Acrylic Lacquers

In finishing, high quality clear system for finishing furniture.



Type I adhesives are exterior glues.

Type II adhesives are interior glues


Adjustable Shelves

Generally accomplished through the use of multiple holes with either plastic or metal pins to hold the shelves. Some metal or plastic shelf standards are still in use. Woodworker shall have the option of adjustment method unless otherwise specified.


Architectural Woodwork

Fine custom woodworking, so varied in design and complexity that it becomes difficult to define, specified for special applications and functions by design professionals and created by woodworkers. It includes all exterior and interior woodwork exposed to view in a finished building (except lumber yard or specialty items of flooring, shingles, exposed roof decking, ceiling, siding, structural wood trusses and rafters, and overhead-type doors), including all exposed wood, plywood, high and low pressure decorative laminates.


Articulated Joint

In architectural paneling, joint details which allow for field variations.



Backband moldings are used in conjunction with Casing or Baseboard to create a wide variety of trim options for windows and doors.


Back Veneer

The veneer placed on the semi-exposed or concealed face of a veneered panel construction to balance the construction. Also, the side reverse to the face of a panel, or the poorer side of panel in any grade calling for a face and a back.


Balance Match

Two of more veneer components or leaves of equal size (prior to edge trimming) to make up a single face. Generally most aesthetically pleasing.


Balanced Construction

To achieve balanced construction panels should be absolutely symmetrical from the centerline, i.e., use materials on either side, which contract or expand, or are moisture permeable, at the same rate.


In stairwork, the vertical members which support the handrail.


Barber Pole

An effect in book matching of veneers resulting from tight and loose sides of veneers having different light reflections when finished.


Bark Pocket

Comparatively small area of bark, around which normal wood has grown.



Moldings used to trim the intersection of a wall or cabinet and the floor.


Base Shoes

A small molding combined with a base molding to complete the trimming of the wall and floor intersection. Generally used when floor finish is hard (hardwood, tile or linoleum).



In finishing, the removal of color or whitening of the substrate.



Color change that is detectable at a distance of 6' to 8' but which does not seriously detract from the overall appearance of the panel.



Commonly understood as the wooden support material placed within or upon gypsum board and plaster walls to support cabinetry.


Board Foot

A piece of wood one inch thick, twelve inches long and twelve inches wide, or its equivalent (144 cubic inches). When stock is less than one inch thick it is usually calculated as if it were a full one-inch thick.


Book Match

Matching between adjacent veneer leaves on one panel face.  Every other piece of veneer is turned over, so that adjacent leaves are "opened" as two pages in a book.



A Swirl or twist in the grain of the wood that usually occurs near a knot or crotch but does not contain a knot.


Butcher Block

Generally refers to face laminate hardwoods (usually maple) forming a work surface in which the edge grain is exposed to wear.



Base and wall cabinets, display fixtures, and storage shelves. The generic term for both "boxes" and special desks, reception counters, nurses stations and the like. Generally includes the tops and work surfaces.



Generally a molding placed around a door frame or window frame.  Attached to the jamb.



In finishing, an ingredient added to a basic product to provide additional performance characteristics, usually chemical resistance and/or hardness.


Center Match

Each panel has an even number of veneer leaves of uniform width. Thus, there is a veneer joint in the center of each panel, producing horizontal symmetry. A small amount of the figure is lost. This method increases waste, and consequently cost.


Chair Rails

A decorative molding placed at a height on the wall comparable to the place where the back of a chair would impact the wall surface.



Small slits running parallel to grain of wood, caused chiefly by strains produced in seasoning



In closet and utility shelving, the wood members furnished to support the shelf.


Comb Grain

A quality of rift veneer with exceptionally straight grain and closely spaced growth increments.


Concealed Surfaces

In casework, surface are considered concealed when: Surfaces are not visible after installation; Stretchers, blocking, and components concealed by drawers.


Contact Cement

Normally used for bonding high-pressure decorative laminates to a substrate.


Conversion Varnish

In finishing, a class of coatings that are tough and exhibit excellent resistance to household chemicals.


