The term "Carpentry" is taken in the present Volume, in its strictest sense, to represent the timberwork connected with the framing of roofs, floors, partitions, and other work of a purely constructional nature; while the framing of doors, windows, and other ornamental features is to be treated in the next Volume under the head of Joinery.

These two trades are so often coupled together that the terms "carpenter and joiner" have become synonymous in the minds of many, and, indeed, not without reason, for it is by no means unusual to find the same man practising both trades. This is, however, a mistake, as it is conducive of bad and expensive work, - for a carpenter who can produce such highly finished work as is necessary for joinery is as rare as a joiner who is rapid and not unnecessarily exact when working upon the larger scantlings with which the carpenter frames his structures.

Great advantage is to be gained, however, by coupling these trades together in a Specification, as they go hand in hand in so many instances; and it is for this reason that framing of an ornamental character, together with "grounds," "fixing blocks," "wood slips," and other necessary adjuncts of joinery work - which it is the duty of the carpenter to properly fix - have been omitted from the present Volume, in order that they may take their places with those details of construction with which they are more closely connected.


The timber used principally for carpenter's work in England is that known as northern pine, red pine, Baltic fir, or red fir. It is grown in Northern Europe generally, and is shipped to London from the ports of Riga, Dantzig, Memel, and Stettin. Much of this timber is sent over in balk - that is to say, in logs which have been roughly squared with an axe. Timber shipped from Memel and Dantzig is frequently sawn die square before shipment, as also is American pitch-pine. The size of these squared timbers averages about 13 inches square, although they frequently run as large as 21 inches square, and they vary from 18 to 45 feet in length. Logs under 12 inches square are called "undersized" while logs 8 inches square and under are distinguished as "balks."

These large timbers are usually sawn up into convenient sizes for building purposes, and there are a number of technical names applied to various sized timbers so produced.

Planks are pieces of timber from 1 to 4 inches in thickness, from 8 to 20 feet long, and over 9 and under 11 inches wide.

Deals are of the same length and thickness as planks, but are over 7 and under 9 inches in width.

Battens are of the same length and thickness as deals and planks, but are under 7 inches in width.


Battens, deals, and planks when under 8 feet in length are termed ends, and when it is required to differentiate more distinctly they are termed Batten ends, Deal ends, and Plank ends respectively.


Ends under 3 inches in thickness are termed Boards.


A piece of timber cut to a small size, as for a stud rail or bearer, is termed a scantling.

The term Scantling is also used synonymously with dimension.

Sawing Of Timber

Timber is often sawn at the port of shipment into planks, deals, and battens, but some sawing is still performed in timber-yards and workshops in this country. This sawing is done by machinery, either by means of circular saws or bow saws.

Circular Sawing

In this method of sawing a roughly trimmed or "squared" log is placed upon a slowly moving bench, which carries it against a rapidly revolving toothed circular blade. This cuts off one plank at a time, the width of the plank being regulated by means of a vertical guide placed on one side and parallel to the saw. This process is usually considered too slow for sawing large timbers, in which case a mechanical bow saw is used.

Bow Sawing

The bow saw is composed of a number of toothed blades fixed vertically in a stout steel frame, the distance between the blades being regulated to the thickness of the planks into which it is desired to saw the squared timber. The frame works in a vertical guide on either side, and is moved up and down by means of a crank pivoted at one end to the frame and at the other to a heavy wheel, which in its turn is driven by steam or other power.

The timber to be sawn by a bow saw is placed upon a travelling carriage, which is geared to move slowly against the saw.

The rate of "feed," or rate at which the log is carried past the saw, can be regulated according to the density of the wood to be sawn.