either holds a workpiece firmly in position, or limits the distance it can travel during various operations such as planing or sanding, or limits the movement of a tool (e.g. a router) along the workpiece. Stop blocks are also used as reference edges when crosscutting multiple planks to the same length. In this use, they are also called "length stops".

stopped --- (1) As regards woodworking, this generally means "not going all the way through", so for example a finial with a mounting hole that goes half-way through the wood could be said to have a stopped hole. The term "blind" is used synonymously.
stopped --- (2) see stopped joint

stopped bridle joint --- synonymous with half blind bridle joint

stopped dado --- synonymous with half blind dado

stopped edge rabbet --- synonymous with half blind edge rabbet

stopped end rabbet --- synonymous with half blind end rabbet

stopped joint --- synonymous with half blind joint

stopped mortise --- see blind mortise and tenon

stopped mortise and tenon --- see blind mortise and tenon

stopped sliding dovetail --- synonymous with half blind sliding dovetail

stopped twin bridle joint --- synonymous with half blind twin bridle joint

storied --- As regards wood anatomy this refers to rays that are stacked in a direction which is vertical when the tree is still standing. American beech and American basswood are characterized as unstoried, as are most hardwood species while white cedar and other softwood species (balsam fir, for example) typically have storied rays from one to thirty cells in height.

story pole --- In structural framing work it is convenient to have a reference measure for sets of identical distances (e.g. the height of all of the window sills) so what's often done is to make reference marks on a plank or a 2x4, which is then called a story pole. The story pole is then used to make appropriate marks on the framing members.

story stick --- A way to accurately move dimensions from a template to a workpiece, this is normally a flat, thin piece of wood on which is marked (with notches or pencil marks) various points at which a workpiece needs to be cut or worked in some way. The term is particularly often used when a spindle turning needs to have various featured turned. The story stick is held up against the spindle when it is first turned to a smooth cylinder and the points are transferred to the spindle with pencil marks. Story sticks are particularly useful when making numerous identical copies of a spindle turning, although when doing that, a pattern stick would be even more appropriate because the story stick only shows WHERE beads, coves, and so forth go, but the pattern stick also shows how high or deep they need to be.

stove bolt --- Refers to any fastener of the various types that would most often be called a machine screws but which are in this case used as part of the fabrication of a wood-burning stove to attach sheet metal parts. In all of the examples I've seen, there is one common characteristic, which is that these never have an unthreaded shoulder but are threaded along the full length of the shank.

straight grain --- Wood where the grain lines run parallel to the long edge of the board. In flat cut boards the distance between grain lines varies from wide in the center to narrow at the edge whereas in rift cut and quartersawn boards the distance is much more uniform. Contrast to wavy grain and irregular grain.

straight line ripping --- A process for truing one edge of a board that has no straight edge to work from. A piece of straight-edged lumber is attached along the length of the workpiece and run against the saw's fence as the combination is moved through in a rip cut.

strap --- A long piece of wood or metal used to tie one structural element to another.

strap clamp --- A type of clamp where a strap, often canvas, wraps all the way around a workpiece (such as a picture frame) and the clamping force is exerted by either a screw mechanism or a toggle mechanism at a point where the strap comes back on itself. WHen used on rectangular items, strap clamps are frequently used with specially made pads that protect the wood's corners and provide even pressure on the corner joint. Examples:

strap hinge --- A type of hinge that was one of the first types used. It most typically consist of two long heavy (hinge) leaves, one of which attaches to a heavy door or gate and the other of which attaches to an adjacent wall. Designed to be both ornamental as well as functional, early versions often had elaborate leaves. Although most definitions say two long leaves, modern usage has corroded that definition and the term now include hinges that have only one long leaf (which item is then more correctly called a T hinge) and also many now are quite plain. Smaller versions are used for decorative purposes on cabinets. See hinge parts for a discussion of the parts that make up this kind of hinge. Examples:

streaks --- Natural discolorations of wood, usually due to minerals that enter the tree through the root system.

