Extension Poles for Hilti, Ramset and Powers Powder Actuated Tools

There are several manufacturers of powder actuated tools used in the suspended ceiling industry: Hilti, Ramset, Powers, Simpson and Bluepoint. The Hilti DX 350 powder actuated tool (PAT) and its cousin the DX35 has been the standard of the industry for many years. Most of the other manufacturers began making similar tools (knock offs) when Hilti’s patent expired. The extension poles offered by these manufacturers can be more expensive than the powder actuated tool itself. Luckily there are other companies making extension poles. The Long Shooter brand of pole tools for instance has a proven track record of high quality and is available at a low cost.

Typically an extension pole consists of a fiberglass pole with a means to secure the PAT tool on one end and a trigger pull on the other. The installer has to be protected from shock in case an electrical conduit is pierced by the PAT nail. Therefore, PAT extension poles are usually made of fiberglass and have a dielectric coupling to withstand up to 10,000 volts.

Ceiling wires pre-wrapped to an angle clip and a concrete pin are available at some of the larger distributors. Pre-wrapped ceiling wire assemblies coupled with an extension pole allow a single worker to install 700 or more ceiling wires in an average day. Most contractors customize their pole tool by attaching a short section of electrical conduit or PVC pipe to the side of the pole. This is used to hold a number of ceiling wire assemblies to cut down on trips back and forth to re-stock.

Ramset’s Viper tool was developed specifically for the suspended ceiling industry in the US. Early versions of Ramset’s Viper tool did not require a trigger-pull mechanism. Instead, the tool was pressed against the ceiling and the impact or “BUMP” activated the tool. This “BUMP” feature allowed the tool to be place on a simple and inexpensive telescoping pole. The latest version of the Viper, the Viper4, requires a trigger pull mechanism and a special extension tool. The Viper 4 is not a “BUMP” tool.

Powers Fasteners makes a “BUMP” tool similar to the older versions of the Viper. Powers calls their tool the Sniper. Most fans of the “BUMP” tool are switching to the Sniper.

In summary, extension poles for powder actuated tools increase efficiency, improve safety and greatly reduce cost. There are videos on-line that demonstrate how PAT tools are mounted to extension poles, as well as how they’re used.

Flooring Options for the Contemporary Home

Selecting flooring for the home is a huge investment that will raise the living quality and value of your home. Whether you’re renovating or building a new home, you’ll need decide what type of flooring will work best. If some type of wood flooring is the way you want to go you must consider whether it will be hardwood, engineered or laminate. Each has its pros and cons, many of which determine the end cost.

This can be an overwhelming as there are numerous good choices now available in the marketplace. Consider the area where the new floor is to be installed and the type of wear it will be subject to. Will there be heavy foot traffic? Is the area near moisture? Is sound dampening a concern? How durable is the product? And, is it easy to clean and maintain?

Laminate flooring, or rather laminate-core, is a product typically made of High Density Fiber (HDF). The top layer is a photographic layer that appears identical to the product it replicates, be it wood, vinyl, tile, etc. It is installed with a tongue and groove glue less locking system which allows it to be installed and uninstalled several times if desired. Laminate flooring is the least expensive and is quickly gaining popularity because of this. Cleaning is also quite easy. Something to consider is that most laminates cannot be refinished. This means that once the finish is worn, the product must be replaced. It is also not recommended for areas where moisture is present. Also, some laminated products have formaldehyde and other VOC chemicals.

Engineered flooring is a made up of a core of hardwood, plywood or HDF and a thin top layer of hardwood veneer. This top layer of veneer is glued to the top surface of the core and is available in almost any hardwood species. The advantage is that is has the natural characteristics of a wood species opposed to a photographed one. Engineered hardwood provides greater stability especially where moisture or heat may be a problem for solid wooden flooring. This type of flooring is a great alternative for any homeowner looking to get nice looking floors without the high prices associated with real hardwood flooring.

Solid hardwood is the solid natural wood species throughout the entire piece of flooring. It usually has a tongue and groove installation as well. It has good sanding and refinishing capability and is available in several grades, widths and thicknesses. Most new hardwood flooring is pre-finished and has UV-cured polyurethane layers which helps protect the finish since it is susceptible to damage from water, heavy traffic or heavy objects being dropped on it. Hardwood flooring is typically more expensive and has some limitations as to where it can be installed due to moisture issues.

Because the flooring is made from solid wood, there will be color variations between boards as each piece may be from a different tree. Many people consider this part of the appeal of hardwood flooring. Maple is a common choice because is very resistant to wearing and if maintained properly it can stay in mint condition for several years. It also has a uniform texture and a natural feel that adds brightness to any room. Oak flooring is probably considered just as popular since it offers traditional elegance and when properly installed, it may actually outlast you. There are numerous other species available with varying looks and durability (and cost) including birch, ash, beech and even cork or bamboo. The list goes on.

Mechanical Seal Installation For Centrifugal Pool Pumps

Your swimming pool pump is one of the key component in your pool filtration system; however, there will be times when it will require some major repairs. One of the more common repairs done on a pool or spa pump is the replacement of the mechanical seal. This is one of those repairs that could cost you a pile of money. A more cost effective way of doing this repair, is learning how to do it yourself.

