Visiting Puglia – The Breadbasket of Italy

When it comes to Italy, the question isn’t whether you can find enough things to do, but whether you’ll have enough time to see and do everything on your ‘must-do’ list. (Chances are you won’t!) Because of the wealth of choice available, picking a region and itinerary of attractions can be a somewhat overwhelming endeavour, even for those who have been to the country in the past. Even the simple task of choosing your Italian vacation accommodation can be daunting. However, for people visiting Puglia (or Apulia, as it is otherwise known), the choice is much easier.

Puglia, the Breadbasket of Italy

It would be hard to pinpoint a ‘signature’ image for Puglia. The heel of Italy borders both the Adriatic and Ionian seas, with its coastlands, woodlands, farmlands, vineyards, olive groves, and even swamplands, existing alongside medieval hilltop villages and industrialised towns. At its heart, however, Apulia is a breadbasket, specialising in the production of food, whether as growers, ‘catchers’, or manufacturers. Farms and fishing villages still make up the bulk of its communities, and the way of life remains predominantly slow-paced and agricultural.

It is this protectiveness of the land that is so integral to their simple yet authentic way of life that has captivated the rest of Europe and the world, and has given rise to a new and fast-growing type of tourism: agriturismo. Agriturismo not only allows travellers to experience authentic Apulian life, but also offers unique and historical Italian vacation accommodation options that can only be found here: masserie and trulli. In fact, some of these places are attractions in themselves. In addition to the trulli and masserie are both modern and traditional hotels, villas, and apartments.

Where to Stay

The basic concept of agriturismo is simple. As implied by its name, agriturismo is a farm-stay, a working farm that also serves as an Italian vacation accommodation for travellers. However, if you’re imagining run-down stable-like rooms, you couldn’t be more wrong. Typical agriturismo inns are more like apartment, villa, and hotel annexes that offer beautiful and comfortable living spaces and superb services.

Masserie, for example, such as the exceptional Masseria Cupina, are grand structures that were once the main buildings of agricultural estates but that have been converted into boutique hotels (complete with swimming pools). A tour of the farm is generally included, but you won’t be expected to do any chores-although you certainly could if you wanted to! Trulli – traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs, such as the charming Trullo Pietra, which is converted into a villa – are another unique Italian vacation accommodation option available only in Puglia.

Visit Lecce

You may choose to stay close to the lovely town of Lecce. With its wealth of Baroque architecture, this is a great place to start an exploration of the province. Lecce has been described by many as the most beautiful city in Italy, with its stone buildings acquiring a cream and gold effect in the sun. Among its more than 40 churches is the Basilica di Santa Croce, which is perhaps the most ornate, with a fa├žade featuring cherubs, magical beasts, and even the odd dodo. This can be quite a surreal sight, especially at night, when the outdoor lighting further dramatises the effect. Piazza Sant’Oronzo is another must-see in Lecce, with the massive Roman amphitheatre providing a stark contradiction to the bombastic style of the rest of the city.

Xbox Three Red Rings of Death – Dust, Heat, and Solder

If you’re having trouble with your Xbox 360 and the Three Red Rings of Death (RROD) error, don’t have a conniption fit just yet, ok? No yelling, no throwing your controllers – and NO pounding on the console – not now not no-when!

Honestly, the dang thing is most likely just overheating! The Xbox is well known for this problem. Where do you keep it? Is it in an enclosed space? Is there enough air flow going around it to allow it to cool off? Do ya dust it once in a while dude? You know what I mean – swish a rag around the cooling vents a little every once in a while? Check that out before you do anything else.

You could probably buy a fan from the local electronics store and keep it aimed at the back there and it might help a bit. But then you’d really better make sure you dust back there a LOT more often because you don’t want to be just blowing it around inside the casing now, do you? They also sell aftermarket coolers for the Xbox 360 that you can fit on the back – it also might help.

The other part of your console that overheats is the GPU – like the CPU in a PC or MAC computer. It’s soldered to the motherboard and when it heats up to high it can get a little lose. That’s not a good thing.

Whatever the reason for your console overheating, you have, oh, about two options. Fix it yourself – or send it back to the manufacturer for repair. And let me warn ya – they will ask for a minimum of four weeks and YOU have to send your Xbox 360 to them! Does that sound fair?

The Importance of Taking Care of Your Stained Glass Equipment

Glass Cutter

Your glass cutter, an essential tool, is the one tool you constantly use and needs to work properly to insure proper and accurate cutting.   One of the easiest and important things you need to do with your cutter is store it in a container partially filled with lubricant that covers the bottom of the jar and the wheel. It’s a good idea to pad the bottom of the jar with a piece of cloth or paper towel. This will keep the cutter wheel lubricated and avoid   the wheel from freezing which can ruin the cutter. Never leave the cutter sitting out on your workbench. It is a good idea to get into the habit of putting the cutter back into the storage jar each time you finish cutting. 

Glass lubricant is an oil that is usually a mixture of kerosene and light oil. The lubricant cleans off little slivers of glass that tend to cling to the wheel. These slivers of glass can interfere with the rotation of the wheel. Another advantage of the lubricant is how it helps prevent score lines from sealing. A bottle of this lubricant can be purchased at your local stained glass retail store, it is inexpensive and will last for a long time. 

When you score stained glass, don’t go over score lines. This will dull the wheel. Always dip the wheel in lubricant before each score if it is not self-lubricating. Running your wheel off the edge of the glass will shorten its life, too. Stop your score 1/8″ from the glass edge.

