Different Types of Automatic Gates

There are different types of automatic gates to meet all of your needs. In this article we are going to go over the different types of automatic gates. Automatic gates usually operate in three different ways. They can either slide, lift or even swing open.

They are more commonly made out of certain materials. They are made out of aluminum, steel or wood. The more affordable gates are made out of aluminum. Besides aluminum wood would be next. Hardwood gates can get pretty expensive. Another expensive gate would be steel. They are amazing gates but they are also very expensive.

When you are short on space than a gate that lifts would probably be the best option. You are more likely to see this type at a business. When you do get this type installed in your home. They typically open by raising up and then raising out. Using this type will only take up some space from the driveway.

The next type of gate that you could get is the slide gate. This is the best type to get f you are un-level area. They are great for this type of area because they can work at an angel. If the ground is un-level than using this type can save you money because you don’t have to pay to have the area leveled out. You might prefer this type because it opens twice as quickly as the lift.

If the area of your property is for the most part level and you are on a tight budget than the swing gate might be the best for you. Only if the ground is level than this is the type that you could install yourself. This type is also great because they have one of the simplest mechanics.

Whatever gate you choose to go with an important thing to keep in mind is that the opener should be the appropriate one for the gate that you choose. The opener has to be able to with stand the weight of the gate. If you choose to go with a an opener because it is is cheaper and it can not withstand the weight of the gate then the gate will cause damage to your property.

When deciding to install an automatic gate before you install the gate you should decide how you want to be able to open it. There are many options in which you can choose from. For example you can get a gate with a sensor so that you can have the gate open as you are pulling up.

Do the research to find out which type will suit your needs. Get all of the information so that there are no surprise costs later.

Rain Gutters Detached From the Eaves? Two Screwy Ways to Reattach Them Permanently

The problem

A recurring problem with the spike attached rain gutters is their sagging and pulling away from the boards they are nailed to. This problem must be repaired fairly quickly so the guttering will carry the rain water away from the house or building before any lack-of-drainage damage happens to it.

This problem happens most often to the seamless guttering that has been rapidly spike-nailed to its adjoining fascia boards and underlying rafter ends instead of being attached to them with wrap-around clamps or long screws. These so-called spike-nails, which are also guided through cylindrical spacer tubes (called ferrules) to keep the gutter width even, give the guttering a clean smooth appearance when its installation is done. However, over time this nail-to-wood attachment loosens under the varied weather conditions (dampness, ice, snow) and the weight of the rain water itself. The gutter then sags or pulls away from the eaves. Numerous ways to fix this problem have been suggested, everything from stuffing the spike holes with splinters of wood to using epoxy glue in them. However, two ways to fix this problem with long screws are listed below.

Fix 1 — replace the gutter spike-nail with a gutter screw.

A standard and straightforward fix is to replace the spike-nails with a gutter screws, which can be purchased in packages of 10 at local hardware stores for about $10. These gutter screws are the same 7″ length as the common spike-nails used on home guttering, but their threaded portion is slightly wider than the body of the spike itself. These screws have thin flat heads similar to those of the spike-nails. However, they will not take a typical screwdriver bit. Instead, they have sunken square sockets that must be turned with a square driver-bit that comes with the package. These sockets are also left unpainted so the driver-bit will fit into them properly. Thus, for a smooth final appearance, these sockets could need touch-up painting when the replacements are done.

Also, since the threaded portion of these gutter screws are only slightly thicker the spike-nails, they will not take secure bites into the fascia boards if the original spike holes are dry rotting or enlarged for any reason. For that reason, the gutter screws might not hold the guttering in place for long. These holes can be examined before purchasing the gutter screws. If they look soft or enlarged, the following alternate fix might be preferred to the gutter screw.

Fix 2 — replace the gutter spike-nail with a sizable lag-screw.

A second and possibly better fix is to replace the spikes with 5/16-to-3/8″ lag-screws that are the same lengths as the original spikes. For residential  guttering (4-5″ wide) that length is about 7″. For large barns, warehouses, and certain commercial buildings having larger guttering (6-7″) that length will be close to the length of the original spikes used on that guttering, about 8″ or so. These relatively thick and sturdy threaded lag-screws will take secure bites into the fascia-board holes even if they are slightly worn. These lag-screws will also fit through the original ferrule spacers fairly well, and they are easily screwed into place with ordinary ratchets or wrenches. Lag-screws of all lengths can be obtained at hardware stores.

Generally, the functionality of the larger (6-7″) gutters is more important than their having final smooth appearances. Thus, the raised hexagonal head shapes of the installed unpainted lag-screws is not an issue most of the time. Still, they can be touched-up with matching paint if desired after the gutter reattachment is done.

Humidity and Moisture Levels In The Home

Clueless about humidity levels in the home? If you’re reading this article, then you no doubt have some questions regarding humidity levels such as what is a suitable humidity for home? What is Relative Humidity (RH)? Or just how can dehumidifiers for home use help with dealing with your humidity levels? Below, everything you need to know is broken down.

Whats the Difference?

Moisture or “Water Vapour”

To put it simply, moisture (or water vapour) is water in a gas form (liquid being the obvious water, and solid being ice). One main way that water vapour increases is evaporation. Water evaporates everywhere; rivers, plants, the sea, lakes, puddles, the ground and just about any water source. The amount of moisture in the air can vary from a little to a lot, and most of the moisture contained within our atmosphere is in the initial ten thousand feet about the surface. Humidity is basically a measurement of the moisture/water vapour in the air.