Purpose of the pump seal

All centrifugal pumps have a shaft seal installed. The purpose of these shaft seals is to stop the water or liquid that is pumped from leaking along the shaft. Understanding mechanical pump seal designs is very important. It teaches you how a basic mechanical seal works. So how do I change the seal on my swimming pool pump? Please understand! Some pump seals are installed a little differently in some swimming pool and spa pumps; however, the principle purpose of the seal is the same. And that is to stop leaks.

Mechanical seal repair

Before you begin your seal repair, you have to kill all electrical power source to the pump motor. Once the power source is disconnected, you have to lock out the main circuit breaker. This will prevent any accidental switching of the power.

Tools and resources needed for the seal replacement

Replacement of pool pump mechanical seals require some basic tools and parts for the job. These are items such as:

  • An open end wrench set as well as a good ratchet set.
  • A new mechanical seal for the new install.
  • A set of flat screw drivers.
  • Emery cloth (sand paper).
  • A bearing puller. To help remove the pump impeller.
  • A new replacement impeller. This will only be needed if the one that is on the pump needs replacing.
  • A new volute paper gasket. You will not be able to re-use the original one.
  • Hammer or heavy duty rubber mall.

Now that you have the tools and parts needed for the repairs, you can proceed.

Steps to a successful shaft seal change

  • Double check that your main circuit breaker is off and locked out.
  • Close the valves on both the discharge and suction side of your pool pump.
  • Loose the bolts that is holding the motor in place on its base plate.
  • Back the motor away from the pump section and secure the flex coupling.
  • Loose the drain plug on the volute housing to release and drain the pump housing.
  • Loose the bolts that connect the volute cover plate to the volute.
  • Loose the pump stand blots and separate the cover plate from the volute. Using the back away bolts. You may need to use your hammer to lightly tap the cover plate away.
  • Using your ratchet, remove the bolt that is holding the impeller in place.
  • Pull the impeller off the pump shaft. If it is hard to remove, use the bearing puller to aid in its removal. Inspect the impeller for wear and tear. This will determine if it has to be replace. If the impeller is in good condition, use care in its removal. You don’t want to crack or bend the impeller.
  • Once the impeller is removed, remove its holding key from the slot on the shaft.
  • Using your screw driver, remove the spring and the rotating component of the old seal from the extended end of the pump shaft.
  • Next, remove the ceramic (stationary component of the seal) from the seal recess in the volute cover plate. To do this, you have to turn the cover plate over and gently tap the damaged seal out.
  • With the old mechanical seal completely removed, inspect the pump shaft and sleeve along with the seal recess for damage. There are times when you may have to replace the pump shaft but that is another repair within itself.
  • Clean the seal recess with emery cloth and water and dry thoroughly. Clean the extended end of the shaft and sleeve to remove all the rust and dirt.
  • Open the new mechanical shaft seal, be careful not to touch the polished face of the seal faces. Also do not rest the mechanical seal on down on your work table. The faces of the pump seal is easily scratched and once this happens you seal is not longer useful. It will leak.
  • Install the stationary part (ceramic portion with the black rubber cup) of the seal into the volute cover plate. Remember it has to installed in exact manner as the old one. Also check and make sure that this part of the seal is inserted all the way into the seal recess on the cover plate.
  • Now slide the rotating part of the pump shaft seal over the extended end of the shaft. Carefully push it down towards the polished face of the ceramic piece in the volute cover plate.
  • Insert the impeller key into its slot on the pump shaft.
  • Position the impeller over the shaft, aligning the slot of the impeller with the key and slide it into place.
  • Replace the impeller washer and blot and tighten.

Now you are ready to re-assembly your pool centrifugal pump.

But first you need to replace the volute paper gasket and secure it in place with a little RTV silicone sealant. Always use non-hardening silicone lube on all your swimming pool and spa pump repairs. DO NOT use Vaseline or any other lubricants made with petroleum. They can cause problems by eating away some paper and plastic gaskets. Once the paper gasket is in place, you can begin your re-assembling of your pump.

  • Slide the volute cover plate assembly into the volute of the pump housing.
  • Line up the holes for the cover bolts.
  • Insert the bolts and tightened in a crisscross pattern. This helps the cover plate assembly to slide into place without the impeller binding to the walls of the volute. housing.
  • Re-insert the flex coupling into its hub and slide the motor back into place; thus aligning the hub on the motor to the end of the flex coupling.
  • Insert the holding bolts for the motor. Align the pump and motor to ensure proper operation. Failure to do this will cause your mechanical seal to fail again.
  • Open the valves to both the discharge and the suction side of your pool pump.
  • Restore the electrical power supply to the pump motor.
  • Run the pump system and check for any leaks.

Congratulations! You just saved yourself a pile of money, by replacing the mechanical seal on your pool pump. I invite you to visit my site, where you will find a wealth of information that will help you manage your pool/spa correctly. Just click the link in the resource box.

What is Lean Health Care

The principles of lean are making their way into healthcare in more and more settings.  The successes in time saved, money saved, and improved patient health are almost always significant if there is strong leadership, the tools are used correctly and the new processes are made into standard operating procedure. 