If you have to use excessive pressure (over 15 lbs of force) the cutting wheel may be dull and needs replacing. If your score lines look more like a dotted line, the cutting wheel may be dented and again should be replaced.

With proper care and maintenance your stained glass cutter will serve you well for a long time.

Soldering Iron

While soldering, use a clean wet sponge or metal mesh cleansing pad to keep the hot iron tip free of dirt. This should be done periodically.

Before turning off your iron, be sure to clean the tip and then re-coat it with a thin coat of solder. This is referred to as re-tinning.

If your iron has carbon built up on it, use a tinning block of aluminum chloride, that will remove any built up carbon. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions.

Some irons require loosening the set screw located near the tip of the iron. This is done to prevent the iron tip from freezing in the shaft. It is a good idea to brush off any scales from the shank. Always read accompanying instructions that came with your iron.

Never leave your soldering iron on when not in use. 

Stained Glass Grinder

Before installing diamond grinding head on the grinder’s shaft, lubricate the shaft and set screw with an anti-seize lubricate. This should be done every time you clean the grinder.

Not using an anti-seize lubricate can result in the diamond head freezing onto the grinder shaft. This can be almost impossible to remove and will in effect ruin the grinder.

Fill the water trough with cool water to the manufacturer’s indicated level. Then add 3 to 4 capfuls of grinder coolant to the water. This will extend the life of your diamond grinding heads.

As you use your grinder, periodically check the water trough. As you see a build up of glass residue in the water trough, stop and clean your grinder. 

It is usually a good idea to clean the grinder at the end of each day of use. If you know you will be using the grinder the next day and it is not in need of cleaning be sure to remove the sponge by the grinder head. If the head it below the surface of the water level, remove the head.

When cleaning your grinder, never dump the water trough into a sink. This can cause a major plumbing problems. Instead, scrape the glass residue into a garbage bag and wipe out the trough with a paper towel. Once the majority of the trough is empty, then rinse the trough with water and towel dry. Don’t forget to rinse diamond grinding heads to remove glass dust. When you are ready to grind again, then refill the water trough.

Hand Tools

Store all your stained glass hand tools is a clean dry area. Tools stored in a damp or humid area will result in them rusting. If your tools do rust, use supper fine steel wool and remove rust, then use a light coating of petroleum jelly on the tools.

The time spent on maintaining your stained glass equipment will save you money. Who wants to spend money on replacing equipment.

On the Recorder – Which Letter is Each Hole?

To understand what the title of this article means, ie On The Recorder, Which Letter Is Each Hole, then you need to firstly know what a recorder is, what is a letter and what fingering is. Then one can put them altogether.

The recorder is a musical instrument made of wood or plastic It is basically a hollow tube in two or three sections with a mouth piece at one end, an opening at the other end and holes. They come in different sizes ranging from small, high sounding ones to larger, lower sounding ones. Each recorder is either in the key of C or key of F, which means that the letters for each hole will be different between the two keys. For example the lowest note for recorders in the key of C is C and the lowest note for recorders in F is F. Both are fingered the same.

“Letter” refers to the letters of the alphabet used in music to name notes and is called the musical alphabet. The musical alphabet consists of the first seven letters of the alphabet, A B C D E F G. There are other note names related to each of these seven letters. They are sharp notes( # ) and flat notes ( b ). Each musical alphabet letter has a sharp and flat note associated with it ie A# B# C# D# E# F# G# Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb. Sharp notes raise a note by a semitone and a flat note lowers a note by a semitone. If you can visualise a piano with the white and black keys, then a semitone is the closest key to the right or left of the letter; it is the closest interval of sound. Please be aware that there are sharp notes that sound the same as flat notes eg an A# sound is the same as a Bb sound.

A complete range of notes in an octave could go like the following two examples.

Ab A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G or

G# A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G

* * * * * * = same note

The musical alphabet repeats itself over and over again to the range of the musical instrument. The recorder family have a range of around two octaves. It can vary depending on recorder type.

A recorder player produces a sound by blowing through the mouthpiece to create a vibration of air down the recorder and a variation in pitch by pressing finger tips or pads down on the holes in varying configurations called fingering. When a musician wants to play a note or “letter” then there is a fingering for that note. And so the recorder will have over two octaves of fingerings to represent each note name.

So what is the fingering on the recorder? ie which letter is each hole?

When you play any wind instrument the left hand goes at the top.

A recorder has a thumb hole underneath and 5 single holes plus 2 double holes on top. The holes will be called the following:

Th = left hand thumb 1 2 3 ( for left hand 2nd 3rd 4th fingers ) 4 5 ( single holes for right hand 2nd 3rd fingers ) 6 7 (double holes for right hand 4th 5th fingers )

Lets start with the recorders in the key of C.

B: Th 1

A: Th 1 2

G: Th 1 2 3

E: Th 1 2 3 4 5

C2: Th 2

D2: 2

D1: Th 1 2 3 4 5 6

F#: Th 1 2 3 5 6

C1: Th 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ie all holes covered for a lowest sound on the instrument.

These are the usual notes people start learning with B A G and a variety of BAG pieces and exercises to help the process of remembering the fingering and reading the notes on sheet music. To produce second octave sounds the left hand thumb covers half a hole. Recorders in the key of F have F1 as the lowest note, with all holes covered; equivalent to C1. So basically fingerings are the same for each key but the note name changes.

C D E F G A B first octave in key of C

F G A Bb C D E first octave in key of F

As the learning process continues then more notes/letters and fingerings are learnt. A finger chart is available in tutor books as well as separate fingerings on pages throughout in the step by step learning process. To help you remember fingerings you need to play play play with guidance of a teacher, tutor book or both.