Flush doors and plywood are said to have a "core" material and/ or construction. Typical cores are lumber core (also known as stave lumber core); veneer core; particleboard core; or fiberboard core.



To cut or shape the end of a molded wood member so that it will cover and fit the contour of the sticking coping at the joint.


Cove Moldings

Similar to crown moldings, often smaller in size and less decorative.



Type of figure or irregularity of grain resembling a dip in grain running at right angles, or nearly so, to the length of the veneer component


Crown Moldings

Moldings used to accent ceiling intersections and traditional pediments and casework tops.


Custom Grade

The middle or normal grade in both material and workmanship, and intended for high-quality, conventional work.


Dado Joint

A groove cut across the grain of the face of a member to receive the edge or end thickness of another member.



The decomposition of wood substance by fungi.



Separation of plies or layers of wood or other materials through failure of the adhesive joint.



In finishing, either a mechanical or chemical special effect design to produce the appearance of wear or aging


Dovetail Joints

A very strong wood corner joint used for box and drawer construction. The joint is comprised of interlocking pins and tails (dovetails), the tails resemble a tenon tapered toward its base.


Dowel Joint

When short, round wooden pegs or pins are inserted into pre-drilled holes to reinforce edge or butt joints. Strength is similar to that of mortise and tenon joints.


Doze (synonymous with Dote)

A form of incipient decay characterized by a dull and lifeless appearance of wood, accompanied by a lack of strength and softening of the wood substance.



1. Part of the project documents put in place by the owner and/ or design professionals which, in combination with written specifications, define the scope, quality assurance, requirements, submittals, field dimensions, product handling, and product specifications to the woodworker.

2. Shop drawings are detailed engineering drawings produced by the woodworker for the fabrication of the architectural woodwork products, and often submitted to the owner and/or design professional for approval.



In stairwork, a short bend, changing direction or pitch of a handrail.


Economy Grade

The lower grade in both material and workmanship, and intended for work where price outweighs quality considerations.


Edge Joint

When the edges of boards are glued together to increase the width.


End Butt Joint

1. When one end is glued to an edge or face of another board to form an angle (e.g. stiles and rails of a face frame).

2. When the end of one board is fastened to the end of another to increase its length (e.g. running trim). It is generally preferred to use a  scarf joint.


End Match

Matching between adjacent veneer leaves on one panel face.  Veneer leaves are book-matched end to end as well as side to side.  Generally used for very tall panels or for projects in which only short length veneers are available.


Exposed Surfaces

In casework, surfaces visible when:  Drawers and opaque doors (if any) are closed:

Behind clear glass doors; Bottoms of cabinets 42" or more above finished floor;

Tops of cabinets below 78" above finished floor.



The better side of any panel in which the outer plies are of different veneer grades. Also either side of a panel in which there is no difference in veneer grades.


Face Joint

When the faces of boards are glued together to increase the thickness.


Fiberboard Core

Manufactured from wood reduced to fine fibers mixed with binders and formed by the use of heat and pressure into panels.



The pattern produced, usually across the grain, by natural deviations from the normal grain.


Filler (Past Filler)

In finishing, is used to close the pores of wood.  Often used for species with open grain such as oak and mahogany.


Finger Joint

When the ends of two pieces of lumber are cut to an identically matching set. Used most commonly to increase the length of the board.


Fire Rated

Fire retardant particleboard is available with an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) stamp for Class 1 fire rating (Flame Spread 20, Smoke Developed 25).  Fire rated doors are available with particleboard and mineral cores for ratings up to l-l/2 hours. It is the responsibility of the specifier to indicate what fire retardant classification is required for a particular product.  In the absence of such a specified rating, the woodworker may supply unrated product.


Fire Retardant Treatment

Only a few species are treated with chemicals to reduce flammability and retard the spread of flame over the surface. This usually involves impregnation the wood, under pressure, with salts and other chemicals. White oak is untreatable.  It is the responsibility of the specified to indicate what fire regardant classification is required for a particular product.  In the absence of such a specified rating, the woodworker may supply undated product.


Flake board

See particleboard


Flake, Ray

Portion of a medullar ray as it appears on the quarter-cut surface.

Flake can be a dominant feature in oak and is sometimes referred to as fleck.


