Make a Timber Frame Wall Panel

Lets start with a simple wall, with no door or window openings. We can get to the more difficult panels later.

The standard height for a panel is 2.453 metres. This is a standard ceiling height for most homes. It also easily accommodates plasterboard and plywood/OSB.

A wall comprises of timbers with dimensions of 38mm deep and 140mm in width and come in an assortment of lengths, ranging from 2.1 and then rising in 300mm increments up to 5.4 m long. For the sake of this example we will use lengths of 4.8m CLS C16 grade timbers.

The wall we wish to make is on the gable of the house, hence no windows or doors. The gable wall is actually 9.5m but we need to break that down into a more manageable size. We take the 9.5 m wall and divide by two to end up with two walls of 4.75 m long. This is much easier to deal with.

Divide 4.75 by 0.4 (the vertical stud centres) to get 11.87. Round the number down to 11 and then add 2 to bring the number of studs up to 13. Now you know how many vertical uprights are in the panel.

You may recall that the standard height for a wall panel is 2.453. This is made up of the vertical studs plus a double sole plate and a double-header plate.

All that means is that on the ground you place two lengths of 4.75 m long timber to which you fix the bottom of the studs and then you fit two lengths of 4.75 m long timber to the top of the wall panel. You can use two 90mm paslode nails fired from a nail gun or two 100mm galvanised wire nails using a hammer.

Now you need to work out what size to cut them.

So if we have two number timbers of dimension 38 x 140 mm to top and bottom of the wall then all we need to do is subtract 152mm from the overall height of the wall to get our vertical stud size which is 2.301 m.

Cut 13 studs at 2.301 me long ensuring that your cuts are plumb. Very important to get the length and the plumb cut right to ensure a good tight fit.

Clear a space on the ground and place two lengths of timber lengthways on the ground. These will be used to make your panel on. Keeping the ends of the panel off the ground makes it easier to fix the top and bottom plates to the vertical studs.

Now you can start nailing the panel together keeping the edge of the vertical studs flush with the top of the sole plate and header plate. Fix the top and bottom of each stud with two number nails either 90mm paslode nails fired from a nail gun or 100mm galvanised wire nails if you are using a hammer. Make sure that the studs are not twisted in the frame and are plumb from top of the wall to the bottom.

Work your way along the panel fixing the studs at 400mm centres. This just means leaving a distance of 400mm from the centre of one stud to the next.

You can also use the edge of the stud and simply go from edge to edge. Keep going until you have nailed up all the vertical studs to the top and bottom plates.

Now you can add plywood or OSB sheets to tighten up the frame. This is better done at this stage prior to standing the panel up, as the work will go quicker by fixing the sheets to the frame when it is lying on the ground.

Fix the plywood or OSB to each vertical stud at 150mm centres and around the perimeter of each sheet at 75mm centres. (An engineer will help you in this area by performing mathematical calculations to give you a precise figure that you can follow.)

Just be aware the panel can be very heavy so make sure you have some extra pairs of hands or mechanical lifting gear to help you.

But if you are short of helping hands you can leave this until the panel is fully fixed and braced.

Voila you have made your first timber frame wall panel. Congratulations.

Decking Lumber – Alternatives to Pressure Treated Wood Which Are Naturally Insect Resistant

In the not so distant past, decking did not enjoy the longevity it does today. Advancements in deck sealants, stains, and pressure treating wood have greatly enhanced the durability and appearance of the modern day deck. Proper annual or seasonal maintenance is still required to ensure a quality deck retains its quality over time. Choosing a better species of wood is the first place to start. A “better” species of wood is one which is more resilient to the harsh elements. There are only a few areas which do not receive a vast variety of temperature or climate changes. The majority of the U.S. is much like what North Carolina experiences year round. Temperatures ranging from freezing to hot can cause repeated and rapid contraction and expansion of deck lumber. Coupled with wet or icy conditions, most basic lumber, regardless of being pressure treated, will begin to show signs of age. What determines how quickly the custom deck will wear is the type of wood used.

The most commonly used types of decking lumber are pine, fir, cypress, and cedar. There are many more choices such as mahogany, redwood, and exotic lumbers. The more inexpensive of these types are pine, fir, and cypress. Regional location is factored into lumber pricing. For example, redwood should be less expensive in the western U.S. than it would in New England.

Pressure treated pine decking, or PT lumber, can be found in almost every hardware store or home improvement store. In years past, pressure treated lumber was commonly treated with chromated copper arsenate, or CCA. Unfortunately, this widely used type of treating was proven to be carcinogenic and very toxic due to arsenate leaching into groundwater, plants, and skin through repeated prolonged exposure.

It was quite common for many parks and playground equipment to use CCA pressure treated lumber. Most cities and towns have now replaced these poisonous structures with metal or synthetic equipment. Because of this danger, most larger home improvement store chains have now switched from stocking CCA treated wood to a more benign type of pressure treated wood. Fantastic alternatives to using pressure treated lumber are naturally resistant woods such as cedar, cypress, and high-grade redwood.

Again, every home owner needs to be aware of any pressure treated lumber used on their property, especially if gardening is being used to provide fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Once the soil is contaminated with CCA treated lumber, it should never be used again for the growing of foods. If the existing deck or structure is not known to be CCA free, the home owner needs to assume that the ground has been contaminated. The deck builder which installed the deck should have this information readily available, if not voluntarily informing the customer.

A newer alternative to wood is synthetic lumber or composite lumber. These alternatives use recycled lumber combined with epoxies and resins to form lumber substitutes. Synthetic lumber is considered a green and ecologically responsible alternative to deforestation. It can often be difficult to differentiate synthetic lumber from the genuine article once it has been installed. Sealing composite decking is not necessary to maintain the durability, appearance and strength.

Regardless of the type of lumber used in a deck installation, gazebo or other outdoor structure, if actual wood is used, sealing the wood with a water repellent sealer is a good idea. When purchasing any lumber or having a professional deck builder construct the deck, be sure to ask how best to maintain the specific type of lumber used.

Complete Wii Balance Board Game List

I took some time to write a simple list about all the Wii games that are compatible with the Wii Balance Board (Wii Fit Board). Most of them are already released, some will be by early next year. I also included a small summery for each of the games.

