How to Do a Reinforced Concrete Foundation

Foundations are used to carry the load of a building to the ground. This is the safe soil bearing capacity. The foundation concrete that is reinforced with steel allows buildings to be done more stories upwards. This means the concrete base can take more loads. The trench must be excavated to the required depth. This must be hard when tested with a mattock. Concrete should never be put in loose soils. This can cause the house to collapse. The diameter for the reinforcement bars to use is from a quarter inch.

In a reinforced concrete foundation, the work commences by excavating a trench to required depths. The trench width is about two feet wide. The depth should be on hard ground and varies from site to site. High yield bars are cut and tied together. They are made into three long bars that will run the whole length of the trench. These will be the top bars. Additional bottom bars running the across the width of the trench are tied to the top ones. A spacing of eight inches is done when joining the reinforcement bars.

The foundation trench bottoms are made level to receive the concrete. A blinding layer of two inches thickness is then added to the trench and made level. The Thickness of the foundation concrete is marked with steel pegs driven into the blinding. This will mark the height of concrete which is eight inches thick. Reinforcement is then laid into the trench. This should not rest directly on the blinding layer. Spacer blocks are put underneath to allow the concrete to flow below. They provide cover to the steel. This spacers should be two inch thick.

Once the reinforcement is placed in the trench, concreting can proceed. care should be taken to avoid debris entering the trench. This should be cleaned out. In the case of a sloping site, the foundation is stepped a full masonry course. The concrete is mixed in the ratio of one part cement, two parts sand and three parts ballast. The ready mix is then poured into the reinforcements. It should be leveled with pegs already placed. It then spread as it is being vibrated. It should be thoroughly cured for minimum seven days to achieve strength.

What is a Dental Core Build Up and How Much Should it Cost?

A core build up is used when teeth are built up because their foundation is insufficient to attach a crown. For the crown to be successful, it must have a good foundation to support it. Your dentist will need to grind away a significant portion of the existing tooth to create a stable platform and post to cement the crown securely in place.This procedure provides this support and effectively replaces the original shape of the tooth so that it will be easier to later design a crown for it.

When is the Procedure used?

* Extensive damage by decay

* Root canal – After a root canal, teeth tend to become brittle and are more apt to fracture. They, therefore, need to be protected by a crown and thus need to be built up to support them.

How are Crowns/ Bridges attached?

After a root canal is done, all of the old filling and decay are removed. This leaves a shell of a tooth and the dentist will build up the core and replace the missing tooth material. The remaining tooth is cleaned and special composite filling materials are placed into the core. The core build up also strengthens what’s left to preventing it from breaking. However, dentists do not always place a core build up in all teeth before constructing a crown. Unfortunately, the lack of a core build up sometimes leads to the fracture and loss of the underlying tooth. Saving a little money now can often lead to a disaster later.

When evaluating the cost of crown, this procedure is often left out because it’s not always used. Make sure when you shop around that you are comparing like with like.

Average nationwide price for a Core Build up is $218.96.

Creating a Dowel Tree

The holiday season is over, but if you’re still feeling a little festive and want a simple woodworking project to end the year, consider making a dowel tree. A dowel tree is a relatively simple project you could tackle during these rare days off from work and still have plenty of time left over to ring in the new year with your loved ones.

The size of the dowel rods depends upon the size you wish for the dowel tree to be. However, if you are working within the dimensions of a standard dining table or foyer or hallway table, you might consider keeping the dowel tree to no more than about 24 inches tall.

Using the dowel sizes of your choosing, as based on the desired result of your project, drill holes into a dowel rod, which will be the trunk of the project and will fit into a base. The number of holes you drill, again, is a matter of preference based on the number of branches desired for the tree and its overall dimensions. Additionally, you can manipulate the branches to accomplish the desired look. This may include allowing the branches to align or to situate at 90 degree angles (or another aesthetic angle of your choosing) down the length of the trunk. It may also include allowing the dowels to be the same length or of varied lengths. If you choose to vary the lengths, be sure to use sandpaper to smooth the rough edges of the cut dowels. You may also need to plan ahead with regard to the size and sturdiness of your base if you choose to allow the branches to be equal in length, as a sturdy base will be needed to support the additional weight at the top of the tree from untrimmed rods.

The wood dowel used as the project’s trunk will secure into a base. Consider using varying sizes for the base. Perhaps a three-and-a-half inch circle placed upon a six inch circle. Consider using varying shapes, too. Perhaps a square, oval, or Christmas star for the base. A hole will need to be drilled through all layers of the base to accommodate the selected diameter of the trunk.

Paint the dowel a festive holiday color, or use a basic color (such as white or black) and allow any additions to be the splash of color that makes it stand out in the room. Spice up the top of the trunk dowel by adding wooden ball, a woodworked star, ribbon, or a mesh bow. You may also consider twisting mesh down the length of the trunk to the base. Be creative!

Once your dowel tree is completed, add old, beloved ornaments to the branches. You may also make it a child-friendly project by allowing your little ones to make small, strung crafts, which can be added to the branches and removed a day at a time as a countdown until Christmas day. If it is large enough to do so, you might consider hot gluing and stringing cards from family and friends and displaying them throughout the holiday season. Of course, this will depend upon the dimensions used to make the dowel tree. And when the holiday season is over and it’s time to put away your Christmas items, you may even consider using the dowel tree as a way to store some of your larger hanging ornaments throughout the year.

