Metal Handrail

Metal handrail can add a very aesthetically appealing touch to your home and garden as well as being extremely durable. Given that just about every home has steps, stairs or, at the very least, a slope of some kind, there are very few properties which could not benefit from a well-crafted metal handrail.

Most metal handrail is made of steel since it is cheaper than its main alternatives – wrought iron and aluminium. Although, of course, the principal reason for the balustrade railing is safety, with a few considerations and little touches, it can also be a thing of beauty which can enhance the value of your home. A simple scroll at the end of the balustrade can not only provide a visually-appealing feature, it can also offer a more secure handhold for disabled people or youngsters.

The concept of metal handrail has changed considerably in the last few years. Not long ago, all that was on offer were pieces of steel pipe or tube inserted through hoops which were fixed to the wall or welded to posts. Effective and utilitarian certainly but not particularly aesthetic. Nowadays the only limit is your pocket and your imagination. Metal handrail comes in all profiles and is made to suit just about every slope application you are likely to encounter.

Before you choose your metal handrail, you will obviously need to take into account local regulations relating to stairs, steps and slope access and any disability requirements you need to allow for. This is particularly relevant if you are in business although even domestic applications are becoming increasingly regulated with respect to access requirements. If the metal handrail is to be sited outside, another factor to take into account is vehicular traffic. For example, if the struts of the handrail are set at a certain angle, then the struts will appear as a solid mass to any driver approaching. This can be very dangerous if there is a crossing with animals and small children being effectively invisible. If you have that situation, talk to a civil engineer who will be able to guide you into purchasing the right type of metal handrail.

Finally, after you have chosen your scrolls, end pieces, balustrade and railing, you can now decide on a colour scheme. Why not choose something bright and cheerful like pillar-box red, blue, green etc? This will both protect the steel and also enhance the beauty of your new handrail.

Expect to pay £60 to £100 (US$120-200) per metre for installed and painted metal handrail.

How To Install Your Iron Railings


The International building code requires that a guardrail withstands a minimum of 200 lb, applied tangentially to the top rail. This means that a person or a few persons leaning against the rail could eventually apply a tangential force equal to 200 lb and the railing should be able to resist. There are several factors involved on this. However, the only factor that virtually does not count is the type of railing, because, for the most parts railings are build following common practices, and they are usually just OK. The main factor for code compliance is the quality of the installation. If one does not attach the railing properly, even if the railing is made of thick solid steel, it will not pass the 200 lb test. It does not make sense to build an iron railing that will probably need a force equal to 1000 lb just to slightly bend it and then leave it lose against the wall! But this is what happens most of the cases when a railing has failed.


There are several type of “walls” where railings are usually attached to. EXTERIOR BRICK WALL normally this type of wall has regular wood framing behind, and the brick is just attached against it. If you want to be over cautious, you may drill through the brick with a masonry bit, up until you reach the wood behind, and then pre-drilled the wood to drive a long enough 3/8 inch lag bolt into it. However by experience it is possible to use expansion bolts, 3/8 by 1 7/8 and install them into the brick and still have a strong enough grip. If the brick is lose or cracked, you may have problems. Also if you open the hole too much, the expansion might be lose or loosen up with time.Another possibility is to use concrete tap cons, which is a blue screw that is very strong. I would prefer the expansion sleeve anchors over tap cons. However, properly installed, tap cons are just fine on brick. Just be careful not to overdo while driving in the tap con, just go easy. If the brick is not dense enough, tap cons might not work. So just make sure you have a healthy solid brick to work with. If not you will en up going back to plan A. Do not use any type of anchors that would require impact, for it might break the brick, causing a greater problem.


Outside wood framing always has a 1/2 inch OSB plywood behind the siding. However you do not want to attach your railings to the plywood only, but to the real wood framing behind. You might get away installing the rails to the plywood only, but for sure, if the railings are high traffic, they will fail. If the building inspector catches that, you will fail inspection. But not all the time, sometimes you could leave, in good conciseness, the rail with a weak joint (not lose) on the top, if you there is a post near to the wall and its four floor anchors are well attached. Actually a good post attachment would waive the necessity of an upper anchor, your railing could be left free standing, and still pass the load test. As an installer you have the right to request that the proper wood backing is installed on the walls. Inside framing, on the other hand, is covered with drywall. A drywall anchor will not take the load, even less than the OSB. So, don’t install your railings on drywall. However there is two exceptions to this rule: the first is the one we already mentioned, and the second is that if the railing is a wall mounted railing only, and let say you have 4 brackets, and one is on drywall, it is going to be probably OK if the bracket is not at one of the ends.