With knowledge of what a recorder, letter and fingering is plus examples of what notes and fingerings a beginner meets you are on your way to playing great tunes. The query of what letter for each hole is beginning to get answered.

Installing Leak Barriers – Sealing in Plumbing Vents

To divert any leak water out of the system over the roof deck protection using Weather Watch or Storm Guard at plumbing vents or soil stacks. First install the Ice and water shield layer in an under and over placement as the residential steep slope roofing is a water shedding product not a water proofing product, Shingle-Mate or Deck Armor roof deck protection to within 6″ of the roof vent pipe. The Weather Watch or Storm Guard needs to be fully adhered to the roof plywood, OSB, or planking and should be fully adhered to the succeeded courses of shingles to properly expel the water to the roof below.

Take the picture you see on the internet with a grain of salt as they are not accurate to real world practices of the way a shingle should be installed with ice and water shield. With standard strip shingles you need to install a diapered shingle to prevent water from entering the water groove or water eye.

Cut a 20″ minimum square piece of Weather Watch or Storm Guard leak protection underlayment then place this piece over the center of the pipe top. Cut an X from one edge of the pipe to the other, cutting this X slightly smaller than the pipe width will allow a full seal around the entire roof vent pipe.

Remove the split-back film and lower the Leak Barrier around the pipe, be sure to press the membrane firmly to seal it to the deck, to the roof deck protection, and up the roof vent pipes sides.

For Advanced Installation Method: To divert any water out over the roof shingles for laminated shingles only this method cannot be used with three-tab shingles, install Shingle-Mate or Deck Armor roof deck protection around the pipe.

Cut Weather-Watch or Storm Guard leak barrier 20″ minimum wide to surround pipes, shingle up to the vent pipe, cutting the top of the shingle around the pipe, firmly press Leak Barrier over the top half of the shingle in front of the vent pipe then seal Leak Barrier to Shingle-Mate or Deck Armor roof deck protection and decking above the vent pipe, finally cover roof deck protection and leak barrier with shingle set in plastic cement.

It is very important to have a Weather Stopper Golden Pledge when installing a Weather Watch or a Storm Guard Leak Barrier around your homes plumbing vents. This is required on all Weather Stopper Golden Pledge installations and also when installed or used on Weather Stopper System Plus Installations.

Why You Should Purchase Fireproof Boxes

Accidents are thieves. Thefts are accidents, too. They come in times when you least expect them. That is why they are called accidents in the first place. Fire outbreaks and thefts are just some of the most devastating disasters a home can ever have. One can optimistically think that the lost belongings can be replaced by exerting extra effort. But how about the things which are irreplaceable, such as your jewelries, documents, pictures, and everything that has sentimental value? Each one of us has something at home and in our office that will make us very devastated once we lose them. Fireproof boxes are made to ensure these irreplaceable belongings even in the event of fire and theft.

Preventing the occurrences of fire outbreaks and thefts is the first thing to do. Next to that is to prepare for their sudden occurrence. In case fire or a thief unexpectedly attacks, you should at least be able to save your most valuables from being lost forever. The modernization of science and technology has made it possible to have a box that can guard your most important possessions. Such boxes, called fireproof boxes, come in different designs and features such as the digital fire safe, the lockable fire chest, and the versatile firebox.

Whatever their built and materials are, they are intended to keep your valuable belongings from being taken away by fire or by thieves. Some of these boxes, however, have locks that are not that sturdy- burglars can break them. The best fireproof boxes that have locks that cannot be broken by robbers and materials that cannot be easily penetrated by fire. The best choice of boxes is the box that can withstand fire for two hours and has a combination lock. The combination lock is not easily opened by thieves and you can change it to make it even safer.

To save you from such hassle in case of fire outbreak, you must out in your box your birth certificate, social security card, insurance policies, current passport, property titles, a list of bank and credit card numbers, and spare car keys. Then where should these fireproof boxes be placed? The best location is the attic. The truth is, the survival of the box depends on the temperature of the fire, how long the box is exposed to fire, and how fire prone are the contents of the box. Remember that these boxes cannot stand the fire for a very long time. Putting them in the most protected place will maximize the safety of your most valuable belongings.

There are essential things in our homes and offices that will surely be a hassle once we lose them. It can be because it is a hassle to replace them or it is a hassle thinking that we can never replace them. To save us from such hassles, equip your place with fireproof boxes that contain all the most valuable things. Moreover, the box must be placed in the best location, in the attic. In case of fire outbreak or robbery, you have at least saved your essential things.

The Latest Trends in Wallpaper

Archive designs

Wallpapers taken from the archives are historic but far from old-fashioned. Follow our tips to make a traditional archive-print wallpaper work beautifully in your home.

You don’t have to live in an old house for these wallpapers to work, but, for best effect, choose a design that suits the scale of your home. For example, the small florals typical of the 1930s can look lost in a high-ceilinged room, while heavily patterned Victorian prints can overwhelm a small or low-ceilinged space.

To make a beautiful wallcovering the focus of the room, pick out key colours from the design and repeat them in plain fabrics and painted woodwork.

To mix in other prints without outshining the wallpaper, stick to a limited colour palette. Alternatively, choose another print from the same collection – they’re grouped to co-ordinate, so the hard work’s been done for you.

If you like an eclectic look, you can team an archive wallpaper with modern furniture, but echo the design – for example, a pattern with gentle curves will look better with furniture in curved shapes.