With very minimal cost, time, and effort, you can use hardwood dowel to make one last festive woodworking craft.

Trifecta Stack Review – Get The Scoop On This Workout Stack

The Trifecta Stack from LG Sciences is an all in once kit for building muscle and getting in shape. It is meant for men over the age of 21, since it contains a hormonal based series of products. Anyone under 21 should avoid hormones of any sort, since it is important to be fully matured before taking a hormonal agent.

That being said, if you are a male, over 21 then the Trifecta Stack may be for you. It comes with three potent muscle building agents, each having a different job in the stack. The first two, Methyl Masterdrol v3 and Methyl 1-D are meant to be combined for the first 4 weeks and Formadrol is meant to be taken as “PCT” which is post cycle therapy. You can also often find the kit with a free T-911 as well, which is good for boosting sex drive.

Methyl 1-D is a hormonal agent that converts into a cascade of androgens, including testosterone. It contains a metabolism complex that is very sophisticated and helps keep the hormonal agent from converting to unwanted hormones like estrogen and DHT. The metabolism complex also blocks key enzymes like Glucoronidase and Sulfotransferase, which clear hormones like testosterone from the body. This is the true power behind Methyl 1-D and why it is so potent. Preliminary clinical trials have shown testosterone levels of 550mg per deciliter, which is about equivalent to 550mg of testosterone by injection. Of course these values need to be further verified, but it is exciting as a preliminary study.

Methyl Masterdrol v3 is a hormonal based product that is dissolved in the mouth before swallowing. This allows some of the ingredients to pass through the oral mucosa and enter the blood stream directly. It is described as a “cutting and strength” agent, meaning it is going to increase aggression along with strength. The hormonal compound in Methyl Masterdrol v3 is what is called a “dry” compound, meaning it won’t at all convert to estrogen. Methyl Masterdrol is used to help harden your physique and increase strength. The metabolism complex helps keep the hormonal agent active for a long period of time.

Formadrol Extreme is a mixture of estrogen control agents like aromatase inhibitors and estrogen SERM blockers. These help boost testosterone by tricking the body into producing more testosterone. PCT or post cycle therapy is best used after a hormonal supplement to kick start the natural testosterone production and keep it high. This helps the person keep the gains that they had during their hormonal cycle. Formadrol Extreme also contains ginger extract, which has been shown to increase the ability of the testes to produce testosterone.

The Trifecta Stack has many good reviews and anecdotal reports online. Users report gaining any where from 10 to 15 pounds on the Trifecta Stack, but of course there are others that don’t respond.

The Trifecta Stack also includes a diet and exercise guide, which will help guide the user through the proper nutrition and exercises needed to gain the most possible mass. This is an important part of any diet and exercise program. It is important to have a detailed plan laid out for you and the Trifecta Stack certainly delivers a solid workout. It is also important for the person on the Trifecta Stack to eat the proper diet along with working out. Protein is key to gaining muscle and the Trifecta Stack’s diet plan shows you how to load up on the proper protein sources.

The Trifecta Stack is an all in one kit that is suitable for anyone over 21 who wishes to gain muscle and tone their body. The addition of the diet and exercise plan makes your chance of success far more likely!

Fighting Gout without Drugs: Natural Remedy for Gout

Gout is a very well known form of arthritis that is known to cause excruciating pain and discomfort. Gout is known to attack joints such as the ones in the big toe, ankles, feet, elbows, hands, knees, and wrists. Usually gout is treated with pain medicines and drugs that lower uric acid levels in the blood, however these conventional forms of treatment are not usually that effective or may cause unfavorable side effects. That is why more people are looking for a more natural remedy for gout.

Gout’s symptoms are characterized by intense bouts of inflammation of certain joints that suddenly shoots excruciating spells of pain over a period of time. Sometimes the symptoms would disappear after the first onset but it may reoccur without preventive measures. Usually, the recurrence of gout may be worse than the initial attack, causing great discomfort and even immobility. When left untreated gout may happen more frequently and thus immediate action is important.

Known Natural Remedies for Gout

A very popular and effective natural remedy for gout is eating cherry or drinking cherry juice. Cherries have been proven to contain compounds known as anthocyanins, that are effective for alleviating inflammation and reducing uric acid levels in the blood. These substances are present in all kinds of cherries, whether fresh, canned or juiced. It is recommended for gout patients to consume about ten cherries a day, or two tablespoons of concentrated cherry juice to help manage gout symptoms and prevent gout from recurring.

A healthy diet is yet another essential component of natural gout remedy. Gout patients are urged to reduce their intake of foods that are rich in purines, the building blocks of gout-causing uric acid crystals. Among the purine rich foods that a gout patient should avoid are organ meats, brain, meat gravies, scallops, mackerel, anchovies, sweetbreads, kidney, meat extracts, wild game, herring, and sardines. It is recommended to eat more low purine foods such as dried beans, asparagus, spinach, poultry, peas, cauliflower, mushrooms, fresh water fish, and white meat.

Another important element of natural gout remedy is increasing fluid intake, especially water, as it helps to get rid of uric acid from the kidneys. The time-tested advice of 8 glasses of water a day still holds true for gout suffers. Some doctors even recommend drinking more. It is also important to reduce the intake of alcohol because it can induce the production of uric acid.