strengthened crossed edge half lap --- This is just a somewhat fancy version of the crossed edge half lap. It provides more gluing surface and arguably more mechanical strength (because of the extra gluing) at the cost of a more complex cutting process. I believe that it is in fact a weaker joint in at least one force direction because of the reduce portion of the lower piece. Example:

stress --- Force per unit area. Stress is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), exactly the same as pressure, since stress IS pressure. It is generally spoken of as one of three primary stresses, compression (with forces acting toward each other), tensile (with forces acting away from each other), or shear (with forces pointing across each other). A combination of the three results in bending stresses. Compressive stress is positive pressure and tensile stress is like negative pressure but is expressed in positive units (that is, units of pull, not units of negative push).

stressed skin panel --- An engineered structural panel assembly for roof deck or floor applications built of plywood sheets glued to framing members for load bearing applications.

stretcher --- A horizontal piece that connects the lower portions of the legs on a table or chair. Stretchers can be round, rectangular, or oval, in cross section but are always considerably larger in one direction than in the other two (that is, they have a "stick" shape). Stretcher are often done as spindle turnings. Examples:

strike jamb --- The door jamb on the side where the strike plate is mounted. Also called the "latch jamb". Compare/contrast to hinge jamb.

strike plate --- The metal plate against which a latching mechanism such as a door lock or a window latch comes to rest. The point of the strike plate is to protect the surrounding wood, which would get all chewed up if the latching mechanism just slammed right up against the wood.

stringer --- (1) A beam that joins the tops of a row of columns (or even just two columns) and supports the cross members of floors and ceilings. In general, any large member that supports a series of cross members.
stringer --- (2) synonymous with stair stringer
stringer --- (3) In wooden bridges, the stringers are the long beams that run parallel to the bridge span on each side and support the cross-planks which are the bridge surface.

stringing --- [noun] Fine strips of wood or veneer used to divide areas of veneer. It may be narrow strips of veneer the same thickness as the veneer in the areas it is separating, but of a contrasting color, or it may be thin strips of wood that are put into a groove between the areas of veneer and which sticks up above the surface of the veneer just a little. In either case, it is done as a decorative effect and is not structural.

strip --- [noun] In general woodworking use, the term is ill-defined in terms of any exact dimension limits, but generally means a long, narrow plank no more than 3/4" thick. In wood flooring terminology, strip refers to wood flooring where the width of the board is 2 1/2" wide and plank refers to anything wider than 3", but that's just the flooring industry. See lumber sizes for other "sizes" of lumber.
strip --- [verb] See stripping

striped --- synonymous with ribbon stripe

strip flooring --- Solid boards of a uniform width that are are tongue and grooved and end matched for use as flooring. All of the boards in a given installation are of the same width. There are several standard widths including 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/4" and 3 1/4". They are for nail-down installation directly to wood or plywood subflooring or over wood screeds on concrete slab construction.

stripping --- Removing an old paint or other finishing agents by using a chemical paint remover, solvent, sandpaper, heat gun, scraping tools, or more commonly some combination of those items.

strop --- [verb] To produce a razor sharp cutting edge by honing it on a strip of leather. Commonly done with shaving razors, less often with woodworking tools.
strop --- [noun] A piece of leather used to hone a cutting edge, most often a razor blade.

structural --- Having to do with the elements of something (such as a desk or a building or a tree) that are integral to its strength, such as a leg or joists or wood fibers, as opposed to decorative or other elements such as inlay, window trim or sap. Compare/contrast to decorative.

structural bolt --- A large hex head bolt used in heavy-duty structural applications such as in bridges and buildings. One knowledgeable definition also stated that such bolts have a controled thread length (and there are some technical reasons why, based on specific use) but while I can believe that that is a correct formal definition, I think it highly likely that the term is generally used more loosely just meaning any large hex-head bolt intended for heavy duty structural use.

structural composites --- synonymous with composite materials

Structural I --- An APA panel rating that refers to an unsanded grade panel for use where shear and cross-panel strength properties are of maximum importance, such as panelized roofs and diaphragms. All plies in Structural I plywood panels are special improved grades and panels marked PS 1 are limited to Group 1 species (see group number. Other panels marked Structural I Rated qualify through special performance testing. Manufactured with "exterior "or "exposure 1" durability classifications.