Flamespread Classification

The generally accepted measurement for fire rating of materials.  It compares the rate of flamespread on a particular species with the rate of flame spread on untreated red oak.  It is the responsibility of the specifier to indicate what fire retardant classification is required for a particular product. In the absence of such a specified rating, the woodworker may supply unrated product.


Flat Slicing

See Plain Slicing.



The veneer slices of one half log, kept in order, used for the production of fine plywood panels. To determine the approximate amount of face veneer required, multiply the panel surface area by 3. This ratio may have to be increased to accommodate exacting requirements of appearance when the flitch contains a wide range of characteristics.


Flush Construction

Cabinet construction in which door and drawer faces are set within and flush with the body members or face frames of the cabinet with spaces between face surfaces sufficient for operating clearance.


Flush Overlay

Cabinet construction in which door and drawer faces cover the body members of the cabinet with spaces between face surfaces sufficient for operating clearance.


Formica ®

A registered brand name of a high-pressure decorative laminate.


Glass and Glazing

Not always furnished by the woodworker.



In finishing, an added step for achieving color or to heighten grain appearance.


Grading Rules

Most hardwoods are graded utilizing the rules established by the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Softwoods, on the other hand, are graded by several grading associations. The three primary softwood grading associations are Western Wood Products Association, Southern Pine Inspection Bureau and Redwood Inspection Service.

Although lumber must be purchased by the woodworker according to these grading rules, these rules should not be used to specify lumber for architectural woodwork. Use the AWl Section 100 guidelines.  Softwood Plywood is graded by the American Plywood Association (APA). Grade markings are stamped on the back or edge of each sheet Hardwood Plywood is made under the standards of the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association (HPVA). These grades are rarely noted on the panels.



Arrangement of wood fibers and pores evident on cut and/or finished wood products. The direction, size, arrangement and appearance of the fibers in wood or veneer. The appearance of the grain varies with both the species and the cut.


Grain Slope

Expression of the angle of the grain to the long edges of the veneer component.


Grain Sweep

Expression of the angle of the grain to the long edges of the veneer component over the area extending one-eighth of the length of the piece from the ends.


Gum Pockets

Well-defined openings between rings of annual growth, containing gum or evidence of prior gum accumulations.


Gum Spots

Gum or color spots caused by prior resin accumulations sometimes found on panel surfaces.



Thin, perceptible line showing at the joint of two pieces of wood.


Half Round

A method of cutting veneers on an off-center lathe that results in modified characteristics of both rotary and plain sliced veneers. Often used in red and white oak.


Hand Rubbed Finish

In finishing, a manual step performed to smooth, flatten, or dull the topcoat.



In stairwork, the member which follows the pitch of the stair for grasping by the hand.



Constructed of inter-felted fibers consolidated and formed under heat and pressure into panels.



Cabinet hardware is generally furnished and installed by the woodworker. Window hardware must be specified as it dictates the details of construction.



Generally obtained from deciduous trees. Does not refer to the specific density or resistance to wear and abuse.



The inactive cells of the inner tree, located below the Sapwood. The cell cavities of the heartwood may contain deposits, which make it darker in color than the sapwood.


High Pressure Decorative Laminate

Melamine and phenolic resin impregnated papers with decorative surfaces protected by a clear melamine coating. Some common brand names include WilsonArt®, Formica® and Pionite®.



Abbreviation for high pressure decorative laminate.



Barely detectable with the naked eye at a distance of 6" to 8".


Intumescent Coatings

Can be applied to the surface of flammable products to reduce flammability. Generally difficult to use and rather fragile. Highly hydroscopic.



Stands for knife cuts per inch. Generally used when describing the result of molded profiles or S4S materials.



Cross-section of tree branch or limb with grain usually running at right angles to that of the piece of wood in which it occurs.


Knots, Blending Pin

Sound knots 1/4" or less in diameter that do not contain dark centers. Blending pin knots are detectable at a distance of 6' to 8' and do not seriously detract from the overall appearance of the panel.


Knots, Pin

Sound knots 1/4" or less in diameter containing dark centers.


Knots, Sound, Tight

Knots that are solid across their face and fixed by growth to retain their place.


