1) ACANTHUS – The leafy carving found on much traditional furniture. It represents the acanthus bush of ancientGreece.
2) ARMOIRE – The French word we commonly use today for a large cabinet, usually with 2 doors and sometimes a lower drawer(s). Generally used as a clothes closet, but many antique ones have been converted to entertainment or bar cabinets. Armoires or “wardrobes” are still made today.
3) ASTRAGAL – The piece of wood, sometimes decorative, that overlaps the joint where 2 doors meet.
4) BAIL– The part of a drawer or cabinet pull that hangs down from the support posts on each side of the hardware.
5) BALL & CLAW – a type of furniture foot popularized by the famous English cabinet designer Thomas Chippendale in the mid 18th century, It is taken from Oriental mythology and represents a dragon claw clutching a pearl.
6) BED BOLTS – Steel bolts that intersect with implanted nuts to hold the side rails securely to the headboard and footboard of a bed; especially seen on antique beds.
7) BELLFLOWER – A decorative element of carving or wood inlay found on antique and reproduction furniture, consisting of a connected string of 3 or 5 leafed flowers.
8) BLOCK FRONT – A technique of sawing solid wood to produce a three dimensional effect by dividing the frontal space of case goods into (usually) three vertical sections with the center section being concave and the end sections being convex.
9) BOW BACK – The rounded outside back frame of a Windsor chair which is bent to shape from a single piece of wood.
10) BOW FRONT CHEST – a chest of drawers with an outward curved front section. Early designs came from 18th Century English furniture designers such as George Heppelwhite and were popular inAmerica during the early 19th C.
11) BREADBOARD ENDS – Boards applied to the ends of a flat surface such as a slant front desk or table top, at right angles to the direction of the grain on the main surface. This helps keep the flat surface from warping excessively.
12) BUN FOOT – A turned, slightly flattened low round foot which was often used at the beginning of the William and Mary furniture style period in the late 17th century and still used in today’s furniture designs. The pictures shows a William and Mary chest with bun feet.
13) BURL – The “wild” random pattern seen in certain wood figure which was cut from a section of a tree such as a knot or tumor.
14) CABRIOLE LEG – The reverse “S” shape of a leg which curves out at the knee and curves in toward the ankle.
15) CANE – A seating material made from strips of the outer skin of rattan cane that can be woven into a fabric-like surface. Older cane seating was installed by weaving individual strands into holes drilled in the seat frame. More recent cane seating is installed from pre-woven sheets and is held in place with a spline in a groove in the seat frame.
16) CARYATIDS – Female figures used as columns in ancient Greek architecture. They are seen in some classical furniture such as Empire works by Duncan Phyfe.
17) CASE GOODS – Furniture such as chests, desks and armoires that consist essentially of a box with access to storage using doors or drawers.
18) CASTER – A small wheel attached or implanted in the legs of furniture.
19) CHAMFER – The angling of an edge to reduce the total thickness of the material such as a drawer bottom or table edge.
20) CHINOISERIE – A style of Oriental painting popular in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and America.
21) CREST RAIL – The top rail of a chair. The top of the back.