The recommended anchor for this cases is always a sleeve anchor, 3/8 x 1 7/8. Some times it may require a 3/8 x 1, or even more it is a long standalone railing. Tap cons are also OK in short runs. When there is greater danger and appearance is secondary, the best way to go is to core drill the concrete and then embed the legs with hydraulic cement. Of course if you could have the railings ready before you cast the concrete and cast them along, that would be the ideal situation. Railings joinery sometimes the railings need to be split and then joined at installation. The best joint is the welded one. You bring your welder, grind the spot, welded up and then touch up paint. However, if you paid for an expensive powder coating finish, you don’t really want to weld on it, unless it is completely necessary.

Bolting is a second option, which requires a nut on the other side. It is good but too conspicuous. Specially if one does not grind off the excess tread and leaves the bolts unpainted. If this is your case make sure the nut is tight enough and then seal it around with clear silicone to avoid moisture penetration. Self tapping screws with a neoprene washer is the best option. Screws are not so visible and provide a very strong joint, which is also waterproof. Way to go!

When installing the self tapping screws go slow with the drill, making sure it is NOT in hammer mode. If you go too fast it might kick you back and cause an injury. So be careful. Remember that at slow speed the drill has more torque, so you are not doing much more by speeding up too much. One thing to remember is that it is better if you clamp the two pieces together before drilling, and that this is the last step. Make sure everything is lined up and attached, and then install the joint screws.


Here the problem is that ceramic tile or slate break easily, especially if there is a hollow spot. First of all, make sure you tell the owner of the house or your wife that this might happen, it will keep you out of trouble. Then, always try with a thin 1/4 inch bit and then go with the 3/8 or 1/2 inch one, and make sure you use long enough screws to reach the wood or the concrete underneath.


Sometimes there are worries about damaging the waterproofing of the deck, if that is the case and face mounting is not possible, for short spans, when there is a solid attachment of the top railing, it is possible to glue down the intermediate legs and even the posts. Use 1099 glue by 3M, which is much better than regular contact cement.


If for any reason you decide to face mount your railings, just remember that there is a lot of momentum on this type of mount, therefore the minimum spacing between bolts vertically should be 3 inches. Both screws need to be strongly attached, with a minimum of 2 1/2 inches of real wood penetration, therefore there should be 2 boards on the mounting face. Therefore use 3/8 by 3 wood lags. If you don’t have 2 boards, you need to have 4 screws per leg. The best way and safer way, would be pass through bolts with washers, if you have access to the back of the face. Use 3/8 of an inch bolts. If you are face mounting on concrete you need a 3 bolts with a separation of 3 inches in between, and you need to use 3/8 x 3 sleeve anchors. If the slab is not thick enough, then don’t face mount, unless you are allowed to have kickers every 6 ft minimum. I think I have covered all the possible scenarios; so, the only thing left is to say:

Happy railings installation!

Now that you know how to install your railings, lets order them online. Check out this website which contains an array of railing designs for a very affordable price they also ship them Nationwide.

The Four Phases of the Atkins Diet

Some years ago Dr Robert Atkins released a brand new diet known as the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet plan went against all of the commonly accepted information about weight loss and healthy eating by promoting a low carbohydrate, high protein, high fat diet. In addition to this dramatic shift followers of the diet were also told to stop counting calories and start counting daily carbohydrate intake. To everyone’s surprise the diet really seemed to work with many people experiencing dramatic weight loss and improved health. What is the Atkins diet and does it still have a role for weight loss today.

The Atkins diet plan is essentially broken up into 4 distinct phases which all involve different levels of carbohydrate restriction.

Induction: The induction phase of the Atkins diet is the most extreme stage and generally only lasts for about 2 weeks. During this phase carbohydrate intake is restricted to 20 grams per day. The aim of this phase is to push your body into lipolysis (fat burning) as its main metabolic process by dramatically depriving it of glucose. Significant weight loss is generally seen during this phase but due to the extreme of carbohydrate restriction side effects such as constipation and ketone breath may occur. Supplements are recommended in particular during this phase to make up for lost nutrients from less intake of fruits and vegetables.