If you want to find a paint that matches the tones used in an archive wallpaper, look at heritage and period paint collections


Love geometric wallpaper? Use it to create a fabulous look with these simple rules.

Large-scale graphic prints work particularly well in a contemporary scheme or a post-1960s home, while smaller, more subtle patterns are a good choice if you have more traditional furnishings or live in a period house.

Take into account scale when you are decorating. A big print used on all the walls in a small room or one with low ceilings is too much, so use it sparingly or consider using a smaller scale or simpler graphic design.

Geometrics have come a long way since they were first popular in the 1960s and 1970s. To recreate that look, go for wallpapers in browns, oranges and greens. For a less retro scheme, choose colours that are fashionable now, such as chocolate with pink.

Avoid having furniture and furnishings that fight with the print. You don’t have to restrict yourself to ultra-modern styles, but sticking to pieces in one kind of wood or one plain colour – such as white or black – will help avoid an over-cluttered look.

Tape a large sample of the geometric paper you like to the wall and leave it for a few days to make sure you can live with it.


Follow these steps to make this pretty floral-trail paper work perfectly in any room.

Oriental print wallpapers have traditionally been used in bedrooms and are considered quite feminine, but they won’t be overpoweringly so if you choose designs that are in more masculine colours. Look out for wallpaper in darker blues, red, black and neutrals.

If you’re using an oriental wallpaper in a bedroom, you can put it on all four walls. If, however, you’re decorating downstairs, take a more restrained approach and limit it to a feature wall or at most two walls.

The busier, more intricate wallpapers featuring birds, figures and lots of foliage tend to look at their best in rooms that aren’t crammed full of accessories.

You don’t have to go all out for an oriental theme and team an opulent print wallpaper with Eastern-inspired furniture and furnishings. However, a few accessories with an oriental feel – such as a ginger jar lamp base, a bone mirror or a dark-wood bowl – can help tie the room scheme together.

A blossom print looks as good teamed with French-style furniture as Eastern pieces – picking out a colour from the wallpaper creates a sense of harmony.

Bold Florals

Worried about how to make big, blowsy floral prints work in your room? Simply follow these steps to get it right.

The latest oversized prints can look fabulous in both small and large rooms. The secret is to stick to a subtle design or one in soft colours if your room is compact, as this will stop the wallpaper from being overpowering.

As an update on traditional flowered wallpapers, bold florals are not only for country cottages. They’re certainly not shy and retiring, but they are surprisingly versatile. It’s how you use them in a scheme that sets the tone – for example, for a contemporary look, team them with furniture in simple modern shapes.

Balance a strong floral print with lots of plain surfaces. Having large pieces of furniture – such as a sofa or cabinet – in one of the colours from your wallpaper will help create a more balanced room.

Try wallpapering unexpected areas, such as the inside of your under-stair cupboard for a big pattern hit every time you open the door, or behind open shelving for a hint of print behind books and ornaments.

This design gives traditional blooms a contemporary twist and works well teamed with modern furniture with a white or cream painted finish.


Whether you use it in the bedroom, living room or even the dining room, this is how to make metallic prints work.

Designs with a pale background and a subtly metallic motif can be used to great effect to make a small room seem larger and brighter, as the reflective surface throws light back into the room.

Wallpapers printed on foil backing tend to be a little more expensive than other metallic designs. However, they look fabulous and the investment is worth it – especially in rooms that don’t get much natural daylight – for the extra reflectiveness of the finish.

Large prints and designs with a dark background create a more opulent look. They are ideal for adding interest to larger rooms but are best used sparingly in small rooms – for example, around a fireplace.

Match the glamour of metallic wallpaper with fabulous furniture and accessories. Look out for mirrored, stainless-steel and bronze furniture, and bejewelled cushions and throws. Silks, satins and velvets are great choices for upholstery.

A well-placed table lamp, downlighter or uplighter in the corner of a room will make metallic-print wallpaper sparkle as it reflects the light.

How to Choose The Best Fireproof Gun Safes

Homeowners are concerned with the safety of their families and homes. The methods used to make sure this safety varies, depending on the beliefs of the occupant. An increasingly common method is having a firearm. With all the thought directed at securing the safety of your home, not enough is being directed at keeping your guns safe.

Selecting a fire-proof gun safe or a stronghold box for your firearms is a wise choice for anyone. It can keep those who are not intended to use the guns away from them safely. This deters unauthorized use as well as accidents by curious youngsters. However, a secure place for your firearms should act to keep your guns secure within just as it should act to keep unauthorized users out.

When comes to selecting a gun safe, you should consider a few more factors than if it locks. Gun safes come in all different dimensions to accommodate all different types of firearms from rifles to handguns. It is wise to choose a size that is adequate to store the amount and type of weapons that you own.

You should also pay attention to whether it is a fireproof gun safe. Not all fireproof gun safes are created the same so it is worth noting a few features. Certain composites are more resistant to high heat than others. Not only is the composite material important but also the thickness of the walls of the safe should also be considered. The thicker the better of course but you will want to think about the weight of the item especially if it is being stored on an upper level or in a basement.

Several homeowners will buy a fireproof gun safe that is adequate to store all of their household valuables. If this is the case, you want to be sure that it is a burglar fire safe and is significant enough to protect the items stored within. Documents are not as durable as a gun, so if this is what you are storing make sure your safe can with stand the abuse. If a business is located in the person’s home then installing a home security system for extra safety is also a very good idea. Because you never know if you or your company is being desired by someone else and would try to take it from you.