To prevent gout from happening, it is also recommended to maintain normal weight as obesity is linked to high risks of gout. It is however discouraged to undergo fad diets which cause drastic weight loss because the sudden drop of weight may cause cells to weaken and release more uric acid.

For immediate relief for gout pains and inflammation, charcoal poultice is recommended. This natural remedy consists of half a cup of powdered activated charcoal, blended with flaxseed to form a meal and then mixed with warm water to make a paste. The charcoal poultice may then be applied to the affected area and covered with plastic or cloth. This helps alleviate pain caused by gout. One has to be careful when using charcoal poultice, however, as it may cause stains on clothes and bed sheets.

Another soothing natural remedy for gout is a charcoal bath. One would need an old basin that can be stained, to be filled with half a cup of charcoal and enough water to form a paste. The affective joint would then be soaked into the mixture, adding more water if needed. The recommended soaking time is 30 minutes to an hour.

Gout can be a very painful condition, and the medical treatment it requires may be even more painful for one’s budget. For added comfort and relief from pain, it is recommended to use natural remedies to treat gout in conjunction with conventional medicine. Not only are natural remedies cheaper, they may be even safer than drugs.

One does not have to endure the pains caused by gout for long periods. With a natural remedy, it can be easy to fight gout and keep a patient well quickly. If you or a family have been suffering gout for some time, try these natural remedies out for size.

A Beginners Guide to Striking an Arc With a Welding Rod

The theory behind keeping an arc going is, the electrical current is forced between the welding rod tip and the steel you are welding. If you want to be a successful welder you must be able to strike an arc and keep it going without even thinking about it.

The 2 most common ways of starting your arc are by tapping and scratching your welding rod to the steel. Scratching seems to be the most natural way used by beginners.

Scratching is when you swipe the rod across the steel as if you were trying to light a match. Once the rod makes contact with the steel, the arc starts. The only real reason for scratching it to get it started is so it won’t stick to the steel since it is in motion. The trick then is to locate where you want to weld and try to keep the arc going. This takes some practice to get the hang of it.

Tapping is basically stabbing the steel with your welding rod. This is better for starting your rod in the correct welding location, but it is harder to keep the rod from sticking and still maintaining an arc. The natural reaction is once the arc strikes, you will want to pull it away to keep it from sticking. The only problem is, beginners tend to pull it too far away and lose the arc. This can go on and on and is actually pretty funny to watch someone doing this. But we all need to remember we were new at one point also.

Sticking of your welding rod is caused by the rod melting to the steel before it is pulled away slightly to maintain it’s arc. I won’t go into how far away it should be from the steel since it is dependent on what type of rod you are using and the amperage you are welding with.

These are the basics and should give you an idea of how to strike an arc. Just remember that it takes practice and patience to get good at it. One day you will grab the stinger and it will all just click in your head. It will almost start to feel natural, then you will know it’s all coming together.

Bow Vs Crossbow: Hunting Comparisons

The debate on which weapon is better the bow or the crossbow and vice versa, has been going on since the time that these two weapons were used in the forests, and battlefields of our ancestors up until the present. The bow is essentially older but in terms of the ability to hurt and maim, both these weapons are essentially the same. So why debate on which is better if they are essentially the same and use practically similar concepts to function? Well, the debate probably stemmed on which is more practical to use. The thing is, this could be answered in a million different ways without necessarily giving overall advantage to one type of weapon. Why?

Think of this situation as like a comparison between oranges and apples. Some people like apples, and some like oranges. However, it doesn’t follow that if you like oranges you don’t like apples. So where do we start the comparisons between these two kinds of weapons?

We’ll start with the bow. What are the advantages of using this weapon? And if this were used in the hunt how effective would it be in knocking down the target? To state frankly, the bow is an extremely powerful weapon that is capable of helping you hit your target from extremely long distances. One thing going for the bow is the range with which its arrows would be effective. In comparison, its younger sibling also has decent range but is actually more effective at shorter distances. The efficacy of the bow however is directly dependent on the skill of the bowman, and this is the glaring disparity that it has with its less skill-dependent sibling. Additionally, it is a lot less complicated to operate a crossbow than to notch, aim, and shoot with an arrow. Ultimately, this discussion between which weapon is better would boil down to skill level and preferences.

Not a lot of people know how to use a bow and arrow, and although it is quite easy to learn how to use it, it is also another matter altogether if anyone wants to be good at it. The other weapon however, can be quite a breeze to use. The quarrel just needs to be fitted or notched to the weapon and in no time at all you’ll be ready to use it to hunt for your favorite game. So to sum it all up, bows are for experts and crossbows are for everyone.

Sinus Pressure, Drainage and Bad Breath – What to Do About It

There is something that can very negatively affect your success in life, but very few people will ever mention it to you. You guessed it: It’s halitosis – bad breath. The “fresh breath industry” sells many millions of dollars in products that supposedly take care of this problem. While most of the formulas being manufactured and purveyed can leave their users with a fresh breath for a few minutes, the truth is that a person needs more than just that short a time to care for his mouth odor. To do that a person needs to go to the source of the problem and deal with it at that level. Does this make sense?

