Fitting Engineered Wooden Flooring

Fitting an engineered wooden floor (floating system) is a labour and cost effective way to a new floor, as few tools are needed to lay it, and it usually comes with a finish applied by the manufactures. Because of the way it’s engineered these floor are more stable than solid floors so can be laid over concrete subfloors, and are the only realistic wooded choice to be laid over under floor heating.

The first step and most vital step is to ensure that the subfloor is dry and does not have damp issues, this can be easily checked with a damp meter that can be purchased cheaply for any DIY shop. Assuming the floor is dry, prepare the subfloor. In the case of a wooden subfloor, walk over the entire floor checking for squeaks and loose boards. Wherever the floor is loose secure it with a screw to keep it down. In the case of a solid subfloor ensure the subfloor is not crumbling and is secure. Once satisfied, check the floor is level and flat by sweeping a 3m straightedge across the floor. If the floor is not level or uneven, it will require levelling with sanders, planers or levelling compound. Once satisfied that the subfloor is prepared, it is recommended that all skirting boards are removed (though edge mouldings can be used if preferred).

After that, trim the bottom of any door frames by placing one of the floor boards next to it and marking how high the board comes to on the frame. Then slowly saw through the frame to the required height.

Next you need to lay a damp proof polythene membrane and a 3mm foam underlay, you should lay the underlay in the same direction as the new flooring (usually the longest wall). You are now ready to lay the wooden floor.

Cut the first row of boards to length along the chosen wall, ensuring the grooved edge of the board is facing the wall. This row is then pushed against the wall leaving a 10mm gap. This gap is then filled at 300mm centres with 10 mm packing spacers (please note if the wall is out these spacers maybe 13 or 14 or 15mm etc but never under 10mm, it is vitally important that the row of wood is straight not the wall). You are now ready to lay the second row of boards, ensuring a 10mm gap at the ends of the row, slot the groove of the wood into the tongue of the first row using a knocking block and hammer. Using a floor jimmy, crowbar or knocking block to push the boards into the tongue and groove at the butt end of the board continue this process using the waste piece of one end of the previous board to start the next row until the floor is covered.

Once the floor is down remove all edge spacers and the floor is ready for the skirting boards to be refitted, if skirting boards where not removed a finishing moulding would need to be fitted to cover the edge expansion joint.

Please note with engineered flooring there are several tongue and groove systems, either the classic tongue and groove or self locking systems. In the case of classic tongue and groove, the tongue and groove will require gluing, with a PVA adhesive along the groove as you lay the boards.

Food Pumps

Food  Pumps  are mechanical devices, and are widely used within the food and beverage industry. There is a wide range of food  pumps  available to the catering industry, and these can include, centrifugal, diaphragm , air driven, and rotary lobe food  pumps . These  pumps  are all manufactured with the highest quality materials, to ensure safe, and hygienic food processing. Rotary lobe food  pumps  are very commonly used within the food processing industry, because they offer good sanitary, high efficiency, and excellent clean and steam in place characteristics. Food  pumps  such as the rotary lobe  pumps , are often used in food processing applications, and they can process solid foodstuffs, without damaging the product.

A very popular type of food  pump  is the air operated double diaphragm  pump . The air operated double diaphragm  pump  provides an alternative to centrifugal, and positive displacement  pumps  and are ideal for applications where it is impossible or dangerous to use electricity. These types of  pumps  are self priming, can run dry with no damage, and do not require electricity to power them. They are powered totally by compressed air and can be used in a number of applications where electricity is not available or must not be used.

Rotary lobe  pumps  are used widely in the chemical food, pulp and paper, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. These types of  pumps  are popular in these industries because they offer reliability, high efficiency, sanitary qualities and good clean and steam in place characteristics. Rotary lobe  pumps  can quite easily manage a variety of liquids and solids. They work in a similar fashion to external gear  pumps , in that fluid flows around the interior of the casing, but unlike external gear  pumps , the lobes do not make contact. Rotary lobe  pumps  are commonly used in food applications, as they can handle solids without damaging the product. The flow in rotary lobe  pumps  is relatively independent, so output is constant and continuous.

Industrial food  pumps  vary in design and some of the different types can include :

o Positive Displacement

o Self Priming Centrifugal

o End Suction Centrifugal

o Thermoplastic/Chemical

o Hygenic and Multi-usage  pumps 

o Domestic  pumps 

Many of these  pumps  may have a range of applications and these may include :

o Food and Beverage

o Pharmaceutical & Chemical

o Biotechnology & Personal Care

o Paper & Textile

These types of  pumps  play a large part in the processing of many different food-stuffs and materials, and are widely employed in all kinds of industries for various applications.

Age Of The Lean Organization

Organic organizations are characterized by a set of structural arrangements, such as a low degree of formalization when specifying work responsibilities, a nearly complete lack of division of the activities to be performed, few rules, a significant lateral communication with few hierarchical distinctions and finally, a decentralization of the decision making process.

Comparisons can be made with Mintzberg’s adhocracy. The flat and organic structures of post-bureaucracies make them creative and capable of molding themselves to the variety of new problems they face.

Typically to date we have seen various government agencies in the UK try to become more organic organizations. However with many reported cases of lost sensitive information, such as personal bank details, residence and other personal information which has been stored on government databases, shows a lack of procedure and strict operating procedures. This more formal mechanistic organizational structure is still best suited to government agencies and other areas of the public sector. This is especially important for agencies that deal with sensitive personal information.

Other public sector organizations such as PR or tourism bodies can deploy a more organic structure that will allow the business to be flexible and reduce the number of levels in the organizations structure. In this case the role of managers becomes one of empowerment, providing workers with the information, training, authority and accountability to excel.

Tom Burns and G. M. Stalker, (1961) are famous for establishing the distinction between mechanistic and organic approaches to organization and management. They illustrated that when change in environment becomes the order of the day, as when changing technological and market conditions pose new problems and challenges, open and flexible styles of organization and management are required (Morgan, 2006).

Management is seen to engineer an organizational culture and identity, which impels individuals to take responsibility to rationalize and intensify their own work activities, i.e. “to work smarter to work harder”. The target of this control is not individuals’ behavior, but their emotional commitments, modes of thinking and identities.

Flatter structures reduce the number of opportunities for promotion and the effects of ongoing restructuring include insecurity and increasing workloads. These changes are having an impact on people’s morale, motivation and willingness to deliver high performance.


The organization features all the services and facilities you would expect to find in a four star Caribbean resort, as well as spa treatments, therapies, fitness and relaxation classes, water sports etc, in an all-inclusive package.

The previous organizational structure can be classified as a traditional machine bureaucracy with a tall hierarchy, and high centralization. Decisions were made at the strategic apex, consisting of divisional heads such as the rooms division manager, deputy general manager and general manager.

In order for organizations to gain a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace which offers endless choice, there is a need for flexibility in their product and service delivery. This can be achieved through a leaner decentralized organisational structure that can adapt to the environment and the ever-changing technological advancements.

Ultimately the days of traditional bureaucracies are over in the private sector which may be too expensive to maintain and do not meet the needs of the employee.The hospitality industry and the organization of LeSport can be viewed, fundamentally as post-modern, as employers, employees and guests engage each other in searching for truths that will shape their own beliefs and reality.

