Is it Safe to Use the Cobb BBQ on a Boat?

In the traditional sense I think that if you asked most boat owners this question, they would have reservations about safety, and rightly so. For the most part they would not know about the Cobb BBQ but tend instead to think in terms of the traditional open BBQ, red hot to the touch and smoke everywhere.

My own boat is sixty years old, mahogany on oak, and the Cobb BBQ is used on a regular basis. I would probably not recommend the Cobb BBQ for use at sea, unless a Gimbal arrangement was in place. For anyone that doesn’t know what a Gimbal is. It is an arrangement that keeps a supported object upright with respect to the horizon despite the pitch or roll of the vessel. My own boat very rarely sees salt water and I never use the Cobb BBQ except in flat conditions or when moored, which answers safety concerns.

One of the beauties of the Cobb BBQ is that due to its design the outside (apart from the lid) remains cool to the touch. Also it is never normally necessary to use more than eight charcoal briquettes. This makes it very easy to light the Cobb on the stern deck and then, when the coals have turned grey, easily carry it inside to the galley. Another design feature is that when you start to BBQ, any juices from the cooking meat are directed to the side of the Cobb BBQ into a ‘moat’. This prevents meat juices from dripping onto the coals and the smoke typical of every other BBQ I know of, is absent.

If you do use the Cobb BBQ on your boat, like any other cooker, make sure that you have adequate ventilation. I fitted a six inch extractor fan to clear cooking fumes from my own galley. There is a double benefit to this. First of all any fumes caused by burning either gas (my other cooker) or the charcoal briquettes used by the Cobb BBQ, are whipped away. The second benefit of forced ventilation is that cooking smells are also removed. The size of boat I have is a comparatively small space and as we know, some cooking smells linger. Not now.

So back to the original question. Yes, the Cobb BBQ is safe to use on a boat, providing common sense and care is used. Safety should be a boaters’ main concern, but this has also to include things like not using open fryers and protecting ourselves and others from open pans that contain any other sort of boiling substance. The basic design of the Cobb makes it inherently safer than either of these other methods. I have also to point out that the Cobb does much more than just BBQ.

Significance of Petrochemical Industry and Its Products

The process of refining crude oil leads to the production of a number of by products which are classified as petroleum products. These products are present in our daily trivial things to the most significant things available. The uses of these products are so significant that it is simply impossible to live life without it.

Some of the most common products which contain these by products include paints, thinners, dry cleaning chemicals, inks, insecticides, charcoal lighters, construction chemicals and so forth. With an endless list it is quite impossible to categorize all the items.

Different Petrochemical Products of Significance

These products have a wide variety of uses which are explained as below:

  • Wax: petrochemical products also includes wax as it is a by- product of petroleum and is widely used to make candles, various types of polishes, cartons and so forth.
  • Synthetic: this is another by- product that is of immense importance and which is obtained by refining petroleum. Synthetic is used as a raw material for manufacturing different types of garments.
  • Fertilizers: it is also used as fertilizers to protect crops from damage. Various kinds of pesticides and insecticides are manufactured using petrochemical products.
  • Preservatives: these products also act as preservatives to canned food. It is also used for producing different types of vitamins.
  • Soaps and detergents: it is a main ingredient in detergents and soaps.
  • Dyes: petrochemical products also include dyes which are used in ink pens. It is also included in cloth dyes.
  • Plastic commodities: majority of the plastic containers, plates and cups contain this by- product of crude oil. It is one of the widely and commonly used products as it is made of polyester.
  • Plasters: petrochemical products are being used for the manufacture of non stick pads, used extensively in the medical field.
  • Sports shoes: are also manufactured with the use of these by- products. The flexible rubber shoes are the results of the extensive use of synthetics which remain intact in all weathers.
  • Explosives: most of the explosives contain petroleum products.

Petrochemical products are used in varied forms in all fields. Ranging from common household items to complex applications, the uses are extensively wide and different.

The Indian petrochemical products have great demand and significance in the global markets. A huge share of products is being marketed to different parts of the world through the business portals. The top notch quality of the Indian products coupled with low price rate is one of the main reasons for its rising demand in the international markets.

Most of the Indian products such as polymers, wool, fibre, cotton, surfactants, acrylics and synthetics are supplied at discounted rates but with superior quality in the international markets. The demand for Indian products has skyrocketed to unfathomable heights due to these reasons.

The petrochemical markets in India are growing immensely due to many favourable factors. With the wide use of these products, it is one of the most promising industries in the world yielding huge revenue for the country.

