Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something using wood.
Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was certainly one of the first materials worked by primitive man. Indeed, the development of civilization was closely tied to the development of increasingly greater degrees of skill in working these materials.
Among early finds of wooden tools are the worked sticks from Kalambo Falls, Clacton-on-Sea and Lehringen . The spears from Schöningen (Germany) provide some of the first examples of wooden hunting gear. Flint tools were used for carving. Since neolithic times, carved wooden vessels are known, for example from the linearbandkeramic wells at Kückhofen and Eythra . Examples of bronze age wood-carving include trees worked into coffins from northern Germany and Denmark, and wooden folding-chairs. The site of Fellbach-Schmieden , Germany has provided fine examples of wooden animal statues from the Iron Age. Wooden idols of La Tène-date are known from a sanctuary at the source of the Seine, France.
Two ancient civilizations to use woodworking were the Egyptians and the Chinese. Woodworking is depicted in many ancient Egyptian drawings. Some Ancient Egyptian furniture such as chairs have been preserved in tombs. The metal used for woodworking by the Egyptians was probably bronze or even copper, as ironworking was not developed until much later.
Similarly the progenitors of Chinese woodworking are considered to be Lu Ban (魯班) and his wife Lady Yun. Lu Ban is said to have brought the plane, chalkline, and other tools to China. His teachings are supposedly left behind in the book Lu Ban Jing (魯班經, manuscript of Lu Ban), although it was written 1500 years after his life. This book is filled largely with descriptions of dimensions to use for building various items, such as flower pots, tables, temples, etc. It also contains extensive instructions about Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of geomancy. It mentions almost nothing of the intricate glueless and nailless joinery for which Chinese furniture was so famous.
Woodworking, due to its long history, has developed extensive jargon and has preserved many archaic terms that are otherwise out of use.
- applied carving: background which is worked separately and then applied, rather than being worked in place
- bead: a semicircular piece of moulding
- bolster: shoulder
- burl: wood with a convoluted, complex grain, usually taken from cancerous growths on trees
- cannel, channel: the concavity of a gouge blade
- chip carving: incised surface decoration, usually geometric
- chops: a type of vise
- conversion: reduction of a whole log into pieces suitable for working
- crook: longitudinal bending to one side, caused by uneven seasoning or grain
- crotch: the section of a tree where a branch divides from the trunk, or the trunk divides in two; typically an area of convoluted grain
- crossgrain: working perpendicular to the grain
- cup: longitudinal bending forward or backward, caused by uneven seasoning or grain
- devil stone: a coarse, hard dressing stone used in sharpening tools, grinders, and other stones
- dressing stone: a rough sharpening stone usually used on other stones
- dutchman: a diamond-shaped patch of wood used to repair surface blemishes and knotholes
- end grain: the grain at the end of a piece of wood which is perpendicular to the surface
- fence: a piece of lath or scrap fixed to the bench surface to prevent movement of the work
- figure: naturally occurring decorative patterns in wood, usually due to medullary rays
- firmer: a chisel bevelled on both sides instead of only one
- fishtail chisel or gouge: a chisel or gouge with a splayed end
- flat gouge: a gouge with minimal curvature, used for finishing and smoothing
- flitch: a board in which the round of the trunk is still visible, a rough-cut board
- flute: a deep channel cut in wood; occasionally denotes the cannel of a gouge
- foxing: a yellow-brown discoloration of wood due to fungal infection
- fretsaw: a saw with a very fine toothed blade used for delicate cuts in thin material
- frosting: regular indented patterns created with a special-purpose punch called a froster
- grain: the longitudinal fibers in wood
- green: unseasoned wood
- hardwood: wood from an angiosperm tree, i.e. a tree in the magnoliophyta division; not necessarily very hard or dense wood, e.g. balsa
- heart shake: a shake radiating out from the heartwood
- heel: the corner of a chisel, knife, or gouge bevel which meets the back of the blade and polishes the cut
- hollow grinding: a concave bevel on a chisel, gouge, or knife
- incannel: the concave surface of a gouge; a gouge sharpened on the concave surface
- interlocked grain: grain which has multiple longitudinal directions in alternating layers, typical of many tropical hardwoods, and very difficult to work and to produce smooth surfaces
- outcannel: the convex surface of a gouge; a gouge sharpened on the convex surface
- reed: a series of beads in a row
- riffler: a paddle-shaped rasp
- ring shake: a shake occurring between annual rings
- saw rasp: a rasp with saw teeth
- scorp: a drawknife with a curved, sometimes completely circular blade
- scraper: a flat blade with a burred edge used for smoothing
- scrollsaw: a motorized fretsaw
- seasoning: reducing the moisture content of wood before working to prevent cracking, splitting, and other damage due to drying
- shake: a crack or split in wood, caused by damage or drying
- slip: a shaped stone used for sharpening non-flat blades such as on gouges
- snib: a wooden toggle used to hold the work on a table
- softwood: wood from a gymnosperm tree, i.e. a tree in the pinophyta division and excluding the ginkgo; not necessarily very soft or light wood, e.g. douglas-fir
- spalting: a fungal discoloration in wood where brown spots are outlined with fine black lines, often considered desirable
- split: to longitudinally separate wood along grain layers
- sweep: the curvature of a gouge, ranging from flat (little curvature, but not actually flat else it would be a chisel) to deep or quick
- tear out: small flakes and rough patches on interlocked grain in wood, usually left by machine tools
- twist: longitudinal twisting of wood due to uneven seasoning or grain
- undercutting: cutting away from an edge to increase the sense of relief or thinness
- veiner: a small deep gouge
- veneer: very thin slices of wood used for inlay or to cover surfaces
- wane: an edge of a sawn board where the bark or surface of the trunk remains
- wasting: quickly removing wood during carving, usually with an adze, knife, or rasp
- waste: wood that will be removed in the finished work, often retained during working as a handle
Topics in Woodworking
Woodworking is now a general term covering a wide range of skills and techniques.