No two organizations will be structured the same as there are many factors to consider. However, it is clear that the organization must maintain a certain hierarchical level in order for the business to effectively deliver its product and services. Needless bureaucracy should be reduced and centralization should be kept to a minimum wherever possible. Too much flattening and decentralization may cause the organization to fail without control and a power structure in place.

The organization must also support the structural change with policies that meet the needs of the employee, improve communication, integration, knowledge and offer opportunities for learning and career development in order to attract and retain the best employees. Leaders must be nurtured and are crucial in creating a positive work environment, encouraging and developing employees, leading by example and being ambassadors of the organization’s values

It can be argued that the structural change allowed the organization to achieve a competitive advantage. After all, in the hospitality industry it is the quality and organization of our human resources that have the most impact on the organization’s value, products, services, repeat business and reputation.

9 Exercises That Target Different Parts of a Man’s Body

Fitness plays a very important role in men’s health. It improves the quality of the lives they live by reducing the risks of degenerative diseases such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes or heart diseases. Staying fit requires a combination of a good diet and regular exercise. The down side is that doing the same kinds of exercises every two days can not only get exhausting, it can also be a bit boring. There is therefore the need to keep changing the exercises every so often to beat this and to be able to reap the benefits of working out at the end of the day. Below, we will discuss a number of exercises that target different parts of a man’s body.

1. Push ups for the chest and serratus anterior

Push ups are the best exercise for working out the chest, the arms and the shoulders. To do this exercise, lie face down with your palms at shoulder level with your fingers spreading out forward. Push your body up until the entire weight rests on the palms and the toes, keeping your body as straight as possible. Lower yourself until you almost touch the floor and repeat. You can vary the way you do this exercise by adjusting the width difference between your palms.

2. V-sit hold for the abdominal muscles

This exercise will improve your balance by working your abdominal muscles. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your arms pressed firmly to your side. Lift your upper body and your lower body into a V position while you support yourself with your butt. Hold this position for as long as possible before going back to the starting point. Repeat the process.

3. Single-Leg Side Plank

This exercise improves the endurance of the entire lower back. It also activates the glutes making it very good for prevention of lower-back problems. To do it, lie on your right side. Your knees should be straight at this point. Support your upper body with the right elbow and forearm placing the left hand on the left hip. Contract your abdominal muscles while raising your hips so that the body forms a straight line from the ankles to the shoulders. Raise your left leg as high as possible and hold for half a minute. Repeat this several times and then change to your left side and do the same.

4. Reverse Crunches

This exercise is good for working out the core and the lower back. To do it, lie straight on your back with your arms on your sides. Press your palms into the floor. Bending your knees at 90-degrees, bring them up till they are directly over the hips. Tighten the abdominal muscles while keeping the upper body pressed to the floor and curl your tailbone up off the floor, bringing your knees over to your chest. Curl back to the starting point and repeat. Do this 15-20 times.

5. Stomach vacuum for the abs

While sit-ups and press ups work on the outer stomach muscles, they do very little for the inner muscles. Stomach vacuum on the other hand works on the core of the stomach leaving one with a stronger, tighter and flatter stomach. This exercise employs breathing and if done properly, it can remove two inches from the waist in just three weeks. To do it, breathe in deeply filling the stomach like a balloon. Then breathe out slowly sucking in your stomach as far back towards the spine as you can and hold this position for as long as you can. When in position, you should continue breathing normally. Repeat ten times. The exercise is great and convenient as it can be done while standing, while on the back, while seated at your desk in the office or even on all fours.

6. Squats for the lower body

Squats are a great way of exercising the lower body without weights. Squats maximize the benefits of other exercises by creating an overall anabolic environment in one’s body. To do this exercise, keep your back straight. Your feet need to be shoulder length apart. You can either stretch your hands straight in front of you or you can use weights for a heavier squat. Stick your butt out while supporting yourself with the heel and lower your body towards the floor. The butt should go lower than the knees for a full squat. Push from the heels to rise and repeat.

7. Farmer’s walk on toes for the calves

This exercise increases the cardiovascular fitness while working out the calves. To do it, grab heavy dumbbells, hold them at arm’s length on the sides of your body and stand on the balls of your feet. Walk forward for a minute before stopping. You can use heavier dumbbells if you feel like you could have endured the pressure for much longer.

8. The Pelvic   Tilt 

The pelvic  tilt  is an exercise that strengthens the pelvis muscles and the lower back. To do it, lie on your back on a mat with your arms on the sides of your body. Bend your knees such that the heel rests straight on the floor. Tighten your lower abs pulling in your tummy towards your spine thus  tilting  your pelvis up into the air. Hold this position for 10 seconds before going back to the starting point. Repeat the process.

9. Kegels for the pelvis floor muscles

Kegels are exercises that are normally associated with women. They involve the exercising of the muscle that holds the flow of urine. Just like in women, the kegel exercises are very good for a man’s sexuality as they reduce premature ejaculation and generally intensify the sexual pleasure. It also prevents male urinary incontinence. To exercise the pelvic floor muscles, contract your kegel muscle like when trying to stop the flow of urine and hold for a count of four to ten. Repeat this exercise for as many times as you can throughout the day whether standing, sitting or walking.

Honda Contract Hire – Previewing The Honda Range

The Accord saloon is available with a choice of two petrol engines, the2.0Litre, 5 speed or the 2.4Litre 5 speed. There is also the highly efficient and powerful turbo diesel 2.2Litre engine.

The Accord’s reliability is second to none according to the customer satisfaction survey published by the independent JD Power organisation. There is also a generous equipment level including cruise and climate controls and alloy wheel trims. This is a very roomy small car with a good amount of boot space.

Honda’s little baby is the Jazz, a sure footed town car with spirited performance from its 1.2Litre or 1.4Litre petrol engines. Which don’t lack power but are capable of excellent mpg, and are considered to be very reliable. Standard features include two front airbags and anti-lock brake systems; the SE Sport version is also equipped with side impact air bags.

The CR-V with a 2.2-litre diesel engine giving up138bhp is a popular model in the range with an, as standard, manual, 6 speed gearbox. This 4X4 has great off-road capabilities combined with smooth regular road use. Its bulk and height give it a very safe and secure feeling. The gear lever is conveniently situated on the dash; upper end spec models also have a very useful rear view camera, for added safety.

Some models also include ES Trim packs and alloy wheels with back and front parking sensors. Luggage space is the largest in its class, with plenty of headroom for back and front seat passengers. Honda contract hire can put you behind the wheel of this great vehicle at a price you can afford.

Honda’s Legend Saloon comes equipped with just one choice of engine, that is not a drawback when it’s the impressive V6 3.5Litre putting out 291bhp, married to a 5-speed automatic gearbox. Add in the standard permanent 4-wheel-drive set up and this car was made to be driven hard.

The Legend is designed to compete on a level field with the mighty 5 series BMW’s. Standard executive refinements include, all leather upholstery, a powered sunblind for rear passenger comfort, dual climate controls. There is even a new intelligent system for the cruise control that keeps the car within lanes.