Lemon Spline

Used to join wood members.


Lights (Lites)

In door construction, beaded openings to receive glazing.


Locking Joint

There are many variations of this joint The joint is produced when the adjoining pieces are machined into a locking form.



In door construction, openings fitted with metal or wood louver panels.



Abbreviation for low pressure decorative laminate,



Produced from a living, growing material; and graded for sale by grading rules.


Matching Within Panel Face

The individual leaves of veneer in a sliced flitch increase or decrease in width as the slicing progresses. Thus, if a number of panels are manufactured from a particular flitch, the number of veneer leaves per panel face will change as the flitch is utilized.


Medium Density Overlay

A panel product particularly well suited for opaque (paint) finishes.


Medium Density Particleboard

Generally refers to particleboard manufactured to an approximate density of 45 pounds per cubic foot. The type of particleboard used for architectural woodworking substrates.


Mirror Polish Finish

In finishing, several steps of wet sanding, mechanical buffing, and polishing.


Miter Joint

When two surfaces are cut and joined at any angle (typically 45 degrees).


Modular Casework

Casework produced from a manufacturer's standard details adapted to use for a particular project.


Moisture Content

The amount of water contained in wood, expressed as a percentage that indicates the relative weight of the water in the piece compared to the oven dry weight The optimum moisture content of wood for interior use is between 5-13% depending on the part of the country.


Mortise and Tenon Joint

When one piece is slotted (mortise) to fit the tongue (tenon) of the adjoining piece.


Newel Post

In stairwork, an upright post which supports or receives the handrail at critical points of the stair, such as starting, landing, or top.


NGR Stains

Refers to non-grain raising stains.


Nominal Measurements

The average sizes (width and thickness) of lumber just out of the sawmill, before being processed into usable board stock. Always larger than "finished" dimensions.



In stairwork, the shaped edge, or edges, of tread or landing.


Orange Peel

In finishing, slight depressions in surface, similar to the skin of an orange.


Panel Molding

Generally small in size, Its name is derived from one of it's primary uses.  By mitering or picture framing into various configurations, It is used to simulate the look of frame and panel millwork. It is also used quite often as a base cap (the profiled portion of a base board) when a two piece installation is preferred. Because of their usual small size and intricate features, the can also be used to add fine detail to many projects, such as, cabinets, furniture and mantels.

Panel Products

Manufactured panels used in architectural woodwork, not to be confused with panels formed by the edge gluing of solid lumber with any facings adhered thereto.



Includes stile and rail paneling and all kinds of fit panel work made of lumber, panel products and high-pressure decorative laminates.


Particleboard Core

This term also includes flakeboard and chipboard. Manufactured from natural wood reduced particles, fibers and chips mixed with binders and formed by the use of heat and pressure into panels.


Penetrating Oil

In finishing, an oil-based material designed to penetrate the wood.



The registered collective trademark of members of American Laminators Association used to indicate decorative laminates conforming to the Performance Standard for Thermoset Decorative Panels, ALA 1992.


Phenol Formaldehyde Resin

Typically used for exterior type construction. Plywood and doors bonded with this adhesive have a high resistance to moisture. The most common types require high temperatures during pressing to aid in the curing process.


Plain Sawn

Yields broad grain pattern, widest boards and least waste from the log.


Plain Slicing

Most common for hardwood plywood, the log is cut in half. One half is placed onto a carriage and moved up and down past a fixed knife to produce the veneers. Veneer sliced parallel to the pith of the log and approximately tangent to the growth rings to achieve flat cut veneer. Each piece is generally placed in a stack and kept in order. One half log, sliced this way, is called a flitch


Plastic Laminate Finish

See High Pressure Laminate Finish, and High Pressure Decorative Laminate.


Pleasing Matched

A face containing components which provides a pleasing overall appearance. The grain of the various components need not be matched at the joints. Sharp color contrasts at the joints of the components are not permitted.


Plough Joint

A groove cut with the grain of the face of a member to receive the edge or end thickness of another member.



In finishing, a very high-solids content plastic coating, leaving a deep wet look.



In finishing usually a two component system that has a higher solids content than lacquers.