structural insulated panel --- Structural insulated panels (SIPs) consist of a layer of rigid insulating foam generally several inches thick, sandwiched between layers of oriented strand board, with possibly an interior finish, such as gypsum board or tongue and groove paneling, added to one side. SIPS are primarily insulating sheathing, not heavy load bearing sheathing, although they are capable of some structural support. There seem to be some arguments within the construction trade as to the proper definition of SIPs.

structural lumber --- Lumber for use where specific minimum characteristics for strength and durability are required. Compare/contrast to yard lumber and factory and shop lumber.

structural panel --- A panel that is not just a covering but that is expected to take some sort of structural load in a frame construction.

structural timbers --- Pieces of wood of relatively large size, selected for strength or stiffness or both, depending on their use. Examples of structural timbers are bridge trestle timbers, framing lumber, ship timber, decking, poles, and so forth.

structural washers --- a name given by some manufacturers to fender washers

strut --- A structural member resisting compressive forces along the grain. In woodworking (e.g. home construction) struts are usually vertical, load bearing members, most commonly studs of various types but it could also be a diagonal support member; as long as it's resisting compressive force along its length, it's a strut. By the technical definition, a rafter could be considered a strut, but the term is normally used for structural members that do not have more specific names, so it would be a little odd (but not really incorrect) to call a rafter a strut.

stubbed --- synonymous with stopped, although used mostly with tenons and not with grooves.

stub mortise --- see blind mortise and tenon

stub tenon --- see blind mortise and tenon

stud --- A slender wood vertical supporting element in timber-framed walls and partitions. Usually made from 2x4s or 2x6s, studs are traditionally spaced 16 inches apart (for 2x4s) or 24 inches (for 2x6s); the distance is known as the on center distance. Full studs (just called studs or "king studs") run the full wall height from the bottom plate to the top plate. There are several other types of studs, for particular uses, such as the cripple stud, the king stud, and the trimmer stud. The term "jack stud" is used to refer to either a cripple stud or an trimmer stud, but never to a king stud. King studs can only be demoted to jack studs by cutting down their length and then they aren't the king any more. Examples:

stud bay --- The area between studs and behind the wall in a framed structure. The stud bays are where wall insulation (e.g. batt insulation) is put; stud bays are covered by whatever wall construct is used in the building. If there is no blocking then a stud bay can run all the way from the floor to the ceiling. See also rafter bay. Examples:

stud bolt --- A short threaded rod that may or may not have an unthreaded section in the middle and which is generally intended to be permanently fixed to an object on one end by being screwed into threads in that object and then having a nut placed over the other end to attach something to the object to which the one end is fixed. Also called a "standing bolt". Examples:

stump --- The portion of a tree that is left after the tree is cut-off above ground level. The stump contains the tree roots, may contain root burls, and sometimes has uniquely figured wood such as angel step figure. Stumps are notoriously hard to remove because the root system can be massive and complex (see rootwad). An interesting example of this is in the classic American western movie Shane, where the Alan Ladd and Van Heflin characters bond by virtue of working together to remove a particularly recalcitrant tree stump. In the Southern portion of the USA, there is an expression, "dumb as a tree stump", which of course leads one to believe that the removal of the tree reduces the intelligence of the portion that is left. I can't confirm that scientifically, but it sounds reasonable to me. Examples:

stumpage --- The monetary value of standing timber in a specified area.

stump height --- the distance from the ground level to the top of a tree stump. Good logging practice dictates that stumps be as low as possible (preferably as low as 12 inches) to reduce waste, to minimize visual impact on the logging site, and to promote resprouting of trees.

stump shot --- A part of the standard method for cutting down a tree: see fell for a description.

stump veneer --- Veneer produced from the stump of the tree. Here the grain pattern is usually swirly figure, twisted, and often accompanied by cross fire such as angel step. The sizes are normally small. Claro walnut often produces a particularly attractive (and large) stump veneer.