The S2000 is an exiting sports model that delivers 237bhp for hair raising open top driving excitement. Its 2-seater cockpit setup gives the feel of a real sports car, with an absolute no frills feel, apart from its luxurious leather interior, and top of the range CD player, essential for cruising down winding country lanes.

Whichever vehicle you choose, Honda car leasing is a highly cost effective way to finance the best that this forward thinking manufacturer has to offer. From the nippy Jazz to the awesome power of the Legend, Honda contract hire is the place to go.

Contemporary Home Plans For Contemporary Living

There was a time, quite recently in fact, when the most important attributes of buildings were their aesthetic qualities, fitness for the intended purpose, and structural integrity. However sustainability objectives – paying closer attention to the soundness of the architecture from the perspective of the environment – are quickly becoming the overriding factors in contemporary home plans. Aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder, and it depends upon the prevailing tastes of the time. A building’s functionality, or fitness, is a matter of how well it accommodates the purposes for which it was built. Its structural integrity means soundness – will the building last over time? Historically speaking aesthetics has usually trumped fitness as the overriding factor in architectural design. Classical architecture was preoccupied with articulating features on walls and facades. Modern architecture is equally concerned with aesthetic formalities, such as form following function. But the difference between classical and contemporary architecture is that few of the traditional building and ornamentation methods are still being used, since modern architecture has integrated modern technology by embracing new methods of building, new materials, and an accent on functionality rather than embellishment. For example, one common feature in contemporary architecture is the mixture of stone, wood, and brick wall materials on the same surface. Exposed wooden or steel beams, flat roofs with large overhangs, and split levels to take advantage of the terrain, are also common accents associated with the contemporary style.

Nowadays architectural soundness has acquired a new meaning, with the advent of sustainable designing. A dwelling sheathed in solar panels has a very different aesthetic than the usual suburban house. Multi-unit housing which eliminates the thermal bridges created by extensive glazing and concrete decks do not share the aesthetic of glass paneled high rise towers. Passive solar designs often borrow elements from local architectural styles to address local climactic conditions. For example, in the southern United States sunshades and louvers as well as light colored building materials for roofing and cladding help to reduce the heat gain. Sustainable design also means that every inhabitant has access to outside views with natural light and natural ventilation. This sometimes results in narrower floor plans, or articulated plans which expose interior areas to several exposures. The contemporary house plan is designed with the goal of reducing fossil fuel consumption, and providing a healthier and relaxing environment.

The prevailing trends in what is considered architecturally beautiful are slowly changing as more sustainable buildings are erected. The use of local building materials to reduce transportation costs and providing a greater degree of opacity to enhance energy conservation in cladding materials, are some of the criteria of design which are changing the appearance of buildings. The challenge for the designer today is to produce ecologically-sound buildings without compromising contemporary concepts of beauty. There are plenty of examples of excellence in sustainable design which is soundly built, well-fit for its purpose, and an aesthetic delight. Even small luxury home plans are increasingly ecology-conscious in their choice of materials for conservation of resources and self-sufficiency.

Extruded Aluminum

People who want to build a deck in their homes should try out aluminum decking. Extruded aluminum is used and is installed to wherever you wish to place the deck. Although this option is not as popular as wood decking, there are still a number of companies that offer this kind of service. If you are curious and want to learn more, read on and decide if this is your kind of thing.

What are the characteristics of aluminum decking?

Since extruded aluminum is used to build aluminum decking, the properties that aluminum possesses are evident in the decking itself. One good example is the weight. Aluminum is a light material, so expect the decking to be lightweight as well. Aside from that, it is also durable and can withstand changes in the weather. However, there is a tendency for it to get slippery and frosted during when it is cold. That is why it is important that you be careful so as not to slip and hurt yourself.

Another good thing about aluminum decking is it is cheaper than most of the other non-wood decking options. It can also be customized to become waterproof most especially during the rainy season.

The total cost of your whole aluminum decking would depend on the size you would want covered. It would also depend on which company’s services you are going to hire to install the decking at your home. As preparation for this, you can go online and check the prices of materials and make a comparison to be able to get the best deal.

A regular 6 by 2 feet plank costs between $200 and $300. The bigger one, which is at 8 by 2 feet, costs around $400 each. The support bean typically costs around $60 to $90 per piece.

You can try to build everything by yourself, but, let me tell you, it is not that simple. You can always choose to read about how to do the installation, but it is strongly advisable that you hire somebody who has much experience in this field.

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of aluminum decking:


1. long-lasting

2. water and weather resistant

3. available at a reasonable price

4. light weight


1. slippery during cold climate

2. installation is not that simple so it should be done by professionals

If you think you can live with its pros and cons, it is time that you seriously consider getting an aluminum decking for your balcony or patio.

Denim – Why We Enjoy Wearing It

Denim is a very sturdy fabric made from a cotton twill weave. The first denim was made at about 300 A.D. and was called nimes for the city it was made in Nimes, France.

Denim first came to America in the 1800s A business man wanted to make tents for people to live in, so he ordered a lot of denim it came over here on a ship. When the denim got to him he discovered it would not work for tents. He had a lot of the denim, so he had to try to use it for something else. After checking around he found the farmers needed heavy pants and coats to wear that would hold up under the kind of hard work they were doing. That’s when he started to make overalls and long coats for the farmers to work in.

For a long time that was the way denim was used as overalls and coats then in the late 1800’s Levi Strauss, an American clothing manufacturer, started to produce the first blue jeans from denim fabric. Even today, blue jeans are the favorite pants to wear of almost all everyone in America and I bet that goes for other countries too.

Now we all know how easy it is to care for denim. We can just throw it in the washer and be done with it. It is when we put it on that really counts. When we feel that denim jacket wrap around us and it is so very nice. We just feel great in it and just give us a pair of faded blue jeans to go with that jacket. And what else could we possible need. Now you can get Denim Jackets, jeans, skirts, Denim Shirts and Denim Vest in a lot of different colors and styles so when you are shopping for denim jackets you want it too be soft and prewashed so it won’t shrink when you wash it check the colors for fade resistant so the colors stay bright the same goes for any Denim Wear you don’t want them to shrink or fade. To get the rite size pants measure around your waist where you want the pants to fit and from the inside of your leg at your body to your ankle or as low as you want them to be. Then for a jacket go around the largest part of your chest this will give you your size if you want it to be a little more roomy then order the next size up.

Now friends when you are out and about on your motorcycle enjoying the day I hope you have on a pair of Denim jeans with a pair of Denim Chaps over them with a nice Denim Jacket, for you never know when something is going to happen and you lose control of that motorcycle and you are skin to pavement and oh how that hurts, so do cover up. Protect your skin as much as you can. So lets all enjoy our Denim as much as we can.

Sydney Opera House and Other Famous Landmarks

Sydney is Australia’s largest metropolitan city and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, for reasons that include its pleasant climate, multicultural heritage, and iconic landmarks. Three million tourists visit Sydney each year to surf its legendary beaches and visit famous attractions like the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Tower, and the Queen Victoria Building.