1.All Star Cheer Squad – basically you have to play a cheerleader who moves up to become the head cheerleader. Start of as the rookie who has to try out for even getting accepted into the squad. The more you play the game the more advanced routines you will learn. You can play career mode or mini game mode style.

2.Academy Of Champions: Soccer – the tile says it all, a game basically for boys who love soccer. This title includes 12 mini games. Or play the story line to battle against a football academy. Try to make your team win the championship.

3. Avatar – the game to the upcoming film Avatar. The film is by James Cameron. The game is an action based adventure game, which takes place at an alien planet. Will be released at the end of November.

4. Daisy Fuentes Pilates – a great workout game not only for all the pilates lovers, but also people in general who want to improve their posture and do some more exercise without going to the gym. This game includes 10 pilates routines. There are 5 pre set routines and 5 customizable ones. The game starts at the level of beginners, but will move up in difficulty to advanced. You can play this game in English or Spanish. The commentator is Daisy Fuentes that will guide you all the way with her great tips in subjects like health and fitness.

5. DanceDance Revolution Hottest Party 3 – a sequel to the DanceDance Revolution games. You can either play with the dance pad or as the title of this article says, with the Wii Balance Board. The game can be played in workout mode, story mode, lesson mode or kids mode. This rhythmic game is the best one until now, because all the previous titles didn’t include the Wii Balance Board. It includes also more than 50 tracks of music.

6. Diva Girls- Divas On Ice – a nice girlie game who want to try out as ice princesses. There is a career mode available, but also mini games. Defiantly a game for girls for the age of 8+.

7. Doctor Fizzwhizzle’s Animal Rescue – a game where you have to advance in stages to rescue animals. An arcade kind of game. You have more than 180 levels to play and can rescue 60 different animals. It includes also a kids mode with quizzes about animals.

8. Don King Boxing – a boxing game where you step into the ring to fight against the greatest boxers in real venues like Madison Square Garden or Boardwalk Hall. See if you can make it to the top – in career mode. This is one of the top rated games of this year. You should try this game, even if you are not too much into boxing. This gives you the workout of a fitness game, but still makes it fun to play. Has a teen rating.

9. EA Sports Active More Workouts – This is the sequel to the EA Sports Active Personal Trainer game that was released about a year ago. One of the highest rated Wii fitness games. You can use the Wii Balance Board, the Wii remote and Nunchuk to play this game. This game adds 35 new exercises that target the whole body. More Workouts is made to be played in the winter as it focuses on warm-weather games like surfing, jet skiing and rafting. It also keeps players motivated with a 6-week-challenge that tracks the players progress.

10. EA Sports Active Personal Trainer – This was probably the most successful game for the Wii Balance Board. You can play sports like running, basket ball, volley ball, roller skating, boxing, baseball, dancing, and many other games. This game includes a rubber resistant band for muscle workouts and a pouch for jogging and running. If you want to play this game with a friend you can get the gear also separately. Sign up for the 30 day challenge with its 20 minute workouts to get into shape. This game will make your living room into a gym without the need of leaving the house.

11. Go Play Circus Star – Go try out to become the greatest circus performer. Play in career mode and play stage-by-stage or play mini games. Most of the games in this title are compatible with the Wii Balance Board. One of three games of the Go Play series.

12. Go Play City Sports – Another one of the Go Play series. Play six street games like stick ball, kickball, street hockey and soccer. In career mode you have to stand up for yourself and become the top athlete of your street. A fun and casual game for the whole family.

13. Go Play Lumberjacks – The last one of the Go Play series. This title takes you to the outdoors where you can play five different event categories. In each one of those categories you compete against three other players. One of the fun games is defiantly the water log game where you have to balance on a log.

14. Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout – Another great fitness title. What makes this game unique it that when you buy it, you get a free one week trial at any Gold Gym. In the game your workout is chosen according to your own fitness level. So you don’t have to worry that you will not be able to keep up. Includes boxing, running, rope jumping and many other sports.

15. Imagine Fashion Party – A game for all the girls who love to live the world of fashion. Includes office mode where you play a designer that get challenged by difficult clients. Or try to be a make-up artist and style your models before they hit the runway. You can even own your own TV show just like the one from Heidi Klum. This game also lets you share pictures through the Wii Wifi connection.

16. Imagine Party Babyz – For all of you who love the cute baby games like baby food throwing, dancing and hula hoop. There are more than 30 fun mini games to play. Or go for the career mode where you are in charge of a daycare center.

17. Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009 – Another one of the popular fitness games for the Wii. This is a boot-camp-style game that focuses on four workout types: weight loss, intervals, hill climb and strength training. Just like in real life the game starts with warm-up, keeps you in your target zone to burn calories and cool-down for stretching. It even has a competitive mode where you play against a friend to find out who can burn more calories. The game is lead by fitness guru Jillian Michaels, that not only guides you through each exercise but also offers lifestyle tips.

18. Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2010 – The sequel to the boot-camp style fitness game. It adds on to the other game with a resolutions mode. In this mode you can plan ahead your routines for up to six months. Just like the first game it focuses on cardio like running, bicycle, swing kicks, jumping jacks. Strength training includes exercises like lunge kicks, push-ups, back kicks, sledge swings and many more. It offers very accurate motion tracking to give you a real-life experience. This is a recommended game if you want to get into shape fast.

19. Marble Saga Kororinpa – one of my favorite fun games from all Wii games. It includes more than 100 levels for the Wii Balance Board. Don’t be fooled because I called it fun games. This game will defiantly challenge you while you try to move across the mazes and collect all the orange gems. If you collect also the green gems (one per level) you can unlock more stages at the end. Not only can you choose the difficulty but also different marbles – each with their own strengths. Collect all the stomp-temple-parts and you unlock the ability to design your own mazes at the end. You will play in 7 different worlds, each one with their own characteristics. So after you played the whole game you can even connect via the Wifi to get more advance levels. Check out the leader boards via the Wifi to see you is the best in the game.

20. Mario And Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games – Compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Choose your favorite character from players like Mario, Sonic and Donkey Kong. This game targets primarily the fans of these characters. You have the option to play the game in single player, multiplayer and festival mode. Festival mode means that you go through all the Olympic events to become the greatest Olympic champion. This game includes winter themed games like skiing, hockey, bobsled and figure skating. But you also play dream events that won’t happen in real life like dream snowball fight. You move your character with a combination of the Wii Balance Board, wii remote and nunchuk.