Choosing Flooring Materials – What to Consider Before Buying

No one can deny that carpet and flooring play a key role in the overall appearance of any room. Whether one is updating an existing room or building a new home or office they should be sure to make a careful choice when it comes to the floors. Choosing the right flooring should take into account the location, desired design, budget and of course their lifestyle.

Consider Ambiance

The first step in choosing carpet and flooring is deciding what the desired feel and look are for the room in question. As an important design element, most prefer to carefully select the right material. Common choices include:

• Wood

• Laminate

• Vinyl

• Carpet

• Bamboo

• Cork

• Ceramic

• Linoleum

Patterns, colours and textures all play into the overall ambiance of the room.

Today’s Choices

Due to processes today, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between manufactured and genuine flooring materials. Not to mention, manufactured options are less expensive and still deliver the same durability and beauty as genuine products. Carpet and flooring that uses state-of-the-art embossing and printing technology is a great choice, and will depend wholly on the buyer’s personal preference.

Wood Flooring

As a top choice among homeowners, the genuine and manufactured wood products on the market offer many options to go right along with any interior space décor. Designers can choose from traditional pine and oak, or exotic bamboo. In most cases, they can choose the type of stain or gloss, width and length of planks, any textures, edging and other details.

Don’t think that a high-quality laminate can’t be mistaken for real wood. They are also made to mimic brick, ceramic and stone. They are also easy to clean and can easily be protected from fading and stains from spills when treated correctly. This type of flooring can look completely authentic and fool even the most trained eye.

Vinyl

Another popular material when it comes to choosing carpet and flooring is vinyl. There are thousands upon thousands of designs that are created using the latest technology to feel completely natural. Choose from limestone, ceramic. Slate and hardwood finishes on vinyl products.

Linoleum

Real linoleum is produced from natural ingredients; minerals for pigment, linseed oil, ground wood and limestone are typical. Linoleum is very tough and has a wide range of designs that are traditional and contemporary. Marbleized, flecked patterns and solid colours are available.

Carpeting

Carpet can be used wall to wall or one can install carpet and flooring options stated above. Most prefer a hard floor in bathrooms, washrooms, kitchens and laundry areas. Carpet is great for living spaces and bedrooms. It comes in a wide range of colours and weaves such as plush, frieze which is also called shag, and everything in between.

Conclusion

Once all the design options are considered,the decorator needs to figure which flooring will be best for each room. The most important consideration is ability to withstand moisture, pooling water, temperature fluctuations and the like. Hardwood can gap, warp and buckle as well as many laminate options when exposed to moisture. Tile and vinyl are better for rooms that could be damp.

All in all, choosing a carpet and flooring option that everyone will love and enjoy goes a bit beyond just how it looks, but when working with the right dealer and installation crew one can end up with a beautiful finish. Remember to consider the traffic as well, to include children and pets. Maintenance may be minimal on some types but not on others as well. When everything is considered, home and business owners will end up with the perfect carpet and flooring for a completely unique décor.

403b Retirement Plans – 10 Facts You Should Know About

403 retirement plans are tax deferred retirement plans available to employees of educational institutions and certain non-profit organizations as determined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

I’ve 10 facts here on 403b which you should know.

Fact 1: The Workings Of 403b Plans

You set aside money for retirement on a pre-tax basis through a salary reduction agreement with your employer. You choose from among the vendors offered by your employer where you want to invest the money. The money grows tax free until you withdraw it at retirement.

Fact 2: who Can Contribute To A 403b

If you’re an employee of tax-exempt organizations established under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC, you’re eligible to participate and start contributing.

Teachers, school administrators, school personnel, nurses, doctors, professors, researchers, librarians and ministers are contributors to the plan.

Fact 3: Why Contribute to a 403b

Your employer provides you with a pension upon your retirement. However, the pension plan may not provide an amount equal to your salary. A 403(b) plan can provide a healthy supplement to your pension.

Fact 4: How Much You Can contribute Annually

You can contribute the smaller of:

  • The elective deferral limit of $15,500
  • or

  • Up to 100% of including compensation
  • or

  • If you’ve employer matches or other employer contributions, limits are $46,000 or 100% of compensation (whichever is lower). You’re still limited to the employee elective deferral limit ($15,500). Hence, your employer can add another $30,500 to your account
  • If you’re 50 or older at any time during the year, you can contribute an additional $5,000

Fact 5: Lower Taxes

You make 403b contributions on a pre-tax basis which can greatly reduce your tax bill. The tax savings grow bigger as your contributions increase.

