Cool Science Project For Girls

This science project is literally cool as it uses cold water or room temperature H20 and some balloons to complete the experiment. In this demonstration you will use a balloon and expose it to the heat of a candle flame.

This project was done by a group of girls and they loved the activity, however, it can be done by a 7th grade student or as an 8th grade science experiment. You can call it a middle school demonstration since both grades should achieve success with this project.

Before you do this you will need the supervision of a parent or adult and they may actually want to hold the balloon over the flame and light the matches and candles for you. Please use caution when using matches and candles.

The materials needed for the demonstration:

· 2 balloons

· Water

· Matches

· A tapered candle in a holder

Here are the Instructions for the experiment:

Light the candle with the match.

Blow up the first balloon and tie the end. Hold the balloon over the candle flame. You may want to cover your eyes with protective goggles. This balloon will pop and does so very quickly. Relight the candle with another match. Fill up the other balloon with water. It does not matter what temperature the water is. Tie the end of this water filled balloon.

Hold this over the candle flame. What is happening? You will notice the balloon does not pop like the other balloon. The flame is not hurting the balloon skin. Why does the balloon not pop? The water is absorbing the heat and doing so very quickly that it avoids damaging the balloon or melting it in any way. You will notice some black debris on the outside of the balloon. This is just carbon emitted from the candle flame burning. It can easily be wiped off with a damp paper towel.

Here is an explanation of why the water keeps the second balloon from popping. It is protecting the balloon and keeping it cool enough to not allow it to break. Do a little research before you demonstrate this to your audience about the actual heat coming from the flame and why and how the water can absorb the heat even though the balloon is the actual material touching the surface of the candle flame.

This is another cool science project idea for your next fair experiment.

10 Interesting Facts About Wallpaper

If you want a new look for your room, and you want more than “just paint” consider the beauty of wallpaper. After all, if you think of wallpaper as clothing for your walls, you will soon realize that there are endless possibilities found in this versatile wall covering.

Just a short time spent in your local home improvement store and you will soon discover the wallpaper choices available today range in price from very low to truly over the top. And when it comes to patterns, colors and quality you could spend several days looking at all there is, and still not find exactly what you want, simply because the choices are so varied.

But what is it about this wall covering that has kept it around for years? For some it is the elegance it offers with just a bit of work, for others it’s a form of artwork, and for others it is a way to combine all the colors in the room into one focal point. With the many ways that wallpaper is used today, one has to wonder if the inventors of wallpaper had any idea that what started off as a way to duplicate hand painted walls would still be around centuries later. Consider these interesting facts about the origins of wallpaper.

  1. Wallpaper was first used in China in 200B.C. As the Chinese passed this knowledge to other cultures, the uses and methods of making paper improved with each generation and as other cultures added their own touches.
  2. In 1841 Jean Bourdichon painted 50 rolls of paper with angels on a blue background for Louis XI of France. The paper was used to decorate his various residences. Other of the elite set, soon began hiring painters to create these painted paper wall coverings for them.
  3. The oldest known pieces of European wallpaper still in existence are from 1509 and were found on the beams of the Lodge of Christ’s College in Cambridge, England.
  4. In 1675, Jean-Michel Papillon, began making block designs in identical, repetitive patterns on rolls of paper and wallpaper as we know it today was born.
  5. Americans began using wallpaper in 1739, when it was introduced by the Philadelphia printer, Plunket Fleeson.
  6. In 1778, Louis XVI issued a decree that required the length of a wallpaper roll be about 34 feet.
  7. Around the turn of the 20th century wallpaper pasting machines were invented.
  8. During the 1920s nearly 400 million rolls of wallpaper were sold, resulting in the decade being dubbed the Golden Age of Wallpaper.
  9. After WWII, wallpaper was improved with plastic resins which made it more durable, washable and stain resistant.
  10. The United States Guild of Professional Paperhangers began in 1974.

Wallpaper has definitely come a long way from being painted by hand. Today technology has added to its durability, design and uses. So, if you are looking for a new look for a room take some to check out some wallpaper.

Von Duprin Exit Devices and Fire Doors

Every region in North America and most industrialized countries mandate exit devices on commercial building doors. Exit devices, also known as crash bars or panic bars, are a crucial safety and security measure. They allow doors to be locked to people outside, but easily opened by people inside. Building owners are thus able to control access to the building. At the same time doors can be quickly and easily opened from the inside. This is particularly important when it comes to commercial fire doors.