Absolute humidity

Absolute Humidity is a measurement of the amount of moisture in the air, regardless of air temperature. And is measured in grams of water vapour per cubic meter volume of air. The more moisture/water vapour in the air, the higher the absolute humidity.

An example would be that at max, about 30 grams of moisture can exist in a cubic meter volume of air a temperature around the mid 80’s.

Relative Humidity

Relative humidity also measures the amount of moisture in the air, but as a percentage relative to air temperature. Basically, it’s a measurement of the ACTUAL amount of moisture/water vapour currently in the air compared with the water vapour amount that can exist at the current temperature. It is simply a measurement as a percentage, telling you just how much of the air around you is water vapour, while being relative to the temperature. So 70% RH = 70% water vapour, 30% air.

Whats A Suitable Humidity Level for Home?

Different relative humidity levels can suit different situations. The typical (and comfortable) humidity level suitable for home is around 50-55%. Mold will struggle to form and expand in anything under 50%, and it will be comfortable to live and breathe in.

There are situations where lowering the humidity will benefit though, such as Asthma sufferers. Dust mites and the debris that they leave behind are a common aggravator of those suffering from Asthma and they enjoy levels of 50% or higher. So lowering the level to around 40% will help control the mites and reduce the effects.

Another example is the condensation on windows that can occur in the winter months (or cold in general). A humidity of around 30% would help prevent this, all though some may find the air a little dry at this level.

So, heres a simple recap:

General “Right” Level: 50-55%

Dust Mite Prevention: 40%

For Asthma Sufferer’s: 40%

Condensation in the Cold: 30%

How Would I Assess My Humidity Problem?

The easiest way to do this would be to use a humidity meter or otherwise known as a Hygrometer. If you dont own or want to have to purchase a Hygrometer then the other way is to simply keep an eye out for symptoms of excess moisture such as dampness, rot and mould.

How Can A Dehumidifier Help Me?

Many dehumidifiers for home feature humidistats and auto shut off features when they reach your required humidity. You could for example, have a basement that is at 70%, and you wish for it to go down to 40-50% and keep it at that, so you would programme your dehumidifier for home to shut off once it reaches 40%, but maintain it at that and automatically bring it back down when needs be.

Or for the more simple and cheaper models which dont feature humidistats, you could assess your RH with a hygrometer (humidity meter) and just keep tabs on what level it is decreasing too.

Selecting Your New Front Door – A Fanlight Door Can Add Light and Style

Your front door provides a focal point for your home’s exterior, and also welcomes visitors. When selecting a new one, you can choose from a variety of styles and materials that accommodate your design preferences and provide necessary security and protection against weather. Combination suites of entry doors and windows add architectural interest to your home’s interior and exterior and supply natural light for your home’s interior entry area.

Fanlight Door Highlights Architectural Style

Your home’s architectural style can provide direction when you’re selecting a new front door. Homes of Colonial and Georgian Revival, Neoclassical, or Federal styles typically have a fanlight door. A fanlight is a semicircular or semi-elliptical glass window installed directly above a door, or a square or rectangular window. Fanlights are named for the glazing bars that resemble the folds of a paper fan emanating outward in the window.

Windows Add Light, Interest to Home Entry

A fanlight door can be framed on both sides by narrow windows of similar style to the fanlight. These windows enhance your home’s exterior appearance while providing additional light indoors. Available in a variety of glass textures and styles, having fanlight windows on your front door add visual interest while complementing the focal point of your front door. Though a singular material door such as an all-wood door can also have a dramatic impact if they have a nice pattern, doors with glass provide a nice touch to a front door at a much cheaper cost.

Modern Door Materials and Window Options Add Convenience

While it’s possible to find precise replicas of wooden entry doors faithful to your home’s architecture, front doors are also available in fiberglass and combinations of wood and other materials. Selecting your entry door with your climate and lifestyle in mind can help you find an entry door capable of boosting home energy efficiency and requiring less maintenance.

Workbench Height – What’s the Ideal Height for a Bench?

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to what makes the best height for a workbench. It all depends on your particular body height and the particular kind of work you plan to do there. Later I’ll cover some of the specifics on just how to find that perfect distance between the workbench top and the floor, but first let’s take a look at why the height of your bench is so important to begin with.

Make it Easy on your Back

Moving around in your shop is a great way stay healthy. Lifting, stretching, and reaching around for tools keeps our bodies flexible and well toned. The bad news is that when we stand at a workbench for hours on end, our muscles tend to stay in one place. Not so much of a problem really, if we keep a relatively good posture while we work. However, if our bench top is a little low (or a little high), our good posture goes straight out the window. The consequence is almost always a case of lower back pain. Here’s how to find the ideal height for your workbench – before you starting building.

Workbench Height to Body Height

As general rule, the height of a bench should be parallel with the bottom of your shirt cuff. This provides very manageable surface height for most of the jobs you’ll probably do there.

Adjust Height for the Job

The shirt cuff rule-of-thumb works great for jobs you’ll take to a bench, but if there’s a particular kind of work you do more often than others – you’re probably best to tweak that height one way or the other. Here are a couple of examples:

Wood Carving / Sanding

With some jobs, I like to use the weight of my upper body to help do the work. Carving and sanding wood are good examples, where I’d prefer to have the height of my bench be somewhat lower than my shirt cuff. Even as little as 6 inches lower can make a big difference with this type of work.

