Cool Wakeboard Wallpapers

If a certain interest, sport or hobby catches your eye and attention, you do all you can to learn about it. You start to read up on it, you discuss about it in forums and the most common thing is that you collect up on the paraphernalia associated with it.

It's basically the same if you're a wakeboarding enthusiast. Whether you're the type who lives and breaths wakeboarding or you're the one stuck in an office longing to be a wakeboarder, you'd want to stock up on those wakeboarding materials. One good way of keeping your interest in the sport alive is keeping a number of images in your computer as part of your wakeboard wallpapers collection.

There are many ways to get these prized wakeboard wallpapers. First, if you're a budding photographer, you can take your own pictures and upload them to your computer. You may then edit them to your satisfaction with any photo editing software that you're comfortable using, then simply set the pictures as your desktop wallpaper and there you have it – your very own wakeboard wallpaper!

A second option for getting these images is to go on the Internet and download them. There are many websites that offer free and unlimited downloads of wakeboard wallpapers from their photo gallery. They even offer different graphic resolutions to suit your desktop. Just simply search for wakeboard wallpapers and most of the search results will feature wakeboard organizations that not only give you free pictures but also feature information and current events for wakeboard fanatics.

The good thing about having wakeboard wallpapers on your desktop is that you have so many categories to choose from. You can view wakeboarding pictures from around the country and the world. Even if you can not leave your office, it's one of the things to look forward to when you are able to go. It may even give you an idea where you want to go for your next wakeboarding adventure. You can go with your favorite wakeboard player and his fantastic stunts and acrobatics and get a share of his autographed wallpapers. If you're interested in the hardware that goes with wakeboarding, like the racks, the fins, the helmets, there are also wakeboards wallpapers dedicated to these equipments. And of course, you can not forget the boats that are a major part of the sport. Either it's your dreamboat that serves as your inspiration in your work or you already own it and can not help but admire its sleek lines and awesome power.

Desktop wallpapers are a stamp of your personality on your computer. It serves as a showcase of your favorite sports, movies and moments with your family and friends. Having your own wakeboard wallpaper can get you through the day, help you relax when things get tough and simply give you a bit of eye candy when you need it. The constant stream of pictures available will always be a source of enjoyment. The fact that most of it is free also does not hurt. And an eye-catching wakeboard wallpaper will always initiate a spark of conversation and interaction and who knows, you just might find a fellow wakeboarder when you least expect it.

You Can not Trust Most Fireproof Safes to Protect Your Data and Photos on CDs or Flash Drives

What's Wrong With Fireproof Safes?

There is nothing really wrong with a home fireproof safe. They are well designed to keep paper products from reaching a temperature that will destroy or ruin them. However they will not prevent computer data that you have backed up on CDs, DVDs, or even flash drives from being destroyed. They will not protect photo slides and negatives either.

The problem is that we may not understand fireproof or fire resistant ratings that are assigned to safes. There are three basic ratings for fireproof safes by the Underwriters Laboratories. If a safe is rated for 1 hour then it must maintain the internal temperatures below the specified rating for the hour hour.

UL 350 – The safe must keep the interior temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit. That's below the normal temperature for most paper products to burn, char or become useless.

UL 150 is the rating for tapes, cartridges, microfiche, and microfilm. In addition to keeping the interior at or below 150 degrees, the humidity must be below 85%.

UL 125 is the standard for diskettes. In this case, the temperature can not exceed 125 ° F and 80% humidity.Humidity and water damage is important if you intend to protect electronic devices like flash drives.

Test Your Own Data Media

If you doubt the need to have a better rated home or office fireproof safe to protect your data, then you can try this simple test.

Find a couple of photo negatives or slide and a print or two that you do not care about. Get two old CDs or DVDs with some data on them. Put one of the CDs in a jewel case.

Preheat your kitchen oven to 200 degrees and shut it off so the elements do not turn on. The radiant heat could be greater and cause the plastic to melt even if the air temperature is only 200 degrees. Place both the CD in the jewel case and the other CD on a piece of paper and place them in your oven. Wait a few minute and you can watch the CD in the jewel case curl up. Obviously the data will never be retrieved from it. Remove the other CD carefully that you do not bend it. When it is cooled you can put it in your computer and see if the data is intact. Sometimes it will be OK.

Now preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Do not set it on 350 just in case your oven thermostat is not accurate. When the oven has reached the correct temperature, shut it off. Insert your photos, slides, and negatives on a piece of paper. Put your good CD back in the oven also on a piece of paper.

You will notice that a negative will almost immediately curl up and be destroyed. The pictures will curl a little and most likely be discolored slightly. The pictures will always flatten out again but there will be no hope for the slides or negatives.

The CD will remain flat but the data will be gone. You will likely be able to see bubbles in the plastic of the recording side of the CD.


Here are three alternatives if you want your data protected.

Get a fireproof media safe. It will protect your pictures, slide, negative, CDs, and DVDs. As shown above, a UL 125 rated fireproof safe will protect your data from heat and moisture. While a regular home fireproof safe may protect the data contents for a few minutes, the likely hood that the data will be safe longer than 15 minutes is extremely low.

