Glossary Section B: Backsaw - Butt Joint

Backsaw
A saw used for doing fine cabinetwork, whose teeth are sharpened like the teeth of a crosscut saw but are finer (14 points to the inch). Its blade is thin, and the back of the blade is reinforced with a heavy metal strip.
Ball and Claw
A carved foot found mostly on Chippendale designs. It is a form of ornament said to have originated in China and is supposed to represent a bird's claw grasping an egg. Popular in England and America in the 18th century.
Baluster
A short supporting column, bulbous near the base, used in series to form a balustrade. Also known as a banister.
Baluster Back
A chair with a back splat of baluster outline.
Baluster Turned
See turned leg.
Balustrade
See baluster
Bamboo Turning
A type of turning formed to simulate bamboo, used by Chippendale for chairs and tables. It is also sometimes found on early American Windsors
Band Saw
A powered sawing machine whose saw is in the form of an endless belt and is mounted on two large wheels.
Banding
Veneer was often used in bands to form decorative borders to the main surface. Crossbanding was cut across the grain, while feather or herringbone banding was cut with the grain at an angle so that two strips laid side by side resembled a feather.
Banister
See baluster.
Bar Clamp
A clamp whose squeezing elements are mounted on a long shaft.
Barley Sugar Turning
See turned leg.
Barley Twist
A helical carving in a bead form often used to decorate legs or bed posts.
Baroque
A decorative style characterized by heavy and exuberant forms. Its influence varied from country to country but Baroque furniture rends to be sculptural and often architectural in form and is frequently gilded.
Bauhaus
German design school established in 1919 under the direction of Walter Gropius in Weimar. At first, artist/craftsman pieces were made, but after the move to Dessau in 1925 the main interest was in the area of good industrial design with an emphasis on functionalism.
Beading Beads
A three-dimensional decorative motif in the form of a series of round beads in a single line (see cock beading). In cabinetwork, usually a molding having a projecting convex rim.
Bed Bolt
An iron bolt used to fasten the long horizontal rails to the posts of a four-poster bed.
Bed Bolt Cover
A small brass ornament used to cover the head of a bed bolt.
Belt Sander
A sanding machine on which the abrasive coating is on an endless belt running over pulleys or drums; at one point it runs over a platen with which pressure may be exerted to the surface to be worn smooth. Belt sanders, both stationary and portable types, are powered by electric motors.
Bevel
A 45-degree angle, planed or chiseled on the edge of any surface.
Biedermeier
A German term used to denote both the period 1815-1848 and the decorative style popular in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia from the 1820s to the 1840s, which was characterised by solid, unpretentious furniture in light-coloured woods. Biedermeier was a newspaper caricature symbolising the uncultured bourgoisie.
Birds Eye Maple
Maple with a regular burr pattern resembling a bird's eye; very popular in the 19th century.
Bit
Usually an auger hit used to bore holes into wood. Bits have one or more cutting lips and a screw which pulls them into the wood. A helix on the shaft removes shavings from the hole.
Bit Gauge
A device which may be clamped to the shaft of a bit to regulate the depth of the hole being bored.
Bleaching
Lightening the color of wood by chemical or other means.
Blind Fret
A cut-work design set against a flat background.
Blind Stitch
A stitch used in upholstering so the stitching will not show. The stitch first goes into the cloth underneath the overlapping layer whose edge, when stitched fast to it, is pulled over the top of the place where the stitch first went into the cloth, thus hiding the stitch.
Blockfront
A term applied to the unique type of construction for fronts of early American chests of drawers, chest-on-chests, highboys, and secretaries. It consists of a concave, but flattened, recession at the center and two convex, but flattened, swells on the ends. It is a type of construction supposed to have originated with John Goddard, a famous cabinetmaker of Newport, Rhode Island.
Blockplane
A Blockplane is a small handplane, often made of cast iron or brass. It differs from most other handplanes in two respects: The angle of the blade to the body is lower at around 12 - 20 degrees, and at around 6 inches in length it is smaller. It is a versatile tool and an important part of the furniture makers toolkit.
Bobbin Turned
See turned leg.
Bolster
A long cushion. Can be rectangular or cylindrical, with the latter versions often used in pairs.
Bombé
An exaggeratedly curved and swollen form characteristic of the rococo style.
Boulle
A distinctive form of marquetry decoration making use of metal and other veneers, usually brass and tortoiseshell, to form a rich pattern. It takes its name from André-Charles Boulle, ebeniste to Louis XIV, who perfected but did not invent a technique known in Italy since the late 17th century.
Bowfront
The front of a bureau, chest or cabinet which is formed as a single horizontal curve,
Brace
1. A crank-shaped tool into which an auger bit may be fastened to bore a hole. 2. A connecting member of wood or some other material used to support weight or resist pressure.
Bracket
A supporting member found at the junction of legs and stretchers on chairs, tables, etc. These may be plain, carved or pierced.
Bread-Mixing Table
A Pennsylvania-German table used to knead dough and hold it while rising.
Breakfast Table
Breakfront
A design typically used for bookcases or other large cabinet whereby the centre section of the front is made to protrude forward of the sides.
Brocade
A type of woven upholstering material in which the design is raised and resembles fine Chinese embroidery.
Brown Furniture
A term used by the antiques trade to refer to the plain English mahogany furniture of the Georgian period and made as a formal piece of furniture.
Bulb Turned
See turned leg.
Bureau à Cylindre
(Also secrétaire à cylindre) A French term for a roll-top desk with either a solid quartercylinder or a flexible tambour covering the writing surface and pigeonholes when closed.
Bureau de Dame
A French 19th-century term for a small writing table used by women and which would, more likely have been called a petite table à écrire in ,~ the 18th century. The term is now used to denote all, sorts of small delicate desks.
Bureau en Pente
See secrétaire en pente.
Bureau Mazarin
A 19th-century term for the type of pedestal desk on legs joined by shaped stretchers which was popular in France at the end of the 17th century, sometime after the death in 1643 of Cardinal Mazarin who is not known to have owned a desk of this type.
Bureau Plat
A French term for a flat-topped writing table with drawers in the frieze and sometimes with extra slides and slopes.
Burl
The American term for burr.
Burlap
A material used in upholstering to hold the filling. It is woven from jute yarn and produced mostly in India.
Burnishing Tool
A short oval-shaped rod of case hardened steel. mounted on a handle and used to turn the sharpened edge of a steel wood scraper blade.
Burr
A gnarled uneven growth seen on the side of a tree. It is common on Oak and Elm, Walnut is also prone to it. The figure inside the burr can be very beautiful and is prized for veneer use and wood turning.
Butlers Desk
An American term for a secretaire chest, usually with curved sides. A butler's sideboard has a secretaire drawer in the middle section.
Butt Hinge
This is the common hinge used for hanging doors. It consists of 3 parts: 2 leaves, and a pin. Each leaf is cut to interlock with the other, and part of the leaf is folded tightly around the pin so the leaves can rotate around it. Both leaves have screw holes for fixing to the door and frame. The leaves are usually morticed into the door and frame. It is usually made of steel or brass. It is made in several more elaborate versions.
Butt Joint
The term refers to a joint on which the squared end of one member is butted against the side or end of another member.