Ongoing weight loss: This phase is much less dramatic and you are encouraged to increase daily carbohydrate intake by 5 grams each week until you stop losing weight. This allows you to know your critical carbohydrate level for losing weight (CCLL) which is a valuable tool for maintaining your ideal weight.

Pre-Maintenance: This phase of the Atkins diet is all about stabilising your metabolism after ongoing weight loss and increasing your body’s carbohydrate tolerance. You should increase your carbohydrate intake by no more than 10 grams each week and also at the same time experiment with lots of different foods in a controlled manner to see which foods are best for you as an individual. You should reduce your carbohydrate intake gain weight but the ultimate goal of this phase is to discover your critical carbohydrate level for maintenance (CCLM).

Lifetime Maintenance: This phase is all about sticking to the pre-determined maintenance carbohydrate intake that you learned going through the last 3 phases. The main aim of this phase is to learn strategies to avoid temptation in order to stay at your ideal body weight.

That is a brief run down of the four phases of the Atkins diet. Though an effective diet for weight loss, its important that you know what you’re doing before embarking on the Atkins diet plan, and I would highly recommend reading into the topic further before starting. As with any new diet you should also visit your doctor first for advice and for baseline blood tests to ensure that the diet is working for the benefit of your health as well as your waistline.

Types of Light Switches For Bathrooms

Most of us are used to the standard light switch in the bathroom, that we turn on and off by hand. However, these switches do not maximize the flexibility that newer light switches provide. In this article, I will discuss the different types of light switch available for bathrooms and provide you with some ideas for choosing which light switch is right for you.

The main problem with standard light switches in bathrooms is that they are extremely glaring. At night, we generally walk from a dark bedroom into a dark bathroom. Our irises are extremely open to compensate for all the darkness. So, when we enter the bathroom, the sudden bust of light is painful for our eyes. As a result, a number of alternatives have been developed.

Standard Dimmer Switches: This is the type of dimmer switches that has been used for generations. Rather than simply flip on the light, one manually selects a light level by turning the switch clockwise from 0-100%. So, when you are entering a bathroom at night, you can slowly turn the switch to about 40%, which is usually about all the light that you need.

One issue with these switches is that they do not work well with many fluorescent lights. Most fluorescent lights simply have two settings: on and off. As a result, you’ll need to purchase two special pieces of equipment. First, you’ll need an electronic dimmer switch. Second, you’ll need fluorescent bulbs designed to work with dimmers. Such a combination can cost about $200.

Pre-set Dimmer Switches: Somewhat less expensive are “pre-set” dimmer switches. These have an in-built computer that includes various light levels depending on how you set them. You can use them in interesting ways in the bathroom. For example, you can set the computer to only have dimmer light levels at night, but brighter levels during the day. Alternatively, you can have the switch include multiple buttons at different light levels.

Motion-Detection Switches: When combined with pre-set dimmer switches, these can be very powerful. They are set to turn on, not when you hit the switch, but when you walk in the room. This saves you fumbling around for the light switch in the dark. Combined with a pre-set dimmer, you can set your lights to create dimmer light at night, whenever you walk in the bathroom. Make sure you set them to leave the light on for several minutes, however, or they can turn themselves off when you stop moving.

With all the options available today, there is no reason we need to be blinded by our bathroom lights. Dimmer switches and motion detection can provide perfect nighttime bathroom lighting.

A Bigger Package In An Instant? Frontal Enhancement Underwear for Men

Did you know that a bigger package can be yours without pills or hormones or even surgery? Nowadays, no matter what your body flaws are, there is a solution for it. Some people might be surprised to learn that they make frontal enhancement underwear for men…. but for others, these products are literally an answer to their prayers. No more hiding No more self-consciousness. Just the incredible profile that you’ve always wanted below the belt.

Padded Underwear vs. Frontal Enhancement Underwear

The difference between the two is really an issue of semantics. Obviously, padded underwear can enhancement your frontal measurements but frontal enhancement underwear does not always include foam or silicone padded inserts. Follow me for a moment. Some men’s underwear avoid adding all of the extra material and instead rely upon a bit of technology to make your bulge look bigger and fuller. How exactly does this work? You can thank a special pouch sewn into the front of the underwear that gently lifts and makes your package look pronounced. How much frontal enhancement can you expect? According to industry standards, you can expect to add somewhere between 1.5 to 2.0 inches to your frontal measurements.