The Von Duprin name is probably the brand most highly associated with exit devices. Von Duprin was the very first company to produce the newly-invented crash bar in the early 1900’s. The mechanism, a collaboration between three entities including inventor Carl Prinzler, revolutionized security and public safety. Today a number of companies have copied and marketed Von Duprin’s invention, and exit devices are now standard features in commercial buildings.

Most every commercial building has one or more fire doors. Fire doors are mounted within fire-proof walls. These walls prevent fire from spreading from one part of a building to another. This greatly limits damage in commercial buildings, confining it to the space, unit or floor where the fire originated. Naturally, it saves lives too.

Cutting any kind of an opening in a fire wall creates a potential fire breach. Door openings must be outfitted with fire doors made of incombustible components to combat this. Every piece of door hardware, from the composition of the door material down to the smallest screws must be able to withstand heat and flames and still perform correctly. This includes exit devices, which are mandatory on commercial fire doors.

Every industrialized country has a set of government-imposed standards which fire doors and door equipment like crash bars must stand up to. Testing in the United States involves exposing doors to a range of high temperatures for varying increments of time. They are rated on how well they prevent the spread of fire, and how long they continue to perform over time. Testing is performed and ratings granted in the United States by Underwriters Laboratories. Only UL-approved doors, components (such as crash bars) and materials should be used in commercial fire doors.

Companies which manufacture exit devices, such as Von Duprin, must adhere to UL standards when producing and marketing their products. When replacing parts, upgrading or retrofitting commercial fire doors, new components must be able to withstand the same type of heat and flames that the door and its other parts can.

Another concern with exit devices and commercial fire doors is the ability to maintain function under the added pressure that fire and heavy use brings. Crash bars may be subject to a tremendous amount of pressure during an emergency. Fire doors may be exited by several, hundreds or thousands of people in a fire emergency depending on the building’s size. The exit device must be able to withstand this pressure and still work as designed.

When purchasing any exit device intended for use in a commercial fire door, always look for its UL seal of approval. Check its rating to determine its compatibility with the function of your fire door. Major manufacturers like Von Duprin usually include this information in its product description. Finally, be sure that the hardware’s components do not compromise the functionality of the door during a fire emergency.

Nonflammable Thatched Roofs

The potential flammability of the thatched (or any other natural material, e.g. wood shingles) roofing is frequently a reason why the homeowners do not decide to thatch their houses.

They are right – reed is flammable…

and they are wrong – we live now in times when science is able to turn any flammable stuff into a nonflammable (even fire retardant) material (I strongly hope we are just one step away from inventing the nonflammable safety matches).

In the past, the thatchers solved this problem with dipping the thatching straw into the mud. It formed a hard, nonflammable crust over the thatched roofing so it was quite safe when confronted with some smaller fires (fireplace sparks, etc…).

Nowadays you have much more possibilities how to make your thatched roof fireproof as well.

Following methods of fireproofing your thatch roof are worth your consideration:

Fire retardant sprays for thatched roofing

There are some substances available on the market, like e.g. Flame Stop I-DS, which prevent the spread of flames by developing a chemically self extinguishing reaction.

Most of them are available in the form of an aerosole (spray).

Fireproof aluminum foils

As aluminum is perfectly nonflammable material (it is a metal able to last high temperatures) even a thin foil helps to keep your house interriors thermally separated from the roof (this is the method that doesn´t protect the roofing material itself – let it burn, if fire is its destiny, but rather keeps the other parts of the house separated and so safe from the roof in flames).

Fireproof batts (thatch batts) that are usually used for filling the roof framing spaces between the truss beams. Thatch batts actually are the rockwool batts, again, separating the thatched roofing from another parts of the house.

Do you think none of the above mentioned methods would protect your home enough from fire?

Separately maybe they wouldn´t… but why don´t you combine them? You´ll get one really reliable, water- and fireproof, natural, ecological and cool-looking thatching material that last years and is quickly reparable at low cost.

Suspended Ceiling Lights

Suspended ceiling lights and other fittings are slightly different from those in ‘regular’ ceilings and so it is important to be able to recognize whether you in fact have a suspended ceiling in your own home or office or a regular one. These can also be referred to as dropped ceilings, drop ceilings or false ceilings. There are many different types of dropped ceilings and many different reasons for installing them. For example one type of suspended ceiling is the ‘plenum’ space and can be used for HVAC air return – allowing for heating and cooling facilities using a duct system. Another common usage of these ceilings is to conceal things like pipes, cabling and ducts that might cover the ‘real ceiling’ above. The original use for these was to cover the underside of the floor for aesthetic reasons and in order to provide ‘acoustic’ balance as the softer tiles and space underneath would achieve better sound attenuation and absorption. This invention was designed by Donald A. Brown in 1958.

