Glossary Section A: Acanthus Leaf - Astragal

Acanthus Leaf
A naturalistic form of ornament of Classic derivation, used especially in the capitals of Corinthian and Composite columns. Any leaf with an irregular edge. For furniture it is used in various conventionalized forms.
Adhesive
A substance used to attach one surface to another, such as glue or cement. A number of types of adhesive are used in furniture making and upholstery. PVA is both popular and effective for bonding two wooden surfaces together. Epoxy resins are sometimes used for joining timbers known to be difficult to glue. Cyanoacrylate ( or super glue) has found ready use for quick and easy jobs but is expensive. Hot melt glues and contact adhesive are popular for upholstery work.
Air Dried
Timber is said to be air dried when the moisture content has been reduced by a natural process. This is usually achieved by placing it on stickers in a sheltered place such as an open sided shed with good air circulation. A general rule of thumb for air drying in the Northern hemisphere says allow one year per inch of thickness. Air dried timber is likely to require a further period of conditioning before it is suitable for use in fine cabinet work indoors, but is often considered to be easier to work because the process of air drying is gentler than kiln drying.
Anthemion
A classical ornament consisting of a band of alternating floral forms based on the honeysuckle flower. Also a single motif based on the honeysuckle.
Antiques
A term loosely applied to all old furniture, or to objects more than a hundred years old. So far as furniture is concerned, those pieces most worthy of being so designated are confined to periods ending with Sheraton's style in Europe and with Duncan Phyfe's in America.
Apron
A narrow strip of wood, or shaped element, such as the horizontal cross member under a tabletop, chair seat, or lowboy. Often shaped and carved.
Arbor Saw
A circular saw mounted on a revolving spindle or shaft, powered by an electric motor.
Arcading
A series of round-topped arches, frequently used decoratively, especially on early carved furniture.
Arm Support
The member supporting the front of a chair arm.
Art Deco
Art Deco is a shortened form of the name of a Paris exposition held in Paris in 1925: Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Aspects of some architecture built during the early to mid 20th century display aspects of this movement. The phrase is generally applied to furniture produced from c1910 to pre 2nd world war which may show bold use of stepped forms and strong sweeping curves.
Art Nouveau
Art Nouvea is a french term that translates as 'New Art'. Its essence was an essentially curvilinear style which was often asymmetrical and derived from organic forms, especially stems and leaves. Started in England in the 1880s it was fashionable between 1890 and 1910. Important exponents were Scotlands Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Antonio Gaudi of Spain. The movement was called Jugendstil in Germany and Stile Liberty in Italy.
Arts & Crafts Movement
A design movement of the second half of the 19th century, whose English and American exponents attempted to create beautiful, well-designed furnishings which would improve the overall quality of life through their daily use. Many of the advocates were against the thoughtless use of machines, instead preferring to support both the ideology and practicality of a holistic approach to craftsmanship and production. William Morris is a well known champion of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Astragal
An astragal is a profile used as a moulding which has a semi circular surface and one or three flat sides. It is often used in a variety of forms as a cover strip for French type doors and also as a glazing bar in furniture and joinery.