Furniture Glossary

An alphabetized collection of specialized furniture and wood crafting terms with their meanings that helps you to understand any new or uncommon vocabulary that you might find on this website. Call or email us with any furniture words and terms that you sought and did not find here, we'll be delighted to add them as we build the list!

A

armoire

A tall cupboard or standing closet used for storing clothes (see also wardrobe).

artisan

An artisan is a skilled worker who crafts furniture or other artistic items. The use of hands and hand tools impart individuality to each item that is lacking in manufactured goods.

B

C

cabriole

Cabriole design is often associated with the ball and claw foot design, emulating legs of certain four-footed mammals. A cabriole leg is one of (usually) four vertical supports of a piece of furniture, shaped in two curves.

chifforobe

A chifforobe is a closet-like piece of furniture that combines a long space for hanging clothes with a chest of drawers.

cottage furniture

Popular on the east coast of the U.S. between 1830 and 1890, cottage furniture later began appearing in homes of the wealthy in places like Martha’s Vineyard, Cape May and the Berkshires. Cottage furniture was almost always painted, though there are a few rare examples where the natural wood was varnished but left unpainted with the exception of painted floral accents.

credenza

A credenza is a type of sideboard typically used in dining rooms as a platform to serve buffet meals, and to provide a side surface and storage cupboards.

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D

dovetail

Joints that slide into one another  and are noted for resistance to being pulled apart. Dovetail joints are commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front. Once glued, a wooden dovetail joint requires no mechanical fasteners.

Dovetail Joint

Duncan Phyfe

Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854) was one of 19th century America’s leading furniture makers, most famous for his simple style and affordable prices.  The White House Green Room contains several major pieces of Duncan Phyfe furniture.

E

edges

Here is a diagram showing the variety of top edge designs to choose from as you customize your fine handcrafted tables, dressers, night stands, desks, cabinets, buffets and consoles.

eco-friendly furniture

Eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, and nature-friendly are synonyms used to refer to furniture considered to inflict minimal harm on the environment. At Vermont Woods Studios, our goal is to build furniture that will last at least as long as it took to grow the tree that the furniture was built from.

F

flat panel

Flat panel design is a frame and panel, with only a small drop (about ¼ inch) from frame to flat panel.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

An independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. With offices in more than 46 countries, FSC provides standard setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services for companies and organizations interested in responsible forestry.

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G

green furniture

The concept of green furniture explores the many ways we can combat deforestation by choosing pieces built with sustainable wood. Vermont Woods Studios uses sustainably-harvested wood from well-managed forests and does not use illegal rainforest woods. (Loss of rainforests accounts for about 20% of global warming.)

H

halogen lighting

Halogen is a type of incandescent lamp that is filled with halogen gas.  It has a longer life and a brighter light than normal incandescent bulbs.

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I

J

Jim Andrews

One of our Vermont “green heroes”, Jim Andrews is a herpetologist who works out of Middlebury College doing forest research and coordinating the development of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, a map that identifies and tracks changing populations of these animals over time. We’re so impressed with Jim’s work that we named one of our furniture collections after him.

K

L

LED lighting

Lights containing light emiting diodes. LED lights are considered more energy efficient than halogen lamps and are quickly becoming more popular.

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M

mortise and tenon joinery

Simple and strong, mortise and tenon joinery has been used for millenia by woodworkers around the world to join pieces of wood, usually when the pieces are at a 90° angle. The joint may be glued, pinned, or wedged to lock it in place. By inserting one element of wood into another, a mortise-and-tenon joint provides unshakable strength.

N

O

P

Patti Smith

One of our Vermont “green heroes,” Patti Smith of the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center in West Brattleboro, Vermont, powers a volunteer salamander crossing brigade project. We’re so impressed with Patti’s work, we named one of our furniture collections after her.

platform bed

Platform beds are beds whose base consists of a raised, flat surface meant to support just a mattress. Platform beds provide firm cushioning and, with the support of slats or solid paneling, they eliminate the need for a box spring or a mattress, giving adequate support for a mattress by itself.

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Q

R

raised panel

The raised panel has a frame and panel but with a beveled edge between the panel and frame.

reclaimed barnwood

Reclaimed barnwood is wood that has been taken for re-use. The reclaimed barnwood used by Vermont Woods Studios comes from timbers and decking rescued from New England’s historic barns.

S

sleigh beds

A sleigh bed is a style of bed with curved or scrolled foot and headboards, thus resembling a sled or sleigh. The sleigh bed was born of the French and American Empire period of the early 1800s.

sustainably harvested wood

Wood harvested in a responsible manner to preserve forests for future generations.

Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC)

A small group of visionary leaders in today’s furniture industry dedicated to helping save the rainforest. Two SFC objectives are (a) to assist manufacturers in adopting sustainable practices and (b) to promote sustainable products.

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T

trestle table

The basic trestle table is a structure comprising two frame-based legs (the trestles) over which a tabletop is placed. It has long been popular for dining, as those seated are not as inconvenienced as they might be with the more usual arrangement of a fixed leg at each corner.

U

V

W

wardrobe

A wardrobe, sometimes called an "armoire", is a standing closet used for storing clothes.

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