Two Brands You Need To Know About

First, there is the Andrew Christian Show It Collection. This men’s underwear line features a wide variety of styles with one thing in common – these undies are designed to maximally enhance your package. There are no padding or uncomfortable hidden straps. You slip them on just like regular underwear. The only difference is the hidden pocket for maximal frontal support. You will be thankful for the extra 1.5 inches added to your package (and equally more thankful that the pouch is completely invisible to the naked eye).

Andrew Christian also has another line you may be interested in – it’s called the Shock Jock collection. Shock Jock underwear is slightly different from the Show It collection in that it includes a bulge-enhancing contouring cup. The active shaping cup is responsible for extra shaping, support, and protection. It is also removable. But who would want to remove the cup once you discover that it adds an extra 2 inches to your frontal measurement?

Shock Jock vs. Show It Collection

The Andrew Christian Show It and Shock Jock collections are both among the company’s bestselling items. Which is the best product to choose? Making this determination totally depends on your preferences. The inclusion of the active shaping cup places the Shock Jock collection more along the lines of men’s padded underwear. If the idea of a contouring cup insert is a bit disconcerting, then you can trade the extra half an inch of enhancement for the Show It collection. Rather than adding something that isn’t actually there, the Show It underwear line simply lifts and profiles the best of what you have below the belt. Either way, judging from the popularity of these underwear, chances are that you won’t be the only dude on the block who’s thankful for the incredible looking bulge once you take off your pants.

Exterior Building Materials

Most of the time, people who build their homes focus much of their attention on what they put inside their houses. Many homeowners hire interior designers to design their homes, and most items found in home improvement stores are for the interior of the home. However, although what you put inside your house is very important, what you put outside is also very important. The outside of your house is what people first see when they visit your home. It the first impression your guests make. Given this, you must put a lot of thought about the exterior of your home.

To make the exterior of your home as inviting as the interior, there are a number of things to consider, especially with the materials that you use. The exterior should be aesthetically pleasing, yet it has to withstand the elements.

One very good example of this is exterior vinyl windows because the materials used for them are designed to blend with your house and to last a long time. This is because shutters are considered to be perfect additions to a home to enhance its appearance. In addition, most external shutters are made out of vinyl, which is ideal for use outdoors. However, if you wish to use wood, you can waterproof them by using different chemicals that can be applied on the shutters.

The exterior of a home is equally as important as the interior because it is what your guests first see. Given this, you also need to put a lot of thought about the appearance of the outside your house and what materials to use that will not only make your house look attractive but able to withstand the elements for years to come.

Use Contemporary Bathroom Vanities To Achieve The Freshest Facade

When you want to achieve an up-to-date ambiance for your bathroom, contemporary bathroom vanities are the way to go. From being linear, minimal, metallic (nickel or chrome) and even futuristic, there can be designs to your liking. It can result in a very interesting beauty that can truly give an impression of chic urbanity.

Most of contemporary bathroom vanities do not have any natural material, but they can also endure long-term wear and tear, giving you lasting beauty for years. Here are some definitive and common features of contemporary bathroom vanities:

1. The mirrors on contemporary types do not come with frames. They have clean-lined cabinets, and unusual sink designs.

2. Sink designs are always unusual and would stand out on the first look. They would look like bowls on a tabletop. Typically called a vessel sink, there might be more designs but they can really give out the impression of a nice contemporary theme.

3. Clean or very slim cabinets, which tend to flush on to the wall, are one of the qualities of contemporary bathroom vanities.

4. Modern faucets are longer than their older counterparts. They can extend out of the wall. On modern bathrooms, they are usually used to save space but still give out an elegant look without compromising the design.

5. Cabinets come from steel or even glass. There are also other types such as brushed chrome, acrylic, unstained wood and other designs to your liking.

As aesthetics can be the first priority these days, many innovations would surely come in handy. In the subject of contemporary design, bathrooms with modern designs are a great place to show out this design.

Fortunately, contemporary vanities are convenient due to their packaging. As you can buy them as a set to eliminate the need for mix and matching to fixtures and other vanities, this will give you more focus on the installation rather than focusing on how to match them.

