Glossary of Woodworking Terms

This page contains the definition of various wood working terms.

Timber and Cuts

A general term for natural or sawn wood in a form suitable for building or structural purposes.

Timber Composition

In wood anatomy, a general term for the minute unit of wood structures that have distinct walls and cavities, including wood fibres, vessel segments, and other elements of diverse structure and function.

Timber Traits

The degree of ease and smoothness of timber cut obtainable with hand or machine tools. The workability changes depending on what timber species is being used.

Timber Defects

Any variation from a true and plane surface. It includes bow, cup, twist, crook and is often caused by irregular seasoning.

Timber Figure Characteristics

The pattern produced on the cut surface of wood by annual growth rings, rays, knots, deviations from regular grain such as interlocked and wavy grain, and irregular coloration.

Timber Grain Features

The general direction of the fibres or wood elements relative to the main axis of the piece - the direction, size, arrangement, appearance, or quality of the fibres in wood or timber.

Processing Equipment

A device to hold work in process.

Band clamp - Clamp for mitred pieces such as the sides of a picture frame. Can also be used on odd-shaped pieces (even round) in addition to projects with 90° joints.

Corner clamp - A small clamp used only for clamping 90° corner joints, such as those of a picture frame.

F-Clamp - A clamp in the shape of an F which is generally use to clamp work pieces for glue ups, and to clamp down workpieces to bench tops or machinery. The F-clamps jaws in the machine workshop have plastic pads eliminating for additional protection between the clamp jaws and workpiece.

G-Clamp - A clamp in the shape of an G which is generally used to firmly clamp down items to machinery, such as scrap boards, metal workpieces or tools (e.g. vices on the pedestal drill) to machinery.

Parallel-jaw clamp - This clamp comes in many lengths to work well with large glue-ups (such as the glue-up of flat boards). Their jaws remain fixed at 90° to the bar and parallel to each other to help ensure square assemblies. With strong user grip strength, the clamps can provide as much as 800kilos of force.

Quick Grip - Very handy as can be tightened with one hand, freeing up your other hand to hold the workpiece(s) in place. Generally used to clamp workpiece to workbenches. Jaws can be reversed to allow pressure to be applied in the opposite direction. Does not provide as much pressure as other clamps.

Hand Screw Clamp - Screws at both ends can be twisted independently allowing the ability to angle the jaws allowing you to clamp on tight angles. The large surface wood jaws provide extra pressure and won’t mark hardwood surfaces. Also handy when holding small work pieces when working on the sander, bandsaw and drill press.

Sash Clamp - A long clamp that works well with large glue-ups, in particular for the lamination of table tops.

Spring Clamp - For quick and easy operation you can’t beat these clamps. They go on as fast as clothespins wherever light pressure suffices.


Bookmatching is the practice of matching two wood surfaces, so that the adjoining surfaces mirror each other, giving the impression of an opened book. It is usually done with veneer, but can also be done with solid wood.

Processing Terms

The term is used to describe the thickness of the cut a woodworking saw blade makes in a piece of wood as it cuts through it. The term is also sometimes used to describe the thickness of the blade itself; for example, you may see the packaging of a circular saw blade or table saw blade listing its kerf width.

Processing Terms

The act of assembling parts with glue and clamps.

Timber products

A cylindrical timber rod or steel bar generally without nut or thread driven into pre-drilled holes to make a joint.

Structural features

Connecting pieces of wood together through a variety of means, including using glue and mechanical fasteners, though generally understood as the use of interlocking or corresponding wooden joints.

Structural Terms

The ability of wood to resist an applied load.

Last updated