stumpwood --- Wood product taken from the stump portion of a tree. Stumpwood tends to produce very wavy grained wood and sometimes produces particular figure patterns (e.g. angel step and swirly figure) that do not occur elsewhere in the tree.

subfloor --- synonymous with subflooring

subflooring --- A layer of (usually) plywood which rests on floor joists and over which tile, carpet, wood or other flooring material is placed and to which it is glued or nailed. Sometimes there will be a layer of underlayment above the subflooring and underneath the finish floor. The thickness of subflooring is usually based on what will go above it. It is most commonly 1/2" thick or 5/8" thick plywood.

subgrade --- A wood categorization more finely defined than just the grade. For example, common grade wood is often divided into two subgrades, common #1 and common #2 with #1 being the better of the two.

substrate --- As regards woodworking, this generally refers to a composite material (such as plywood) on top of which a laminate, such as veneer, is bonded.

summer growth --- see late growth

summer wood --- [also summerwood] see late growth

sunscald --- Death of phloem and/or cambium tissue on a tree, caused by exposure to direct sunlight. Happens sometimes even with mature trees if surrounding shade is removed.

superglue --- A generic name for cyanoacrylate based fast-acting glues (commonly sold under trade names like The Original Super Glue and Krazy Glue). It is particularly effective in bonding nonporous materials such as two pieces of metal, and is also effective in bonding skin to skin (great for non-suture wound bonding, not so great if you get it on your fingers and bond them together). Woodworkers often refer to superglue as CA glue or just CA (an abbreviation of CyanoAcrylate). It can be found in various viscosities, sets quickly on its own and almost instantly when sprayed with an accelerator chemical.

surface --- [verb] To plane or sand a face or edge of a board.
surface --- [noun] The edge or face of a board; an exposed area on a workpiece (as opposed to the inside of the piece).

surface bumps --- High and low spots in a finishing agent surface resulting from unwanted flowing that occurs during curing and is caused by unequal curing of adjacent areas of the finishing agent.

surface check --- A check that occurs on the wood surface as a drying defect and will extend to varying depths into the wood. If a check that appears on the surface goes all the way through a plank, it is not called a surface check but rather is called a through check.

surfaced --- lumber that has been planed or sanded smooth on one or more surfaces. See S1S, S2S, S4S.

surface defects --- Defects that occur during and immediately after application of a finishing agent and which have a negative impact on either its appearance or performance or both. Surface defects may result from a number of causes, including poor substrate wetting, insufficient flow, surface distortion associated with solvent evaporation and surface cooling, foaming and air entrapment, and contamination of the finish by dust or other particles.

surface mounted --- For a hinge leaf this means it is mounted on the surface (of a door or frame, edge or face) with no mortise being used. See hinge mounting positions and styles for an illustration.

surface mounted hinge --- Any hinge that uses surface mounting for both of the (hinge) leaves. If one leaf IS sitting in a mortise and the other isn't, then it is a single mortise hinge and if both are then it is a mortised hinge. See hinge mounting positions and styles for an illustration.

surface planer --- see planer

surface preparation --- Any activity used in preparing a surface for finishing. This includes cleaning, grain-raising, sanding, filling, and priming.

surface tension --- A tension in the surface of a liquid, caused by bonding among the molecules of the liquid. It causes liquids to want to "bead up" and minimize their surface area because the surface acts like an elastic film under tension. Since a sphere has the minimum surface for a given volume, surface tension causes liquids on a solid surface to tend towards spherical shapes. This is why water beads up on a well-waxed car, but note the "well-waxed". If a surface is very rough, the surface tension can be broken, thus water will not bead up on sandpaper. Surface tension matters in woodworking because of its effect on how finishing agents act, particularly the extent to which they do or do not tend to bead up at joints.

surfacing --- [verb] The processes by which the edges and faces of a piece of lumber are prepared at the lumber mill. Can be rough sawn or surfaced lumber.
surfacing --- [noun] The condition of the surfaces of a board as a result of the processes described in the verb form directly above (as in "the surfacing on that board is very poor")

suspension --- A liquid that contains particulate matter that is not dissolved, but just spread throughout the liquid. Compare/contrast to solution.

