Squash Grip: How to Correctly Grip a Squash Racquet

Squash grip 1: Where to grip the squash racquet

There is no right or wrong, it depends on your preference.

Advantages of holding the squash grip lower towards the end of the squash racquet

You will have more reach with the squash racquet. You will get more power due to the increased leverage. However, because the squash racquet feels heavier it might be difficult to get it ready

in time if you are under pressure; with little time to prepare the squash racquet. It is most effective if you have time to take a full squash swing.

Advantages of holding the grip higher up towards the squash racquet head (choke up)

You will get more control, especially for drop shots. The higher grip facilitates squash racquet handling. You will be faster to prepare your squash racquet. Because of the decreased leverage( =racquet feels lighter), you will be able to maneouver the racquet head faster & more comfortably (=shorter swing radius). This is ideal for a quick volley and digging out those hard to get deep back wall shots and hitting shots in the middle of the squash court under time constraint.

Squash advice: The best titanium or graphite squash racquets will never improve your wrist or power game unless you know how to do it yourself. Book in a squash lesson with the local pro who can show you how!

Squash Grip Tip 2: How to hold the racquet

Because of the speed and great precision needed for the game of squash, it is very important to have good squash technique. Important squash advice, technique starts with the correct grip of the squash racket!! Without a proper squash grip, a good squash swing/shot will be difficult to achieve. Although unconventional squash grips can be successful in certain cases, there is no need to handicap yourself. If you are just starting out, this is a perfect time to learn the proper grip (and squash stroke). Squash advice: It is much more difficult to switch back once you have developed bad habits. Although it might be frustrating at first, try to focus on obtaining this fundamental skill. It is extremely important to master the correct squash grip early on, otherwise you will be stroking the ball incorrectly and find it very difficult to play the entire range of shots with ease. Furthermore your game will suffer for several months as you try and fix your squash grip after developing bad habits. Instinct would tell you to grip the squash racquet with a clenched fist. However, with that type of squash grip, the squash racquet has no control in the fore-aft and side to side motion. Squash advice: there is not one correct squash grip but what I believe a range of good squash grips. The vast majority of top squash players hold the racquet anywhere between the bottom to top of the handle. The thumb and index finger come together to form a nice V shape around the squash grip. You want the index finger spread out a little bit, that’s what gives you the control and feel over the squash racquet. Squash advice: you don’t want the index finger too close which might give you a little more power but you will definitely lose control.

You can use your non-racquet hand to see whether you have the index finger of your racquet hand properly separated from its neighbors. Simply place one – two fingers of your non-racquet hand in between the index finger and the middle finger of your racquet hand. When you push on the racquet head in fore-aft you should feel the racquet motion resisted by the extended index finger. Similarly when you push on the head in side to side direction you should feel the bottom palm of your hand resisting the motion. Hold the racquet with a nice firm grip, squash racquet head slightly open on the forehand and the backhand side by cocking the wrist. Squash advice: An open racquet face makes it easier to slice/cut shots and hit shots from behind your body. It also increases the chances that you can hit the ball to the back of the squash court. Squash advice: the squash grip remains the same for forehand and backhand strokes except in extreme situations. The speed of the squash game usually doesn’t allow for squash grip changes. Keep the wrist firm when striking but not too tight to not cause tension in your hand or forearm. Squash advice: Holding the squash racquet with too tense a grip will greatly decrease the ability for fine coordination. One common mistake is that people bring their hand to the side of the squash racquet which closes the racquet face too much.

Squash grip tip 3: Details to know about the grip

Contact point: The contact point is critical for a squash stroke and is dependent on your grip, especially on the backhand. E.g. if your squash grip is very open on the backhand, the contact point is further in front than with a closed squash grip Squash advice: as a coach, it is important to pay attention to how your student holds the squash racquet compared to yourself as the contact point may be different. A slightly open grip is a good starting point. The squash grip should definitely be in a range that doesn’t vary too much from a slightly open grip to enable you to play a full array of shots from all parts of the court. The wrist: should be cocked, but not too cocked, and relaxed enough. If you grip your squash racquet too tightly, the ability for fine coordination is decreased tremendously. Playing delicate shots like a drop shot will be more difficult with a tense grip. Squash advice: To have an open squash grip means you should see the squash strings of the racquet on the forehand side and on the backhand side. Tilt the wrist by rotating your forearm on both forehand and backhand to get a slightly open racquet face. Squash advice: don’t lay back your wrist or you will end up with a closed squash racquet face

Changing the squash grip: As the game moves from side to side very quickly, sometimes in the air, making a big change to the grip from forehand to backhand and vice versa is not recommended. Your squash grip will unlikely end up in the ideal position under time constraint. Shifting it slightly however is very common for certain squash shots like retrieving deep shots out of the back corners Squash advice: a correct grip makes it easier to play difficult shots.

Adapting to the new squash grip

It is much easier to focus on your grip/swing if you are not under pressure. Spend some time hitting the ball by yourself up and down the wall to get a feel for the new grip. Even better, hold the racquet with the correct grip reading a book or other no pressure environments. It is difficult enough to get a feel for the correct grip when the ball is in play. Practicing the correct grip in these no pressure situations will increase the correct muscle memory. Initially you will need to check for the correct squash grip after every rally. You will likely shift it back to your habitual grip you have been using so far. Then move onto low pressure drills or matches focusing on maintaining the correct squash grip. Squash advice: you may find it difficult to hold the racquet tight with the new grip. Try adding over-grip(s) to increase the size of your squash grip to make it more comfortable adjusting to the new grip.

The Monarch Riflescope 8-32x50ED SF BDC Monarch Series of Riflescopes

The test was carried out on the Monarch Riflescope 8-32x50ED SF with BDC reticule that is top of the range in Nikon’s Monarch range, coming in the shops at around $700 – $800 against a list price of $980. You might be able to get it cheaper than $700 but I haven’t found it.

It is certainly a beautiful-looking instrument, and was crystal clear all the way down to the x32 zoom. However, let’s start with a discussion about the company itself, because if you are going to purchase a Nikon riflescope you want to know the background. This instrument has to be reliable under all conditions, so how does Nikon stand in the riflescope market.

The company is well known for its optical products, most people being familiar with the Nikon camera range. Over the past few years, the firm has being trying to make a name for itself in the hunting scope market, and now offers a range of hunting optical equipment including binoculars, rangefinders and spotting scopes and now riflescopes particularly designed for the higher end of the hunting market. So the Monarch has not just appeared from nowhere, but has a good pedigree.

The riflescope range offered by Nikon is the Prostaff, the Buckmaster and the Monarch, in that order. The Prostaff are the entry level products, intended predominantly for amateurs seeking a telescopic sight for their rifle, but not wanting to pay too much. However, they are good quality, and you get a lot for what you pay. It’s a pity that the quality of the other two ranges does not increase proportionate to their price, but that would likely be impossible to achieve.

