The ABCs of carpentry

ABCs of carpentry


Carpentry comes in different forms and sizes; more likely, you think of carpenters as those that build you nice custom-made furniture. Carpenters are also heavily involved in home construction and are therefore work closely involved with contractors and even interior designers.

For those considering delving into some DIY projects, wanting to understand that basics of carpentry, or are just plain curious, here are the basic terms of carpentry, conveniently put for you in alphabetical order (we may have taken some creative liberties with some letters…just maybe): 

A
Adhesive
Just a fancy word for wood glue. It’s just any substance used to stick two different materials (in this case, wood) together.

Adhesive

B
Block plane
A small tool used to cut across the grain of wood.

Block plane

C
Circular saw
A favorite of many horror movie villains, the name of the tool speaks for itself. It can be used from anything to cutting sheets of wood to complex furniture carpentry work.

Circular saw

D
Dowel
If you ever put together Ikea furniture, you’ll be very familiar with this. You’ll probably simply know it as a ‘peg’.

Dowel

E
Epoxy resin
This is the super of all superglues! It involves putting together two different chemicals that can practically glue anything together. 

Epoxy resin

F
Finish carpentry
Once the core component of a carpentry job is done (say a door or a table), the finishing touches like the trim are started on.

Finish carpentry

G
Grain
This is what we call the fiber of the wood and the direction that they are facing. For example, if you crosscut, you cut across the grain; going across the grain gives you a nice smooth finish. 

Grain

H
Hardwood
Believe it or not, ‘hardwood’ does not refer the wood itself, but from the type of tree the wood came from – in this case, deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves every fall). Most popular hardwoods requested in the UAE are oak, mahogany, and walnut.

Hardwood

I
IKEA
Your go-to spot for all your wooden and MDF furniture, or your inspiration for future custom-made furniture jobs. 

IKEA
J
Jigsaw
A power tool with a small straight blade that quickly moves back and forth vertically. Used for making circles and complex shapes.

Jigsaw

K
Kiln
Similar to a kiln that you would use in pottery, in this case, it’s a large oven that’s used for drying wood in highly controlled environmental conditions. 

Kiln

L
Laminate flooring
What you may call parquet here in the UAE (see below), it’s a synthetic flooring made by fusing together different thin layers of wood by the use of pressure and adhesive. The advantage of laminated flooring is that it is more pocket-friendly than solid wood floors and is also very durable. 

Laminate flooring

M
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
How does IKEA keep its prices down? Aside from mass manufacturing, a lot of their furniture is built from MDF, basically compressed sawdust and wood fiber kept together using resin, high temperature, and pressure. 

MDF

N
No
The answer you’ll get if you ask our carpentry Ustas “is this piece of furniture too complicated for you to make?” 

NO

O
Overlay
Any thin layer you apply over wood to either protect it or for aesthetic purposes, like veneer for example.

Veneer

P
Parquet flooring
Parquet actually refers to the pattern rather than the material. It’s any floor that is made up of small pieces of wood to form any number of geometrical patterns.

Parquet flooring

Q
Quiet
What you will NOT find in a carpenter’s place of work. 

Ear protection

R
Radial arm saw
Think ‘circular saw’ but mounted on a sliding arm. This is used to cut large pieces of wood down to size. 

Radial arm saw

S
Softwood
Wood that comes from evergreen trees (i.e. they don’t lose their leaves every year), like cypress or fir.

Softwood

T
Table saw
Similar to a radial arm saw but mounted beneath the table and can be adjusted to any angle needed. 

Table saw

U
Underwood
The most famous wood of them all. And the one that hasn't been recently fired from the show for...well...you can read about it if you don't know.

Underwood

V
Varnish
A chemical used to finish wood. It’s used as it waterproofs and protects the wood; usually transparent but it can come in different colors too! 

Varnish

W
Warping
You’ll commonly see this happen with doors in the UAE because of the way our weather changes from dry to humid quickly and consistently. Warping means your wooden structure is bent out of shape and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to mend.

Warped door

X
Xerxes I
Persian king, son of Darius the Great, who apparently under his rule he built a lot of monuments and structures in Persia – we are pretty confident that carpentry and the use of wood was involved somewhere. 

Xerxes I
Y
Yes
Answer every time to the question “can mrUsta’s carpenters make my dream bed/table/chair/closet/shelf/torture chamber?”

Yes!

Z
Zero
Your chance of being disappointed by using Mr Usta for your carpentry and custom-made furniture needs.

You should totally post a carpentry or custom-made furniture job now!