Fastening Do-It-Yourself Aluminum

There are a number of ways to join the different shapes and sizes of aluminum stock using rivets, clips, tabs and slots, grooved seams, screws and nuts and bolts.

RIVETS – First choose the proper size drill to make the hole for the rivets. The shank of the drill should match the body of the rivet for a good tight fit. The proper length for the rivet to hold properly and firmly should be approximately one and one half times the thickness of the rivet.

Insert the rivet into the drilled holes and make sure that the sheets being joined are drawn together. Back-up the rivet with a piece of steel and with the ball end of your ball pein hammer, mushroom the end of the rivet. Follow this procedure until you have completed joining the sheets. Smooth all rivet ends with a power tool, fine sandpaper or emery cloth.

TABS AND SLOTS – Mechanical interlocking of various pieces in an aluminum project can be accomplished by cutting the tabs and slots carefully with a ΒΌ” wood chisel. If you go through Junior’s toy box you will find a good many of his toys joined in this fashion and you can see how it is done.

GROOVED SEAM – The simplest method of joining two pieces of sheet metal is the grooved seam. To do this, first fold over the corresponding edges an equal amount, hook the lips together then with a mallet and block of wood, hammer them together. A few dimples along the seam made with a hammer and center punch or nail will prevent the seam from working loose.

In working on some of your projects, you may find it necessary to join a bar to a rod with a rivet. Your joint will be simple and strong if you form a shoulder on the rod by sawing or filing a flat surface on the rod then joining the two pieces and drilling a hole for the rivet.

The procedure just mentioned is followed to make a swivel joint on two rods, except that both rods are filed flat and then drilled and riveted.

Angles can be joined to metal sheets with self-tapping screws, sheet metal screws or in some cases nuts and bolts.

There are a number of methods of joining sheet metal to tubes. One is to slit the tube lengthwise, insert the sheet metal into the slot and secure with a sheet metal or self-tapping screw. The sheet metal can also be kept firmly in position by inserting dowel rods into either end of the tubing.

Tubing can be used for a leg or stand by making four flaps in the end of the tube, bending them over and placing screws through the flaps into the piece of wood or metal to be supported.

Comer gussets can be used to join angles or bars with rivets or nuts and bolts. When you bend a piece of angle aluminum to make a corner, the wedge of metal cut from the angle leg can be used as the reinforcing gusset for that corner.

When it is necessary to join two ends of a bar as in trimming counter tops a dovetail joint will hold firmly and neatly. Mark the joint carefully and accurately with a scratch awl, then cut with a saw on the inside of your markings, then carefully file away excess metal for a perfect, tight joint.

A hinge may easily be cut and bent, using a piece of wire coat hanger for the hinge pin. Many intricate designs and antique hinges can be easily made of aluminum for any of your projects. When measuring the tab allowance, mark off 31/2 times the diameter of the wire on each side. Always make an odd number of sections to equalize the strain.

In many cases, for decorative effects, you may wish to join two sections of sheet metal together with a clip. To make this joint, bend back both edges an equal amount, from another piece of metal form a clip by determining the amount of bend necessary to draw the two sheets firmly together. Force the clip onto the bent sheet edges with a mallet, level and tighten the clip by.malleting over with a smooth block of wood and dimple with a nail or center punch for added strength.

A favorite woodworker’s joint, the cross-lap, can also be utilized with Do-It-Yourself aluminum bars and rods. Here again as with the dovetail joint extreme care is necessary for an accurate joint. Mark the pieces with a scratch awl, saw inside the awl marks and finish with a file, checking frequently for a proper fit.

Aluminum tubes can be joined to many flat surfaces such as wood, angle metal, sheet metal, bars and other material by squeezing the end of the tube flat in a vise and drilling for screw holes. Tubes can be joined to wood for legs by using the above method or by inserting a section of wood dowel in the end of the tube and running a screw through the tube, dowel and into the wood. Tubes can be lengthened by inserting a plug part way into one end of the tube and forcing another section of tubing over the wood plug. Screws can be driven into the tube section to give added strength.

A “T” joint or other butt joint can be made with aluminum tubing if the tube end is fitted with a dowel. This tube end is then marked and cut with a scroll saw and a half- round file to the outside dimensions of the tube it will be joined to. A long wood screw is then driven through the tubes for a long-lasting tight joint. A variety of joints and fastenings can be devised for the Do-It-Yourself Aluminum. You will find that as you begin to work with this metal you will develop special joints and fastenings to suit the particular projects you are working on. There are also special elbows, T-butt and flanges available, made of aluminum, to fit all sizes of tubes.

Garden Fencing

I made my very first garden when I was six in a small corner at the end of my grandmother’s garden. It was a small patch, not more than six rows by 10 plants long, but it was MINE, with the flowers I picked and the dirt that I dug. And I knew that it was mine when Nana helped me put up the sections of wire  fencing  that set it off from HER garden.