While the Prostaff range offers a good quality basic scope, the Buckmasters are better in that they offer a wider range of magnifications and objective dimensions, and also better light transmission. These are three very important properties in a riflescope, and while they are important improvements, the jump in price from that of the Prostaff is a bit too steep to warrant just these differences. And then we come to the Monarch, and it is that on which we will focus (sorry!).

This is Nikons best, beating the other two hands down in all features. The problem with the Monarch is that that there is too many of them: they are subdivided into a range of different products and it is not easy for the uneducated to know which is best for their needs. For example, you can choose from the Monarch original UCC 3-9×40, the African, the Gold, the X series or just the plain Monarch, which I shall refer to as the standard. So what’s the difference between these?

It would take too long a review to explain the differences between all the Monarch models, so I shall stick to the standard 17″ long Monarch Riflescope 8-32x50ED SF with BDC which is excellent for serious hunters.


The entire range offers the 1″ main tube that Americans prefer, and 4x magnification range. The starting power options start at 2 and increase to a total of 7 possible starting points to 8, through 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6. With these magnification ranges come the objectives: 2-8×32; 2.5-10×42; 3-12×42; 4-16×42; 4-16×50; 5-20×44; 6-24×50; 8-32×50. With various other options, you can purchase 24 different scopes in the standard Monarch range.

Of these, this review is of the last in that line-up, the 8-32×50 with ED labeled glass, standing for Extra-low Dispersion that offers improved sharpness and color-correction, particularly at higher powers (20x or over). Our scope also had a BDC – bullet drop correction – reticule that compensates for bullet drop over specified distances on the reticule. The actual model number we tested was Nikon #8480, the pinnacle of the Monarch series.

Eye Relief

Anybody familiar with Nikon Monarch scopes will know about the Eye Box technology that offers four inches of eye relief and 4x power magnification. What that means is that you can aim with your eye 4 inches from the eyepiece – this offers at least four inches recoil before the eyepiece hits your eyebrow. When I tested the scope the 4″ was OK at 32x power, but al lower power you could take your eye even further away, but only by about an inch or so. The Nikon Monarch riflescope 8-32x50ED is better than many variable power scopes where the optimum eye relief varies considerably with power. It is better to be fairly constant so you can get used to a certain stance in shooting – you don’t want to be switching too much between powers with a variable power riflescope.

Optical Properties

The Monarch 8-32x50ED was particularly clear and bright, even for the 50 objective lens. The ED glass has been explained, but it sure makes a difference to the clarity, particularly at higher magnifications. Apparently this ED glass has been used on Nikon’s telephoto lenses as standard, and has been applied to the Monarch riflescope – but only to the 8-32×50 as far as I can ascertain. It also offers excellent color compensation.

Nikon also have what they refer to as an ‘Ultra Clear Coat’ on their lenses, claiming it to boost the transmission of light through them to 95% as compared to the 90% of the lower-priced basic Prostaff range. This really is excellent, particularly in low light conditions.

The SF in the model name we tested means that it is fitted with a side parallax adjustment, SF standing for Side Focus. This works as normal, only it has a locking device whereby you pull out a locking ring to free the adjustment, make your adjustment, and then push the ring in to lock it in place. The adjustment then can’t be moved by accident. The adjustment moves in 1/8 MOA clicks offering precise parallax adjustment at ranges from 50 yards to infinity. The same 1/8 MOA adjustment is available on the accessory target-style windage and elevation adjustment knobs and caps.

Bullet Drop Compensation

Nikon’s Monarch BDC models offer BDC reticules which possess four circles on the bottom half of the vertical reticule axis, corresponding to 200, 300, 400 and 500 yard holdovers for standard cartridges. For magnum cartridges, with higher muzzle velocities of about 300 fps, they are each 100 yards higher.

Simply target using the appropriate circle for the appropriate range and cartridge type. This is a fairly simple no-frills BDC system that still requires a bit of skill and know-how to use accurately. BDC does not come as standard, but each scope can be configured using the system, so if you want it you have to specify.

Unexpected Extras

The model we tested came with a couple of useful accessories: a sunshade and two flip-up lens caps. That makes sure you can’t lose your lens caps. Apparently they are only available with this scope model, although they can be ordered as after sales accessories from Nikon for lower priced models such as the Prostaff and Buckmaster range.


This is a good riflescope with some very useful features. The standard book price tag is possibly a bit high but you can it for over $200 less online, so in that respect it is very well priced for what you get. The glass is very clear with excellent color and the extra features are worth having, particularly the side parallax locking ring that helps maintain the setting even when knocked.

Perhaps the 32 power magnification is a bit high for this scope, unless you have a rest or bipod when using it, and the 20 MOA internal adjustment is perhaps not quite enough for longer distances. Nevertheless, for its intended use it is a magnificent riflescope and you will have to look far and wide to get better value for money (at the online price) than the Nikon Monarch 8-32x50ED SF BDC.

How to Organize and Promote a Mountain Bike Race

So you love mountain biking and want to conduct a race event. Not sure where to get started or what to consider? The listed below is information on how you can organize and promote a mountain bike race event. It will help you get started and give you some tasks to consider. Here is what you need to think about.

1. Select a location to have a race.

2. Obtain permission to race at your desired location. You might consider contacting the land owner, local government and or police. A verbal approval to have the race at the specified location might due but it is better to get it in writing.

3. Consider the race:

The race route

The distance and or length of the race

Decide on racing categories that you will you offer.

Plan the start times for each group? Faster riders usually start before slower riders. Will you need medical support on site the day of the race?

4. Try to secure sponsors to help you keep your costs down and be prepared to offer the sponsors something in return. As an example you can put their logo on flyers, a banner, or on a website, etc.

5. Make a race flyer and distribute it to bike stores, schools and send it out via email. Also post it on mountain bike classified sites. Make sure the flyer includes:

Location and directions to the event

Categories and race distance

Prize list

Entry fee

Last possible time to register

Contact information

Any special notes

6. Consider the other stuff:

How many volunteers do you need?

Order race numbers

Order trophies

Get water, Gatorade, food

Order start/finish and or marketing banners

Work with law enforcement if necessary

Prepare a press release to be sent out 30 days in advance

Reserve additional equipment that you might need – tables, awning, PA system, etc.

7. Develop a task list and train your volunteers. The more you communicate to your volunteers the more organized your race event will become. You can not do it yourself.

On the day of the race stay calm and know what you need to do. Everyone is there to have fun so enjoy your day. When the mountain bike race is over do not forget to walk the trail and make sure there is no trash on the course.

Free Money and Perfect Benefits, Hahahaha

Voluntary Benefits Fill Holes in Your Benefits Program

We know now that voluntary employee benefits are becoming massively and increasingly popular and two reasons are that employees need them more and more and business budgets are getting squeezed by the economy.

