Multimedia Woodturning
Glossary 3 - Q through Z

This page contains Woodturning Glossary 3 - entries for Q - Z. To access additional Glossary pages, use these quick links:

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Woodturning Glossary
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[Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]


Quarter Sawn - A specialized way to cut lumber that orients the annual growth rings approximately perpendicular to the width of the board. Quarter sawn lumber is more expensive than flat sawn lumber due to the lower yields produced per log. Quarter sawn lumber is prized for it's increased dimensional stability (versus flat sawn) and the unique figure produced in some species when quarter sawn.

Quaternary Colours - Any colour that is made by mixing one primary colour (100% saturation) with any other primary colour that is at 25%, or 75% saturation. Quaternary colors include: Red, Cherry Red, Red-Orange, Orange-Yellow, Yellow-Green, Warm Green, Cool Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Purple-Mauve, and Red-Violet.

Quick Change Backings – Snap lock and twist lock backings offer a quick and easy way to change abrasives. Typically used on very stiff, resin bonded cloth-backed abrasives.


Ram - The quill located inside the tailstock. The ram is adjustable in and out by means of a rotating hand wheel. When turned, this hand wheel forces the ram out and exerts pressure on a project for support during turning. When the hand wheel is reversed the ram is withdrawn, allowing the project to be removed from the between centres mounting.

Radial Bristle Disks - A specialty abrasive product from 3M. Radial plastic abrasive discs have a cubitron mineral abrasive embedded in the plastic. As the wheel wears during use, fresh abrasive is exposed. The disks can be used one at a time on a mandrel, or stacked to cover a wider area.

Radial bristle disks have become very popular with woodturners who carve or texture their work, as the abrasive will not destroy fine detail. Available in 9/16", 3/4", 1", 2" and 3" sizes, grits vary by size (80 - 400 grit).

3M's Radial bristle disks
are popular for sanding
textured surfaces

Raised Grain - Wood grain that appears or feels rough/fuzzy to the touch.

Random Orbit Sander, or ROS - Small electric or pneumatic sanders that feature a dual action design. As the pad rotates, it moves in an eccentric orbit. This creates a very efficient sanding action.

Two primary styles are available, palm sanders and pistol grip sanders. In the woodturning world, ROS are typically used with fine grits for finish sanding medium to large projects.

AirVantage 5" pneumatic
RO palm sander

Raw Linseed Oil - Raw linseed oil is linseed oil that has been extracted and packaged without any additional additives. Raw linseed oil takes significantly longer to dry than boiled linseed oil. Raw linseed oil needs several weeks or more to cure, vs. 36-48 hours for boiled linseed oil.

Red Rouge - (~ 6.5 Mohs scale) A rouge made from Ferric Oxide that is used by jewelers to polish soft materials.

Resin Bond Systems - Urea and Phenol Formaldehyde resin bond systems offer higher resistance to heat build-up, compared to glue bond systems and are more durable when used for operations involving heavy stock removal. Phenolic-based resins are used more than Urea based systems, as they offer better performance in high temperature and pressure based operational environments. Acrylates and epoxy-based adhesives may also be used as bonding agents.

Retaining Adhesives - Adhesives that are used to prevent the sliding or twisting of non-threaded parts and fasteners. Similar to a locking adhesive (used on threaded parts), retaining adhesives are only used on non-threaded parts.

Reverse Chucking - Taking a project that has been partially turned and turning it around for completing the opposite side. Bowls are frequently turned in this manner.

Right Angle Drill - A drill with a head that is turned ninety degrees to the drill body. Most right angle drills are pneumatically powered and are used with arbor mounted steel cutters, grinding stones and sanding disks.

Makita right angle drill with sanding mandrel pad installed

Rheology - Study of the flow and deformation properties of various materials under stress including non-newtonian (substances where the flow is not proportional to applied stresses) plastics and liquids.

Ring Center - Turning centers that feature a small ring around the center point. The ring helps to limit deep penetration of the center point into the wood, as well as splitting of the wood fibers from the tailstock's pressure. Ring centers are found on both live and dead centers and are used with many types of spindle and faceplate projects.

Ring Tool - A type of hollowing tool that looks like a ring on the end of a steel shank. The top edges of the ring are sharpened and are used as the cutting surface. Ring tools are popular with some turners for shallow hollowing projects like boxes, weed pots, paper clip holders and similar projects.

