Glossary of Wood Words
F - R
FAS: An abbreviation used in hardwood-lumber grading for Firsts-and-Seconds: the best boards cut from a log. An FAS board measures at least 6" wide by 8' long, and yields a minimum of 83 percent clear cuttings (areas free of knots and defects), shown above. These areas must be at least 4"x5' or 3"x7'.
Face grain: The pattern made by growth rings in wood on the greatest surface of a board.
False front: A non-structural face applied to a drawer assembly to provide the drawer's finished visible surface, shown right. A false front often is larger than the drawer-box front. Because it is separate from the drawer box, you can adjust the false front, upon assembly, to get the best fit in the drawer opening without repositioning the slides or other drawer hardware.
Feather board: A device made up of a series of narrow fingers that hold a workpiece firmly in position against a machine's table surface or fence, shown right. A feather board helps increase accuracy and improves safety. You can make your own or purchase plastic versions.
Flush-trim router bit: A straight bit with a bearing mounted at the tip, shown right. Typical use includes trimming workpieces--wood or plastic laminate, for instance--to conform to a template or substrate.
Forstner bit: A patented drill bit for sinking holes that does not penetrate all the way through the material. Used for holes requiring a flat bottom.
Grain direction: The direction in which the dominating, elongated fibers or cells lie in the structure of wood.
Green wood: Stock, usually in rough-cut lumber or log form, that has been cut but not dried, and retains a high moisture content. Woodturners often use green stock because of its workability.
Groove: A square-cornered channel similar to a dado, but cut parallel to the wood grain.
Handscrew: A traditional clamp with two long wooden jaws joined by two threaded rods, shown right. The rods adjust independently by turning the handles, which allows you to position the jaws parallel or at angles to one another. Handscrews come in a variety of sizes, based on the length of the jaws (4" to 12"). Throat depth equals half of jaw length
Hardboard: A combination of ground wood pulp and resins pressed into 4 X 8' sheets, typically 1/8" or 1/4" thick. Hardboard comes in three grades: service, standard, and service-tempered (the best choice for shop use), with one smooth face or two, as shown, below. The material often goes by Masonite, the brand name used by one manufacturer. Another version of this material, known as perforated hardboard (or by the brand name Peg-Board), consists of a 1/4"-thick sheet with 1/8"- or 1/4"-diameter holes drilled at regular intervals. The holes receive hooks that are often used for tool storage.
Hardwood: Wood derived from broadleaf trees--oak, walnut, ash, and cherry, for example. In temperate regions, these trees are deciduous, dropping their leaves annually. Called angiosperms, the trees produce seeds in the form of fruits or nuts. Not all hardwoods are hard and heavy. Balsa, for example, is classified as a hardwood although it contains light, soft wood.
Heartwood: The darker mature wood at the center of a tree.
Hone: To polish and refine a cutting edge by rubbing it against a hard, smooth stone or other surface.
Jig: A device that holds a workpiece or tool so that a woodworking task can be performed efficiently and accurately.
Kerf: The slot or opening produced in a workpiece by a saw blade as it cuts through the material. A standard tablesaw blade cuts a 1/8"-wide kerf.
Kickback: The dangerous mishap that occurs if a spinning blade or bit catches a workpiece and throws it toward the machine operator.
Kiln-dried lumber: Stickered boards dried at an accelerated rate by exposure to warm, dry air inside a chamber called a kiln. By controlling airflow, humidity, and temperature, this process reduces moisture content in just days or weeks to desired levels--6 to 10 percent for hardwoods and high-grade softwoods, 12 to 20 percent for construction lumber.
Length stop: A block of wood fixed in place to serve as a reference point when a number of pieces need to be crosscut to the same length on a radial arm or tablesaw. Also called a stop block.
Magnetic starter: A type of power switch, often used on tablesaws and other large stationary machines. Typically, it contains contact points that are held closed--when the switch operates in the "on" position--by electromagnetic attraction. In the event of a power interruption, the attraction stops, allowing a spring to pull the contacts apart, turning the switch off. This prevents an accidental restart when electrical power returns.
Materials list: A chart accompanying a woodworking project that details every part by letter, name, dimensions, material, and quantity. The list may include notes that indicate special cutting instructions.
Moisture content: The total amount of water in a piece of wood, expressed as a percentage of the wood's over-dry weight. The content can be determined using a moisture meter, shown right. For kiln-dried stock, moisture content generally runs from 4 to 10 percent.
Mullion: A vertical member of a cabinet or door frame that forms a division between two units, such as panels, shown right.
Open time: The amount of time after glue is spread before it becomes unworkable or loses its ability to create a bond. Also called working time. Open time varies depending on temperature, glue type, and humidity. Use the following times as rough guidelines:
- Aliphatic resin (yellow) -- 5-10 min.
- Polyvinyl acetate (white) -- 10-15 min.
- Water-resistant (yellow) -- 5-10 min.
- Polyurethane -- 20 min.
- Epoxy -- 5 min.-12 hrs. (varies by type)
- Liquid hide glue -- 10 min.
Note: Some manufacturers make glues with extended open times. Use these for large or time-consuming glue-ups.
Penetrating finish: A finish, usually wiped on, that soaks into wood pores so that it resides in the wood itself. Tung oil, linseed oil, and Danish oil are examples of penetrating finishes.
Perforated hardboard: The generic name for a 1/4"-thick hardboard sheet with rows of holes spaced at regular intervals. Frequently, this material gets hung vertically and used for tool storage. Often, this material is referred to as Peg-Board -- the brand name of one such product.
Pilot hole: A hole drilled in a workpiece to receive the threaded portion of a screw. The pilot hole is just slightly smaller than the screw's thread diameter.
Pushstick: A safety device used to push a workpiece past a blade or bit during a machining operation while keeping your hands out of harm's way. Make your own or buy commercially made versions, shown right.
Rabbet: An L-shaped channel cut along the edge or end of a workpiece, typically using a rabbeting bit or dado set.
Rail: A horizontal member, most typically in a cabinet's face frame or door, and running between two vertical pieces.
Resaw: Slicing a length of wood with the blade running parallel to the workpiece faces to create thinner pieces. Usually done on a tablesaw or bandsaw, shown right.
Rip: A cut parallel to the wood grain, shown above.
Rough-cut: To cut a workpiece slightly oversize in thickness, width, and/or length, prior to trimming it to final dimensions.
Rough-sawn: Boards--typically hardwoods--cut to thickness, and sometimes width, during the initial milling process. This leaves telltale rough, splintery surfaces on all sides. Does not include planing or reripping.
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