Forest 2 Home premium hardwood lumber wood stack being air dried outside in lumber yard

A to Z Woodworking Glossary

Whether you’re new to woodworking and DIY or are a seasoned professional, you may come across a new word from time-to-time that you don’t recognize. Whether it be a design trend, a new technique or a tool you simply haven’t heard of, Forest 2 Home is here to get you all caught up on every woodworking and DIY term you need to know!


Adhesive: otherwise known as glue, adhesive bonds two materials together.

Air dry: stacked lumber exposed to the outdoors. Air drying lumber allows the wood to naturally dry out, though it may take several months and must be stacked properly.

Premium hardwood lumber being air dried in lumber yard

Air filter: a must have in any workshop, an air filter will remove dust and pollutants in the air, allowing for lung protection and a cleaner workshop.


Bandsaw: also written as band saw, this is a power saw with a long sharp blade, coming in many shapes and sizes and offering multifaceted properties. Learn all about vertical bandsaws, horizontal bandsaws, portable bandsaws and more in Woodworking 101: Bandsaw tips from Workshop Experts.

Biscuit: an oval shaped wafer made of hardwood. Biscuits are used to joint two boards by being inserted into slots cut in the edge of a board by using a tool known as a plate joiner or biscuit joiner. 

Biscuit Joiner: same as a plate joiner; used to create an oblong hole in two matching pieces of wood. After the joiners have created the hole, a biscuit is glued, inserted and typically clamped until the wood is dried. 

Board foot: wood measurement for estimating purposes. Calculate board feet by using the formula below:

Thickness x Width x Length / 12 = Board Foot
Forest 2 Home board foot calculation guide

Bow: a warp along the length of the face of the wood.

Burl: made of a tree’s bud tissue that has not sprouted into foliage or grown into a twig, creating a swirling, twisted figure in wood grain.


Carpentry: the activity or occupation of making or repairing things in wood.

Checks: a separation of the wood normally across or through rings of annual growth, as a result of seasoning.

Chip-out: also known as "blow out;" when fibers, splinters or chunks of wood break away from your workpiece while you’re cutting or shaping it.

CNC: Computerized Numerical Control; a computerized manufacturing process in which pre-programmed software and code controls the movement of production equipment. Often used for engraving and creating inlays on woodworking projects.

Inlay made in Forest 2 Home lumber Walnut wood by CNC carving machine for wood inlay

Crosscut: any cut that slices across the grain direction of the wood; cuts that make boards shorter in length.

Woodworker cutting a wood board to size in woodwork shop. Woodworker chopping shop f2h lumber board

Cut guide: a cut guide can be anything used to align a portable saws blade, such as a jig saw or circular saw, with the edge of the saw. Examples include a speed square, wooden jig and level; cut guides may be handheld or used in conjunction with clamps. 

Cut list: all the cuts required to build a woodworking project, including the thickness, width and length of each cut board.

Crook: a warp along the length of the edge of the wood

Cup: a warp across the width of the face of a wood board, in which the edges are higher or lower than the center of the wood


DIY: Do it yourself

DIYer: a person who carries our tasks such as decorating, and household repairs themselves rather than employing a professional.

Dry Time: dry time refers to the wood glue or adhesive being bonded securely before removing a woodworking project from the clamps.

Dovetail: a joint formed by one or more tapered projections (tenons) on one piece which interlock with corresponding notches or recesses (mortises in another).

Dovetail joint made with Forest 2 Home Hard Maple wood and Walnut wood by woodworker with hand woodworking tools.

Dowel: a round piece of wood that varies in length and diameter so as to fit a great variety of uses. Dowels used in conjunction with a dowel tool to joint lumber together are usually fluted to allow adhesive to flow out, eliminating our pockets. 


Edge grain: the “side” of the board; generally, the side that woodworkers measure the thickness of a board

End grain: the end of a wood board.

Epoxy Resin: also known as polyepoxides, are a class of reactive prepolymers and polymers which contain epoxide groups. Epoxy resin is known for its strong adhesive qualities and its versatility. It is also used to add color and fill engravings on woodworking projects. Learn more about working with epoxy resin by reading Mixed Mediums: Wood x Epoxy Resin.

Epoxy resin pour for Hard Maple Forest 2 Home lumber table top made in a workshop by a woodworker


Face grain: the “top” and “bottom” of the board; it is where you see most of the grain pattern and is usually the featured part of the board in woodworking projects

FAS: first and second grade; this stands for the highest grade of lumber

Featherboard: a safety device used when working with stationary routers or power saws such as a table saw or bandsaw. Featherboards apply pressure to a workpiece, keeping it flat against a machine table.

Featherboard used by woodworker in woodworking project

Fence: an adjustable structure used to hold a board or stock firmly in a straight line on a table saw, miter saw, drill press or router table. 

Fretwork: ornamental design in wood, typically openwork done with a fretsaw.

Fretsaw: saw with a narrow blade stretched vertically on a frame, for cutting thin wood in patterns.