Garden  fencing  can serve many purposes, but one of the best is to accent and define areas of your garden. Whether you choose a six or twelve inch high border edging, or stand a section of post and rail garden  fencing  in the center of a sweep of lawn, garden  fencing  can add a beautiful accent to your landscaping. Take a look at some novel, unusual ways to use garden  fencing  to make your garden a showplace that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Wood Garden  Fencing 

Wood lattice makes attractive garden  fencing  that affords some privacy while allowing glimpses of the garden. Lattice boards set into a wooden privacy fence add a whole new design dimension to the frontage of your garden. A single width of lattice  fencing  can provide a screen or windbreak, and support for any climbing vines. Set a lattice panel at the edge of the garden nearest the house and train morning glories to climb it to provide a scenery wall outside a kitchen or bedroom window, or create a simple arbor with two full height lattice panels set six to eight feet apart. Use thick garden twine to create a ‘bridge’ for vines to climb across and form a living ‘roof’.

Border Edging Garden  Fencing 

Border edging is another extremely versatile garden  fencing  option. Think outside the perimeter. You can use wire garden  fencing  to create smaller accents within a garden plot, or outline one corner or end of a garden with cast iron border edging. Cedar shakes or redwood blocks can be used to create curved borders for slightly raised garden beds, or serve as a backdrop over which to spill indigo lobelia or white alyssum. Create a zigzag border of decorative low picket garden  fencing  and plant zinnias or marigolds in the V-shaped ‘teeth’ for a unique look.

Patio Wall of Garden  Fencing 

Garden  fencing  can be used to create a beautiful background for patio dining. Choose a metal trellis and install it just off the patio edge behind the table and dining set. Twine climbing roses up over it to create an accent that defines the edge of the patio and creates an elegant, tasteful accent to your patio and garden at the same time.

Check List For Aluminum Fence

Make sure your aluminum fence will be on your property. Check for any easements in your deed. An easement is a right-of-way granted to another property owner or utility company which may limit the design and location of your fence. Confirm the location of underground utilities. Check local zoning laws which may regulate the size and placement of your fence. Check with your neighborhood association before proceeding with your plans. Apply for the proper building permit as directed by local code if needed.

Aluminum fencing comes in panels and posts of varying heights. You can choose a short fence for purely ornamental use or install a taller fence to keep people and animals in or out.

Establish your fence line making sure the aluminum fence is set back from the property line as required by local codes. The concrete footing must extend below the frost line in areas when the ground freezes it can cause the posts to “heave”. The posts themselves do not have to go below the frost line for proper installation. Mix the concrete for the posts holes on the dry side to allow the posts to set faster and to give additional support when installing the aluminum fence section. When you need less than a full section to complete a line of fence cut it to size using a hacksaw. Notch the cut ends of the horizontal rails so they will fit inside the post. Use a factory notch as a guide. All screws in the fence sections and the posts should be installed on the same side. Discuss your plans with any neighbors whose property adjoins your proposed fence line.

Install a pair of aluminum gate posts first. (If you don’t have any gates, then start with an end or corner post). Do not attache the aluminum gate until the concrete has set. The opening between the aluminum gate posts should equal the size of the gate + or – 2″, dry fit the gate and posts first laying on the ground.

When you need to get a fence around your pool, there are many different types of pool fences that you can choose from. It is important to know about the different types so you can make an informed decision about the best one for your pool.

Knowing the different styles of aluminum fences will help you decide on the right one for your pool fencing project. Here is a link to the different styles of aluminum fence that are available.

Maintenance free and ease of installation are two of many reasons to install an aluminum fence in your pool area. Always check your local building and zoning laws for guidance in deciding on your fence.

Concerns While Choosing a Luxury Commercial Apartment

Luxury and convenience are the two most important factors that you should keep in mind while you analyze a residential or a commercial apartment. Nowadays, most of the people want to work in a homely atmosphere. Working and staying in comfort have now become quite easier with the available corporate yet residential apartments.

When the word “luxury” comes in mind, you generally visualize the interior space and the decoration. While you are selecting a corporate housing, you should look for several aspects that are essential to make your stay comfortable and hassle-free. Here are some concerns that help you to purchase a commercial apartment.

Consider The Geographical Location:

A good location always affects your lifestyle. Thus, you should select a place which is near to the main city yet away from the noises and chaos. If you have long-term plans for staying in that place, it is better to check the surrounding area and know about the climate, as well. Working always requires a peaceful surrounding. You can also choose a place near the sea beach to experience the nature.

The Exterior and Interior Infrastructure:

After selecting the site, your next concern is infrastructure. Commercial apartments with two-three rooms are best. Each of the flats should have a balcony to enjoy leisure times with the family. Private BBQ and pool area is important to relax with the friends. When you are evaluating the interior of the rooms, you should the check the gap between the ceiling and the floors. The floor-to-ceiling height is always an important factor to consider.

