Restoration Glossary

Term Definition
Dentil

A dentil is a small, square block that is used in a sequence along the lower edge of a cornice. Most elements of the classical orders are believed to derive from functional, structural building components of ancient masonry construction, and dentils are thought to have been the ends of rafters. As one of the easiest architectural details to construct, the “dentilated cornice” (a simple cornice with a row of dentils running below it) is also one of the most frequently used architectural elements in house construction and shows up in houses from 1750 to the present.

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Doric Order

The oldest (dating to the 6th-century B.C.E.) and plainest of the three basic orders of classical Greek architecture (the others being the Ionic and the Corinthian orders). In ancient Greece, the Doric order was the masculine, and the most preferred, order. A Doric column is stout, with a fluted shaft (ideally, with 20 flutes), a plain capital, and no base. In ancient Rome, the Doric order was often replaced with the “Tuscan” order indigenous to the Italian peninsula; it consisted of an unfluted shaft, a simply molded capital, and a base.

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Dormer

A dormer is a vertical projection in a sloping roof with a roof of its own. A dormer contains an opening, usually a window, allowing light into the second story or attic story of a building.

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Dutchman

A dutchman is a builder’s term for a piece of wood used to patch a missing or damaged section of wood “invisibly,” i.e., so that the patch piece will not be evident once finished or painted. A dutchman could be required to fill in the location of a missed lock or knob on a reused door, for example, or to repair a section of damaged flooring.

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