glossary ltemplate
glossary access

Glossary Intro and Glossary Annexes
Narrative Chapters
Chap 1 Chap 2 Chap 3 Chap 4 Chap 5 Chap 6
Chap 7 Chap 8 Chap 9 Chap 10 Chap 11 Chap 12

Headnote for Manuals    Manuals by Decade

1900-before 1901-1910 1911-1920 1921-1930 1931-1940 1941-1950
1951-1960 1961-1970 1971-1980 1981-1990 1991-2000 2001-later

Email me at

-- If you would like to enter into a discussion about anything you've read on my website, please click here


Introductory comments

This Glossary is part of the online book by Raymond McInnis, A History of the Amateur Woodworking Movement. The Glossary is under construction, and will be for a long time. Regardless of its incompleteness, however, I hope that this glossary will evolve into a useful source of info for anybody interested in topics related to the history of woodworking.

And, as a note about the logo above, where as well a "glossary" other terms -- dictionary, lexicon, and thesaurus -- are also mentioned: these terms are not included just for decoration. Instead, as this project becomes more complete, you will see greater concern toward a "conceptual approach" to terms such as "Shaper Cutter", "Router Bit", and "Jointer Knife", "Plane Iron", "Saw Tooth", "Moulding Cutterhead", all terms that -- at bottom -- designate tools possessing a "Cutting Edge",  and so forth,  but because they have different profiles on their edges, and are contained on different tools -- even though they have the same function -- they are identified by different labels.

Another example to illustrate the "conceptual approach" are the following terms that are parts of Joints: "Tenon", "Biscuit", "Spline", "Tongue". While each is different, at bottom, they perform the  same function.

By showing these kinds of relationships among these terms, this glossary will also function as a thesaurus.

Among  the sources consulted in constructing this glossary is the Oxford English Dictionary, because it -- alone -- is the dictionary that prides itself in having the "original", i.e.,  "first" use of a term in the context of a specific meaning. With that understanding, you would think, for example, that the term Trunnion, in it its connotation as the under-structure of a circular saw's Arbor assembly, would be featured in the OED's entry for trunnion. As of 4-2005, this was not true.  Thus, in constructing this glossary, necessarily, I had to depend on a variety of sources. All of these sources are listed appropriately as part of the information given for each entry.

Other sources that I will consult regularly are:

(1) Raphael A Salaman's Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, c 1700-1900 and Tools of Allied Trades, Revised edition.  London: Unwin, and Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1989.

Truly, this work is an amazing piece of scholarship, evidently virtually a life-long pursuit of the primary author, Raphael Salman, but in later parts of the project, many other hands, spread across the globe, made contributions. The bibliography of sources -- overall, between 300 to 350 tiles -- occupies almost 10 pages.

(2) Vic Taylor, Woodworker's Dictionary , Hemel, Hempstead, England: Argus Books,1987; Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1990. 260 pages.

The contents of Taylor is largely based on the "Woodworker's dictionary" -- a monthly series in Woodworker Magazine from 1962 to 1970 -- contains what I estimate is 5,000 entries, i.e, definitions and cross-refences. Numerous drawings enhance many entries, but there are no sources cited.

According to its "Introduction", the Woodworker's Dictionary includes "a wider coverage of antique furniture, furniture decoration, and the updating of materials and techniques; ... woodworking terms used in the USA, together with many examples of purely American furniture designs; ..., some French terms are necessarily included because of the enormous influence of French designers and craftsmen, [but] the book is primarily devoted to British and American furniture and woodwork".

Claiming to be "a comprehensive and fully illustrated dictionary of terms relating to all types of woodworking, including cabinetmaking, carpentry, joinery, upholstery, and furniture repair, this is a reasonably cheap -- on -- home reference for anyone who works with wood. Woodworker's Dictionary covers such workshop practices as making joints, polishing, turning, carving, sharpening tools, and the tools themselves. It also contains information about antique furniture. Two appendices give definitions of well-known designers, craftsmen, and furniture periods".

The book's author, Vic Taylor -- an editor of Woodworker Magazine -- has been associated with woodwork and furniture making throughout his career. During his career in both England and the United States, he has both written and illustrated books on woodworking and articles for woodworking magazines. While I can't find any direct evidence to bear out my hunch, that Charles Harold Hayward had a hand in the origin of this dictionary is, for me, a given, a fact that cofirms my conviction that the book is solid.