Perhaps you have not heard much about Lean process improvement or know nothing at all about it.  Let me first give a definition taken from the February 2006 edition of “Quality Progress,” a periodical published by the American Society of Quality:

Lean Enterprise-A company organized to eliminate all unproductive effort and unnecessary investment, both in examining rooms, offices, and any other healthcare setting.  In fact the tools and principles can be applied almost anywhere in an organization and produce desirable results when used correctly.

In order to achieve these results staff need to be trained to use a few basic, commonsense tools such as process mapping and kaizen.  However, the tools are not the most important elements in applying Lean.  The most important element is a cultural change which accepts that:  There is power in teamwork and consensus through brainstorming.  To believe in the power of those involved in the processes one must accept that problems can more often be solved with creativity than capital expenditures since creativity taps into the experience, innovation and knowledge of the employees. 

So, once a site has been trained to work with a few tools and staff are ready to try them out in a team setting, where does one begin?  Ask this:  where do we have the most bottlenecks, delays and quality problems?  Can we reduce unnecessary work that produces no positive outcomes, whether in patient health or income earned?  There is typically no short supply to these answers.

In the beginning of this ezine I stated that Lean Healthcare is appearing in many settings.  Perhaps you are a bit skeptical.  In the June 25, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal there was an article about the adoption of manufacturing principles in healthcare management.  Let me quote a few lines from the article:  “Michael Roberto, an associate professor of management at Bryant University, says the trend (hiring manufacturing managers and engineers knowledgeable of Lean manufacturing and other quality principles) will continue as hospitals face increasing costs while improving patients’ safety and satisfaction… Skeptics say medical procedures cannot be standardized; they say patients, unlike car parts, may require differing treatment.  Still, hundreds of healthcare facilities have adopted some lean techniques.”  I know of a local group using a quality engineer presently with a group of healthcare professionals in a study funded by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation to apply Lean tools along with the Wagner Chronic Care Model to improve the delivery of care to patients with various chronic diseases, such as diabetes. 

The application of Lean principles to healthcare not only improves patient health but can also produce improvement in profit and time saved, as the following two samples illustrate.  In the Wall Street Journal article quoted above is an illustration of the use of Lean processes at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut.  The hospital was about to go bankrupt.  Then the chief executive hired a Motorola engineer to streamline processes and a former Dresser-Rand executive as vice president for human resources.  The two were instrumental in avoiding the bankruptcy.

In a recent article on the iSixSigma website, “Lean Improves Physician Office Medical Records Flow,” the authors described how medical charts at one family practice could typically be found in any one of 39 different places.  The staff typically spent 7 hours a day looking for missing charts.  After applying Lean principles, the time was cut to 2 hours a day, a savings of almost 72% in time alone.  Of course, a lot of frustration was probably avoided too.  Can you imagine what your site could productively do with a five hours savings per day in any single process?

These are just a couple of examples of the savings made using Lean principles.  There are countless numbers of ways to apply the principles in healthcare with good results.  It does take a lot of dedication, teamwork, creativity and a few tools.  If you are willing to invest in these, can you imagine the improvements at your site? 

Pelvic Tilt and Pain

One of the most profoundly destructive postural imbalances lies in excessive pelvic tilt. It has the ability to create imbalances as far down as the feet, and as high up as the eyes. It lies as the central focus of most back pain corrective programs, and is a hidden factor in other pain syndromes such as neck pain, eye fatigue, ankle pain, and even menstrual cramps. But, is this condition as simple to fix as most therapists promote?

Lets consider the fact that the entire body works as a whole. You cannot affect one aspect of the body’s structure without influencing another. With that said, there are 3 major body centers that interrelate:

1. The head-neck-jaw complex: These three structures are essential for human survival. Think about it, if you lived 10,000 years ago and could not keep your eyes or ears level with the horizon, you would not be very efficient at escaping predators. Just as important, if your jaw was out of alignment significantly, you would not be able to chew, and that would certainly lead to death.

2. The pelvic complex: The pelvis and the hip joints work together to create stability and balance to the center of the body, as well as generating movement. Based on what the head-neck-jaw complex is doing, this area will reflexively coordinate with it. The pelvis is far lower on the survival needs list. With a dysfunctional pelvis, one could live to perform daily functions.

3. The foot-ankle complex: This area provides essential information to the brain about ground forces, how to react, and other key reflex features. When the foot and ankle is imbalanced, ground forces cannot be distributed correctly throughout the body. It is well known in therapeutic circles that imbalances in the feet may contribute strongly to unresolved neck and pain.

As you can see, the body is a complex web of interactions, particularly between these three essential areas. When it comes to correcting pelvic tilt, whether that be excessive anterior pelvic tilt, or excessive posterior pelvic tilt, it would be a very wise suggestion to take the other areas that reflex to them into account!

Here Comes the Sun – Keeping Your Baby and Toddler Safe in the Summer Sun

One of the reasons I moved to Spain was for the long hot summers. As a sun worshipper I spent as much time as possible lapping up the rays and spent as much time as possible outside. Now, as a parent of a toddler I find the summer months something of a hazard. I love the fact my daughter can enjoy long days outside in the fresh air, has the beach and a swimming pool on her doorstep and that it’s hot until well into the evening, but protecting her from the strong UV rays while allowing her to enjoy and make the most of her time outside is something of trail. Protecting your baby or toddler from the strong sun is a full time job, but as long as you are prepared and aware of the risks, the sun needn’t spoil your fun. To make the most of the summer in Spain, follow our tips for a safe sunny summer!

