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Glossary of Tools & Terms

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Alternating Current. The type of electrical power which normally is supplied from a wall outlet.

Adjustable Countersink
A device that cuts the recess for screw heads and threads. It has a drill bit or knife blade for cutting the recess for the screw thread whose length adjusts to the length of the screw head.

A mechanical media termination device designed to align and join fiber optic connectors. Often referred to as coupling, bulkhead, or interconnect sleeve

Adjustable Wrench
A wrench that has an adjustable head to fit various sizes of nuts and bolts. Some adjustable wrenches feature a locking mechanism to prevent slippage.

Aramid Yarn
Strength elements that provide tensile strength, support and additional protection of the fiber bundles. Kevlar® is a particular brand of aramid yarn.

Additional protective element beneath outer jacket to provide protection against severe outdoor environments. Usually made of plastic-coated steel, it may be corrugated for flexibility.

The decrease in magnitude of power of a signal in transmission between points. A term used for expressing the total loss of an optical system, normally measured in decibels (dB) at a specific wavelength.

Attenuation Coefficient
The rate of optical power loss with respect to distance along the fiber, usually measured in decibels per kilometer (dB/km) at a specific wavelength. The lower the number, the better the fiber's attenuation. Typical multimode wavelengths are 850 and 1300 nanometers (nm); single mode wavelengths are 1310 and 1550 nm.

Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)
Refers to a type of saw blade in which the grinds give the cleanest crosscuts in hard and soft wood or plywood.

A measure of the amount of current a tool uses. Higher ratings generally means the tool is suited for heavier use.


Anti-stick Coating
As used on saw blades, decreases friction and heat buildup and helps provide cleaner, smoother and quieter cutting action. Also resists resin and pitch buildup and improves safety conditions.

Anti-vibration Slots
slots cut in the body of a saw blade, usually in a starburst pattern, that reduce vibration so the blade runs more smoothly and produce a cleaner cut.

A shaft driven by a tool's motor that turns blades or other cutting tools. Also called a mandrel.

Arbor Hole
The central hole in a saw blade through which the saw arbor fits. This hole must be accurately broached or the blade cuts will waver.

Auger Bit
A long, 7" to 10" bit typically used with a brace for drilling holes in wood. An auger bit bores a faster, cleaner hole because of its screw point and spur design.

Aviation Snips
Snips used to cut straight or curved lines. They are generally used for heating, air conditioning, gutter work, and general industrial use. Aviation snips are available in right- or left-handed styles.

Backbone Cabling
The portion of premises telecommunications cabling that provides connections between telecommunications closets, equipment rooms, and entrance facilities. The backbone cabling consists of the transmission media (optical fiber cable), main and intermediate cross-connects, and terminations for the horizontal cross-connect, equipment rooms, and entrance facilities. The backbone cabling can further be classified as interbuilding backbone (cabling between buildings), or intrabuilding backbone (cabling within a building).

Measure of the information-carrying capacity of an optical fiber Note: This term is often used to specify the normalized modal bandwidth (MHz-km) of a multimode fiber.

Bandwidth Distance Product
The information-carrying capacity of a transmission medium is normally referred to in units of MHz-km. This is called the bandwidth-distance product or, more commonly, bandwidth. The amount of information that can be transmitted over any medium changes according to distance.

Bar Clamp/Spreader
A variation of the C-clamp with a disconnecting sliding jaw that allows the user to reverse the clamp and use it as a spreader.

Barrier Tape
Non-adhesive tape used to mark dangerous areas. The tapes have imprints such as "POLICE LINE-DO NOT CROSS" or "DANGER-DO NOT ENTER."

Bi-metal Utility Blades
As the name implies, bi-metal blades are produced through a patented process of combining two types of metal, each with its own attributes and benefits. The first is Spring Steel, which provides flexibility to the blade, resulting in a blade that will not break under normal work conditions. The second metal, High-Speed Steel, delivers a hardened cutting edge that stays sharp longer than traditional carbon blades.