21. Mountain Sports – Another winter themed game that features six full length sports to make your gaming experience more satisfying. These include skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, tobogganing, bobsledding and curling. The goal of the game is to become the champion of the white mountain. Most of the games make use of the Wii Balance Board (5 out of six)

22. My Fitness Coach – This fitness game includes 500 exercises like cardio, flexibility and strength training. You can choose your favorite environment to suit your mood. Also customize your music with styles like Latin music, hip hop, oldies, music from the 80’s,… As you progress the workouts will get more demanding. It also includes a meditation garden to practice stretching and yoga.

23. My Personal Golf Trainer – The only golf game that makes use of the Wii Balance Board. Not yet release thus not much more information available.

24. NewU: Fitness First Personal Trainer – another fitness title that was released in 2009. Just like many of the other fitness based games your own personal virtual trainer guides you through a set of exercises. This game will try to get you in better shape through fitness and healthy living without you ever having to leave the comfort of your own home.

25. Overturn – a wii ware title that you can get through the Wii Shop via the Wifi Connection.

26. Playmobil: Circus – This game combines the playmobil characters with the circus theme to attract primarily the younger players. You can unlock more than 16 circus tricks to impress the crowd. Two multiplayer modes are available: versus, where you compete against a friend and teamwork, where you work together to reach your goal. Play acts with elephants, magician, tame the lion and many more wacky games.

27. Punch Out – The sequel to the popular game of more than 15 years ago. Play against characters like Glass Joe and King Hippo. Most of the names will be familiar if you played the first game. In career mode you will have to win against 13 opponents. Each one has their own characteristics and weaknesses. Boxing games are not only fun games to play but will definitely get you into shape as you use your whole body to play. The Wii Balance Board makes the game even more realistic.

28. Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party – The only title of the Rayman Raving Rabbids series that is compatible with the Wii Balance Board. This game focuses on TV series, ads and TV classics. Play either in story mode where you will go through one week of television with unique tasks and very hilarious challenges. Or play party mode with up to 8 players, four of which can play simultaneously. In all these mini games your overall goal is to help the rabbids destroy the daily TV viewing and thus drive Rayman crazy. Two of the 65+ games are Beestie Boarding (slide down a hill filled with obstacles where the board is a wildebeest) and Garden of Weeden (get rid of all the weeds in the garden by spraying them with poison – apply pressure to the Wii Balance Board to succeed in the challenge). Overall, one of the number one party games.

29. Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip – Shaun White will instruct you to become a great snowboarder. Turn the board so you glide down the mountain just like on a real snowboard. You can enjoy the scenery with the unique camera system and beautiful graphics. Or go for the challenges to compete in snowboarding events. There are four ventures to explore: Alaska, Europe, Japan and Park City.

30. Shaun White Snowboarding World Stage – was just recently released. Is the sequel to the Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip game. This game just like the previous one has the rating 10+. Can you make it in the half-pipe to be better than everybody else? A nice game if you live far away from any snow, but still would like to know how it feels to snowboard.

31. Skate City Heroes – A skating game that takes place in a futuristic city on top of skyscrapers. You have to race between trains, hoover over cars and other crazy moves. The goal of the game is to out-race your opponent with your skills and moves. You need to free a friend and make peace in the city. All these if you can become the skateboarding master. Has a multiplayer mode for up to four players.

32. Skate It – A more realistic skating game where you can customize your own skate park with ramps, rails, benches and many more skate-able objects. The career mode lets you compete in skate venues to become the skater of the year. This is the game for you if you are into skating and the whole skate culture.

33. Ski And Shoot – A biathlon style game that includes original world cup tracks. But you can not only compete in those original sport spots but also play real time biathlon sports icons like Kati Wilhelm and Michael Rosch. Choose from 20 different tracks and more than 15 international locations. As the title says, you will focus on cross country skiing and target shooting.

34. Snowboard Riot – another Wii Ware title that you can get through the Wifi Connect Shopping channel of your wii.

35. Stratosphere Yoga – not much yet known about this title or when it will be released.

36. Super Monkey Ball: Step And Roll – Planned release is in February of 2010. This is a sequel to the popular Super Monkey Ball series. You play a monkey (several different ones to choose one each one with their own strengths) in a giant bubble that has to finish levels and collect bananas on the way.

37. The Biggest Loser – The game to the popular TV show “The Biggest Loser”. Not only for those who want to loose weight but also for those who want to stay in shape and not gain weight. Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels will guide you through exercises, motivate you and stand by you all the way. This title includes more than 88 exercises which target the upper- and lower body, the core and cardio. It also teaches you yoga poses and thus improves your posture. The Wii Balance Board can be used in over 66 exercise. Choose from 4, 8 or 12 week challenges and see if you can stay above the yellow line in weigh-in. To all those above mentioned features it also includes more than 50 healthy recipes and a daily planning calendar.

38. Vertigo – An action game where you have to control a metal ball. Try to keep it from falling off the sides just with the balance of your body. Sounds easy but is in reality very tricky. The game is set in a futuristic environment on top of skyscrapers and tall buildings. It includes 54 levels and has 4 different modes. You can even customize your own ball to give it its unique controls.

39. Walk It Out – an upcoming walking game. This game will be released in January 2010. The more you take steps and walk, the more beautiful your world will become. This game features more than 120 songs which should keep you focused and motivated. The game keeps track of your progress and burned calories with charts and graphs. You can use the Wii Balance Board, the Dance Dance Revolution controller, the wii remote and the nunchuk to play the game. This is a very popular game in Japan, where it is already released.

40. Water Sports – The game focuses on summer themed games like windsurfing, jet skiing, kite surfing and wake boarding. You have different locations to choose from like Australia and South Africa. Do tricks and combine them to get lots of points.

41. We Ski And Snowboard – Choose from 14 courses and from beginner to advanced in this great skiing game. Choose if you want to go skiing or snowboarding. You are in the Happy Ski Resort where you can focus on just casual skiing, competitions or tricks with your snowboard. Explore the surrounding area by helicopter. You can even decide at what day-time you would like to experience skiing: during day, afternoon with its warm light or night under the light of fireworks.

42. We Ski – Again you are in the Happy Ski resort. This game lets you only do skiing but you will for sure enjoy the great two mountains. You can even try black diamond slopes. Just like in the previous game, you can choose the time of the day, and which course you would like to try. Overall a fun game for the whole family.