Premium Grade

The highest grade available in both material and workmanship intended for the finest work. This is naturally the most expensive grade.



All lumber species used for exterior architectural woodwork, except the heartwood of Redwood and Western Red Cedar (although it is desirable for those species) shall be treated to provide long-term protection.



Abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic decorative coating or edge banding.


Quarter Sawn

Refers to solid lumber cutting. Available in limited amounts in certain species.  Yields straight grain, narrow boards, "flake" or figure in some species. More expensive than plain sawn.


Quarter Slicing

Produces a striped grain pattern, straight in some woods, varied in others. Veneer produced by cutting in a radial direction to the pith to the extent that ray flake is produced, and the amount may be unlimited. In some woods, principally oak, "flake" results from cutting through the radial "rays".



The commercial thicknesses usually associated with the purchase or specification of hardwoods, such as "five quarter" (5/4's of one inch) meaning one and one-quarter inches in thickness.


Rabbet Joint

A groove cut across the grain of the face of a member at an edge or end to receive the edge or end thickness of another member.



In stairwork, the member which follows the pitch of the stair for grasping by the hand.


Raised Panel

Traditional door or wall panel with a bevel edge captured in a stile and rail frame.


Random Match

Matching between adjacent veneer leaves on one panel face. Random selection in the arrangement of veneer leaves from one or more flitches producing a deliberate mismatch between the pieces of veneer.


Red Birch

The heartwood of the Yellow Birch tree.



A patch, shim, or filler material inserted and/or glued into veneer or a panel to achieve a sound surface.


Repairs Blending,

Wood or filler insertions similar in color to adjacent wood so as to blend well.


Resorcinol Formaldehyde Resin

For woodworking, formulated into highly water-resistant glues, usually purple in color and difficult to work.



Continuation in a different direction of a molding or projection, usually right angles.


Reveal Overlay

Cabinet construction in which door and drawer faces partially cover the body members or face frames of the cabinet with spaces between face surfaces creating decorative reveals.


Rift Cut

Usually referring to veneers, but can be applied to solid lumber (usually as Rift Sawn), this method is similar to Quarter Slicing, but accentuates the vertical grain and minimizes the "flake" of the finished material. Veneer produced by cutting at a slight right angle to the radial to produce a quartered appearance.



In stairwork, the vertical member between treads. Riser may be omitted in certain stair designs.



Decorative wooden blocks displaying various three dimensional patterns used at the juncture of the side and head casings of doors and windows.  Popular in Victorian architecture.


Rotary Slicing

Most common methods for preparing veneers for softwood plywood. The log is placed in a lathe and rotated against a stationary knife. This produces a more-or-less continuous sheet of veneer, similar to pulling along sheet off a roll of paper towel.


Rough Cut

Irregular shaped areas of generally uneven corrugation on the surface of veneer.


Running Match

Each panel face is assembled from as many veneer leaves as necessary. Any portion left over from the last leaf may be used as the start of the next panel.


Running Trim

Generally combined in the term "Standing and Running Trim" and refers to the trims of random, longer length delivered to the job site (e.g. baseboard, chair rail, crown molding, etc.)



In finishing, running of wet film in rivulets.



Means surfaced four sides, and generally refers to the process of reducing nominal sized rough lumber to finished widths and thicknesses



In finishing, partial slipping of finish film creating "curtain" effect.



Performs the living functions of the tree. Located just below the Cambium Layer. Generally lighter in color than the heartwood.


Scarf Joint

When the ends of two boards are cut on an angle and glued together to increase the length of the board.



Drawing a line parallel with an existing surface; fitting woodwork to an irregular surface.



In finishing, used to seal in the stain and/or filler, prior to application of the topcoats.


Semi-Exposed Surfaces

In casework, surfaces which become visible when:  Opaque doors are open or drawers are extended;  Bottoms of cabinets more than 30" and less than 42" above finished floor.


Sequence Matched

When referring to paneling either:


1. Pre-manufactured sets, usually 48" x 96" or 48" x 120", numbered in sequence, and part of all or a single flitch (typically from 6 to 12 panels). They may be installed full width, reducing the panels at the corners or transitions; or reduced in width uniformly.