Benefits of a fireproof media safe:

  • The ability to quickly backup to a flash drive and immediately store your data every night after doing a backup.
  • The data is available when or not you have internet access.
  • You do not have to pay any monthly or annual fees on you have your safe.

Drawback of a fireproof media safe:

  • The largest drawback to a fireproof media safe is the initial cost. They are not cheap.

Use an online backup system. This is a very effective way to ensure that your data is safe. Well, as safe as you can expect when you are using another company to keep your data. If you do not have very much data, you can find free services on the web.

Benefits of using online backup:

  • Your data is kept in a completely different location.
  • In many cases, your data can be encrypted for extra safety.

Drawback of:

  • You may need to use special software. Software changes over time and so do encryption methods.
  • You may find yourself converting your data or even moving it when a company goes out of business.
  • There are annual fees when you have a lot of data and that will cost you more over time than a fireproof media safe.
  • You can not store some purchased software DVDs online. They often require the original DVD to reinstall the software.
  • Uploading your nightly backup to the internet is not as fast as saving it on a flash drive.

Rent a safety deposit box at your local bank.

Benefits of a safety deposit box:

  • You have maximum protection.
  • You have offsite data protection.

Drawbacks of a safety deposit box:

  • Limited access to your data. It is not there when you need it and you can not secure it every night.
  • Deposit boxes are really small. You can store a lot of data on DVD but you can not put many slides and negatives in one.
  • The costs of a deposit box vary greatly but they also will cost more over time than a fireproof media safe.


Evaluate your situation. If you do not have much data then online backup may be the best option. If you have a lot of data and you have many purchased software packages then your best option is a home or office fireproof media safe. Whatever you do, do not be caught with a fire in your home and office and find out that you have lost your data.

Surroundings – Creating an Attractive Setting for Your Woodburner


The creation of a functional and attractive setting for your new wood burner is a subject that is bound up with the whole installation process. This is something best left to a HETAS installation firm, but it is still an area about which you will have strong opinions, and about which you should be informed. After all, the framing of the stove is an essential element of a successful room design.

Most stoves are a retro-fit into an existing fireplace. If you have chosen a free-standing stove, it will pose no special hazards so long as you have allowed space all around it for airflow. Do ensure that your installers use a chimney plate above the stove that is made of stainless steel or fireproof board. And consult them about any danger of overheating to any wooden beam over the fireplace.

Underneath the stove the hearth must be of non-combustible material, and you may want this to be an attractive stone item, complying with the latest rules in terms of size and thickness. Your existing hearth may no longer meet the required specifications. The larger problems probably lie within the chimney, which will in most cases need to be relented with a twin-walled stainless steel flue, possibly with insulation around it. An air vent is also required nowdays.

In the case of Inset Stoves that are built in to the fireplace, there is a greater need for proper insulation of the space to avoid overheating. The installers will assess whether there need to be additional (or replacement) firebricks or other non-combustible lining materials in the recess. These stoves are also normally provided with optional outlets for heat pipes to be connected, so as to transfer warm air into the room or other rooms. You may be able to plan these pipe routes in your refurbishment scheme.

If you have a wooden fireplace surrounding it is likely to overheat and get scorched, but it may be possible to insert slate or other stone slips behind the frame to protect it. When you apply any stone or tiling facings, use plain mortar without silicon. If your opening has to be enlarged and rebuilt, ensure that fireproof plaster is used when making good.

So much for existing fireplaces: but what if you are making the inset stove fit into a new wall opening? For brick, block or stone walls, the same issues apply as for existing fireplaces. Mark out the necessary opening and flue run with masking tape, and proceed. But if you are opening up a stud-partitioned wall then you need to test where the studies are and plan to work between them or create new studies. Non-combustible spacers must be installed at least an inch away from the opening all around: with an insulating gap behind the face of the surrounding.

Make the surround and its finish of non-combustible material and attach with long screws through the air gap and into the studies. Leave gaps top and bottom to allow airflow. The base of the opening and the spacers holding the stove in place strictly must all be of durable heat-resistant materials. Modern installations often use no decorative surround, which is simple but requires protective surface material on the surrounding wall and the hidden interior facings.

Where a new fireplace is created, there are many choices of ready-made fire surrounding; ideal finishes range from cast iron to stone of all kinds (travertine, limestone, marble, granite, slate) or reconstituted stone materials. Ensure that you seal any stone or tiles to protect them against dirt and tar, then clean and re-seal them every year or so. One other possibility that is most likely to present itself in the case of new builds or major rebuilds is the ability of some wood burners to be hooked up to a back boiler to heat water.

A more advanced option is to interface it with solar panels and another backup heat source to feed a thermal store which accumulates heat from a range of sources. A skilled technician can create a system that will automatically prioritize the renewable energy units as the preferred heat sources when available.

Wood burners are increasingly being specified in new house buildings. In such cases the chimney can be built with a pre-cast pumice flue, which is a more or less permanent installation with its own insulation and requiring no future replacement so long as the chimney sweep is called in regularly.

