Carpentry Terminology

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  1. Milling – a material removal process that cuts raw stock materials, which can create a variety of features on the stock by cutting away the unwanted material. The milling process requires a milling machine, work piece, fixture, and cutter.
  2. Stock materials – the raw materials used to produce finished “Mill work or “Trim”. Stock materials can come from a variety of different sources; Wood, Stone, man-made Composites, etc.
  3. Millwork – the finished result of milling. Historically any woodmill-produced building construction interior-finish, exterior-finish, or decorative components. Mill work has become a general term used to refer to all types of milled materials regardless of source stock; i.e. – wood, stone, etc. Mill work from wood can still be called “Wood work” or “Trim”.
  4. Mill – the “mill” of something refers to the dimension of the milling, usually how thick a profile is. Because mill work is produced in Lot runs, each time a profile shaper is set up there can, and usually is, small differences in thickness or profile dimension. This is why it is important to make sure you have enough or even more of what you are using to make sure the finish is as exact as possible.
  5. Profile – the features that are cut or shaped into the stock materials through the process of milling.
  6. Finish Carpentry – is the last step in the carpentry It most commonly involves the installation of finish woods and trim made of plastic or molded polyurethane. Finish carpenters perform tasks such as installing crown molding, baseboards, windows, stairs and other features of a building that requires aesthetic appeal.
  7. Casing – the millwork that is places around a door or window. It can vary in size and profile styles.
  8. Baseboard – the millwork that runs along the base of an interior wall
  9. Crown – encapsulates a large family of moldings which are designed to gracefully flare out to a finished top edge. Crown molding is generally used for capping walls, pilasters, and cabinets, and is used extensively in the creation of interior and exterior cornice assemblies and door and window hoods.
  10. Chair Rail – a type of molding fixed horizontally to the wall around the perimeter of a room usually at “Chair” height, but can be any height depending on application.
  11. Wainscoting – wooden paneling that lines the lower part of the walls of a room.
  12. Extension Jamb – it’s a frame that fills the depth of the wall space from the inside face of the window/door frame or ” jamb” to the face of the plaster or gypsum wall. Jamb extensions are typically 3/4″ boards, or MDF and create a clean edge for the casing trim to be nailed to.
  13. Coffered Ceiling – A coffer (or coffering) in architecture, is a series of sunken panels in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling, soffit or vault.
  14. Rabbeted jamb – A rabbeted jamb is milled into a wood door frame or made as part of a metal door frame. A stopped jamb is a wooden door frame with a separate strip of wood nailed to it to stop the door from swinging through the frame. Rabbeted jambs are generally found on exterior doors and stopped jambs on interior doors.
  15. Bore – short for “Borehole”; make (a hole) in something, especially with a revolving tool. In Mill working it most commonly refers to the hole in a door slab where the Door handle or Deadbolt will insert.
  16. Mortise (mor-tis) – a hole or recess cut into a part, designed to receive a corresponding projection (a tenon) on another part (i.e. – hinge) so as to join or lock the parts together.
  17. Tenon – a projecting piece of wood made for insertion into a mortise in another piece.
  18. Pediments – a combination of moldings that are applied at the top of Doors and Windows to create a “Feature” look and can also serve to bring the illusion of increased height.
  19. Window Sill/ Stool – a ledge or sill forming the bottom part of a window.
  20.  Apron/Skirt – In Carpentry, an apron is a section of molding place under something such as a Window sill, to cover any space between drywall and Sill. Most any type of Molding can be used as an Apron. Another example of an apron is a “Skirt Board”, which is used between the Treads on stairs and the Wall. This reduces the gap between the Stairs and Wall which can then be tightly finished off in a few different ways; i.e. – Carpet, Wood, etc.
  21. Coping – from the verb cope, originally meaning ‘dress in a cope,’ hence ‘to cover.’ In Carpentry, typically is a molding used to cover cracks due to unevenness between something. (i.e. – a cabinet and a wall, etc.)
  22. Shoe or Quarter round molding – These are two different Moundings (“Cousins”), but are typically used for similar applications; most commonly as a coping that brings a tighter finish between Baseboard and Wood Flooring.
  23. Cope Cut – Also known as “Joinery”. This is a 2 step process that enables two pieces of material with the same Profile to be “butt” together tightly at a 90* angle, where the one piece that is “coped” has the profile of the piece it is joining cut into the end of it. This enables the coped piece to fit tightly to the other. The first step is to miter a 45* inside cut on the end of the material that will be “butting” into the other piece. Once the Miter is cut, the second step is to cope the profile. A Coping Saw is typically used to make an undercut, in the piece that is mitered, following the outline of the profile that the 45* miter reveals on the material.
  24. Dovetail Tenon – This is a Tenon (ref. Tenon Definition) that has a wider cut at the rear of the Tenon and narrower at the front giving it a “Dovetail” look. Hence the name. This type of Tenon will have a Mortise cut that matches the shape of the Tenon to fit together and provide a very secure joint.
  25. Tongue & Groove – This is another type of Mortise and Tenon. For this Tenon the stock material will have a “Tongue” Tenon on one side of the stock, and a “Groove” Mortise on the opposite side; usually centered in the edge of the stock material, so that adjoining material will fit together Tongue to Groove.
  26. Miter Cut – A miter joint is a joint made by beveling each of two parts to be joined, usually at a 45° angle, but can be at any Degree angle. For woodworking, a disadvantage of a miter joint is its weakness, but it can be strengthened with a spline. Miters can either be referred to as an “outside or inside” miter, depending if it is an outside or inside corner.
  27. Miter Saw – A miter saw is a saw used to make accurate crosscuts and miters in a work-piece. A power miter saw, also known as a “Chop Box”.
  28. Bevel Cut/ Miter – Refers to an edge of a structure that is not perpendicular to the faces of the piece. If a bevel is used to “Ease” the edge of a sharp corner on a pc of material, it can also be called “chamfered or chamfering”.
  29. Compound Miter – This Miter is typically done with a Compound Miter Saw, but does not require one. A compound miter is a miter cut that has a least 2 axis of cuts; i.e. vertical and horizontal in relation to the piece of materials that is being cut. A change in a vertical degree for a miter is call a Bevel cut/Miter.
  30. Dado Cut – is a slot or trench cut into the surface of a piece of material, usually wood. A dado is cut across, or perpendicular to, the grain and is thus differentiated from a groove which is cut with, or parallel to, the grain. A “through dado” involves cuts which run between both edges of the surface, leaving both ends open. A “stopped or blind dado” ends before one or both of the cuts meets the edge of the surface. Dados are often used to affix shelves to a Bookcase. Combined with a rabbet on an adjoining piece, they are used to make the rabbet and dado joint, sometimes used in making box/ case products.
  31. Ledger Board – this is a board that is attached to an existing structure that is used to support a structure that is being added. Commonly used on Decks that need to be attached to a home.
  32. Freeze Board – A freeze board is essentially a horizontal board between 2 inches and 6 inches wide and is a decorative band located on an outside wall or at the top of an interior wall.