Now we see that another trend driving businesses such as yours to increase the voluntary benefits offering is the immense usefulness of voluntary benefits in completing the benefits package. The frustrating problem here is that your benefits package has holes, gaps, and voids.

As long as the gaps exist, we can reasonably conclude that the benefits package was started, yet left unfinished and like a road left unfinished your people are driving along comfortably on the pavement you provided until they run into holes and are finding themselves falling into their shallow savings and deep confusion.

Would you agree this economy is at least somewhat interesting? Debt up. Bankruptcies up. Income down. Savings down. Check to check living up. Foreclosures up. Security down. Fear up.

Budget cuts and job losses demand and require affordable financial coverage for employees and this need is exactly what makes voluntary benefits so comforting, relaxing, and easy to get.

Black Holes and Financial Life Drain

As we are about to read, voluntary benefits are often designed to complete and fill the painful holes in your benefits package and here Dori Molloy, Regional VP of Transamerica Worksite Marketing says now, “…the best opportunity for voluntary benefits may be found in the gaps contained in current benefit offerings [which]…can complete a traditional benefits program…” and, “A lot of the voluntary coverages, including accident and critical illness insurance…are affordable and for employees who do not have substantial savings the benefits provide a safety net for them.

You Are Not Safe, Are You?

The gaps in health insurance are financial pain – pain that most people are almost completely unprepared for especially in this uncertain economy – and with healthcare costs only going up this pain can be devastating, which makes it easy to understand why at least 6 in 10 of all bankruptcies filed in America are due to medical expenses. Plus, 8 in 10 of all people being forced into medical bankruptcy have health insurance, according to the now infamous Harvard Study.

We would not trust half a coat, half a pair of shoes, half a door, half a lock, half a security system, half a seat belt, or half a soldier to protect and serve us effectively, which causes a very natural realization of the fact that voluntary benefits, especially when it comes to healthcare are not only essential, they’re just common sense.

So, with your voluntary employee benefits, you fill in the gaps, remove the dangerous holes, cover the leaks and do so in a way that satisfies your employees because they choose what they want and you do all of this for your business, for your employees – for free.

FREE Money! – Pretax Savings

This here is amazing.

We remember, obviously, that your employees are covering their voluntary benefits themselves, right? Well in addition to your voluntary benefits offering being free for you, your voluntary benefits offering is a pretax deduction.

What does this mean?

What this means is the sum total of your payroll is reduced by the amount of coverage your employees get, therefore the amount you must pay in matching FICA taxes drops because of your employees’ coverage. Which makes this the bottom line – the more coverage, the more tax savings and the more tax savings, the more monthly cashflow.

More employee coverage is more cashflow.

More and more employee coverage is more and more cashflow.

And this is for free, hence, free money!

Voluntary Benefits – What I Am Getting, In A Nutshell

Once again, simply know, voluntary employee benefits are good for business growth, good for budgeting, good for employees – all for free, and actually put money in your pocket!

Implementing a Bridge-Signal in Your Horse Training Program

Different signals are used in training session. Bridge-signal is one such signal which is used to communicate with horse. A good communication system is always necessary for any sort of training program. If you have a good communication system that will definitely accelerate the training process. Bridge-signal is considered to be the important part of the horse training program. It is used to transmit clear and reliable message to the horse.

The name bridge-signal is given to it for the function it performs. Bridge-signal is used to bridge the gap between the moment in the training when animal responds correctly and the moment of reinforcement of that behavior. Reward reinforcement and bridge-signal are so closely intertwined that without proper signal, reinforcement will be unclear. You can also expect an undesired behavior from your horse due to lack of use of bridge signal. This is just because of the lack of bridge-signal that your horse misinterprets that which behavior is to be rewarded and which is not.

To remove this uncertainty for your horse; including bridge-signal in your training program becomes essential. Using bridge signal prior to offering any reward reinforcement, clearly suggest your horse that you want to see the same behavior repeated again. Bridge signal in this way helps you to set up a clear and ample system of communication with your horse for any particular behavior.

Most of the time reinforces are used along with bridge signal. Introducing a reinforcer considerably increase the frequency of the behavior. Primary reinforcer may include clicker, carrot, a sugar cube, or a hand full of grain. Bridge signal can be anything. Anything which you think will serve the purpose well for you and your horse. It can be a clicker, a spoken word, a touch, or a snap of the fingers. The only thing which you need to be focus on is to keep bridge signal distinct and precise. For instance, a sound of whistle is used as a bridge signal for captive dolphins and whales. The bridge signal is useful because these are the marine mammals which tend to stay near (close proximity) to the trainers.

Close proximity or nearness to trainers is also common for horses. The most often used bridge signal for horses is a clicker. It is easy for horses to identify the sound of a clicker than anything else. It is also a distinct sound for them and they pay attention to that sound almost instantaneously. Once your horse get used to it, new bridge signal has been introduced like verbal bridge signal. The idea behind this is that you need not to hold the clicker and you can freely control the behavior of the horse with verbal signals easily. You can also do riding, clipping and longing with ease. While riding a horse, you can use clicker attach at the whip or riding crop to make signaling easier for your horse.

Once your horse has mastered the concept of bridge conditioning, now is the time move along the training process and teach him some new concepts. Target is another such tool to guide your horse in right direction. Target is used as an extension of the hands. Targets are devised in a way to guide your horse through behaviors, to touch the targets physically. Target can be used to teach your horse to lift his leg for hoof picking, to lead into the carrier, or to lower his head for clipping. There are many other options available to train your horse behavior accordingly.

What Is the New California Assembly Bill AB 139 Transfer on Death Deed TOD Law?

It’s expensive to die in California!

If you die and don’t name a beneficiary on your California home, it will have to endure probate. Probate is an expensive Court process that can cost up to $30,000 of your home. This is subtracted from your estate and does not go to your children or grandchildren (beneficiaries).

Besides $30,000, there are 2 other problems with Probate:

  • Very time consuming because it can take up to 2 years
  • Every private matter of your family is made public


Traditionally, a living trust was set up to avoid probate.

Now, on January 1, 2016, there may be another option. California Assembly 139 or AB 139 as it is commonly known, allows Californians to name a beneficiary on a new legal document created called the Transfer on Death Deed TOD (also known as the Transfer on Death Beneficiary Deed).

Unfortunately, there is a tiny window to do this as the law expires five years later on January 1, 2021.

Over 20 states already have a similar process, including neighboring Nevada.

To do this, you will need the help of a legal professional to prepare this rather complicated form. You can simply name your child (beneficiary) right on the form. The form will have to be recorded within 60 days from execution, otherwise it is void.

But what happens if the beneficiary dies before you?

The California transfer on death deed is worthless!

It’s also useless if you have taken title as joint tenants or as community property with right of survivorship because title is passed to the surviving person automatically and before the new transfer deed kicks in.

