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a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z


air dried technique of removing water from lumber using

natural wind currents


air infiltration unwanted movement of air into an insulation

layer or a conditioned space (heated or cooled)

  anchor a device used to fasten structural members in place

anchor bolt long metal fasteners with a threaded end used

to secure materials to concrete


annular rings the rings seen when viewing a cross-section

of a tree trunk; each ring constitutes one year of tree growth


apron the flashing piece located on the lower side of a roof

penetration such as a chimney or dormer


asphalt felt a building paper saturated with asphalt for



back miter an angle cut starting from the end and going

back on the face of the stock


backing strips or blocks of wood installed in walls or

ceilings for the purpose of fastening or supporting trim or



balloon frame a type of frame in which studs are continuous

from foundation sill plate to roof


baluster vertical members of a stair rail, usually decorative

and spaced closely together

band joist the member used to stiffen the ends of floor

joists where they rest on the sill


battens a thin, narrow strip typically used to cover joints

in vertical boards


bay window a window, usually three-sided, that projects

out from the wall line


bevel the sloping edge or side of a piece at any angle other

than a right angle

  blind nail a method of fastening that conceals the fastener

blocking pieces of dimension lumber installed between

joist and studs for the purposes of providing nailing surface

for intersecting framing members

  board lumber usually less than 2 inches thick

board foot a measure of lumber volume that equals 1 foot

square and 1 inch thick or any equivalent lumber volume.

The letter M is used to represent 1000 board feet.


box nail a thin nail with a head, usually coated with a material

to increase its holding power

  brad a thin, short, finishing nail

bridging diagonal braces or solid wood blocks between

floor joists used to distribute the load imposed on the floor


buck a rough frame used to form openings in poured concrete



cambium layer a layer just inside the bark of a tree where

new cells are formed


casing molding used to trim around doors, windows, and

other openings

chamfer an edge or end bevel that does not go all the way

across the edge or end


cheek cut a compound miter cut on the end of certain

roof rafters


cleat a small strip of wood applied to support a shelf or

similar piece


closed valley a roof valley in which the roof covering meets

in the center of the valley, completely covering the valley


column a large vertical member used to support a beam or



competent person designated person on a job site who is

capable of identifying hazardous or dangerous situations and

has the authority to take prompt corrective measures to

eliminate them


compound miter a bevel cut across the width and also

through the thickness of a piece


concrete a building material made from portland cement,

aggregates, and water


concrete block a concrete masonry unit (CMU) used to

make building foundations, typically measuring 8 x 8 X 16


condensation when water, in a vapor form, changes to a

liquid due to cooling of the air; the resulting droplets of water

that accumulate on the cool surface


coniferous trees that are cone-bearing; also known as

evergreen trees


corner boards finish trim members used at the intersection

of exterior walls


cornice a general term used to describe the part of the exterior

finish where the walls meet the roof


crib heavy wood blocks and framing used as a foundation

for scaffolding


cricket a small, false roof built behind, or uphill from, a

chimney or other roof obstacle for the purpose of shedding

water around roof penetrations

  crosscut a cut made across the grain of lumber
dado a cut, partway through and across the grain of lumber

deadbolt door-locking device operated by a key from the

outside and by a handle or key from the inside


deadman a T-shaped wood device used to support ceiling

drywall panels and other objects

  deciduous trees that shed leaves each year
  detail close-up view of a plan or section

