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Tradespeople and Craftspeople often seem like they are speaking a foreign language with all the strange architectural terms that show up in their sentences.  Here are a few you may hear and what they refer to:

FOIL:An architectural foil refers to the arcs (or lobes) between projection points of a circle (think of a clover leaf and you’ll begin to get the picture of arcs/lobes surrounding the center point of a circle).  A foil can have three (trefoil), four (quatrefoil), five (cinquefoil), and even more arcs and are often found in Gothic architectural masonry, woodwork, and cast plasterwork.

QUOIN or COYN: A quoin is a corner of a masonry building, constructed of alternating long and short pieces.  Using quoins (also spelled “coyn”) strengthens corners, which is particularly important if the corners are structural and load-bearing.  Quoins are usually a material different from the main material of the building walls – stone quoins in a brick building, brick quoins in a stone building.  Sometimes quoins are intentionally built-out to project out so they are not flush with the wall in order to provide a visual emphasis of stability.

JOGGLE JOINT:  A type of fitting where a notch is created in each the two pieces being fitted together, so that the end result is a joint that looks like a zig-zag, or notched.

LAMB’S TONGUE: The end of a handrail that is turned out or down from the rail and curved to resemble a tongue.

About Danielle Keperling

Danielle Groshong-Keperling has worked full-time in the restoration industry since 2001, but her education in the traditional trades, construction industry, and historical preservation was built from an early age through her Father's work in the traditional trades and her Mother's love of historic architecture. Now, with Jonathan (an artisan craftsman in his own right), her partner in business and life, they work together to help historic building owners restore and preserve their piece of our built history.