Essentially, a living trust is a far superior document because it allows you to do a number of things the TOD deed cannot:

  • Name contingent beneficiaries,
  • Stage distributions to minor children,
  • Name a health care agent,
  • Name a guardian
  • Name a conservator.

Let examine staged distributions. With a living trust, as opposed to a TOD deed, you could leave your money to your children in stages or phases so they don’t blow it all at once. For instance:

  • 25% of the money to them after they graduate(you can even put a grade-point average stipulation on this)
  • 25% when they get married turn age 30
  • 25% when they buy their first home
  • The balance of the distributions at age 35

Of course, this is just an example. You can configure your living trust distributions anyway you desire. Unfortunately, the new transfer beneficiary deed does not permit that.

Contingent beneficiaries allow you to leave you money to alternates in case the first person dies. This to me, this is another major problem with the new deed law.

For instance, with a living trust, as opposed to beneficiary deed, you could:

  • Leave your estate to Jack and Jill, your two kids.
  • If Jack died, then the money could go to Jack’s kids.(with a TOD deed, the money will go to Jill only).
  • If Jack and Jill died, it could be a college fund or staged distributions like the example above.

Since the new CA AB139 transfer on death beneficiary form is the same price as a living trust, be sure to compare them.

If you have two weeks to live and one child, the TOD deed may be the quickest way to go, but in almost every other scenario it lacks what people need.

Mounting Options For LCD Screens and LCD Enclosures

There are numerous ways of mounting both screens and LCD enclosures for digital signage. The number of brackets and mounting options can seem endless so choosing how you want your screen mounted can often be confusing.

Fortunately many screens along with LCD enclosures adhere to international standards to make mounting easier.

What is VESA?

The Video Electronics Standards Association has developed a standard that is used on the rear of most LCD type displays. VESA mounts ensure that whatever you wish to mount the LCD screen to can be assured it will fit due to this international standard.

The VESA mount consists of four screws/holes arranged in a square, with the distance between the centres of the horizontal and vertical being 100 mm. This is the most commonly used configuration for displays but a 75 mm × 75 mm layout has been defined for smaller screens and a collection of additional screw patterns that are more appropriate for larger TV screens were introduced over the last few years.

The VESA standard mount is normally on the back of most commercial and standard LCD screens and monitors and the standard has also been taken up by manufacturers of mounts and brackets providing a simple solution for mounting options.

Wall brackets

LCD enclosures can be mounted flush to a wall however, this can often lead to a limited viewing angle so wall brackets are commonly used to bring the device away from the wall and tilt it to the anticipated audience.

Ceiling brackets

Another method of mounting an LCD enclosure is to hang it from the ceiling. This can provide a similar viewing angle as a wall bracket allowing the screen to be tilted toward the passing audience.

Pedestal brackets

Mounting an LCD enclosure on the floor is also possible. Pedestals stands can also attach to the VESA layout but there are other solutions for mounting that don’t involve VESA.

Hammer-Ons and Pull Offs

On the guitar, "legato" is a term often used to describe a group of techniques that can be useful in playing with a smoother sound. Hammer-ons and pull offs come into this category.

Hammer-ons –

To execute a hammer on you will have to take one of the fingers on your left hand (if you're using a right handed guitar that is) and quite literally "hammer on" to the fretboard at the desired fret / string. Be sure to use enough force to make the note sound but do not strain yourself. You should not be using your right hand for anything at this stage. This kind of hammer-on is called a hammer-on from nowhere and is not used that much in comparison to the next example.

The most common type of hammer-on played is where you play a note (for the purpose of this example the 5th fret of the d string) in the regular way but instead of picking the next note you would hammer on to the next note. Try playing the 5th fret and while the note is still sustaining hammer-on to the 7th fret with one of your free fingers. If done smoothly and with enough force the note that has been executed with a hammer-on will ring out and sound quite smooth as a result of not being picked.

This technique can be used on any string and at any fret and will work no matter what distance is between the two notes. It is good practice to become comfortable with all of your fingers while using this technique as it is quite common and will be an invaluable asset to you later on.


Pull offs –

Pull offs are the reverse of hammer-ons in a lot of ways, although the name can be a bit misleading.

When performing a pull off although you do pull off the string there is more to the technique than just lifting your finger off of the string. When performing a pull off you must make sure that you catch the string and "pull off" it in either a downwards or an upwards motion. It's important to do this as catching the string and then releasing it will cause the string to sound again without you having to pick the string with your right hand. If you do not catch the string in either a downwards (towards the floor) motion or an upwards (towards the ceiling) motion then the next note will not sound and your efforts will have been in vain.

You can practice this by fretting the 2nd fret of the first string and picking the string to sound it. Once the string is sounded you should immediately "pull off" to the open 1st string. If you have done this successfully then the open e string will have sounded clearly and strongly. Once you have mastered this you can combine the pull off with another hammer-on and play the 2nd fret again by hammering onto it from the open e.

This may all feel quite alien at first as you probably will not have used a lot of the muscles in your hand / arm in this way ever before and it will take a bit of time for it to feel natural but with practice you will develop the muscle memory required to do this effortlessly.

How to Design a Mosaic

A mosaic is a surface decoration which is created by arranging and affixing tiles in a certain pattern. This article provides some simple tips which will help you to design your own mosaic, and it also explains where you can purchase mosaic making materials from.

The Design Process

The first thing you'll need to do is decide on the purpose and the size of your mosaic. If this is your first attempt at designing a mosaic then you will want to start with something that is quite small and simple. You can create a mosaic piece which can be used as a table or coffee mat, you can decorate round the edges of a plain photo frame or you can just create a mosaic for ornamental purposes.

One of the simplest ways to design the mosaic is to cut a piece of card which is the exact size that you would like to final piece to be. You can then divide the grid into squares which correspond with the size of the tiles that you are using. Once you have done this you are ready to start creating a design of what you want the final piece to look like. You can use different coloured pens to mark the different spots. If you want to use cut mosaic tiles, then you can also shade in these areas onto the plan. Remember, mosaics often look best when they are symmetrical. You may also want to design a neat border that runs around the mosaic.

Another way to design mosaics is to use an online programme. There are several free online mosaic editors which allow you to conveniently design your mosaic in a short space of time. They also allow you to experiment with different colors and patterns until you are really happy with what you have designed. You can then print out the design so that you can refer to it as you are making the mosaic. Professional mosaic designers may want to use a more complex design editor to create their designs.

Where to Get Inspiration

A great place to look for inspiration is online. You can type 'mosaics' into your favourite search engine and then take a look at some of the images and information that pops up. You can keep a file of all your favourite designs to use at a later date. You may also want to keep a sketchbook with you so that you can sketch any design inspiration that you get when it comes to you.