Well the good news is that summer does mean we can spend more time outside and research does suggest that babies and toddlers who spend lots of time outdoors each day are happier and sleep more soundly! However exposure to the Sun’s Ultraviolet rays, also know as UV rays causes the skin to burn and dry out and can lead to skin cancer. In fact Cancer Research in the UK recently stated that sunburn during childhood can double the risk of skin cancer melanoma’s in later life.

It’s no surprise that young skin is far more delicate and therefore vulnerable to the sun than adult skin. A baby’s skin is actually only a 5th as thick as an adults skin meaning children therefore burn a lot more quickly than an adult when exposed to the sun. Children with far or red hair, pale eyes and freckles are at most risk but all children should be completely protected from the sun when outside, with babies being kept in the shade as much as possible. A baby’s skin is so sensitive that it can only take 10 -15 minutes of exposure to the sun for a baby to burn.

Sadly twice as many adults get skin cancer now than 20 years ago, so protecting your baby or toddler is of huge importance. Enjoying the summer is about balance … let your baby or toddler enjoy their time outside but ENSURE they are protected. Don’t forget however that babies under six months are less able to regulate their body temperatures and so will probably prefer to be in the shade or indoors during the hottest parts of the day to ensure they don’t overheat. Once babies are on the able to crawl and on the move however they are in danger of burning and must be constantly protected from the strong UV rays. Babies heads at most at danger and should always be covered with a hat or sunshade. Don’t forget too that babies need plenty of fluids in the hot summer sun.

Whatever the age of your child, experts recommend keeping babies and toddlers out of the midday sun altogether and indoors or in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Don’t forget the sun can still damage your child’s skin even if it is cloudy! Babies in particular with their thin and delicate skin burn easily on a cloudy day because it’s not just the visible sunny heat that does the damage, but the invisible UV light.

Protecting Your Baby and Toddler From the Sun in Spain

o Choose a sun cream that’s specifically for babies or small children, these will be a high factor and anti allergy. Don’t forget sun creams do GO OFF so last years probably won’t be any good. Don’t forget to reapply sun cream throughout the day even if waterproof. If your child resists a lotion, then buy a spray as toddlers often find these more fun! Experts recommend applying cream approx 30 mins before first going out in the sun.

o Invest in some proper baby/toddler sunglasses … these might seem a bit of a gimmick but if they are proper UV glasses they will protect your child’s eyes from the glare of the sun and UV rays. Toy sunglasses can do more harm than good.

o UV tents are a great invention, not just for the beach but for back gardens too. Encourage your children to use the tent as a play area or use for babies to shelter on the beach. UV tents are particularly good as the sun is more intense near areas where there is water, or surfaces such as white walls or cement. If you spend a lot of time near one of these ‘suntraps’ a tent is a great way to ensure your child has somewhere to go that is totally protected. UV tents are a good investment for families who live in hot climates.

o If you don’t have a tent ensure your outside space has lots of extra shade by fixing canopies from trees and umbrellas.

o Keep your baby and child covered … invest in loose, cool, cotton long sleeve clothing for running around or for your baby to wear when sitting in a hot buggy. For toddlers the UV protective swim ranges are a good investment and loose T Shirts are a must for running around. Don’t forget wet clothing looses up to half it’s UV protectiveness so change your child into dry clothing after their swim.

o Make sure your car has sun shades on the window as it is actually possible to get sun burnt through glass and try to cool the car down before putting your children inside.

o Babies can get heat rashes burnt and become uncomfortable in their pushchairs in the hot summer months. Minimise clothing and ensure you have a good sunshade which provides total protection to both the top of the head and the rest of their bodies from all directions. Small parasol type sunshades are not good enough to provide total protection.

o Find and invest in a sunhat that your child likes and will wear. Encourage your child to wear a hat with a wide brim or front and back. The wider the protection over the forehead, eyes, ears and neck area the better! Baseball caps are better than nothing but do leave some areas exposed. Small babies with less hair are very vulnerable to head burn and must always wear a hat.

www.indybel.com are dedicated to helping you protect your baby and toddler from the sun this summer. We now stock a range of UV protective products including sunglasses, wide brimmed sunhats, UV tents and the Shade-a-babe.

Buying An Awning – What To Know

It is always interesting to notice how styles change and that doesn’t mean just in clothing or hair. The time was when it was stylish (and functional) for homes to have awnings. You could go down the street and see the old folks sitting out in the shade of their awnings. When every town had a thriving downtown area people would find relief from the sun or the rain under business awnings. Then for a long time awnings weren’t at all common.

Not that long ago businesses started adding highly decorative awnings with the business name and clever graphics on them. The design objective of that generation of awnings doesn’t seem to be to provide customer relief from the weather, just promoting their business.

Awnings for shading, weather protection and business advertisement seem to be making a come back and with aesthetic flair.

You may have noticed the latest awnings in your travels, or maybe on television commercials. There are plenty of benefits for a modern awning. New designs actually add attractiveness to a home. The material used to make the awning can add eye appeal to the home. The shape and design can add space to the home, or the appearance of more space.

