Saturday, May 18, 2013

Groove, Slit, Slot, Hole

Even if we are familiar with the language we are often not precise in picking our descriptive words.

A groove is a long, narrow indentation. Such as a furrow, trench or the spiral groove of a phonograph record. There is no “all the way through” connotation. It walks the boundary between a line and a hole. Think of the mark left by the blacksmith’s veining chisel.

A slit is a long narrow cut with an “all the way through” connotation.

The insect emerges from a cocoon through a slit. The scissors cut a slit in the paper. The knife slit the throat. The notion is that there is a lot of length and virtually no width. When the blacksmith’s slitting chisel pierces a bar it creates a slit.

A slot is a wide slit - longer than it's wide, which is designed for something to pass through. Often the shape of a long rectangle like a coin slot, a letter slot, or a ballot box slot. A blacksmith’s slot punch knocks out a rectangular slug.

It can get more complicated. Essentially, I have described several kinds of “holes”. A hole is a hollow space in either a surface or a solid. So, a hole can be a cavity or an aperture (fenestration) depending upon the “all the way through” nature of it.

Often holes imply a roundness aspect more than a linear aspect. Paper and leather hole punches remove circular drops. Most blacksmithing hole punches make round or square holes. But the majority of square holes start as round holes and are drifted square.

This site gives a nice pictoral and text description of punching round holes.

I’ve been making a lot of square holes this week while building the pieces for a railing grille with a lot of passthroughs so I began musing about the general nature of these negative spaces.

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