43. Wii Fit – The most famous game for the Wii Balance Board. This is the game that got released first with the Board. Part of the title focus on your balance like the Balance Games and Yoga games. Our family’s favorite are the Balance games. You start off with 5 games. The more time you spend exercising and playing the more games you can unlock. The other categories are Strength Training and Aerobics. You can even create a Wii Fit Channel – a mode where you don’t have to put in the DVD to do a daily body test. Each time you do a body test you will be weighed and your balance will be tested. According to that you will get a score that is your Wii Fit Age. Don’t take it too seriously if you are 10 or so years older than your real age. This should just motivate you to do daily exercises and keep in shape.

44. Wii Fit Plus – The just recently released sequel to the Wii Fit game. It combines the two games so you can play both of them from one CD. The difference is that you can now customize your workouts much easier and even decide if you want to do 20, 30 or 40 minute workouts. This game adds six new yoga activities and strength training exercises and 15 new balance games. A very fun game for the whole family not only if you are into fitness and weight loss.

45. Wii Music – Use the Balance Board to play 60+ instruments. But it does not matter if you press buttons at a certain time like in other music games. This is a very casual game, where there is no right or wrong. Just enjoy yourself while playing in a band. You can invite up to 4 people to play with you in your band. And you can even connect with friends through the Wifi connection. Choose your flavor like rock, jazz and Latin.

46. Winter Sports 2 The Ultimate Challenge – a winter themed game where you try out in 18 disciplines from 11 different winter sports. In this game you are in the center of sporting events that are broadcast all over the world. Some of the activities include snowboarding, ice skating, biathlon and ski jumping.

47. World Championship Athletics – Compete in 28 different summer themed sports games. Some of these are: high diving, hurdles and pole vault. See if you can win the gold medal and improve your own personal best.

48. Yoga – just recently released yoga game that focuses not only on yoga itself but also on its unique lifestyle. It lets you choose between story mode, where you start off as a complete yoga beginner and end up as a yoga guru. Training mode, where you can learn new poses. And Routine mode where you customize a workout that puts together several yoga poses. This game is a must if you liked the yoga exercises in the Wii Fit game.

Most of the games are just casual games that you play for fun. Some of them are excellent fitness games like Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. And my pick for the most fun game from the whole list: Marble Saga Kororinpa. In this game you have to balance a marble through a maze and collect colored gems on the way. Might sound boring to you, but when you play it you get really addicted. You can play this game also with the Wii Remote only. (Not less fun!)

Live the Life of a Civil War Soldier When you Drink your Mornin’ Coffee

Civil War soldiers, Confederate and Union, used to make their coffee in pots. But on the march, they just used their boilers. Remember: don’t boil coffee. Confederates and Union soldiers had a little bit of coffee, chewin tabaccie, and that was it. Moreover, Confederates usually had tobacco, and Union troops had the coffee. When the troops would cross paths during the war, they would trade coffee for tobacco and vice versa. Soldiers would take their hardtack biscuits and soak it in coffee and get some fat and put it in a frying pan and fry a crust on the hardtack like chicken…real nutritious diet.

Civil War soldiers drank from large tin cups. Hot liquid filled all the way up in a tin cup will burn yer lips. Soldiers needed at least an inch or two at the top. So they would only fill it two-thirds full and let it cool a little so they could tolerate it. Don’t drink from old tin cups that you might find in an antique store. They have lead solder. Buy a reproduction of one at a Civil War reenactment or from a Sutler who advertises in some of the military history magazines. Coffee boilers are large tin cups with a handle on them. Some of them even have lids on them. They hold 22-24 ozs. of liquid. They look like a cup that is a coffee pot.

For more information on coffee drinkin’ and the Civil War soldier, email

Drinkin’ from an antique cup definitely enhances the coffee drinkin’ experience. The vibes of all the people who have gone before have left their energy and spirit in the fiber of the cup. Antique tin and enamel cups can be found in antique stores Enamel cups are not as hot as a tin cup, but it has that “nostaaaalgic” cup quality. I like drinkin’ from antique cups because I like that “antiqueness” of it.

Enamel cups can be found in antique stores. They range in price from five dollars to thirty dollars. Rare ones are those that are a unique color like brown or gray. Most enamel cups are white with a blue, green or red trim or just plain white. Blue is a common color also. Enamel cups are not as old as tin cups, but they have been being made for about fifty to sixty years. Enamel cups have been around since World War I and are still being reproduced today in a variety of colors. A reproduction of an enamel cup can be acquired for about five dollars.

Everyone needs to have his or her own identity when drinking coffee. Cat people have cat cups, etc. you need just the right cup for drinkin’ coffee. A decent coffee cup size should be in the 12 – 16 oz. region because a small cup does not quite get it. It needs to be bigger.

How you drink it is up to you. Be sure you have good quality Arabica beans and that the water is at just the right temperature. Coffee should never touch boilin’ water.

For specifics directions on the exact temperature of the water, the feel of the fine grind, what to look for before you stir, what type of strainer to use, and how to serve, and for more information, email

2003 permission granted to reprint this article in print or on your website so long as the paragraph above is included and the contact information is included to

Marc Chagall – The Russian-Jewish Artist, a European Modernist Painter

The 20th century European Modernist, Figurative artist, Mark Zakharovich Shagal, or Marc Chagall was born Moshe Shagal on July 7, 1887 in Vitebsk, Belarus, the then part of the Russian Federation. The eldest of nine children, Marc hailed from a Russian-Jewish family. His father, Khatskl (Zakhar) Shagal, worked for a herring merchant and his mother, Feige-Ite, ran a small grocery store. During his early years, Chagall was not allowed to attend a local community school because of his Jewish descent. His mother had to bribe the head master fifty rubles to allow him in.

Chagall started drawing as a schoolchild. He copied portraits and other famous drawings. Jewish-Belarusian artist-painter Yehuda Pen tutored him on painting in 1906. In 1907, Marc joined the School of the Society of Art Supporters, at St. Petersburg. He was taught there by the Russian painter, Nikolai Roerich. During 1908-10, Marc Chagall studied at the Zvantseva School of Drawing and Painting. In 1909, at the age of twenty, on one of his journeys back home, Marc met his future wife, Bella Rosenfeld.