Obviously awnings provide shade, but they also reduce the heat inside a home by defeating the effect of the sun before it can get inside. Blinds and shades do stop the sun’s rays, but awnings work better because it stops the heat of the sun outside the home, not inside. You can actually feel the difference. This can have a much greater effect on the temperature throughout the home, not to mention the protection it provides for furniture and carpets from the rays of the sun.

Because it is possible for awnings to reduce the amount of heat that is allowed inside your home by more than 50%, it is important that awnings are selected that are of the proper size and design for your needs. If they are right for your home you will notice a major reduction in your utility costs.

It is also interesting that the heat reduction on the west side of your home can be more than 75%. The temperature outside, on your deck or patio should be reduced by 20 degrees under the awning. The right awning gives your entire family a place other than inside when it is raining.

The style considerations are, of course something you love to look at, but style goes well beyond that. The size and shape of your windows is probably the next most important in what style or design you select. If you live in a state with significant snow accumulation, the design strength is important too.

The size and shape demands, along with your window configuration, are the amount of space you want to provide protection for and head clearance (or clear height). Depending on how low your clear height is, color maybe important. The lower the awning the more critical color can be. Lighter colors tend to reflect the sun and are less likely to hold heat under the awning.

A couple of design features that have little or nothing to do with aesthetic appeal are awning drainage and venting. As for drainage, you won’t want rain water to accumulate in little pools on your awning. The weight of the standing water could easily be much greater than the awning was ever intended to support. Certain awning styles or designs provide venting, which releases any heat that may otherwise build up under the awning. Proper venting and releasing built up heat will make the temperatures inside even that much better.

Once again it looks like history is repeating itself, only better this time. Awnings are coming back not only in front of businesses, but on peoples’ homes. Awnings can add appeal to your home, they can make you much cooler on hot days and give you additional space for family activities when it is raining. With the price of gasoline going up, along with everything else it seems, the proper awnings can reduce the temperature inside your home from 50 to 75%, reducing your utility costs. You get the added benefit of protecting your furniture and floor covering. It appears that awnings are a cool way to save money.

What is the Best Paving Sealant?

Paving sealants are the materials that make a pavement last longer. It enables the pavement to look new all the time. This is an important factor in making our homes as beautiful as we ever dreamt it to be. That is why we want that are driveways or other parts of our house to have a paving sealant that will last longer. Therefore, we would try to look for such products that are already tested by time and are really top-of-the-line.

Imagine if we have the best product around. It will make our houses as beautiful as it should always be. It will make our pavements look as always new as it is paved the first time. The good thing is that it adds the attraction into our houses. If these things happen to our houses then we be assured that safety is ours along the driveways.

Psychologically speaking, new things always attract people or even animals. If we make our house and its parts look as if it is always new, then we will have the satisfaction, plus the praise of the people around us. It is not an easy thing to do to maintain the neatness of a thing.

It starts in the simplest thing like the driveway pavements. We don’t need to use money so much we just need to know the best paving sealant in order for our goal to be achieved.

The question is what is the best in the market?

Well, that is a very hard question because being the best in terms of sealants differs through time. It also differs through the different factors that involves like the people who are using, the type of driveways and the brand of the sealants. But so far a blacktop sealant is the best paving sealant most people would probably agree.

Again, we want to restate that the paving sealants make the pavement look durable. Blacktop paving sealants are the only ones, for now, that can guarantee a beautiful and a long lasting sealant.

Well, that is not quite surprising because blacktop sealant has different kinds of mixtures that enable the long lasting effect in pavements.

This is best used in asphalt pavements because naturally blacktop paving sealants are made for this.

So if you are looking for the best sealant why not try the blacktop one and see yourself if it is really the best or not. Being the best is really a challenge.

We always want the best of the things. We are not contented with the ordinary that is why it is hard for a thing or a person to remain in the best place all the time. A sure way to determine the best of this paving sealant is trying it yourself. You can also do your personal research or inquire from experts in the field.

Medical Bridge Insurance – While Waiting For Medicare

The importance of a solid medical bridge insurance becomes easier to comprehend as we age. While the younger population spends more time planning trips and vacations, the older citizens evaluate health insurance prospects, as a backup plan for later in life.

For various reasons, many senior citizens do not benefit from a major medical insurance plan. For them, a new brand of health insurance – the Medical Bridge Insurance – has been developed. Its purpose is to grant people, who are waiting for the U.S. Medicare plan admission, almost the same services as the ones offered by Medicare.

The Medical Bridge Insurance offers deductibles of up to $10,000 per policy year, by choice. You pick the plan with the deductible that best fits your needs. In case of a health complication, many plans will pay 80% of the costs that exceed the deductible amount.

In case you wonder whether or not you should apply for the Medical Bridge Insurance until you qualify for Medicare, know now that the plan provides policies that cover for Part A, Part B and even for both. To make it easier to understand, the Medical Bridge Insurance will help you benefit from hospitalization, hospice facilities, trained nursing facilities and even home health care services or surgical interventions.

However, like any other health insurance plan, the Medical Bridge Insurance plan has its own limitations and exclusions. It is important that you read them carefully, in order to avoid any misconceptions.