Rockwell Hardness Test - A special test made using a Rockwell Harness Testing Machine that determines the hardness of a metal by measuring the depth of penetration created when a hard test point is pressed against the metal at a known load. Softer metals will register deeper impressions, harder metals will register shallower impressions.

Roughing Gouge - A woodturning tool that is used in spindle turning to remove the corners on square stock and make it round. Roughing gouges are also used for gross profiling work on larger spindles to create sweeping curves and contours. The deep "U" shaped flute is typically ground straight across with a 35, or 45-degree face bevel. Roughing gouges should NOT be used for bowl turning.

Rough Turning - (1) Taking green wood projects like bowls or platters and turning a rough profile of the desired shape, with walls that are thicker than necessary for the finished project. When the wood dries and warps after seasoning, the thicker walls allow the warp to be turned away when the project is remounted for finish turning. Most green wood bowls and platters are rough turned first and then dried by various means. Rough turned projects dry much faster than solid blanks of the same thickness, so many woodturners utilize this two step turning method for their projects to speed up the drying process. (2) Turning square section blanks into rounds.

Ruby Aluminum Oxide - A high chrome fused Aluminum Oxide that contains approximately 97% Aluminum Oxide and 3% Chromium Oxide, with fractional amounts of silicon, iron, sodium, magnesium and calcium. Ruby Aluminum Oxide (RAO) is slightly tougher than Pink Aluminum Oxide.


Sagging - The running or flowing of an adhesive that has been applied to an adherent surface. Sagging can be caused by applying too much adhesive to the surface, or by using an adhesive with too low a viscosity.

Sap Wood - 
The physiologically active outer portion of wood between the cambium layer and the heartwood. Sapwood is less durable and lighter in color than the heartwood in most species.

Scraper - Specialized woodturning tools that scrape the wood surface instead of cutting it. Although scrapers have a bevel edge, it's never rubbed during use. The bevel acts to provide clearance for the sharpened edge only. Larger scrapers are frequently double beveled to allow use inside of smaller openings. Scrapers need frequent sharpening and are used with and without the burr, depending on the species and the turners preference.

Scrapers come in many different sizes, thicknesses and shapes. Among the more popular shapes are bullnose (full round), radius edge (half round or curved), profiled (special shapes) and straight edge. One of the more popular uses of scrapers is to use them in shear scraping mode, instead of as a traditional scraper. Shear scraping can greatly improve the surface of many timbers.

Scroll Chuck - 
A very popular woodturning chuck that features four jaws that can be opened/closed by the turning action of the spiral scroll mechanism inside the chuck.

As the chuck's "T" handle, or "Tommy" bars (depending on model) are turned, all four jaws move in or out at the same time, which helps to center the work in the chuck jaws.

Vicmarc scroll chucks
with several jaw sets

Scuffing - A light abrasive action applied to cured finishes that scuffs or scratches the surface to prepare it for subsequent coats of finish. Scuffing is typically performed with fine abrasives, or wire wools on cured oil finishes in between each coat to produce a better surface bond before the next coat of finish is applied.

Sealer Coat - 
A very thin finish coat that penetrates into the wood to seal the pores and reduce the subsequent amount of finish required to build the top coat. Sealers include shellac, lacquer and spirit based finishing products. Some sealers include additives to make them easier to sand.

Sealing Adhesive - Adhesives that are used to prevent the migration of a liquid or gas between two mating surfaces.

Seasoning - Any process used to dry green timber until it reaches an equilibrium moisture content with the ambient air in its intended storage environment. Woodturners employ numerous methods to dry and season wood including kiln drying (dried with some type of artificial heat in a special oven), air drying (dried without artificial heat in the open air), boiling and bagging in paper bags, microwaving, flame curing, vacuum drying, freeze drying, convection drying and various combinations of the above to name a few.

Segmented Turning - Any turning that incorporates numerous small sections of wood in its design. Larger segmented turnings can include several thousand pieces of wood, all precisely cut and assembled to form special designs or pictures. Segmented turnings include turnings where the entire turning made from segments, as well as those where only a small portion of the turning is segmented like the rim, or foot. With the latter example, the balance of the turning is typically made from a single piece of wood.

Setup Time - The setup time of an adhesive begins when the joint is assembled and is the time necessary for clamping, or the time necessary for pressure to be applied to the joint as the adhesive cures. Any stress applied to the joint during the setup time will reduce the ultimate strength of the joint. The setup time is also known as the Clamp Time, or Pressure Time."