Sydney Opera House

The iconic Sydney Opera House is arguably the city’s most recognizable landmark. Its shell-like architecture is one of the first things that come to most people’s minds when they think of Sydney. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most famous performing arts centers in the world. Sydney Opera House is made up of six smaller venues: Opera Theatre, Concert Hall, Drama Theatre, Playhouse, Studio, and the award-winning Guillaume Bennelong restaurant. A seventh space, The Forecourt, hosts free community events and large scale outdoor performances. People visit Sydney Opera House to enjoy the modern expressionist design of this unique architectural masterpiece, and to attend a performance by one of various companies, including the four key residential companies, Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Theatre Company, and Sydney Symphony.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Close to Sydney Opera House is the likewise monumental Sydney Harbour Bridge, which allows people to cross Sydney Harbour by train, car, or on foot. The bridge, nicknamed “The Coathanger” for its shape, is important to Australian national pride, as well as tourism. The bridge’s southeast pylon serves as a lookout point, and there are organized climbs that allow adventure-seeking tourists to scale the southern half of the bridge. There are both day and night tours available, and climbers are supplied with all necessary equipment and briefed before setting off on this three-and-a-half-hour journey. There is also an alternative climb that takes climbers up the lower chord of the bridge, allowing them to observe the internal structure.

Sydney Tower

At 1,001 feet tall, Sydney Tower is the tallest structure in Sydney and the second tallest freestanding structure in all of Australia. There are three main sections that are open to public access: the 820-foot high, fully-enclosed observation deck and gift shop; the 879-foot, open-air Sydney Tower Skywalk; and two revolving restaurants.

Queen Victoria Building

History buffs and shopaholics should include the late-nineteenth-century Queen Victoria Building in their trip to Sydney. This elaborate Romanesque Revival building was initially meant to be a grand government building, but was instead opened as a business environment for tradesmen, comprised of coffee shops, showrooms, and a concert hall. It was later used as offices and threatened with demolition before returning to its original incarnation as a shopping center. Today it houses mainly upscale boutiques and brand-name shops. The building’s ornate Victorian details include a central dome, stained glass windows, intricate colonnades, arches, balustrades, and cupolas. There are four main shopping floors and multiple historical displays, including two mechanical clocks that feature dioramas and moving figures from various historical moments.

Brake System Service Mercedes Benz

Master cylinders manufactured by ATE, Girling and Bendix utilize 2 or 3-chamber reservoirs, a level sensor contact is built into each chamber.

A warning light is activated when brake fluid level is low or when pressure differential between two brake circuits is caused by loss of fluid in either circuit.

Floating type front disc brake calipers are used on the 190, 420 and 560 series; Not floating type calipers on other models with parking brakes are cable-actuated in rear brake rotor calipers.

All models have brake pad wear indicators and differential pressure warning indicator.

Wear sensors for 420 and 560 series operates on inner pads only.

The Anti-Lock Brake System is standard on 420SEL, 300 and 560 series (optional on 190 series).

On diesel models, a vacuum pump is incorporated to supply a vacuum to the power brake unit.


Pedal height measured from pedal pad to pedal stop should be 150 m.m.

to adjust loosen lock nuts and turn stop light switch until correct pedal height is obtained tighten lock nuts; pedal free play should be 5-15 m.m..


The stoplight switch is located under dash, above brake pedal loosen lock nuts and adjust switch so that contact button extends 6-8 m.m. then tighten lock nuts.


1. Remove only one wheel lug bolt at each rear wheel, raise vehicle.

2. Rotate wheel until lug bolt hole is positioned over parking brake adjuster, approximately 45 degrees forward for diagonal swing axle and 90 degrees forward for diagonal swing axle with starting torque compensation.


Parking brake must be adjusted if brake pedal can be depressed by more than 2 steps of 6 without any braking effect, do not alter adjusting screw on parking brake intermediate lever; these screws are for balancing cable lengths only.

3. Using screwdriver inserted through lug bolt whole hand turn adjuster until rear wheel cannot be turned, back off the adjuster until wheel can be turned without wheel dragging.


1. Dual warning light is mounted on dash, turn ignition on and the light should glow when parking brake lever is pulled to one notch and go off when brake lever is fully released.

2. To check circuit warning sensor, turn ignition on, release the parking brake and ensure light is off,

Open bleeder screw on one wheel and depress brake pedal and the light should light up.

3. Close bleeder screw, replenish the brake fluid and bleed system, check that light goes out after testing and if not; differential pressure pin in the master cylinder must be reset.


Removal 420SEL, 300 & 560 Series

1. Raise vehicle and remove wheels, remove upper hex head caliper bolt.

2. Pull clip of the brake pad wear sensor out of plug by opening cap on plug, rotate caliper downward and remove pads from carrier.

3. Standard front disc brake pad   assembly  thickness including lining backing plate is 17.5 m.m. Standard rear pad  assembly  thickness is 15.5 m.m..

4. Front backing plate thickness is 4.5 m.m. Rear backing plate thickness is 5mm Minimum pad thickness is 2 m.m..

Mercedes Benz Single Piston Disc Brake Caliper cleaning.

1. Using brass cylinder brush clean disc pad guide surface in caliper, siphon fluid from master cylinder to prevent overflowing press piston to bottom of bore.

2. Install disc pads and wear sensor wires, reverse removal procedure to complete installation and check that dash light goes out.

Removal All Other Mercedes Benz Models

1. Raise vehicle and remove wheels, remove cover plate from caliper and disconnect wear indicator wires.

2. Drive out retaining pins toward inside of vehicle, on Bendix brakes retaining pins have locking pins, then remove the locking pins and retaining pins then the cross spring retainers.

3. Remove disc pads from caliper, if not reusable note condition and location of pads for re installation.

4. Standard front disc brake pad  assembly  thickness including lining backing plate is 17.5 m.m. Standard rear pad  assembly  thickness is 15 m.m..

5. Front backing plate thickness is 4.5 m.m. rear backing plate thickness is 5 m.m. minimum pad thickness is 2 m.m..

1. Using cylinder brush clean disc pad guide surface in caliper, siphon fluid from master cylinder reservoir to prevent overflowing, press pistons to bottom.

2. Mercedes Benz Disc Brake Pads.

3. Install cover plate retaining pin locking keys and wear sensor wires, check that dash light goes out, and the reset pin at master cylinder.


1. Raise and support vehicle remove the wheel, open bleeder screw on caliper  assembly  and pump out fluid, disconnect and plug brake lines at caliper  assembly .

2. Remove caliper bolts, remove caliper  assembly  from vehicle.

Installation To install reverse removal procedure, tighten all nuts and bolts and then bleed hydraulic system and check that the dash light goes out, reset pin in master cylinder if necessary.


1. Remove caliper  assembly  and hub grease cap, remove contact spring for radio shielding, loosen clamping nut socket screw on wheel spindle.

2. Remove clamping nut and washer, remove wheel hub and rotor  assembly , remove bolts securing hub to rotor, remove rotor.

Cleaning & Inspection

1. Clean disc and check for cracks, scoring or excessive wear, replace as necessary.

2. Before installing stock replacement disc, use solvent to remove nitrocellulose corrosion preventive paint from rotor surface.