Repairs / Assembly

With some jobs, I’d prefer to have my bench top a little higher. I’m thinking mostly about jobs like fixing a weed eater in the garage, or putting together a gas grill. Work like this means I need to have things at least a little closer to eye level – even if we’re only talking about 6 inches above my cuff line. This prevents me from unknowingly crouching over my work, and putting that little extra bit of stress on my lower back (which is bad).

What About the Workbench I Already Have?

Of course, the best time to think about workbench height is before you start building one. But what about the bench that is already sitting in the garage or basement? Here are a few solutions for making an existing workbench better fit both for both your body height and the type of work you want to do there.

For Benches that are Too Low

If it turns out my existing work bench is too low (the most common problem), sometimes I’ll just piggy-back another work surface to the top – which simply brings my work a little higher on the bench. I’ve used everything from wood boxes, scrap boards, and plywood to do this. Keep in mind that sometimes it only takes a few inches to bring your work to a more comfortable level. You might also think about bumping up the height by simply raising the entire bench off the floor a few inches. You’ll need something fairly sturdy to shove under the legs, though – like solid wood scraps (that won’t slide around), or even concrete patio blocks.

For Benches that are Too High

In the unlikely case that my bench is too high, the quickest solution is to just find something (sturdy) to stand on. You might be surprised how much difference even a simple floor mat can make in changing your stance at the bench. For a more permanent solution, I you might think about trimming a few inches off each leg, bringing the entire bench down to where you want it.

Art Gallery – Art Gallery Show Etiquette

Do you remember long ago when you had to stand up in grade school in front of strangers and perform? Or better yet, still in school and throwing a party? Yep that is similar to what an art opening is like. The nervousness and anticipation. The gallery owner asks him/herself questions like: Will anybody come? If they do come will they buy anything? Did I advertise enough? Did I forget someone?

The artist(s) asks all those questions plus: Did I take to long talking to that person? Am I missing an opportunity by not talking to that person? Who is that person? Have I already talked to them? Am I sounding like a recording of myself – just push the “play” button and the elevator pitch comes out? Why did I not just become an office worker with a steady income, lots of free time, company benefits, paid vacation, and always an abundance of work to do – like my parents encouraged me to?

Now both the gallery owner and the artist(s) have all that in common, in addition they have to smile and act like it does not matter. Think of the Dial commercial – “Never let them see you sweat” is very appropriate. What a recipe for being or having some kind of psychological “ism” wrong with you.

What to do?

As an appreciative and supportive person of the artist (presumably you would not be there if you were not), be nice and gracious to the artist and the gallery owner. Even if you know the artist, come up and introduce yourself casually along with your date. Believe me the artist will be somewhat relieved. You have just taken off some of the pressure of a social encounter.

Talk with the artist for a minute or two or maybe a little longer if you have a question. Then mingle with the crowd. There are probably a lot of other people that want to talk to the artist that evening, but are too bashful to cut in. This is a selling event for the artist and gallery owner. Their job is to get people interested in buying art tonight and in the days ahead. Not just talk politics.

If you are interested in getting a custom artwork from the artist – make an appointment to see them a day or two after the show. An appointment after the show is a kindness. Just write your name and phone on a business card and possible times that would work for you. It allows time for the client (you) and the artist to discuss custom work in a less pressurized environment. Better art results from this.

If another question occurs to you that you would like to ask the artist – go ahead. That is what they are there for. Just remember that the artist may have forgotten that he(she) talked to you. You are not forgettable at all. Just reintroduce yourself and ask your question. Opening receptions are hard work for artists. A lot of them do not get out much – their solitary work environment gets in the way. For a lot of artists it is rather like a reception line that you shake hands at. The politician shakes your hand and moves you to the next person. You are important; there are just a lot of important people to see. Politicians also have an advantage – they have a political minder who reminds them of all the people’s names wanting to shake hands. Most artists do not have that advantage.

Enjoy the opening reception. Have some wine. Talk to the artist and also the gallery owner. The gallery owner does get lonely. Ask questions. If possible – buy some art. Have the artist personalize the art for you with an inscription. Above all have fun. It is a great night for a show and to meet people. You just might meet someone interesting or better yet find a ravishing piece of art that you just have to have now.

Pale Nail – What it Says About Your Health

With fungal infections, the nail usually turns from its healthy pink color to a dull yellowish shade. Only the infected finger or toe is affected. In these cases, the pale nail can easily be treated by topical applications and antibiotics.

However, there are also a lot of instances where a pale nail is one of the physical symptoms of serious internal diseases. These include lymphoma, renal diseases, hyperthyroidism, systemic amyloidosis, hypoalbuminaemia, and other diseases of the liver and kidney.

The appearance of the pale nail can tell a lot regarding the kind of illness a person has. This is the reason why nail polish needs to be removed before undergoing a complete physical checkup or if you are being monitored for a certain condition.

For instance, if the entire surface of the nail except for the tips has lost color, this is indicative of chronic liver disease. In this case, the nails of the thumb and the forefinger of both hands are the ones most commonly affected.

On the other hand, if milky white spots appear on the nail, this could either be a fungal infection in the nail bed or a sign of lymphoma. Although doctors can get an idea of your condition just by examining your pale nail, a lot of more complicated tests need to be done to confirm their suspicions.