Bad breath is caused mainly by: what we eat and drink, by a dry mouth–not enough saliva is produced to wash down odor producing bacteria,–poor hygiene and by sinus drainage. This latter cause is, many believe, the main cause of a majority of the halitosis problems. The first thing we ought to understand is that sinus drainage is normal–if it produces between one and two pints of mucus a day. This physiological function is very important to maintain our respiratory system working properly. The problem is with excessive production, especially one caused by infection of the sinus cavities. An infection of this kind leads to the proliferation of obnoxious, odor producing bacteria. On the other hand, sometimes there is no infection involved and yet some of the bacteria accompanying the mucus is of the kind that produces halitosis. There are two main things you can do to alleviate the excessive production of mucus and to avoid infection:

  1. Cut down on mucus producing foods. Frankly, significant amounts of some foods are bad for you from several health perspectives, besides halitosis. Some of these foods are notoriously known for giving bad breath. They food items tend to cause excessive sinus drainage in many people and if you are one of them you may want to reconsider using freely these things
  2. Keep your sinuses clear at all times. This will avoid mucus stagnation and potential sinus infections
  3. Drink lots of pure, plain, room temperature water. If you tolerate warm water it is excellent to wash excess stomach acids, etc, and help your health in general–with positive effects on your breath
  4. Allergies to the environment are a very common cause of excessive sinus drainage which often results in bad breath. If this is your case you do well to consider checking with your physician for a long-term solution
  5. To keep your sinuses clear you can do the following acupressure point: With the tip of your index fingers, pointing backwards, press firmly on the spots right next to your nostrils, for 3 minutes. You will feel your sinuses draining in minutes
  6. Chewing on fresh parsley sprigs often freshens the breath naturally and effectively.

Were you to try the above items faithfully you would very probably experience a fresher breath, naturally.

How To Unclog a Bathtub Drain

For the most part bathtub and shower drains get clogged from human hair. The hair often gets stuck in the drain at the top or flows through and gets stuck in the p-trap below.

You will need a plunger, rag, needle nose pliers, multi head screw driver, Allen wrench, hacksaw and maybe a small snake. Do not use any type of acid or other drain cleaner.

If your bathtub is older then you may have an old drum trap instead of a p-trap. There is a drain at the bottom of some of these, but for the most part even if this is accessible the drain plug is normally rusted in place. And unlike the P-trap under your sink there is no union on a p-trap under the bathtub.

Try to source the clog before you get started. For instance if you run water into the bathtub and the tub starts to fill right away then you know the clog is close. If the water runs for quite awhile before the tub starts to fill then you know the clog is further down the pipe.

Some bathtubs have a chrome or brass plug that fits into the drain. You will need to remove this either with an Allen wrench or screwdriver depending on the type of drain plug you have. Some have the lever style that are controlled from a lever that comes out of the overflow pipe.

Before you try to plunge the drain you should try to pull out as much hair as you can with a your needle nose pliers. This will often resolve the problem. If not then you should attempt to plunge the drain next.

Before you start you should take off the over flow plate. You will need a common head or a Phillips head on your screwdriver to remove the one or two screws holding the plate in place. Be careful not to let the pipe behind the tub drop or you will have a tough time later on.

Next you will want to wet your rag and place inside of the overflow pipe. This will allow you to plunge the drain and force air into the p-trap rather then the air coming up overflow pipe.

Now place some water in the bottom of the tub so you can get a good seal on your drain. Now plunge the drain with your plunger while holding the wet rag in the overflow pipe. If you do not hold the rag the force of the water and air will push the rag out of the pipe. The best kind of plunger for this is the accordion style. Not only can you push air and water into the p-trap you can also pull water from the drain.

This might take some effort on your part. In fact you may have to plunge quite aggressively for 5 to 10 minutes to get the drain unclogged.

If after you have worked up a hard sweat you still cannot get the drain unclogged you will have to attempt to use the snake. If you have the type of plug that has the lever control you will have to attempt to remove this before snaking. In this case you may want to go beneath the floor where the p-trap is and cut out the pipe, and snake from there.

In some cases you cannot get the snake through the p-trap and you will have no choice but to go below the floor into the basement or the main floor of the house and access the p-trap. Unfortunately if the ceiling below is dry walled you will have to cut into the drywall to get access.

Once you do this you will either have brass, galvanized, ABS, or PVC pipe. Cut into the pipe and above the p-trap and just past the p-trap. This will give you access to the drain that you can now use a snake on. You will want a bucket to catch all the water from the p-trap and bathtub. If you have a full tub you might want to bail some of the water out before cutting into the line below. And if you USED ACID of any kind you should call a plumber.

Once the drain is clear you will need to assemble everything you have taken apart. Install a new p-trap if this is required. Using a Fernco which is a rubber clamp will help you out quite a bit.

Once the p-trap is in place you should test by filling the tub up and watching how fast the water flows out. If everything is good you can now place the overflow plate back on and repair any holes you may have made.