swan neck hollowing tool --- A lathe tool; this is a somewhat generic name for any number of different lathe tools that all have the same purpose, namely that of hollowing out the inside of a turned vessel (e.g. a vase). There are versions that have replaceable tips and numerous differently shaped solid tip versions. Unlike the straight shank on a normal hollowing tool, this version has a bend in it to facilitate reaching behind the inside of the lip of the vessel. Examples:

swarf --- the waste chips or shavings from metalworking; the fine particles of material worn away from a metal edge when using a grindstone or sharpening stone. I have seen some definitions that say that the fine particles of sharpening stone material that are ground off of the stone are also part of the swarf but I believe that statement to be incorrect and I think the confusion comes from the fact that when a lubricant (normally water or oil) is used with a sharpening stone, the resulting slurry DOES contain the stone particles as well as the swarf and the incorrect definitions are saying swarf when they mean slurry.

sway bracing --- bracing required to help a structural element resist transverse movement.

sweep --- (1) Several types of carving gouges have a cross section that is in the form of the letter "U" and it may be very shallow or very deep (but not flat, else the tool would be a chisel not a gouge). The degree of curvature of such cross sections is called the sweep of the chisel. It is also, less often, referred to as the "smile".
sweep --- (2) The characteristic of a tree that has a gradual curve in the main stem. Loggers consider this a defect while landscape gardeners may love it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

sweep cut --- In lathe turning, moving the lathe tool parallel to the surface of the workpiece. Compare/contrast to plunge cut. In carving, this is a slice cut with emphasis on rotating the handle along the sweep. It is particularly used with deeper gouges which can make full use of their well shaped sweeps to set in clean outlines.

sweeping cut --- synonymous with sweep cut

swell butted --- (1) Describes a tree greatly enlarged at the base.
Swell butted --- (2) Describes Oprah Winfrey when she is in one of her large phases.

swing --- The largest diameter that can be turned on a faceplate over the bed on a lathe. That is, the swing is twice the distance from the lathe centerline (a line from the center of the headstock to the center of the tailstock) down to the closest point on the bed. See wood lathe. On other tools, such a limiting distance is normally called the throat and is NOT given as twice the distance. There are lathes that have a dogleg (called a gap) in the bed near the headstock to give a larger swing. If it is necessary for the banjo to be positioned between the workpiece and the bed in a face turning, then for all practical purposes, the true swing in that case is the stated swing minus twice the height of the tool rest.

swing clear hinge --- synonymous with double cranked hinge

swing cut --- In tree felling, this is a back cut in which the holding wood is cut through on one side or the other.

swirl --- see swirly figure

swirly figure --- A type of wood figure that has a swirly look due to rotary cutting or the proximity of a crotch section, or interlocked grain, or some other form of irregular grain such as wavy grain. Burls often have a lot of swirly figure. Below is a composite pic showing (1) swirly Honduran mahogany, (2) American black walnut, (3) bubinga (this is rotary cut, so it is called kevazinga) and (4) sipo. To see more pics of swirly figure, click here: swirly figure pics

swirly grain --- synonymous with wavy grain

synonym --- A term that means the exact same thing as another term. In things woody, this refers to the fact that the botanical naming of species is an evolving process as scientists learn more about trees. Thus species that start out with one botanical name are sometimes reclassified and given an entirely different botanical name. The two names are then synonyms. Also, it is sometimes discovered that different people in different locals have given what are both accepted as valid botanical names for what turn out to be the same species. Combining all this, it turns out that some species have more than one synonym. I've seen a few with 4 or 5 synonyms.

synthetic steel wool --- Flexible abrasive pads, very similar to steel wool but made from thin plastic fibers impregnated with abrasive particles. The fibers are compressed together in a "non-woven" (random) pattern. These pads prove exceptionally useful for sanding woodworking projects, especially between coats of finish. 3M is a big manufacturer of these pads. You can purchase them from woodworking suppliers in several grits with their corresponding sandpaper grit or steel wool number.

for images of wood itself, go here: wood id site

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