Fact 6: More Tax Savings

All dividends, interests and capital gains earned in a 403b account are on a tax-deferred basis. This means your earnings will grow tax-free until time you withdraw them.

Fact 7: Part Time Employees Eligible To Contribute to 403b Retirement Plans

Your employer must extend the 403b plan to all the employees.

However, certain employees may be excluded, such as:

  • Employees who contribute $200 or less annually
  • Employees who are participants in an eligible deferred compensation plan (457 or 401k) or participants in another TSA (tax sheltered annuity)
  • Non-resident aliens
  • Students and employees who work less than 20 hours per week

Fact 8: 403b Plan Does Not Reduce Social Security Benefits

Your contributions to a 403b reduce taxable compensation for federal (and in most instances, state) income tax purposes only. These contributions don’t reduce wages for the purpose of determining Social Security benefits.

Fact 9: Special Tax Credit For Low-Income Savers

Eligible savers will receive a tax credit of up to 50% or up to $2,000 in contributions to an IRA, 403b, 457, SIMPLE, 401k plan and other tax-favored plans. The full credit is available to joint filers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $53,000, and for singles whose AGI is under $26,500.

Fact 10: A 403b Can Be Rolled Into An IRA

This occurs when you change job; retire; become disabled or die.

OK, you might think 403b retirement plans are more or less similar to 401k plans. But there’s a big difference there – your eligibility.

If you’re an employee in public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations (as determined by Section 501(c)(3) of the IRC), you’re eligible for 403b. The 401k, on the other hand, covers private-sector employees

Nordictrack ACT Elliptical – Why Is This Trainer So Popular?

Thinking about the Nordictrack ACT Elliptical trainer?

This popular center-drive crosstrainer has been around for several years now – a testament to it’s popularity as Nordictrack often discontinues models after one or two years if they’re not selling well.

Why is it so popular? Here are 3 main benefits the ACT crosstrainer gives you that other models don’t:

#1 It’s More Comfortable

The pedals on this trainer are placed closer together. This is mainly because the flywheels are on the side instead of in the front or the back of the pedals.

Because the pedals can be placed closer together, it gives a more natural feel to the elliptical running motion. You also don’t get as much strain on your hips – a difference you’ll really feel if you tend to workout for longer periods of time.

#2 Possibility for Faster Weight Loss

With the ACT elliptical, you tend to stand more upright on the pedals and lean less on the handrails (as you often do with cheaper elliptical trainers).

Less leaning on the handrails then forces your body to take more of its weight – and you burn more calories.

And more calories burned equal faster weight loss.

#3 iFit Adds Entertainment

iFit is a fantastic technology that Nordictrack puts on some of their new crosstrainers – including the ACT elliptical.

iFit basically connects you machine to the Internet using the wireless in your home. From there you can do all sorts of fun things to make your workouts more enjoyable.

For example, you can download new workouts from celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, where she coaches you through your workout (using the built-in console speakers).

You can also track your workout statistics online – and set new goals. This is a great way to constantly push yourself to higher levels (and again lose weight even faster!)

Another thing you can do with iFit is run different famous world trails. You can even use Googlemaps to plot out new courses to run (for example, if you want to run in your old neighbourhood!)

So iFit gives you a lot of interesting things to do that turn a boring, bland workout into a fun, enjoyable, goal-reaching experience.

Different Models:

There are currently 3 different models of the Nordictrack ACT elliptical – the original ACT (under $1000) and the higher end ACT 7 and ACT 10 models.

The ACT 7 and ACT 10 step it up and come with built-in web browsers to make your workouts even more productive.

So that gives you an overview of what makes the Nordictrack ACT elliptical so popular.

One last benefit? These center drive ellipticals take up about half the space (length-wise) as a standard elliptical. So they’re great for smaller homes or apartment workout areas.

Regardless of which elliptical you choose, make sure to take your time, do your research and find a trainer that can really get you excited about working out!

The Pros and Cons of Teak Furniture

When it comes to outdoor furniture, nothing could be more popular than teak furniture. They are by far the most favored outdoor furniture by so many homeowners. Let’s find out its distinguishing characteristics and the underlying pros and cons of buying and using this type of outdoor furnishing.

Teak furniture scores A-plus when it comes to durability. The teak lumbers they are made from are superbly constructed by nature to have very tight wood grains. This enables the teak wood furniture to withstand great stresses and heavy loads. Well, of course, if it’s seating for people and only food items are placed on top of table surfaces then perhaps all different outdoor material types will survive. But durability isn’t just about supporting heavy loads. It also speaks of longer-lasting quality. With teak patio furniture, the wood grains are not only weaved tight, they are also rich in natural oils. This makes them able to repel moisture from seeping in to prevent rotting and it also drives away termites and pests that can gnaw in its wood making them last for generations.

