Putting it in Laypeople's Terms

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.