Glossary of Furniture Design and Woodworking terms

This is a running list of plywood woodworking and furniture design terms that are used in blog posts on I am adding them as they are used in blog posts. If you have recommendations of words you’d like to see please leave a comment!


3D modeling – more broadly is the process of mocking up designs in 3D, but most commonly refers to the use of computer aided design software to visualize a design before building it.

Physical prototyping – building a rough model or scale model of a piece to work out details that will be used in the final construction of a piece of furniture.

Rhino7 – Is a Nurbs based 3D modeling software that is great for quick ideation, and construction planning.


CNC router – A router that is programmed by a computer. This is often used to cut complex geometries or for the cutting of highly varied parts.

Miter – Most often a miter is characterized as two pieces of wood being chamfered at a 45 degree angle and connected along the chamfered edges.

Kerf Bending – Is the process of making a series of kerf cuts into a piece of plywood to reduce the thickness to a level that will allow a sheet of plywood to be able to bend. Once the piece is bent into place, wood strips are glued into the kerfs to hold the shape.

Kerf – Is the groove left by a saw blade in the material being cut. If a saw blade is 1/8″ (3mm) thick. The kerf will be aproximately 1/8″ (3mm).


Multi-ply – Refers to the end grain of the plywood. Typically multi-ply consists of many layers of thick but even veneers that create an attractive edge detail.