A drill point that has a variety of uses with braces and drills. Each bit is designed for a specific application such as masonry, wood, steel, or other materials.

Blade Diameter
The measurement of a saw blade measured on the extreme outside edge of two opposite tips. Larger diameter blades can accommodate more teeth for smoother cuts.

Beats Per Minute. A measure of the frequency of the hammering action of a hammerdrill or rotary hammer

Brad Point Bit
A drill bit used for precision drilling in wood. Designed for boring exact size holes for a clean, finished look that is required in doweling, cabinetry, and other fine woodworking.

Short for British Standard Pipe.

A protective material extruded directly on the fiber coating to protect it from the environment (tight-buffered).

Buffer Tubes
Extruded cylindrical tubes covering optical fiber(s) used for protection and isolation. See Loose Tube.

Many individual fibers contained within a single jacket or buffer tube. Also, a group of buffered fibers distinguished in some fashion from another group in the same cable core.

An assembly of optical fibers and other material providing mechanical and environmental protection.

Cable Assembly
Optical fiber cable that has connectors installed on one or both ends. General use of these cable assemblies includes the interconnection of optical fiber cable systems and opto-electronic equipment. If connectors are attached to only one end of a cable, it is known as a pigtail. If connectors are attached to both ends, it is known as a jumper or patchcord.

Cable Bend Radius
Cable bend radius during installation infers that the cable is experiencing a tensile load. Free bend infers a smaller allowable bend radius since it is at a condition of no load.

Carbide alloy is composed of Cobalt and Tungsten. This alloy gives saw blades and router bits longer lasting tips, sharper cutting edges, and greater impact resistance.

Carbide Hole Cutter
a drill bit designed specifically for the fast, easy production of holes in thin material. Carbide cutters are used primarily for use with mild steels like those found in electrical enclosures as well as stainless steel.

Carbide Teeth
Specially treated tungsten carbide teeth on a saw blade that provide superior cutting performance.

Carpenter's Pencil
Rectangular shaped pencil, about 1/4" X 1/2", with a 1/16" X 3/16" lead.

A clamp with a C-shaped frame and an adjustable screw used for holding objects in place or together.

Central Member
The center component of a cable. It serves as an antibuckling element to resist temperature-induced stresses. Sometimes serves as a strength element. The central member material is either steel, fiberglass, or glass-reinforced plastic.

Cubic Feet per Minute. A measure of the usage of air from an air compressor. The higher this number is on a tool, the more frequently the compressor will need to run to keep the tool going.

The grinding threads at the tip of a tap that are angled in order to allow the tap to pass through a hole. Also a beveled edge on the corner of a board, technically one of 45 degrees.

A clamping device at the end of a power drill for holding a drill bit.

Chisel Point
A point on staples that makes the legs sink in straight as the staple is driven into a material.

The part of a drill which holds the bits in place.

Circular Saw
A portable, heavy-duty cutting tool that works well on a variety of projects, from framing a wood or metal building to rough metal fabrication work. Ideal for cutting, cleaning and slotting of all types of metal and masonry. A circular saw does not have a built-in cutting guide and requires a hand-held guide, so it is generally used for rough cutting. Some models come with electric brakes and a quick depth adjustment for a more accurate cut. Maximum HP is around 2.5 with no-load speeds up to 5,000 RPM.

The material surrounding the core of an optical waveguide. The cladding must have a lower index of refraction to keep the light in the core.

A versatile tool that serves as a temporary device for holding work securely in place. Used for many applications including carpentry, woodworking, furniture making, welding, construction, and metalworking.

Clipped Head
Nails collated in 28 degree or 30-33 degree strips have a notch in the head that allows for each individual nail to be driven efficiently, despite the angle and tightness of the collation. This notch makes little practical difference in holding power.

A material put on a fiber during the drawing process to protect it from the environment and handling.