Good Luck

How to Clean Your Cordless Driver/Drill

You are the ruler of all do-it-yourselfers…the home improvement guru. You may be building a custom shelving unit today and installing new gutters tomorrow. No task is too big or too small to get your full attention. You know how important your cordless driver/drill is to the success of your many projects. After all, it is one of the most versatile and useful tools in your arsenal. So how do you show appreciation for this wonderful tool? Do you keep it clean and perform regular maintenance on it? If not, you should. Performing regular cleaning and maintenance can help your drill work better for longer and can also improve your safety while using it. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your cordless drill in optimum condition and ready for action:

1. Check the casing – The casing of your drill is much like your own skin. It protects all of the inner workings from damage caused by dirt and debris. Inspect your drill casing regularly to see if there are any cracks that may need sealing. During this time, you should also check to make sure all of the screws in the casing are tight. If not, tighten them.

2. Remove dust and dirt – Use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment or a nozzle connected to an air hose to remove any dust, dirt, or loose debris from your drill’s fixtures and vents. Follow up with a thorough cleaning with a soft cloth and a solution of mild all-purpose cleaner and water. Never submerge your drill in water. After wiping, dry your drill thoroughly with a clean cloth.

3. Care for your chuck – Your drill’s chuck is the area that often receives the most abuse. Take the time to wipe the chuck clean and lubricate it according to manufacturer’s directions. Most cordless drills come with a tube or bottle of lubricant that is specially made for this purpose.

4. Make contact – The contacts on your cordless drill can pick up dirt and debris as well, reducing its efficiency. Inspect the contacts, wipe away any debris, and dry the contacts thoroughly.

5. Proper storage – You can greatly increase the performance and life expectancy of your cordless drill by storing it properly. Most cordless drills come with a storage case. Make sure the case is clean and dry. After servicing your drill, place it in the case and secure the latches. For optimum performance, battery-powered drills should be stored in areas that stay between 40° and 105°. Temperatures above or below this range will affect your battery performance. If you plan to store your battery in a garage, shop, or anywhere that moisture may be a problem, Place the entire case inside a sealable plastic bag to keep out moisture.

It takes very little time or effort to care for your cordless drill and doing so will pay off greatly in both performance and lifespan of your drill. You depend heavily on this valuable tool so give it the attention it deserves and it will be there when you need it most.

Timber (Wood) As Building Material in Homes

Choosing the right material for building homes can be a huge ordeal, especially with so many building materials to choose from such as steel, stone, concrete, etc. However, a great option to choose as a building material in homes is Timber (Wood).

When wood is used for construction purposes, it is either cut or pressed into planks. As a result, you will get Timber. Timber is a generic building material that can be used to build almost any type of structure. Here are some of the benefits of using timber as a building material for homes:

• Flexibility

Timber is a very flexible construction material. Its flexibility makes designing a building quite easy. You can now determine the floor plan, number of rooms, etc. on the site. In addition, Timber can easily adjust to heavy weights because it is flexible enough to bend. However, the material is incredibly strong when compressed vertically.

Moreover, its thermal efficiency now allows you to build slimmer walls, thus freeing almost 10% of space (as compared to other building materials) in every room, hallway and other parts of the house.

• Durability

With good design and the correct detailing, timber requires no chemical treatment and will last for a very long life. Perhaps this is why most of the large houses in the olden days were made out of Timber. Plus, the material is resistant to most climatic conditions such as heat, frost, corrosion, pollution, etc.

• Sound Insulation

The type and quality of timber used nowadays involves the use of a layered structure of different materials. As a result, the material can insulate sounds easily.

• A Sound Investment

Houses made out of Timber are definitely an excellent source of investment. They are inexpensive to build and have a comparatively low running and maintenance cost. On an average, the service life of wooden houses lasts between 80 to 100 years. In fact, many wooden houses built in the Middle-Ages still survived the elements and have lasted till today.

Thus, it is safe to say that houses made out of Timber are not only eco-friendly, but also economical. Moreover, they also provide you with the best means to integrate modern technology systems such as controlled ventilation, air extraction, and solar panels into an exquisite and lavishly designed contemporary beauty rooted in nature.

Lumber Rating Scales and Hardwood Mats

Last month we looked at some of the differences that can make one manufacturer’s hardwood mats great, and leave another manufacturer’s hardwood mats wanting. One of our main areas of focus was the quality of lumber used in the mat itself, as this difference can mean major problems or a day in the park on the jobsite. Because this factor can make such a major difference in the lifespan and durability of a hardwood mat, we wanted to spend a little more time looking at the way lumber is rated.

In the states, there is a lumber rating system in place that helps determine the grade and quality of hardwood and non-hardwood lumber. We’re going to give a quick run-through of what these different grades are and how that can impact what the wood can and should be used for.

To start, No. 1 Common lumber is basically the standard grade of lumber used in furniture production. This particular cut of lumber (also simply called Common or No. 1) offers a pretty solid assortment of long, medium and short cuttings at a pretty average price. No. 2A Common (aka No.2 Common) is pretty much the go-to grade for wood used in millwork, cabinets, and other applications in need of short cuttings. Because these cuts are typically shorter than No. 1, they are slightly more favorably priced, therefore, if possible, No. 2 Common is often used for furniture. No. 2B Common is basically the same cut as the one we just talked about, only stain defects and other defects not compromising structure are admitted. This makes for a good paint grade.

So what’s all this got to do with hardwood mats? Well, with the grades most typically used in other applications out of the way, next time we are going to look at the kind of lumber grade used in hardwood mats, crane mats, and construction mats.