Safety and Security Measures:

After checking the infrastructure, you should look for the security features of the building. Security always stands a primary concern for the people living in the apartments. Each of the apartments should have a separate security system and a locked storage shed. There should be CCTV at each turning of the building for safety purpose.

Kitchen Area and Entertainment Facilities:

If you are planning for long-term stay, then the commercial housing should have a kitchen with latest appliances. You can cook your favorite food in your own kitchen. You do not have to waste time in purchasing food from restaurants. Cooking becomes easier and comfortable when you have all the appliances in your kitchen. At last, you should look for the entertainment facilities. There should be HD television and music systems inside the living rooms to make your stay luxurious.

These are a few considerations you should look in a commercial accommodation. The interior decoration also matters. You will feel comfortable if there are couches, luxury beds and sofa sets inside your living rooms. Start looking for a commercial housing with luxurious facilities to stay like a king.

Accounting – Tax Deductible Medical and Dental Expenses

An itemized deduction falls under one of the following categories: Medical and dental expenses, taxes paid, interest, gifts and charity, casualty and theft losses, expenses and miscellaneous deductions. Taxpayers who wish to claim medical and dental expenses must use the itemize deduction option and present documented evidence to substantiate the amount being claim. The itemized deduction option gives the taxpayers a larger total deduction. However, the deduction must not exceed one-half of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, but in order to qualify, the total expenses claimed must exceed 7.5 per cent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.

Qualified medical and dental expenses are deductible for yourself, your spouse and dependents, including anyone you claim as a dependent under a multiple support agreement, but the agreement allows for only one of the people involved to claim the deduction. Expenses paid for a child who receives more than half of support from you are also deductible, however, you are not entitled to a personal exemption for a child who earned in excess of the allowed amount of income.

Medical and dental Expenses for self-employed persons that have a net profit for the tax year, or share in a partnership or a shareholder in an S corporation, may be able to deduct, as an adjustment to income, the total amount paid for medical insurance for yourself, spouse and dependents. This special tax deduction is not deductible for any month you are eligible to participate in any sponsored health plan by your employer or your spouse’s employer.

Travel expenses for your medical care are deductible when traveling to the doctor’s office or a medical facility for treatment. If you use your car, a flat rate per mile assessment plus the actual expense of operating the car, such as gas, oil, repairs, parking and toll fees are deductible. Cab fares incurred to travel locally to your doctor’s office, he cost of a trip out of town to visit a specialist and the cost of transportation to a different climate for health reasons are deductible.

Deductible travel expenses are allowed as a medical deduction under the following conditions: When a doctor prescribes trips to visit a child in an institution, when anyone accompanies an individual for medical care who is unable to travel alone and the cost of travel to medical conferences in order to get the latest information on treatment for a chronically ill person.

Special medical expenses are deductible depending on the services provided. Payments to anyone who is unlicensed, but provided legal medical care and legitimate purchases on the advice of a doctor to benefit you or your dependents’ health are deductible. Such purchases include vitamins and nutritional supplements prescribed by a doctor to treat a specific ailment. Expenses incurred by what is considered a non medical treatment such as a massage must be proven as a legitimate medical deduction by the taxpayer.

The entire bill at a hospital or similar medical facility for meals and lodging is deductible. You may also deduct the expense of lodging if you or your dependents’ medical treatment is away from home and lodging is necessary in order to receive the treatment provided by a doctor. The lodging must be moderate, with no element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation. The amount is limited to $100 for you and one other person.

Health insurance premiums paid to cover your medical, dental and hospital expenses, including eyeglasses and prescription drugs are deductible if it is part of your adjusted gross income. This includes your premium for Medicare Part B. Reimbursement and damages from insurance proceeds and Medicare will reduce your medical expenses. If the reimbursement equals or exceeds your medical expenses, your deduction will be reduced to zero.

You may claim medical expenses for yourself, spouse, dependents and anyone you claim as a dependent under a multiple support agreement that is confined to a nursing home or home for the aged. The deduction includes the entire cost of medical care, including meals and lodging. If the person is residing in a nursing home for reasons other than medical, the only deductible cost is the actual medical expenses. This also applies to rest homes and assisted-living facilities. Any non medical expenses are not deductible.

The cost of medical expenses for mentally or physically handicapped dependents attending a special school geared to improve the person’s specific needs are deductible. The deduction includes all costs for tuition, transportation, meals and lodging. Schools that qualify must offer programs that teach Braille or lip reading, help cure dyslexia, treat and care for the mentally handicapped and persons with similar handicapped needs.

Improvements to your home that aid in treating a disease, such as adding required equipment, is deductible. However, the deduction is limited to the cost of the equipment or improvement, minus the increase in value to your home.

