Arturo Alvarez Lighting

This extremely popular lighting company produces unique and personal lighting which is distributed in major cities in Europe, America and the Middle East. The lights designed and produced by Arturo Alvarez have the main intention of provoking emotion and involve real enthusiasm into creating lights to enhance spaces.

One of the most unique and breathtaking lighting ranges from this company is ‘Bety’. Its distinctive shape and atmosphere have made it hugely popular. It has even been placed into the Museum of Decorative Arts in Barcelona.

One of the founders and a key part of the company that’s named after him is Arturo Alvarez. He won the 2008 and 2009 ‘Good Design’ award for several of his lighting designs and is renown for his ’emotional light’ focus, with designer lighting.

The products themselves are made with exclusive materials from the USA and European countries making every single light extremely valuable. The company show pride in being able to offer such special, eco-friendly designs. The passion behind the products is quite apparent on the individual designs and finished lights.

Having designer lighting in a home or workspace can completely transform the space and bring something ‘new’ to any area. Arturo Alvarez design lighting for floors where lights can stand freely and be used anywhere where there is free floor space. They also create lighting for ceilings and tables ensuring lighting is an option anywhere, allowing a huge variety of moods and atmospheres to be created.

Lighting can be a focal point of a room, and if not chosen correctly, bring an unintended bad feel to the space. Using combinations of lights can aid a room if used in a good way. Arturo Alvarez have collections of lights which could be used together to form unique, comfortable environments inside a home. This is where Arturo Alvarez lighting separates itself from any competitors.

When redecorating any room in a house Arturo Alvarez would be a great way to enhance your efforts and maximize the effects of decorations.

How to Select Crowd Control Barrier Bases


The most vulnerable part of a steel barricade is its bases. The wear and tear caused by the use and movement of a steel barrier will most often become evident in damage to the bases.

To minimize the risk of having any of your barriers “out of commission” due to base damage, purchase barriers with bolt-on replaceable bases, rather than welded-on bases. Barriers which feature bolt-on replaceable bases are much more cost-effective. A barrier with a damaged base won’t sit idle for long – it is very easy and inexpensive to replace a base, as opposed to purchasing an entire new barrier.

There are four main types of interchangeable bases for steel barricades. Each offers advantages for specific applications.

Traditional Bridge Base

The bridge base has been the most popular base style since steel barriers were invented. Bridge bases provide the best resistance to “push” by crowds at events such as parades.

Bridge bases are designed so that each individual barrier has one large base (a little over 26 inches wide) and one small base (19.5 inches wide). This allows all four points of the base to “dig in” and remain in constant contact with the ground, providing maximum stability on uneven surfaces. Bridge bases also accommodate the placement of barriers in both straight lines, and at various angles.

Flat Base

The flat base is becoming increasingly popular and is particularly ideal when barriers are used as portable pedestrian railings in situations when crowds will be walking parallel to barriers. Barricades with flat bases are used by the New York City Department of Transportation to divert pedestrians around construction sites.

Flat bases for the male and female ends of a barrier are identical in length (23.5″ wide), but the placement of the bolt hole is higher on the male end. Rubber inserts for flat bases were introduced in 1998, and most suppliers have now made this feature standard on flat bases. With rubber inserts to protect flooring, flat bases can be used indoors. Rubber inserts are most effective when they are wider on the bottom than on the top.

Most high-quality flat bases now feature beveled corners to eliminate any sharp edges which could potentially cut anyone coming in contact with the base.

Flat bases also feature holes for optional semi-permanent anchoring in outdoor locations.

“U” Base

The U Base is a more recent design similar to the traditional bridge base. Originally utilized by France’s Interior Department, the U base provides excellent four-point stability. U bases are about 22 inches in width on the male end; 17 inches on the female end. The U base also offers the added benefit of rubber stoppers, which reduce sliding and result in damage-free indoor use.

Wheel Base

Wheel bases can be used on both the male and female ends of a barrier, making the barrier easier to move. Each wheel base consists of two wheels, with a nearly 25-inch width span. When a wheel base is attached to the male end of a barrier, any other type of base can be used at the other end. The wheel base is ideal for areas where constant lifting or moving occurs (such as barriers used in parking lots). There are differing quality levels of wheel bases, so the size and strength of the wheels and bearings should be considered, especially when a barrier with wheel bases will be used repeatedly.


Inserts (with a rubber tip) are available for use as an alternative to a base on the female end of a barrier. Inserts allow barriers to be placed at angles (particularly when flat bases are utilized), keeping the barrier in constant contact with the ground. Inserts are standard on the female ends of 1-meter barriers, and they are not recommended for the longer 2.5 meter barriers.

A Proper Fit?

The base styles discussed above will result in a proper fit for almost all existing styles of barriers. However, there are some discontinued frame variations which may not accommodate the standard base styles. In such rare instances, workable replacement bases are available from most long-standing companies serving the crowd control barrier market


The specification of steel barricades with bolt-on bases is far more cost-efficient than barricades with welded on bases. With interchangeable replacement bases, barricades with damaged bases can be easily and inexpensively put back to work. There are four popular base styles, each offering advantages which have historically been dependent upon the specific use of the barrier or the preference of the entity using the barrier. Most reputable suppliers of steel crowd control barricades can quickly identify and provide the ideal base style which meets their customers’ needs.