Grain: refers to the lines that naturally appear in lumber. Grain is a byproduct of the sawing pattern used when the mull first cuts the boards of a piece of wood in relation to the angle of the existing growth rings. Take a look at the Forest 2 Home Grain Guide

Grain photo of Forest 2 Home Ash wood

Grain direction: the longitudinal, or vertical texture seen on the surface of a piece of wood.

Grain pattern: created when the mill cuts through the annual growth rings

Green lumber: otherwise known as “wet lumber,” green lumber is freshly cut wood that has not been dried and retains a moisture content of more than 19%.

Glue up: applying wood glue or adhesive to woodworking project.

Glue up of cutting board of Forest 2 Home Walnut and Hard Maple

Gouge: a chisel with a concave blade


Hardwood: wood from a dicot tree. Hardwoods come from angiosperm trees, meaning they come from flowering plants.

Heartwood: extending from the pith (center) to the sapwood, the cells of the heartwood no longer participate in the life processes of a tree so it is generally darker in color.

Hit-Or-Miss: surfacing lumber to an unfinished thickness of 15/16” for 4/4 lumber. Hit-or-miss allows for some sections that look slightly rough or “skipped,” despite being planed. These skipped sections must clean up to 13/16” in order to make the required lumber grade.  

Example of Hit-or-miss on Forest 2 Home surfaced 4/4 Hard Maple board


Inlay: made by cutting a shaped pocket or void into a piece of wood and then filling that pocket with another piece cut to the same shape.

Intarsia: a form of wood inlaying; inlays sections of wood within solid wood of floors, furniture and more.


Janka Hardness Scale: used to determine the relative hardness of domestic wood species, the Janka Hardness Scale measures the amount of force that is required to embed a 11.28 mm steel ball halfway into a piece of wood.

Forest 2 Home Janka Hardness Scale ranking. Ranking of F2H hardwoods from strongest to least strong based on Janka Hardness Scale

Jig: a device used to guide the wood through the blade.

Juice groove: a router indentation made on a cutting board to collect any juices, oils or liquids on the board so they do not interfere with the food being cut.

Forest 2 Home cutting board featuring Cherry wood and Walnut wood routed edges with a juice groove

Joinery: the method by which two or more pieces of wood are connected.

Example of joints made by joiner using Forest 2 Home premium hardwood lumber

Jointer: machinery used to make one face of a board and one adjacent edge perfectly flat and square to each other. Jointers can also flatten cupped boards, remove twists and prepare board edges to be glued.


Kickback: the term used for wood that suddenly and without warning is propelled back towards the operator at a high rate of speed, usually occurring when the workpiece pinches the blade or gets stuck between the blade and the rip fence.

Kiln dry: drying wood in a chamber where air circulation, relative humidity and temperature can be controlled so the moisture content of wood can be reduced to an ideal point without drying defects.

Forest 2 Home premium hardwood lumber inside industrial dry kiln at sawmill. Wood drying of kiln dried wood

Kink: a localized crook on a wood board, often due to a knot.

Kerf: the width of the material that is removed by the cutting process by the cutting agent. Kerf must be factored in when making measurements for woodworking projects. 

Image of kerf that must be accounted for when making cut in Forest 2 Home lumber 4/4 Hard Maple hardwood

Knot: caused by grain deviation to accommodate the wood found inside the branches of trees.

Knockdown: easily assembled and disassembled furniture

Knockdown stool made by Forest 2 Home community woodworker out of shop f2h premium hardwood Cherry wood

(knockdown stool made by F2H community woodworker, Dustin Morris. Find project plans here.)


Lathe: a power tool that rotates a piece of wood around a horizontal axis so it can be cut, sanded, drilled, and wood turned to form a finished shape.

Lacquer: a high gloss wood finish with high durability and resistance to damage, lacquer is a combination of shellac dissolved in alcohol. There are 4 types of lacquer including nitrocellulose lacquer, acrylic lacquer, water-based lacquer and metal lacquer. Learn more by reading Woodworking 101: Wood Finish Types and Techniques.

Lumber: wood intended as a building material


Materials List: predefined list of all parts required to create a woodworking project.

Marquetry: inlaid work made from small pieces of variously colored wood or other materials, used chiefly for decoration of furniture. 

Moisture Content: how much moisture is present in material.

Mill: cut or finish a piece of lumber

Miter: a joint made between two pieces of wood or other material at an angle of 90 degrees, such that the line of a junction bisects this angle.

Miter box and saw: consisting of a wooden or plastic three sided box with 90 degree and 45 degree slits to guide a hand of back saw to make a miter cut in a work piece. 

Marquetry: inlaid work made from small pieces of variously colored wood or other materials, used primarily for decoration of furniture.

Mortise: a hole, groove, or slot into or through which some other part can fit.


Natural finish: a finish that will protect and seal wood without the use of stains or dyes.


Oil stain: a wood stain well suited to furniture or a large wood surface that will penetrate on a deep level, leaving rich color and increased protection. Oil stains include linseed oil, tung oil, and Danish oil. Learn more by reading Woodworking 101: Wood Finish Types and Techniques.

Open grain: a piece of wood with larger pores that are visible to the naked eye.