In a post from a while ago, we took a more in depth look at pipeline construction and the how hardwood mats and swamp mats are used to help the process move more quickly and more successfully in the long run. We explored how the mats help protect the environment from the tread of large machinery. We looked at how hardwood mats, pipe dunnage, and skids are all used to keep the pipeline safe and intact before it is finally put in the ground. We also looked at the many way that swamp mats have increased the overall accessibility of once rather unreachable locations. Places like wetlands, and other locations with generally poor soil stability no longer are seen as such an obstacle. Because of the many ways swamp mats can help the pipeline industry, their adoption into the industry has been well received and much needed.

Following a similar train of though, the transmission line construction industry is also starting to more fully realize the benefits of swamp mats in improving productivity. There is definitely not much argument regarding whether or not the use of hardwood mats has made the industry more able to operate with efficiency. On many transmission line construction sites, the land and its soil consistency has always been a major obstacle. Constructing transmission lines across open spaces is one thing, but running line across swamps and wetlands is a different thing completely.

During any transmission line project, there are at least several heavy pieces of machinery and personal transport vehicles that require access the job site. This is fact is made even more complex by a lack of roads and the especially swampy land that always seems to be at the job site, the kind of land that makes the simple act of crossing it an entire feat in and of itself. This is where swamp mats are extremely valuable. The stability and traction they offer by distributing load over a large surface can make the difference between time lost and a successful job. In the transmission line construction industry, the use of swamp mats has proven to be a critical step in boosting the practicality of many projects. The crane mats, swamp mats, and hardwood mats that Dixie Mat makes have been a huge part of the picture and have helped the transmission line construction industry and many others find stability and accessibly in once difficult to reach places.

The Ouija Board – How Does It Work?

Q & A About The Ouija Board

Q: How Does The Ouija Board Work?

A: The Ouija board works when individuals use the board to contact spirits. Seldom do people who play this board realize that they are playing with and entertaining demons. The board will communicate that it is a person and will give the players a name. This name that the demon gives to the players will have the players thinking that they have contacted a person who has gone on to the “other side”. The players will then develop a relationship with this person without realizing that they have formed a relationship with a demonic spirit. The more they play with the Ouija board and try to summon this “person” back, the more entangled they become with this demon spirit and the more of a relationship they form with it.

Q: Is There a Good Way To Play With The Ouija Board?

A: No, there is never a “good” way to play with the Ouija board. The Ouija board is one of the a tools that Satan uses especially with young people to introduce them into the world of the occult and the supernatural. It is a instrument by which demons contact the living and it is never good to play with demonic spirits.

Q: Is It Wrong To Try And Contact My Loved One That Has Died?

A: The Bible tells us in:

Deuteronomy 18:9-11

For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.

This is a direct commandment not to engage in any forms of the occult. It is a dangerous act and outside the will of God for our lives. Any time we operate outside the will of God for our lives, we open the door for Satan to come in and take over. The dead knows not what the living does and the dead cannot come back here to earth to communicate with us.

Q: Who Are Mediums Talking To When They Seem To Connect With A Person?

A: When a medium or psychic is trying to communicate with a person who has died, they are actually communicating with a familiar spirit. A familiar spirit is an evil spirit that has a relationship with a person or personality. It will communicate to a person what has happened in a persons, past and present situation and will try to speak into a person’s future as well. Satan knows everything that has happened to us in our past. This is what the psychic uses to entrap people with. When they begin to tell a person all about their past and have never met this person before, that individual begins to really believe in this psychic or medium, when all the time, this information about this person is being translated through familiar demon spirits.

Anything we ever need to know about our past, present and future should be consulted with through God. God has given us the Holy Spirit and this is the only spirit that we should ever be consulting with. God sent us His Holy Spirit in order to lead us into all truth. The holy Spirit will bring you light and truth. It will never lead you into darkness and lies. Please do not be misled by Satan. He uses these tools like the Ouija board to deceive and trick people out of their fascination with the spirit realm or the supernatural. The spirit realm is not a joke. It is real, and it is not to be played with. Many people have played in this realm and died because of it’s powerful control.

Silversmithing – Tools of the Trade

In years past, it was hard to separate the black smith (or just smith or smithy) from his tools. When you said “smith” you were referring all at once to the person, his tools and the place where he worked. The same is still true today. Without her tools, today’s silversmith has nothing.

I am passionate about tools. My father is responsible for instilling an appreciation of and respect for good tools. He always said that with the right tools, you can do anything. He also said that you should always buy the best tools that you can afford. In tools, cheaper is not always better.

The term silversmith covers a very wide range of techniques and necessary tools. For some, it is still all about banging on metal with a hammer, and I will admit there is something very satisfying about pounding on metal. For others, it is mostly about soldering one thing to another. Because the solders are not soft and require higher heat than, say, electrical soldering, it is considered to be more like welding. But everyone simply refers to it as “soldering”. Silversmiths also engage in casting silver. I do not do that and will not be discussing the tools required for casting. Regardless of what you are doing, you need tools. Here are some of the basics.