Where to Purchase Mosaic Materials From

One of the best places to purchase mosaics is from is a specialist online retailer. Their website will display images and information on all of the products that they stock, as well as information on how to order. Some companies will even supply pre-made mosaic borders which will save you the time and hassle of painstakingly putting each tile in place. The borders can be used to decorate bathrooms, patios and floor areas.

Top Ten Roofing Tools

If you’re looking for roofing tools, you’ve come to the right place. It’s been said: “If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. So it’s always best to have the right tool for the job. It will help you do quality work and do it fast. Many projects require special roofing tools, but these are the ones that go with me to every job.

#10 — Pry Bar

The pry bar, or “flat bar” as it is sometimes called is the “Swiss Army Knife” of roofing tools. I’ve used mine for everything from pulling nails to pounding them in, to cutting wood, cutting metal and popping shingles loose for repairs. Be sure to get a second one for back-up… and for two-handed staple pulling. A good choice is the Stanley Wonder Bar.

#9 — Utility Knife

A sharp knife is handy for both removing the old material and installing the new stuff. Go with a model that allows you to change blades fast — without tools. I’ve found that knives with retractable blades tend to get gummed up with roofing tar. As such, I prefer a knife with a fixed blade. My preference is a Stanley Model 10-399.

And you really should have two knives in your tool belt. Keep each knife filled with half straight blades and half hook blades. The straight blades cut well on the back of the shingles. The hook blades cut well on the front. This saves a lot of time switching back and forth between blades. The second knife also gives you a backup with both types of blades in it should you misplace one of them.

#8 — Hand Broom

You might not think a hand broom belongs on a top ten list of roofing tools, but a good clean up is an important part of every job. While scoop shovels and push brooms are fine for the big stuff, I’ve found that a hand broom is just right for the little stuff. And a Marshalltown #6519 is a good heavy-duty model to get.

#7 — Hand Saw

Fixing rotted wood is a pretty common task for us roofers. I USUALLY have a circular saw and a reciprocating saw on site for the task, but a hand saw is one of the roofing tools that I ALWAYS have with me. Small cutting jobs can be handled in less time than it takes to run an extension chord. And it has saved the day many times over the years, when electrical power should have been available, but wasn’t. I like the Stanley 20-045 Model which has a tough, long-lasting blade and is small enough to fit in my tool bucket.

#6 — Measuring Tape

You’ll also need a measuring tape to help with those wood repairs and to layout the new roof. I like a 25-footer with a stiff 1″ blade. Almost any brand will do, but the Craftsman brand has a lifetime warranty.

#5 — Metal Snips

Most “tinners” use dedicated snips for right and left cuts. But I’ve found that Wiss M3R Straight Cut Tin Snips (Yellow Handle) works fine for most all of my metal work.

When they eventually lose their edge, I replace them and use the old ones to cut shingles around pipes and vents. That’s often quicker and easier than using a knife.

#4 — Hand Seamer

This is one of those roofing tools that you don’t use every day, but it sure comes in handy when doing flashing work. It’s just the right size for making tight drip edge laps. It’s also handy for making inside and outside corners as well as other miscellaneous bends. The one to get is a 3″ Malco Model S-2

#3 — Chalk Box

Of all the roofing tools I’ve had over the years, chalk boxes have caused me the most grief. They never seemed to hold enough chalk or chalk a consistent line. And the string always seemed to break just when I was in a big rush. The plastic reduction drives broke and the strings tangled within the box. It drove me nuts. That kept me constantly on the search for a better chalk box.

I found the “Mother of all Chalk Boxes” a few years ago with the purchase of a “Little Giant” by Keson. It uses a heavy line which I have yet to break. The line sucks up a lot of chalk, so you get a good solid mark. And you can fill the chalk box in seconds with a whole bottle of chalk at a time. You can retrieve the line fast and mine hasn’t tangled yet. Be sure to get two. One for permanent red dye you can use on the underlayment and one for temporary blue chalk you can use on the shingles.

#2 — Trowel

Just about any small trowel will do for spreading flashing cement, but the flat nose type, like a Marshalltown #11202 Margin Trowel, is good for cleaning out the bottom of buckets. If you’re doing a lot of mud work, you will want to get a big brick trowel like a Marshalltown #10109. It can lay down a 10″ mortar pad for tile in one swoop. It’s helpful to grind the point down to make it easier working out of a five gallon pail.

#1 — Hammer

No list of roofing tools would be complete without a hammer. In fact, some say: If it can’t be fixed with a hammer, it can’t be fixed! I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it is essential for nearly every roofing job. My favorite is an Estwing Model E3-20 S. That’s their 20 oz. Rip Hammer. It has enough weight to seat nails with one smack and it has a straight claw for digging out nails. It’s virtually indestructible and carries a lifetime guarantee.

A Bad Contracted Painter

One October, I decided to hire outside help to accomplish my goal of having the best looking house for the holiday season. I hired a larger painting company to do the work for me, as I had seen their commercials and ads around town and had assumed that anybody wiling to put up this much signage and advertisement must be good. After the fact, I now believe that most of their money went into advertising instead of hiring good, respectable individuals to perform their work.

A contracted painter can be a nightmare if the wrong one is chosen to do your exterior painting. I made such a mistake that fateful October as I hired the biggest painting company in town to do the work for me. The team of painters did not show up on time any of the three days they were supposed to be working. I also expected the job to take a day or two, as my house is not all that large. Their disrespect towards my house and myself turned out to be more than I could handle. Tire marks on the lawn, careless paint spills and their getting too cozy in my backyard all began to annoy and anger me almost immediately.

The next year, I again took a shot at owning the best looking house for the holiday season and hired another, this time smaller, contracted painter. The team turned out to be a few college kids looking to put themselves through school by painting houses. Their concern with the well-being of my house's paint job, as well as my property in general, amazed me. For college kids who are attributed with such a negative stigma that they are lazy and disrespectful, they did a superb job as a contracted painter team.

Looking For A Great Chandelier

When you think of chandeliers, there is a chance that you end up passing up on them because you consider them to be too antiquated or elaborate. The truth is, chandeliers have updated as much as people have, and you'll find that when you want to add a dramatic accent and a terrific source of light to a room that a chandelier might be exactly what you are looking for. If you are curious to see what a chandelier can do for the entry way or dining room that you are thinking of redoing, take a look for some great tips below.

When you are thinking of getting a chandelier, remember that it should be proportionate to the room that it fills. If you have a chandelier that dangles too low, the room will feel cramped, and even if they do not need to, your guests will feel as though they should be ducking. On the other hand, if the room is too large for the size of the chandelier that you have decided on, you'll find that it looks shrunken and out of place.

There's a fairly good formula to help you decided on a chandelier size. Start with the dimension of the room in feet, the width by the depth, and add those numbers together. The sum of those numbers equals the number of inches of the diameter of your chandelier. This will give you a rough place to start. When thinking of the height of the chandelier, remember that it should not be more than seven feet from the floor.