There are different reasons why these illnesses cause pale nail. In a person with a kidney condition, the pale nail is the result of the nitrogen waste buildup in the bloodstream.

In most other cases, it is the lack of adequate vitamins and nutrients that cause the occurrence of a pale nail. A lack of oxygen in the body can also cause the fingernails and toenails, as well as the skin, to lose color.

Technically, there is no cure for a pale nail because it is just a symptom of a much deeper problem. To restore the healthy pink color of the nail, you must address the disease that is causing the paleness of your nails. Once your internal health issues have been resolved, your fingernails and toenails will be able to retain their natural rosy color.

In the case of fungal nail infections, you will have to wait until the nail grows out which can take anywhere from two to three months. If you follow the correct treatment procedures, the new nail that grows in will have the healthy pink shade that you want.

In the meantime, all you can do is to use nail polish if you want to hide the paleness of your nail. However, this is not always possible especially if you are constantly going to the hospital for physical checkups where you will be required to remove any nail polish.

Appreciation – How Full Is Your Bucket?

David Brandt Berg wrote, “Always remember, everyone is hungry for praise and starving for honest appreciation!”

The book, How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life, was mentioned several times on the discussion lists to which I belong. So, I was delighted to find the CD audio program of it this past week. This short book packs a big punch.

“Clifton and Rath paint a compelling picture of the good things that happen when people are encouraged, recognized, and praised regularly, as well as the emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical devastation that can occur in the absence of such positive encounters . . . Leaders who want to eliminate or avoid this kind of destruction should make How Full Is Your Bucket? required reading for themselves and their people.”

I know that a good number of us have worked at or still work at companies where we feel unappreciated. Some bosses are so bad – and I do speak from experience – that they never, never tell employees that they have done a good job. I once said to one of the worst, “It wouldn’t hurt you to say ‘thank you’ once in a while.” His answer was, “I say ‘thank you’ every time I sign your paycheck.”

Lack of appreciation, however, isn’t just prevalent in work situations. Family interactions and interactions with customers and others in passing are often far from positive. So many people never say thank you or compliment someone for a job well done. I am sure you can share many examples.

So often parents focus on the poor grades, rather than the good ones. Patrons in a restaurant complain about minor mistakes – a missing fork or spoon – and never say thank you for anything. People who are in a check out or check in line, where the person waiting on them is working as hard and quickly as possible, are often grumpy and even nasty.

You would be amazed by how quickly you can brighten a total stranger’s day by being pleasant, saying thank you or even complimenting them on something they are wearing. “My, I love your earrings. They suit you so well!”

I feel that Dale Carnegie said it all, “You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”

Here are some thoughtful and quite true quotations from the past and present:

  • Voltaire wrote, “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
  • Mother Teresa felt that, “There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”
  • Ralph Marston stated, “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”
  • And, Margaret Cousins shared, “Appreciation can make a day – even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

My question to you is: do you make your sincere appreciation of others abundant and verbal? How often do you make a positive impact on friends, family and peers? Visit the Bucket Book website and take the Positive Impact Test.

Bulldozer Personalities in the Workplace

D type personalities (“D” referring to the DISC personality profile system) are the bulldozers among us that concentrate on completing tasks, often times at the expense of the people around them.

These are the General Pattons of this world, the Jack Welchs, the Stormin’ Normans (Norman Schwarzkopf) the Mr T’s. These are the individuals that drive hard towards their goal and stop for nothing on their way to achieving this goal! I have a confession to make…..I am a D type personality. I am often guilty of being way to task focused and not enough people focused. So far this sounds rather negative, however, without D type people who stay focused on task completion there are some things in this world (including some things in your business and maybe in your family) that might not ever get done.

D’s, like any of the personality traits, have strengths and weaknesses. I have summarized these traits below;


  • Wants immediate results – impatient
  • Loves challenge
  • Very competitive
  • Initiates action
  • Confident
  • Risk taker
  • Makes snap decisions but can change a decision when new data comes in
  • Questions popular thinking
  • Takes authority
  • Solves problems
  • Manages trouble
  • Task oriented

Required Work Environment:

  • Independence
  • Authority
  • Power
  • Frequent and new challenges
  • Individual accomplishment
  • Wide scope of operations
  • Direct answers
  • Freedom from controls or supervision
  • Ability to advance or be promoted
  • Varied activities

Needs People Who:

  • Review pros and cons of decisions
  • Are cautious in decision making and calculate risks
  • Have empathy towards others

To be more effective:

  • Must have challenging work
  • Must pace themselves and relax
  • Must understand that they need others
  • Must take the time required for decisions and must try to have enough data to make the proper decision.

Major Strengths:

  • Efficient organizers
  • Focused
  • Results oriented
  • Responsible for actions and decisions

Major Limitations:

  • Lack of people skills
  • Making decisions without all of the information required

Dealing with Ds:

  • Start with the bottom line
  • Look for mutual areas of agreement (mutual wins)
  • Don’t lead up to the task at hand with small talk. Get to the point.
  • Ask “What” questions not “How” questions.
  • Stick to facts, not opinion.
  • Don’t over-dominate.
  • Don’t patronize.
  • Be prepared and organized.
  • Be clear and direct.

