Wood terms beginning with:


Cambium - The live, actively growing, layer of a tree. The cambium is one cell thick and resides between the sapwood and the phloem. It repeatedly divides itself to form new wood end causes the tree to grow and expand. It is the layer that becomes either bark or wood and lies dormant in the winter.

Cant Hook - A device used for rolling cants or logs. Many people mistake a cant hook for a peavey. The difference is that a cant hook doesn't have a point on the end like a peavey.

Cants - (1) Large planks or timbers cut on the head saw for further sawing elsewhere. (2) A log that has been slabbed on one or more sides. Ordinarily, cants are intended for resawing at right angles to their widest sawn face. The term is loosely used. Synonymous with flitch.

Carbide - A compound of carbon and other materials that is super hard. There are various grades of carbide depending on the application. In saw teeth they are brazed to the saw blade and ground to the proper configuration. These teeth are very hard and stay sharp longer than other types of teeth but, have a tendency to be brittle.

Carving quality - the ease which a species can be carved. This may be directly related to the hardness.

Poor: Extremely difficult to carve.
Average: Somewhat difficult to carve.
Good: Somewhat easy to carve.
Excellent: Extremely easy to carve.

Case hardening - A condition of lumber in which it contains varying degrees of stress at different depths below the surface, causing it to cup when resawed or worked. Case hardening is caused when a board is dried too fast. The outer layers in a case-hardened board are compressed while the inner layers are in tension.

Cell - (1) The smallest, microscopic structure in wood. (2) A general term for the anatomical units of plant tissue, including wood fibers, vessel members, and other elements of diverse structure and function.

Cellulose - The carbohydrate that is the principal constituent of wood and forms the framework of the wood cells.

Center match - Lumber that has been worked with a tongue exactly in the center on one edge of each piece and a groove on the opposite edge to provide a close tongue-and-groove joint by fitting two pieces together.

Chamfer - A bevel or slope created by slicing off the square edge or end of a piece of wood or other material.

Chatoyance - A changeable color or luster. Wood appears to shimmer when moved.

Check - A separation of the wood normally occurring lengthwise of a piece across the rings of annual growth and usually as a result of seasoning (drying). A checked piece of wood has splits which develop lengthwise across the growth rings. Checking may occur at any time in the life of a piece of furniture, and is usually traceable to a sudden change in temperature and or humidity.

Chipped grain - Consists of a part of the surface being chipped or broken out in particles below the line of cut; it should not be classed as torn grain.

Circle Sawmill - A machine that uses a flat thin disk with teeth cut into the outer edge to saw wood, plastic, metal, or other materials.

Clear - A term including the higher grades of lumber - sound, relatively free of blemishes.

Close-grained wood - (1) Wood with narrow and inconspicuous annual rings; the term is sometimes used to designate wood having small and closely spaced pores, but in this sense the term "fine textured" is more often used. (2) Wood with more than six rings per inch.

Coarse-grained wood - (1) Wood with wide and conspicuous annual rings; that is, rings in which there is considerable difference between springwood and summerwood; the term is sometimes used to designate wood with large pores, such as oak, ash, chestnut, and walnut, but in this sense the term "coarse textured" is more often used. (2) Wood with less than four rings per inch.

Collapse - Irregular shrinkage in wood above the fiber saturation point caused by collapse of wood cells as free water is drawn out of the cell cavities without replacement with air or more water.

Common grade lumber - Lumber with obvious defects.

Compartment kiln - A kiln in which the total charge of lumber is dried as a single unit. It is designed so that, at any given time, the temperature and relative humidity are essentially uniform throughout the kiln. The temperature is increased as drying progresses, and the relative humidity is adjusted to the needs of the lumber.

Compound cut - An angled cut to both the edge and face of a board.

Compression wood - Abnormal wood that often forms on the lower side of branches and of leaning trunks of softwood trees: compression wood is identified by its relatively wide annual rings, usually eccentric, and its relatively large amount of summerwood, usually more than 50 percent of the width of the annual rings in which it occurs. Compression wood shrinks excessively lengthwise as compared with normal wood.

Conditioning - The exposure of a material to the influence of a prescribed atmosphere for a stipulated period of time or until a stipulated relation is reached between material and atmosphere.

Conifers - The botanical group of trees having needles, or scale-like leaves, and cones: they are usually "evergreen."

Crook - A deviation edgewise from a straight line drawn from end to end of a piece and measured at the point of greatest distance from the straight line: it does not include short kinks.

Cross grain - Grain not parallel with the axis of a piece; it may be either diagonal or spiral grain or a combination of the two.

Crotch - In lumber, a piece of wood taken from the fork of a tree. Crotch wood is highly valued for its figuring.

Cup - A curve in a piece across the grain or width of a piece; it is measured at the point of greatest distance from a straight line drawn from edge to edge of a piece. The board warps up like the letter U.

Curly-grained wood - Wood in which the fibers are distorted so that they have a curled appearance, as in "birdseye" wood. The areas showing curly grain may vary up to several inches in diameter.

Custom drying - Drying other people's lumber.

Custom milling - Surfacing or remanufacturing other people's lumber on order.

Custom sawing - Sawing of lumber under contract, usually to given specifications.

Cut stock - Clear pieces that have been ripped and cross cut from shop type lumber, such as stiles, rails, muntins, window sash, and many others, intended for further manufacture.

Cut-full lumber - Lumber intentionally manufactured in larger than normal thickness and width, usually to allow for shrinkage: a term sometimes confused with "full cut" lumber.

Cuttings - In hardwoods, portions of a board having the quality required by a specific grade or for a particular use. Obtained from a board by crosscutting or ripping.

The Wood Glossary

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