dew point temperature at which moisture begins to condense

out of the air


dimension a term used to define a measurement of an

item; also used to refer to all 2x lumber used in framing


dimension lumber a term used to describe wood that is

sold for framing and general construction


dormer a structure that projects out from a sloping roof to

form another roofed area to provide a surface for the installation

of windows


double-acting doors that swing in both directions or the

hinges used on these doors


downspout a vertical member used to carry water from the

gutter downward to the ground; also called leader


draftstops also called firestops; material used to reduce

the size of framing cavities in order to slow the spread of

fire; in a wood frame, consists of full-width dimension lumber

blocking between studs


drip that part of an exterior finish that projects below another

to cause water to drop off instead of running back

against and down the wall


drip edge metal edging strips placed on roof edges to provide

a support for the overhang of the roofing material

  dry kiln large ovens used to remove water from lumber

duplex nail a double-headed nail used for temporary fastening

such as in the construction of wood scaffolds


eased edge an edge of lumber whose sharp corners have

been rounded


eaves the lower part of the roof that extends beyond the



electrolysis accelerated oxidation of one metal because of

contact with another metal in the presence of water


elevation a drawing in which the height of the structure or

object is shown; also, the height of a specific point in relation

to another reference point


erectors workers whose responsibilities include safe assembly

of scaffolding


escutcheon protective plate covering the knob or key hole

in doors


exposure the amount that courses of siding or roofing are

exposed to the weather


extension jambs strips of wood added to window jambs to

bring the jamb edge flush with the wall surface in preparation

for casing


face the best appearing side of a piece of wood or the side

that is exposed when installed


face nail method of driving a nail straight through a surface

material into supporting member


fascia a vertical member of the cornice finish installed on

the bottom end of rafters


fence a guide for ripping lumber on a table saw


finger joint a process where shorter lengths are glued together

using deep, thin V grooves resulting in longer lengths


finish nail a thin nail with a small head designed for setting

below the surface of finish material


flashing material used at intersections such as roof valleys

and dormers and above windows and doors to prevent the

entrance of water


flush a term used to describe when surfaces or edges are

aligned with each other


foundation that part of a wall on which the major portion

of the structure is erected


frieze that part of exterior trim applied to cover the joint

between the overhanging cornice and the siding


frost line the depth to which the ground typically freezes in

a particular area; footings must be placed below this depth


gable end the triangular-shaped section on the end of a

building formed by the common rafters and the top plate line


gable roof a common type of roof that pitches in two



gain a cutout made in a piece to receive another piece,

such as a cutout for a butt hinge

  galvanized protected from rusting by a coating of zinc

gambrel roof a type of roof that has two slopes of different

pitches on each side of center

  girders heavy beams that support the inner ends of floor joists
  glazing the act of installing glass in a frame

groove a cut, partway through and running with the grain

of lumber


gusset a block of wood or metal used over a joint to stiffen

and strengthen it

  gutter a trough attached to an eave used to carry off water

gypsum board a panel used as a finished surface material

made from a mineral mined from the earth wrapped in heavy

paper. Also called drywall.


handrail a railing on a stairway intended to be grasped by

the hand to serve as a support and guard


hardboard a building product made by compressing wood

fibers into sheet form


header framing members placed at right angles to joists,

studs, and rafters to form and support openings


heartwood the wood in the inner part of a tree, usually

darker and containing inactive cells


heel the back end of objects, such as a handsaw or hand



hip rafter extends diagonally from the corner of the plate to

the ridge at the intersection of two surfaces of a roof

hip jack a rafter running between a hip rafter and the wall



hip-valley cripple jack rafter a short rafter running parallel

to common rafters, cut between hip and valley rafters


hopper window a type of window in which the sash is

hinged at the bottom and swings inward


housewrap type of building paper with which the entire

exterior sidewalls of a building are covered


insulated glass multiple panes of glass fused together

with an air space between them


insulation material used to restrict the passage of heat or



intersecting roof the roof of irregular shaped buildings;

valleys are formed at the intersection of the roofs


joist horizontal framing members used in a spaced pattern

that provide support for the floor or ceiling system


joist hanger metal stirrups used to support the ends of

joists that do not rest on top of support member


J-roller a 3-inch wide rubber roller used to apply pressure

over the surface of contact cement bonded plastic laminates

  kerf the width of a cut made with a saw

laser a concentrated, narrow beam of light; optical leveling

and plumbing instrument used in building construction

  lateral a direction to the side at about 90 degrees

ledger a temporary or permanent supporting member for

joists or other members running at right angles; horizontal

member of a set of batter boards

level horizontal; perpendicular to the force of gravity
  light a pane of glass or an opening for a pane of glass
  linear feet a measurement of length