A dropped ceiling will normally be made up of a grid of metal channels in the shape of a T and these then snap together to form a pattern on the ceiling. Each square created is then referred to as a ‘cell’ and these are covered with light tiles which drop into the grid and are held in place simply by gravity (their surface area being slightly larger than the gap in the grid). This results in the appearance of the ceiling as being made up of squares (normally around two by two or four by two square feet). When you knock the tiles in the ceiling from underneath they will lift and then drop again. This is one way to know that you have a suspended ceiling, though they can sometimes be designed differently.

When purchasing things for dropped ceilings of this kind such as suspended ceiling lights, it is possible to find lights that will simply drop into the cells in the place of the tiles. Many suspended ceiling lights are incandescent lights at bulbs would be too bright and get too hot. Similarly it is possible to get speakers, fire sprinklers and other fittings for your ceilings. It is important to ensure these have the correct dimensions.

There are many advantages to this other than the ease of installation and adjustment for both the tiles, the other fittings and the suspended ceiling lights. At the same time they are great for fire safety as the tiles are made from mineral fibers or fireproof wood. This also allows for very easy access to wiring and piping particularly when compared to the difficulty that would be poised by covering it in plaster or concrete.

If you have a suspended ceiling in your home or office then, you will benefit from many advantages. You should also look into getting suspended ceiling lights and other fittings to fit your specifications.

Flooring Options: Engineered, Hardwood Floor, Ceramic Tiles, Laminate Flooring, Vinyl, and Carpet

Here are a few features of each flooring type available on the market today:

Engineered and natural hardwood floors – Natural hardwood flooring adds elegance and style to every home while increasing the property’s value. Solid hardwood floors bring a special look and feel to a home like no other flooring surface. With brands like Kraus, Kahrs, Armstrong, Pergo and others we give you a floor that will look great and stand the test of time. The Natural hardwood floors create a warm, natural atmosphere. Never go out of fashion. They are more comfortable for legs and back than harder surfaces. They are durable if properly sealed. With oiled floors, a sanding and a coat of mineral oil will hide scratches. Look for longer boards to avoid a patchwork effect. The engineered wood does not expand or contract with temperature changes. Sold prefinished. Can be glued or clicked into place directly over concrete or an acoustic underlay.

Vinyl flooring – It’s no secrete that vinyl floors in Vancouver take a beating from kids, husbands and pets that track in dirt and mud come rain or sun. That’s one of the great aspects of vinyl flooring, because its durability makes it perfect for high traffic zones like the kitchen, recreation room and the garage. But being resistant is just one part of the benefits.

Ceramic floor tiles – have always been a favorite among home owners that desire style, a variety of colors and patterns along with a surface that is easy to maintain. Ever since the creation of fire, people have been glazing tiles to cover their floors to give even the most modest of homes a sense of fashion and grace few other floor surfaces can achieve. Ceramic tile bathroom floors have always been one of the top choices when it comes to modern home interior design concepts.

Laminate flooring is a multi-layered synthetic type of floor product. The layers are fused together to create a strong bonded surface. The installation of laminate flooring in Vancouver, with its many different kinds of looks, from stone to natural wood, proves to be the best choice for both, office or home spaces, as it can set a tone of corporate professionalism or a warm homey environment. The choices are as varied as the tastes of our customers. Resists stains, scratches, dents, even cigarette burns. Relatively easy to DIY, often directly on top of existing floor.

Click-into-place styles can simply be dismantled and taken with you when you move. Good-quality laminate can last up to 25 years.

Commercial carpet- Every office can use something that will give it a fresh and inviting feeling the minute you step inside. Commercial carpet in Vancouver comes in a wide selection of styles, patterns and colors. We carry top quality brand names such as Mohawk, Kraus, Mannington and more, all carefully and professionally installed by our expert Vancouver carpet installers.

Residential carpet flooring – can come in so many different styles, colors and patterns you might just pick a different one for each room so you’ll never get bored. Whether you want it rolled out in one piece or laid out with carpet tiles, choosing carpet for the bedroom, den, family room, kitchen and even the garage has many advantages over ceramic tiles or wood floors.

