|Martin and Oliver Webb Fine Stone Miniatures. Museum quality handmade miniatures of stone carvings for the collector and connoisseur.|
A Stonemason's Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Back-Waller: A deceptively simple and immensely strong knot used to attach a straight rope to a lifting hook.
Bait Hut: An immensely important structure housing (usually) a couple of old chairs, several toolboxes, sundry waterproof coats and odd boots, jars of congealing coffee and dusty teabags, numerous chipped mugs and a kettle
Balcony: A projection cantilevered out from the face of its supporting wall.
Ballflower: 13th and 14th century decorative ornament carved in the hollow of mouldings. Based on a 3 petalled flower surrounding a ball. Mutants include four petalled ones.
Baluster: A small column, usually round with moulded section.
Baluster Die Stone: A half baluster, integral with the terminating stone of a row of balusters.
Balustrade: A row of balusters, such as on a parapet.
Banker: A stonemasons bench, usually built out of scrap stone. A stonemason who works continually at the banker is referred to as a Banker Mason, the workshop a Banker Shop. A Banker Bag is the piece of softening material (usually old carpet) placed on the bankers surface to protect the piece being worked on.
Baptistry: Part of the church set aside for the sacrament of baptism.
Bar-hole: Horizontal hole to hold timber bar used for securing a door
Bargeboard: A piece of timber, sometimes decorated, fixed beneath a gable.
Barrel-vault: A tunnel-like semi-circular vault.
Bartizan: A small turret projecting from the external angle of a building.
Basalt: Igneous (fire formed) rock of volcanic origin.
Bathstone: Pale coloured oolitic limestone from the Bath area of the UK. Slight variations in texture and colour occur between stones of different Bathstone quarries. One of the easiest stones to work, carpentry chisels can be used to cut it (though dont use your most expensive ones!).
Bathstone Saw: A handsaw used for sawing Bathstone. Often old carpentry saws were used with coarser teeth cut, though there are excellent new tungsten tipped purpose made saws available now. The first one we had was always know as Super Saw as it was a revelation to use after its predecessors.
Batting: Decorative and very precise deliberate chisel marks to the face of a piece of masonry. Typical of gritstone work.
Battering wall: A wall whose outer face slopes gently back, usually to resist pressure from behind.
Battlement: A parapet whose top has a series of square notches. The recessed part being called Crenels or Embrasures, the raised parts Merlons.
Bays: Compartments of a building, defined by columns or buttresses.
Bead: Convex circular moulding of narrow section.
Bead and Reel: Ornament in Greek mouldings, formed by small rows of carved spheres interspersed with "sausages" of equal diameter.
Beak: A long handled lever bar for moving large blocks of stone.
Beat: The area of a masons mallet which encompasses the end grain of the wood; the hardest wearing area where the mallet strikes the chisel.
Bed (of a stone): The top and bottom faces of a piece of masonry forming the horizontal joints. Also, the natural stratified layers of the stone. The correct loading of a stone should always be through, not across, its beds. A stack of paper is a good analogy. If a stone is oriented incorrectly it is said to be Face Bedded (the uppermost bed being in the same plane as the face of the wall), or Edge Bedded (the beds being oriented as a book in a bookshelf). Sometimes it isnt possible to obtain a block of great enough depth of bed and it is necessary to Edge Bed. Face Bedding is the weakest and least weather resistant way of fixing a stone.
Belfry: The part of a tower containing the bells.
Bell Cote: A small open belfry formed by one or two arched piercings in a wall.
Bevel: The plane formed where an angled section is removed from another flat plane. Also an adjustable tool for setting this angle.
Bird Bath: A derogatory term used to describe a hollow cut inadvertently in a stones surface a classic apprentice blunder!
Birds Beak: A decorative feature; a row of grotesque birds heads carved onto mouldings (Romanesque).
Birds Nest: A small cup shaped application of mortar or clay to the face of a wall to act as a funnel for pouring grout into a narrow void or joint.
Blind Arcading: A row of blind arches in a wall, such that the arches are filled in and lead nowhere
Blocking Course: A course of plain ashlar above a moulding or cornice, serves, in part, to stabilise the cornice with its weight.
Boaster: A wide chisel used in masonry for final dressing of flat faces.
Bole Hill: Greenish grey fine grained hard sandstone. Good for fine detail carving and letter cutting.
Bond: The positioning of stones or bricks so that they overlap those on the course below.
Boning Boards: Two pieces of straight board placed across either end of a flat surface of stone in order that when viewed from one end any discrepancy is exaggerated.
Boss: The carved keystone which forms the meeting point of vaulting ribs.
Break: Projection or recess from the general surface of the wall.
Bressummer: A horizontal beam primarily supporting the front of a building.
Broach: When an octagonal spire rises directly from a square tower, half pyramid shape form to fill the gaps at the towers corners. These are the Broaches.
Broken Pediment: A pediment whose cornice does not totally enclose the tympanum.
Bucket Handle: A tool, invariably home made from (believe it or not) an old bucket handle, for facing a pointed joint with a concave finish.
Bucket Knot: A half hitch knot with its tail left as a loop to be used as a quick release rip cord. Used when raising buckets on a rope and gin wheel.
Bull Nose Step: A step having a quadrant end.
Buttress: A mass of masonry or brickwork built perpendicular to a wall to resist lateral forces.