Deductible medical and dental expenses are the total expenses paid and claimed, less what was reimbursed by insurance or any other source. The outcome is reduced by 7.5 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income.

Affordable Family Housing – The Costing Structure of Houses

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps ~ David Lloyd George.

In this section a breakdown is made of different houses in order to determine a perceptual analysis of typical costing elements the cost of completed dwellings. Obviously the costs will vary depending on circumstances. Therefore the cost per square meters is irrelevant and will not be used. The dates of the building contracts vary, going as far back as 2006; there is no limit to the number of building site locations, etc. The variance in the different contracts should however have no or little effect on the perceptual values of the elements in the individual houses.

Traditionally bills of quantities for building contracts, also those for houses, are divided into the following trades, where applicable, for tendering purposes:

  • Preliminary and General
  • Alterations
  • Excavator
  • Shuttering and Shoring
  • Piling
  • Concrete Formwork and Reinforcement
  • Precast Concrete
  • Bricklayer
  • Rubble Walling
  • Masonry (Stone. Marble and Slate)
  • Waterproofing
  • Roofing
  • Carpenter and Joiner
  • Floor Covering
  • Plastic Lining, etc
  • Ironmongery
  • Metalwork
  • Plasterer and Paver
  • Tiler
  • Plumber and Drain Layer
  • Electrician
  • Glazier
  • Painter
  • Road Works
  • Fencing

There is no point in discussing the traditional arrangement in further detail for the purpose of house building.

For the purpose of determining the element costs, the priced bill of quantities of twelve completed houses were kindly loaned to us for analyzing. Due to the confidentiality of these documents, which in fact, form part of the contract documents of the different contractors. Also, due to the fact that the documents studied comprised approximately 2600 pages, copies are not included in this study. The background of these contracts is shortly mentioned here:

In most of the houses in the different contracts have the same type of out buildings and the site works measured as a unit. These items were then divided by the number of houses in order to determine a price for an individual house.

The Preliminary and General items in the Bill of Quantities is proportionally added to the different elements. In some contracts for example separate provision was made for the Foreman’s salary, Insurance Policies, Site storage sheds, etc.

Pipe Layer Job Description

Pipe Layers are responsible for installing underground pipes needed by infrastructure projects, from dams, highways to drainage in subdivisions and airports. They may be made of steel, clay, cast iron, plastic or reinforced concrete. They lay pipes used for water supply, gas, sewerage, and storm water. Length of laid pipes may range from a few feet to hundreds of kilometers. They use modern laser instruments, transit levels or grade rods to check slopes to make sure that they conform to project requirements. They use earth or other suitable materials to cover the pipes they have laid. Depending on the material of the pipes, they use cement, glue or welding equipment to join pipes and seal their joints. They cut pipes using appropriate cutting equipment for the materials used to the required lengths.

They use hand tools or tamping machines to level trench bases. They lay out routes to be followed by the pipes, based on blue prints or written instructions. They coordinate with supervisors as well about the routes to be followed. Since they have to be buried in the ground, they dig trenches to the levels required by the project using trenching tools or by hand if needed. They are responsible for aligning and positioning the pipes in preparation for sealing or welding.

Pipe layers can be found working with road crews, in companies involved in civil contracting, local government and development firms. With further training, layers can become supervisors for plumbing and mechanical contractors. They can also go into the business, starting as home-based self-employed layer. They can eventually move on to become managers of their own business, employing several workers.

Electric Radiator Features You Can’t Live Without

The use of electric radiators continues to rise, as the cost-efficiency of the units themselves cannot be denied. With so many homeowners looking to cut back expenses during the economic downturn, manufacturers have begun advancing the technology, creating very efficient and affordable models that can warm specific rooms instead of an entire home. Why pay to heat the bedroom when you will not be in there for another three hours, right? With this in mind, we take a look at the various features that have become standard on electric heaters and how they can help you get the most from your new purchase.

Thermostat and Timing Controls

There is no doubt that coming home to a warm house is one of the best feelings when mired in the winter months. But, heating the home all day while everyone is at work can be very costly in the long run. By installing an electric radiator that has a thermostat and timer, you can ensure that your heating unit comes on right before you come home from the office, leaving your house toasty without all of the excess power. In essence, you are heating your home only when you are in it. Additionally, this prevents the unit from overheating when left on for long periods of time, as the thermostat will power it down when necessary. Many storage heaters do not have this feature, which is why they can be incredible fire risks.

Wall-Mounting Capabilities

Another key feature when shopping for an electric radiator involves installation. While smaller, mobile models can be convenient, using those that have wall mounts can save you plenty of space and prevent the “tipping” factor. When some radiators are in use, they will get very hot externally, creating a fire danger should they topple over. Wall mounted models eliminate this concern completely, and create a much safer heating method. Further, no floor space is required, thus reducing clutter.