There are also other items to look out for when shopping for your set, towel rails and traps can be a very nice item to customize and install on your contemporary-themed bathroom.

The Secret to Perfect Solder Lines

Solder is used to hold the various pieces of stained glass together in a stained glass panel. To achieve a professional quality, solder lines need to be smooth and uniform. This can be achieved by following basic steps and using quality tools and supplies.

The tools and supplies needed for soldering include a soldering iron, solder and flux. The soldering iron should have a ceramic heating element with either a built in temperature controller or plugged into a separate temperature controller unit. The solder used needs to be a 60/40 mixture of alloys for the majority of your soldering. For decorative soldering, an alloy mixture of 60/37 solder is recommended. An odorless non-smoking liquid flux is the preferred flux.

Basic Steps for Soldering

  1. Heat the soldering iron to 68 on the temperature controller
  2. Use an abrasive pad or wet sponge to clean the iron’s tip before you begin and periodically as you work.
  3. Lightly apply flux to a section of the stained glass project you are working on
  4. Using 60/40 solder, unroll it to a manageable length, and then lightly touch the area to be worked on.
  5. Place the solder on the tip of your iron and move both the iron and the solder at a slow constant rate following the fluxed copper foil seams.
  6. When you need to end or stop, do not just move the iron vertically off, but rather slide the iron towards the glass.
  7. Don’t solder out to the perimeter of your stained glass piece, leave approximately ½ inch along the edge. This will allow the zinc came to fit over your glass.
  8. When finished with one side of your stained glass piece, carefully turn it over and repeat the same process on that side.

How to Avoid Common Problems

  • Pits or bubbles in solder lines – Too much flux causes pits and bubbles
  • Portions of copper foil visible – Using too little flux, portions of the copper foil will remain visible
  • Lumpy lines – The iron is not hot enough, turn the temperature up in small increments
  • Glass breaks – Either the iron was too hot or it was held in one place too long
  • Solder spits and sputters – Too much flux was used
  • Lines flat – The iron was moved too quickly or not enough solder was used
  • Solder bulges – The iron was moved too slowly or too much solder was used
  • Peaks in solder – The iron was not hot enough
  • Solder seeps through to the other side – The iron was too hot
  • Copper foil lifts up when soldering – This could be a result from too hot of an iron, moving too slowly, too much flux or a bad foiling job

While patina will mask some inconsistencies in your solder lines, others will still be noticeable and take away from the professional look of your piece. With patience, practice and the correct tools and supplies you can have professional solder lines.

Soldering Guide for the Electronics Hobby

A soldering iron is a tools that looks very simple to use, but is it? Well, actually it is simple to use it when you know what you are doing. This article will guide you with some important rules when you build an electronic circuit.

Just follow these rules and you can be sure that you will use it correctly:

1. Always clean the head of the soldering iron tool before using it. You can clean the head with a special wet sponge that you can buy at every electronics hardware store. Cleaning the head of the soldering tool removes any flux or other unwanted materials from the head.

2. Put some solder over the head of the tool.

3. If you solder two wires together you must first solder them separately until they are both covered with soldering at the edge of the wire. After this step you can connect the two wires together and place the soldering head on them until the solder melts and connects them together.

4. If you solder a pin of an electronic component on a printed circuit board you should place the head of the soldering tool in a way that it touches both the board and the pin of the component for 2 seconds until they are both hot. The next step is adding soldering wire at the connection point of the soldering tool, component’s pin and the board. Wait for another two seconds until the solder covers the pin and touches the board. Quickly move the solder tool away.

Dry Socket After Tooth Extraction Is Highly Painful With Foul Odor


Dry socket is a temporary dental condition that sometimes develops during the first few days – 1-3 days – after the extraction of tooth. This is alternately known as alveolar osteitis. This condition is extremely painful and has a foul odor. The formation of dry sockets takes place if the blood clot fails to form or if the formed blood clot gets dislodged from the socket. The blood clot formation is necessary for healing of the bone and without blood clot the bone is exposed to air, food, and fluids and produces a foul odor. Further the process of healing gets delayed. This condition occurs because of complications that occur after extraction of tooth such as impacted Wisdom Tooth.


The symptoms of alveolar osteitis are – acute pain after tooth extraction, bad breath, bad taste, visible bone in the socket, lymph nodes around the jaw or neck get swollen and radiating pain from the socket to your ear or eye.