On the professional front, Chagall gradually attained fame as an artist. Soon after, he moved to Paris, the then considered center for the artistic community. He befriended Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert Delaunay, and Fernand Léger there. In 1914, Marc was back home and married Bella in 1915. They had one daughter from the marriage in 1916, when the World War I also began.

The artist dabbled in every possible medium of art, ranging from his paintings to his book illustrations, stage sets, ceramics, stained glass windows, tapestries, and print-making. ‘Cubism,’ ‘Symbolism,’ ‘Fauvism,’ and ‘Surrealism,’ all were his forte. Bella posed as a model for many of Chagall’s works. The artist achieved recognition for several of his works, such as “Me and My Village (1911),” “Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers (1912-13),” “Red Jew (1915),” “Above the City (1914-1918),” and “The Fall of the Angel (1923-1947).” Upon his return to Russia, Marc Chagall joined the Russian Revolution of 1917. He was also made the Fine Arts Commissar of Vitebsk.

In 1920, Chagall, his wife, and their daughter shifted to Moscow and to Paris in 1923. In 1937, Marc gained French citizenship. Owing to World War II, however, the family had to flee to Madrid. During 1941-1948, they resided in the United States. Jewish martyrs and Jewish refugees were mostly depicted in most of Chagall’s works of this time. Meanwhile, on September 02, 1944, his wife passed away. The artist did not paint anything for the next nine months. In 1945, however, Chagall struck a romantic relationship with his thirty years old housekeeper, Virginia Haggard McNeil, with whom he even had a son. The couple moved to Paris in 1950. The same year, Marc began with Graphics, coupled with “Cubism” and “Fauvism” influences. Here, Virginia left him for another man in 1952. Later, Chagall married Valentina Brodsky, who was 25 years younger to him. Valentina encouraged him to undertake large artistic projects, for example, the “Cycle Biblical Message,” which was later installed in the National Museum of the Marc Chagall Biblical Message in Nice, France.

Marc’s visits to Greece and Israel in 1957 helped him evolve the complete concept of Color Symbolism and Figurative Art. This was when he started with sculpturing, ceramics, and stained glass painting. Mark Chagall traveled extensively throughout the world and produced immense bodies of work throughout his career. ‘Russian Expressionism’ and ‘French Cubism’ influenced Mark’s style of painting. Chagall died on March 28, 1985, at the age of 97, at Saint Paul, France.

Suspension Lift Kits – What You Need to Before You Buy

There are some things that you should be informed about before determining whether you plan on buying any kind of suspension lift kits for your vehicle. There are many different kinds of 4×4 accessories to go along with the kit to add some extra features to your vehicle. The main types of vehicles that you will see driving down the highway with a suspension lift are Sport utilities, light trucks, jeeps, and some plain cars as well, but not every car can have a 4×4 suspension lift.

Why do I want a 4×4 suspension lift?

This is the first question that you must ask yourself when you consider buying 4×4 lift kits for your vehicle. First off, I’d just like to mention that the work process alone of adding a suspension lift kit to your truck is not the easiest task, but it is quite hard. You must be technical enough and willing to keep up with the maintenance that is required when adding a lift to your vehicle. If you don’t have the know-how to do it yourself, a shop will charge you – and more frequently than not, you’ll pay an arm and a leg. There are two main reasons that a person might want to install a 4×4 suspension lift kit to their vehicle, and that is for functioning purposes or simply just for the looks. Knowing which one of these reasons is the one you choose to go with will help you in determining what kind of suspension lift kits are better for your vehicle.

What Style

As far as using 4×4 accessories, for your vehicle to make it look nice, or to stand out from the rest of the vehicles; this surely has become a popular trend these days. You must keep in mind that whenever you add a lift to your truck or vehicle, you will be making more of a statement or an impression on your personality whether you believe it or not. Remember this list of things that you must consider when you plant to add a suspension lift kit to your vehicle:

1) Comfort

2) Reliability

3) Safety

4) Maintenance

5) Price

These are all very important factors to keep in mind when you consider 4×4 suspension lift kits.


Understanding how a particular lift kit will perform on your vehicle is a must! You do not want to waste time and money on buying a kit and then putting it on your vehicle to realize that it does not work very well, which is why you should keep the above five factors that are listed in mind. Ask yourself what kind of activities with driving you will be doing most of the time when using your vehicle with the suspension job. There are many activities to ponder on:

1) Slow rock crawling

2) General 4 wheel activity

3) High speed racing in the desert

4) Mud races

Keep all of these factors in mind when deciding on whether 4×4 suspension kits are something you really want for your ride.

Facts About Bed Sheets

A bed sheet is a piece of cloth that is designed and used to cover a mattress. A bed sheet serves the purpose of keeping the mattress clean from dirt and provides a more comfortable feel to the sleeper than if he or she were to simply lay on top of the mattress with no sheet.

In some parts of the world, a second bed sheet is placed on top of the sheet that covers the mattress. This second sheet is referred to as a “top sheet.” When this top sheet is put in use, the sheet directly on the mattress is referred to as a “bottom sheet.” A sleeper lies between the two sheets. Blankets, comforters, and any additional bed covers are put above the second bed sheet.

Bed sheets are available in two types: flat and fitted. A flat bed sheet is nothing more than a rectangular-shaped piece of linen. A fitted bed sheet features four corners with elastic bands around the edges and is used as a bottom sheet. A reason for using a fitted bottom sheet is to prevent it from slipping off of the mattress while the sleeper moves around on the bed. A unique method of folding and tucking while making up a bed is referred to as “hospital corners,” and this is typically employed when the bottom sheet is flat as opposed to fitted.

Bed sheets have historically been white, but in modern times many different colors and patterns are available. The quality of bed sheets is often conveyed by the thread count. The thread count is the number of threads per square inch of bed sheet material. Usually, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet is. Common materials used in making sheets are cotton, linen, blends of cotton / polyester, silk, wool, rayon, and others.

The Versatility of Rope Ladders

Rope ladders can be used for a variety of different applications, from residential to commercial. They can be as simple as a length of rope with knots tied at set locations, to ones that have wood, plastic, or metal steps on them. There are many different styles to choose from, you can either make them yourself, or buy them already made. Here are just some of the many uses for rope ladders.