For example, the programs may limit the coverage for cataract surgery and procedures, and for those benefits of concerning Alzheimer’s disease. For some diseases there is a limit of around $25,000. Your policy will dictate the limitations for you. For patients diagnosed with a cardiac condition or a Cancer there may also be limitations. Research the plan before making a final decision.

It is also very important to know that any services which can be medically proven to be unnecessary will not be covered by the Medical Bridge Insurance. Also, the plan does not cover for expenses such as the treatment of self-inflicted injuries, rehabilitation for drug addiction and alcoholism, mental disorders, dental care, optional cosmetic surgery, routine medical examinations and so on. Just about anything that is not covered by Medicare will not be covered by the medical bridge insurance.

If you consider applying for the Medical Bridge Insurance, be sure to ask for further details and clarifications from a person or institution specialized in Health Insurance plans. Also, avoid being hasty when reading a health insurance contract, otherwise you risk ending up in a situation, not only bad from a medical perspective, but from a financial point of view, as well.

Put on a Great School Assembly Program

If you want to make waves with the kids at school this year, consider a school assembly program that won’t bore them with talk, talk, talk and nothing else. Sure, the kids will listen, but you’ll never know how much of the information they’re actually going to absorb. Either that, or they end up squirming and fidgeting through the entire thing, wondering when it’s going to be over.

With an exciting school assembly program, the kids will be groaning with disappointment when it’s over! What kind of program are we talking about? How about action-packed extreme sports shows that combines riveting music, educational topic discussions, and action all into one? An extreme BMX stunt show riding team can provide everything any school assembly program needs to keep the attention levels high, the focus on topic and provide enough impact to make it a lasting memory.

Whether you need a school assembly program to promote Red Ribbon Week, bicycle safety, drug awareness or other topics that cover school safety, health and motivation, an extreme sports school assembly program is not only relevant to kid interest these days, but can make a difference when nothing else can. Watching grown-ups don safety gear, talk about important issues and provide thrilling stunts all at the same time will make a lasting impression on kids at any well-planned school assembly program, no matter their grade level, throughout the country.

When it comes to ensuring that those kids are going to remember the lessons you’ve tried to teach, drive it home with a bang. An extreme sports show will spice up any school assembly program, no matter what your topic, and have them talking among themselves about it for months afterward. Whether you’re on the PTA planning committee, a member of student council or a concerned parent, suggest an extreme sports show to offer your kids at your next school assembly program not only information and education, but awe-inspiring excitement as well.

Where Should I Mount a Fish Finder on My Boat?

Mounting a fish finder on your boat involves three things: the mounting bracket, the display and the transducer.

Mounting bracket – Transom mounts are usually standard (in-the-box) with most fixed fish finders and come with detailed instructions on how to mount it onto your boat. Although it’s relatively easy to do on your own, please read the instructions from front to back so you don’t end up damaging your boat or having to reposition it later on. After all, you are drilling holes below the waterline of your boat so you’ll want to get it right the first time. If you want to play it safe, you can always try asking your dealer to do the installation for you.

Transom mounted fish finders are ideal for personal watercraft (rowed or paddled), sailboats, outboard, I/O powered boats and jet drives because they’re easy to install and generally get the job done quite well.

Tips: A boat’s contours (rivets, ribs, dents) will produce distinct turbulence and air pockets which affect a fish finder’s performance. Select a nice flat spot that’s free from protrusions and ribs. You will also want to keep it away from the prop. Make sure the mounting area for the transducer will remain in contact with the water at all times to avoid cavitation (In other words, don’t mount it too high up). Remember to keep everything away from the bumpers so nothing gets damaged when you have to trailer your boat.

Display– The most important consideration when deciding where to install your display is access. You’ll want to be able to see the display from wherever you’re actually fishing. Look into manufacturer options for gimbals, flush in-dash, and swivel mounts. You should also look for a display you can easily read even under direct sunlight; otherwise, it won’t matter where you position the display since you still won’t be able to read it. We’ll discuss other considerations for displays like LCD, CRT and LED in another article.

Transducer– Aside from transom mounted transducers, you can also choose between in hull or through hull transducers. As the name suggests, through hull transducers require drilling a hole through the boat’s hull to mount the transducer while in hulls will basically send a sonar signal without requiring any modifications to the hull. Be sure to do your homework before attempting to install a through hull transducer on your own.

It’s important to note that the material used on your boat’s hull will determine what kind of housing your through hull transducer should have. Here’s a quick look at some considerations to make in choosing a transducer for a fixed fish finder.

Hull material: Wood

Transducer housing material: Bronze

Reason: Wood expansion could damage plastic housing and result in a leak.

Hull material: Metal (steel or aluminum)

Transducer housing material: Stainless steel, plastic

Reason: Bronze housing requires insulating fairing. If your boat has a positive ground system, do not use metal transducer housing.