A Furnace, Heat Pump, Or Central Air Conditioning – Which is Better in Colder Climates

HVAC systems may seem like technology from another world in that most individuals do not have a halfway decent understanding of how these systems work.  For the most part, the principles behind a heat pump are the same with a central air conditioner.  Furnaces work a little differently.

One common setup is to have a heat pump. Depending upon the region and climate, a home may have a separate furnace and air conditioner instead.  Having separate dedicated heating and cooling units are common in harsher colder climates such as Minnesota. Having just a traditional heat pump system would likely allow you to freeze while the heat pump continues to waste electricity trying achieve a warmer interior temperature.

Heat pumps are simply an exchanger or transferer of warm air.  In summer time, the refrigerant in the interior coils absorb warm air from inside the home and transfers it to the coils in the outside condenser unit. After the heat dissipates from the warmed refrigerant, the now cooled refrigerant travels back to the interior coils to absorb more interior heat. What is left inside the home is cooler air.  The advantage of a heat pump is that it is able to reverse this process without burning fuel, translating to fewer energy costs.  A heat pump works best in moderate temperature climates.  In a little harsher climate and region, some heat pumps are outfitted with auxiliary heating which is in essence a screen of wires in which current passes through thereby generating heat much like a kitchen toaster. A fan then blows this additional warmer air into the home’s interior.

There are newer heat pumps on the market that are designed for heating in near zero temperatures, but are not as common and are more costly. These newer heat pumps called Cold Climate heat pumps and All Climate heat pumps perform better in colder climates than traditional heat pumps, but can lack sufficient ability to comfortably cool a home’s interior in summer time.

In colder regions such as Minnesota, furnaces are still a necessity and are one of the more affordably efficient means to heat a home in the winter months. A traditional furnace coupled with a traditional heat pump would be much more efficient combination than that of having a central air conditioning system.

Lean Manufacturing: Measuring To Get Results

You get what you measure” is an old saying but is never far from the truth. The old paradigm measurements led us to do the things in the shop and in the warehouse that were the antithesis of lean manufacturing and supply management. So, if you are talking lean and are trying to influence shop floor people to implement lean, then you have to measure what is done in lean terms so that the message is clear.

To test the “get what you measure” axiom, just try putting up a chart of a particular measurement statistic showing performance over time in a place in a place where plant people (particularly managers) are likely to see it. Questions will be asked and soon, behavior will begin to reflect the desired direction of the numbers. When the New York City Police Department senior management began a program of measuring crime statistics by precinct (known in the NYPD as “COMPSTAT”) and asked the commanders to explain the unfavorable trends, crime declined in the city. Similarly, corporate senior management measures activity, much of it, like overhead absorption, unrelated to lean manufacturing leading to non-lean results. So to get going in the right direction, let’s look at some desirable lean metrics.

Average lot size. In the old paradigm we sought to amortize the setup by having long runs and large lot sizes. Now we will want to measure and report on lot sizes to emphasize how small they can be.

Shop order due date performance: % of orders completed on or before due date is the metric on lean scheduling in which we find out if we are scheduling in a manner appropriate to the shop and if the schedule is realistic and taken seriously.

Shortage incidents. The number of shortages of parts/raw materials occurring in a particular time period, usually a week is the measure of the effectiveness of forecasting not how well the planners are doing. Planners can only respond to the messages they get from the MRP module (yes, we can have MRP in a lean shop) and that is a function of how well forecasting is done.

Inventory turns. As lean is implemented inventory balance will occur and should be expressed to the shop management and labor force as inventory turns by category. Inventory turn metrics tell us if lean is really taking hold

  • Finished goods turns should be increasing as this category of inventory declines. One of the objectives of lean is to manufacture as close to the customer order as possible and not rely on finished goods to insure customer service.
  • Work in Process turns should also be increasing as the shop is organized in product cells and lot sizes decline.
  • Raw materials will likely show declining turns at the outset since the tendency of most non lean shops is to minimize overall inventories by keeping raw materials down. In a lean shop, the idea is to have enough raw materials to insure that customer orders can be manufactured as they come in.

Average cycle time per line. Much of what lean manufacturing is about is focused on the cycle time it takes a line to make a lot quantity of the goods assigned to that line. Cycle time is defined as the time a run of production takes from the time the previous run ceased production until the time the current run ceases production. This data measures set-up time, a process that often takes much longer than the actual manufacturing time.

