Builders use two different terms to describe what’s precisely horizontal, or “level,” and what’s vertical, or “plumb.” I have four different levels: two-, four-, and six-foot carpenter levels and a torpedo level for tight spaces. They’re oft-used tools and not just to check level.
Holy sh...generally cut from red cedar and virtually clear of defects, shingles are sawn pieces used for roofing or siding. Shakes (pictured here) have the same function, but are split, often by hand. Shims are essentially low-quality shingle seconds, but a supply of these is a basic cottage commodity.
These are door terms. The jamb is the frame a door fits in and has three parts: the hinge jamb, latch jamb, and head jamb. The casing is made up of the three pieces of trim surrounding the jamb (and yet we don’t just call it “door trim”).
These are designations for internal combustion engines, based on the fuel and exhaust mechanisms. If you have to mix oil into the gas, it’s a two-stroke. Many small engines are two-stroke because they are lighter and have fewer moving parts. The downside is that they are generally less eco-friendly.
Animal cruelty? No. Real tools? Yes. A bench dog is a peg that fits into a corresponding hole in a work bench to act as a backstop for a workpiece. A cat’s paw is a miniature crowbar—roughly the size and shape of a cat’s front paw—that’s usually used to remove nails. It’s indispensable.
Bench dog, cat’s paw, level, shim—DIY terms can be confusing, and it’s easy to mistake one for another. Here are some common terms that you may be using incorrectly, courtesy of our DIY expert, Wayne Lennox. Featured Video