the Carpentry Way: The Word is Out: Coak                                                          

The Word is Out: Coak

The more I read on carpentry and woodwork, the more I seem to come across oddball pieces of vocabulary that are more or less unique to the universe of those things constructed from wood. I thought I'd start a new series on such interesting terms as I come across, whether they relate to the botany of wood, joinery, boat-building, architecture, or the like - anything involving wood. I imagine some words may be familiar enough to those who work wood, and I also hope to uncover a few intriguing gems along the way as well. In some cases the word will likely be a very familiar one to most readers,  however the definition will be an uncommon one.


Coak [kōk]:

Noun: (Carp.) A kind of tenon connecting the face of a scarfed timber with the face of another timber, or a dowel or pin of hard wood or iron uniting timbers; a dowel through overlapping timbers to prevent one from sliding across the other due to horizontal shear.

Verb: (Carp.) to unite timbers by means of tenons or dowels in the edges or face; hence coaks, coaked, coaking.

Derivation: probably from ONF coque "notch", from Latin coccum "excrescence on a tree, berry of the scarlet oak" (whence OF coche "notch"), from Greek kokkos "berry of the scarlet oak, core of fruit".

 Examples of joints with coaking:

Both pictures culled from Cecil A. Hewitt's English Historic Carpentry.