load-bearing term used to describe a structural member

that carries weight from another part of the building


lookout horizontal framing pieces in a cornice, installed to

provide fastening for the soffit


low emissivity glass (Low E) a coating on doubleglazed

windows designed to raise the insulating value by reflecting

heat back into the room


lumber general term for wood that is cut from a log to

form boards, planks, and timbers


mansard roof a type of roof that has two different pitches

on all sides of the building, with the lower slopes steeper

than the upper


masonry any construction of stone, brick, tile, concrete,

plaster, and similar materials

  mastic a thick adhesive

medullary rays bands of cells radiating from the cambium

layer to the pith of a tree to transport nourishment toward

the center


millwork any wood products that have been manufactured,

such as moldings, doors, windows, and stairs for use in

building construction; sometimes called joinery


miter the cutting of the end of a piece at any angle other

than a right angle

miter gauge a guide used on the table saw for making

miters and square ends

  molding decorative strips of wood used for finishing purposes

mortar a mixture of portland cement, lime, sand, and water

used to bond masonry units together


mullion a vertical division between window units or panels

in a door


muntin slender strips of wood between lights of glass in

windows or doors


newel post an upright post supporting the handrail in a

flight of stairs


on center (OC) the distance from the center of one structural

member to the center of the next one


open valley a roof valley in which the roof covering is kept

back from the centerline of the valley


panel a large sheet of building material that usually measures

4 3 8 feet

  penny (d) a term used in designating nail sizes

pilaster column built within and usually projecting from a

wall to reinforce the wall


pilot a guide on the end of edge-forming router bits used

to control the amount of cut

  pith the small, soft core at the center of a tree
  pivot a point of rotation

plain-sawed a method of sawing lumber that produces

flat-grain where annular rings tend to be parallel to the

width of the board


plan in an architectural drawing, an object drawn as viewed

from above


plancier the finish member on the underside of a box cornice,

also called soffit

  plate top or bottom horizontal member of a wall frame

platform frame method of wood frame construction in

which walls are erected on a previously constructed floor

deck or platform

  plumb vertical; aligned with the force of gravity

plumb bob a pointed weight attached to a line for testing



portland cement a fine gray powder, when mixed with water,

forms a paste that sets rock hard; an ingredient in concrete

  post a vertical member used to support a beam or girder

postforming method used to bend plastic laminate to

small radii


pressure-treated treatment given to lumber that applies a

wood preservative under pressure


Pythagorean Theorem a mathematical expression that

states the sum of the square of the two sides of a right triangle

equals the square of the diagonal


quarter-sawed a method of sawing lumber that produces a

close grain pattern where the annular rings tend to be perpendicular

to the width of the board

  rabbet an L-shaped cutout along the edge or end of lumber
  rail the horizontal member of a frame

rake the sloping portion of trim, such as on gable ends of a

building or stair


reinforcing rods also called rebar, steel bars placed in

concrete to increase tensile strength


ribbon a narrow board let into studs of a balloon frame to

support floor joists

  rip sawing lumber in the direction of the grain

rise in stairs, the vertical distance of the flight; in roofs,

the vertical distance from plate to ridge; may also be the

vertical distance through which anything rises


run the horizontal distance over which rafters, stairs, and

other like members travel


R-value a number given to a material to indicate its resistance

to the passage of heat

  saddle same as cricket

sapwood the outer part of a tree just beneath the bark

containing active cells

  sash that part of a window into which the glass is set
  sawyer a person whose job is to cut logs into lumber

scab a length of lumber or material applied over a joint to

stiffen and strengthen it


section drawing showing a vertical cut-view through an object

or part of an object


selvage the unexposed part of roll roofing covered by the

course above


shank hole a hole drilled for the thicker portion of a wood



sheathing boards or sheet material that are fastened to

joists, rafters, and studs and on which the finish material is


  shed roof a type of roof that slopes in one direction only

shims a thin, wedge-shaped piece of material used behind

pieces for the purpose of straightening them or for bringing

their surfaces flush


sill first horizontal wood member resting on the foundation

supporting the framework of a building; also, the lowest horizontal

member in a window or door frame


sill sealer material placed between the foundation and the

sill to prevent air leakage


soffit the horizontal, underside trim member of a cornice or

other overhanging assembly


spline a thin, flat strip of wood inserted into the grooved

edges of adjoining pieces


spreader a strip of wood used to keep other pieces a desired

distance apart


square a tool used to mark a layout and mark angles, particularly

90 degree angles; a term used to describe when two

lines or sides meet at a 90 degree angle; the amount of roof

covering that will cover 100 square feet of roof area


stairwell an opening in the floor for climbing or descending

stairs or the space of a structure where the stairs are located


stile the outside vertical members of a frame, such as in a

paneled door


stool the bottom horizontal member of interior window trim

that serves as the finished window sill


storm sash an additional sash placed on the outside of a

window to create dead air space to prevent the loss of heat

from the interior in cold weather


story pole a narrow strip of wood used to lay out the installation

heights of material such as siding or vertical members

of a wall frame


striated finish material with random and finely spaced

grooves running with the grain


strike plate thin metal plate installed where the latch bolt

of a door touches the jamb


stud vertical framing member in a wall running between



subfloor material used as the first floor layer on top of



tail joists shortened on center joists running from a header

to a sill or girder

  tail cut a cut on the extreme lower end of a rafter

tempered treated in a special way to make a material

harder and stronger


termite shields metal flashing plate over the foundation

to protect wood members from termites


timbers large pieces of lumber over 5 inches in thickness

and width


toe the forward end of tools, such as a hand saw and hand



toenail method of driving a nail diagonally through a surface

material into supporting member


trimmer a joist or stud placed at the sides of an opening

running parallel to the main framing members

  users people who work on scaffolding
  valley the intersection of two roof slopes at interior corners

valley cripple jack rafter a rafter running between two

valley rafters

valley jack rafter a rafter running between a valley rafter

and the ridge


valley rafter the rafter placed at the intersection of two

roof slopes in interior corners


vapor retarder also called vapor barrier, a material used to

prevent the passage of water in the gaseous state


wainscoting a wall finish applied partway up the wall from

the floor


water table exterior trim members applied at the intersection

of the siding and the foundation that projects outward

to direct water away from the building


weatherstripping narrow strips of material applied to

windows and doors to prevent the infiltration of air and



whet the honing of a tool by rubbing the tool on a flat

sharpening stone


wind a defect in lumber caused by a twist in the stock from

one end to the other; also, a twist in anything that should

be flat