Machine uptime as a percentage of SCHEDULED uptime. Plant balance often calls for “idling” machines to keep the plant running at the demand rate rather than the rated or capacity rate. In measurement terms, that means comparing actual uptime (or the reciprocal, downtime) to scheduled uptime as opposed to total time. Machine uptime calculated in this manner encourages running machines at the demand rate only and reflects how well scheduling is done and the effectiveness of the plant maintenance program.

Dollar value of material purchases obtained from “certified” suppliers. Here’s a good one for those who want do lean purchasing and measure progress toward modern procurement. The essence of lean purchasing is using suppliers who are “certified” as to quality, delivery reliability, short lead times, small quantities and accurate quantities. Having certified vendors keeps from having to inspect incoming material, expedite late shipments and the like.

Labor productivity. This metric is calculated as labor time per piece and is intended to measure the effectiveness of plant balancing and cross training programs. When a plant is balanced to the demand rate and has a mobile (i.e., cross trained) labor force there will be fewer people in the plant and higher throughput resulting in less time per piece produced. The key with this measurement is to calculate it at a high level of aggregation; i.e., at the department level or even the plant level. If you measure labor productivity at too low a level, say the line level, then line supervisors will think they are being incentivized to run their line as much as possible to get the divisor in the equation up.

First time quality. It’s easy to get quality by reworking bad product. The trick is get it right the first time. Measuring first time quality forces the behavior in the shop that results in getting work done right the first time. There are two behaviors that will result from this measurement: self-inspection in the cell/work center and work standardization. The latter of these is to be desired, but, when work standardization is accomplished, self-inspection is less important. Work standardization insures a consistent process that results in consistent quality. So, measure first time quality as the number of usable parts transferred out of the cell as a percentage of total cell production.

A final note on measurements: always show trends in the numbers being presented as measurements. A number standing alone tells the reader almost nothing about what is being measured. The objective in measurement is to show progress toward either a goal or generally that the slope of the line is going in the right direction (e.g., first time quality should be sloping up and shortage incidents should be sloping down).

Remember the NYPD’s success with COMPSTAT. The management of the New York City Police Department knew that if they measured and asked questions, things would change; and things did change.

Top Tips to Fix a Patio Heater

Top patio heater repair tips

Always start with the simplest causes and work down the list. One of the most common errors is to misdiagnosing a pilot with a blockage and drilling a small hole to fix the problem! Never drill the pilot light, once the hole has been drilled the burner will act like a flame thrower and is a write-off!

First check the gas cylinder has fuel and is switched on. This may be obvious but it can be hard to calculate how much gas is in the cylinder. Take the LPG hose of the regulator and turn the gas on for 2 to 3 seconds (no longer) outdoors and away from any naked flame and do not smoke while making any repairs. If you can smell and hear gas them the cylinder has fuel.

To check if the ignitor works just push the piezo red button and place your thumb on the other end. You should feel a sharp sting and hear it click, if not then the ignitor needs replacing. These are very easy to replace, just pull the ignitor lead off the rear of the ignitor and unscrew to remove. Replace with a new ignitor.

The first consumable part to wear is a thermocouple, these can last anywhere between 1 year if you are unlucky and up to 6 years depending on the use of the patio heater, storage and type. Changing the thermocouple fixes 90% of all firing problems. An easy way to work out what the parts look like and how to fix them is to view a patio heaters thermocouple on the patio heater to get a match to your type of patio heater.

Next on the consumables list is the electromagnetic valve. If a new thermocouple hasn’t fixed the lighting problem take a look at the electromagnetic valve. This sits inside the gas control valve and is accessed by unscrewing the bolt that holds the electromagnetic valve in place. When changing always use plumbers tape to reseal joints and before lighting the burner check with a leakage test. This is done by using a soap solution of one part liquid detergent (washing-up liquid) and one part water. The soapy solution is applied to the joints using a clean spray bottle or clean paint brush. Turn the LPG gas supply on but do not light the burner. Make sure the safety control valve on the burner is in the OFF position. If a leak is present, turn off the LPG gas supply. Tighten any fittings and re-test. Continue checking until all leaks and connections are tighten according the manufacturer’s instructions.

Third consumable part is a tilt switch. These can cause similar firing problems to mimic a worn thermocouple. Simple to change on most patio heaters, these are attached via two leads that push on to the tilt switch. Just unclip and swap for a new tilt switch. On some models the tilt switch is soldered on via 2 leads, if your patio heater’s tilt switch has been soldered you will need to adjust accordingly.