Shear Forces - Forces acting at the same level/parallel to the adhesive layer, producing even stress in the bond surface. Shear forces are commonly referred to as Tensile Shear Strength, since the force is characterized by tensile effects.

Shear Strength - The ability of metal to resist being fractured by opposing forces that do not act in a straight line.

Shear Scraping - A special technique that orients the cutting edge of a scraper at 45 – 50 degrees to the vertical during use. This orientation gives a much cleaner finish off the tool than using a scraper in the traditional manner. When used properly, shear scrapers can produce a surface smooth enough to begin sanding as high as 320-grit. Dedicated shear scrapers like the Kelton (Kel McNaughton) Shear Scraper are made with the proper shear angles ground into the shaft of the tool.

Shear Scraping Video Clips

1.) This 75-second video shows how you can use a dedicated shear scraper to perfect the outside surface of a bowl prior to sanding.
Shear Scraping Outside.

This 85-second video shows how you can use a traditional round nose scraper to shear scrape the inside surface of your bowl prior to sanding.
Shear Scraping Inside.

Shelf Life - The useable time an adhesive or finish may be stored without compromise. The actual shelf life is dependent on many factors, including the date of manufacture, the ambient temperature and humidity in the storage area and the quality of the storage container and it's seal against oxygen/moisture.

Shellac - 
Shellac is a resinous exudation secreted from the Coccus lacca, commonly known as the Lac beetle after feeding. Lac beetles are a type of scale insect that is found in India and parts of Asia. After the resin is collected, it is cleaned, dried and formed into thin sheets known as Shellac. The grade and color of the Shellac is determined by several factors including the time the resin was collected, the source of the Lac and the amount of any post collection refining.

Shelling - A term used in the coated abrasives industry to describe an abrasive where the mineral surface has been stripped from the backing.

Silicon Carbide – (~ 9.25 Mohs scale, 2480 Knoop Scale) A black coloured synthetic mineral introduced in 1891 with a hexagonal crystal structure and blocky, sharp edged grains. It is manufactured by the reaction of silica sand (60%) and coke (40%) in an Acheson furnace at temperatures near 2400 degrees Centigrade. Acheson furnaces work by resistance heating, unlike carbon arc heating in fusion furnaces. Silicon Carbide abrasives exhibit very good friable grain structure that break along crystal cleavages to expose new sharp cutting surfaces.

Silicone - Various polymeric materials that contain the Si-O chemical group in their structure. Examples include elastomeric adhesives and sealants.

Sintered Abrasives - Alumina - Sintered Alumina features extremely tough rod shaped grains, with a high body strength and a fine crystal size. Sintered Alumina is used to make grinding wheels for automatic grinders used to condition metal.

Size Coat - The second coating applied to an abrasive product. Once the make coat has cured, the size coat is applied. The size coat functions to securely bond the abrasive grains onto the backing material.

Skew Chisel - One of the most feared and loved of all woodturning tools, skew chisels are used primarily in spindle turning for turning beads, "V" cuts, and for making peeling cuts, planning cuts and tapers. Skews require good tool control and ample practice to master. When properly sharpened and honed, skews can leave a finish on the surface of the wood that needs little, if any sanding.

Skews are available in three basic styles, straight shaft (90 degree corners on all sides), round shaft (full round shaft with skew end) and oval section (shaft is relieved on two sides, making the shaft oval in cross section). Another type of skew is available from some manufacturers features rounded over edges on the shaft to prevent damage to tool rests. Skews are typically ground with a 60-degree edge to the axis and a double beveled end whose angle measures 25 to 45 degrees.

Skip Tooth Blade - A type of bandsaw blade that features evenly spaced teeth with a "O" degree rake angle and shallow gullets that provide good chip removal.

Slipstone - A fine grained oilstone shaped into various profiles that is used to remove burrs and/or hone tool steels. Slipstones are made from various abrasive materials including Silicon Carbide, Ceramic and Diamond. Common shapes include teardrop, cone, round rod, and flat shapes.

End view of some
common slipstones

Slow Speed Grinder - A bench mounted electric grinder that features two grinding wheels, one on each end of the drive shaft. Slow speed grinders typically turn at ~ 1,800 RPM. The slower speed of this dry grinder (vs. a high speed grinder) makes it a popular choice for many woodturners for sharpening their woodturning tools. Slow speed grinders come in many different sizes however, 6", 8" and 10" grinders are the most useful for woodturners. Eight inch grinders are the most common size used for sharpening.

