Glossary of Terms & DefinitionsIndustry TerminologySUPPORTING LOCAL DESIGNER, MAKERS & ARCHITECTS
Use our list of furniture design terms and definitions to cut through technical jargon. Terms are listed in alphabetical order. Contact us if the term you are looking for is not defined.
An oval shaped disk that when inserted in a slot with glue swells to form a tight bond. A special tool (biscuit joiner) is required to cut the slot.
Or blackening is a conversion coating formed by a chemical reaction when metals are immersed in an alkaline aqueous salt solution. A black oxide finishing gives a glossy black finish to the metal.
A timber dwelling, cottage, or lodge with a gable roof and wide eaves, indigenous to the Swiss Alps, but now found worldwide.
A design that incorporates a pointed shape similar to an accent mark, common to Art Deco architecture.
A supporting pillar consisting of a base, a cylindrical shaft, and a capital on top of the shaft. Columns may be plain or ornamental.
An open space, usually open to the sky, enclosed by a building, often with an arcade or colonnade.
Rafters that are exposed to the outside of a building. Rafters are the inclined, sloping framing members of a roof, and to which the roof covering is affixed.
An exterior wall, or face, of a building. The front facade of a building contains the building’s main entrance, the rear facade is the building’s rear exterior wall, and the side facades are a building’s side exterior walls.
A roof with two slopes – front and rear– joining at a single ridge line parallel to the entrance façade. When the ridge line of a gable-roofed house is perpendicular to the street, the roof is said to be a gable-end roof.
Comes from angiosperm trees that are not monocots; trees are usually broad-leaved. Has vessel elements that transport water throughout the wood; under a microscope, these elements appear as pores. Hardwoods are more likely to be found in high-quality furniture, decks, flooring, and construction that needs to last. Examples of hardwood trees include alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut. Most hardwoods have a higher density than most softwoods.
An amber-coloured, fatty oil extracted from the cotyledon and inner coats of the linseed. The raw oil extracted from the seeds by hydraulic pressure is pale in colour and practically without taste or odour. When boiled or extracted by application of heat and pressure, it is darker and has a bitter taste and an unpleasant odour.
Medium density fiberboard; very stable underlay for counter tops etc. to be covered with laminate.
A smooth surface, usually rectangular (or sometimes circular) in shape and framed by a moulding, and often featuring decorative, sculptural carving.
A thin layer that forms on the surface of metals characterised by fading, darkening or other signs of age which are felt to be natural or unavoidable. Patina finishing has many qualities such as the turquoise colouring that can be seen from a copper patina finish.
A garden structure built up over a path or narrow terrace, lined with evenly spaced columns or posts that support a wooden-framed roof without sheathing. Often, vines are trained around the wooden framework of a pergola, and the pergola may lead from one building to another.
A structural support, similar to a column, but larger and more massive, and often without ornamentation. Pillars can be round or square in section, and are most often made of brick, stone, cement, or other masonry, although substantial wooden timbers can be formed into pillars.
A term used to describe something that is perfectly perpendicular to the earth relative to gravity.
A glued wood panel (usually 2400mm by 1200mm) made up of thin layers of wood laid at right angles to each other.
The process of applying paint (of any colour) in the form of powder. Regular liquid type paints are pigments and binders suspended in solvents. Powder coating is solvent free so you are just using the dry pigments and binders. The coat can be finished in an array of standards such as gloss, high gloss & matte.
Pairs of solid or slatted window coverings, traditionally hinged to the exterior of a building to either side of a window, used to block light or wind from the interior of a building.
Comes from gymnosperm trees which usually have needles and cones. Medullary rays and tracheids transport water and produce sap. When viewed under a microscope, softwoods have no visible pores because of tracheids. Examples of softwood trees are cedar, Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, and yew. Most softwoods have a lower density than most hardwoods and is typically less expensive than hardwood.
An instrument used to lay out or test right angles, with two arms at 90 degrees to each other, the longer and wider arm is the blade, the shorter narrower arm is the tongue.
The word timber is applied in a general way to the log and to the material itself, and to the standing trees. It is also applied more specifically to the larger squared pieces, or dimension stock, such as sills, beams, etc.
A rigid framework, as of wooden beams or metal bars, which supports a structure, such as a roof.
A thin layer of expensive wood bonded to a thicker piece of cheaper plywood to give the appearance of the expensive wood but at a reduced price.