If all above components are working OK on your patio heater then you’ll need more specialist help. There are many cheap and cheerful tin plated patio heaters on the market and these are non repairable.

Tips Of Folding Windshield Sun Shade

The sunlight that streams through your car’s windshield can bleach and weaken the dashboard and seats. You can avoid damage caused by sunlight and keep you car cool even when it’s parked under a baking sun by folding windshield sun shade. Amongst the most popular are mere cardboard rectangles that can be folded away like an accordion. When not being used, these can be simply folded and stored in the back seat.

Fold-away sun shades constitute one of the best additions you can make to your auto. It is certain you will feel the need for one during summer. This is a product which is available in many forms, giving you the chance to find one that suits you the best. Our selection includes products for all kinds of customer. This grants us confidence in our ability to satisfy your needs. Fold-away sun shades possess so many advantages. Firstly, this style cools a vehicle and safeguards it from sun damage. Made from the most durable, high quality materials, it could save your some money in the long run.

The awning has a foldable design so you can avoid the bother of finding a large enough storage space. It folds away easily and could fit even in a compact space. The sun shades you get from any firm can be many different sizes when unfolded. Many windshield firms promise that every product you might ask for is to hand. Another advantage of this canopy is how easy it is to install. You don’t need to know a great deal about car sun shades to unravel these folding designs. What’s more, if you buy from a reliable firm, an instruction manual will help you with installation.

You will find that even maintenance takes little time because it’s so simple. With this design, there are many options. It is easy to come across simple and much-embellished folding sun shades in our collection. By way of example, the Ed Hardy folding sun shades look fashionable, just right for young drivers. For people who love tattoos, these are the prime choice, and many firms stock them. If you’re more interested in functionality than in fashion, it can still be useful to you. Only a good service provider mainly features very functional products that happen to be fashionable, too.

Most are made from foam, under a reflective metallic plate to block a minimum of ninety-nine percent of ultraviolet radiation. This means your auto stays cool and comfortable when you fit folding windshield sun shade in it. Some fold away in the style of an accordion, making storage a matter of ease. If you seriously intend to make an enduring impression on your car, you should try out something different and unique style. Browse through each one to find a sun shade that suits your tastes perfectly online.

Homemade Tip on How to Clean Your Aluminum Awnings

Aluminum awnings give you the much needed protection from the fiery sun and not only that, it gives you the chance to save your money compared to centralizing your entire home with air conditioning. These awnings can be left outside your home regardless of the weather. The only problem is when they get a little dirty.

The top of the mind is to hire a professional cleaner who would clean them for you. Your second idea should be to get a power washer to get rid of the dirt that has accumulated on them. But did you know you could damage the aluminum awnings because of that?

The power washer can create a lot of damage especially if your Aluminum awnings are coated with paint. A quick fix would be painting it all over again, but this kind of idea would cost you a lot too. The best and least expensive way to clean the awnings is to do it yourself. This task is more or less easy and which your whole family could also do.

The materials that would be needed are not at all expensive since all you need is one large bucket, a soft brush that is attached to a pole that you could be able to reach high places without climbing a ladder, rags, solvent intended for cleaning and running water from a hose.

Mix the solvent with water to dip your brush and thoroughly scrub all the visible awnings that you have. Just make sure you hose down the area first with water and make sure it does not dry up before you hose it down with water. When you are finished hosing and still could see some places that were not reached by the water, get a ladder and rinse it. Leaving the solvent there would take you back to where you started once more.

Bridge Lessons For Beginners

Bridge Lessons For Absolute Beginners.

Lesson 1 – What is the aim of a game of bridge?

Bridge is a card game for four players. It is played as two teams or partnerships. The teams play as North & South, and East & West with partners sitting opposite each other around a table.

The game uses a standard pack of 52 playing cards, with each player holding 13 cards. Bridge is a trick taking game. A trick is a round of 4 cards, with each player playing one card. One player starts each trick and each player in turn must follow suit, if they can. If the game is being played using a trump suit and a player can’t follow the suit that was led, s/he can play a trump card instead.

The trick is won by the person playing the highest card in the suit that was led, or the person playing the highest trump card.

The aim of the game is to win as many tricks as possible.

Lesson 2 – Duplicate bridge – What is it?