The Benefits of Having Fireproof Safes

Fireproof boxes are exactly like safes except these can be stored in extremely hot temperatures just in case your house sets on fire while you are away for the day or on vacation. You will most likely want to put things that cannot be replaced in there. An original safe will protect your things from home invasions such as burglaries, but it will not protect your things in a fire because your valuables can easily be melted and the outside of the safe can be melted as well. Having a fireproof safe will protect your home from burglaries as well, so it might make more sense to buy one just in case disaster strikes in your home while you are away.

Depending on how many and how big your items are, you might want to get the size that will fit all of the things that are not replaceable or non-refundable. You should not need a tape measure because you know how big your things are better than anyone else would know. Besides it would be a little hard to do that if you are thinking about buying it online.

Style may also be something you are considering when looking at the different safes. You may want to find a certain style that would blend in with your home so a thief would not notice it or if you have people coming into your home, they would not notice it either. You might want to see if a certain store has one in another color besides the one you most likely have because you do not want anything to stand out.

Even though you might have to have a fireproof safe to have your valuables protected, price is a very important thing to consider. Having a savings account is a good way to help you save the money you are going to need to buy a safe and you will not be able to touch it until you are ready to buy it. If you go online and search for fireproof safes, they will have shopping results for you to click on. Once you click on one of them, it will tell you which stores have the better price and which is closer to you. You also need to think about how big you are going to need it because the bigger ones are going to be more expensive than anything else. Especially if you decide to get fancy styles, they will be pretty expensive too.

You should definitely gather up all of your belongings before you decide on how big you want the safe to be. It might not be important to you at the moment but you should walk through your house and find out where to put it instead of buying it and figuring out what to do with it later. You will never know when a fire happens to occur in your home but you do want to be ready in case anything happens to your valuables or any other important items.

HD Wallpaper: A Detailed Study

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”. This is why a significant number of people like to choose attractive wallpapers. They desire that the backgrounds of their computer screens will look good, attractive and visually appealing. There are many individuals who like to set wallpapers according to their professions.

There are various types of wallpapers available online. You can easily choose one, depending on your hobby, profession and area of interest. Nowadays, the demand of HD wallpapers is increasing over the others. HD is an abbreviation for high-definition. Therefore, HD wallpaper means high-definition wallpapers. HD wallpapers remind us about high-definition wallpapers with a resolution of a width of 1920 pixels and a height of 1080. You can download them for free. However, there are some dedicated websites that charges you per wallpaper. Some of them have monthly subscription facilities. A vast of majority of these website update images on a daily basis. They change, arrange and rearrange wallpapers according to the latest trends, seasons and occasions. A significant number of them include the pictures of sexy women. Some others include classical figures and animal images. The trend of including the images of extinct animals is more than the using of common animal images. With these, you are sure to give the best look to your computer screen.

HD wallpapers serve different purposes. They have the capability to optimize the whole computer screen. They are well enough to establish you as a professional in your specialized domain. With the availability of more electronic gadgets, HD wallpapers have been made responsive to work well in different media environments. Some of them have been made for some dedicated platforms like Android, Blackberry, Windows and much more. They help you easily create your identity on your available device. These are very common today. Keeping pace with the extensive uses of LCD and LED screens, the demand of HD wallpapers has increased more than ever before. They look good on today’s larger screens. They adapt their screen resolutions easily.

A professional graphic designer with a programming knowledge can do this job very well. He uses the most fantastic pictures to give your PC an attractive look. You can use them as the background of your computer screen with no matter you are a business or an individual. HD wallpapers will soothe your senses and encourage you to do more works on your computer. However, you must be selective at the time of choosing these. You should get one that is cool and light in colour. You should not get one which is aggressive and detrimental for your eyes.

Essentials of Remodeling

Before putting on the ceiling, all openings, through which fire might find quick passage to the structure above, should be adequately fire stopped. It is best to use   incombustible  materials for fire stopping, such as crushed refuse mortar, plaster, concrete, hollow tile, gypsum block, broken brick, or other similar material, containing sufficient fine stuff to fill voids.

Such openings may be found around service plumbing and bathroom fixtures (especially bathroom light fixtures nearby faucets), and between joists or studs, where they join the foundation. The fire stopping can be supported by horizontal wood strips, not less than two inches thick, or by metal or wire mesh.

Several materials are used for ceiling purposes. Gypsum or asbestos board, plaster on metal lath or on gypsum plaster board or properly furred metal ceiling may be used, depending on the taste of the individual and the amount that may be expended.

It is recommended that any such material within two feet of the top of a boiler or furnace, or in the case of modern home saunas (where the sauna steam is not created by the rocks) and infrared saunas, shall at least be protected by a loose-fitting metal shield, arranged to preserve an air space of an inch or two between the metal and the wood.