After extraction of teeth you will find that a blood clot forms at the site of tooth extraction. This clot protects the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. This clot forms the foundation for the new tissue and bone growth.

There are certain cases wherein the formation of the clot is improper or the clot is dislodged from the socket much before healing. In the absence of this clot the bone and the nerves in the socket get exposed to food, fluids and air. This causes acute pain both in the socket and also along the nerves that radiate to your ear and eyes on the same side as the tooth.


The following methods are followed for treating dry socket; these methods are mainly aimed at reducing your pain.

  1. Medicated dressings – your dentist or oral surgeon will pack the socket with medicated dressings. Dressing has to be changed often depending on the severity of the tooth pain.
  2. Cleaning the socket – your dentist or oral surgeon removes the debris or food particles collected in the socket by flushing it out..
  3. Pain killers – depending on the pain you have your surgeon will prescribe pain killers. If OTC pain medications are ineffective the surgeon might prescribe stronger pain medications for relieving your pain..
  4. Self-care – it is also possible that your surgeon might train you to flush your socket using a specialized syringe, water, salt water, mouthwash or a prescription rinse..

Within a few hours of starting treatment you will get relief to certain extent. As days go by the pain will start reducing and the wound will heal within a fortnight.

Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors are – oral contraceptives, past history of having dry socket, lack of post-operative care, smoking and infection of gum or tooth.


Some of the complications are – absenting from school or work, delayed healing after extraction, infection and pain.


Occurrence of dry socket can be minimized by taking proper precautions both by the patient and the oral surgeon.

Some of the actions that will prevent the occurrence of dry socket are – application of medicated dressings after surgery, oral antibiotics, avoiding smoking and taking tobacco products, using antibacterial mouthwashes, timing the surgery when your estrogen levels are low, avoid eating foods like pasta, peanuts, popcorn etc. whose pieces that might embed in the socket.

Garage Door Rough Openings

One of the most confusing aspects of homebuilding can be the

rough opening for an overhead garage door. It is one of the

most frequent questions I am asked.

The rough opening for a garage door, simply put, is the

actual size of the door itself. For example, if the garage

door is a 7’0″ x 16’0″, then that is the size the rough

opening should be framed to. This is also what the opening

in the foundation should be. The studs and cripples will

then stop right at the edge of the foundation.

The foundation usually drops 8″ to allow the concrete floor

to be poured over the top of it. This has to be accounted

for when figuring the length of the cripples to get the

right height of the overhead door header. Normally the

floor is poured 3″ below the top of the foundation wall. If

the overhead door is 7′ then 4 and 1/2″ is subtracted from

that height. This is the 3″ drop and 1 1/2″ for the bottom

plate. Your total cripple length would be 6′ 7 1/2″.

Once the floor is poured, the door jambs can be installed.

The width of these jamb pieces vary with the size of the

wall and what the wall is finished with (brick, siding,

dryvit, etc). The header piece is installed first, then the

two side pieces. These go from the header to the finished

concrete floor. Once the jambs are in the door can be

installed. With the door installed the door stops are then

put on either with or without weatherstripping.

If you know the door size of your overhead door, you know

the rough opening. From there its determining where to start

and stop your framing.

(c) Mike Merisko

Golf Hole In One Frames

For an avid golf player, nothing compares to a hole in one experience. If you are one of those who have sent the golf ball into the hole with a single stroke, then you must be really overwhelmed and proud. Why not? For an average golf player, the likelihood of accomplishing such a feat is rare. Only one in 8,000 can do so.

Memories of such a victory are priceless. There are a lot of ways to preserve such good memories-and one is through golf hole in one frames. You can frame a photograph that shows you making that winning stroke. This picture can adorn your desk at home or in the office, or hang on the wall of your living room.

Golf-inspired picture frames are specially designed to match your passion for the game. Their borders are usually decorated with miniature golf equipment and accessories such as golf clubs, golf balls and golf shoes. These frames do not only serve as ornaments but also souvenirs that bring back wonderful golfing memories.

Hole in one frames make excellent gifts for your golfing buddies or for those you know who celebrate the excitement of the game. Aside from their favorite golf photograph, you can place the picture of their favorite professional golfer in the frame.

Typical 4’x 6′ wood frames sell for about $10 to $24. Lacquered wood frames that hold 5’x 7′ photographs usually sell for about $25. Frames made of high-quality materials go for $30 on up to $40.