If you are a D type personality, I’m speaking from personal experience here, your biggest challenge is to ensure that you pay attention to the people issues around you and not just focus on the task(s) at hand. You need to patiently consider information from multiple sources and multiple biases before making decisions. Don’t make a major decision today based on one source of information and change your mind tomorrow when you get another piece of information. You need to take time to genuinely listen to others and socially interact. Don’t make the mistake that I did early in my marriage when I asked my wife to cut the chit-chat and get to the point……a very bad mistake which I have never repeated!

If you are managing a D, be aware of these things and provide a challenging environment with as much autonomy as possible. When interacting with a D, make sure you get to the point, stick to the facts and don’t waste time with idle chit-chat.

If you follow these basic guidelines your interaction with D type personalities will be less antagonistic and substantially more productive!

Mistakes to Avoid When Looking For Used Bulldozers For Sale

Nowadays, many construction companies are selling off their heavy equipment inventory at a record pace. Oddly enough a volatile economy may become the best time for you to expand your bulldozer lineup.

Not only are bulldozer manufacturer dealers offering deep cuts on used or trade-in equipment, they are making buying new bulldozers easier to do than ever. Basically these dealers are doing whatever is necessary in order to move items off their showroom floors. This in turn creates a great opportunity for a business owner to get some deals on bulldozers for sale, especially veritable workhorses like the Cat D8.

The economy like everything else will eventually rebound and those construction businesses that are prepared can seize renewed opportunities while others are still quaking under their blankets. Read this article to discover some good tips on buying bulldozers for sale.

Bulldozers are some the most powerful and most flexible heavy equipment pieces in the construction industry. Fondly called Cats (abbreviated from Caterpillar, the world’s largest bulldozer manufacturer), “dozers”, these workhorses are the one of the most common items found on any construction site. Bulldozers are separated into two main categories: crawlers with wide, tank-like tracks and faster, rubber tire models.

In either case bulldozers are basically have large hydraulic blades mounted on the front of very powerful engine with a operators cab or seat places just behind or on top of the motor. Dozers are famous for the compact pushing power and go-anywhere mobility.

They are great for landscaping and grading. Plus they make moving around loose materials like earth, sand, aggregate etc. Not to mention, bulldozers are frequently used to clear away small trees, brush and debris and stumps.

Hints on what to look for in Bulldozers for Sale

  • Check out the physical size. The standard idea is that the more powerful the bulldozer, usually the larger its overall physical size. Bulldozers also have size variables with the cab, blade, engine and tracks. But in general you may to compromise between the actual size of the dozer and its capability to move materials.
  • Check out the blade. The wide and height and attachment length are factors you need to take into consideration. The closer the blade is to the body of the machine the faster the response time from the operator but the less ground area is visible from the cab. The further the blade is away, the more visibility the operator has but the slower the reaction or response time.
  • Check out the tracks or tracks when buying bulldozers for sale. Rubber tire bulldozers are often used in the timber or logging industry as well an in surface mining and construction projects where fast speed is a priority. Crawlers are bulldozers with threads on tracks, similar to tanks. These tracks make it possible for these bulldozers to move handily on just about any type of ground. The wider the track footprint the more the weigh of the Cat is spread over a wider surface area. This allows these dozers to “float” over bogs or other wet areas.

Using the hints mentioned above you should able to find bulldozers for sale that match your project needs and budget.

A Book Review – ‘The Sett’ by Ranulph Fiennes

A Book Review of ‘The Sett’ by Ranulph Fiennes. Published 1996 by William Heinemann. London.

This incredible biography leaves the reader thinking ‘could this really be true?’ This mild mannered, archetypal man called Alex Goodman, (not his real name), should surely be the hero of the next action packed blockbuster. An Accountant by profession, his life is irrevocably changed on the afternoon of 29th July, 1984, whilst walking in the woods with his wife and daughter. After witnessing a horrendous badger killing, he is savagely beaten and none the wiser when he awakes in a Birmingham hospital, suffering from traumatic amnesia. In the following year, his memory gradually returns and what unfolds are riveting ‘cat and nine lives’ type scenarios, whilst he seeks revenge for the callous murders of his wife and daughter. The search for his family’s killers eventually takes nine years.

Since regaining his memory, Alex Goodman is thrust into the world of the now defunct, but notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I.), C.I.A. and the White House He faces drug runners, the illegal traders in human organs, repugnant badger baiters, as well as murderers, using torture and extreme violence as a way of life. Could these events really happen to a quiet, family orientated white collar worker, whom after reading ‘The Feather Men’, approached the author in the hope of having his own story told? Alex Goodman knew he was dying. He wanted his story published. His resolute motivation to avenge the deaths of his family is commendable. After being taken in and accepted by a criminal drug and manufacturing gang who called themselves ‘The Family’, he was approached by American government agents to infiltrate the B.C.C.I., as an employee to gain access to the information needed to bring the Bank down.

Alex Goodman uncovered corruption on a massive scale involving the C.I.A., the White House, the kidnapping and systematic murder of South American children to obtain human organs for sale on the black market and the workings of ethnic gangs within the United States and Britain. Readers of this book will be intrigued by the detailed recounting of the events which take place. Throughout the book, the events, names and places has been meticulously researched and backed with authentic documentation. This attention to detail is a hallmark of Fiennes’ writing and the reader will not be disappointed.