Hull material: Fiberglass

Transducer housing material: Plastic

Reason: Easier to seal plastic to fiberglass

Hammer Drills and Impact Drills and Their Differences

There are many differences in a lot of different power tools. Two tools that everybody loves are Hammer Drills and Impact Drills. These drills are used for different reasons. Both have there pros and cons in there usages. Hammer drills have more power to it as an impact drill will provide you with more torque. People use these drills for all different reasons. Depending on the manufacture that your drill is from you are able to get a drill in all different sizes and speeds and torque. A lot of drills are no capable to be battery powered as opposed to plugging them into the outlets. There are a few different voltages. They range from 12 volt up to 120 volts. There are many brand names that you can choose form. The list starts with DeWalt, Hilti, Hitachi, Milwaukee, and Makiti. They all have there differences between each manufacture and the differences between hammer drills and impact drills are not so common to always see.

When using a Hammer Drill it is important that you use the one that will get your job done correctly. There are so many different reasons to use a hammer drill. Whether you are just drilling in to the wall or if you are drilling into the ground there is always a hammer drill that will fit your needs. Its important that when looking for a drill you take a look at your job requirements and see what type of job it will be. A lot of drills are capable to provide you to use any size drill bits that will get you hole to the adequate size. There are safety precautions that you will need to know before you manually use these power tools. Authorized personal only.

Now as far as Impact Drills are concerned they have a lot of different qualities that will help you attack any type of job you are looking to pursue. From small to large you are able to use a variety of different brand name impact drills and drivers. People now use impact drills as there new screw driver. It’s more convenient to use an impact drill/driver as opposed the the old school hand screw driver. The reasoning there is that you are not straining your hand or wrist when tightening a screw. The impact drill provides an easier way for you to do what you need to do whether the job is on a construction job site or just simply tightening the loose screw to your toilet paper rack. It is very easy to use and that is why people are turning to power tools now a days because they are more equipped for the ordinary user and installer. Impact drills also are able to insert different drill bits and spade bits so that you can attack any drilling need tat you need to have done without using a hammer drill.

So when you have a job to do big or small make sure that you choose the power drill whether it’s a hammer drill or impact drill that will accommodate your every need. It is very important that you realize the differences so that you can install or fix any task that comes your way!

Making Mosaics Out of Simple Images

When it comes time to make a mosaic it can be difficult to find patterns. There are many web sites about mosaic art but not many offer patterns for you to replicate. The possibilities are truly endless. From geometric designs to replications of animals and nature scenes.

Of course it depends on the size of mosaic you want to make. But what you should keep in mind when making a mosaic and finding patterns is you must keep it simple. Too much detail becomes very hard to reproduce with pieces of tiles, unless of course you are a veteran artist!

I for one am not, and need inspiration when it comes time to reproduce images in a mosaic. One method I would like to share with you is very simple. I discovered that it is very easy to find the perfect image in children’s coloring books. Most of these pictures are detailed enough to see its representation yet simple enough to easily reproduce in a mosaic.

Now how do you transfer these images to tiles?

Just follow this method to transform your images to patterns.

  1. Once you have found that perfect image, outline the image lines with a large felt pen, these lines will represent your grout lines. If you want larger grout lines use a larger marker.
  2. When you finished outlining the image, number each section and photocopy the image, you will need this photocopy later.
  3. Then cut out all the pieces making sure to leave out the felt line. One piece of cut out paper represents one piece of tile. So here make as many or as few as you want, it is up to you.
  4. Transfer the cut out piece onto a piece of ceramic or whatever material you are using.
  5. Now gently cut each piece using your tile nippers.
  6. Smooth out the edges with a rough sanding paper or a table top grinder.
  7. Now using a fiberglass mesh with your photocopied image underneath, glue each piece of tile onto the mesh. Use a parchment style paper here between your photocopied image and your fibreglass mesh, otherwise your pieces will stick to the paper.
  8. Once all your pieces are glued onto the mesh, your mosaic is ready to install!

This method has always given me excellent results, given your image is not too big. If you want your mosaic to be larger than 12 by 12 inches you can use this method but separate it into quadrants, it is easier this way when it comes time to transfer your mosaic to it permanent location.

The method using a fibreglass mesh is called the double direct method; however you can also use the indirect method for this. These methods and more are a topic by itself and will be covered in another article.

Now all that is left for you to do is install your mailbox, sit back and wait for your mail.

French Neo-Impressionist & Pointillist Painter – Paul Signac

Paul Victor Jules Signac or Paul Signac, one of the most admired French ‘Neo-Impressionist’ painter and the co-originator of ‘Pointillism’ or ‘Divisionism,’ was born into an affluent bourgeois family in Paris, on November 11, 1863. Paul was a revolutionary artist who was also fond of sea and sailing. His first boat was a canoe that he named Manet Zola Wagner. The name hinted at his youthful fervor for avant-garde & unconventional artistry, while simultaneously staying indecisive about his occupation.

At the age of eighteen, while pursuing a course in architecture, Paul Signac set eyes on Claude Monet’s paintings, exhibited at the offices of La Vie, in June 1880. This triggered his interest in painting. Paul never undertook a formal training in arts. Whatever knowledge he had was a result of the self-study of the works of Manet, Monet, Degas, and Caillebotte. By 1882, the artist produced his first series of vibrantly colored studies & human figures, with his companion Berthe Robles, as his model. Paul’s early works characterize an evident taste for frontals, geometric arrangements, and a predilection for colors.