Installation To install reverse removal, tighten all bolts and fittings evenly, bleed hydraulic system if necessary, lubricate and adjust wheel bearings, see appropriate article in suspension section.

Removal rear brakes

1. Remove rear wheel and tire and disconnect and plug brake lines, remove caliper  assembly .

2. Using rear axle shaft  Assembly  Tool 116 589 24 61 00, pull rotor out from axle shaft flange.

1. To install reverse procedure, coat the axle splines with high temperature lubricant grease wheel bearings and install seal if necessary.

2. Tighten all bolts and fittings evenly and bleed hydraulic system.


1. Remove rear wheel and tire and release locking plates, remove mount bolts and caliper, wire caliper out of the way.

2. On vehicles with starting torque compensation, disconnect brake hose holder and hang caliper  assembly  with wire.

3. Loosen and remove 8 m.m. bolt or 12 m.m. bolt with spacing sleeve and clamping disc at center of rear brake rotor.

4. Using rear axle shaft  Assembly  Tool, remove rotor from rear axle shaft flange and pry rear axle seal from rotor at inner wheel bearing and discard.

If the brake rotor is difficult to free from the axle flange strike the outer circumference lightly with a plastic hammer and ensure parking brake is released.


1. Coat inside of new axle seal lip and wheel bearings with grease, install bearings and seal into rear brake disc.

2. Coat axle splines with heat resistant lubricant and install disc, to complete installation reverse removal procedure.

Mercedes Benz master cylinder removal

1. Drain master cylinder fluid and disconnect and plug brake lines, disconnect electrical wires.

2. Remove the bolts securing master cylinder to power brake unit and remove master cylinder.


1. Reverse procedure; always replace rubber “O” ring seal between master cylinder and power unit.

2. Bleed hydraulic system and check complete system for fluid leaks, check that dash light is out and reset pin in cylinder.


1. Remove wheel and tire and disconnect hydraulic line, remove caliper and disc and turn the rear axle flange until the threaded hole faces down, compress spring with spring and turn 90 degrees.

2. Remove all retainers and hold-down springs, detach lower return spring opposite adjuster and pull brake shoes apart enough to remove over rear axle shaft flange, detach upper return spring and remove adjuster.

Cleaning & Inspection Use brake vacuum cleaner to clear asbestos dust from  assembly  and check condition of linings and components.

Disc brake rotor inside diameter is 160 m.m. parking brake lining width 25 m.m..


1. To install reverse procedure, lubricate all adjuster components and sliding surfaces of backing plate with silicone brake grease.

2. Return adjuster to position and install on shoes with adjusting wheel facing 45 degrees forward diagonal swing axle or 90 degrees forward diagonal swing axle with starting torque compensation.

3. Attach hold down springs and retainers and return springs, install disc and adjust parking brake.


Removal Diesel Only While holding lock nuts loosen vacuum lines from pump, detach hex head mount screws from crankcase and remove vacuum pump and gasket.

Piston type vacuum pump screw connector is provided with oil retention valve, when pump is stopped and vacuum is available, valve prevents engine oil from entering power brake unit.

Installation Install vacuum pump with new gasket to crankcase, the new gasket thickness is 2 m.m. Connect vacuum lines and test for proper operation.


1. Loosen upper radiator hose and drain some coolant and remove the fan radiator shell and power steering pump belt.

2. Loosen vacuum lines from pump; remove hex head mount screws from crankcase remove vacuum pump with toothed intermediate sleeve and gasket.


1. Clean sealing surfaces and install pump with new gasket to crankcase and ensure intermediate sleeve and pump locating pins are properly seated in crankcase.

2. Connect vacuum lines to pump, install belt radiator shell, fan and hose, check pump for proper operation.


Disassembly 420SEL, 300 & 560 Series

Remove caliper from vehicle and place piece of wood in front of piston, gradually apply compressed air into fluid inlet remove piston and remove dust boot from piston and piston seal from caliper bore.

Cleaning & Inspection

1. Wash parts in alcohol or brake fluid and air dry, inspect caliper bore and piston for scoring scratches or rust, standard front brake caliper bore inside diameter is 60 m.m..

2. Replace dust boot and piston seal when disassembling caliper, remove small rust deposits in bore with fine cloth.

When installing new caliper and check that calipers on same axle have pistons of same diameter, only identical calipers should be installed on front axle.

Reassembly Coat piston and caliper bore with ATE brake cylinder paste, install piston seal into caliper bore and install piston and dust boot.

Disassembly 190, 300E, 300SDL & 420SEL this procedure also applies to all rear calipers.

1. Remove caliper from vehicle and remove disc pads from caliper and remove dust boot.

2. Hold one piston in place using piston Resetting Pliers, gradually apply compressed air to fluid inlet to remove opposite piston.

3. Remove piston seal from groove of cylinder bore and remove remaining piston and seal in same manner. DO NOT separate caliper halves, replace only as an  assembly , calipers installed on front axle must be from same manufacturer.

Calipers on rear axle may be different only if same brand replacement part is unavailable.

Cleaning & Inspection

1. Check cylinder bores of caliper for wear or damage, small rust deposits may be removed from caliper bores with cloth.

2. CAUTION: DO NOT clean chrome-plated surfaces of pistons with polishing or emery cloth damage to surface may result.

Remove deposits with soft brass wire brush or rough cleaning cloth, replace piston if chrome surface is damaged.

2. Heavy rust deposits or badly scored bore will require replacement of the caliper rust deposits in front of piston seal groove may be removed with fine emery cloth.

3. Standard front brake caliper bore inside diameter is 60 m.m. Standard rear caliper bore I.D. Teves is 38 m.m. and rear caliper bore I.D Bendix Girling is 42 m.m..


1. Coat piston and caliper bore with ATE brake cylinder paste, install piston seal into the caliper bore and then install piston.

2. With caliper installed on the diagonal swing axle elevation on the piston faces upward.

On diagonal swing axle with starting torque compensation, elevation on piston must be at bottom and project at least 10 m.m. above shield, use DOT 4 or higher rated brake fluid during the overhaul.

2. Check position of piston in caliper with Piston Gauge for front or for rear.

3. Adjust with Piston Rotating Pliers and install dust boot, install heat shield into piston with recess in shield fitting into elevation of the piston.


Overhaul procedure is the same as front caliper of 300E, 300SDL and 420SEL models.


BENDIX master cylinder painted Blue cannot be overhauled and replace as an  assembly  only.

Disassembly Tandem & Stepped Tandem

1.On tandem master cylinder remove the reservoir and push piston in

remove stop screw; remove the push rod piston  assembly  and O ring.

2.Remove the lock ring from housing and remove the floating circuit piston, and stop washer with two vacuum seals and intermediate ring.

3.Tap lightly on housing with plastic mallet to remove the floating circuit piston  assembly .

On Teves reservoir only remove cap end covers and strainer and splash guard, O rings and contact the inserts.

On Bendix models, remove strainer from cover, DO NOT remove the contact inserts.

Always use DOT 4 or higher brake fluid during overhaul.


Cleaning & Inspection

1.Clean all parts with alcohol or brake fluid and flush residue out of housing, check bore in housing and the piston for score marks and rust.