- carpentry – Originally a carpenter was a wagon maker but carpentry has come to mean the general working of wood. Sometimes used to cover all aspects of woodworking, at other times carpentry refers to the least-skilled level of woodworking and larger projects, such as house building.
- joinery – The joining of two or more pieces of wood together, necessary in most woodworking projects. Also used particularly to refer to the joining of wood without the use of nails, screws, or other metal fasteners.
- cabinetry, cabinet making, cabinetmaker – The practice of utilizing many woodworking skills to create cabinets, shelving and furniture; a craftsman who specializes in the making of fine furniture. Implies a very high level of skill in woodworking.
- marquetry and parquetry – The practice of creating patterns by inlaying different wood veneers; with different colours and different grains complex patterns are formed. Originally used to decorate furniture, both are now often used to produce pictures. Often regarded as a fine art form, equal to sculpture and painting. Marquetry is distinguished from parquetry by the shapes used and formed - marquetry entails the creation of organic or scenic pictures, while parquetry involves geometric shapes.
- turning – The art of turning a piece of wood on a lathe and shaping it by holding various cutting tools against it.
- boat building – Professionally done by shipwrights.
- wheelwright – A maker of wooden wheels and spokes.
- cooper – A maker of casks and barrels.
- bodger – Now archaic, a wood-turner specializing making furniture and treen. Also a corruption of "botcher", a colloquial term for an incompetent workman.
Some of these refer to special techniques such as marquetry or turning, while others refer to a specialized product such as the cooper or wheelwright.
Measuring and marking tools
- rulers, tape measures, and protractors
- straightedges, combination squares, try squares,
- awls, marking gauges
- plane gauges used to determine the flatness of a surface
- hygrometers used to determine the water content of wood before and during working
- hand saws such as the tenon saw , dovetail saw , crosscut saw, coping saw, keyhole saw, bow saw, and various Japanese saws
- power saws such as the circular saw, chainsaw, table saw, radial arm saw, jigsaw, miter saw, hole saw (actually a form of drill), and band saw
- hand planes such as the jointer plane, smoothing plane, block plane, shoulder plane, scrub plane, spear plane , and rabbet plane
- thickness planer and jointer
- router and router bits
- rotary tools , often known by the trade name 'Dremel'
- chisel and gouge
- drill press and morticer
- Other hand shaping tools, such as the axe, adze, froe, spokeshave, and drawknife.
- hammer and mallet
- hand or power drills along with drill bits
- clamps including the C-clamp , F-clamp , bar clamp , mitre clamp and band clamp
- sandpaper, used alone or with sanding blocks or power sanders such as the belt sander , palm sander , disc sander , and random orbital sander
- steel wool or bronze wool, used for polishing or applying stain or liquid finishing compounds
Accessory tools and furniture
- horse, a tool upon which one sits, with a foot activated clamp to hold shingles, spokes, or short boards, upon which one shaves wood with a drawknife or spokeshave
- dog , a simple bent rod with a foot which when placed in a hole in a bench can be used to position and hold boards
- vise, a stable clamping apparatus used to hold wood in different positions while being worked
- bench, a high table at which one usually stands or sits on a high stool, and on which wood is worked
- sawhorse , a four-legged stand usually used in pairs to support large pieces of wood such as panels, long boards, and sheets
- Power tools or Woodworking machinery
Woodworking Plan Directory: Free Woodworking Plans
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