The air space may be provided by the use of small blocks of  incombustible  material between metal and joists, or by suspending the metal sheets on wires or hooks fastened to the joists. If tin is used for a shield, it should have locked joints, as soldered joints are not reliable.

Similar protection should be placed over any woodwork or wood lath and plaster partition, within four feet of the sides or back or six feet from the front, of any boiler, furnace, or other heating equipment which may commonly be found in your spa room if you have a hot tub or steam sauna.

This covering should extend at least four feet above the floor, and at least three feet beyond the heating device, on all sides. It is advisable to have all such installations inspected by a representative of the fire insurance company.

A dry, clean, well-lighted, and well-ventilated basement can be made a most useful part of a house by partitioning off spaces for different purposes. It is generally necessary, at least, to partition off a coal bin, and sometimes the furnace also is enclosed to protect the rest of the basement from dust and soot.

The remaining space may be divided off for a laundry, a workroom for the handy man, or a playroom for the children. It may also be desirable to provide a cold room for the storage of preserves and fruits and vegetables.

If a definite storage space is set aside for garden tools, bicycles and various other pieces of equipment, they can be kept in good condition and more readily located when needed. An orderly arrangement in a basement tends to encourage neatness and lessen the amount of work required.

Answers to Manufactured Stone Questions

Manufactured stone is fairly new to the building and remodeling industry. No one wants to try a new product without knowing what type of results will occur. Here are some of the most asked questions and answers on this new faux stone.

What is manufactured stone?

Manufactured stone, also called stone veneer or cultured stone, is a realistic looking stone that is made from natural stones, iron oxide pigments, aggregate, and chemically balanced additives. A manufacturing method has been critiqued to form replicas of real stone that weighs up to 75% less than the real thing. Stone veneer can be finished to a glossy shine or a matte finish and is rock hard.

Does cultured stone fade and discolor?

Because a unique blend of iron oxide pigments are used in processing cultured stone, there is superior protection against fading, chipping and weathering. Even the harshest winters cannot remove the stunning colors that are set in for many decades of beauty. Hailstorms and strong winds will not damage your stone or tear off of your home if installed according to manufacturer guidelines.

Is manufactured stone guaranteed?

There are many manufacturers that are producing stone veneer for different applications but the method for making is pretty similar. A respected company will offer a 50-year warranty on their product as long as installation has been properly followed. Together with real stone and a bonding process that is geared toward long life and quality, this long guarantee is easy to live by.

Does stone veneer pass building codes?

Manufactured stone has passed independent testing at licensed laboratories and is classified as noncombustible and fire-retardant. Strength and durability receive an A+ while only minimal water adsorption is found. Specifications should be asked for at the time of purchase to quill any doubts of sustainability.

Can anyone install cultured stone?

Installation instructions are included with most cultured stone and require only a few tools. A circular saw and masonry hand tools are suggested in addition to whatever else your specific brand recommends. If you are unfamiliar with carpentry work, it might be better to hire a skilled carpenter. Any DIY project takes patience and perseverance in completing a job and you want your completed job to look professional.

Manufactured stone can be used anywhere. Add outdoor natural beauty to your home or landscape or bring stone inside for a majestic fireplace that you have always dreamed of having. Use a marble type for counter tops and bath surrounds and give distinction to a game room with natural looking stone walls. The ideas and designs are endless and manufactured stone is guaranteed to last a very long time. Visit different websites and come up with your own unique style that will give you a signature home with stone.

DIY Bike Repair Stand Vs Professionally Manufactured

For anyone who wants to do any work on their bicycle, a bicycle repair stand becomes an absolute necessity in one form or another. You do not want to simply turn your bike upside down as this can cause damage, is not steady and not easy on your body either for that matter. It is extremely useful and helpful to have a stand that holds your bike at an elevated level and that allows you to rotate it to the required working position. You also need it steady.

So what to use? Well there’s the question asked by many. Here are your options:

A Make Do Stand

By a make do stand I mean using something that is not designed to be a work stand but is able to somewhat do the job. One idea is to use a bike rack that is attached to the trunk of your car, the kind that is designed to transport your bike places. It will support your bike at an elevated level. You won’t be happy with that option if you do much bicycle repair, but for the odd emergency it will serve the purpose.

Hooks & Ropes

A somewhat simple and economical solution. You can use ropes or strong wires threaded to hooks in your basement or garage ceiling. To do this, you would fasten your hooks into a joist under the drywall or plaster. Once the wires or ropes are attached, you would place your bike up and over so it is suspended by the wires as best as possible. Make sure the ropes hold the bike in such a way that it won’t fall off. Some bike shops will even have large hooks that are specifically designed for this purpose.