If you are up for some creative work, you can make the frame yourself. You can use thick cardboard or heavyweight paper for the frame, then paint it with acrylic paint. You can use plexi glass rather than standard glass. Plexi glass is less expensive, lighter, stronger and more shatter-resistant than normal glass.

How to Rate a Fireproof Safe?

Do you know that natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes are often the main causes of many fire accidents that destroy a lot of houses every year? Seriously speaking, fire accidents are unpredictable and we can’t estimate our losses too. In order to avoid yourself from taking too much of financial risks, it is always good if you can get yourself a fireproof safe to be placed at your home sweet home.

All the consumers wish to get quality safes to safeguard their valuables and important items. Since there are too many choices in the market, you may not be good at choosing the right one which suits your specific needs. In order to avoid yourself from making the wrong selection, I would advise you to learn some basic knowledge about the fire resistant safes.

Seriously speaking, knowing the ratings of different fireproof safes is important. The ratings determine the levels of fire protection of different safes. You need to bear in mind that a safe is not 100% fireproof when it is labeled as fire resistant. There are many details you need to find out from the suppliers.

Let me share with you some important tips about the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) fire safe ratings:

Tip 1: Look for the labels of the safes when you make your purchase

In United States, the most widely accepted label is issued by the Underwriters Laboratories. You need to be extra careful when you go through the labels of different safes. You should only choose the products which have the labels of “UL Listed”. You are reminded not to purchase the products with the labels of “tested to UL standards” because the safes are actually not sent for test. Don’t get trapped by the unethical sales techniques.

Tip 2: Know the most common fire resistant UL ratings

Basically, there are 3 common UL ratings which you should keep in mind. The safes with the rating of UL ½ -Hour Fire Endurance Test are able to stand the maximum temperature of 1550 degrees F for half an hour. However, the safes with the rating of UL 1-Hour Fire Endurance Test are able to stand the maximum temperature of 1700 degrees F for one hour. If you are looking for the highest rating, you should go for safes with the labels of UL 2-Hour Fire Endurance Test. The safes with this rating are able to stand the maximum temperature of 1850 degrees F for the duration of two hours.

Tip 3: Compare the prices and materials of different safes

What is your investment cost for a fireproof safe? Since there are so many choices in the market, you are reminded to keep in mind one good rule of thumb. The more fire protection a safe offers; the higher cost you need to bear for the particular safe. At the same time, it is important for you to spend some time to learn about the materials used to produce the safes too.

To sum up, by having sufficient product knowledge, you will be able to get the exact fire safe that you need at the best price with the best protection.

Fireproof File Cabinets – Do You Really Need Them?

So you have bought sufficient fire insurance to cover your business in the event of fire, or you believe you have. Many individuals who own businesses and homes tend to live in the false notion that they have fully protected their business and home with fire insurance. This is far from the truth. What is deemed as the intrinsic value of your business are the most critical items for its survival. How much would you value important customer mailing lists, purchases and billing records as well as warranties? Priceless! And when you are faced with the harsh reality of losing them for good in a bad fire, you would probably seriously consider getting fireproof file cabinets.

Fire proof file cabinets are designed to insulate your documents and withstanding heat from a fire. Depending on the fire resistant rating specifications you can literally keep your paper documents, media and digital records safe for varying periods of time within these safes.

The most common and reliable reference is the Underwriters Laboratories approved fire resistant rating. This is an industry standards rating system and many reputed manufacturers abide them and specify their fire proof file cabinets and burglary safes accordingly. Take for instance a UL fireproof rating of 350 degree Fahrenheit means that the interior of the safe will not exceed 350 degrees F within one hour of the fire. This is the most common standards set for fire proof safes and cabinets.

For those of you who run a business at your home office, you might consider getting an additional fireproof media safe if your business entails handling a large number of media and digital records as part of the daily activities. This is due to the fact that such files and records including tapes, CDs, DVDs, flash drives, USB drives, do not take to heat as well as paper items and they damage much more easily. Hence, instead of 350 degree F, you will need a safe not exceeding interior resistant temperature of 125 degree F in the event of a fire.

Alternatives to having separate systems is to purchase a safe-in-a-file-cabinet system which houses all your important documents together at one place, making it easier to retrieve all your items at one shot in times of fire. While there is convenience, there are also risks of losing everything in the fire.