The military uses a variety of different rope ladders, both for training purposes, as well as for secret operations. Since they are lightweight and take up very little space, they can be transported in a small storage area, and used for silent operations. They are also used for many training ground obstacle courses, because they can help develop eye hand coordination and endurance skills.. Naval ships have been using them for years as a way to rescue people who have gone overboard.

You can also see rope ladders being used at summer camps all over the country. Some of these are solely for recreational purposes, others are for strength training. One of the places you will almost always see a rope ladder at is a carnival, fair, or amusement park. Often referred to as a Jacob’s Ladder, they are set up as part of a game of skill. Stretched out at an angle and securely attached at both ends, the object of the game is to try and climb the ladder and ring a bell at the top in order to win a prize. This may sound easy, but it is not, and many people spend a lot of money trying to climb up a Jacob’s Ladder to no avail, and to the amusement of their friends and family.

A rope ladder is also a great toy, and you almost always see one on playground equipment at parks. They can also be a great way to get into a tree house or fort, and can be pulled up at a moments notice, to keep your sister out of the ‘all boys club,’ or if you don’t want an ‘enemy’ team getting to you.

One of the best uses for a rope ladder is for emergency situations. If you live on the upper floors of an apartment building, or have a bedroom on the second floor of a house, they can be used as a means of escape during a fire. They can be stored away until used, and are easy to set up and toss out the window to climb down. Just make sure you tie one end to something sturdy like a bed post.

They don’t take up a lot of space and because they are made mostly from nylon or some other similar material, you never have to worry about them rotting or wearing out. A word of warning, some rope ladders are made from materials that are not treated, and have rungs made from wood, and these are not recommended for use in places that are constantly exposed to the elements. If you are going to use a rope ladder for any outdoor purpose, make sure that the rope itself is made from nylon, polyester, or a blend of the two. Make sure that the rungs of the ladder are made from ABS or some other high quality plastic that will outlast any wooden rung.

Stair Treads to Make Your Spiral Stairs Safer

If you are living in a small multiple-story house, then perhaps you have noticed that the staircase you have may take a lot more floor space than it should. Most homeowners in a similar situation try to make do with what they have by decorating it and by maximizing the space underneath it. However, you can now take back a lot of your lost floor space by using spiral stairs instead. Some people are hesitant to use a spiral staircase because they do not think it is safe, but you can be more at ease by installing stair treads.

However, keep in mind that you also need to find stair treads that will fit the actual spiral stairs. The reason is because the wedge-shape of the steps of a spiral staircase is different from the usual rectangular shape of the ordinary stairway. It is then necessary to look for a design made specifically for the type that you have at home. If you cannot find the one you have in mind from your local store, you can try searching for it on the internet. You can also improvise by purchasing the traditional design and cutting or adjusting them down to perfectly fit your own staircase.

Spiral stairs are also excellent for providing access to other areas of the house such as the attic. Even if you have limited space in your home, it would not cause many problems since most of the designs that are currently in the market were created to save space. If you find the steps of your staircase to be a bit slippery, you can install some non skid stair treads to add more traction. There are also designs that have anti-skid backing which is perfect if you are going to put your spiral stairs outside or in an open area of the house.

Another important benefit of using stair rugs for spiral stairways is the fact that they truly enhance their look. Generally having spiral stairways at home means that your room has an extra decorative touch, since not many homeowners have something like that in their own dwellings. And by adding to them decorative treads or rugs that match in color and design, you will increase the value of your home even more.

For example you can easily find decorative wooden stair-rugs that have been often featured in various home decoration magazines as being very modern and classy. You can find braided ones that give any room an extra touch of beauty, even when placed directly on the floor or used on regular stairways. The possibilities are endless and simply by knowing the fact that they are not expensive to buy at all, you can easily add that extra spark to your room any time you want.

Oak Laminate Floor

Oak laminate floor is very easy to install, extremely durable, and far more affordable than just about any wood flooring. As homeowners look for alternatives to the more fragile, expensive, and hard to install hardwood, oak laminated floors are becoming extremely popular. Not only do you gain the beauty of the authentic wood floor, but you save money, especially if you choose to install it yourself, something that’s barely an option for hard wood floors for most people.

Everyone loves the rich colors that an oak floor provides, which makes oak laminated floors a truly awesome choice. These durable floors will add a sophisticated, dramatic, and classy look to your home, creating a warmth that welcomes everyone that comes through the front door. The cheaper, easier to install oak laminate comes in many natural colors, including honey shades and some that are nearly cherry colored.

Some of the better known oak laminate floor brands are Quick Step and Westhollow. These two companies are very reputable, offering a wide selection of oak laminate in their collections, but there are also many, many more brands out there for you to investigate. You should browse through each of their selections before choosing the laminated floor that is right for you. Below, though, is some information to get you started on your search for the perfect laminate floor.

Quick Step is a fairly new player in the laminate floor field, but they’ve recently become a popular provider of oak laminate floor. This is primarily due to their ease of installation, but their affordability and style are not lacking in the least. Natural Oak would be one of their most stunning selections. In contrast, the Dark Oak option is just as gorgeous, providing a much deeper color. Though these floors can be used anywhere in your home, if not everywhere, some of their offerings even have beveled edges which are a great way to add a decorative touch to entry ways and living areas.

Westhollow Flooring also offers some truly beautiful oak laminated floor options with their Heritage Collection. Cathedral French Oak, a laminate of medium tone, works great in entry ways, staircases, dining rooms, or even living rooms. In the same family of is Barn Milled Oak, another great oak laminate floor. The cost between the two is very similar, but the color is drastically different, giving just one of the many examples of just how variable oak laminate can be.

Compositions and Uses For Lacquers

Almost all of the large paint and varnish manufacturers in the United States are now making lacquers, which in some cases are being unwisely advertised as suitable for nearly all purposes. In the hands of a skilled finisher they produce satisfactory effects, but when a novice attempts to spread them with a brush over newly varnished surfaces, there is sure to be trouble because the solvents in the lacquer are similar to those contained in some of the paint and varnish removers and the newly applied coating reacts with the old, resulting in a spoiled finish.

If a varnished or enameled surface is old, hard, and well preserved, a lacquer finish may adhere satisfactorily soon after it is applied. However, checking is apt to occur later on. Lacquer finishes have certain limitations and cannot be used over other finishes indiscriminately with assurance of success. Lacquer finishes have grown in popularity on wood frames, fireplace designs, and designer window toppers and, when used properly by one who understands them and their limitations, they are attractive and durable and possess many good qualities.