Softening Point - The temperature where an adhesive begins to soften, or flow.

Sol-Gel Abrasives - A non-fused ceramic abrasive that is produced by jelling Boehmite (a type of Aluminum Oxide) and adding enhancing modifiers and nucleation agents. Sol-Gel abrasives have a fine grain micro-crystalline structure and are used in precision metal grinding applications.

Soy Oil - Soy oil is obtained from soybeans Glycine maxima (L). Soy oil is considered a semi-drying oil, unless it is modified. It is frequently combined with tung oil in some oil finishes. Soy oil is obtained by cracking and flaking the soybeans, followed by hexane extraction.

Spalted Wood
 - Wood that is in the initial stages of fungal attack and decay. Spalted wood is highly prized by many woodturners for its magnificent color and character. Spalted wood usually contains dark black lines (known as zone lines) that run in irregular patterns throughout the wood. As the fungal activity continues in the timber, areas of the wood are compromised as they loose some of their strength and density. Fungal activity usually ceases when the moisture content of the timber drops below 20%.

Specific Gravity - Gases - The ratio of the specific weight of air, or gas to that of dry air at the same pressure and temperature.

Spigot - 
A turned projection on a woodturning that has been specifically shaped (straight, dovetail etc.) to fit into the jaws of a scroll chuck. 
Spigots are also known as a Boss.

Spindle Adapter - A precision machined spindle adapter that screws onto a lathes spindle to change its thread pitch to another size. For example, if your lathe spindle is 1.25" x 8 Threads Per Inch (TPI) and you have a few faceplates that are 33 x 3.5 mm in size, you could purchase a spindle adapter to change your current 1.25" x 8 spindle to a 33 x 3.5 mm (or another size if desired). Using spindle adapters allows the use of various sized chucks, faceplates and other fixings on a single lathe.

Spindle Gouge - One of the primary tools used for turning fine details and transitional areas on spindle work like beads, coves, and fillets. Spindle gouges are also known as Shallow Fluted Gouges and feature a flute that has a shallow, open arc design. Modern spindle gouges are milled from round bar stock and are available in a variety of high-speed steel based alloys. Some manufacturers offer specially designed spindle gouges made for production work and micro versions for ultra fine detail turning.

Spindle Lock - 
A pin or rod on the headstock that prevents rotation of the spindle so fixings like chucks, screw chucks and faceplates can be mounted, or removed easily.

Spindle Nose - 
The visible end of the spindle with the spindle threads, register, shoulder and the Morse taper.

Spindle Shaft - 
The primary threaded attaching point on a lathe headstock. The spindle shaft is threaded to accept fixings like chucks, faceplates and other threaded accessories and is usually bored to accept Morse taper accessories. The spindle shaft rotates inside bearings located inside the headstock. The number and type of bearings varies by manufacturer. 

Spindle Turning - One of the primary methods of mounting and turning projects on the lathe. Spindle turning involves turning projects between centres, (headstock and tailstock). Most spindle turning orients the grain so that it's parallel to the lathe bedway. 
Examples of spindle turning include pens, chair rails, balusters and finials to name a few.

Split Forces - Forces that act on an adhesive joint where one part of the joint is exposed to high stress and the other part of the joint is unaffected. This results in an uneven stress across the entire bond surface.

Stand Oil - Stand Oils are drying oils with increased viscosity, which are produced by heating the oil in the absence of oxygen. In order to increase the viscosity of the boiled oil, air is sometimes “blown” through the oil at 60°-100° Centigrade. Blown linseed oils are polymerized by oxidation to increase the viscosity and acid number. Blown linseed oils are used in non-penetrating finishes and dry faster than heat bodied linseed oils.

Starved Joint - A glue joint without a sufficient amount of adhesive to produce a satisfactory bond.

Steady - 
Any device, or jig that used to stop vibration of thin spindle work, or thin walled faceplate projects. Spindle steadies and bowl steadies are two examples.

Stoke - Stoke is the Poise divided by the density (or weight per gallon (X) 0.120). 100 Centistokes = 1 Stoke. The Centistoke is the established unit of reference in all viscosity cup measurements. See Viscosity and Centipoise.