Cobalt HSS
In drill bits, a special high-speed steel blended with a significant percentage of cobalt. Cobalt adds hardness and abrasion qualities plus superior resistance to heat. Typically used for extra-tough or production drilling.

Fasteners which are bound together for use in automatic firing mechanisms. All staples are collated, but only specific nails and screws are collated.

Composite Cable
A cable containing both fiber and copper media per article 770 of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Compound Cut
An angled cut to both the edge and face of a board.

Compound leverage snips
Snips with a double fulcrum compound lever action that requires less effort to cut.

Connecting Hardware
A device, used to terminate an optical fiber cable with connectors and adapters, that provides an administration point for cross-connecting between cabling segments or interconnecting to electronic equipment.

A mechanical device used to align and join two fibers together to provide a means for attaching to and decoupling from a transmitter, receiver, or another fiber (patch panel).

Connector Panel
A panel designed for use with patch panels; it contains either 6, 8 or 12 adapters pre-installed for use when field-connectorizing fibers.

Connector Panel Module
A module designed for use with patch panels; it contains either 6, 8 or 12 connectorized fibers that are spliced to backbone cable fibers.

The central region of an optical fiber through which light is transmitted.

Corrugated Innerduct
Innerduct with a smooth interior and corrugated exterior that gives the innerduct extra strength. Corrugated innerduct is often used for storm sewers, drains and septic systems.

A cut made across the grain of the wood. Also a saw blade designed particularly for crosscutting.

Cutting wood across the grain direction.

The crown of a staple is the top portion which connects the legs. This piece is typically what you can see once the staple has been fastened.

Refers to the smooth cutting of wood, plywood, chipboard, paneling, pressboard, etc.

Cut Rate
Amount of material removal by the abrasive per unit of time.

Direct Current. The type of electrical power normally supplied by batteries or generators.


Unit for measuring the relative strength of light signals. Normally expressed in dB, it is equal to one-tenth the common logarithm of the ratio of two levels. Expressed in dBm when a power level is compared to a milliwatt.

A device that cuts external threads on a rod or pipe. Special designs are used for cleaning up existing threads of rust or rolled over threads, called rethreading dies

Non-metallic and therefore, non-conductive. Glass fibers are considered dielectric. A dielectric cable contains no metallic components.

Die stock
A two-handle, adjustable tool that holds and turns dies.

The cause of bandwidth limitations in a fiber. Dispersion causes a broadening of input pulses along the length of the fiber. Three major types are (1) modal dispersion caused by differential optical path lengths in a multimode fiber; (2) chromatic dispersion caused by a differential delay of various wavelengths of light in a waveguide material; and (3) waveguide dispersion caused by light traveling in both the core and cladding materials in single mode fibers.

Drill Press
A powered vertical drilling machine in which the drill is pressed to the work automatically or by a hand lever. A drill press is used in precision work or heavy industrial applications.

Duckbill Snips
Snips used to cut curves in either direction. Can be used for straight cutting but will require slightly more effort to cut with than straight pattern snips.

Electrical Pipes
Lines of solid tubing used to contain and protect electrical wiring or cables in power systems. Chapman Electric Supply carries many standard electrical pipe types, accessories, ducts and couplings for a wide variety of applications.

Expansion Slot
Slots on a saw blade designed to prevent distortion of the rim of larger diameter blades. Provides relief areas for expansion of materials from heat and prevents blade distortion.

Expansive Bit
Taking the place of many larger bits, expansive bits are adjusted by moving the cutting blade in or out by a geared dial or by a lockscrew to vary the size of the hole.

An attachment to a drill that extends the overall length of the bit to facilitate long reaches.

Multi-fiber cable constructed in the tight-buffered design. Designed for ease of connectorization and rugged applications for intra-or inter-building requirements.

A mechanical fixture, generally a ceramic tube, used to protect and align a fiber in a connector. Generally associated with fiber optic connectors.