Lacquer enamels, which are pigmented lacquers, are successful and popular finishes for automobiles. Lacquers of various kinds are used extensively on metalwork, particularly building-hardware, electric-light fixtures, metal spinning and stamping objects, and often for toys, artwork, and even jewelry. They are also used satisfactorily on high grade furniture. Pigmented lacquers are used on electric light fixtures, novelties, and machinery, and also almost universally on the highest priced automobiles.

Composition of Nitrocellulose Lacquers

Clear or transparent lacquers contain five types of ingredients:

o nitrocellulose or pyroxylin

o varnish resins

o solvents

o platsicizers

o dilutents or thinners

Pigmented lacquers (for use on everything from fireplace accessories and wood frames to frieze boards) are often called lacquer enamels. These enamels contain one extra ingredient. They must give obscuration or hiding power and to give this opacity various kinds of pigments and coloring matter are added to the lacquer. Pigments and coloring-matter may therefore be considered as the sixth type of ingredient found in lacquers.

Nitrocellulose, Soluble Cotton, or Pyroxylin

The distinctive ingredient in a modern lacquer, that makes it quite different in behavior from other varnishlike materials, is given various names, such as nitrocellulose, cellulose nitrate, soluble cotton, and pyroxylin. The words nitrocellulose and nitrocotton mean that the substance is made of cellulose or cotton that has been nitrated. Cotton is one of the purest forms of cellulose fibers and is the chief source of raw material from which nitrocellulose is manufactured.

Long-fibered cotton which is valuable for making cotton-cloth is usually too expensive for nitrating; therefore, the short-fibered material, called “cotton linters,” is generally used. In the factories the cotton gin removes the long fibered cotton from the linters, hull fibers, dirt, and other impurities. The linters are separated from the waste material by boiling, chemical treatment, bleaching, washing, and drying and are then nitrated through treatment with a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids.

The particular function of the sulphuric acid is to remove the moisture from the cotton fibers during the nitrating process. The amount of nitrogen given to the cotton is very carefully controlled, and depends upon the use for which the nitrocellulose is intended. The nitrogen content of nitrocellulose used in lacquer varies from 11.5 to 12.4 percent, with a viscosity of a half-second up to about 80 seconds. Nitrocellulose that has between 12.5 to 13.5 percent of nitrogen is called gun-cotton and is used in the manufacture of smokeless powder and various explosives.

Nitrocellulose for use in making lacquer for fireplace accessories, frieze boards, and wood corner blocks is made wet with denatured alcohol, in order to remove traces of water, and then dried out to a 30 per cent alcohol content mixture, which is not explosive though it is flammable. The gun cotton type of nitrocellulose has having between 12.5 to 13.5 percent of nitrogen by weight is very explosive when dry and is soluble only in acetone, while the nitrocelluloses which contain a lower amount of nitrogen are easily soluble in a mixture of anhydrous ethyl alcohol, anhydrous ethyl acetate and other well-known solvents.

The viscosity of the early types of nitrocellulose used in making lacquers for metal was relatively high and the amount of solvents and thinners were great in proportion. The result was a very thin film when the mixture was applied. The lacquers of the present day usually contain a nitrocellulose of rather low viscosity and certain resins which, when combined, produce a film that is much like a varnish in body or solid matter.

Rock Hard Core – The Tire and Sledgehammer Workout!

If you are wanting to dial up your fitness and develop a super rock hard core then you have got to grab a sledgehammer and start beating up on big tractor tire. This is an unconventional, yet highly effective way for you to develop a superior level of core strength and total body fitness. You probably never thought of something resembling that of construction work to be a workout, however if you have ever done it then you know how hard this work can be!

Slinging A Sledgehammer!

The tire and sledgehammer workout is quite an experience. Whether you are looking for a different way to train or to just take your life frustrations out on something in the most positive way then this is your ticket. If you have read any of my other material then you know that I am huge proponent of movement based training which results in the optimal development of your core strength and overall fitness. Slinging a sledgehammer to beat up a tractor tire is a great way to do this.

You see the key to actually swinging the hammer is that you have to integrate the muscles of your core midsection in order to do so. The way we are designed is that our bodies generate the most force and power from the center towards our extremities (legs and arms) which act as levers for movement. When incorporating the motion of swinging a sledgehammer you are generating a ton of force from your core midsection which results in a heck of a trunk workout which includes those most sought after abs that we all want for the summer time!

The great thing about these very simple devices is that they can be used in a number of different ways to achieve a rock solid workout. You can put the sledgehammer down and work on flipping and even jumping the tire itself for a workout. The sledgehammer and tire can also be combined with other forms of strength training such as kettlebells and sandbags for quite the total body workout. The great thing is that you are benefiting here from both muscular and cardiovascular conditioning with this intense compounding movements.

If you haven’t already started to implement the use of the tire and sledgehammer into your workouts then you are missing out on some rock hard core development. Take the time to learn more by accessing more of my articles on the subject for free. Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the best train smart!

5 Reasons Not to Have a New Roof Installed Over an Old Roof

So you need a new roof and are trying to decide whether or not to try and save some money by having the new roof installed over an existing layer of roofing. This technique is quite common in many areas and many roofing contractors don’t see any problem with this method and have no problem trying to sell homeowners on a lay-over or go-over as this technique is called. They are wrong.

5 Top Reasons A Lay-Over Or Go-Over Is A Bad Idea When Re-Roofing

1.) Areas that have or had leaks can’t always be addressed properly

There is a good chance that your old roof had some problem areas including possible leak spots, whether you noticed them or not. Without tearing off the old roof and properly identifying these types of trouble spots and determining where the leak was coming from and traveling to it is impossible to tell what areas of your roof may need some special attention.

2.) Any rotted wood under the existing roofing will only get worse

There could be areas that have rotted wood hiding under the old roofing. These rotted areas need to be identified and replaced before a new roof is installed. Obviously if your roofing contractor is only doing a lay-over roofing installation then these rotted areas will remain covered up and only get worse as the years go on. Also the nails holding down the shingles in areas with rotted wood cannot properly do their job and you have a much higher risk of shingles blowing off in those areas.