Structured Abrasive - Abrasives with a fixed composite pad of vitreous diamond agglomerates in a cross-linked polymer binder. Structured abrasives are available in 3, 6 and 9 micron sizes on a PSA backing. 3M's Trizac abrasive is an example of a structured abrasive.

Suction Feed Spray Gun - A type of spray gun that used a stream of compressed air to create a vacuum at the cap. This vacuum creates a siphoning action that moves the liquid up the pickup tube, into the gun and out the tip where it's atomized by the air cap. Suction fed spray guns are typically used on smaller finishing projects where frequent colour changes may be required, or for touch-ups.

Super Glue - 
A common name for Alkyl 2-Cyanoacrylate adhesives. 2-cyanoacrylate ester monomer bases are all thin, crystal clear liquids with viscosities ranging from 1 - 3 mPa’s (=cP). Because the base monomers are very thin, stabilizers, thickeners and other property-modifying additives (soluble polymers and plasticizers) are used to alter the viscosity, physical characteristics, performance and elastification of the formulations.

CA adhesives are available in numerous viscosities ranging from near water thin wicking grades, to thixotropic (fluids that are gel-like at rest, but fluid when agitated) gels that range from 20,000 to 50,000 mPa’s (=cP). These super thick CA’s are used with large gaps, or when a longer setting time is required for proper application.

Super Size - Some abrasives feature a third coating when manufactured, known as the Super Size. (Also known as the Top Size) This is applied after the size coat has cured and carries lubricants such as Zinc Stearate, which reduces friction and loading of the surface when sanding.

Swing - A mathematical reference to the maximum blank diameter that can be swung (turned) over the lathe bedway. The swing is calculated by measuring the distance from the top of the bedway, to the centre of the spindle shaft. This measurement is then doubled to determine the maximum swing. Thus, a lathe that measures 12" from the top of the bed to the centre of the spindle would have a 24" swing (12" x 2 = 24").

Swivel head - Lathes that feature a headstock that can be pivoted around it's vertical axis, allowing large projects that will not fit over the lathes bedway to be turned.

Woodturning Glossary 3
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[Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

Woodturning Glossary T through U


Tack - An adhesive property that creates measurable bonding strength immediately after the adhesive and the adherent are in contact.

Tackifier - Chemicals that are added to some adhesives to make them stickier. Tackifiers help to hold the substrates together, whilst the adhesive is curing.

Tailstock - A moveable locking/clamping assembly on a lathe that slides up and down the bedway. The tailstock houses the tailstock quill or ram, which is adjustable in and out by means of a hand wheel that exerts pressure on a project for support during turning. The tailstock assembly is usually made from the same material as the main body of the lathe, typically cast iron or steel.

Tailstock Live Center - 
A ball bearing center that is mounted in the tailstock quill or ram, that is used to support the end of a project blank when turning. The ball bearings in the live center allow the blank to spin with the spindle shaft as it rotates. 

 - The tapered portion of a woodturning tool which is made to fit inside a tool handle.

Tall Oil - Tall oil is a by-product of the sulphate process of producing cellulose from conifers. Pine trees produce the highest quality tall oils. Tall oil is not technically an oil, but a mixture of unsaturated fatty acids, rosin acids and unsaponifiable components. Tall oil is an important component in the manufacture of Alkyd resins.

T.E.F.C. - Acronym for an electrical motor that is manufactured as a "Totally Enclosed - Fan Cooled" motor. TEFC motors are used frequently in machinery that is subject to dusty environments.

Tensile Forces - Tensile forces act vertically to the adhesive layer, i.e. the entire bond surface is evenly stressed.

Tensile Strength(1) The maximum amount of stress a material can withstand when stretched without tearing. (2) The ability of a metal to resist being pulled apart by opposing forces acting in a straight line, expressed as the number of pounds of force that is required for a bar measuring one inch wide and one inch thick to be pulled apart.

Thixotrophy - A property of some adhesive compositions to thin upon isothermal agitation and to thicken when the agitation is stopped, or the adhesive is allowed to rest.

Thermosetting - Polymeric materials that harden when exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Once hardened, these materials cannot be softened, or melted again with further heating.

Toluene - Toluene (Also known as Methylbenzene, Toluol, Methacide, Methylbenzol or Phenylmethane) is a colourless, flammable aromatic hydrocarbon solvent of low viscosity, similar in strength to Turpentine, but with a faster evaporation rate. Toluene is similar to benzene and has a benzene-like odour. The catalytic reforming of refinery streams typically produces toluene.


