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Stone Glossary

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Term Definition
Back Arch

A concealed arch carrying the backing of a wall where the exterior facing is carried by a lintel.


One of a series of miniature columns or short uprights used to support a hand rail or coping, as in a balustrade.


Buildings are often divided into repetitive spatial elements, or bays, defined by the space between two adjacent columns or other vertical supports.


(1) In granites or marbles, a layer or sheet of the rock mass that is horizontal, commonly curved and lenticular, as developed by fractures. Sometimes applied also to the surface of parting between sheets.

(2) In stratified rocks, the unit layer formed by sedimentation; of variable thickness, and commonly tilted or distorted by subsequent deformation; generally develops a rock cleavage, parting, or jointing along the planes of stratification.

(3) The top or bottom of a joint, or natural bed/surface of stone parallel to its stratification.

Belt Course

A continuous horizontal course of flat stones marking a division in the wall plane.


When the angle between two sides is greater or less than a right angle.


A hard sandstone of characteristic blue, gray and buff colors quarried in the states of New York and Pennsylvania.

Bond Stone

Used in varying percentages to anchor or bond a stone veneer to a backing material. Bond stones are generally cut to twice the bed thickness of the material being used.

Border Stone

Usually a flat stone used as an edging material; generally used to retain the field of a terrace or platform.


A carved stone positioned at the apex of a ribbed vault.


To drill or cut out material left between closely spaced drill holes. Also, a mason's sharp pointed chisel for dressing stone.

Bull Nose

Convex rounding of a stone member, such as a stair tread.




Placing mortar on stone with a trowel before setting into place.

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