Thin filament of glass. An optical waveguide consisting of a core and a cladding that is capable of carrying information in the form of light.

Fiber Bend Radius
Radius for a fiber can bend before the risk of breakage or increase in attenuation.

Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)
A standard for a 100 Mbit/s fiber optic local area network.

Fiber Optics
Light transmission through optical fibers for communication signaling.

Fiber Optic Test Procedures. Defined in TIA / EIA Publication Series 455.

Full Round Head
Nails collated in 20-22 degree strips or 15 degree coils feature a round head with no notches. The collation angle and spacing of the fasteners allows the manufacturer to use a full head on the nail.

Fusion Splice
A permanent joint produced by the application of localized heat sufficient to fuse or melt the ends of the optical fiber, forming a continuous single fiber.

Gigahertz (GHz)
A unit of frequency that is equal to one billion cycles per second, 10^9 Hertz

Ground Thread
A class of fit or how tightly a fastener will fit into a threaded hole. A ground thread is the ultimate in tap accuracy. Class of fit is specified according to H limits. One H limit equals .0005" over the basic pitch diameter.

Hand brace installer bit
An installer bit with a taper square shank. The taper square fits into and is held by a hand brace.

HDPE Innerduct
Our HDPE Innerduct is manufactured from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and is intended to be placed underground or inside of existing innerduct. This lightweight product offers maximum flexibility, and allows for installation in small or restricted areas. HDPE innerduct is not fire retardant.

Heat vent
Holes on a circular saw blade that prevent blade distortion and provide relief areas for expansion of materials as a result of friction-generated heat.

High speed steel (HSS)
A formula of metals that has sufficient alloys to withstand frictional heat up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit without softening.

Hook angle
The angle of the teeth on a saw blade that determine how fast or aggressive the saw will cut through materials.

Horsepower. The measure of power contained within a motor.

Horizontal Cabling
The portion of telecommunications cabling that provides connectivity between the horizontal cross-connect and the work-area telecommunications outlet. The horizontal cabling consists of transmission media, the outlet, the terminations of the horizontal cables, and horizontal cross-connect.

Horizontal Cross-Connect (HC)
A cross-connect of horizontal cabling to other cabling, e.g., horizontal, backbone equipment.

Hybrid Cable
A fiber optic cable containing two or more different types of fiber, such as 62.5 um multimode and single mode.

Impact wrench auger bit
An auger bit with a 7/16" or 5/8" quick-change shank for use in impact wrench drills.

the direction a workpiece is fed into a blade or cutter. See outfeed. Or, the part of the machine table where material is positioned to feed into the cutter/tool/blade. Or, the side of a power tool where a board enters.

Jumper (Patchcord)
Optical fiber cable that has connectors installed on both ends.


The actual cutting width of a saw blade, measured at the widest point between a pair of saw teeth. Kerf determines the width of the material removed during the cutting process and is normally wider than the gauge of the plate to provide clearance and prevent binding and drag, which adversely affect finish and overloads the saw motor.

Keyless Chuck
A drill chuck which requires no tools to tighten and loosen.

Kick back
an action that occurs when a work piece is thrown back by a cutter, prevented by using anti-kick back devices on power tools such as table saws.

A device such as a wood strip attached above the sides of a drawer to keep the drawer from tipping downward when opened.

a key used to remove a drill from a collet

A unit of force per area expressed in thousands of pounds per square inch. Usually used as the specification for a fiber proof test, e.g., 100 kpsi.

One thousand meters, or approximately 3,281 feet. The kilometer is a standard unit of length measurement in fiber optics. Conversions is 1 ft. = 0.3048 m.

Lap setting
An adjustment on snips that determines how close the tips come together or cross over.

See Local Area Network.

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. An electro-optic device that produces coherent light with a narrow range of wavelengths, typically centered around 780 nm, 1310 nm, or 1550 nm. Lasers with wavelengths centered around 780 nm are commonly referred to as CD Lasers.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)
A semiconductor device used to transmit light into a fiber in response to an electrical signal. It typically has a broad spectral width.