If you are going to shape metal by pounding on it, you need something to pound with and something to pound on: hammers, bench blocks, anvils and stakes. There are all sorts of hammers and each one is good for one or maybe two purposes. An embossing hammer, when driven against the inner walls of raised work can elevate positions of the surface. It may also be used for planishing. A planishing hammer is useful for smoothing out imperfections and finishing surfaces of pieces that have been raised. Raising hammers are used on the outside surfaces to force the basic shape of various objects. Ball peen hammers are used for flattening, shaping or removing dents. Riveting hammers are used for forming rivets and tacking. Chasing hammers have either flat heads or domed heads. Chasing can be thought of as a sort of stamping. Specially shaped punches are used to press a pattern or design into the metal. Most of these hammers will be made of drop forged steel. But they may also be found in brass and nylon. Rawhide mallets are useful when you do not want marks of any kind left on your silver. For general all around uses, I find a domed chasing hammer to be most handy. If you can afford only one hammer, that is the one I recommend.

Bench blocks, anvils and stakes fall into the same general category. They are what you hold the metal, either sheet or wire, against as you hammer it. Bench blocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In its simplest form, it is a square of hardened steel that sits on your work bench. The surface should be kept smooth and free of debris. I use one that is four inches square and it is a fine size for most purposes. Blocks are also available with depressions in them in the shape of half of a ball. These are called dapping blocks and require a set of dapping punches. These are useful for doming. There are a number of other blocks with differently shaped depressions for all sorts of purposes. I always tell people to get a tool catalog from a company you like and just read it. They contain a lot of good information.

If you purchase an anvil, be sure the base is very solid and that it has a low center of gravity. Even so, it is sometimes a good idea to mount it to a piece of a 2″ x 6″ board for stability. Anvils that have a cone on one side are particularly useful. Again, these come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. The size you choose will be determined by the size of the jewelry you wish to make.

Stakes are hard to describe. They are made of hardened steel and can be held in place by a vice. They come in a wild array of shapes and sizes and they are generally used for raising. There is one stake called a Cow’s tongue stake. It looks pretty much like its name. A bowl or vase that is being hammered into shape would be placed over the stake and the metal would be struck from the outside against the stake.

Whenever you hammer or bend metal, you work harden it. It becomes more brittle the more that you work with it and requires annealing to keep it from cracking and breaking. A torch (black smiths use a forge) is useful for annealing. A torch is necessary for soldering silver.

If you are going to be soldering silver, you will need, at minimum: a torch; a soldering block; pickle; water for quenching and rinsing; copper tongs; silver solder; flux and a flux brush. Protective eye wear is always a must.

When I first started soldering silver, I wasn’t at all certain that was what I wanted to do. So, I started very small. I bought a butane fueled mini-torch; the kind you might use in your kitchen for making fancy desserts. No matter what you do, you absolutely need the other items mentioned above. That is, unless your only intention is to solder jump rings closed. Then a butane mini-torch and silver paste solder in a syringe are all that you will need. Well, and something to polish them a bit when you are finished.

I quickly learned that I liked soldering silver and that in order to complete larger pieces; I was going to need a serious torch. I opted for a single fuel torch with four sizes of tips. The fuel I use is acetylene. The torch handle and tips are designed to mix the proper amount of atmospheric oxygen with the acetylene to get a nice hot flame. For the most part, the smallest size tip suffices for what I make. Occasionally, I use a larger one. I am glad that I have that option. Nothing is more frustrating than having this great idea and not having the tools you need to accomplish it.

As far as soldering blocks, boards and pads go, the smaller you can use the better. The block is a heat sink (as is all the air around it) and the larger it is, the longer it takes to heat it up and heat the metal that is sitting on it. That is why some smiths prefer charcoal soldering blocks. They are usually small and once you heat them up, they stay quite hot for a long time. And that is their main drawback. They can get so hot that it is uncomfortable to move your work around on them with you hands. Also, they tend to crack as they cool and for this reason it is best to wrap them with binding wire before you begin using them.

There is a magnesia block option. They heat and cool quickly. They are not really made of magnesium, which is quite flammable. The surface of this soldering block does degrade and become pitted with use, but they are easy to make true once again. I just move mine around on the concrete outside of our workshop with a circular motion and in a few moments it is nice and flat once more.

There is a whole host of soldering boards that can be useful. They are made from a number of different materials. Some are of transite, which is very durable, non-asbestos and withstands temperatures up to 2800°F. Ceramic soldering boards tolerate temperatures up to 2000°F. You can also purchase soldering pads made of calcium silicate. They also heat and cool quickly without cracking and can be pinned into, as can the magnesia blocks. Once again, purchase the smallest surface for soldering on that you can use. It cuts down on the time needed to reach the melting point of your solder.

Tripods with mesh screens are available that allow you to heat your work piece from the bottom as well as the top. But keep in mind, that all the air around your work will be sucking away the heat. I have one, but rarely if ever use it.

Pickle is simply an acidic solution used to remove fire scale from sterling silver after it has been heated. Sterling silver is an alloy composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. When you heat it, the copper is brought to the surface of the sterling silver. Copper is much more reactive with the moisture in the air than is pure silver. That coupled with the heat (heat speeds up the reaction), causes the copper to “rust” or tarnish much more quickly and the surface becomes quite black. Also, some fluxes will become quite glass-like after heating and they also need to be dissolved. Granulated pickles that you mix with water are most common and generally are not considered as hazardous materials which require a very large shipping fee. Copper tongs are required for placing and removing objects from pickle. If an iron bearing tool is used, you will plate copper onto your sterling silver. It is a good idea to mix a little baking soda into your rinse water to help neutralize the acid completely.