2. Sequence Matched Uniform Size sets, manufactured for the project on special order to the nearest uniform modular width practical for the installation.


3. Blueprint Matched Panels and Components, manufactured for the project on special order to achieve the maximum grain continuity since all panels, doors and other veneered components are made to the exact size required and in exact veneer sequence.



In finishing, transparent color used for highlighting and uniform color.



A separation along the grain of wood in which the greater part occurs between the rings of annual growth.


Shelf Deflection

Shelf deflection is a complex subject discussed at length in a study conducted by the Department of Wood Science at West Virginia University.


Shop Drawings

See Drawings


Show Through

Irregular surfaces visible on the face of a veneered panel (such as depressions, bumps, mechanical marks, or core, or frame outlines).


Slip Match

Matching between adjacent veneer leaves on one panel face.  Adjoining leaves of veneer are slipped out in sequence, with all the same face side being exposed.



Generally obtained from coniferous trees. Does not refer to the specific density or resistance to wear and abuse.



A decorative wood trim element installed vertically on an inside or outside corner at the intersect of the baseboard.  It is not necessary to miter or cope baseboard were soldiers are used.  Popular in Victorian architecture.


Spline Joint

When a strip of wood or compressed "biscuit" is placed into a pre-machined slot or groove and glued to reinforce and align the joint.



In finishing, produces the desired undertone color with proper distribution, depth and clarity of grain. Selection of the type of stain used is governed by the desired artistic result.



Wood material to form a stair, or to clad stair parts constructed of materials other than wood, and which are custom manufactured to a design for a particular project. See Section 800 of tile Architectural Woodwork Institute Quality Standards, Guide Specifications, and Quality Certification Program, which does not cover "stock" stair components.


Standard Lacquer

In finishing, a nitrocellulose based lacquer without additives.


Standing Trim

Generally combined in the term "Standing and Running Trim" and refers to the trims of fixed length delivered to the job site (e.g. doorjambs and casings, pre-machined window stools, etc.)


Stile and Rail Construction

Stile and rail construction for wall paneling and doors is one of the finest uses of wood as an interior finish.



Generally a molding used to "stop" a door or window in its frame.


Streaks, Mineral

Natural discolorations of the wood substance.



In stairwork, member which supports and establishes the tread and riser relationship.



Generally used to describe a panel product upon which a decorative finish material is applied.



In veneer work, the variations in surface refraction as a result of the stile, rail, and core show-through to the face of the panel or door The selection of high gloss laminates and finishes should be avoided because they tend to accentuate natural telegraphing.



In finishing, semi-transparent colors used to block out or reduce color of wood.


Tongue and Groove

Mating groove and tongue milled into the members, generally on the edges, to improve alignment and glue surface area.



In finishing, the final finishing steps providing protection and the finished appearance.



In stairwork, the horizontal member which is stepped upon.


Urea Formaldehyde Resin

Commonly known as a Type I adhesive, relatively water-resistant. Often requires curing by heat, but will cure at room temperature over time.


Veneer Core

Plywood constructed using a core of an odd number of veneer plies, with face and back veneers of overlays adhered thereto.



Veneering and laminating thin pieces of wood date back to the Egyptian eras.  Since that period this area of woodworking has become a highly technical business. Veneering is still common today, but production techniques have changed considerably. Modern adhesives, for example, are used instead of hard-to-handle glues.


Vinyl Lacquers

In finishing, catalyzed lacquers with a plastic rather than a nitrocellulose base.



In stairwork, a spiral or scroll end of a handrail, generally atop a newel post.



See particleboard.



In doors, any distortion in the door itself, measured by placing a straight edge or a taut string on the concave face.


In finishing, thin solutions applied as a barrier coat to wood.


Well Hole

In stairwork, the open space in which the stair is set.


White Birch

The sapwood of the Yellow Birch tree.



In architectural woodwork, all frames and sash for double hung, casement, awning, sidelights, clerestory and fixed windows. "Stock" and name brand units are not included.


Wiping Stains

Refers to pigmented oils or solvents applied to wood.


Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Return to Top
Visual Index