Having separate security systems for your documents as well as media records could help to spread your risks in times of disaster when you least expect it to happen. You also have a option from a wide variety of designs and colours to choose from. Often, owners would prefer that the fireproof file cabinets and safes blend into the background of the office or home interior, to attract as little attention as possible. You can specify customization for the higher end products.

Tiki Statue Enhancements: How to Decorate Your Tiki

Tiki statues come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and styles. Some may look just right the way they are, and others may be a bit rough. If you have purchased one (and certainly if you made your own) you may want to consider embellishing the appearance to make it exactly fit your personal taste. With a little effort and some simple materials, you will be able to make your tiki really pop, and give it a finished look that will catch anybody’s eye.

The first thing to consider when finishing or embellishing a tiki statue is a sealing material. Most tikis are made out of some form of fibrous material, whether it is wood or the trunk of a palm tree. If it is to be displayed outside, the need for protection from weather is obvious. Even if the tiki is used indoors it is a good idea to have it sealed to protect it from dirt and stains.

One of the best sealing materials is polyurethane. Simple to apply, durable and easy to clean up, polyurethane makes a great finish. The best way to apply it is with the biggest brush that will fit in the urethane container. Bristles of the brush are able to get into tiny crevices that sponges and other application tools are unable to reach. I have found that using a circular motion with the brush really allows the brush to cover well.

Something to consider is that it will take a LOT of polyurethane to cover your tiki, especially if it is the first time you are sealing it (it must be redone once in a while to ensure good protection). When I sealed a 7 foot tiki, it took about one gallon (admittedly the tiki had many rough areas which tend to soak up more of the polyurethane).

Attention must also be given to the type of polyurethane used. Not all polyurethane is the same. They are designed for many different purposes. Try to find one that is specifically for outdoor use, protection from UV, heat and moisture. I used Helmsman Spar Polyurethane, and it seemed to work well.

An enhancement that I find very attractive and allows for a very authentic look is the burnt look. Perhaps it has to do with the connotation of primitive cultures, or Polynesian affinity for fire and acknowledgement of its power, but it just looks darned cool! Making it an even more attractive enhancement, it’s VERY easy to do. All you need is a propane torch and you’re all set. Simply decide the area for the burning and apply the torch. I like to burn the areas around the eyes, nose and mouth, but you can really add it anywhere you’d like. If you use this technique, make sure you have a safe area (noncombustible) and a bucket of water or other fire suppressant because sometimes the wood or palm trunk will catch fire. It usually goes out on its own in a few seconds, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

Next you may want to consider adding color. While many people consider it “unauthentic” and prefer their tikis natural, others enjoy the judicious application of a bit of paint. I enjoy both types; they each have their own appeal or “vibe.” When I do use color, I like colors in the red/orange/yellow spectrum (perhaps again tapping into the “fire” motif), and generally paint just the eye and mouth areas. I have, however, seen tikis painted with virtually every color you could imagine,-sometimes completely covered! As with most of these issues, it’s a matter of personal taste.

If there are decorative carvings on your tiki (for example palm trees, pineapples or flowers) you may wish to highlight them with paint. On my first tiki, I carved a palm tree below the face and colored the “fronds” bright green, and burnt the “trunk” with a torch for contrast. It made the palm tree stand out nicely.

If you do choose to use paint, carefully consider your brushes. I would recommend using one smaller than one used for the application of the polyurethane. You will probably want to get into areas that are relatively small, taking care not to get paint beyond a certain point. Actually using two brushes is a really good idea. Use a medium one for larger surfaces and a very small one for tiny or highly detailed areas.

When choosing paint, make sure that it will be durable. Do not use a type that will wash off (for example Tempura). I chose acrylic paints from a local department store craft section, and was able to get exactly the colors I wanted in the quantities I wanted. Unless you are painting a whole tiki, you would probably not use more than 8-16 ounces of any one color. If you’re painting really small areas for accent, you may use even less.

Enhancing a tiki statue is really quite easy as long as a bit of care is taken. While “primitive” tikis can and do look great, adding a few enhancements in just the right places can sometimes take them from “good” to “really extraordinary.” If you choose to use some of the enhancements described herein don’t be surprised, when you show off your work, if others have a hard time believing that you actually did it yourself instead of some professional.