If you play at a club, online or just with groups of friends you will often play duplicate bridge. With duplicate bridge the cards are not randomly dealt at the start of each round. Instead preset hands are dealt so that each pair plays each hand. This way you can score your partnership’s performance against the performance of the other players taking part.

Lesson 3 – Valuing your hand

Before play starts, each player will sort their cards into suits. There are four suits: spades, heart, diamonds and clubs. Spades is the highest ranking suit, then hearts, then diamonds with clubs being the lowest ranking.

Clubs and diamonds are known as the minor suits and hearts & spades are known as the major suits.

To value their hand, each player adds up the number of high card points that they hold. They count 4 points for each ace held, 3 points for each king, 2 points for each queen and one for each jack. A pack of cards contains a total of 40 high card points (HCPs)

Lesson 4 – Let the bidding commence

Before the cards are played the players make “bids”. The aim of the bidding is to tell your partner something about the number of points held and the distribution of the cards in your hand.

Once the bidding is concluded the partnership will have agreed “the contract” that the game will be played in.

There are two types of contract – a suit contract and a No Trumps contract.

If a game is played using a suit contract then a card played from the trump suit will beat cards from the other suits – remembering that a player must follow suit if they can.

If a game is played in a No Trumps contract then, as the name suggests, a player cannot win a trick by trumping it. Trumping is also known as “ruffing”.

Hub Bearing Assembly Vs Wheel Bearings

Hub Bearing Assemblies are the lesser of two evils when tackling your wheel bearings. There are certain advantages of the Hub Bearing Assemblies vs. the Wheel Bearing. It is not a difficult decision when you have a bad bearing. If you have the option of getting a Hub Bearing Assemblies, take it.

The wheel bearing is a precision machined component and it has an important job to do. The 4 wheel bearings in a car hold the weight of the entire vehicle and they have to allow the wheels to roll freely as they do their job. The successful installation of this component is heavily weighted on the proper torque of the axle nut which essentially holds the bearing together. Under torqueing the axle nut lets the bearing separate, over torqueing leads to a grinding sound from the bearing.

For some vehicles your only option is the Wheel Bearing, and this is because the bearing is pressed directly into the knuckle, and the hub is then pressed into the bearing. When installing this type of wheel bearing a hub tamer or press is required; this often makes paying a mechanic to do the job quite worth while if you are not equipped with the proper tools. On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to have a vehicle that has the option to replace the entire hub assembly, a lot less specialized tools are needed. The hub assembly is a housing that has the bearing and hub already pressed into it. Installation consists of removing the defective or worn hub bearing and bolting the new hub bearing assembly to the knuckle.

The other advantage of this design is that the hub bearing assembly often includes the ABS ring and/or speed sensor. These components often suffer damage due to corrosion and dirt contamination. Of course the chances of this happening are reduced when the components are replaced along with the hub assembly.

The general rule is that if your vehicle has the option of replacing the bearing as a complete hub assembly, you are better off replacing the complete hub assembly. You are replacing a variety of components that are always susceptible to damage and wear. The hub bearing assembly is typically easier and less time consuming to install. The extra money you spend on the hub assembly as opposed to just the bearing may even be made up in the labour cost savings.

How to Properly Mount a Blacksmith Anvil

One of the first tools that you must acquire as a beginning blacksmith is the anvil. Anvils come in many styles and shapes and price ranges, but all need to be mounted on a sturdy support to work.

Traditionally the anvil was mounted on a large heavy stump, typically of elm or maple wood. This provided a platform that raised the anvil to working height and would endure the pounding of the steel with heavy hammers. In old pictures and paintings you can find many variations of this mounting on a stump. You will often find tools arranged around the stump for easy access.

Today we have more options when it comes to mounting an anvil. Height is just as important as what it is mounted on. I have worked on anvils too short and ones too tall. The actual height can make a dramatic difference in amount of work you can get done and the rate that you fatigue at. The old rule of thumb for anvil height was to stand straight and make a fist and the distance from the floor to your knuckles is the height to the top of the anvil.

If you look at this height from the side you will see that with a hammer in your hand and a piece of steel on the face of the anvil your elbow will have a slight bend to it. This bend is actually a shock absorber. If you have a straight arm at the end of your hammer swing you will stress your elbow joint and the tendon inside. This can be very painful and can limit your blacksmithing severely. I prefer to err a little more on the side of caution and have set my primary anvil at wrist height when I am standing beside it.

