Back to News & Advice for Driveway & Garden Gates Your Glossary for Bespoke Joinery

Your Glossary for Bespoke Joinery

If you are unfamiliar with some of the terms used by timber manufacturers, don’t worry as we have put together this handy glossary to help you understand the work of BK Timber better.

BK Timber’s A-Z of Timber

A –

Air Dried – This refers to a technique which dries out timber naturally using the circulation of air. The pieces of wood to be dried are stacked up on top of each other, separated by lathes or sticks which allows the air to circulate. Please note this method takes a considerable amount of time.

Annual Rings – These concentric rings of wood fibre are added annually as the tree grows. The wood fibre consists of alternating rings, the dark rings being formed during summer with the lighter rings happening during winter. Also referred to as growth rings or tree rings, the Annual Rings can be used to find out how old the tree is, which is known as Dendrochronology.

Apron – This is ornamentation on the middle rail of a door which is typically planted on but maybe moulded or carved in the solid. 

B –

Back Flap – This is a hinge with large flaps for screwing onto the face of a door and framing.

Band and Gudgeon Hinges – Sometimes known as hook and band hinges or hook and eye, these heavy duty hinges can typically be found on wooden gates and garage doors. Consisting of two pieces, the hinges being the band and the gudgeon or hook being the pivot that the hinge swings on. There are two different types of band and gudgeon; cranked and straight with the cranked version used when required to keep doors of gates flush with the face of the frame or posts.

Bind – This applies to any hung frame that fits too tightly on to stop or rebate preventing easy closing.

Butt Hinge – These are hinges intended to be sunk into the edge of a door or casement.

C – 

Capping – A long length which serves as a cap for gates and framing.

D –

Dead Lock – A dead lock is a lock that can only be operated by key only

Doatiness – Disease which gives a spotted and speckled appearance to timber.

Double Margin Door – A single door which gives the appearance of two doors.

Durability – This refers to how long a sample of timber is expected to last in its untreated form. There are five durability classes for timber, which range from ‘non-durable’ to ‘very durable’.

E –

Edgings – Stripes on the edge of flush doors which secure and cover the edges of the plywood. Sometimes referred to as bandings, clashings, margins and slamming strips.

Engineered Timber – This term covers a wide variety of timber-based products that have been engineered to enhance its performance. Examples of boards are plywood, MDF, blockboard, chipboard and gluelam beams.

EX – Deriving from latin it means ‘out of’ or ‘from’. One example is if you were having a pair of garage doors manufactured which were described as EX 50mm thick, this means they would finish at roughly 45mm thick once the timber had been planed.

F –

Fall Bar – A pivoted bar used for securing a door or gate. For larger types, this is referred to as locking bars.

Falling Stile – The opposite stile to the hanging stile in a wooden gate.

Fanlight – A fanlight is a sash above the door in a door frame. This was originally only applied to a semicircular sash with radial bars.

G –

Grain – The general direction of wood fibres or the pattern produced on the surface of timber by cutting through the fibres. 

H –

Hardwood – Timber from broad-leaved trees, which have a less cylindrical trunk than Softwood trees and a wide rounded crown which contains heavy branches. Hardwood is different from Softwood because of its cell structure, containing three types of cell – fibres, parenchyma and vessels plus pores. Softwood in comparison only contains two types of cell. The fibres are the main structural tissue of wood which provides its mechanical strength. The parenchyma performs the same function as in softwood, to store the food. The vessels are the sap-conducting cells.

I –

Interlocking Joint – Interlocking a method of jointing timber with each piece cut to fit against or into another to prevent displacement and to transfer forces. The joint must either be in compression, pinned or keyed after assembly.

J – 

Jack Plane – A large plane used for removing large quantities of material, which straightens surfaces and reduces the thickness.

Joggle – A small projection left on a member of a piece of framing used to strengthen the joint where two members meet at an angle.

Judas Gate – A door or gate within another larger door or gate, sometimes referred to as a Whicket Gate.

K –

Keeper – A staple or striking plate which controls a moving or sliding object as the bolt of a lock.

Kerf – This is the groove cut by a saw.

L – 

Ledged Door – A door which consists of boards and ledges with no outer frame.

Lock Block – A block in the framing of a flush gate or door that provides a fixing for the lock.