DIY Bike Repair Stands

There are many people creating their own bike repair stand by cutting and welding metal pipes, clamps and sometimes wood to make a home made creation. I’ve seen some wild works of art out there, and I’ve seen some that are pretty impressive. It takes a certain skill to be able to pull this off. You need to be the real handy man, because although anyone can make a stand, it is not easy to make a really strong and sturdy one that will allow you to rotate your bike like a commercial stand. You will probably have to sacrifice the ability to rotate your bike, but you will save on money and have the satisfaction of your own creation. It is something to start with, but if you get serious into home repairs or are not this handy, this may not be for you.

Professionally Manufactured Stand

There are home mechanic repair stands (the most common type), racing stands (for really light racing bikes), shop stands (for real heavy duty work or bike shops) and a few cheaper variations that you can buy in bike shops and online. However if you buy a manufactured stand, I’d suggest you buy a good one, as you will be light years ahead of the above stands if you do. Look for one that is sturdy, has a strong base and that will rotate your bike 360 degrees with a good clamp. Most commercial stands will have a padded clamp to protect your bike from any damage.

Another option is to get a work bench clamp, which is basically a clamp that you screw down on a work bench. It holds your bike solid, and takes up little space, but you won’t have the versatility of a full stand if you go this option.

Many people complain about pricing of commercial stands as they often cost well over $100 but keep in mind that you are paying for the quality, workmanship and customization of the parts. If that is not want you want, then create your own, but there is a difference.

Emergency Solutions

So you are on the road, have a major problem and need to do some emergency work. It is very unlikely you have some kind of repair stand folded up in your backpack.

For emergency solutions like this, just turn your bicycle over on its side which is a bit better than turning it upside down. Or see if you can find a tree with a low hanging branch (that isn’t going to break!) to hook the nose of the saddle over.

If you are at home, lay the bicycle on top of a table with the handlebar hanging over the edge so that the front wheel can spin freely and the rest of the bike lies flat.

A bike repair stand is an absolute necessity for anyone interested in home bike mechanics. It is the equivalent to a good table in your home. You can technically do without a table and eat on the floor, but it is not a great way to go. In the same way, you can make do without a good stand, but you’ll be a lot happier with one.

3 Main Types of Hard Flooring

Solid wood flooring

Solid wood floors are mostly plain sawn or quarter sawn timber ranging from 14 to 22mm thick, dependent on the width of the board. The planks are normally random lengths and as the grain runs in the same direction throughout, are sensitive to environmental changes – expanding in the summer and contracting in the winter.

The best way to fit solid wood is to either glue or nail it to the subfloor to prevent excessive expansion / contraction with changes in humidity. Controlling the environment with a humidifier during the heating months may help to reduce the amount of gapping in solid wood floors. If this is a concern – consider engineered wood floors or laminate as they are much more dimensionally stable than solid wood floors and will show little or no gaps between planks.

Engineered flooring

Engineered flooring otherwise known as ‘semi-solid’ is a product made up of a core, either ‘multi-ply or 3 layer’ and a top level of hardwood veneer ‘3 to 6mm’ that is glued to the surface. The product thus has all the natural characteristics of solid wood ‘as that is exactly what it is’ with added advantages. The grain on each layer throughout the ‘engineered’ flooring reverses resulting in a design to provide greater stability particularly where moisture or heat pose problems for solid hardwood floors such as underfloor heating and conservatories.

Engineered wood flooring can be re-finished – 22 / 21mm products normally have the same wear layer as a 18mm thick solid timber ‘6mm’ and therefore can be sanded / re-finished the same number of times. 14mm products normally have 3-4mm wear layer, therefore can be sanded / re-finished half the number of times compared to an 18mm solid.

The best way to fit an engineered floor os to float install, however in addition to this 22 / 21mm as a structural floor has the advantage of being able to glue, secret nail or even secure the flooring direct to joist.

The advantages of engineered flooring are:

o Easy to install (DIY friendly)

o Suitable for conservatories / water underfloor heating systems

o Dimensionally stable

o Hygienic

o Easy to clean

o Can be used in conjunction with noise reduction underlays

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring replicates natural wood with added advantages and advancements in technology meaning some laminate flooring is almost indistinguishable from solid wood. Laminate flooring is made up of three layers – the heart of the laminate is the HDF core board (High Density Fibre Board) then covered with a design layer (high resolution photo paper replicating wood).

A very hardwearing transparent overlay is then applied to the surface to guard against wear and tear and in some instances this is corundum which is a mineral almost as hard as a diamond. The back of the laminate then has a moisture resistant balancing board applied which helps protect the HDF core against moisture ingression and prevents the board from deforming.

The advantages of laminate flooring are:

o Easy to install (DIY friendly)

o Suitable for conservatories / water underfloor heating systems

o Moisture resistant

o Stain resistant

o Scratch resistant

o Impact resistant

o Anti static

o Hygienic

o Easy to clean

o Can be used in conjunction with noise reduction underlay’s

Best Above Ground Pool Pumps: Is The Hayward Power-Flo Matrix The Best Above Ground Pool Pump?


