A Glossary: Timber Framing Terminology

This glossary will name and define the terms of timber framing architecture, timber framed structures and construction, tools, and woodworking terms.
The terms are in English and will be added in German. The definitions are in English.

English Word

German Word


Adze: Unknown An axe like tool with its blade at right angles to its handle, used to shape or dress timbers.
Anchor Beam: Unknown Major tying beam. Joined to post with shouldered through-tenon, wedged from the opposite side.
Anchor Bolt: Unknown A bolt protruding from the top of the foundation onto which the sill plate is fastened with a nut.
Bay: Unknown An area defined by Two Bents. There is always one less Bay than the number of Bents in a Buildings.
Beam: Unknown A main horizontal member in a building's frame.
Beetle: ? Unknown A large wooden mallet typically weighing fifteen to twenty pounds.
Bent: Unknown Structural network of timbers or a truss that makes up one cross-sectional piece of the frame.
Bird's Mouth: Unknown A V-shaped notch that resembles a bird's open beak. It is cut into the base of a rafter and received by the plate.
Butt Joint: Unknown A joint made by fastening the parts together end-to-end without overlap.
Cantilever Beam: Unknown A projecting timber that supports an overhang.
Carrying Sticks: Unknown Sticks placed under a timber to provide an easy hand hold for carrying. Typically, two carrying sticks and four people are needed to carry a timber in this way.
Chamfer: Unknown A simple bevel used for embellishment of a timber.
Checking: Unknown Separation of wood fibers generally parallel to the length of a timber. Caused by the tension of uneven drying.
Collar Purlin: Unknown Horizontal longitudinal beam supporting collar ties.
Collar Tie: Unknown Horizontal wooden connector between a pair of rafters used to reduce spreading or sagging of each rafter.
Combination Square: Unknown A metal tool that can be used to lay out 45-degree and 90-degree angles.
Come-Along: Unknown A strong hand operated ratchet winch. Used for pulling joints together, as a safety tie when raising a bent, and for pulling the frame together during the raising.
Common Rafters: Unknown Closely and regularly spaced inclined timbers that support the roof covering.
Corner Chisel: Unknown A heavy duty L-shaped chisel usually struck with a mallet. Used for cleaning out corners of a mortise.
Crown Post: Unknown Central vertical post of a roof truss that connects the bent plate or girt to the collar tie or collar purlin.
Cruck: Unknown A truss formed by two main timbers, usually curved and set upright, set up as an arch or inverted V. Each half of the cruck is called a blade, and a pair is often cut from the same tree.
Cupola: Unknown A rounded vault resting on a usually circular base and forming a roof or ceiling.
A small structure built on a roof.
Dead Load: Unknown Weight of building including all of its members.
Depth: Unknown The vertical thickness of a beam.
Diagonal Grain: Unknown Grain that is other than parallel to the length of a timber. This will greatly reduce the strength of a timber.
Dovetail: Unknown A tenon that is shaped like a dove's spread tail to fit into a corresponding mortise.
Daub: der Schmieren A mixture of clay, straw and hair, used to cover house walls made of wattle.
Draw Knife: Unknown
A large knife blade with handles on both ends so that the knife can be pulled by both hands toward the user.
Drift Pin: Unknown Used to pin joints temporarily when test assembling a frame.
Drop: Unknown Ornamental pendant. The tear-shaped termination to the lower ends of the second-story post of a framed overhang. Also known as a Pendill.
Framing Chisel: Unknown A heavy duty chisel typically with one-and-one-half to two-inch-wide blade. Designed to be used with a mallet.
Gable Roof: Unknown A double sloping roof that forms an A-shape.
Gambrel Roof: Unknown A double pitched roof with the lower slope steeper than the upper slope.
Girder: Unknown Major timber that spans between sills.
Girt: Unknown Major horizontal timber that connects posts.
Green Wood: Unknown Freshly cut timber that is not dried or seasoned.
Gunstock Post: Unknown A post wider at the top than the bottom. The wider portion provides more wood for intersecting joinery.
Half Dovetail: Unknown A dovetail tapered only on one side.
Half Lap: Unknown A joint in which the two timbers are lapped or let-in to each other.
Half-timbered Frame: Unknown A structure building system in which the space between the timbers is filled with brick, plaster or wattle and daub, so that the timbers are revealed to the exterior and interior of the building.
Halving: Unknown The removal of half the depth of two timbers in order that they may cross each other. A half lap.
Hammer Beam: Unknown A roof bracket projecting from the top of the wall that supports a roof truss. The design creates a large roof span with relatively short timbers.
Housing: Unknown The shallow mortise or cavity for receiving the major part of a timber end. Usually coupled with a smaller deep mortise to receive a tenon for tying the joint.
Joinery: Unknown The art and craft of connecting timbers using wood working joints.?