Another advantage of teak patio furniture is style. Only highly-skilled craftsmen handle pricey teak lumber material, hence, every piece produced exudes unparalleled elegance and beauty. The teak pieces also have beautiful natural finish in golden hue. What is more interesting is that they require little maintenance or virtually none at all. You can leave your teak chairs or tables outdoors and they will turn to a silver patina over time giving them a very unique weathered look.

With all these pros for the teak furnishing, you probably would think there’s no disadvantage pinned to them. Well, you’re wrong. It all boils down to the price. Not all homeowners are able to afford their thousand dollar price. Many would have wished for a teak chair or table in their yard but the scarcity of the material used to make this beautiful piece of furniture makes it a far-fetched dream for some.

ESL GAME 5 Change Seats If

This ESL Game is called, “Change Seat if…”

And instead of always saying, “Change Seats if…” you could also say, “Switch Seats if,” or “Trade seats if…”

This ESL Game can be used as a warm up activity, at the end of the class; so that your students go home with a smile on their faces; or you can play this game when you want to notice your students focus fading.

To play this all you have to say is, “Change Seats if…”

– you have black hair!

– you have a sister!

– you like to eat hamburgers!

– you are sitting beside a boy!

– your favorite color is red!

– you like to do homework!

– you don’t like to do homework!

You can basically say anything after you say, “Trade Seats if…” and if whatever you said is true about any student in the class ~ they must “Switch Seats” with one of the other students who also has to switch his/her seat.

Also, if you are teaching younger students you should use vocabulary that has already been taught.

And if you are teaching more advanced students you should try to use vocabulary or subjects which they have knowledge about.

This is one of the best ESL Games to play with your class and every student will really be happy to play it; and while you are playing this game you are also improving the students listening skills.

So try this game out next time that you are in the ESL classroom!

A Receding Hairline in Men Is Reversible With Early Treatment

A receding hairline can make you look many years older than you actually are; not surprisingly, most men who develop one want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Although there are many treatments available today that claim to fight off a receding hairline, many of them are gimmicks and don’t provide any real results. Men find themselves becoming more and more frustrated and aggravated as they try product after product, with nothing to show for their efforts except an empty wallet. Fortunately, there are all natural thinning hairline product that can reverse male pattern baldness and give you back a full head of hair.

You’ve surely heard many big promises from numerous different manufacturers out there regarding your receding hairline. If you’re like many guys, you’ve probably even endured painful surgeries and unpleasant side effects that come along with many kinds of prescription hair loss drugs. Incredibly, though, natural receding hairline products require no prescription and are completely noninvasive. Instead, you simply take their all natural oral pills or apply their topical serums once per day in order to begin getting after the root cause of male pattern baldness: increased levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the body.

A little-known fact about male pattern baldness and increased levels of DHT in the body is that much of it is triggered by the 5AR enzyme. If not for that enzyme, many cases of receding hairline would never have occurred in the first place. If you have a receding hairline, chances are that high levels of DHT – triggered by the 5AR enzyme – are to blame. Although this is a complex scientific process, the makers of the leading natural hair loss products have developed a formula that uses all natural ingredients to stop the 5AR enzyme in its tracks and keep levels of DHT from skyrocketing.

A Proven Solution

DHT binds itself to androgen receptors in your scalp, ejecting existing hair and creating an inhospitable environment for new hair to grow back in. In the case of a receding hairline, this phenomenon is centered on the front of a man’s scalp. A hair loss product can block the 5AR enzyme, rendering it useless and unable to interact with testosterone. When it can’t do that, the byproduct of that interaction – DHT – never has a chance to increase. All told, DHT blockers similar to it can put an end to a receding hairline and can even promote new hair growth.

Stephanie Ericsson, "The Ways We Lie"

In “The Ways We Lie,” by Stephanie Ericsson, the author depicts the many ways humans lie and justifies the reasons for doing so. There is the white lie, which is basically telling a harmless untruth instead of a harmful truth. Facades are basically changing your personality while ignoring the plain facts, as the title implies, is a false action done with the intent to deceive. Deflecting is not answering the question at all; it is being up-front about comfortable issues and not revealing the couple of very important issues that changes everything.