If you are in the market for durable and hard-working equipment for your above ground swimming pool, then the Hayward Power-Flo Matrix is certainly the most logical option to take. If only for its impressive 1.5 HP (it also comes in 1.00 HP or 3/4 HP) that ensures sufficient power, as well as its automatic thermal overload protecting feature that makes for a truly safe usage, most experts in the swimming pool industry consider the Hayward brand as the best above ground pool pump in the market today.

Features and Benefits

Following are the essential applications, features, and benefits of Hayward Power-Flo Matrix that make it the best available for above ground pools:

1. It performs well on both in-ground and above-ground types of pool.

2. It is considered as the most hardworking model when it comes to the collection of small and big-sized debris.

3. You are only required to perform occasional check-up and minimal maintenance of the pump.

4. Hayward pool pump boasts of its horizontal and vertical discharging feature, which can be easily done with a simple press of the button.

6. Fast and Convenient connection, disconnection, and discharging actions.

7. The equipment has a C-Clip connecting device that allows you to easily disengage the strainer housing within a few seconds.

8. Hayward Power-Flo has a superior Noryl impeller with extra wide openings meant for easy passage of large debris.

9. It possesses a heavy duty motor with built-in thermal overload protecting component to ensure long hours of consistent pumping performance.

10. This pool pump likewise has an integral drain plug meant to ensure simple and efficient winterization.

11. Best of all, manufacturers of Power-Flo Matrix above ground pool pump assures maximum strength and durability of this energy-efficient device for years and years of dependable performance.

Reliable, Heavy-Duty Pool Pumping Performance

When it comes to reliability and delivery of heavy-duty performance, you can certainly depend on the Hayward Power-Flo Matrix. For one thing, it possesses a durable, industrial-sized strainer basket that is meant to collect the maximum amount of debris at the least amount of time.

Basically, this pool brand exists to collect all debris and protect your pool from getting clogged and dirty. The pump has a Noryl impeller that features wide openings to ensure passage of even large-sized debris. It likewise boasts of a double seal and rear switch to ensure greater efficiency in performance.

Unlike other pool pump brands, Hayward has an automatic thermal overload protection that turns the motor off in case of abnormal situations. This ensure prevention of overheating and possible damage to the equipment. The machine will only start again if motor heat settles down to a safe level.

When it comes to the protection of the motor and whole device during cold weather, the pump has an effective winterizing feature in its built-in drain plug. However, to ensure that the swimming pool pump is totally protected from freezing and cold weather, it must be stored properly in a dry and well-ventilated storage place when not in use. It must be disconnected from its electrical power source. Make sure that the pump is drained thoroughly of water. Lastly, it must be cleared of any debris or clogging materials.

Customer Comments

Users all offer superlative comments and positive testimonials about Hayward Flow Matrix, which only further solidify its claim to the title of the best above ground pool pump. Many have reported that it is easy to install and operate; and that for such a compact machine, it can deliver efficient performance double or three times more than other existing pump brands.

Other users of Hayward above ground swimming pool pump are satisfied with the crystal clear water in their pools after setting the device to work. A particular consumer is truly happy to have purchased and used this pool pump because he never has to deal with algae at any given time of the year.


Simply put, you can fully depend on every function and capability of Hayward Power-Flo Matrix as it has been meticulously engineered and produced to work as the best above ground pool pump. It is certainly a breeze when it comes to operating this pumping device. With just one push on the button, the equipment immediately works to ensure superb and reliable pool pumping performance. Power-Flo Matrix interchanges its vertical and horizontal discharges in an easy manner. Needless to say, Hayward Power-Flo Matrix is the above ground pool pump that’s unlike any other in the market.

5 Whys Analysis

5 Whys Analysis is a problem solving technique that allows you to get at the root cause of a problem fairly quickly. It was made popular as part of the Toyota Production System (1970’s). Application of the strategy involves taking any problem and asking “Why – what caused this problem?”

By repeatedly asking the question “Why” (five is a good rule), it is possible to peel away the layers of symptoms to identify the root cause of a problem. Very often the first reason for a problem will lead you to another question and then to another. Although this technique is called “5 Whys,” you may find that you will need to ask the question fewer or more times than five before you find the issue related to a problem.

An example of a five Why Analysis… The “wheel” example.

Why is our largest customer unhappy?

– Because our deliveries of bicycles have been late for the last month.

Why have our bicycle deliveries been late for the last month?

– Because production has been behind schedule.

Why has production been behind schedule?

– Because there is a shortage of wheels.

Why are we having a shortage of wheels?

– Because incoming inspection has rejected a large number of wheels for not being round.

Why are we rejecting so many parts?

– Because purchasing switched to a cheaper wheel supplier that has inconsistent quality.

Benefits of the 5 Whys:

– It helps to quickly identify the root cause of a problem

– It helps determine the relationship between different root causes of a problem

– It can be learned quickly and doesn’t require statistical analysis to be used.

Biscuit Joinery and Pocket-Hole Technology For Woodworking Enthusiasts

As craftsmen strive to create a perfect joint the question of wood joinery hangs over the heads of many professionals. To achieve these sought after smooth, strong, and durable joints there are many methods to choose from. Techniques like biscuit, or plate joinery, and pocket-hole joinery offer individual and effective ways to create a powerful and strong joint. Each method provides a different and efficient way to enhance the strength of your joints.

