Saddle: small gable type of roof located in the rear of a chimney on sloping roofs to aloow water and debris to shed away.
Sapwood: layers of wood adjacent to the bark of the tree. More prone to decay than heartwood, although not any weaker or stronger.
Sash: The secondary part of a window which holds the glazing in place; may be operable or fixed; usually constructed of horizontal and vertical members; sash may be subdivided with muntins.
Sawn Veneer: any veneer cut from timber with a saw rather than peeled away, as in making rotary cut veneer.
Scaffold: temporary platform or other structure for supporting workers, materials and equipment during construction or renovation.
Scale: term specifying the ratio of a reduced or enlarged size drawing. An elevation drawing in which every 1/4 inch represents one inch, for example, would be a 1/4 scale drawing.
Scantling: refers to lumber with cross section of between 2 by 4 inches and 4 by 4 inches.
Scarf Joint: a method of joining two members end to end with a sloping lap joint so they appear to be a single piece.
Scotia: concave molding having an irregular curve, used under stair tread nosings and for cornice trim.
Scroll Saw: another name for a jig saw. A tool used for cutting arbitrary curves, such as stenciled designs or other custom shapes, into a piece of wood. Traditional scroll saws are hand saws, consisting of a handle attached to a small, thin blade. More modern jigsaws are power tools, made up of an electric motor and a reciprocating saw blade.
Scuttle: opening in a ceiling providing attic access.
Seasoning: removing moisture content from green wood to improve it’s building characteristics.
Secondary Facade: a facade that does not face a public thoroughfare, mews, or court and that does not possess significant architectural features.
Section Drawing: a type of drawing or view showing how a structure looks when cut by a vertical (usually) or horizontal plane.
Segmental Arch: an archway in the form of a segment of a semicircle.
Self Centering Bit: a kind of drill bit made for boring precisly centered pilot holes for hinge mount screws.
Selvage: in roll roofing, the part of the material which is smooth, where there is no granular material.
Serrated: an area cross notched and grooved to provide improved grip or cutting capability. A serrated blade has a cutting edge that has many small points of contact with the material being cut.
Setting Block: wood block set in the rabbet or groove of the bottom rail on an insulating glass sash, forming a bed for the glass.
Shaft: vertical segment of a column or pilaster between the base and the capital.
Shakes: handsplit shingles for roofing or siding.
Sharpening Stone: stone block used to grind and hone the edges of steel tools and implements such as scissors, knives, razors and tools such as chisels and plane blades.
Sheathing: structural covering of boards or prefabricated panels attached to the exterior studs or rafters of a structure.
Shim: thin strip or wedge of wood used for leveling or fitting wood members. Helpful when setting window and door frames.
Shiplap: lumber with edges rabetted to form a lap joint between adjoining pieces.
Shoring: timber and lumber used for preventing the sliding of earth around an excavation.
Shouldered Arch: arch composed of a square-headed lintel supported at each end by a concave corbel.
Shutter: assembly of wood panels, rails and stiles used in conjunction with window frame. May also consist of vertical boards cleated together.
Shutter Dog: metal attachment which holds shutters in an open position against the face of a building.
Siding: finish covering a frame building’s exterior wall, made of various materials, including wood, vinyl, aluminum, brick and stucco.
Sill: the horizontal member at the bottom of a window or door.
Soffit: the exposed underside of any architectural element, such as staircases, arches, beams and roofs.
Softwoods: wood from trees classified as gymnosperm, primarily coniferous trees. In general softwood is easy to work, it is used for structural building components, furniture, and millwork. THe term has no relation to the actual hardness of the wood itself.
Soil Stack: in plumbing, refers to the vertical main line of soil, waste or vent plumbing system.
Sole Plate: lowest horizontal strip on wall or partition framing, supported by subfloor, concrete slab or other foundation.
Span: the distance between structural support members such as walls, piers, beams, trusses and girders.
Spandrel: (1) a panel between the top of one window and the sill of another window on the story directly above it. (2) an irregular, triangular wall segment adjacent to an arched opening.
Spline: small wood strip fitting into a groove or slot on two adjacent members to form a joint.
Spoke Shave: a tool used to shape and smooth wooden rods and shafts; can be made from flat-bottom, concave, or convex soles, depending on the type of job to be performed. Spokeshaves can include one or more sharpened notches along which the wooden shaft is pulled in order to shave it down to the proper diameter. Historically, spokeshave blades were made of metal, whilst the body and handles were wood. An early design consisted of a metal blade with a pair of tangs to which the wooden handles were attached. By the twentieth century metal handles and detachable blades had become the most common.
Stair Stringer: structural side member of a stairway supporting the treads and risers.
Stairwell: framed rough opening that receives a set of stairs.
Station Mark: the point where a level transit is located, a reference point such as a paint mark or stake directly below the center of the instrument.
Steel Frame Construction: type of construction in whch structural members are made of steel or depend on a steel frame for support.
Stepped Footing: foundation footing that changes grade levels at intervals to allow for a sloped site.
Stile: a main vertical member of a door or window.
Stoop: steps which lead to the front door; from the Dutch “stoep.”
Story Pole: a strip of wood used to lay out or transfer measurements for building construction, especially door and window openings, stairways, and shingle courses.
Strike Plate: metal plate fastned to or mortised into face of door frame side jamb for receiving the lock bolt or latch when the door is shut.
Strongback: wooden support shaped like an L, attached to top of ceiling joists for strength, spacing and leveling.
Stucco: a coating for exterior walls made from Portland cement, lime, sand, and water.
Stud: a vertical wood or metal structural member in a partition or wall. Plural can be studding or studs.
Surfaced Lumber: lumber that has been dressed or finished by a planer machine.
Swag: a carved ornament in the form of a draped cloth or a festoon of fruit or flowers.