The resulting crude reformate is extracted with sulfolane, or tetrathylene glycol and a cosolvent to yield a mixture of benzene, toluene, xylenes and C9 aromatics. These are then separated by fractionation. Toluene is used to thin specialty paints, resins, dyes, coatings and some waxes. It is often used in cold weather to speed the drying of oil-based coatings.

Tooth - On a bandsaw, the tooth is the actual sharpened cutting projection on the blade.

Tooth Angle - The angle of the tooth face on a bandsaw blade in respect to an imaginary line that is perpendicular to the blade.

Tooth Face - The surface of the tooth on a bandsaw blade that is facing the direction of travel.

Toolrest - A removable and adjustable tool rest support for woodturning tools that is held in the tool rest holder/banjo. Tool rests are normally shaped like a "T", but also come in other shapes. Larger lathes typically include a 6" and 12" long straight tool rest as standard accessories. Specialty tool rests are available in curved, box, "S" curved, angled, extra long and skewed configurations to meet specific woodturning needs. Also known as a Handrest.

Toughness (Metal) - The ability of a metal to resist fracture and failure after damage has started. Toughness decreases as hardness increases.

T.P.I. - Teeth Per Inch The number of teeth on a bandsaw blade when measured across one inch, from gullet to gullet.

Tung Oil - Tung oil is obtained from the seed kernels of the Tung tree, Aleuritis fordii, Chinese tung oil or Aleuritis cordata, syn. vernica and verrucosa, Japanese tung oil. The principal source of raw tung oil is China and South America. The nuts of Aleuritis montana, Aleuritis trisperma (kekunaoil) and A. moluccana or A. triloba (lumbang oil) also produce oils with properties that are similar to Chinese tung oil.


Ultraviolet Adhesive - An adhesive that's made to cure when exposed to specific levels of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet adhesives are used frequently in industrial manufacturing applications, as well as some advanced home/hobbyist applications.

Unblended Oils - Unblended or pure oils typically include oils extracted from plants, nuts or petroleum. Examples of pure or unblended oils include; raw linseed oil, tung oil, kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil and walnut oil. The labeling on the oil finish should include the words “pure” or “100 percent,” or the oil may be blended with other ingredients. Pure Tung oil is sometimes referred to as “China Wood Oil”.

Urea-Formaldehyde Adhesive (Plastic Resin Glue) - Urea-formaldehyde adhesives are thermosetting polymers produced by a condensation polymerization reaction between urea (derived from a reaction between liquid ammonia and liquid carbon dioxide that forms ammonium carbamate, which decomposes at low pressure into urea and water) and formaldehyde (derived through the oxidation of hydrocarbons like methanol, propane, or butane in the presence of a catalyst).

Widely used to make products like plywood and particleboard with heated hydraulic presses, where dimensional uniformity and surface smoothness are important. Plastic resin glues are also used for building fly fishing rods and water skis, furniture construction, millwork, assembling hollow core doors, in aircraft construction and for adhering decorative laminates to wood.

Woodturning Glossary 3 V through X


Vapour Pressure - Outward pressure of a mass of vapour at a specific temperature. Vapour pressure is an index of a liquids volatility.

Varnish - Standard varnishes include modern varnishes and polyurethanes, which are thinned with petroleum distillates until they reach application viscosities. Some of these varnishes are thin enough to be wiped on, like a typical oil finish. These thinned finishes are in reality a wipe-on or wiping varnish, but they are usually marketed as oil finishes. Thicker varnishes are made to be brushed on, but many of these can be successfully wiped on as well, with hand or high-speed methods.

Varnishes are made by heating drying or semi-drying oils like linseed, tung, soybean or safflower at high temperatures with natural or synthetic resins, until the proper viscosity is achieved. The resultant varnish is then thinned with hydrocarbon solvents to reach application viscosity. Natural resins used may include congo, copal, manila, amber, damar and kauri resins and others. Synthetic resins may include ester gum, phenolic resins, alkyd, polyurethane or coumarone-iodine resins. Today, natural resins are seldom used, being largely replaced with synthetics in most varnishes.

Viscometer - An instrument that is used to measure the viscosity of liquids.

Viscosity - The resistance of a liquid to shear forces/resistance to flow.