Biscuit or plate joinery involves the insertion of a biscuit into an oval, or crescent shaped slot that is cut into opposite edges of two pieces of wood. Biscuits are pre-cut, oval-shaped pieces of compressed wood that range in size from 1/2in to 2-1/4in in length. There are also biscuits available in plastic, aluminum, and steel for special applications, generally however, wood biscuits are the most prominently used. Biscuits (dabbed with glue) are inserted into specially cut slots in the wood that are shaped identically to the biscuit, the two pieces of wood are clamped together to set, and thus form a strong, durable joint. The biscuits also tend to soak up the glue applied to them before insertion which causes them to swell and make the joint tighter, and stronger. Porter Cable, DEWALT, and Makita each offer high quality plate joiners with unique, and individual features to help meet your needs, and build your joints better.

Porter Cable offers a Deluxe Plate Joiner Kit with a powerful 7.5 amps and 10,000 rpm. This joiner has many features that simplify the joining process, including: a precise micro height-adjustment knob to keep biscuits exactly centered, and a 1in O.D. (outer diameter) dust port that works with standard bags or can simply hook up to a vacuum. The 557 has a fence tilt of 0 to135 degrees with a positive adjustable stop at 90 degrees; additionally, the bale handle is attached to the fence (rather than the motor) for increased stability and control while cutting. The joiner also has a lock-on trigger for continual use and a supremely accurate (at any angle) height scale to precisely measure positions. Porter Cable’s plate joiner has seven-position rotating depth stop to accommodate a variety of biscuit sizes and depths, and a spindle lock mechanism for simple blade changes. For standard and face-frame biscuits, Porter Cable’s Deluxe Plate Joiner Kit includes both 2in and 4in diameter blades. The kit also includes a centering plate, dust bag, a chip deflector, Allen wrench, and a carrying case for portability and convenience.

DEWALT offers a similar Heavy-Duty Plate Joiner with 6.5 amps and no load speed of 10,000 rpm; tough enough to work through even the hardest wood. The DW682K offers a dual rack and pinion system that ensures the blade and fence are always parallel for the most accurate joints – every time. The one piece fence is also adjustable with a 0-90 degree tilt, and, at zero degrees, a flush cut can be made without removing the fence. Additionally, the fence has a locating notch at 45 degrees that allows indexing off the outside surface of a mitered joint: in other words, the fence has a positive lock at 45 degrees to keep your joints always accurate. With a no marring, heavy-duty aluminum shoe, the joiner can be clamped down for stationary work – and has retractable, anti-slip pins to help hold your work in place, and preset depth stops for all common biscuit sizes. DEWALT’s joiner kit comes with a carbide blade, dust bag, a vacuum adapter, Torx key, wrench, and a heavy-duty kit box for security. The DW682K comes with DEWALT’s one year free service contract, and a three year limited warranty.

Makita also provides an excellent option in biscuit joinery. Their 3901 plate joiner runs on 5.6 amps, and with a no load speed of 10,000 rpm. Although with slightly less amps, the tool is strong enough to make the tight, and lasting joints craftsmen expect from biscuit joinery. Makita’s joiner has a one-touch 6 depth setting that allows for immediate depth change when working, and accommodates most common biscuit sizes. Makita’s 3901 also features a shaft lock for fast, simple blade changes, and easy to operate cam locks for added security. With a cast aluminum pivot fence with positive stops at 0, 45, and 90 degrees the joiner is always accurate and precise, and is designed to quickly and simply make strong and durable plate joints. The tool has a maximum cut depth of 25/32in, a large top grip handle, no mar rubber strip insert, and is double insulated for additional security/safety on the job. Makita’s 3901 plate joiner includes a carbide tipped blade (4in in diameter), an angle guide, dust bag, lock nut wrench, set plate, inner flange, lock nut, and a plastic tool case for convenience and portability. The tool is just over a foot long and weighs 6.2 lbs.

Pocket-hole technology involves drilling an angled hole into one workpiece and joining it to another with a self-tapping screw. This process eliminates tedious drilling applications, and provides a fast, strong joint in which the screw acts as a permanent internal clamp pulling and holding two workpieces together. Kreg offers a Jig Master System specifically designed for pocket-hole joinery. The K3MS is effectively two tools in one having interchangeable drill guide blocks that can shift between bench-top and portable bases. The tool has an easy access, spring-loaded, front-side clamp that eliminates reaching around big panels to get to your toggle clamps; it keeps everything within arms reach so you can maintain speed and greater ease on the job.

