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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
| Sacristy: The
vestry of a church.
Sanctuary: The part of the church at the east end behind the alter rail.
Sand Box: A shallow box filled with sand in which round or unstable stones are placed to be held firm whilst being dressed on the banker.
Saw Angels: Flat metal extensions which can be bolted to the sides of a saw table to increase its width.
Saw Weal, or Wale: Semicircular grooves in the face of a slab caused by the edge of a circular saw blade.
Scroll: A spiral having several concentric curves of increasing radii.
Scutch: A hand held stonemasons tool similar to an ice axe.
Sheerlegs: Lifting apparatus comprising two or more upright beams anchored together at their tops and held with guy ropes, for use with lifting tackle.
Shift Stock: A stonemasons adjustable tool for setting the angles of bevels and chamfers. Similar to a carpenters bevel, but the two parts slide as well as swivel.
Shoddy: Small brick shaped stones, sawn on 5 sides and roughly pitched (leaving a fractured face) on the face. Used frequently in fireplaces and so on. A way of using up awkwardly shaped sawn off cuts.
Shot Saw: A straight reciprocating bladed mechanical stone saw whose blade, instead of having teeth, has a wavy cross section into which are poured steel shot which act as an abrasive.
Silicosis: Disease resulting from the inhalation of silica rich stone dust. The bane of grit stone masons.
Sill (sometimes Cill): The horizontal lowest part of a window.
Sinking Gauge: An adjustable tool which measures the depth of a recessed section of carving.
Skewback: An angled upright joint to a stone to form the abutment for the voussoirs of an arch.
Skids: Short pieces of timber on which stones can be rested for stacking, etc.
Slake: The exothermic reaction between quicklime and water when combined, which converts quicklime (calcium oxide) into lime putty (calcium hydroxide) which is the main constituent in mortar and limewash. The reaction is quite a violent one and the combination of the heat and the corrosive nature of the alkaline lime make slaking a fairly unpleasant job.
Soffit: The underside of a lintel, arch or vault.
Spall: A chip broken from the edge of a face of a piece of masonry resulting from excessive localised pressure.
Span: The distance bridged by an arch, or lintel, between its supporting masonry either side.
Spandrel: The semi-triangular area formed between the extrados (outer edge) of an arch and a square moulding.
Spire: Conical construction on top of a tower, usually completely hollow.
Spot: A sheet of plywood, or similar, placed on the scaffold deck, upon which is heaped mortar in readiness for its use.
Springer: The stone which forms the base of an archs curve, literally, the point from which the arch springs.
Square Lashing: A method of lashing two poles (originally in wooden scaffolding) together at right angles, in which the rope always passes round the poles at 90 degrees, never diagonally.
Squinch: A small arch built at 45 degrees across the inner angle formed by two joining walls to support a structure such as a spire above.
Squint: A small aperture built into the inside of a churchs wall to afford an unobstructed view of the altar from pews in a transept or side aisle.
Stained Glass: Coloured and painted window glass fitted together using H sectioned lead strips called Cames.
Stanton Moor: Honey coloured gritstone with even texture. Very abrasive on tools as I recall.
Steeple: Combined spire and tower where there is no defined join
Steeple Jack: Madmen who dangle by their fingertips microns from certain death, oblivious to all vertigo, gravity, mortality, etc.
Stonemason: Tradesman who cuts, dresses and carves stone and builds stone buildings.
Stooling: A small length of a moulding, rib, mullion, jamb, etc carved integrally to a stone into which it terminates, such as a window mullion running into the sill, or vaulting rib running into a boss.