VM & P Naphtha - VM & P Naphtha (Also known as Ligroin, Varnish Makers and Painters Naphtha, Benzin, Petroleum Naphtha, Naphtha ASTM, Petroleum Spirits or Petroleum Ether) is a mild strength, fast evaporating aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent similar to Paint Thinner or Mineral Spirits. In some cases, it is superior for thinning oil base paints and varnishes.VM & P Naphtha is used to thin oil base paints and varnishes to improve levelling and reduce application viscosities where its faster drying time would be desirable over standard Mineral Spirits.

Volatile - Substances that evaporate quickly or readily. Volatile compounds in finishes are referred to as VOC's, or volatile organic compounds.

Vulcanized Fiber – A cloth based backing made from cotton that has been treated with chemicals to create a gelatinous surface. The treated fibers are stacked and heat-treated (vulcanized) to produce a stiff backing material. Normally used with resin-based disks that contain course abrasives.


Wax - Wax is one of the oldest and most versatile natural substances ever used by man. Wax is a very complex mixture of many different types of compounds. It can be simply defined as a substance that is solid at ambient temperature and when subjected to moderate temperatures, becomes a low viscosity liquid.

Wax Creep - Seepage of paste wax from a sealed tin. Wax creep can be caused by numerous factors including excessive heat during storage, the particular design of the tin and excessive wax residue left under the sealing portion of the lid.

Wax Types - There are many different types of waxes. However, for simplicity they can de subdivided into these relevant groups: Insect (Beeswax and Shellac Wax), Vegetable (Carnauba, Candelilla, Ouricury and Japan), Mineral Waxes (Montan, Ozokerite, Ceresine), Petroleum (Macrocrystalline - Paraffins and Microcrystalline) and Synthetic Waxes (Polyethylene).

Waney Edge - 
A natural edge shape on a sawn board or plank that is created by the exterior shape of a tree.

Wave Edge Abrasive Disks - Specially shaped abrasive disks that feature an undulating, or scalloped outer edge, instead of a circular edge.

This wave edge allows the abrasive to conform to the contours on projects better when sanding, as well as allowing some sanding on the lower edge of the foam sanding mandrel.

Wave edge sanding disks are frequently used to sand the interiors of bowls

Wax Emulsion - A white coloured cold wax emulsion product that is used to control the rate of moisture loss in green timber, by forming a durable wax membrane between the exposed end/side grain and the surrounding ambient atmosphere.

The goal is not to prevent moisture from moving through the wax coating, but instead to retard the rate of moisture evaporation, thereby reducing drying defects like end grain checking and warping.

Anchorseal is a popular wax emulsion for green wood

Weed Pot - Small decorative turned vases that are drilled with a small hole in the top for displaying dried, or silk flowers. Weed pots are solid, except for the hole drilled in the top for the flowers. If the vase is fully hollowed, it is called a "Hollow Form," not a weed pot.

Wet Sharpening/Grinding - The process of sharpening woodturning tools at a very low speed (~ 90 RPM), using a water cooled sharpening system like the Tormek T-7. Systems vary, but common features include a 10" wheel that is continually bathed in water during sharpening and a leather honing wheel.

Multiple tool jigs are available to sharpen almost any tool. Advantages of wet grinding include: 1.) Minimal metal removed during sharpening, 2.) No danger of overheating your tool, 3.) Ability to resharpen the tool at the exact bevel angle, 4.) Ability to sharpen the tool to 6,000 grit or higher.

Using a Tormek wet
sharpening system to
sharpen an Irish ground
bowl gouge

Wetting - 1.) Coating a substrates surface with an adhesive. 2.) The intimate contact between a liquid and a surface. Proper wetting of mating surfaces is critical to achieving a good adhesive bond. 3.) The ability of an liquid adhesive to flow evenly over the surface of an adherent and to display an inter-facial affinity for the surfaces.

Wet Turning - 
The process of turning green (fresh cut, or wood with high moisture content) or unseasoned wood. Wet turning is also called "Green Turning, or Turning Green" and is popular with woodturners all over the world. Projects may be completed from green to finished form in one step, or roughed and allowed to dry and finished in two steps.

Green wood one step projects will develop a natural warp as they dry and are sometimes referred to as "Natural," or "Organic Forms." With two-step projects, any warp caused during drying is turned away during the finish turning process.