With this in mind, you'll realize that you can quite easily make sure that you do not get the wrong chandelier; now all you have to do is find the right one! Chandeliers, despite their association with ballrooms and large confections of crystal, can come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, and you'll find that when you are interested in making sure that your room gets a certain effect across that a chandelier can be the perfect accent.

Think about the way you want the room to look. Are you hoping for a cozy, welcoming feel? You may want a chandelier that has a warm feel and is made out of bronze of wood. Similarly, if you are looking for something a little more stern or dramatic, consider taking a look at chandeliers that look like cast iron, or ones that are made from steel. When you are considering a chandelier, remember that it needs to work with the rest of the accents in your room and not fight them. You can also control the look of the chandelier by making a concrete decision on what the wattage is of the bulbs that you use in it.

If you are in a situation where you can think about a chandelier, remember that this decorative element can change the look of your whole room. There are many different options open to you when it comes to choosing a chandelier, so make sure that you inspect them all!

Hand Held Power Drills – Choosing the Best Drill For the Job

If you were a professional contractor who used various types of drills on a daily basis throughout the course of your job, you would probably already know what type of drill you need for a specific job. But, what about the person who does not work with drills every day. This person probably knows that a certain job or task requires the use of a drill, but may not be certain about what type of drill is needed. Choosing the right drill can be a daunting task and it’s really no surprise with all the types of drills to choose from. You have:

  • basic drills
  • VSR drills
  • drill/drivers
  • hammer drills
  • impact drivers/wrenches
  • rotary hammer drills
  • right angle drills
  • spade handle drills

Maybe you have already been looking at drills and have other questions such as:

  • What does VSR mean?
  • What is the difference between SDS and spline drive?
  • How does chuck size matter?
  • What is the difference between keyed and keyless chucks?
  • What is a hex driver?
  • Should I go with a cordless or corded drill?
  • What type of cordless battery is best?
  • What is the clutch used for?

Many years ago, when the first hand held power drills came around, there were not many choices outside of brand names when it came to selecting a power drill. Basically, the drills were all corded, all had keyed chucks, and rotated in only one direction and at one speed. So, the choice was not too difficult. Just pick a brand you like.

Things certainly have changed over the years. There are enough options available today to make a person’s head spin. There are even more variations and innovations in the works as I write this. While the scope of this guide will not be able to cover every type of power drill in existence, we are going to try to cover most of the bases. My goal in writing this article is to help those who might be having difficulty deciding which type of drill they need, so let’s get started.

The basic corded drill

This is the most basic of hand held power drills. It is a simple electric drill with one speed and one direction. It is mainly good for drilling holes in wood, metal, plastic, and soft metals. It is not the ideal choice of drill to use for applications such as driving screws. Since the speed is not variable and the drill only operates at a higher RPM, you would likely either strip the screw head or snap the head off the screw if you tried. You will not likely find many of these around today as their uses are rather limited.

The VSR drill

VSR stands for “variable speed reversible”. These drills come in both corded and cordless versions as will most all the drills we discuss from here on out. The drill speed is varied by the amount of pressure applied to the trigger. The farther the trigger is pulled, the higher the RPM will be. There is also a switch, usually near the trigger which reverses the operation of the drill. As you can imagine, these have distinct advantages over the basic corded drill. In addition to being able to perform all the functions of the basic corded drill, they also have a better suited although still limited ability to drive screws, and small lag bolts. Since the speed is variable, you have the ability to drill into harder material without overheating the bit.

One disadvantage to this type of drill is that trying to maintain a certain RPM with the trigger can be very tricky. It takes a certain knack and some getting used to in order to be able to drive screws consistently without stripping the heads, driving the screw too deep, or snapping off the screw head. The reversible feature allows you to remove screws, drive reverse threaded screws, and back out of stock when your drill bit gets stuck or jammed.

The VSR drill/driver

The VSR drill/driver has all the capabilities of a standard VSR drill with the added bonus of a lower rpm/higher torque setting. Another feature generally found on these drills is an adjustable clutch. These are probably the most common types of everyday use cordless drills you will find on the market today. The big advantage with the low rpm/high torque setting is that now you can drive screws and lag bolts at the low rpm needed without having to try to hold the trigger in a certain position. The adjustable clutch will keep you from driving the screw to deep, stripping the screw head, or breaking off the screw head. The clutch will also prevent reaction torque which happens when a bit jams or a screw bottoms out and the drill tries to twist in the opposite direction. In addition you also get higher torque at the low rpm setting that you miss out on when using a standard VSR drill and higher torque means more screw driving power. These drills generally have a slide switch that you use to switch between the 2 settings. In the high RPM setting, the drill functions exactly like a standard VSR drill. In the low rpm/high torque setting, the drill becomes an effective driver for driving screws and small lag bolts. Some of these drills may have a 3rd intermediate setting that compromises between torque and speed allowing you to better match the speed/torque setting to the application.

The VSR hammer drill/driver

Do you need to drill into concrete, stone, or masonry? If, so, then you would want to consider a hammer drill. This type of drill uses a hammer or pounding action as the drill bit rotates. The pounding action of the bit is what enables these drills to bite into the concrete, stone, or masonry. If you were to try to use a non-hammer type drill, you would have a hard time penetrating the hardened concrete, stone, or masonry and would likely overheat the bit or the bit would become jammed in the material. When drilling into concrete, stone, or masonry you will also want to be sure and use a masonry bit. A masonry bit is specially designed for drilling into these materials. Depending on the material, the drill and the bit used, you can generally expect to be able to effectively drill holes in concrete, stone, or masonry up to around 1/2″ in diameter. VSR hammer drill/drivers have all the capabilities of a VSR drill/driver in addition to functioning as a hammer drill at the flip of a switch. Due to their versatility, hammer drill/drivers have become a popular choice among both professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers. Some practical uses would be, drilling holes for inserting concrete anchors or TapCon screws for attaching fixtures such as hand railing or light posts to concrete surfaces or attaching fixtures to concrete, block, stone, or brick walls. One of the most highly and professionally rated hammer drill/drivers on the market today is the DeWalt DC925KA.

Rotary Hammer Drills

Think of a rotary hammer drill as a larger, more powerful version of a hammer drill with an added bonus. It also works like a small jack hammer. These drills are dedicated to the purpose of drilling and chipping into concrete, stone and masonry. They are generally not intended for drilling into wood or other similar materials. Rotary hammer drills use a special bit designed not to slip in the chuck. The most common types are the SDS and spline drive. The type of bit you use will depend on the drill. SDS bits come in several different sizes, so you will need to get the size that matches your drill. If you want to drill many larger diameter holes in concrete or stone, then this is the type of dill you need.