Standard Electricity Draw

Many electric radiators you’ll find run on power drawn directly from a standard 120V home power outlet. This is important, as it will save you the time from re-wiring anything in the home, and allow you to install units very quickly. The cost of power taken to provide heat via an electric central heating system can be astronomical, and when you are looking to save in the monthly budget department, less power means less expense.

Electric heaters are in demand, especially as the winter begins to set in many areas. Heating rooms that are in use can help to reduce energy costs by as much as 50%, guaranteeing that home owners are only paying for the heat that is necessary. Suppliers are rising up to meet this demand by providing feature-laden models that offer a safe alternative to storage heaters. When you factor in the overall maintenance of an electric radiator versus that of an entire system, the costs are not even close.

Online shoppers can find great deals on several different models, and because the wall-mounted designs are incredibly easy to install, little to no expertise is needed. This has changed the way many are looking at the home heating scenario when in the dead of winter, and energy-efficient models can usually pay themselves off before the end of the season. If the financial drag of your electric central heating setup is getting impossible to bear, research the various models that exist in the radiator industry, and find a company that can suit your budget. When installation is completed, you will have a heated house without the constant worry regarding the thermostat temperature or dreaded power bill.

Information That You May Need to Know On RSJ Beams

Building any sort of structure is a complicated process due to the amount of things that need to be taken into consideration in order to get to the finished product. This can be anything from laying the foundations for the building to remodelling of a room.

If it is something such as taking out a wall at your house or office then it is an important point to consult with a building company. By having them come out and look at what you are looking to do then they would be able to see if everything is OK or if there is anything you have to take note of.

It doesn’t matter if you are a company constructing a building from scratch or a DIY expert looking to remodel a room, one thing you need to take special note of is the support of the ceiling. What is meant by this is that, for example, if you are looking at taking out a supporting wall then you will need something in its place.

In this instance you would need to put in its place an RSJ beam. This will then be able to support the area above it like the wall was doing before it was taken away. A qualified builder would be able to recommend what to do and what to go for in this case.

It would be the same in construction. When you are erecting a building or any steel structure, you will want to make sure that there is something in place to make sure there is no undue pressure on that floor. If there is then this can cause that area to buckle and eventually break under pressure.

When you look into buying anything you will want to do your proper research into the product before buying. This is the same on this occasion especially with something as something that is supporting the floor otherwise you could be buying something that is not good quality.

There are many places that will have these in stock in various different sizes so that they can cater to your needs. You also have the option if you speak to the right company of having a beam or multiple number of them made to your exact specifications.

Being a building company it would be good to go to a company such as this with your plans so that they will be able to construct each beam that you would need so that it will fit perfectly with everything else. They will also be able to make sure that they are constructed to the proper standards.

Sharing your plans with them also has other advantages as well. This is because there are various different RSJ beams available such as single beams, t-beams, Lintels and shelf angles. Each different one serves its own purpose so you need to be doubly sure that you are getting the right one for that particular place.

Even though you may know how to install these into the correct place, it may be an idea to get the steel fabricating company to do this for you so they can make it, transport it and install it all in one go. This could potentially save a lot of time and hassle allowing you to concentrate on other things.

Although it is a part which is often overlooked, the RSJ beams are certainly a vital part of any building and should never be ignored. In the absence of a supporting wall they are needed to support the floor to make sure that it doesn’t collapse and cause injury to anyone.

Facial Skin Care

Because of the exposure it receives, the skin on your face is the most delicate skin on your body. Your facial skin needs special care to stay young, healthy, and beautiful.

1. Clean Your Face Gently

Toothpaste can be very irritating to the skin around the mouth. So brush your teeth before cleansing your face to remove any toothpaste residue that may be left on your lips and cheeks (You should use a natural toothpaste free from toxic Flouride- “Jasons” brand works well. Next, splash your face with lukewarm water and smooth about a quarter-size amount of a mild, natural cleanser over your face. You may use a washcloth or facial cloth if you wish, but fingertips are gentler on the skin. Use circular strokes to lightly massage the cleanser into your skin. Rinse the soap from your face with lukewarm water, and blot your skin dry with a clean, soft towel.

2. Use Toner Sparingly

Skin toning products often contain drying products, such as alcohol or acetone, that can be irritating to sensitive skin. Avoid using a skin toner if your skin has become dry and delicate over the years. However, a natural skin toner like the product “Oxy-Skin” will bind water to the skin and provide extra cleansing and moisture. This product would be useful for someone with dry or oily skin.

Use skin toner on freshly cleansed skin. Apply toner to a cotton tissue rather than a cotton ball as a tissue is less absorbent and you will end up using less toner on your face. Gently smooth the tissue over your face and allow the toner to dry.