The omission is simply when you don’t say anything instead of lying; this changes history as it did in the omission of Lilith from the Bible. Stereotypes create lies because a group of peoples actions, just like group think, caused bad disasters such as Pearl Harbor. Out-and-out lies are straightforward, and dismissal is simply avoiding the lie all together. It’s seems that Ericsson believes lying is important in order to not hurt peoples feelings and to be successful and happy.

I agree with Ericsson to an extent. It is true that lying may cause hurt feelings and a simple, harmless mis truth would have solved that problem. However, the author also states that she tried to go weeks without lying and she found it almost impossible. I believe that this shows the author might be a compulsive liar, and thus all the justifications she gave us were lies as well. Either way, lies are important, just not when you lie all the time.

What Are The Advantages Of A Hand-Held Vacuum Cleaner?

We all know how the vacuum cleaner has made cleaning a whole lot easier. But then, we must admit that when it comes to everyday spills, we don’t really use the bulky machine. We tend to rely instead on traditional cleaning up tools such as lukewarm water, soap and good old rag. Didn’t it just defeat the purpose of having a vacuum machine for convenience?

This is why most households, aside from buying a full sized vacuum cleaner, also invest in a small hand-held one. Some may view this as a waste of money but many others will look at it as a necessity. Small hand-held vacuums, especially the cordless ones, are so convenient to use that you can immediately clean up spills before they do greater damage to your furniture.

Still not convinced? Well aside from what I have mentioned in the paragraph above, a hand-held vacuum cleaner also comes with more advantages and certainly, you will not regret buying one. Here are some of the best advantages you can have when you buy your own hand-held vacuum machine.

Portability

Just like what I said above, many people prefer to buy a hand held vacuum cleaner because these are very portable. They are easy to use especially for emergency spillage and can be used to clean even the narrower areas of the house. It would be better if you invest in a portable hand held vacuum machine that has a wet-dry function so that you can easily clean both dry dirt and liquid spills.

These are also very easy to carry because they are lightweight. Because of this, you can carry them around even upstairs and downstairs without breaking a sweat (unless of course the weather is warm). A cordless hand held vacuum cleaner is better because you do not have to plug it in; you can work with it as long as it is charged. You can even use them in the car.

Because most hand held vacuums do not have to be plugged into sockets, you can easily navigate them. You can go forward and sweep off every dust particle you see without worrying of pulling the plug off its socket. Also, you can easily clean very small spaces, even the insides of your drawers and closets.

Powerful features

Some people think buying a hand held vacuum cleaner is not worth it because they are just that, vacuum appliances. However, what these people may not know is that the market for hand held vacuum cleaners is constantly improving and more and more features are added to them. The first one is the wet-dry function which is present in almost all hand held models.

Because of this wet-dry function, hand held vacuum appliances are designed with a higher suction power. They need that kind of suction power because liquid spillage is harder to pick up and requires greater power and strength. They also have an improved filtration system, filtering dirt particles as the vacuum cleaner sucks them off the floor or any surface.

Another feature which is included in many models of hand held vacuums is its ability to pick up dander or pet hair with their motorized brushes. If they have enough suction power to pick up liquid, then it is even easier for them to suck pet hair. Hand held vacuum cleaners are also ideal for furniture and almost all kinds of surfaces including carpeted floors.

Convenient use

It may be hard to admit but after some time, cleaning the house with your bulky (but yes, efficient) vacuum becomes too tedious of a task. There are vacuum cleaner models which are designed to be of easier use to the owner because it is made lighter but still, these are no match to the convenience offered by the small hand held vacuums.

If possible, invest in a cordless hand held vacuum cleaner. You don’t even have to plug the thing in; you only have to keep its battery charged. Just pick up the device, position it on top of the dirt or spill and then turn it on. It’s that easy. You can even use it on your shoes, on your computer (just be careful) or virtually any appliance or furniture that needs some cleaning.

You can also use the hand held vacuum anytime you wish, unlike the full sized vacuum where you have to schedule Saturday morning especially for its purpose. Hand held vacuum cleaners do not come with bags so you do not have to worry about running out of disposable dirt bags. You just have to open the compartments and dump the dirt into the trash can. Doing this is easier as compared to regular full sized, bagless vacuums.

Window to Door Conversion

Have you ever wondered what your living room would be like with french doors instead of your bay window? Do you want a comfortable indoor/outdoor space that is perfect for entertaining? Converting your window into a new door opening is easier than you might think and it can be more economical than knocking a hole in your exterior wall. However, there are several things homeowners often overlook and do not consider when budgeting a window to door conversion.