As mentioned, this drill also functions like a small jack hammer. By flipping a switch you can turn off the rotary action, then insert a chisel bit and you’re ready to go. While rotary hammer drills aren’t going to compete with a full sized jack hammer, they are very useful for many smaller jobs such as removing ceramic and stone tile, removing bricks and blocks from existing wall or floor structures, chipping away unwanted or spilled mortar, chipping the rough edges from concrete, and removing excess concrete from concrete forms or other surfaces.

Traditionally, rotary hammer drills were all of the corded variety since cordless batteries were not able to supply the power needed to operate a rotary hammer drill. However, all that is changing with advancements in lithium-ion batteries and power tool design technology. The popularity of cordless rotary hammer drills is growing rapidly. Some cordless rotary hammer drills rival, and may even surpass the performance of their corded counterparts. One such example is the Bosch 11536VSR which in an HGTVpro power tool review was found to drill 1/2″ holes in concrete faster than the tool’s corded counterpart.

Impact Drivers/Wrenches

Impact drivers are quickly becoming a hot item among contractors and do-it-yourselfers and with all the added benefits of an impact driver, it’s no wonder. If you drive a lot of long screws, lag bolts, or have a lot of nuts and bolts you want to assemble quickly and easily, then an impact driver is for you.

The impact driver functions as a standard VSR drill until the time when extra torque is needed. That’s when the impact action kicks in. Don’t confuse this with the hammer action of a hammer drill. The difference is that a hammer drill “hammers” on the bit in a lateral direction along the length of the bit as it rotates where an impact driver impacts the chuck of the drill in a rotational direction. The result is a huge increase in torque. The impact action also causes the screw bit to grab the screw resulting in less slippage, reducing the possibility of stripping the screw head. As an added bonus the amount of force the operator needs to apply to the drill in order to keep the screw bit from slipping is significantly reduced resulting in less user fatigue.

Impact drivers have a quick change bit holder designed for accepting hex shank bits which are now common among screw bits and many other drill bits and socket driver bits. This style bit holder really makes changing between bits a snap. This bit holder is the main difference between an impact driver and impact wrench. An impact wrench has a square drive for accepting either 3/8″ or 1/2″ drive sockets depending on the model of impact wrench.

Impact drivers and wrenches also have a size advantage delivering as much as 4 times as much torque as a comparable size VSR drill. This means that a smaller size tool can be used for a particular job which further reduces user fatigue, especially when working overhead. The small size also gives you the ability to work in tighter spaces and if the impact driver uses lithium-ion technology, then the tool weight is even further reduced.

There is one particular impact driver that stands out. In a tool test by Tools of the Trade Magazine, out of 9 top of the line cordless impact drivers, the Milwaukee 9081-22 was able to outrun the group when pushed to the max. This tool sent 48 4″ long Timberlock screws into the stock before a noticeable battery slowdown was observed. Timberlock screws are a long screw with a hex head. They are commonly used in outdoor applications such as landscaping, fence and deck building because they require no pre-drilling. Just think of the time you could save when armed with an impact driver and screws that require no pre-drilling.

Right Angle Drills

Right angle drills, as the name implies, have the chuck positioned at a right angle to the body of the drill. Right angle drills are able to drill in tight spaces where other drills just won’t reach such as in between two closely positioned wall studs which makes these drills particularly useful for plumbers and electricians.

These drills come in both corded and cordless varieties as well as a wide range of sizes. The smaller size right angle drills are suitable for small to medium jobs in pine and other soft material. The heavy duty models can handle much larger jobs in harder material such as thick oak. One thing you should be aware of when using the more powerful heavy duty models is reaction torque. Due to the design of right angle drills, if the bit should get stuck, the entire drill body will rotate around the chuck potentially causing injury. It’s generally a good idea to brace the drill against a floor, wall, or stud. Some models have a built in torque limiter or clutch to help prevent this occurrence. One such model which has a built in torque limiter is the Makita DA4031 [http://www.thetoolspot.us/Products/Makita/Makita-DA4031/MAKITA-DA4031.html]. This heavy-duty right angle drill was also the overall winner in a Tools of the Trade test of several top of the line right angle drills.

Spade Handle Drills

When spade handle drills are mentioned, one might likely think of mixing drywall compound. The mixing of drywall compound or similar substances is one of the most commonly used applications of spade handle drills. These drills are designed with a low rpm, high torque setting that is well suited for mixing drywall mud. Special drywall mixer attachments can be inserted into the chuck for this purpose.

While these drills are very suitable for mixing drywall mud and other similar substances which require mixing, this is certainly not the only use for this type of drill. The aggressive torque these drills produce make them ideal for boring large holes in wood and other materials using spade bits, auger bits or hole saws up to as large as 5″ in diameter.

Many of these drills have a rocker or similar type of switch for rapid switching between forward and reverse which aids in backing out jammed bits as well as mixing drywall mud. In addition, these drills generally have an auxiliary side handle as well as a spade handle to aid in tool control.

Questions and answers pertaining to power drills.

What does VSR mean?

VSR stands for variable speed reversible. Drills with this feature are able to operate in both forward and reverse rotation and at variable speeds. Most likely the drill will have a switch or button for switching the rotation from forward to reverse. Generally the speed varies in relation to to how far the trigger is pulled.

What is the difference between SDS and spline drive?

SDS and spline drive refer to two types of bit technology used in rotary hammer drills. There is really no difference in the performance of the two types, so the one you choose will simply be a matter of which type your particular rotary hammer drill requires. There are different sizes of SDS bits which include SDS, SDS+, and SDSmax. Smaller rotary hammer drills will use SDS or SDS+ bits where the larger rotary hammer drills will use SDSmax or spline drive bits. As the name implies, spline drive bits have a splined shaft, while SDS bits have concave recesses in the shaft.

Why does chuck size matter?

Chuck size basically determines what size drill bit you can use based on the size of the drill bit shank. With the exception of rotary hammer drills and impact drivers/wrenches which use a special type of chuck, most typical hand held drills come with either a 3/8″ or 1/2″ chuck. Most of your smaller drills will use a 3/8″ chuck while the heavy-duty models typically use a 1/2″ chuck. You cannot put a drill bit with a 1/2″ shank in a 3/8″ chuck, but you can put a bit with a 3/8″ shank in a 1/2″ chuck.

What is the difference between keyed and keyless chucks?

Years ago, all hand held drills used keyed chucks. In order to tighten the chuck down on the drill bit, you would use a small tool called a chuck key. Most 3/8″ chucks and many 1/2″ chucks today are now of the keyless variety. Keyless chucks, as the name implies, do not use a chuck key. Instead the chuck is designed so that a person can easily tighten the chuck down on the bit by hand. While keyless chucks are faster and easier to use, they cannot clamp down onto the bit as tight and therefore do not have the same holding power as a keyed chuck. This lack of holding power can potentially cause round shank bits to slip in the chuck. This is why you will still find many heavy-duty high torque drills using keyed chucks.