3. Apply Eye Cream

The skin under your eyes is more delicate and sensitive than the skin on the rest of your face. It is the first part of your face to show signs of aging. An natural eye cream or serum can help to protect this fragile skin, even out skin tone, minimize dark under eye circles, and even temporarily tighten fine lines.

Use a pea-sized amount of eye cream (Parfait Visage) and apply to your skin with your middle finger. This finger will apply less pressure than your index finger. In a clockwise motion, smooth the cream from the center of the undereye area to the browbone and over your lids.

4. Moisturize Liberally

A good moisturizer is one of the foundations of an effective skin care routine. Use a moisturizer right after bathing to seal moisture into your skin. A moisturizing product that is not made especially for the face may be too heavy and it may leave the face looking and feeling greasy. Creams and lotions usually are the facial moisturizers of choice for a couple of reasons, as they contain some water and are lighter on the face. And many creams and lotions are humectants, an oil-free class of moisturizer that binds water to the skin so its effects are longer lasting.

Massage a nickel-size amount of facial moisturizer between your fingertips and then smooth over the skin on your face and neck using upward and outward strokes. Pulling down on your skin will aggravate the effects of gravity.

5. Protect Your Face

The best way to prevent unnecessary sun damage is to protect your skin from exposure to the sun. Excess sun exposure can cause damage to your skin in the form of freckles, roughness, age spots, wrinkles, and cancer. Skin cells can repair themselves to a certain degree even after they have been overexposed to ultraviolet light, as long as further exposure is avoided. So it is worth taking the precautions to protect your skin from sun at any age. Ultraviolet rays barrage your face even when you least expect it: in the car, at the bus stop, and even walking in and out of the house. Use a natural sunscreen product everyday, even if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.

Facial Skin Care Tips

Don’t wait until bedtime to remove dirt, makeup, dust and pollutants from the face. If you’re in for the night, wash your face as soon as you get home for the day and apply eye cream and moisturizers.

Avoid soda, coffee and other caffienated beverages. These drinks dehydrate your body and rob moisture from the skin. Instead, make sure you drink plenty of purified water throughout the day. Water helps to plump your skin with moisture and it improves circulation. Try to drink enough water that you are never actually thirsty. I recommend a “Wellness Water(TM)” purification system.

Use sunscreen everyday, not just when you are headed to the beach. It’s never too late to start protecting your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Wearing a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 everyday can protect your skin from premature aging, wrinkling, and age spots.

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Business Architecture & Management – Some More Useful Elements

If you apply the rules of (business)  architecture  in management you will be able to build a coherent business.

Have you ever seen a church with a roof vault somewhere in the middle?

If you walk in a library you see books. Easy. The main function of a library is to present books and other communicating material in a way that it is accessible for the public. A retailer has borrowed this concept, but the library was there first.

Architects have thought about this. They know about functions, they develop (design?), a matching form or construction and — although you may not like the style — the whole will normally be inline.

Is your business Aligned?

There are also many problems with buildings designed by architects, because they will not always match the environmental characteristics.

As an entrepreneur you are your own architect. As a business manager you are much more dependent of the form (construction) chosen by others. Anyhow it is still your job to signal where a business is no longer sound. Where there are too many organizational style flavors that do not match internally.

It is not difficult to experience this. Maybe the stock market will help you. You gather a portfolio of investment instruments (resources) and they are balanced at some point in time. You will always have stock that are under performers. That is not the problem. The problem is that at one point in time you choose, to buy and hold, the other time you are day-trading, and the next moment you let third parties advice about your portfolio. And as a consequence, you sell at the worst moment in time.

Business  architecture  is about being aware that the whole is more than the sum of the individual parts. If you think that there is a point in this, but you wouldn’t know where to start, ask a consultant that is experiences with this topic.

Cocking the Crossbow – Hand, Rope Or Crank

The evolution of the crossbow over the centuries has seen the power factor increase significantly. The gradual increase in draw weights rendered more power resulting in more distance and more impact on the target, etc. As power increased, the effort to pull back on the string became too much for most people to manage. As a result, several different kinds of cocking devices were used to enable the arming of a crossbow to be managed with much less effort. Broken down into their most basic form, these cocking devices include manual or hand cocking of the bow string; rope cocking method; and, cranking device method. I will deal with each method below and mention some of their advantages and disadvantages.

Hand or manual cocking was, of course, the initial method used and is still used today for lighter crossbow draw weights. This required the bowman to place his foot in the stirrup, reach down with two hands and pull the string back to its cocked position. Sounds simple! However, if a crossbow draw weight is 125#’s it takes the same effort to cock the string as to lift a 125# weight straight up. Very much like lifting a bar bell from a standing or bent over position. Tough to do and tough on the back!