Kreg offers a three-hole drill guide with a hardened steel core that helps you perfectly place pocket holes even in a variety of widths and thicknesses. This steel core also protects bits by keeping them completely covered, and supports work pieces throughout the entire drilling process. This technology reduces bit deflection and tear-out, and provides a clean, smooth, and plug-able pocket-hole. Kreg’s jig also has a material support stop that can be set at any distance from the jig enabling you to repeat the same pocket-hole numerous times. This stop can also swing or flip out of the way to act also as a height support for large panels. Additionally, Kreg utilizes an optimized drilling angle specifically configured to enhance driving efficiency and reduce the pocket-hole’s overall size to less than 1-1/2in. A wood-chip relief system -which consists of one wood-chip relief hole per every drill guide hole – keeps messy debris out of your drill bits and decreases drill torque output, thus increasing the life of your drill bits. This system allows the user to make smooth pocket-holes in only one plunge. Kreg jigs are built with an unique composite material that is flexible, resilient and also strong and durable; each jig is also built in-part with heavy-duty glass-reinforced nylon that maintains its strength and longevity.

Each of these joinery options is unique and provides professional results and professional strength to your joints. Both biscuit joinery, and pocket-hole joinery offer simple and strong solutions to achieving the perfect woodworking joint.

How To Buy Sun Shades

Do you want to learn how to buy a sun shade? There are thousands of different shades on the market. A shade helps keep the vehicle cool if you cannot find a shady tree to park under. They are made in many different sizes, shapes, styles, and colors. Of course, sometimes you may have to do a little research to find the correct size to fit your vehicle. Keep in mind that companies make them for trucks, cars, vans, jeeps and other vehicles. Read on to learn how to buy the perfect one for your vehicle.

Find out as much information as you can about buying shades. Talk to friends and family members that have purchased a sun shade and see what they have to say about making the purchase. Contact sales persons that sell this product and ask him which shades are the best. Do not forget to use the internet to help you get additional information. You can also call manufacturers to find out which type would be best for your vehicle.

Call several retailers that sell shades to help you make the buying decision. You will find out that they offer car design prints, animal prints, and various other kinds of printed sun shades. Try to get the highest quality material that blocks the sun at the lowest possible price. Keep in mind that pricing will vary from vendor to vendor for many reasons. For example, if you buy more than two some vendors may give you a discounted price.

Clearly, buying this product is good idea because you never will know when you might have to park in the heat.

Coffee Mania – Lviv Ukraine

I am sipping on a frothy cappuccino, sitting on a bold red leather chair on a trendy terrace under a Parisian stripped awning-how divine! A “fashionista” struts by in 6 inch heals on the cobble stone walkway below. Seated next to me is a guy on his iphone. I experience at once a feeling of displacement and elation. Am I in Prague, Vienna or is this possibly Krakow?

I look down the way and memories are quickly returning. Cars are parked on the narrow sidewalk and the stop sign is written in Cyrillic. The dead giveaway is the lady selling dried field flowers and sunflowers just around the corner. Now I know! I am in Lviv-the cultural capital of Eastern Ukraine and the Coffee Mecca of Eastern Europe.

Flash back to the post Soviet Era when vodka at breakfast was more so “de rigueur”. As a North American coffee snob, I would search high and low for my early morning caffeine as the shops then did not open till 11:00 am. At that time, to ask for milk in your coffee was unheard of and even frowned upon.

Fast forward to 2011 and welcome to Lviv’s coffee mania. The city now boasts nearly 700 coffee houses. Cafe terraces litter the urban landscape, through the timeless “brahmas” of the ancient center float the aromas of strong coffee. Every conceivable concoction on the planet is available here now. Turkish coffee brewed three times and over hot sand is more popular here than it is in Istanbul. There are numerous cafes that are open 24-7.

Actually, the cafe is a microcosm of society, has come to epitomize the art of living here. The intellectual and artistic Bohemia meet here to philosophize. Lovers linger, this is the place to see and be seen. Not only is the cafe a refuge it is also a “fashion cult”. Waiters themselves are a vibrant element of the decor. The staff meanders about in the french traditional “rondeau”, a black apron that reaches to the floor and wraps around the waist.

Lviv (often called the Mini Paris of Eastern Europe) is as renowned and infamous for its coffee culture as is Paris. Just as notables like Toulouse Lautrec and Baudelaire have immortalized certain cafes in Paris, Lviv too has had its’ cafe celebrities. Lviv born Leopold Masoch (of masochism fame) comes instantly to mind. Picture him composing his famous “Venus in Furs” during the heyday of the Austria-Hungarian Empire as he drank his daily java.

In this city, coffee traditions are steeped in history. It was actually a local emigrant to Austria (Yuri Kultschyzky) who opened the first coffee house in Vienna. He started up his venture with beans left behind by retrieving Ottoman Turks. He called his cafe-“under the blue bottle”. A cafe by that same name exists in the Market Square. It’s carefully restored 16th century walls are reminiscent of the days of the Empire. Most fascinating is the 1960’s cafe called “with their backs to Soviet Authority” where intellectuals drank coffee with their backs facing city hall, then the seat of the Soviet Imperialists.

Since 2007, Lviv has hosted an annual Coffee Festival which occurs in Late September-the essential antidote to the chills of autumn. At this time, coffee tours set different cafes in competition for the honor of the best brew in town.