2. Small rust spots in housing may be removed with emery cloth scored or badly rusted parts cannot be repaired and require replacement of complete master cylinder.

3.On tandem models with standard master cylinder inside diameter is 23.81 m.m. maximum bore wear limit is 23.92 m.m..

4.On the stepped tandem models, standard master cylinder I.D. for push rod circuit is 23.81m.m. and I.D. for floating circuit is 19.05 m.m..

5. Maximum master cylinder bore I.D. is 23.92 m.m. for push rod circuit and 19.16 m.m. for floating circuit.


1. To assemble reverse disassembly procedure, coat the bore of master cylinder with brake fluid.

2. Install new floating circuit piston  assembly  and push in piston  assembly  and install lock ring.

3. Install the new push rod piston  assembly  and screw in stopper screw using new copper washer for Gray iron master cylinder or new aluminum washer for light alloy master cylinder.

Replace O ring to ensure proper vacuum seal at power brake unit and bleed hydraulic system, check that the dash light is out.

Differential pressure warning indicator reset pin located at the front end of master cylinder MUST be reset once and indicator light in dash panel has been triggered.


Manufacturer does not recommend disassembly of this unit, if problem is found in power brake unit complete  assembly  must be replaced, DO NOT disassemble power brake unit, determine whether source of problem is in power brake unit or the check valve.

After the Crash – Fixing a Tower Trainer 40 ARF

As a novice wannabe RC pilot, I have suffered two fatal plane crashes in my short flying career. The crashes were due to radio failure: the communication between the transmitter in my instructor’s hands and the receiver in the aircraft failed and not even my experienced instructor was able to save the planes. Experienced pilots told me that crashes happen to all pilots sooner or later. So, I was prepared, mentally, for a crash, especially after my instructor saved my aircraft numerous times–when I placed the aircraft in jeopardy during my training sessions. Some aircraft crashes result in a total loss of the plane; other crashes result in varying degrees of damage that can be repaired.

My first crash, a Great Planes Easy Sport, resulted in a total loss on June 6, 2009; my second crash was in November, 2009, and resulted in fixable damage. I decided to fix the damaged trainer, a challenging project considering my building experience, small workspace, and tool inventory. My last model building was done nearly 50 years ago, and building materials and techniques have changed drastically since then. I considered fixing the trainer to be a great learning opportunity for building and repairing my RC aircraft. Fortunately, I belong to an RC club, Sanderson Field RC Fliers, and club members helped me throughout the project. Collecting the necessary tools and materials and effecting the repair was done over a period of several months; an experienced modeler with the necessary tools and materials could probably have completed the repair in a few hours.


The damaged trainer was a Tower Trainer 40 ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) which was given to me by another club member. The nose section needed a complete rebuild, as did the wing mounting and other areas of the fuselage, such as the main landing gear area. The covering also needed lots of repair work. Fortunately, except for some trailing edge damage, the wing was in good condition.


Early in the project, I decided to replace the standard clamp-type engine mount with a Great Planes.46-sized engine mount. This would require plugging old mounting holes and drilling new holes for the Great Planes mount. My first step was to remove the old balsa from the bottom and top of the nose section. After drilling the necessary engine mounting holes and installing blind nuts for the engine-mount bolts, I re-epoxied the existing engine firewall into place. I also added a 1/16″ thickness of plywood to the inside sides of the engine compartment to stiffen the front end of the fuselage.

A club member drilled the engine mounting holes in the engine mount using his drill press and I tapped the holes with a 6/32 tap: I used 6/32 socket head cap screws to secure both the engine mount and engine. After coating the interior of the engine compartment with a thin coat of epoxy (diluted with 99% isopropyl alcohol), I bolted the new engine mount to the firewall. My next step was to remount the fuel tank.

I glued some flexible tubing to the fuel tank cradle to help dampen engine vibrations. On a tip from a club member, I used flexible tubing from a sling-shot repair kit purchased at my local Walmart sports department. Before installing the fuel tank, I painted the compartment with a thin coat of epoxy for fuel proofing. I also used silicon adhesive around the front of the fuel tank to further isolate the tank from engine vibrations and seal the tank compartment from any engine compartment fuel leakage. I covered the top of the fuel tank compartment with a hatch made from 1/8″ plywood and recovered the bottom of the compartment with new balsa.


Since the landing gears, both nose and main, were damaged, they had to be repaired or replaced. I decided to replace the main 5/32″ wire landing gear with a more durable “Super Strength Landing Gear” by DU-BRO. The DU-BRO landing gear is made from a shock absorbing composite material and will not bend out of shape as the wire gear did. In addition, I planned to use larger wheels for both the main and the nose gear: I decided to use 3-1/4″ Dave Brown “Lite Flite Wheels.” I felt the landing gear upgrade would make the trainer more durable as I learned to fly–and would be a good setup for our grass field, too. Also, with the upgrade, I thought the plane would track better on the ground and, because of the added ground clearance, lessen the chance of damaging a propeller during a rough landing.

In order to accomplish the upgrade, I first replaced the original main landing-gear strong point with a wider 3/8″ plywood base for attaching the DU-BRO gear. Underneath the plywood, I reinforced the strong point with 1/2″ triangular balsa. I used four 6/32″ socket head cap screws to securely mount the DU-BRO landing gear to the fuselage. The landing gear can be painted and I plan to use a red spray paint for this sometime in the future.

For the nose gear, and to level the aircraft longitudinally, I bent a DU-BRO “5/32 Universal Nose Gear Wire.” One problem with wire landing gear these days is that commercial landing gear comes with a plating that increases the wire diameter slightly. This creates a problem when using it with commercial parts, engineered for 5/32″ wire, such as wheel collars. I found I had to use a #20 drill bit to enlarge both the wheel collars and also the engine-mount nose-gear holes so everything would fit.


The servo tray also had to be replaced. Although some might consider this an overbuild, I used a piece of 1/4″ plywood for the tray. First, using some card stock, I made a template of the tray and then cut out the plywood tray with a jigsaw. Finally, I drilled holes for the servo screws with a 5/64″ drill bit.


Only a little CA was needed to repair the wing. However, a new arrangement was required for the wing positioning dowels. I epoxied a block of balsa to the bottom leading edge of the wing and epoxied two positioning dowels into the block. I built a new plywood former to accept the dowels and epoxied it into the fuselage. This arrangement made for a much more secure wing than the old, weak arrangement. I reused the original DU-BRO wing hold down blocks for the trailing edge wing bolts.


At this point, I decided to remove the old fuselage covering. Since I had never done any covering and did not have any of the necessary tools, I visited club members to learn as much as I could before ordering tools and materials. Eventually, I removed the covering and then removed any leftover adhesive with Methyl Ethyl Ketone (M.E.K.). Once the old covering was stripped, I could clearly see other areas that needed to be re-glued or strengthened.


One area that needed to be strengthened was the tail. The stabilizer and vertical fin were not mounted securely. I decided to sheet the surfaces with 1/64″ plywood and reinforce the joints to the fuselage with 1/4″ triangular balsa. Previously, I had to balance the trainer with a good deal of lead weight attached to the tail. I calculated that the weight added by the strengthening could usefully replace some or all of the lead weight (in fact, when the repairs were completed, the plane balanced almost perfectly). Before sheeting, I cut away the solid-balsa rudder and elevator: these would be replaced and re-hinged later.