Local Area Network ( LAN )
A geographically limited communications network intended for the local transport of voice, data, and video. Often referred to as a customer premises network.

Locking Bar Clamp
An adjustable, vise-type clamp with a jaw that slides along a steel bar to extend clamping capabilities. Can be locked onto a work piece, leaving both hands free for work.

Locking C-Clamp
An adjustable, vise-type C-clamp that can be locked onto a work piece, leaving both hands free for work.

Locking Chain Clamp
An adjustable, vise-type chain clamp that can be locked around an odd-shaped or circular workpiece, leaving both hands free for work.

Locking Hold-Down Clamp
Adjustable, vise-type clamp designed to screw securely into a pre-drilled hole on a drill table or workbench, holding a work piece securely to the work surface.

Locking panel clamp
Adjustable, vise-type tool used in the clamping and alignment of auto body panels. The bottom jaw slides in a straight-line motion.

Locking pinch-off tool
Adjustable, vise-type tool that can be locked onto a work piece, specifically a piece of tubing to stop the flow of fluid or gas.

Locking pliers
Adjustable, vise-type pliers that can be locked onto a workpiece, leaving both hands free for work. This versatile tool can be used as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet, or a clamp. Locking pliers are available in various sizes and shapes. Some locking pliers come equipped with a mechanism that allows one-handed release of the locking mechanism; others require two hands to disengage. In addition, many locking pliers provide a wire-cutting function.

Locking wrench
One of the most versatile tools available. The jaws of a locking wrench can be locked in a holding position that exerts pressure up to one ton. A locking wrench can also be used as a hand vise, holding clamp, pipe wrench, and hand vise pliers.

Long (ship) bit
An auger bit ranging in size from 12" to 30".

Loose Tube Cable
Type of cable design whereby coated fibers are encased in buffer tubes offering excellent fiber protection and segregation.

The part of a nailer, stapler, or screw gun which holds the fasteners and helps direct them into firing position.

Main Cross-Connect (MC)
The centralized portion of the backbone cabling used to mechanically terminate and administer the backbone cabling, providing connectivity between equipment rooms entrance facilities, horizontal cross-connects, and intermediate cross-connects.

Marking crayon
A non-toxic, weatherproof marking tool for use on oily, slick, wet, cold, or dry surfaces.

Abbreviation used to denote medium density polyethylene. A type of plastic material used to make cable jacketing.

Mechanical Splicing
Joining two fibers together by permanent or temporary mechanical means (vs. fusion splicing or connectors) to enable a continuous signal. The CamSplice is a good example of a mechanical splice.

Megahertz (MHz)
A unit of frequency that is equal to one million cycles per second.

Micrometer (um)
One millionth of a meter; 10^-6 meter. Typically used to express the geometric dimension of fibers, e.g., 62.5 um.

Micro Bar Clamp/Spreader
a micro-sized version of the combination bar clamp/spreader. Smaller than a mini clamp.

Mini Bar Clamp
a smaller version (approximately 25 percent smaller) of the bar clamp.

Mini Bundle Cable
Siecor loose tube cable in which the buffer tube contains two or more fibers, typically 6 or 12 fibers.

A term used to describe an independent light path through a fiber, as in multimode or single mode.

Mode Field Diameter
The diameter of the one mode of light propagating in a single mode fiber. The mode field diameter replaces core diameter as the practical parameter in single mode fiber.

Multi-Fiber Cable
An optical fiber cable that contains two or more fibers.

Multimode Fiber
An optical waveguide in which light travels in multiple modes. Typical core/cladding size (measured in micrometers) is 62.5/125.

Combining two or more signals into a single bit stream that can be individually recovered.

abbreviation for National Coarse; a measurement of threads per inch on a tap.

abbreviation for National Extra Fine; a measurement of threads per inch on