Yet another problem with the manual method for cocking a crossbow is the need to draw the string back very straight. If it is not drawn back correctly your accuracy will be negatively affected. By pulling one side with more strength than the other, the string will pull the arrow or bolt to one side or the other when released. With modern more powerful crossbows, up to 200# pull and more, this is not the preferred method for most people (unless, of course, you are a fan of lifting heavy weights while hunting). There is an advantage though. If you are able to handle the draw weight, you can cock the bow and be ready to fire in as little as 10 to 15 seconds. Another advantage is that you do not have to purchase any additional gear, or cocking device, or to carry it into the woods. You might want to consider the following suggestion. If you plan to use the manual method of cocking your crossbow, make a mark in the exact center of your string to help assure consistent accuracy in your shooting.

The second method for cocking your crossbow is to use a specially designed rope cocking device. These cocking devices use two handles and two string clips attached to the pull rope. In addition, a pulley system is employed to increase mechanical advantage. This permits the strength needed to cock the crossbow to be cut in half. Instead of pulling the string up with say 150 #’s of strength it is reduced to 75#’s of pull. This still requires strength but only half as much. However, because of the mechanical advantage of using cocking devices with a pulley system, you will have to pull the draw rope twice the distance traveled by the bow string.

One advantage of the various rope cocking devices is their relative low cost. Typically from $25 to $40 will purchase a very serviceable unit. Another advantage is that it takes half the strength to cock your crossbow. It also centers your string at full draw which improves the accuracy of your shot. It’s still a good idea to mark the center of your bow string to be certain there will be even force exerted on your arrow when it is released. With your foot in the stirrup, you can cock your crossbow using a rope cocking devise in around 30 seconds and be ready quickly for your next shot.

I suppose the few real disadvantages of using a rope cocking device is the additional cost to purchase it, the few seconds more it takes to cock the bow and having to keep it on your person for quick access while hunting. We strongly recommend this simple and inexpensive cocking device be a part of every crossbow hunters gear. It works well and one can become very skilled in its use with a little practice.

There are also several kinds of crank type cocking devices on the market designed to reduce the effort needed to bring the string into firing position. Some of these cocking devices are permanently attached to the stock of the crossbow while others need to be attached in the field as needed. Both types require a crank or winch type mechanism to draw the string back into position for firing. The mechanical advantage of this type of device is very significant. It usually takes about 10#’s of pressure or less to cock a powerful bow. That means that a 175# or even a 200# bow can be cocked by someone of much lesser strength or with some physical limitations.

As noted above, a significant advantage of the crank type cocking device is the rather small amount of strength that is needed to load the crossbow. These cocking devices do a very good job of keeping the string centered when cocked and increases accuracy as a result. One more important advantage is that it permits shooters and hunters with restricted physical abilities to enjoy the pleasure of using a crossbow.

Finally, one must be aware that while there are some very important advantages to a cranking device for cocking a crossbow, there are some disadvantages as well. The cost of these devices can be above $120. They tend to be somewhat heavy and bulky to carry in the field. Though it takes little strength to use a cranking device, it could easily take 2 or 3 minutes to complete the cocking procedure. Those models that are not permanently attached to the stock or handle of a crossbow need to be mounted, used and removed after use. This can clearly make a rapid second shot virtually impossible.

Daffodils at the Dinner Table

Dinner time doesn’t have to be boring. It also doesn’t have to cost very much to offer something wonderful as a centerpiece. Daffodils are a well known flower for their color, great smell, and the look of them. Adding this element to your dinner  table  will bring a smile to the face of all that attend.

This addition can be a great way to show your family that you do love spending time with them. You can make it a tradition to do this on Sunday nights or randomly when they are available to add some flare to your normal routine. Since daffodils are very affordable you can get them without feeling guilty about the money you spent for them.

They will also last for several days before you need to remove them. That means you get plenty of extra value out of such a purchase as well. You may want to leave them on the dinner  table  or you can move them to display in another part of the home. When you have company over for dinner this can be a great way to make it very special for them. They will feel very welcome in your home.

Flowers are often a part of elaborate dinner parties and occasions. Yet you shouldn’t have to spend too much to make the occasion quite appealing. Daffodils are a great way to add color to the set up without overdoing it. They can also be used to create a variety of different looks. You can do much more with them than just placing them in a vase.

Take some time to come up with unique ideas that are going to be very appealing to you. They can also offer a good insight into your own sense of style. Don’t be afraid to experiment. This is a great way to develop a stronger sense of who you are and to make your home where you are very comfortable.

It can be stressful but also fun to host special occasions and dinner parties. Take some of the work out of it by offering great looking daffodils for the centerpiece. You may even be growing these flowers in your own garden. Not only will you save money, but you can get access to them right before the event starts. That way they will be very fresh looking and everyone is going to comment on how lovely they are.

Even if you just have a great love for daffodils, you can add them to the dinner  table . It can be a great reminder to you with a busy day that you need to take time to appreciate what is all around you. Changing your frame of mind through the use of daffodils is very powerful. You may find your own mood as well as those around you improves for the better when they are on display.