1. Extra Light & Extra Heat.

If you are replacing your window with french doors or glass paneled sliders, your essentially creating a larger opening for light to enter. Where there is more light, there is generally going to be more heat. This can be especially bad during the summer months and can cause your utility bills to increase. If this is going to be an issue, it’s important to price out doors with energy efficient glass panels. These will typically cost more than your standard windows.

2. Change in Your Furniture Layout.

Your favorite couch might be right in front of a window and located in the perfect. But if that window turns into a door, it’s probably going to be moved. Before construction begins, try arranging your furniture in a way that would make sense if that window was a door. You may be surprised how things to turn out!

3. Doors Need Covering.

Ever notice there’s usually a porch at the front door entrance, and a patio in the backyard for sliding doors? That’s to protect your home form the outdoor elements. Doors are typically not sealed as tightly as windows. You may notice there is a small opening at the bottom of your doors. Although it may seem air tight, it’s very easy for water to seep underneath the doorway during a rainstorm. If where you’re planning to add a door does not currently have a covering, you may want to seriously consider adding one. This can definitely increase unwanted costs to your window replacement project.

4. Floor Transitions.

If you are in love with your new wooden floors, hopefully you have some spare located in the garage or attic. Since there will be construction near the floor, there is a high probability that your floor may incur some damage. Also, you may want some T strips for a natural looking transition.

5. You Need Light Switches.

There’s no way around this one. According to code, every doorway needs a light switch within 6-10 inches from the door jamb. If you don’t have one, this is a cost you will have to include into your budget.

Making Palm Wax Candles – 7 Things You Must Know!

Have you made candles before but are now thinking about making palm wax candles? There are a few things you need to know before you start. This information will help you to make a safe and quality candle.

1. AIR HOLES Whether you are making pillar or jar candles, you must ALWAYS poke for air holes during the cooling process. When palm wax cools it forms a layer on top while the middle is still liquid. Air is usually trapped in that liquid and it makes bubbles in the wax. Those air bubbles form around the wick or wick pin (if you are making pillars). Those air pockets can cause problems when the candle is burning. When the melt pool reaches down to one of those pockets, the melted wax drains into the pocket and exposes more of the wick. If you have a large pocket and it drains all of the melted wax, your burning wick will be out of control. The candle is burning fine one minute and you leave the room only to come back to a huge flame. I am not saying that every palm wax candle you make will have bubbles, but it is not worth taking the chance. You must poke holes when a top layer has formed and the wax is starting to get cloudy. Timing is everything in this process. You do not want to wait too long to poke holes. It does not matter what you use to poke the holes as long as you mix the juicy slush enough to be sure all bubbles have risen to the surface. Poking holes in the wax is a time-consuming process, especially when you are making hundreds of candles. I believe that this is one of the reasons why you do not see palm wax candles being made by the large candle companies.

2. CURE TIME I have tested several hundred fragrance oils from over 30 different manufacturers/distributors. I can tell you that if a fragrance oil is going to have a good hot throw when lit, it will usually have a good cold throw. If you cannot smell any cold throw after 24 hours, chances are pretty good that it is not going to have much hot throw. I have never experienced any improvement in fragrance by waiting days or weeks. Remember this is not soy wax. This big difference with palm wax compared to other waxes is that it will get noticeably harder over time. Do a test and you will see. Make three candles without fragrance oil or dye. Make candle #1 and let it sit two weeks. After two weeks, make candle #2. Wait another 2 weeks and make candle #3. When candle #3 is totally cooled, burn all three with the same type/size wick and you will see the difference. This is very important to know because if you wick the candle without taking the curing process into consideration, you will surely wick it too small. I believe that a month after making is a good time to start trying to figure out the perfect wick size. There is nothing wrong with making a candle and burning it right away. You just won’t get the longest burn time that you could have if you let it cure. If I am testing a particular fragrance, I do burn the candle right away. If the fragrance is OK, then I make more test candles to cure so I can get it wicked properly. There is no sense in waiting a month to let the candle cure if the fragrance is not what you are looking for.

3. COOL DOWN How you cool your candles is also something that is important to making beautiful palm wax candles. The slower you cool the wax after pouring, the better the crystalline design your candle will have. I would recommend testing on this issue. You can get a beautiful design without doing anything. You can pour your wax into a room temperature jar or mold and get a nice results. I would try heating the jar and molds and see if it looks better to you. Also, you could cover your jars and molds to hold the heat in. Put something insulated under your candle (like a thick book or magazine) because it will help with even cooling. Your final product will show if it had uneven cooling. It really is a matter of how much attention you want to pay in trying to get the best crystallization on your candles. Just so you know-if you pour melted palm wax into a cold or frozen jar/mold, you will not have any crystallization at all. It will look like soy wax.