M –

Movement – The swelling and shrinkage of wood from the changing moisture content. Movement in length is always negligible. Movements parallel with the growth rings is higher than at right angles to them. Please note, the degree of movement varies between species.

Member – This is a term used for any important piece in structural framework.

Mortice Lock – This lock is sunk into the edge of a door stile, meaning the body of the lock is not visible on the face of the door.

N – 

Norfolk Latch – A fastening used for gates or ledged doors which is operated by the thumb. This is sometimes known as a thumb latch or Suffolk latch.

O –

Out to Out – Measurements that are taken on outsides of a piece of framing.

P –

Permeability – This terms means the ease with which liquids such as preservatives or flame retardants can be impregnated into timber. Permeability differs depending on species, although the sapwood of all species is more permeable than the heartwood. Ratings for permeability relate to the heartwood of the species.

Pediment – An ornamental head to a door opening which can be triangular or segmental in shape.

Pendant – Pendant is the ornamental finish at the bottom of a suspended post.

Pine – The name given to a series of different cone bearing trees. Different species’ are given distinguishing names such as Weymouth Pine and Pitch Pine.

Plethora – A disease found in trees due to the uneven distribution of its sap.

Postern – A small door or gate that serves as a private entrance which is typically used at the rear of a building.

Preservative Treatment – The treatment of timber using chemicals to improve its resistance to attack by biological organisms. These can include fungi, insects and marine borers. Chemicals can be brushed or sprayed onto the surface of the timber but treatment is much more effective when the chemicals are impregnated into the timber under vacuum and/or pressure in special treatment vessels.

Q – 

Quirk – A narrow sinking which forms part of a moulding.

R –

Reprise – The return of a moulding for an internal angle.

Return – The continuation of a member in another direction which is usually at right angles.

Rim Lock – A lock or latch in a metal case that is screwed on to the face of a door or gate through the rim of the case.

Rindgall – Rindgall is a defect in timber caused by torn off branches being covered with later rings that are not uniform with the rest of the wood.

Router – A woodworking tool that is used for cutting mouldings, rebates and grooves into timber. The router bits or cutters are interchangeable which means the types of mouldings that can be but are practically limitless. Considered to be one of the most versatile of all woodworking electric hand tools.

S –

Sapwood – Sapwood is the outer area of a tree trunk or log which with growing tress contains living cells and reserve materials such as starch. Sapwood is generally lighter in colour than the the inner heartwood. It can be more vulnerable to attacks by biological organisms but is usually more permeable than the heartwood, which makes it easier to treat with preservatives.

Softwood – Typically obtained from pine, fir, spruce or larch, and is used for most structural timber.

Scale – Scale is the ratio that represents the difference between the dimensions of a drawing and that of the object.

Section – A drawing that represents the internal arrangements of an object, which is obtained by cutting the object using an imaginary plane and depicting the surface formed by the intersection of the plane with the object.

Softwood – Softwood is timber acquired from fast-growing evergreen trees. 

Strength Grade – The strength of timber varies between species’ and is also affected by characteristics such as knots, slope of grain and splits. Every piece of timber used structurally has to be strength graded by either a machine or visual inspection. The timber will be marked with its grade and other information such as its species and whether timber was graded wet or dry.

T – 

Touch-Sanding – Touch sanding is used on the outer ply merely to deal with irregularities due to patching, filling or plugging.

Tee Hinge – A tee hinge is a strap hinge shaped like the letter ‘T’, which is commonly found on light-duty exterior doors and gates.

U –

Upsets – This is a defect in the timber due to faulty felling or severe shock. Timber fibres are broken across the grain.

V –

Veneer – A facing of extremely thin superior timber which is used to cover inferior timber. Veneers are sawn or peeled from timber with a highly ornamental appearance.  

W –

Warping – Warping means the timber does not have a true, flat and plane surface.

Woodworm – This is the larvae of wood-boring beetles. Holes typically left in timber following a woodwarm attack are flight holes where the larvae exits the timber.


Xylology – Xylology is the study of trees and wooded plants.

Y – 

Z –

Zone Lines – The black lines in spalted timber that are demarcation lines between different colonies of fungi as they move through the timber.

Have We Missed Anything? Let Us Know

If there is anything we have missed in our Glossary, please let BK Timber know by getting in touch today.

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