Back to my favorite cafe terrace- Dianna’s (by the classic fountain statue of the goddess of the hunt) in the Market Square. I love people watching here and I love the anonymity of this crowded inner city cafe.

Are your taste buds ready for some very fine Java? Are you yearning for posh yet antique cafe ambiance with free wifi, all in an exotic setting? If so, Lviv is the place to be, coffee mania and all.

ABC Outdoor Games For Mommy and Me

There are some basic skills that every parent needs to teach their child. One of the most important is the alphabet and reading. It requires a great deal of patience and perseverance to teach a child how to recognize letters. Young children have short attention spans and they often come to hate learning because they associate it with sitting quietly for hours. As a teacher you will find it very difficult to teach anything to a child who has this attitude. The solution is to make learning fun by turning it into a game. When you explain learning in terms of fun and games kids will immediately become interested. If you consider the games that really excite children, most of them are outdoor games. There are few things that children love more than recess; they play outside with their friends in healthy competitions. If you are looking for a great and fun way to teach your kids their ABCs consider doing so with an outdoor game. Described below are some wonderful outdoor ABC games that will make learning fun for you and your children.

1. ABC Hopscotch. There is no reason to play an outside game unless it involves some sort of physical activity. Draw a large square on the pavement and fill it in with smaller squares. Draw chalk letters into the squares. You can do them in alphabetical order or a random order. Make the letters large so that the children can see them. Use different colors of chalk so that the finished product is a bright and fun checkerboard of letters. Call out certain letters and have the children jump on them.

2. ABC Hoops. If your child is athletic and likes basketball consider a fun sports game. If the child is particularly young you will need a small basketball hoop and stand. Shout out random letters and have your children shout the letter back to you. If they can pronounce the letter correctly they get to shoot a basket. Keep the game going quickly so that you can cover lots of letters. The quicker the game the more likely it will be for your child to have a great time. You could also shout out the name of a favorite superhero or animal. When the child can shout back the letter that begins the animal’s name they get to take a shot. This game becomes even livelier if you play some upbeat music while doing so.

3. ABC Lineup. If you have a group of children make cutout letters for all of them. Attach letters to each child’s shirts or clothing. It might be best to make necklaces out of them so that the children can change to a different letter. You don’t need all the letters of the alphabet but it would be best if you do. Play some music for about thirty seconds and challenge the kids to get into alphabetical order. A big part of learning about letters is learning their proper order. When the music ends all of the children need to be in the right order. If they are not in proper order then move them until they are. At some point you can change places with a child and they become the one to put everybody in the right order.

These are just a few ideas for fun outdoo ABC games. Be creative and come up with some games of your own. If you find that your child prefers one game over another stick with it. You will see rapid improvement in their knowledge of the alphabet.

Prague: A City of Wonders

This world is full of amazement and when traveling to Europe, you would realize that there is certainly no shortage of surprises there. This is particularly true when you head towards the largest city of Czech Republic. The City of Hundred Spires, Prague, is a complete world of wonders. From its colorful buildings to the grand churches, there is a lot which leaves the tourists completely awestruck. This cultural hotspot is a must to explore the next time you decide to visit Europe. Let’s take you to the finest places in the city!

1. Charles Bridge

Arguably, this is one of the most famous spots in the city. If there’s only one thing you need to see in order to experience Prague, it should ideally be the marvelous Charles Bridge. The diversity and beauty of the city can be best explored through this popular tourist destination. Being the most stunning bridge in Prague, this spot would give you the perfect view of the Vltava River. This is the reason you would see tourists elbowing each other in order to get space for themselves. You’d see crowds surging in the afternoon and the ambiance is completely magical. However, if you wish to enjoy a few moments of peace, it is best to head there at dawn. The glorious sunrise is a treat!

2. Old Town Square

Trying to explore the history of Prague? The Old Town Square is one of the finest places in the city. Situated in the heart of Prague, it offers the best environment for the locals and tourists alike. Although Prague has undergone the torture of a lot of invasions, Old Town Square has miraculously survived it. The magnificent buildings and ancient churches are an amazing sight. St. Nicholas Church, Tyn Church and Old Town Hall Tower are some of the finest attractions of the square. There’s never a dull moment at the square because of the dancers, punks and the vendors who put up a great show every day!

3. Prague Castle

The city is famous for its mind blowing castles, all dating back to the ancient times. If you want to see the best of architecture, head to the compelling Prague Castle. Not only is it a source of pride for Prague, but also the largest ancient castle in the world! Seven football fields would probably cover up the size of this gigantic castle. This masterpiece comprises of churches, gardens and alleyways. Whilst you’re there, do not miss out the chance to explore St. Vitus Cathedral.

4. Prague Astronomical Clock

Before visiting Prague, you might have witnessed this in countless photographs. That is how popular the Prague Astronomical Clock is. It is set beautifully on the wall of Old Town City Hall. Being over 600 years old, it is amazing to know that the clock is still functional. It is also known by Orloj and is one of the most spectacular sites in the city.