Silver solder basically comes in four hardnesses: extra easy; easy; medium and hard. The silver paste solder mentioned earlier is basically extra easy. You will need all but the extra easy for most projects. The first join is always made with hard solder. It melts at the highest temperature and subsequent joins will, then, not unsolder the first join. Use medium and easy solders as you work your way through your piece.

If you are using a new sterling silver called Argentium Sterling Silver, you can not use the regular hard solder with it. Argentium has had some of the copper replaced with germanium and melts at a lower temperature than traditional sterling silver. You can purchase solders made specifically for use with Argentium.

Flux is what helps the solder to flow. An anti-flux may be used to keep solder from flowing where you do not want it. I have not used anti-flux. Generally, the solder will follow the heat, so if you are careful about how you apply your flame, you should not have a problem.

Fluxes are all toxic. Care should be used in handling them and managing the fumes given off as you are heating them. There are liquid fluxes and paste fluxes. My husband likes the liquids and I prefer the pastes. I find the pastes are easier to keep where I want them. Also, you can thin them with water, if necessary. You can mix your own flux from boric acid and water. Fluxes are usually applied with a brush. Just about any small brush will do.

Earlier, I briefly mentioned polishing. After pickling, your silver will have a dull whitish coating. You can remove this with a soft brass brush dipped in a solution of dish soap and water. The soap keeps the brass from being deposited on the sterling silver. This will give a very “soft” shine to the surface.

For a brilliant, hard shine, you will need a buffing wheel of either cotton or muslin. The type that is stitched is best. It holds together longer and throws off less lint. These can be mounted in a regular drill that is mounted in place. Just be certain that the buff is rotating in a downward direction as you are looking at it. That way, if you let go of the work, it will fly down, back and away from you rather than into your face. There are also many motors available for purchase. Some will run only one buffing wheel and some will run two.

There are many grades of polishing compounds. Some will cut quickly and remove large scratches. Others are for final polishing. Ideally, you should begin with metal that is as free of scratches as possible. Once your work is soldered together, it is not always easy to get to all the areas that require polishing. The compounds are held against the buffing wheel as it is spinning at speed. This is called “charging” the wheel.

Hopefully, now, you have some idea of the basic tools you will need to begin your foray into silversmithing. It can sound very complicated on paper, but when it comes right down to doing it, it’s not all that bad. I remember my delight at my first soldering closed of jump rings. At that moment, I was hooked. Oh yes, you will melt things that you did not want to melt. That is part of the learning process. Have fun and be creative.

His Most Famous Painting (Eiffel Tower Series) – Robert Delaunay

French painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) was a truly dynamic artist from the twentieth century. His art style kept shifting between the triangular creative zone formed of ‘Orphism,’ ‘Abstraction,’ and ‘Cubism.’ Robert’s ‘The Eiffel Tower Series’ consisted of the most powerful works of his life. The Tower, the very icon of urbanization, always fascinated Delaunay. Being a radio tower, the Tower represented boundless communication and its unique construction was symbolic of the evolving machine age. Robert created around 30 works (sketches, window paintings, and oil paintings) using Eiffel Tower as the subject, during his self-termed ‘destructive phase.’ All these paintings depict the tower surrounded by tall buildings, from different angles and viewpoints. Three oil paintings from the ‘Eiffel Tower Series,’ created between 1909 and 1912, are considered Delaunay’s true art masterpieces.

The three famous oil paintings from Robert’s Tower Series were:

o Tower with Trees (49 ¾” x 36 ½” canvas)

o Tower (Tour Eiffel) – Measuring 79 ½” x 54 1/2″ canvas, this painting shows the tower emerging from the drape of skyscrapers around.

o The Red Tower (63 ¼” x 50 5/8″ canvas)

The ‘Eiffel Tower Series’ by Robert Delaunay epitomizes ‘Modernism.’ All the paintings are dramatic portrayals, pulsating with energy and present an elusive visual. A vibrant flow of vivid colors, form a pool of interesting abstracts. All three paintings present an angular view of the Tower. Robert has used a bright but narrow color palette, such as red, orange, brown, gray, white, black, and the shades of blue, in his ‘Tower Series.’ His innovative approach in the series was free from all the then set creative norms, ‘Impressionist’ landscapes to be precise.

Delaunay adapted a distinctive style, which appears ‘Cubist’ in nature with a touch of ‘Fauvism’ (due to the use of vibrant color). He invented the non- imitative form of art, where color, instead of an object-inspired form, plays a key role in the painting. The fragmented layers of color form the fascinating patterns of fractured spaces, left to be perceived by the viewers mind. The genius of these very futuristic illustrations tends to provoke the inner physic and elevate one to a different level of self-awareness.

Robert Delaunay’s unique conceptualization in ‘The Eiffel Tower Series,’ established his name as a pioneer in ‘Abstract Art.’ Clement Greenburg once said about Robert Delaunay, “He was an enterprising painter whose influence to the art world was much greater than his art.” The paintings “Eiffel Tower with Trees” and “Eiffel Tower” currently rest at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, while “The Red Tower” is at the Arts Institute of Chicago.