4. FRAGRANCE OILS Be prepared for the fact that some fragrance oils will not work in palm wax. I fairly good rule of thumb is that if it works in soy, it will work in palm. Many places that sell fragrance oils usually state whether they are compatible with soy. For every 10-15 fragrance oils you test, be prepared to have maybe one that works great. Again, this is my opinion and what has been my experience. You might experience something different. Be prepared to test and test. You will know when you have a winner. Your candle will smell awesome! I would start with 1 oz. of fragrance oil per 16 oz (1 pound) of wax. I wouldn’t worry about getting a digital scale so you can measure 1 oz (weight) of fragrance oil. Just get a shot glass and measure 1 oz. (volume). It will vary with the actual weight of the oil but not enough to worry about. If the candle smells great and performs good, go with it. Palm wax has the ability to hold more oil. If you plan on making large amounts of candles, then I would consider getting a scale and doing it the other way.

5. BURN CHARACTERISTICS Palm wax is a hard and brittle wax. It does not get soft and bendable when heated like paraffin wax. If you dropped a palm pillar on the ground it would dent and crumble. Let me save you money and time trying to find the perfect wick to burn in your candles. Wedo is a company from Germany that makes wicks just for palm wax. The CSN series wicks can be purchased at several places online. Palm wax is tough on wicks and will reduce a good flame to almost nothing within an hour. I have boxes full of wicks that were suppose to be the best and “work great with palm”. Go with the CSN line. They really allow for a clean burn that is almost required from an all natural wax. Remember that wicks in palm wax burn down then outward. Palm pillar candles pose an interesting challenge. Making a self consuming palm wax candle is even harder. Wick too small and it tunnels and barely burns half the wax or if you wick too large it blows out the side and wax goes everywhere. Let’s assume you wick it to have a melt pool a quarter of an inch from the edge, you are relying on everything being perfect. You can’t control whether the person will burn the candle for 10 minutes or 10 hours. Will the candle be level? Will there be a breeze? What if the wick is never trimmed? All of these factors can change the way a candle burns even if you have it wicked properly. Factors like these can make a precisely wicked pillar candle into a candle that has a blow through after only a few hours. Also remember tunneling flames are not attractive in a thick diameter candle. The candle will not glow and you will hardly notice the candle is lit unless standing over it. Bottom line you have to wick the pillar with reasonable consideration for variations in burning. Most people light candles and forget about them until they blow them out. Just a thought.

6. MIXING WAXES Combining other waxes with palm wax can create some interesting results. Remember that the more you add other waxes to palm it will reduce the crystallization accordingly. If you are going to attempt mixing enough wax to eliminate poking holes, I would make enough test candles to really see and be confident that the air pockets are eliminated. I would cut the candle length wise along the wick.

7. FURTHER INFORMATION One of the most important things when making candles is to remember that any changes you make can alter how a candle performs when burning. Adding or changing the amount of fragrance oils, dyes or additives can have noticeable differences when burning. Always take notes! You will never remember everything. Palm wax is my favorite wax because of its performance. It can be a headache working with it, but in my opinion, it is worth it. Hey, if everybody was doing it, it wouldn’t be fun. Happy testing.

Basic Construction of a Plasma Television Display

In a plasma screen, there are over sixteen million pixels making up the display. Each of those sixteen million are made up of three pixel colors of blue, red and green phosphors, which are evenly distributed across the screen. The entire screen which you view, or rather the picture you watch is made up of a combination of these three colors.

The plasma itself sits and operates between two thin glass panels. Millions of tiny images (made up of the greens, reds and blues) are made by the illumination of fluorescent lights put through them. And the plasma is made of a gas made up from electrically charged atoms and negatively charged particles. Then electricity is passed through it, which starts the ‘lighting’ process, or what we see on-screen.

Plasma TV’s are at the top end of the scale, when it comes to price compared to other types of flat screen. But is there an advantage we clearly see with a plasma TV, compared to LCD?

Because of the flat screen, there is no edge distortion which you sometimes get on normal or CRT TV’s.

View movies made in widescreen or 16:9 format as they should be – in widescreen, not with half a picture cut off! And you know how annoying and frustrating that can be, when you get half the picture cut off or you can’t see the subtitles at the bottom of the screen!