Signac met Monet and Georges Seurat in 1884. Seurat’s methodical working & his theory of colors floored Paul, and he instantly becoming a devoted follower of Seurat. Under Seurat’s influence, Signac drifted away from the short brushstrokes of ‘Impressionism’ to experiment with ‘Pointillism,’ a technique where small dots of pure colors are skillfully put adjacently, with an intention to create a visual blend of colors in a viewer’s eyes more than on the canvass. “Two Milliners” (1885) was the artist’s first ‘Neo-Impressionist’ or ‘Pointillist’ piece of work. Seurat started his iconic huge painting, ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,’ in 1884, but Paul reworked on it in 1885, to incorporate the ‘Division’ technique, on Seurat’s recommendation.

Signac participated in the first Salon des Artistes Independants in 1884, and continued to contribute annually. He was the first non-Belgian associate of avant-garde Brussels Société des XX. The same year he met Armand Guillaumin and a year later met Camille Pissarro. The year 1885 was Signac’s signature year with his paintings exposited at a major exhibition, the Ecole des Beaux Arts, while also featuring in Alfred Robaut’s first catalogue. The artist even exhibited along with Seurat and Van Gogh in Paris in 1887, at the Le Théatre Libre.

In 1890, Paul’s journalist friend, Felix Fénéon, covered an article, ‘Les Hommes d’Aujourd’Hui,’ mentioning about the artist’s works. In 1899, Signac authored, “From Eugene Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism,” where he talks about the various art ideas, theories, methodologies, and movements he experienced and was a part of. Following Seurat’s death in 1891, Signac helped with listing and classifying his works. The artist perceived himself as the new leader of the ‘Neo-Impressionism.’ He organized ‘Neo-Impressionist’ group and memorial shows for Van Gogh and Seurat, in 1891 and 1892 respectively. He married Berther Robles on November 7, 1892.

By 1900, Signac stirred away from ‘Pointillism,’ as he never restricted himself to one medium. He experimented with oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, lithographs, and pen-and-ink sketches. Signac was the President of the annual Salon des Independants from 1908, until his death. He was an inspiration particularly to Henri Matisse, André Derian, and to many other amateur artists, as he encouraged them to exhibit the controversial works of the ‘Fauves’ and the ‘Cubists,’ thereby also leveraging the evolution of Fauvism. Paul started a live in relationship with Jeanne Selmersheim-Desgrange in September 1913. The couple was blessed with a daughter in October 1913.

Through his life, the artist created several watercolor paintings of European seascapes, landscapes, and French cities. Signac’s celebrated masterpieces are “The Bonaventure Pine in Saint Tropez,” (1893), “Port St. Tropez,” (1899), “View of the Port of Marseilles” (1905), and “The Blessing of the Tuna Fleet at Groix” (1923). Paul Signac died on August 15, 1935, in Paris, from septicemia. He was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Preparing an Allotment – Tools for Tall People

With more people getting allotments the need for soil cultivation tools is growing, as is the height of the population. Taller people can greatly benefit from tools made specifically for them as it will make activity easier with less bending.

Are we getting taller as a species?

We have all been in historic houses and cottages and had to stoop to enter through doorways. This shows us the inhabitants were not as tall as we are today. Modern humans are clearly taller than those from the 18th and 19th centuries. In fact, over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased approximately 10 centimetres or 4 inches.

Nutrition is a key factor and examination of skeletons showed no significant differences in height from the Stone Age through the early 1800s. It has been documented that the heights of vagrant London boys declined from 1780 to 1800 and then rose three inches in just 30 years, an increase that paralleled improving conditions for the poor.

Also, during World Wars I and II, when hunger was common place the heights of the children actually declined but recovered soon after.

Digging Today

For taller people bending while digging over extended periods can be at best uncomfortable and at worst very painful. Tools that have longer handles and allow the taller person to remain more upright are the ideal solution, but not readily available in many high street stores.

Bulldog Tools, made in Wigan, have addressed this problem and produce several ranges of tools to suit the taller person.

Longer Shafted Standard Tools

For soil preparation a basic tool set on allotments will comprise the spade, in the digging or border form, and the fork, also in the digging or border form. The standard shaft length for bulldog and many manufacturers is 28 inches.

Bulldog Tools manufacture all four with 32 inch shaft lengths in the forged Premier range.

Long Handled Tools

Another solution for tall people is the changing of the standard ‘D’ or ‘Y’ shaped handle to a straight long handle. These typically are 42 inches to 54 inches long allowing the tallest person to stand upright and work comfortably.

These long handled tools from Bulldog are available in the following forms:-


Long handled digging spade- the head size is the same as a standard spade with a 48 inch handle

Long handled shrubbery spade- the head is a little smaller than a border spade with a 42 inch handle

Irish digging spade – the shaped head size is larger than a standard spade with 48 or 54 inch handles

West Country digging spade – the shaped head size is larger than a standard spade with a 54 inch handle


Long handled shrubbery fork- the head is smaller than a border fork with a 42 inch handle

Rakes and Hoes

The standard hoe or rake handle is 54 inches in length and can easily be replaced with a longer one if required. Straight handles up to 72 inches can be purchased and provide some extra handle length for the taller person when hoeing or raking allotment plot beds.

In Summary

Taller people need not suffer while on the allotment, a range of tools that are perfectly adapted to an upright stance are available and will make the more energetic aspects of cultivation more of a pleasure than a chore.