Pistols, handguns, and rifles are an investment even for those that do not collect firearms. They are the one item that retains its value and in many cases appreciates over the life of the weapon. Because of this, they are easily fenced items on the black market. A fireproof gun safe is durable enough to withstand fire as well as ward off an invader in your home keeping your guns safe from theft.

There are many reasons for a person to secure their home. As there are many ways for a person to secure their home. However, if you are going to pick owning your own handguns then you should consider carefully the best way to store them.

20 Benefits of Steel in Buildings

Steel buildings and metal framed buildings have become the preferred construction types for today’s commercial, industrial, institutional and agricultural markets. Even home building is a growing market for steel or metal frame construction. And it’s no wonder!

Steel offers a large number of benefits to today’s building consumer. From economic (for some, the most important single factor) to functional versatility and flexiblilty, environmental, safety and even health factors, steel buildings provide purchasers with a comfort level that other construction methods can not match.

Below are 20 of the many benefits of steel and metal components in your new building:

1. Steel building components are manufactured to consistent quality and exacting tolerances.

2. Steel is manufactured to precise and uniform shapes.

3. There is no need for ‘culling’ or inspecting steel components for crown or twists.

4. Metal studs start out straight and stay straight without the warping, bowing, twisting, splitting, shrinking and popping knots.

5. Steel building components do not rot like wood construction can.

6. Steel is impermeable to termites, insects and rodents.

7. Steel does not promote mould and mildew.

8. Steel has one of the highest strength to weight ratios of all building materials.

9. Higher strength means that on-center distances can be wider in steel buildings reducing the amount of material and labor required – thus reducing costs.

10. Steel and metal framing can reach greater spans than other materials creating larger open spaces.

11. Steel strength allows for taller walls.

12. Metal and steel frames are lighter than traditional concrete and masonry leading to reduced footing and foundation requirements.

13. Steel and metal building components can be as much as 50% lighter than wood.

14. Steel can work well on its own or in combination with other materials.

15. Steel is non-combustible and will not add fuel to a fire.

16. In many cases your insurance premiums will be lower because of this.

17. Steel framing connections are much stronger than wood connections.

18. Steel can be engineered to meet the heavy seismic and wind loads required by building codes.

19. A steel or metal framed building produces much less waste than wood. An average wood framed home generates about 50 cubic feet of waste in the landfills compared to about 1.5 cubic feet for steel or metal.

20. Steel is 100% recyclable. 60 million tons of scrap steel are recycled every year which is more than paper, aluminum, glass and plastic combined.

Guide to Replacing a Mobile Home Ceiling

Have you discovered an ugly stain or hole as a result from water damage on your mobile home ceiling? You have probably called around only to be told that the particular looking ceiling tiles are no longer available. The tiles that you most likely have are of approximately 1/2″ in thickness made of pressed fiber-board. It has a white interior surface with an embossed texture and plastic strips that run the width of your home. Replacing these ceiling tiles with something identical will be almost impossible since they are no longer made. The only way to replace the area is to replace the ceiling in the whole room with something of similar look and feel. I am going to give you a few ideas on how to repair your ceiling.

One thing to keep in mind that you might not have thought of is what type of material you plan on using. If you are an experienced remodeler, you might instinctively reach for the 5/8″ drywall and go to town. The one material that you do not want to use is drywall. On an older home, maintenance must be done to the roof and drywall will most certainly crack when walked on. There is a reason why the home manufacturers used a pressed fiber-board material. This material will hold up very well with downward pressures. It will not crack. If you have a newer home with a texture that was sprayed on, you still do not want to use drywall. The seasons changing causes movement of the home due to frost heaving. Any rigid material will crack under these pressures.

One popular choice are tongue and groove acoustical ceiling tiles. These tiles are made of the same material as their predecessor and have a similar interior finish. They come pre-primed and are ready to paint. They install with an adhesive and type of fastener on the tongue. You must make sure that the ceiling surface has a smooth backer that the tiles can be attached to. Follow the manufacturer instructions when installing this product. You can choose to paint this product if you want but you do not have to.

Another option that doesn’t require painting and will remain flexible is a drop ceiling. Drop ceilings have come a long way since school rooms and office complexes. Companies have designed their drop ceilings to be installed in the home, offering classy styles and texture profiles. The only drawback to this system is it takes up a little head room. You will have to install this system as close to the original ceiling surface as possible.

Whatever material you choose, make sure that it will prove to be flexible when the seasons change. A product that is relatively maintenance-free will also be a wise choice.

Hot Tub Pump Parts, Motor and Wet End

Hot tub pumps keep the massage jets powered and also help keep the water clean by circulating the water. Another function of the primary spa pump is to help heat the spa by pumping water through the heater manifold. Spa electronics monitor the hot tub’s functions, call for heat or circulation when needed, and more advanced control systems also provide error messages to help with troubleshooting a problem in case something goes wrong.

When diagnosing any hot tub problem, only persons qualified to work on electrical components should attempt to fix them. Whoever is doing the work, the spa should be shut off and power should be turned off at the breaker as well as any disconnect available to assure there is no electrical danger. To be safe, the repair person may measure the incoming electrical line to make sure there is no voltage or current present before beginning any repair.

The main parts of a hot tub pump are the wet end and the motor end. These two sections are bolted together with 4 through bolts and a gasket keeps any water from the wet end out of the motor area.