(3) Eric Sloane A Museum of Early American Tools New York: Ballantine, 1964;

(4) Graham Blackburn The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Woodworking Handtools, Instruments and Devices Containing a Full Description of the Tools Used by Carpenters, Joiners, and Cabinet-Makers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.

(5) Peter C. Welsh Woodworking Tools, 1600-1900 Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1966 (Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology: Paper 51 Bibliography 227.)

(While the focus of sources 1, 2  and 4 treat only tools of an earlier vintage -- definitely pre-1900 -- these tools remain essential to any history of woodworking.)

(6) Joseph Aronson, The Encyclopedia of Furniture. New York: Crown Publishers, 1938.

Selecting Aronson goes along with my conviction that this history of woodworking should be "document-driven"; that is, as much as is possible, the history of woodworking should speak for itself, especially through documents contemporary to periods that the history covers. During his lifetime, Aronson had a reputation as an authority -- maybe "the" authority -- on furniture history. Extended articles in his Encyclopedia cover "Modern", "England", "France", "Spain", "German", "Spain", "Sweden" and "American" furniture topics, and briefer articles treat, furniture joinery and construction, furniture design and designers, and furniture woods, among other topics. In addition -- and perhaps most significant -- during his lifetime, Aronson himself recognized as a furniture designer in his own right. While his coverage of furniture topics are "broad-brush-stroke", rather than detailed, throughout the Encyclopedia of Furniture,  Aronson speaks with the authority of an expert with a command of the subject matter, which is just what I need to guide me in writing entries on furniture periods and other matters associated with any analysis of how -- in their selection of woodworking projects -- woodworkers confronted the construction of furniture.

(7) Harvey Green,Wood: Craft, Culture, History. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Wood: Craft, Culture, History is the first book in my experience that looks at the "culture of wood", or maybe it's "the woodworking culture". Whatever, upon spying it, I realized a heretofore unrecognized truth about amateur woodworking: amateur woodworking is a "culture", similar to a "participatory" sport, like golf or tennis or racquetball, but -- at least in my experience -- has not gotten such recognition. Why? This neglect of observation is obvious, in my view, though, for the following reason: Woodworking is an activity engaged in by "insiders", who are not taken to introspection about their activities, while "outsiders" who may be looking in -- and possess the analytical skills needed to expose woodworking as a culture -- fail to understand the chemistry involved.

(8) the web-based ARTFL Project

(9) the Walt Durbahn "Dictionary of Carpentry Terms", 1947, included in Fundamentals of Carpentry, volume 1. Its usefulness belies by its deceptively slight appearance, it is a source marred only  by a misleading title: at least half of its entries relate to woodworking.

(10) Aldren A Watson, Country Furniture. New York: Thomas Y Crowell, 1974. Profusely illustrated with pen drawings by the author, this book -- picked up for next to nothing at a library book sale -- features a twenty page glossary, where most entries include one illustration and a fairly large, very useful bibliography. Coverage is up to late 19th century. Not a how-to-do-it or project book, this book explores the tools and processes of what Watson calls the "country furniture-maker", before the introduction of powered equipment.

(11) and, finally, any other sources that I encounter and that prove useful. The latter I will cite on the spot.

But my intent -- with the assistance of a group of Editorial Advisors -- is to look widely among other sources, especially woodworking manuals, documents contemporary to a particular era, old newspapers, online databases of the 19th century and later, etc., etc.

I am not claiming to be an expert woodworker.

Finally, I want to declare at the outset that I am not an expert at any of the topics discussed in this website -- i.e., "". Instead, on the matter of "expert", I can claim to be an expert researcher, that is, "expert" in my skills in exposing what experts about topics covered in the website state or claim about the broad range of woodworking topics.

While I lack academic credentials in lexicography -- the art of dictionary making -- I have dabbled in the field, the primary evidence being my editorship of the set of ten dictionaries of concepts for Greenwood Press.

One final, personal note:

In the Glossary, the main entries  are in given in bold type . Later, as I continue to work toward completing the whole website, I ill (1) insert hyperlinks as aids to navigation and (2) locate appropriate images to upload.