With a plasma, brightness of the display is uniform from one corner to the other. With conventional TV’s you get bright and dark mixed colors, but you don’t have this problem with a plasma display. All sixteen pixels are illuminated evenly.

A major problem with the old type televisions is the huge amount of space they take up in your living room, but this problem is non existent with a flat screen. Because of the slim design, plasma televisions give more options when it comes to mounting them. Be it eye level height, or up higher you can mount a plasma on the wall or it can sit on a normal TV stand.

Another thing which is great about plasmas is that magnetic fields do not interrupt the screen. Plasma displays work completely different from conventional televisions, which uses electron beams, which as you know can be affected greatly by magnetism.The advantages of a plasma can easily be seen here. So you know that sound system you wanted to plant right next to your TV set? With a plasma, you can have the speakers as close as you like without it affecting the picture.

Waterproof Electrical Connectors – Tips For Outdoor Christmas Lights

Can you feel it in the air? The fuzzy feelings of Christmas? Yes, folks, Christmas is around the corner once again! And once again, we’ll be hearing Christmas carols, smelling chestnuts roasting and seeing towns and cities light up like stars! Need tips for your outdoor Christmas lights? Here are some suggestions on how to make your house look like it stepped out from a Christmas story!

1. Waterproof electrical connectors

First things first. When it comes to outdoor lighting, you MUST use waterproof electrical connectors to make sure everyone will be safe and sound through the duration of the holidays. Okay, enough said.

2. Plan a theme

Do you want your own Winter Wonderland out in your garden? Or maybe a mini North Pole, complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer? Choosing a certain theme will help you know exactly what you need to buy or make for your display. It will save you the shopping time too!

3. Environment-friendly lights

If you’re worried about your electricity bill shooting through the roof, buy environment-friendly lights. Though these might cause more than the ordinary lights at the onset, it will save a lot of money on your electricity bill. Plus, hey, you’re helping save the earth too.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be all set for Christmas! So, go on and start decorating! It’s never too early to start spreading Christmas cheer and good will! And just a reminder before I go: be safe! So, remember tip #1 and use waterproof electrical connectors!

Installing a New Damp-Proof Course? Putting in a Physical Barrier

There are essentially two ways of introducing a new damp-proof course into an existing wall, but only one of these methods – inserting a new physical membrane DPC into the wall is certain to cure rising damp in all circumstances. This is often referred to as the traditional method. If a new physical membrane is installed properly, there is no way that moisture can penetrate across it. The other method is to inject a chemical barrier into the wall.

Putting in a physical barrier

Any physical membrane introduced into the wall will have to be let into a course of mortar. So, the first problem is deciding which mortar course to use. In older houses suffering from rising damp which have suspended wooden floors, the new DPC should always be installed below floor level and at least 150mm above outside ground level. The DPC should be inserted below the level of any wooden wallplates or joists which are in direct contact with the outside walls. If the structure of the house makes this impossible, apply liberal quantities of wood preservative where necessary. Apply wood preservatives as well to any timbers which have become damp.

In houses with solid floors which have a damp-proof floor membrane, the DPC should be inserted as near to the top level of the floor as possible, and any remaining gap on the inside wall should be painted with a bituminous-type material. This will protect any wooden skirting boards placed over the gap which are in direct contact with the wall.

Once you have chosen the mortar course in which to insert the damp-proof membrane, the next step is to clear the course on both sides of the wall. Remove any obstructions such as skirting boards, electrical connections or pipes. Then cut through the entire thickness of the mortar course using an angle grinder or a tungsten-carbide tipped chainsaw specially designed for the purpose. Insert the damp-proof membrane – copper sheet, bituminous felt or thick polythene – and drive wedges into the gap between the brickwork and the membrane until this gap can be back-filled with mortar. Do not tackle any more than half to one metre of wall at a time to prevent settlement and structural damage as the thickness of the mortar course is removed. Separate lengths of the membrane material should be overlapped.

The equipment needed for inserting a physical membrane can usually be hired from a tool-hire firm, but you should take great care when using it – large angle grinders and chainsaws are potentially dangerous tools and there is always the possibility of cutting through electrical cables or gas or water pipes you did not know about.

There are many firms who specialise in this sort of installation, and it may be wiser to call one in rather than to attempt the job yourself. The technique does have its limitations and is the most expensive. It cannot be used on very thick walls or on walls with a loose rubble infill. It can be used only on walls with regular mortar courses such as brickwork or coursed stone blockwork not on the random coursed flint walls that are found in various parts of the country.