Goodman does find love again, but the union is short-lived. He befriends a prostitute, who, after some time feels empathy for this strange man who has appeared in her life, and he learns to love again. She bears him a child, but Goodman’s tragedy is compounded when both are killed as he hunts the assassin of his first family. Again and again Goodman has escaped from the revenge of the killers he hunts, only to discover that the friends and acquaintances he has made on this incredible quest are themselves killed.

‘The Sett’ is undoubtedly, amongst one of the best books I have read. This ‘tour de force’ story conjures up many emotions. The cruelty involved in the badger killings was almost unreadable. Many a time I thought I could not continue, but the compelling story drew me back each time. All animal lovers and animal liberationists will find these chapters difficult to digest and come to terms with. The combination of violence, killing and the ‘edge of your seat’ scenarios make this book impossible to put down. Some readers may challenge the veracity of this book, and indeed this story does leave you wondering, how can a normal common man be caught up in the whirlwind of violence and intrigue that descended on Alex Goodman? As they say “You wouldn’t read about it!”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is not only an accomplished author, he has also received the ‘Order of the British Empire’ from Her Majesty the Queen in 1993 for his efforts in raising 14 million pounds for charity. He was named ‘Best Sportsman’ in the 2007 ITV Great Britain Awards and in 2009 he became the oldest British citizen to successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest. These accolades pale into insignificance when viewed in the light of the trials and tribulations of Alex Goodman, a simple common man who only sought justice for the wrongs perpetrated against him by the evil men that lurk in the world’s shadows.

The 4 Different Types Of Driveways, And Why Concrete May Be The Best

Would you like to improve your home and make it look attractive and stylish? Why not consider renovating your driveway or constructing a new, nice-looking and durable walkway?

A lot of us want to improve our home and make it look more attractive, durable and also stylish. Apart from the kitchen and garage that we usually renovate, our driveway is among the areas of our home or property that we want to modernize or improve. We want to have the best driveway for our homes. But then, do you know what the best driveway for your home is?

There are many types of driveways that we can choose from. They usually depend on the building materials used and the common materials for installing driveways or even garage are asphalt, cement, cobblestone, brick, natural stones, etc.

The popular type of driveways you can find in most homes in the US and in other parts of the world are the following:

1.) Asphalt or blacktop driveways

Asphalt is the cheapest building material used for driveways. The initial cost of asphalt driveways is lesser compared to other types of driveways but then the asphalt driveway requires frequent maintenance. This is because the asphalt should be resealed every year or two. A typical asphalt driveway is gray in color and looks plain.

2.) Brick or cobblestone driveways

Brick or cobblestone driveways are considered as “high-end” driveways and are quite expensive. A brick driveway can withstand for years but then it tends to appear uneven as time passes by thus regular or yearly maintenance is also required.

3.) Concrete or Cement driveway

A cement driveway is the most popular type of driveway that you can find in modern homes today. A concrete driveway can already be considered as part of the landscape outside the home because the concrete can make the house look attractive and elegant looking.

Cement driveways are less expensive than brick driveways and do not require regular upkeep because no yearly resealing is needed unlike that of asphalt or blacktop driveways.

The types of concrete driveways are as follows:

a.) Plain concrete – is the basic and cheapest type of concrete driveway. It is plain in color and best suits those with limited budget but are longing for a durable driveway.

b.) Exposed aggregate concrete – uses materials that can be likened to granite which needs polishing in order for the beauty to come out. In the case of exposed aggregate concrete, pigment or other building materials still needs to be added to provide new color, texture or design to the concrete.

For exposed aggregate concrete, the concrete is poured the regular way into the area of the driveway but the top layer is washed gently thus exposing some of the aggregate.

c.) Decorative or stamped concrete – can cost double or triple the price of plain concrete but it it’s definitely worth your money. Decorative or stamped concrete is today’s home remodeling. Homeowners can choose a color or texture for their stamped concrete driveway based on the color and style they prefer.

In a decorative or stamped concrete, the cement is poured in the area which is already framed with boards, then patterns are applied to the concrete before it dries up. Sometimes, pigment is added to the stamped concrete so that the pattern or style will really show.

4.) Paving driveways

Some driveways are built using different materials or a combination of two or three. Pacing stones, brick pavers and natural stones are the common pavers used. They can make driveways look more attractive. But unfortunately, this type of driveway requires more time and is somewhat difficult to install. Paving driveways are also expensive and requires high maintenance.

It is important to choose a driveway that will last for a long time and at the same time will really make your home more attractive and trendy.

How to Build a Cobblestone House

He huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down – certainly not if the house was built with cobblestones. Building cobblestone houses was a folk art that flourished in upstate New York from 1825 until the Civil War in 1860. Many of the 700+ cobblestone homes that were built survive today, a testament to their fine craftsmanship.

To build your cobblestone house you’ll need 5 main components: cobblestones, soft lime mortar, wood for windows and doors, cut stone blocks for quoins, lintels and sills, and lots of cheap labor. Lets take them one at a time – assuming the cheap labor is you, your family, friends, relatives and anyone else you can convince to do manual labor for $1.00 to $1.50 per day.

The first step is to gather the cobblestones. This may take several years. Cobblestones are small fist-sized stones deposited by the glaciers that swept from the north millennia ago. Rough-shaped ones can be gathered from the farm fields or rounded, lake-washed ones can be gathered along the shore of Lake Ontario. You’ll need over 14,000 cobblestones, so get cracking. As the manly work of stone gathering progresses, the women and children can be kept busy sorting the stones by size and color. You’ll want to use the finest, smoothest, similar-sized stones on the front of your house, and save the rougher, odd-sized ones for the back, sides and interior of the walls.