I used thin CA to attach the first side of the sheeting: I could reach all contacting surfaces through the open side. In order to attach the second side, I first attached the trailing edge and allowed the CA to thoroughly set. Next, working towards the leading edge, I applied thick CA to about 1/3 of the remaining contacting surfaces, held the sheeting down until the CA set, and moved onto the next 1/3. The thick CA allowed me enough time to quickly position the sheeting before the CA set. I used an Xacto with a #11 blade to trim the excess sheeting. Where necessary, I used additional thin CA around the edges of the sheeting. After sanding the edges of the stabilizer and fin, the sheeting blended nicely into the edges. When the sheeting was completed, I added the 1/4″ triangular balsa reinforcement.


After filling holes and gaps with either Hobbylite filler or DAP spackling and sanding everything smooth, I was ready to begin covering with red and white monokote. Starting with the fuselage bottom, I covered the fuselage. After covering the fuselage, I rated the job as a 10: looks good from 10 feet or more. My next job should be better.


I cut out a new rudder from 1/4″ balsa; I used 3/8″ trailing-edge stock for the new elevator. Hinging the elevator to the stabilizer was not too difficult. I had to reposition the hinge slots on the old stabilizer because the old hinges were still in the wood: I used an Xacto knife with a #11 blade to cut the new slots. I slotted the elevator leading edge to match. Because of the more limited space to reposition new hinges on the rudder, and on the advice of a club member, I elected to use Hayes Live Hinges, which needed to be epoxied into small holes. In order to bevel the leading edges of the elevator and rudder, I built a small bevel-sanding jig. The bevel jig worked well for the soft balsa rudder but the hard trailing edge stock needed to be razor planned to the approximate bevel before final sanding on the jig. After the beveling, I covered the surfaces with red monokote and then attached the rudder and elevator to the stabilizer and fin.


It was necessary to replace the plywood windshield, and I decided to mount the VoltWatch2 here. I use a VoltWatch2 to monitor the receiver battery–a low battery level can lead to crashes! I cut a small slot in the windshield and mounted the VoltWatch2 under the slot. I covered the slot with a small piece of clear monokote donated by a club member. Installed in this way, the LEDs of the VoltWatch2 are protected and the battery level can be easily monitored.


On March 30, 2010, my instructor thoroughly checked out the trainer before we drove to the flying field. Once ground checks were completed, we flew the finished aircraft for two successful test flights. I would like to thank the members of SFRCF, my RC club, who helped me with this project. Special thanks are due to members Bob Beatty, Richard Robb, and Bob Andrew for their help, advice, and tips.

Copyright © 2010 Royce Tivel Select Digitals

After the Crash – Fixing a Tower Trainer 40 ARF, April 5, 2010.

My First Pink Tool

I hate doing projects when I don’t have the right tools for the job. Or worse yet, having to go find my husband’s tools and then having to explain to him why they are out of place or why I didn’t just have him do it in the first place. His tools are so big and bulky too. Recently, I found a line of pink tools that are really just the right size for me. They are lightweight and a portion of the proceeds from their sales goes to breast cancer research.

The first tool I bought was the 13oz magnetic   hammer . It is big enough to get the job done but small enough that I don’t have to worry about throwing my arm out trying to use it. I was putting up a new shelf in the dining room to put pictures on and needed a  hammer . Not being able to find my husband’s, I went to the hardware store and found this cute little pink one. Thinking it would do the job and that my husband would NEVER touch it, I got it and went home to hang the shelf.

Not only did this little  hammer  do the trick, I liked it so much that I went back to the store to look at all of the other little pink tools they had. I think I have decided that I am going to start buying all of the little pink tools I can find so that I can have my own tools and help the breast cancer cause at the same time.

Painting Light


I teach students how to paint and draw light. I am also a lighting specialist. My fascination with light encompasses, not only the commercial, retailing aspect, but the artistic as well. Once drawing and painting skills are developed to the point where students can accurately put down what they see, creating light and shadow is studied and faithfully delineated subject matter emerges in a world of space and volume.


Basically, the depiction of light and shadow is accomplished by using dark and light colors in painting and tonal gradations in drawing. For a beginning student this often requires some visual skills.. First, I tell the student it is necessary to convert what they see to a two-dimensional vision that they can translate to a two-dimensional surface like a canvas or a sketchbook page.


Seeing objects two-dimensionally can be done in several ways. The easiest (and most time-tested) is to construct a grid in front of the subject matter–that could be actual objects, a photo or a picture. This can be done most simply by holding a pencil vertically and horizontally against the viewed objects, comparing their shapes to the vertical and horizontal lines of the pencil.

Another time-tested method is to literally construct a grid on plate glass or Plexiglas and place that grid in front of the objects. Now the viewed objects are intersected by many squares (depending on how large or small the squares in the grid are.) Each quadrant (square) of the grid can then be painted or drawn independently and upon completing the entire grid, the composition of objects is finished to compose an accurate picture of the objects.

Light and shadow are more easily discerned and created with this grid method. How objects are illuminated can be defined on paper or canvas by observing and re-creating light and shadow at play in each quadrant. In accomplishing this by shading and highlighting, illumination and therefore, volume is created, the illusion of the three-dimensional space is created, reborn on a two-dimensional surface.


Accuracy, as well as light and shadow were not always the motivation behind depicting artful images. Before the Renaissance, art works in Europe depicted objects ( figures, landscapes, buildings) in a flat space. There was no light and shadow. Figures were delineated and colored in a style much like a coloring book. These images translated well to stained glass windows and mosaics. Their simplicity of line and color contributed to the strength of the iconography, often of religious significance.


With the discovery of perspective, space and volume became important to artists as well as the depiction of light and shadow. Symbolic icons and images described by line gave way to depictions of illuminated space. In perspective, objects recede and advance in a two-dimensional space that is totally visually believable. To augment the receding and advancing figures with directional light and shadow completed the believability, creating a world the eye could explore as a simulated, illuminated three-dimensional environment.


Spiritual light, the vehicle of infinity was often expressed with the use of gold leaf in Medieval altarpieces. The warm, glowing, reflective surface behind religious figures imbued the work with a rich and reassuring statement-the glory of heaven and God’s power. A more earthly light replaced gold leaf in the Renaissance. Spiritual figures were bathed in sunlight and swathed in shadow. The light that illuminated the humble shepherds was the same light that shone on Jesus and his followers.


It is interesting to me that the journey a beginning drawing or painting student takes often replicates the historical transition from the Medieval use of line and color-in style to the Renaissance application of illuminated space and volume. And, with more advanced students, their journey often continues to repeat the contemporary return to line and color-in, the preference for depicting flat, shallow space and solid color.

I find this reassuring. The art world is wide open, brimming with many styles, images, materials and skills. For today’s artist, everything is available, to use towards a creative purpose. All of history as well as the latest technological/digital images are ready to be researched and developed.