Fulfill the Needs and Desires of Your Prospects

The key to a great marketing campaign starts with understanding how the needs of your prospect relate to your product or service. It’s basic, but most business owners never consider the thought.

Until you know what they need and determine how you can satisfy those needs, you can’t really plan a meaningful campaign.

Get a pen and paper out and ask yourself these questions:

* If I were a prospect getting solicited by my company, what would it take to get my attention?

* What promise would I want fulfilled?

* What needs would I want to have met?

Now ask yourself:

* What needs and desires are my competitors not fulfilling?

The best way to find out where you need the most work is to list all the needs and desires your competitors are already fulfilling. Maybe you’re already fulfilling these desires too. But is it possible that you could articulate it better than they can? Sure!

A good USP (unique selling proposition) is one that fulfills a void in the marketplace. It is communicated clearly and concisely so that your prospects “get” it without having to think about it too much.

It’s also known as your “big promise.”

It’s important that you not only communicate it in everything you do and say… but that you stand by it – always!

To formulate your marketing campaign, along with the lines of your USP, I suggest asking yourself the following questions:

* How can I show more interest in my customers than my competition?

* How much more service can I offer than my competitor does?

* What are my specific added or extended service benefits?

* When I have used similar services from competitors, where have I been most impressed — or most

disappointed? And, why?

* How can I make my customers understand how important they are to me?

* How can I persuade them they are being treated with professional interest and courtesy?

* What specific needs should my product or service fulfill?

Without customers, your business doesn’t exist.

Stop running your business the way YOU want it, and start running it the way YOUR CUSTOMERS want it.

It’s all about them. It’s never about you.

* Treat your customers like dear and valued friends. Give them what THEY want.

* Treat them with respect and courtesy.

* Communicate with them often.

* Let them know you care about their wants, needs and desires.

If you’ve asked yourself the questions above and answered them honestly, you are a thousand percent better than your competition.

Rarely will ANY business ask themselves these questions. It shows in their poor revenues.

Always remember: It’s all about their needs, wants and desires. It’s never about yours.

© 2001-09 By Craig Valine

Creating a Photorealistic Vue Render

Vue Atmospheres and Creating a Photorealistic Render:

I generally use the Vue lighting setting of “GR” or Global Radiosity in my Vue renders as this does lend to more realistic Vue renders, a good realistic Vue Atmosphere is truly the key to the most photorealistic render. This creates the correct light color bounce from various objects in the scene, which can be tweaked and adjusted using the various settings within the Vue Atmosphere Editor. If you are using one of my Vue atmospheres, they come optimally set to give you the utmost realism in your renders, if you change these settings be careful not to save the atmosphere back over the original file.

Global Radiosity vs. Global Illumination in Vue Atmosphere Renders:

In my opinion, and generally in the opinion of most other experienced Vue artists, the ultimate in realism in your renders is gained from using Global Radiosity (GR) in your Vue Atmosphere lighting setup rather than Global Illumination (GI). If you look around you, and carefully analyze how light interacts in the natural world, you will see actual Global Radiosity at work… Since we live in the natural world, and in an atmosphere that creates this ‘scattering effect’ our eyes can tell us what ‘looks real’ and what does not, even if we can’t quite put our finger on it. GI simulates natural lighting to a degree, but it will not duplicate the realistic color bounce and ‘shadow fill’ as seen in the real world as the Global Radiosity setting will for the best and most realistic Vue atmosphere.

Tweaking the Vue Atmosphere for your Render

Since every scene is different, different lighting situations and requirements will come into play. Therefore when using the Vue Atmosphere of your choice there are different things you can do to enhance the realism of your render for your scene. For instance, shadows are truly one of the keys to realism. We live on a world where one could almost describe our atmosphere as “soupy” at times. Light interacts with the particles in our atmosphere, bouncing to and fro, here and there. So depending upon the amount of light, the direction of light, and the atmospheric conditions the depth of shadows will change. Rarely in daytime anywhere on earth will you find a truly pitch black shadow. Light scatters off of the particulate matter in our atmosphere and fills these shadows with reflected/scattered light. Within the Vue Atmosphere Editor, when you have the GR lighting selected, you will find a setting called “Bias”.

The bias setting defaults to 0.00 in most standard Vue Spectral Atmospheres. What the Bias setting does is increases or decreases the amount of “shadow fill” in your global radiosity atmosphere. With a setting of 0.00 there will be no adjustment, leaving your shadows darker and deeper while increasing this setting (dependent upon your scene) to the positive will create more shadow fill, lessening the depth of the shadow. Try tweaking this setting and for those of you who have never tried it, you will be surprised at the results.

As always… Happy Rendering! Stop by my site sometime and I will be happy to share some of my Vue experience with you!