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Glossary

Burl- An outgrowth on a tree caused by irregular growth patterns in the tree’s seed bearing process; treasured by woodturners for their irregular grains.

Burnished- Smooth or glossy by or as if by rubbing or polishing.

Carving –Carvers use various tools in carving to make everything from vessel forms (bowls in particular) to freestanding sculpture too sculptural relieves. It requires patience and skill in order not to upset the delicate pattern of grain.

Centrifugal force- The force generated and utilized by the lathe to shape wood. The force pushes the momentum of circular movement to the outside of the circle.

Charred- Scorched or burned with a torch.

Chuck- Any device that holds wood in either jaws or wood is fitted into a cylinder of the chuck. It is mounted on the headstock spindle.

Conifer – Cone-bearing tree; softwood.

Cross-axial woodturning- An alternate method of turning wood off its central axis, producing objects that are asymmetrical and off-center.

Deciduous- Trees that shed their leaves seasonally; hardwoods.

Ebonize- To make or stain black the wood in imitation of ebony.

Epoxy- Any of various thermosetting resins capable of forming tight cross-linked polymer structures characterized by toughness, strong adhesion, and low shrinkage.

Grain- The pattern in which fibers are arranged with in the wood.
(Types of grain)
Straight- Grains in which fibers run parallel to the tree’s vertical axis.
Irregular-Grains that result from irregular growth patterns around knots and other irregularities in the wood.
Cross- Grains in which fibers run against the tree’s vertical axis.
Wavy- Grains that form wave patterns in otherwise straight grains.
Curly- Grains that combine irregular and wave grain patterns. Spiral- Grains that wrap around the circumference of the tree.
Diagonal- Grains that result from cutting a spiral grain into a board.
Interlocked- Grains in which spiral grains switch direction.

Hardwood- Trees that produce seeds in pods. (Also called deciduous)

Heartwood – The hard, central part of the trunk of a tree, consisting of the old and matured wood, and usually differing in color from the outer layers. It is technically known as duramen, and distinguished from the softer sapwood or ausuruum. It supports the tree as a structure but has no role in the tree’s growth.

Laminating- An alternative to wood carving, in which boards of wood are glued together in specific shapes or designs. Because the artist can glue different size boards together, and then refine the shape, less wood actually goes to waste then in the carving process. The technique was developed because blocks of wood became too expensive for artists to consider wasting so much of the valuable wood in the carving process.

Lathe- A machine designed to center a piece of wood on an axis: as it turns, the woodturner can cut into the wood to create symmetrical objects.

Parenchyma- Cells that store nutrients in both hardwoods and softwoods.

Pith- The soft, spongy substance in the center of stems of many plants and trees, especially those of dicotyledonous or exogenous classes. It consists of cellular tissue.

Plain sawing – An economic sawing method in which the heart of the tree is "boxed out", producing stable boards.

Porosity- The degree to which wood absorbs water.

Vascular cambium – The thin layer of tissue between the bark and the growth layers that produce the xylem.

Veneer- The process of finishing a surface with a thin layer of a specific wood, giving the object the appearance of being a solid mass of that wood.

Radial sawing – The most stable but least economic method of board sawing, involving cutting boards perpendicular to the growth rings of the tree.

Sanded- a piece that has been polished or scraped with sandpaper

Sapwood – Contains the water/mineral combination (or sap) that delivers the nutrients to the tree that aids in its growth.

Shearing – The process of removing wood in very thin layers as it turns.

Scraping – The process of making abrasions or grinding into the wood as it turns.

Slash sawing – A board sawing technique in which boards are cut in the same direction throughout the tree, producing weaker boards.

Softwood- Trees that produce seeds outside of a seed pod.

Spalting- Naturally decayed wood with distinctive markings; used for its decorative effect.

Tracheids- Cells found in softwood trees that transmit water throughout the tree, as well s strengthen the tree’s structure.


Vessel- A hollow or concave utensil for holding anything; a hollow receptacle of any kind.


Woodturning- The process of carving wood as it spins in place on a lathe.


Xylem- Cells that develop into wood. It is the supporting and water–conducting tissue. Consisting primarily of tracheids and vessels.