Picking a Snow Shovel

Everyone’s favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil popped out of his stump on February 2nd 2012 and saw his shadow. Which makes it official, winter is not going anywhere. Keep your shovels ready and you snow blowers handy, Jack Frost is here to stay. Sure a soft blanket of fresh snow is a delight to behold, but not when it’s 2 feet deep and on top of your car. So what has modern technology created for us to take on the herculean task of clearing our driveway and digging out our car? That’s right, the snow shovel!

The right tool makes all the difference.

Picking the right snow shovel

It was our use of tools that separated humans from the rest of the animals, and one of the oldest is the spade. While the under-appreciated shovel comes in many forms, few inspire more groans than the winter classic known as the snow shovel. Or as I like to call them, back breaking, arm numbing instruments of torture. They are great for lifting large amounts of anything and placing it a slightly different area. And certain types are very effective at breaking up ice and snow clumps. Of course breaking up, lifting and flinging snow and ice can be exhausting. Any good powder hound worth their salt knows how much even a few inches of snow can weigh.

Technology and technique are the keys to surviving the winter. Since I am not an occupational therapist I am going to leave it up to you to perfect your own lifting techniques; I will be focusing on the tools themselves. In recent years there have been some vast improvements in snow shovel design. There are almost as many designs as there are flakes in the sky. Here is a little guide on what type of shovel (or broom) suits your particular snow removal needs.

Metal shovels with clean/sharp edges are the best choice when you are tackling hard-packed ice and snow. While it might not be the quietest option, the metal scoop tends to be more durable and will bend instead of breaking. If there is excessive ice, you might want to go with a shovel that is flat and has a blade. The straight handled 8 inch flat spade is a classic design that has stood the test of time. The straight and sharp edges will help break the ice apart while the straight design allows maximum power output directly into the ice. Modern alloys have made these shovels lighter than years past and new carbon coatings can help keep the snow from sticking to the scoop. Just watch those toes when you are trying to break up ice chunks and frozen snow walls those blades can be very sharp!

Plastic shovels come in all shapes and sizes and tend to be lighter than metal shovels. Many come with large scoops and make it easier to move a large drift or deeper snow. Other plastic snow movers come in smaller sizes for so everyone can join in on the fun. (Don’t let the kids miss out on the fun of hard labor!) Plastic shovels don’t scrape ice quite as well their counterparts and have a tendency to break if used improperly, but they are usually inexpensive and readily available. There are many shapes and sizes of plastic shovels, but most are designed to be used more as scoopers rather than scrapers. If you have snow drifts and “lake effect” style snowstorms this type will be your go to. Do remember that bigger isn’t always better, pick a blade that is the right size for your lifting ability. Sometimes a smaller scoop will keep you from trying to be a “hero” and save you from “blowing out your back” and the embarrassment of crying like a two year old in front of your friends and neighbors.

Shop brooms make a very effective weapon when combating light snow fall. A normal shop broom is perfect when there is less than 2 inches and the snow is dry and fluffy. A quick back and forth usually pushes the snow right out of the way with minimal effort. If you can sweep your kitchen you can clear your driveway. Even a little dust broom can make quick work of steps without the risk of scratching your deck stain or house paint. But if the snow is damp and you might as well grab a shovel. Wet sticky snow will clump up and freeze on the hairs of the broom rendering all of your efforts useless.

Snow shovels come in a variety of designs, but some styles are better than others. If back pain is an issue, consider using a Shovel/Pusher combo shovel that has an ergonomic and curved handle. Some snow pushers even come with 2 hand grips so you can put both arms into it. And some scoop shovels have large double handles that make pushing a lot easier and many times more effective. Their design allows you to push at the waist and really put some man/woman power behind it. Many modern handles are made of steel and fiber so they can lift more ice and snow than their predecessors, while keeping the weight down. Modern ice scrapers are very effective, but you might need to supplement your scraping with snow melt. Even 2 centimeters of ice can cause a tragic slip that could ruin your day and your back.

Ribbon Lift

Ribbon lift has caught the imagination of public thanks to certain celebrities like Angeline Jolie, who is rumored to have had ribbon lift done recently to restore her once chiseled jaw line. Celebrities and others who are constantly watched and captured on camera tend to start early with face lifts. They particularly seek surgery that is least invasive and gives subtle results with least downtime and scarring. Ribbon lift fits the bill perfectly.

Loss of jawline definition is one of the earliest signs of aging and starts usually in early thirties. Overweight younger individuals in their twenties too can face this problem because of fat accumulation in lower face, upper neck and under chin. But with the onset of thirties even people with normal weight can lose the sharpness of their jawline because of the effect of gravity, loss of elasticity of skin and sagging of platysma muscle of the neck. Younger people tend to consider nonsurgical options like thermage or laser facial rejuvenation which claim to lift the face. None of the nonsurgical devices available can actually lift the sag of the muscles because muscles are too deep and outside the reach of nonsurgical methods. Plastic surgeons have constantly striven to find a solution that can actually lift the muscle with least amount of scarring or downtime, to suit the need of younger people with active lifestyle.

Ribbon lift involves placing a certain ribbon like device under the jawline between the skin and platysma muscle, to pull the skin and muscle in unison towards the ear. Ribbon, in this endotine devise is made up of absorbable material, is about one fourth of an inch wide and has hooks on the under surface to grasp facial muscles. Ribbon is inserted through small incisions either behind earlobe or above the ear, within the hairline, where it will not be seen. Ribbon lift procedure is done under local anaesthesia. After engaging the hooks on the muscle, when ribbon is pulled towards the ear, the jawline stands out. If a lot of skin is seen bunched up, the excess skin may be removed through a short incision around the ear lobe. Procedure is quick and painless. Downtime usually is one week or less.

Ribbon lift is somewhat like older thread lift with “contour” or “happy” threads. Threadlift technique used absorbable or nonabsorbable thin barbed threads, which were inserted with needle under the skin of face and neck and pulled upwards similar to the ribbon. Multiple threads were required to hold the tissue. Since they were inserted blindly and the barbs were small and delicate results were short lasting and unpredictable. Endotine ribbon in contrast has broader and stronger grip and is placed more predictably and securely after surgical dissection. Therefore one can expect longer results with ribbon.

Who will benefit the most with Ribbon lift? Younger men and women who have minimum fat or excess skin on jawline are ideally suited to Ribbon lift. Typically people in late thirties and early forties, who shy away from conventional surgical face lift will benefit with Ribbon lift. Conventional face lift and even short scar versions involve an incision in front and behind the ear. This is a high price to pay for men and women with shorter or pulled up hairstyles and those who do not need extensive lift. Ribbon lift scars, in contrast, are smaller and well hidden. Face lift surgery involves more extensive dissection which leads to a downtime of 2-4 weeks. Ribbon lift has minimal downtime of less than one week. Of course less surgery also means lesser cost and lesser risk.

So can Ribbon replace the good old face lift completely? The answer is no. Conventional face lift and neck lift is the only option when skin excess and sagging is significant. Face lift surgery results last longer 5-10 years whereas results of a ribbon lift may last much less. Ribbon is completely absorbed by body in about an years time. After that the fibrosis around the ribbon is supposed to be holding the sagging tissues for some more time. Since ribbon lift is a relatively newer technique long teem follow up is not available.