While this is progressing, you better start preparing the soft lime mortar. Don’t skimp and use Portland cement. It dries too fast and will pop the cobbles out as it dries. Soft lime mortar is made of lime, sand and water. Find limestone (calcium carbonate) or dolomite (magnesium carbonate) and break it into pieces. Burn it within heaps of logs for 2 to 3 days to create quicklime. Add water to the quicklime to create a hydrated lime sludge.

Mix in 5 to 9 bushels of sand to 1 bushel of lime sludge. Age the mortar in a ground pit covered by sand or cow manure for up to a year.

Fell a bunch of trees. They’ll need to be hand-hewn to build the doors and windows – each custom fitted to a specific opening. Also, find a quarry where you can get limestone or sandstone blocks for the corners of your building (quoins) and as structural support over the doors and windows (lintels) and under the windows (sils).

Now the fun begins. Start by laying the stones in walls 18 to 20-inches-thick. Build the wall with rubble stone, faced by cobbles. Use elongated or triangular shaped stones to tie the cobbles to the rubble wall. Use the soft lime mortar as your glue, getting fancy with straight ridges between the horizontal and vertical rows of cobbles. Build about 3 rows (or courses) per day so the mortar has time to slowly begin setting. It will take 35 years for the mortar to fully harden. Lay in the cut-stone blocks at the corners to create quoins. To finish the inside, apply horsehair plaster to the stone.

Once the walls are above reach, you’ll have to build scaffolding by burying poles in the ground 6 to 8 feet from the wall and tying cross members from the wall to the poles with hickory witches. Then lay planks on the cross members to provide a building platform. As the walls rise, you’ll have to repeatedly raise the height of the scaffolding. Attach a crane and tackles to the highest pole to winch up buckets of cobblestones and mortar.

Hand build your windows and doors to fit each opening and hand-hew trusses for your roof. Winter is a good time to do much of your carpentry work. Depending on how many workers you have and their skill level, you may finish in a year. More likely, the building process will take about 3 years.

When you’re done, you’ll have a fine home that will stand for centuries. Go see for yourself. A new guidebook called “Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of New York’s Historic Buildings” (Footprint Press, http://www.footprintpress.com, 1-800-431-1579) offers 17 self-guided car or bicycle tours for viewing the diversity of cobblestone buildings clustered within a 65-mile radius of Rochester, NY, and no where else in the world.

“Cobblestone Quest – Road Tours of New York’s Historic Buildings”

By Rich & Sue Freeman

17 self-guided car or bicycle tours for learning the history and observing the diversity of unique cobblestone buildings in Western New York State.


208 pages, 20 maps, 85 photos, indexed, paperback, 10 X 7 inches

Price: $19.95, ISBN# 1930480199

Footprint Press, Inc., http://www.footprintpress.com


Photos available – email sue@footprrintpress.com or call 585-421-9383.

How to Remove a Stuck Screw – The 5 Best Methods of Stubborn Screw Removal

Typically caused by the inevitable rust and corrosion that occurs inside a screw hole, a stuck screw can be an incredibly frustrating thing to work with. Not only can it slow a project down, but it can throw a wet wool blanket over anybody’s good mood. This corrosion effectively locks a screw into place and removing the thing can potentially destroy the screw itself or, worse yet, the material it’s embedded in. Fortunately, though, there are few sure-fire methods that will help you remove a stuck screw with relative ease and minimal annoyance.

Before beginning to beat-up your screw, though, please be sure you have the correct size and type of screwdriver; the wrong one can strip the screw-head making it incredibly more difficult to remove and virtually impossible without destroying it altogether.

1. Chemical Warfare:

The first and least invasive method of stuck-screw extraction is the use a little chemical manipulation. While that may sound complicated, some pretty everyday “solutions” should dissolve the corrosion that’s binding your screw. For instance, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and even a refreshing cola beverage can breakup corrosion and release a stuck screw. You may even go all out and reach for some rust remover at the grocery, home or hardware store (though this is both more aggressive and more expensive).

Although this technique is typically the most gentle way to release a stuck screw, you must be careful not to stain or damage your material. Damage may occur where an anti-corrosive is too potent or is left soaking for too long.

In either case, your anti-corrosive solution of choice should be left to soak for a few minutes. To the best of your ability apply the solution inside the screw-hole; tapping the screw-head while applying will help the anti-corrosive penetrate deeper into the screw-hole (and will therefore loosen or release more of the screw). The more surface area you can contact with the solution, the easier the screw will come free.

After adequate soaking, attempt to remove the screw. If the screw will not loosen, attempt to tighten it (you can utilize the tightening technique throughout most of the below methods). If the screw will move in either direction (even the tighter direction) the movement should break the corrosion and, effectively, set it free. If the screw still won’t budge, it’s time for our next method.

2. Brute Force:

This method involves muscle – good-old-fashioned, gettin-it-done muscle (and a tool or two to enhance your human strength). First, if you can get a grip on the screw-head, try to grab it with pliers or vice grips. If you can get hold of it, you may be able to turn it with this added leverage. If you can’t get hold of it, insert the screwdriver into the screw-head, lock the pliers or grips onto the shaft of the screwdriver and, while pushing down it, try to turn it again. The downward pressure form the screwdriver and the turning leverage from the grips may break the screw loose.