Joint: Unknown The connection of two or more timbers.
Joists: Unknown Small, parallel timbers that complete the floor frame.
Kerfing: Unknown Either a series of cuts with a circular saw set at a desired depth to remove a section of wood or the hand-sawing along the shoulder of an assembled joint to improve the fit of the joint.
Keyway: Unknown A joint between the footing and foundation wall.
King Post: Unknown A major central, vertical post extending from the bent plate or girt to the junction of the rafters.
Knee Brace: Unknown A small timber that is framed diagonally between a post and a beam.
Mortise: Unknown A cavity cut into a Timber through which a tenon is inserted.
Mortise-and-Tenon Joint: Unknown Any Joint in which a projection on one end of a Timber is inserted into a groove or slot in another Timber.
Open Mortise: Unknown A Mortise that has only three sides.
Peg: Unknown A wooden dowel one to one and one-half inches in diameter, usually of oak or locust.
Pike Pole: Unknown A long pole pointed with a sharpened spike used for raising frames. These tools were known as early as the fifteenth century, when they were called "butters".
Plates: Unknown Major horizontal timbers that support the base of the rafters.?
Post: Unknown Vertical or upright timber.
Principal Rafters: Unknown A pair of inclined timbers that are framed into a bent.
Purlins: Unknown Horizontal timbers that connect rafter trusses.
Queen Post: Unknown A pair of vertical posts of a roof truss standing on the bent plate or girt and supporting the rafters or collar tie. Similar to a Purlin Post, but differentiated by it's role as One-Half of a Pair of Posts in the queen Post Truss.
Ridge Pole: Unknown A horizontal timber at the peak of the roof to which the rafters are attached.
Rip Saw: Unknown Saw designed to cut parallel to grain.
Roof Pitch: Unknown Inches of rise per foot of run. For example, a 45-degree roof has twelve inches of rise for each foot of run and is therefore called a "twelve pitch" roof. .
Foundation: das Fundament
die Grundlage
die Gründung
The base of a structure that provides stability for and supports the entire weight of a castle structure.
der Grundstein The first stones laid to form the foundation for a wall, pillar or column.
Roof Truss: Unknown A structural network of timbers that form a rigid structure to support the roof.
Purlin Post: Unknown A Post which supports the Purlin. This post can be a Major Element, as in a Dutch Barn Frame, or it can be a Minor Element, as in some of the later American Barn Frames.
Scarf: Unknown A joint for splicing two timber members, end to end.
Sheathing: Unknown The covering of boards or of waterproof material on the outside wall of a house or on a roof.
Shed Roof: Unknown A building roof sloping in one direction.
Shim: Unknown Thin tapered pieces of material such as a shingle. Used for leveling timbers.
Shoulder of Timber: Unknown Point of intersection at the joint of two assembled timbers. Refers to timber with tenon.
Sill Timbers: Unknown Horizontal timbers that rest upon the foundation.
Slick: Unknown A chisel with a blade two and one-half or more inches in width. It is pushed by the hands instead of being struck with a mallet.
Soffit: Unknown The underside part of a building such as under a roof overhang.
Span: Unknown The shoulder-to-shoulder distance.
Strut: Unknown A short timber placed in a structure either diagonally or vertically, designed to act in compression along the direction of its lengths.
Stub Tenon: Unknown A short Tennon that stops within the timber it joins and is usually no more than two inches long.
Stud: Unknown A minor verical element, which provides structural support, and serves mainly to support various systems of Infill between Posts.
Summer Beam: Unknown Major timber that spans between girts or plates.
Tenon: Unknown A projection upon the end of a Timber for insertion into a Mortise. Usually it is taller than it is wide.
Through Tenon: Unknown A Tenon that passes passes entirely through the Timber that it is inserted into. It is clearly visible on the back side and may extend past the Mortise.
Tongue and Fork: Unknown A type of joint in which one timber has the shape of a two prong fork and the other a central tongue that fits between the prongs.
Top Tennon: Unknown The tennon which occurs atop a Post.
Trunnel or Treenail: Unknown A peg. Sometimes refers to an extra-large peg.
Truss: Unknown Assemblage of timbers forming a rigid framework. Example: A bent.
Truss Post: Unknown A Post which serves as an upright Timber element of a Truss.
Walking Beams: Unknown Two parallel beams laid on the ground used to assist moving timbers with a pivoting action.
Wall Post: Unknown A Major Support in the outermost aspect of the frame. Often running between Sill and Wall Plate.

For a castle glossary Click Here .
All terms are in English, and some are in German. The definitions are in English.

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This Timber Framing Glossary is believed to be correct and we will continue to enlargen this list as time permits.

If you have questions, comments or additions, email us at edward@sedelmeier.com

This page was last updated March 14, 2019.