White Aluminum Oxide - A type of Aluminum Oxide that contains 99% pure white, low soda Bayer Process Alumina. White Aluminum Oxide (WAO) is almost totally free of Titanium and contains no silica, or iron. WAO exhibits the best friability of any of the Aluminum Oxide abrasives.

White Spirit - White Spirit (Also known as Turpentine Substitute) is a general name for colourless, low aromatic liquids that are similar to turpentine in their volatility and solubilizing ability with waxes, coatings and resins. Contains Hydrocarbon liquids distilling under 300° Centigrade and Benzene.

Turpentine substitute formulas vary and may include high-boiling naphthas, hydrogenated hydrocarbons, decalin and tetralin. Essential oils are sometimes added to improve the odour. Orange-peel terpenes (primarily d-limonene) are usually included in this general group for classification purposes. White Spirit is generally used as a solvent, or thinner for oil-based coatings and varnishes.

Wood Hardener - Products that are designed to penetrate and harden soft, punky or rotten wood fibers. Wood hardeners may include products based on epoxies, acrylics, cyanoacrylates and various resins.

Minwax Wood

Work Hardening - A condition evidenced on steel when the steel becomes harder due to repeated cutting, bending or flexing.

Working Life - The amount of time that a resin based adhesive remains workable after mixing (before hardening or gelling) in the mixing container.


Xylene - Xylene (Also known as Xylol, Dimethylbenzene, Methyltoluene or Violet3) is a clear, colourless medium strength aromatic hydrocarbon solvent similar to Toluene. Xylene is used as a thinner for specialty paints and coatings. In hot and humid weather, it is frequently added to Lacquer. Xylene is typically extracted from crude oil or coal. The raw materials are subjected to thermal or catalytic treatments where aromatics and xylene containing fractions are obtained.

X - Y Vice - A drill press locking vice that allows movement in both the X and Y axis, via the rotation of two adjustment levers. This type of vice allows you to easily center small turning squares like bottle stoppers and pen blanks for accurate drilling in the center of the blank.

Woodturning Glossary 3 Y through Z


Yellowing - The development of a yellow colour or cast after aging, or curing.

Yellowing - (Linseed Oil) - The yellowing of linseed oil is thought to be caused when conjugated unsaturated hydroperoxides are converted into conjugated unsaturated ketones. These unsaturated ketones can produce long-chain colored polyenes. Additionally, if 1,4-diketones are formed during the drying, enol tautomers can react with trace amounts of atmospheric ammonia.

This produces a substituted pyrrole, which can be converted into a colored product by oxidation, or by condensation in the presence of formic acid. Colored metal siccatives can also contribute to the discoloration and/or yellowing of linseed oil. To alleviate the yellowing, saturated aliphatic aldehydes may be added to the oil.


Zahn Cup - An efflux viscometer measuring device that consists of a small cup with a hole in the bottom. Zahn cups are used to measure the viscosity of liquids, by dipping the cup into a liquid and noting the time it takes for the cup to empty through the bottom hole. The total time required to empty the cup correlates to a specific viscosity on an accompanying chart.

Zinc Stearate – A dry white-gray coloured non-abrasive lubricant that is added to some coated abrasives to reduce loading of dust and resins on the surface of the abrasive. Abrasives with zinc sterate coatings are typically referred to as Sterated abrasives by woodturners.

Woodturning Glossary 3
Quick Jump Alphabet Selector

[Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

Safety Note: Always follow all manufacturers safety instructions before working with your lathe, or any of the tools or products you may use. If you are unsure about any operation, obtain competent professional instruction before proceeding. Use and wear all necessary safety devices during turning and observe safe woodturning practices to prevent accident or injury.

Steven D. Russell is a professional studio woodturner, teacher and writer. He has written numerous articles for international woodturning magazines, which have been published in more than 78 countries around the world. Steve has demonstrated in numerous cities across the United States. His studio, Eurowood Werks, specializes in bowls, platters and hollow forms with unique visual and tactile treatments.

Steve is also the current and founding President of the Lone Star Woodturners Association, Inc., an AAW member chapter. The LSWA is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching and demonstrating the art and craft of woodturning.

Steve is also a featured writer for the Guild of Master Craftsman's "Woodturning" magazine, published in London England. Woodturning magazine is the world's leading magazine for woodturners. Look for his articles covering technical topics, or project based articles in an upcoming issue.