Q. I need a source that I can go to as a builder the way a writer goes to a thesaurus. Do you know of a book of carpentry terms that lists the parts of a house, down to the smallest detail?

A. I’ve yet to find any guide that lists every part of a house down to the smallest detail, or one that even addresses the wide variety of names that some can have. Means Illustrated Construction Dictionary (R. S. Means Co., Kingston, Mass.; 617/585-7880) comes about as close as any. But at about $80 it’s not cheap. To use this, you have to know the word first, and then look it up to find out what it is. Most builders, on the other hand, know the parts of the house and want to know what to call them. For this, you might try Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential and Light Construction by Ramsey and Sleeper (John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, N.Y.; 212/850-6000). This book is well-organized by topic and gives you annotated drawings and specifications of the parts you’re looking for. At $85, this book is expensive, too.