Orbital sander: a handheld power tool that sands in random-orbit action. It is an ideal tool for quick sanding needs, removing paint and rust.


Penetrating finish: a wood finish that penetrates the fibers of wood and hardens, offering a more natural look. Penetrating wood finishes include oil based finishes like linseed oil, tung oil and Danish oil.

Female woodworker applying oil based wood finish to Forest 2 Home premium hardwood lumber White Oak wood

Push stick: also known as a push shoe or push block, a push stick is a safety device used to move wood pieces through woodworking machinery while keeping hands clear of blades.

Pin knot: a sound knot in lumber not over ½ inch in diameter.

Plane: a hand tool made to remove rough surfaces on wood and reduce it to size.

Planer: otherwise known as a thickness planer, a planer is a woodworking machine that trims boards to a consistent thickness throughout their length.

Forest 2 Home Hard Maple wood going into wood planer in workshop

Plate Joiner: a plate joiner is the same as a biscuit joiner and is used to create an oblong hole in two matching pieces of wood. After the joiners have created the hole, a biscuit is glued, inserted and typically clamped until the wood is dried.


Quarter-sawn: wood where the annular growth rings intersect the face of the board at a 60 to 90 degree angle. When cut in the sawmill, each log is sawed at a radial angle into four quarters.


Rip: cutting wood along its grain for a lengthwise cut.

Rip Fence: used with a table saw to serve as a guide for the wood as its being ripped (cut along its length) and can be positioned to any width of cut within the saws range.

Rough-sawn: also known as rough-cut, rough-sawn lumber that is lumber that is untreated and cut into planks. It is not planed or surfaced.  


Sawmill: a building fitted with machinery for a manufacturing process.

Sawmill where premium hardwood lumber is produced

Scarf Joint: a method of joining two members end to end; when two flat planes meet at an angle relative to the axis of the pieces being joined. High strength adhesives can increase the structural integrity and performance of plain scarf joints.

Surfaced-2-Sides: abbreviated to S2S, surfaced-2-sides lumber is rough lumber that has been surfaced on the top and the bottom

Surfaced-4-Sides: abbreviated to S4S, surfaced-4-sides lumber is lumber that has been finished on all four sides.

Snipe: a noticeably deeper cut on the leading and/or trailing end of a board after having passed through a planer or jointer. 

Softwood: the wood from a conifer (such as a pine, fir or spruce) as distinguished from that of broadleaved trees.

Straight-line ripping: a straight line rip puts a  true edge on the board so you can run it against a table saw fence and cut the pieces you need. It is performed after measuring the board.

Spline: a strip of wood, plywood or other material inserted into matching grooves or plows along the edges of two boards.

Example of Shop F2H Walnut wood splines holding together 2 pieces of Forest 2 Home premium hardwood lumber 4/4 Hard Maple wood

Split: separation in the grain of the wood which reduce quality of the wood. Splits are produced through wood drying practices as wood shrinks as it dries.


Table saw: a woodworking machine consisting of a circular saw blade, mounted on an arbor and fixed to a table.

Tear-out: when spinning bit encounters grain that isn’t strongly supported by its own structure and wood pieces

Tyloses: balloon-like swellings or projections that fill vessels (pores). Visible on the endgrain of wood, specifically notable on White Oak. Tyloses lend White Oak and other wood species their water proofing properties.

Thickness planer: a woodworking machine that makes boards into a consistent thickness throughout their length and flat on both surfaces.

Turnery: the craft of wood turning.


Varnish: a wood finish mixture consisting of resin, drying oil and a thinner that is often applied to floors, cabinets and furniture. Varnish is highly durable and offers UV protection.

Veneer: a thin piece of hardwood that is placed over a piece of manufactured wood, attached using adhesive, nails or screws.


Woodworker: a person who works in wood, such as a carpenter, joiner or cabinet-maker.

Woodworking: the activity or skill of making things from wood.

Woodturning: the action of shaping wood with a lathe. Learn more by reading Woodworking 101: Everything You Need to Know about Woodturning.

Woodturner working in his workshop on a Forest 2 Home lumber wood turning project. Wood turner is working on lathe while wearing woodshop eye protection and air filtration mask

Woodcarving: the action or skill of carving wood to make functional or ornamental objects. Learn more by reading Woodshop 101: Wood Carving for Beginners and Woodshop 101: Wood Carving Tools Everyone should have in their Workshop.

Workability: accesses the ease of working with a given material.


Did we miss a word you want to learn more about? Comment it down below or send an email to so we can provide a comprehensive woodworking dictionary! Happy Woodworking!


  • Pete Gustafson

    Scarf joint, snipe

  • Kermit Huttar

    I am used to the term “blow out” rather than “chip out” which is common with the woodworkers that I know.

  • Wayne J Germain

    F2S, F4S These symbols mean Finished 2 Sides and Finished 4 Sides

  • fil Ficks

    information on marquetry & fret work

  • Steve Brown

    “Mill” is also a verb – the rough meaning is to cut or finish a piece of lumber to finished form.

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