If this doesn’t work, try hitting the top of the screwdriver (not so aggressively that you destroy the tip of it, but enough to let that screw know you’re there). Ideally, the impact will bust-up some corrosion and release the screw. If you can manage it, also try hitting the screwdriver while turning it – this combination of impact and rotation will often force a screw loose. – Be careful, though, not to strip the screw-head.

3. Temperature Tampering:

Before using extreme temperatures on your stuck screw, be sure the material the screw is stuck in can handle such fluctuations. I you heat it up, don’t use lubricating oils as they are flammable and may catch fire. Extreme temperatures may also burn you, so please, be cautious and wear appropriate safety gear.

The first thing to try is heat. Using a butane or propane torch, a soldering iron, a heat gun or even a glue gun (without glue, of course) you can get that screw nice and hot. The heat will expand the screw, break the corrosion and should allow you to joggle it loose.

If your material can not or should not be exposed to high-heat, chilling the screw, although, less effective, may also get the thing loose. Allow ice to set on the screw (place ice in a plastic bag to avoid too much water permeation). Dry ice is more effective than “regular” ice. When the screw has become good and freezing cold, try turning it in both directions.

Heat and cold cycles can be repeated for better results.

4. Destruction:

If the screw absolutely must come out and none of the previous methods have worked, you may have to destroy it. Of course, destroying the screw is a last resort and these methods are typically reserved for the end of the line. When employing the destruction method, be careful to keep the screw-hole intact.

First, position a small chisel or steel punch just slightly off center in the screw-head. Repeatedly strike the top of the chisel or punch with a hammer. Strike with counter-clockwise pressure. Several impacts of this nature should separate the screw from the corrosion and loosen it for removal.

You may also get funky with your power drill and attempt to drill out the stuck screw. This will typically destroy the screw-head altogether but you may be able to get it moving before the head is useless. – Keeping your drill bit firm and dead-center on the screw-head, attempt to reverse the screw from the hole. Be careful not to lose your mark and, in doing, mar the surrounding material. If you can get some of the screw to release but you have destroyed the screw-head, grab whatever portion of the screw you can with your pliers or grips and twist it out.

5. Total Annihilation (the Screw Extractor):

Of course, the screw-annihilation route is a last resort, but, where you’re stuck-screw is really dang stuck or where any screw has lost its thread, head or head-slots, it may be impossible to remove without a screw extractor.

A screw extractor is designed to drive into a screw’s body, grab it, twist it and remove it. The thing is a pretty brilliant little device that runs only about $10 (give or take). Though it’s built to fastened to a T-handle, the screw extractor’s square head and reverse tapered cutting threads can work their magic just as well with an adjustable wrench or pair of vice grips.

First, using a power drill and the smallest drill bit you’ve got, drill a pilot hole into the center of the stuck-screw. Expanding the pilot hole with slightly larger bits, the final size of your pilot hole will vary depending upon the size of the screw extractor being used. With your grips, pliers or T-handle, insert the extractor into the pilot hole. Tap the top of the extractor with a hammer to ensure it’s secured into the pilot hole and, while pushing downward, turn the extractor counter-clockwise (or, to the left). Be careful as you push and twist, though, because although an extractor is typically fabricated of superior grade steel, the extractor may break inside the pilot hole if pushed to aggressively. Ultimately, though, the reverse threads on the extractor will dig into the interior of stuck-screw, release the corrosion and, most importantly, remove the screw.

Vote of Confidence:

You can do it! – Persistence is the best way to get that screw loose. Show it who’s boss, keep your cool and you will surely come out on top.

How to Remove the Exhaust Flange Bolts Easily?

The changing temperatures, from hot to cold of the exhaust system together with changing moisture conditions can speed up the rusting of the flange bolts. If the rust progresses, it could reach to the threads and these could go useless. It is essential to release and replace the flange bolts. You would need to apply heat to remove the rust from the threads. If the threads are unusable, you have to cut the bolts from the flange.

1. Check if the area on the flange bolts has no fuel lines as well as combustibles. Clear all combustibles underneath the vicinity for safety.

2. Protect your hands and eyes using goggles and gloves.

3. Have a fire extinguisher close to you in case on any case that a fire could start.

4. Ignite your torch carefully. Make sure that the bright blue flame is one half or an inch long.

5. The tip of the torch should be 6-8 inches away from the flange bolt until it has a dull orange color. Turn off your torch. Heat the bolt slowly so do not use an air trigger.

6. Let the flange bolt to cool down and then place the socket that fits the bolt to the ratchet.

7. You have to slide the socket to the nut that is situated at the flange bolt. If the bolt loosens, continue doing the same process to the rest of the bolts. If it would not budge go to the next step.

8. Set your flames again but now, set the tip further at 3-4 inches.

9. Heat the bolt once again and when you see that it has a bright orange glow, use the air trigger to blow more oxygen. The bolt would then start to melt.

10. Turn of your torch and then quickly hammer the threaded side of the flange bolt. Repeat the process until the bolt is out of the exhaust.

11. Let the hot bolts cool for 30 minutes before leaving the area so that no combustible materials are left lying on the ground.

12. Throw the cut bolts after another hour or two to ensure that the bolts are totally cool and will not cause fires on the garbage bin.