This gives me a little more cushion on the impact. Another consideration is the type of work that you will be doing on the anvil. Small light work, we tend to bend over to look closely at the detail as we are hammering it. This places a strain on the low back. Heavy work, we tend to be more upright allowing more power to be provided. Usually on large bars accuracy is not required until we get to the refining stage.

If you work constantly on large bars your anvil could be set a bit lower. If you work on small delicate details then a slightly higher anvil can make a huge difference.

The actual mounting system of the anvil is very important and often over looked. If you go into an old traditional blacksmith shop, the anvil is often just sitting on top of the stump and not even tied down. This is the worst scenario. The anvil will move around with each hammer blow and eventually you have to reposition it to keep it from falling off the stump.

Some smiths have used bent steel as staples driven around the feet of the anvil. This will keep it on the stump but the staples eventually loosen and it rattles around.

The best solution is to bolt the anvil as tight as possible to the stand or stump. Although not traditional I have seen heavy metal 3 legged stands work very well for blacksmith anvil bases. The point of bolting the anvil down is that you are effectively adding the mass of the stump or the stand to the weight of the anvil. In general the heavier the anvil the better as more of the force of the hammer stroke goes into the bar instead of moving the anvil. So if our stump weighs a 100 lbs and it is bolted tightly to the anvil we are effectively adding a 100 lbs to our anvil. Of course it should be a good anvil to start with.

What I have used effectively is a thin strip of steel front and back of the anvil. Flat bar ΒΌ inch thick by 1 inch wide works well. These strips are lag bolted with heavy lag bolts into the stump. In the middle of the strip there is a regular bolt and nut. I have a chain going around the waist of the anvil and over laps at these bolts. I can tighten the nuts until I have tremendous pressure pulling the chain down around the anvil holding it secure on top of the wood. This has worked well for me for many years. There is an added benefit that it will dampen down the noise of the anvil if yours happens to ring a bit loudly.

Another idea for mounting an anvil is to make a plywood box that is the right height for the anvil. Then fill it with concrete and 8 bolts welded together to a frame. The bolts will need to stick out of the concrete so that you can position your anvil between them and then bolt it down with straps over top of the feet. Make sure your concrete is level and you should have a completely secure base. Be cautious with this because you may never be able to move your anvil due to the weight.

Some people have suggested a plywood box but filled with sand. I have never liked this idea since as you work on the anvil it tends to move around and you are constantly leveling it again. The other problem is there is no effective way of bolting the anvil down to the mass of the sand.

With a little foresight in constructing your anvil stand and using a height of about wrist height and bolting the blacksmiths anvil tightly to its base you will be able to use your anvil to its full potential. Make sure that is level and that the base is heavy.

Hammer Curl – How to Do a Hammer Bicep Curl Right

The Hammer curl is a variation of the biceps dumbbell curl. It’s used to stimulate the biceps in a different way and so contribute to increased muscle growth and strength. In this article I want to show how to do this exercise with proper form.

The Hammer Curl is done with a pair of dumbbells and can be done sitting down or standing. The main difference between it and the regular curl is in the grip and angle of the hands. In this curl the grip is neutral (neither overhand nor underhand) with the thumbs pointing upwards throughout the course of the exercise.

Here’s how to do a Hammer Bicep Curl

You take a dumbbell in each hand and take your position, either standing or sitting. If you sit on a chair, make sure to elevate your feet on a short stool to ease tension off the lower back.

Place your elbows firmly by your sides and let the dumbbells hang down from fully stretched hands. If you stand, bend your knees a bit or place on foot behind you to increase stability.

With one fluid motion, raise both dumbbells as far as they can go. Make sure to not allow your elbows to move forward from your sides or to shift as they breaks the isolation of the biceps. Exhale as you bring the dumbbells upward.

At the top position, squeeze both biceps tight as possible, hold for a second, and then lower your arms back to the starting position. Inhale on the way down in preparation for the next rep.

If you want to make the exercise harder, you can do the negative exercise which means bringing the dumbbells down very slowly. This will increase the difficulty of the exercise tremendously and may lead to muscle soreness. However, it is also very effective.

Hammer curls help you train the biceps in a slightly different angle and also target the outer forearms. They are also useful at the end of a set of dumbbell curls as they are easier and allow you to do a few more sets after you’ve tired your arms with the regular curls.

Make sure to not do this exercise before your back workouts to make sure your biceps are as fresh as possible to contribute to your back workout. Otherwise, this is an excellent bicep exercise which you can use to get bigger biceps and burn off lots of calories.