What is a hex driver?

A hex driver is just another name for an impact driver. Hex refers to the type of bit holder the drill uses. These drills use a hex shank bit designed not to slip in the holder. This type of bit holder also makes changing bits a snap. Impact wrenches, on the other hand use a square drive for accepting either 3/8″ or 1/2″ drive sockets.

Should I go with a cordless or corded drill?

This can be a difficult decision for some. The industry trend is ever going more and more towards cordless technology. The very first cordless drills on the market left much to be desired in both power and run time. Over the years cordless technology improved to the point where many cordless tools now compete with and even in many cases out perform their corded counterparts. With power and performance becoming near equal, the choice basically comes down to price. Are you willing to save some money and deal with the inconveniences of dragging power cords around, or would you rather spend a little more and have complete freedom of movement? The choice is yours.

What type of cordless battery is best?

The power tool industry is currently trending toward lithium-ion battery technology. With all the benefits of lithium-ion it is easy to see why. If you compare lithium-ion batteries to nickel cadmium batteries, lithium-ion charges faster, runs longer, maintains longer constant power output, weighs less and stores a charge longer. The disadvantage is that Lithium-ion costs more. However, the difference in price may not outweigh the advantages you get in performance and charge holding time.

What is the clutch used for?

Most drill/drivers and hammer drills have an adjustable clutch. The clutch is typically used when driving screws, nuts, or lag bolts. The clutch is designed so that once a certain required amount of torque is reached, the clutch will engage and cause the rotation of the chuck to slip and stop rotating. There are several reasons for this. One, you won’t strip the screw head when the bit keeps turning. Two, you won’t drive the screw too deep. Three, reaction torque when the screw or nut bottoms out won’t twist your wrist. Many drills produce enough reaction torque to cause bodily harm if the clutch is not used. Many heavy-duty drills capable of producing high amounts of reaction torque have either a non-adjustable built in clutch or a built in torque limiter. An finally, the clutch protects the drill motor from damage.

Digger Derrick History Explained!

Many companies benefit from the use of a digger derrick in everyday business operations. It can perform various tasks for a variety of industries such as mining, electric and telephone among others. Its major structural feature is a giant hydraulic auger mounted on the truck chassis. With so many technological advances, the history of this specialized vehicle tends to be forgotten, how it was created and came to be.

Following is some information regarding the original method of excavating holes, historical background of the digger derrick and its current transformation to fit various industry applications.

Original Process

The labor intensive task of setting up electric and telephone line poles is with a conventional manual digging process. Workers use a traditional shovel and post hole digger with a long handle and a set of metal spade-shaped blades. The digging process is initially simple, with difficulty arising as the hole gets deeper. Open blades are strongly pushed into the soil, then closed and pulled upward with outward force to excavate and create the desired hole. It is hard work for the back and only few holes can be dug at a time.

Another traditional digging method is with hand and power augers, a slight progression from shovel use. The hand auger was around long before telephone and utility poles. It is made from a wide “T” steel bar with helical flighting to produce accurate results; it is used in ground level deck construction. Power augers have powerful torque to speed up soil excavation process and only requires one or two workers to control the machine.


With rapid technological advancement, it was necessary to find a faster, more efficient way to set telephone and electric poles. The industry needed a powerful machine to easily and rapidly excavate post holes to get necessary services to anxious consumers. Terex Utilities took on this mighty job and in 1945 invented the first mechanical digger derrick, which was named “Telelect.” It was mainly utilized in the telephone and electric line industries and its operation required two workers.

Ongoing Development

Since then, there has been ongoing development with different models and configurations. There are variations associated with this machine including: a reverse gear-box; the Rite-Way auger storage bracket that can deliver a continuous drilling operation directly under the boom; the Commander 1 series with dual-lift cylinders; a full product line of Captain Series; and the present Telelect digger derricks. All of these innovations have evolved from a simple soil excavation method to more advanced technology to eradicate the labor-intensive method of manual excavation.


To add more versatility, many companies are customizing diggers into aerial equipment to make it a device that can perform several applications in a short period of time without many workers. It offers a good return of investment, boosts productivity and finishes tasks on schedule without delay.

With a desire to improve the quality of life, many inventors seek to discover new technological innovations that can have an impact on many lives as exemplified by taking the simple task of manual excavation and turning it into today’s sophisticated drill hole methods. Without an innovation driven by a desire to lighten the load of manual soil excavation, the invention of the digger derrick might never have been happened; it was made possible by a great idea and help from the past!

Advice for First Time Skiers About How to Use a Button Lift or Platter Lift

The ski lifts can be a daunting prospect for first time skiers. Whilst most people will have had the experience of travelling in a gondola style cable car before, the button lift or platter lift is going to be a new prospect for novice skiers. By learning the steps you should follow in using one of these types of lifts, you can minimise the risks of falling over and make your first experience of a button lift a successful one.

A button lift is a surface lift which drags you up the hill along the ground. It does not lift you into the air like an aerial lift such as a chairlift or cable car does. As skiing is an international pastime, it will be useful for some to know that the button lift is known as a teleski in French. The button lift consists of a small round seat or ‘button’ on a sprung pole or retractable cord. The steps you should follow in using a button lift are as follows:

  1. You need to ski forwards to the starting position – watch the skiers in front of you so that you know where to position yourself.
  2. Put yourself in a natural skiing position with bent legs. As a first time skier, you will probably not have ski poles, so you don’t need to worry about what to do with these.
  3. Grab hold of the lift pole as it comes round and pull down on it to position the seat between your legs. There may then be a short pause whilst the ski lift mechanism gets into the right position, but keep alert because when the lift sets off, it can give you quite a jerk.
  4. Do not put your full weight on the seat and actually sit down. Rather, balance on the seat and let the lift ski you up the hill.
  5. It is optional whether you choose to hold onto the pole or not, but first-time skiers would definitely be advised to do this.
  6. Whilst you are travelling up the hill, propelled by the button lift, it is important to keep your skis more or less in a parallel position otherwise you will veer off the path of the lift and would risk falling off the lift.
  7. As a beginner, it would be advisable to keep looking straight ahead of you. If you start turning round and looking back down the hill, you risk veering off to the side or getting your skis crossed, potentially leading to a fall.
  8. When you reach the top of the lift and are on flat ground, remove the seat from between your legs but keep hold of it in your hands. When you are secure, let go of the pole or seat and let it fly off away from you.
  9. Do not remove the seat from between your legs while you are still moving up the hill or you will risk a fall and could endanger the next skier coming up the lift.
  10. As with a chairlift, ski forwards off the lift and then veer off to the side, so that the skier behind you has a clear path to exit the lift.
  11. Do not stop as you dismount the lift, as you are likely to cause an accident with the skiers coming up behind you.