The wet end of the pump contains the impeller, a little wheel that spins around on a shaft driven by the spa motor. This spinning wheel has indentations that move water through the pump and create the pressure in the pipes needed to keep water circulating and moving through the spa plumbing. This impeller is sized to match the pump motor. Stronger motors can have larger impellers to move more water.

The motor end of the pump is where the actual electrical connection is. As the motor is energized, it spins the impeller shaft which in turn spins the impeller inside the wet end to move water through the pump from the input or suction side of the pump to the output or discharge side of the pump.

The suction and discharge usually have a threaded connection that fits into a pump union in order to attach the pump to the spa’s plumbing. Inside each of the two unions is also a little rubber o-ring which prevents the pump unions from leaking. These unions are usually hand tightened to the point where no water comes out, but sometimes a quarter turn with a wrench will assure they are snug without overtightening which can cause them to crack.

Hot tub pump replacements, parts, impellers, wet ends and seals can be ordered online with quick shipping in order to complete a repair and get the spa working properly again.

The pump impeller may become damaged or jammed and cause a pump to hum but not produce any water flow. The impeller must spin freely on the shaft without any obstructions for the pump to properly transport water. Pump impellers are a replaceable part.

A common source of leaking from the hot tub pump would be the pump seals located around the impeller. The seals prevent water from escaping the wet end near the impeller as it spins around the pump shaft. These seals can be damaged by improper water chemistry or other issues with the spa. If the pump is not too old, the leak can be fixed by replacing the seals. A seal kit is available for each brand and type of pump.

If your hot tub pump seal is leaking, you will need to find the correct seal kit. Some are ceramic pump seals while others are Viton or other material. Jacuzzi pump parts and most any type of seals are available online, but be sure to get the right kit for your particular pump type and brand.

The Viton seal material is said to be more impervious to chemical wear from chlorine, bromine, ozone and other hot tub water treatments. Be sure when ordering an Aqua Flow Viton seal kit that it will match the pump used in your Cal Spa, Marquis, Clearwater, Coleman or other spa brand that from time to time has used Aqua Flo pumps in their spas.

When replacing or repairing a hot tub pump, it is always a good idea to make sure the existing pump cord is free from nicks or even shorts and that the ends are not corroded. It is also important to replace any damaged or worn orings, seals or gaskets to avoid leaks after reassembly.

If a pump will need to be replaced, the information needed to get the right replacement pump is usually found on the label affixed to the pump. Details such as if the replacement unit needs to be a 48 frame or a 56 frame pump, the operating voltage, amperage on high speed and amp draw on low speed, horsepower rating and other details can be found on the old pump’s label.

If sourcing a pump from overseas, also be sure to order the correct line frequency as in North America, the pumps operate at 60hz. For North American residents ordering pumps in North America, it is usually assumed you will need the 60hz pump unless otherwise specified.

When troubleshooting a pump problem, first be sure to do it safely and then to make sure the problem is really with the pump and not with another spa component. Popular pump brands include Waterway pumps, Ultra Jet, Vico, Master Series and Hayward.

Some pump problems may not require replacing the pump at all such as when a pump shuts down by itself during a thermal overload condition. Proper troubleshooting will help to properly isolate the problem. If the pump is really the problem, then the next question would be should it be repaired or replaced.

Older pumps should most likely be replaced, but if the pump is relatively new and just needs a new impeller, wet end, pump seal kit or motor, the part is available online to get it fixed and back in service.

Spend less time worrying about problems and just get the right parts to get your spa up and running in no time. After all spas are for relaxing!

What Is Lean 5S?

The Development of Lean – Lean History

Lean, like so many innovative ideas, products, or services, was born out of necessity. In post-World War II Japan, the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda, his son Kiichiro Toyoda, and their chief engineer, Taiichi Ohno, developed the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS is the philosophy that still organizes manufacturing and logistics at Toyota, including the interaction with suppliers and customers. These three innovative thinkers from Toyota visited the United States and they observed the great manufacturing empire established by Henry Ford. They were, however, unimpressed. They immediately noticed that while Ford had created a monumental manufacturing machine, he had failed to address what they felt was the key issue for them – waste. They noticed that with Ford’s assembly line that tasks were not spaced and timed to enhance work flow. Therefore, the process was often waiting on steps to catch up to other steps, and partially completed work often piled up. In addition, the production system in place continually created a great deal of overproduction, which led to routine shut downs and layoffs and regular restarts and rehires.

Although Toyota (Toyoda) was basically unimpressed with Ford’s manufacturing plant, he was very impressed with another US business – Piggly Wiggly Supermarket. They saw the benefit of only reordering and restocking goods as they were purchased from the customer. They realized that if they were to compete on the world stage in the automotive industry, they would need to apply these same principles to their operation. Thus, JIT, or just-in-time inventory was developed. To do this, Toyota reduced the amount of inventory they would need to hold only to a level that its employees would need for a small period of time, and then subsequently reorder.

Although Toyota is credited with beginning Lean Production with their Toyota Production System, the roots of “lean” date back as far as the 16th century. In 1570, King Henry III of France watched in amazement as the Venice Arsenal built galley ships in less than an hour using continuous flow process. So, as a conceptual idea, we have known for centuries that continuous flow produces results. Other companies have taken the Toyota Production System even farther. Motorola implemented Lean Production Systems, and almost immediately noticed a decrease in wastes, an increase in productivity and quality, and an increased awareness of safety. Their efforts led to the development of Lean Six Sigma. Six Sigma basically, defines quality in degrees of sigma with six being the highest and defined as no more than 3.4 defects per one million opportunities.

Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Tilt Their Head To the Side

Why Does My Dog Tilt Their Head To the Side?

You’ve probably noticed your dog tilting their head to the side while looking at you. This behavior is so cute. Not all dogs do this but the majority do. If you have ever wondered why your dog is tilting their head to the side, then keep reading.

Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Tilt Their Head To the Side:

1. So they can hear better. This is the top reason why dogs tilt their heads to the side, because they are trying to hear sounds you are making more clearly. When your dog’s head is tilted, one ear will become more exposed to hearing sounds. This is due to the ear being up and forward in position. Thus, sounds the dog was hearing before as static or fuzzy, will now become clearer to him or her. Dogs have their own language and don’t necessary understand a lot of our language. When you talk to your dog, your dog may pick up a word here and there but for the most part what your dog is understand is much like what you would pickup listening to someone speak a foreign language which you are not familiar with. Dogs, just like humans are good at pickup up on other signals such as the tone of voice which is used in speech and body language.

2. So they can get a treat. Dogs are smart. When they tilt their head, you are likely to respond by saying how cute they look. Dogs learn by experience. So in the past if they tilted their heads a few times and got a cookie, they may have learned by repetition to tilt their head so they can look cute and get a treat.

3. So they can get attention. When a dog is acting cute, it’s natural for you to notice and want to pet them and tell them how cute they are. Your dog probably tilted their head to the side a few times so they could hear you better and then the dog enjoyed how you reacted so they learned tilting their head to the side is a good way to get good attention from you. This is a learned behavior.

Whenever your dog hears a word which perks his or her interest, they are likely to tilt their head to the side in the direction from where the sound is coming from. Sometimes the dog won’t do this though and that just means your dog can already hear well enough and doesn’t need to cock his or her head.

Your dogs breed also plays into whether or not your dog will cock their head to the side. If your dog has erect ears, then they will be less likely to tilt. On the other hand if your dog has floppy ears, they will be more likely to tilt.

Dash Repair – How to Fix a Cracked Padded Dash

Weather change is here and the cracked padded dashes are rolling in. With every weather change I get the phone calls. “My dash is cracked and what can be done to fix it.”

Due to the exposer to old mother nature, these materials become dried out and crack over time leaving you with a crack in your dash. Left unattended this small crack can and will get larger.

There are measures that can be taken to prevent the dash from getting cracked in the first place. Now I know your dash is already cracked and your wanting to know how to fix it, but this will prevent further cracks and keep your car cooler and looking nicer, and well…. for further reference.

One way to prevent this is to use a sunshade. This will not only protect your automotive dash from the sun but also keep your vehicle cooler keeping the plastic pieces cooler and less likely to warp and then crack.

Another way to prevent the materials from drying on your dash is to condition them with a good vinyl conditioner-protectant. Now I know I’ve always said to not put the slimy stuff on your interior pieces and parts … But if your vehicle is exposed to the sun on a constant basis, then I would recommend you use a vinyl conditioner. Now I’m not going to say that any old vinyl conditioner will work, because it won’t. Tire shine is not vinyl conditioner! This is probably one of the biggest mistakes made, and I do a lot of repair because of it. Tire shine contains solvents, which as you know from previous articles, it doesn’t mix well with the water based dyes being used on today’s cars. What it does is lifts the dye from the surface, causing it to peel. So no tire shine…What I recommend to my customers is a product made from a leather conditioning producer that I feel from some of the research I’ve done is safe and should work very well, it’s made by Lexol and it’s called Vinylex. Designed by the guys that really know their stuff when it comes to interior conditioning and protecting.

The last and final tip to keeping your automotive interior, including your dash, looking it’s best and lasting longer is window tint. Now in some states you need to be careful with the tinting laws to make sure you don’t get it too dark, plus you need to think of your safety too. I have tint on our family Tahoe and I kinda wish I would have gone a little lighter, at night it’s really hard to see, my Tahoe stays nice and cool, but it’s a pain in the butt at night. I have to roll the window down sometimes just to see. So keep it light and you will be impressed with the results, plus it looks cool.

Now on with the fix for that crack in your dash.

Depending on where the crack is and how big it is will depend on how to fix it and how expensive the repair will be. If the crack is bigger then 2″-3″ and curled up on the edges, the repair will probably not look that great. There is a limit to the size of crack that can be repaired, too big and it probably won’t hold and will look like crap. If the crack is too big, replace the dash pad, don’t try to fix it. Another thing is location, if the crack is up close to the windshield then it’s almost impossible to do a repair without removing the windshield, which can be costly. So with that said you be the judge.

The first thing I do before I start any repair is to mix my color, this insures that at least the color will be right.

Next I inspect the crack in the dash, if the edges are curled up then you will need to trim that off with a razor blade or Xacto knife. The goal here is to get the area as level as you can. Now when doing so cut at a 45 degree angle and don’t bring the ends to a point, what I mean by this is trim all the way around the crack rounding off the ends of the crack, this will insure that the crack will stop and not crack further after your repair.

Of course your next step is prepping the repair area, use your prep solution with a scotch brite pad and clean the area thoroughly. You might need to clean the entire dash depending on where and how large the crack is.

Now it’s time to determine what fix you going to use.

If the crack is smaller then an 1/2″ I usually grab the super glue and do a super glue repair. I do this by spreading the glue in the crack then sanding it smooth with a 240 grit sandpaper, texture with your water based spray grain, then dye.