3.) Eaves, rakes and valleys need special treatment

This is a big one. The eaves, rakes and valleys of your house need special attention when your home’s roof is being installed. This is especially important in colder climates like Massachusetts, where we are located. In the winter time the eaves of your house are under attack by Mother Nature, whether it is through ice dams, snow build up, or just the constant freezing and thawing that occurs throughout the winter season. When a new roof is properly installed the roofing contractor needs to put new aluminum drip-edge around the entire perimeter of your roof.

Next they need to apply a 3 foot wide section of ice & water barrier around the perimeter as well as in any valleys on your roof. Then they can begin to install the new roofing. Without tearing off the original roofing there is no way to properly install the new drip-edge or ice & water barrier. On a lay-over type of roofing install, the roofing contractor is counting on the existing products on the home’s roof to still be up to par and be able to handle the winter conditions. All too often the old products fall short whether it was because they have outlived their lifetime, were sub-par to begin with, or maybe they were never there to begin with (all to often the latter is the case with ice & water barrier).

4.) Extra roofing weight is no good for old rafters

One of the more obvious problems with a lay-over re-roof is the added weight of the extra layer of shingles. On most newer homes this is not an issue, however many older homes have rafters that are considered undersized by today’s framing standards. It is not uncommon to see 2×6 rafter systems on many of these houses. Now in most situations a 2×6 rafter is undersized to begin with and you certainly don’t want to be adding the weight of a new roofing layer on top of an old roofing layer to these already undersized rafter systems. With newer roofs using 2×10, 2×12, engineered trusses, etc. the weight isn’t always as much of an issue.

5.) Shorter roof life expectancy

Most responsible roofing contractors agree that a lay-over roof will decrease the new roof’s lifetime by about 25%. This fact alone means that any money you might have saved by doing a lay-over, as opposed to a tear-off and new roof install, was only a short term savings. In addition, you now have 2 layers of roofing that will need to be removed the next time your roof is done and that will also add more cost to the job

Tear-Off Then Re-Roof Is Always Superior

Well, I just gave you 5 very good reasons to tear off your old roofing and then install your new roof. Yes it can be cheaper in the short term to do a go-over on your old roof, but, in the long term it will cost you more. We never recommend this technique to our customers. We always recommend completely tearing of the old roofing, fixing any underlying problems, then installing a fresh, beautiful new roof that will outlast any lay-over roof as well as better protect our customers’ homes.

The History of Cranes – Ancient Times to the Modern Day

Today cranes are used extensively within the construction industry with a host of different varieties from tower cranes to mobile cranes. However, the need to lift large and heavy objects has always been prevalent in construction; unsurprisingly this need led to the use of cranes from early on in human civilisation.

In ancient Greece, the crane was used widely used. This has been substantiated by the fact that many Greek temples have stones with holes that give the impression that they were placed with the assistance of a lifting device. The development of the crane is believed to have replaced the older ramp technology that had previously been used to create large structures (such as the Pyramids in Egypt). It was however the use of the winch and pulley system that meant that the crane replaced the ramp and became far more mobile.

It was the Romans however that invested a great deal of time and energy into the crane. The Romans were renowned for their impressive construction efforts from the aqueducts of the Mediterranean to the magnificent Colosseum. The Romans developed a number of different crane varieties from the trispastos, a mobile and versatile crane to the treadmill crane, a more permanent structure capable of lifting extremely heavy weights long distances. As some roman structures have stone blocks of 100 tons and more, it is clear that the abilities of roman crane designers were immense.

In the middle ages the treadmill crane continued to be a mainstay of the construction industry although manual items such as wheelbarrows, ladders and hods continued to be used in construction. Windlasses were also used and in the construction of imposing structures such as cathedrals, windlasses with treadmills were used at various levels of the build as they were highly mobile and could be created relatively easily. It was not however until the modern age that cranes were used to not only lift loads vertically but to also move them horizontally. It was in harbours where cranes developed fastest due to the importance of trade and this remains true today were dockyards are typified by a skyline of crane variants.

What Is Trenching?

A trench is a big depression dug into the ground. In the field of construction and maintenance of infrastructure, trenches play an important role. They are built to install underground utilities like cables, telephone lines, communication network wires, gas mains, water mains etc. Small trenches can be dug by a trench digger or even by hand using a shovel or pickaxe. Big trenches on the other hand require motorized trenchers that are specially designed for the job. Trenches are not wide but very deep. They are generally very long as cables need to be laid on them.

Excavation of trenches requires proper planning. The route along which the trench has to be dug needs to be decided. It should not be in the way of any valuable plants or property. The material, tools and equipment required also need to be determined.

It is very important that you determine the type of soil where you will be digging the trench. The nature of soil differs from place to place. Soil can be sandy or made of loose stones and mucky material. This makes trenching difficult and dangerous too. Proper precautions need to be taken to avoid mishaps. The walls of the trench need to be boarded with plywood or other similar material so that they don’t cave in, injuring the workers and undoing the digging that has been done. A pump can be installed to drain out the unnecessary water and make the soil stable while working.

It is advisable to call the local or government utility service provider to check if they have laid any wires or cables so that you can spot them and avoid causing damage to them. Also any vegetation in the way of the trench can be removed and temporarily replanted elsewhere.

Once the digging has started, the soil that is removed after unearthing should be disposed away from the site so that the trench’s banks are not overburdened by its weight and it does not come in the way of your work.

After the digging is complete, trenches should be checked for corrosive substances so that the cables laid on them aren’t damaged in the long run. Cables should be coated with an anti-corrosion compound to prevent that from happening. Trenches should be flagged or fenced so it can prevent people from accidentally falling into it. There have been casualties when it comes to trench digging, but with adequate care, they can be avoided. It is also not advisable to operate heavy equipment near the sides of a trench as there would be chances of the trench collapsing or caving in.

There are many heavy duty machines that are used for the process of trenching. The equipment used includes machines that are used in digging excavations and in trenching operations. Excavators are of two types, tracked and wheeled. Tracked excavators are the most common. Trenchers, on the other hand, are construction equipment that are used for digging trenches. They come in two designs, chain trencher or wheel trencher.

Digging trenches were considered very difficult earlier because proper means of excavating weren’t available. However, with the latest machinery and equipment that are easily available, digging a trench now just takes one to two days depending on the depth and length of the trench.