List of words “used” in the Cornish tin mines


F Words

Face Two meanings generally used
a) The blank wall at the end of a heading on which the pattern of holes is drilled for blasting
b) The flat surface on a cleavage plane of rock
Fall Arrest Block see Sala Block
Fan A device using power to move air for ventilation purposes
Air Fan – A fan using compressed air jets to turn the fan blades, these have a very noisy, high pitched scream in operation.
Auxillary Fan – Any fan apart from the main ventilation fans on the surface of a mine
Electric Fan – Any fan using an electric motor to turn the fan blades
Main Fan – The principal fans at the surface sucking foul air from the mine.
Fan Tube – Thin walled metal tube that are bolted together to provide long term ventilation in working places (see also Vent Bags).
Fathom A measurement of six feet, formerly used in both mining and at sea. Until the 1970’s the fortnightly measurements for mining was based on fathoms. SC main level numbers are the distance from adit level in fathoms, 340 level being 340 fathoms below adit, which itself was approx. 20 fathoms below shaft collar.
Cubic Fathom – Standard unit of measurement for stope payment up to the 70’s, a cubic fathom being 6x6x6 feet or 8 cubic yards.
Running Fathom – When a stope was narrower than a fathom (6 ft) width the width measurement was ignored and a price set per square area of the height and length of the stoped area. As it requires more holes and explosive to break out a narrower slot of ore the price per running fathom rose as the width decreased.
Feather A very thin wedge, associated with wedge and feather (see wedge and feathers)
Feldspar A constituent mineral of granite. It is the acid decomposition of feldspar that is responsible for ‘pot granite’ and china clay.
Fingers The term for narrow steel girders that were generally situated at the bottom of ore and waste passes, opened and closed by compressed air pistons that were used to control the flow of broken rock into crushers and storage pits. Two to four per pass were the usual.
“Fire” To be shouted to warn anyone nearby that a blast is imminent. It is usually shouted before lighting a fuse or connecting the shot firing cable to enable anyone nearby to halt the proceedings if necessary, then again just before the blast itself.
Firing Term for the physical act of initiating a blast.
Firing Button – The device to be held or pressed to close the electric circuit on an exploder (see Exploder)
Firing Cable – The semi permanent two core cable from the firing point to a convenient place adjacent to the working heading or stope.
Firing Point – The safe place from where the shotfirer initiated the blast.
Firing Time – The time allocated to the blasting of headings and stopes. Due to smoke, personal safety and other factors, rounds could not be set of at will, but had to take place at designated times.
Fishplate A stout steel plate with four square holes and chamfered edges that fit into the web of a rail. A fishplate is attached to either side of the end of a rail with two track bolts and the next rail is bolted using the other two bolt holes, thus sandwiching the rail ends between two plates.
Fishplate Bolt – These are bolts with flat domed heads and a short section of square shank that fits the square holes in the fishplate. These bolts are always inserted with the domed head on the inside of the track so that they do not interfere with the flange of wheels passing over them.
fishplate plate to join two lengths of track together
Fixture The general meaning of this term is when a drill steel bit, invariably a chisel bit, is stuck in the hole due to the bit entering a crack or fault in the rock, another reason is when particles of rock do not flush away properly and become packed behind the bit, preventing it from being withdrawn. A twister is employed to try to free the drill steel, but if firmly stuck the hole may be abandoned and another drilled nearby, the drill steel being blasted out with the round.
Fixtured Steel The other term for a fixture is when the shank of a drill steel ‘bells out’ in the rock drill chuck and has to be removed in a suitable workshop, generally on surface. A rock drill with a 10ft steel jammed in the chuck is not a welcome sight.
Flatbed A wagon running on rails with a timber planked or sheet metal bed for carrying materials on. These are generally made from the trolley part of mine wagons when the butt, or body, has been damaged or worn out.
Floor The bottom of a drive, crosscut, sub level, inter or other tunnel.
Fluorspar A soft mineral commonly found in the lodes of Cornwall. The usual colours are green and purple.
Forepoling A term referring to pushing rails, supported from steel arches, to the face and as close as practicable to the roof to provide overhead protection to personnel advancing a heading in very poor rock conditions.
Fool’s Gold Common term for iron pyrites, the appearance of which could cause great excitement to the uninitiated when found in a working place.
Footwall The side of the lode which is underwards.
Footwall Drive – a drive driven in the waste, or country rock. The principal reason being that the footwall of a mined lode is in more stable rock, the hanging wall being liable to fracture and collapse when the lode is extracted, removing its support.
Footwall of Stope – The side of the stope tending to be under the lode. The footwall can be broken into without too much danger, the hanging wall being mined more circumspectely to avoid damaging the integrity of the hanging wall face.
Fork (In) When a pump is out of water and running without load
Funk Term for the fog or mist that is a common feature of warm, poorly ventilated places underground where the humidity reaches 100%, or saturation point. It also occurs where compressed air is used, particularly in humid ends being drilled over. The visibility in some places can be as little as a metre.
Fuse A trail of incendiary materials, that when lit at one end takes a flame to another place. Used to either set of a charge in an inaccessible place, or to give personnel time to retire to a safe place before the charge detonates.

Peter Hughes has supplied words of this colour
D.C.Williams at Exeter University, better known as Gus. has supplied words of this colour
The remainder are supplied by Michael Davis