But there are times when your vinyl repair compound will need to be used, after all this is vinyl. The low cure usually works best because high heat tends to warp the repair area. This is where your patience comes in when doing your repairs. Thin layers of compound work best, curing and dying between coats until the area is level and smooth. You can texture while layering your compound with your grain pads. One little trick I use to help level the repair when using a grain pad is a little rubber squeegee about 3″x5″, it’s what body shops use to squeegee the water off the painted surface when they wet sand. This little thing works great, when you use your hand to imprint your grain into your repair, your hand kinda molds around the area and doesn’t leave a level area but with the rubber squeegee it gives you a little more backing when you go to imprint. Now graining your repair can be tricky, the low cure compound doesn’t grain that well, but if all else fails make sure the repair is level, this is your best hide. If that is achieved then texture with your spray grain.

One last trick up my sleeve is the use of a great product from Urethane Supply Co. This is a two part epoxy like substance that is specifically designed for padded dashes and the name says it all, Padded Dash Filler.

This stuff is the bomb, when it comes to dash repair. Mixes like Bondo and is even applied like bondo, but its flexible. It’s just what the doctor ordered when it comes to dash repair. If the crack is larger then 1″ this is the stuff to use.

Now this product will require you to trim the area and then sand around the area about 1″ to 2″ out with a heavier grit sandpaper like a 180 grit, this gives it something to bite too. Trim down into the foam a little to, so that you make like a little groove for the compound to lay in.

Mix your compound on a small piece of tile, I like using small tile pieces, they clean up easily and are easier to hold when mixing and applying. Now when you get the product they send you the red catalyst, try the blue, it seems to set up a little quicker. The blue you can get at any automotive parts shop. But the red works just as good just takes it a little longer, time is money in my business.

Apply your compound liberally over the repair area, don’t worry about getting your first coat really smooth, all you need is to get it covered, you’ll be sanding it smooth later. Let it set up for a while, depending on the weather will depend on how long this stuff takes. You can speed it up a little with a heat gun but don’t melt it just give it a little boost.

Once hardened start sanding, I usually start with a 180 grit to knock off the big chunks then progressively move my way up to a finer grit like 240 and then to 400.

One coat won’t be sufficient, I promise, this is another layer thing. Sanding between coats. Each coat you apply you will need to make smoother. Again what your trying to achieve is a smooth level repair.

After all is smooth and level, grain with a spray grain then dye.

As far as texture goes, I use two types of spray grain. One is a water based spray grain and the other is Sems Texture Coat. In fact the Sems Texture Coat almost matches the some of the Pontiac dashes to a tee. Now the Sems Texture coat is a solvent based, but I haven’t had a problem with it peeling up against the water based dyes on the dash, so kudos to Sems.

One other trick I have found with the the Sems Texture Coat is after sprayed if you let it flash out a little but not dry completely, you can take your grain pad and imprint your grain into the texture coat, pretty cool huh.

Dash repair is an art and a craft, just like all automotive interior repairs. If the steps are followed right and patience is used in your repairs you success will be good.

Hope this helps in your dash repair adventure. One thing to always keep in mind is to keep your repair as level as possible, this is your best hide.

The Advantages of Limestone Driveway Paving

A pavement plays a crucial part in adding beauty to a home. Perhaps, the condition of a pavement is greatly determined by the quality and type of materials used. A great driveway is that which is durable and requires minimal maintenance. Moreover, when choosing paving materials, it is important to select those materials that match the prevailing climatic conditions of an area. Getting the right kind of paving materials coupled with great paving ideas can render a high home or business profile.

Limestone has been the trusted product in making pavements. It is obtained naturally from ocean sea beds and caves and is preferred for its natural ambiance and durability. It adds charm and complements with the color its surroundings.

The Benefits Of Using Limestone In Making Driveway Pavements

  • Limestone paving is cost-effective

Limestone driveway paving is an economical option that one can use in making great driveways. Limestone pavers are suitable especially in areas of high traffic as such places require high costs of replacement and maintenance. Despite the affordability of limestone, it creates an impression of an expensive pavement.

  • Limestone is durable

Some areas which experience adverse weather conditions can make pavements slippery. Frequently replacing pavements can be stressful to homeowners. The application of limestone in making driveway pavements is an ideal way to reduce such stressful replacement costs. Besides, limestone is a heavy duty stone that is hard to transport around. This is why most homeowners today are going for limestone as it will last longer.

  • Variety of color options to choose

Variety is what most people like. Limestone offers a wide range of colors to complement the needs and styles of most homeowners. Limestone can be given a variety of finishes. This therefore makes it easily customizable to match with the needs of every home owner.

  • Limestone pavers are easy to replace

In case there is a need to replace a driveway because it has broken limestone, it becomes very easy. Limestone can be crafted into any shape and size to match the needs of an individual. Limestone pavers are high flexible and customizable.

  • Limestone pavers are very versatile

This is the most beneficial feature you can enjoy from a limestone paver. Limestone pavers can be used for both residential and commercial pavement areas.

There are various types of limestone pavers that every homeowner can choose. They are available in various colors, textures as well as surface treatments. The amount available will vary depending on the permeability of the paver. Limestone pavers can be found in dark, gray, light, creamy, buff, gold, and white. Most of the limestone pavers come with honed surface; however, some other types of can be thermalled at very high temperatures to give it an ideal texture. Similarly, the edges can also be cut to attain the suitable shape and size to suit a driveway pavement.

Limestone paving will add ‘chic modernity’, elegance and crisp to a home or business premise entrance. As they are the first thing that a visitor sees when visiting your house it will make a good impression showcasing the area and making the driveway luxurious and fashionable.