Benefits Of Owning A Whistling Kettle

Earlier, in most of the household we could hear the sound of the whistling tea kettles which was also regarded as a call to rise in the morning or also enjoy the evening with cookies. These days, this particular kettle is replaced with the ones made of stainless steel material so the youngsters never get the chance of listening to sound of the whistle. Earlier, these items were considered as an icon of the kitchen. Most of the kitchens had one and it was used every day. It was generally placed on top of the stove whether it used wood logs or the ones that used gas. People used it until it stopped functioning.

Today, the kettles are manufactured with superior technology. Most of the manufacturers make them by using modern materials like for example stainless steel or the one that has an enamel coating which in turn makes them durable and also gives a beautiful look. Most of them are manufactured in single piece and they are also easier to clean them. These days, the tea is sold in different types and flavors. You should not think that if you are buying a modern appliance, you will not be able to hear the whistle. As these days there are many companies which make the whistling tea kettles. All of them are beautifully designed and are made of high quality material.

This particular kettle will bring back the past memories and will also let you know that the water is ready to make a delicious cup of tea. In the past, these appliances were made of metal in which people used a cloth to lift it from the stove so that you can prevent your hand from burning. Since a long time it was considered as the popular way to boil the water. During the past days, it was made of heavy material. As the time moved, people started to use the modern kettles with different facilities in it.

The Most Expensive Marble Tile Flooring

Marble tiles can be used for a lot of different ways, one of which is for flooring. Marble tiles are very appealing in terms of their use for flooring since they are quite durable, very beautiful and exceptionally versatile. They are not only functional, but are very aesthetically pleasing as well, which helps make any room, or whatever surface it is applied to, appear more elegant and exquisite. This is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people would prefer to have marble tile flooring instead of using some other kind of natural stone.

Marble flooring, which is basically a natural stone that is very durable, is actually quite expensive. Although marble tiles can be quite pricey, a lot of people still see it as a good investment, especially due to its different qualities and effect. Marble tiles can improve the aesthetic value of a room if it's installed properly, and if it helps complete the rooms overall appearance.

However, marble tiles may not be exactly worth what they are paying for, especially since it takes a lot of extra effort to keep its beauty and effectiveness, perhaps costing you even more in the long run. Marble tiles require a more complex cleaning and caring system as compared to other types of stone flooring. It requires regular polishing, mopping and towel drying. Regardless of such facts, a lot of people are still willing to spend a reasonable amount of money just so they can get the effect that marble tile flooring can give to any home.

Prices for marble tiles are generally measured by square foot, which can still vary depending on comparisons of tiles that differ in size and shape. Other factors also help determine the price of the marble tile, factors such as the tile's edges, customization such as design and patterns, its instillation, and the finishes.

One of the most expensive marble tile flooring that people can spend on is the Rosa aurora marbles, which is actually a great material to use for sculptures. Rosa aurora marbles are considered to be the most attractive and charming, pretty marbles in the market today. This type of marble tile has a unique way of catching people's eye, especially when used on flooring and wall decors.

This type of marble tile possesses the qualities that make marble tiles so sent after and appealing to a lot of homeowners. Rosa aurora marble is versatile, which can be attributed to its characteristic of being reliably soft and easy to work when it is first described, but it becomes harder as the finished marble ages. This makes it very advantageous to use as materials not just for flooring tiles, but for sculptures and other similar applications as well, especially since it has a slight surface translucency that makes it look even better, making your home look more elegant.

Rosa aurora marbles price range can start at around 45 euros, which is one of the most expensive out of the other types of marble tiles. This price can still vary depending on the factors mentioned above, but overall, it helps add an aesthetic quality to your home that no other type of marble can.

The Monarch Riflescope 8-32x50ED SF BDC Monarch Series of Riflescopes

The test was transported out on the Monarch Riflescope 8-32x50ED SF with BDC reticule that is top of the range in Nikon's Monarch range, coming in the shops at around $ 700 – $ 800 against a list price of $ 980. You might be able to get it cheaper than $ 700 but I have not found it.

It is certainly a beautiful-looking instrument, and was crystal clear all the way down to the x32 zoom. However, let's start with a discussion about the company itself, because if you are going to purchase a Nikon riflescope you want to know the background. This instrument has to be reliable under all conditions, so how Nikon does stand in the riflescope market.

The company is well known for its optical products, most people being familiar with the Nikon camera range. Over the past few years, the firm has been trying to make a name for itself in the hunting scope market, and now offers a range of hunting optical equipment including binoculars, rangefinders and spotting scopes and now riflescopes specifically designed for the higher end of the hunting market. So the Monarch has not just appeared from nowhere, but has a good pedigree.

The riflescope range offered by Nikon is the Prostaff, the Buckmaster and the Monarch, in that order. The Prostaff are the entry level products, intended predominately for amateurs seeking a telescopic sight for their rifle, but not wanting to pay too much. However, they are good quality, and you get a lot for what you pay. It's a pity that the quality of the other two ranges does not increase proportionate to their price, but that would likely be impossible to achieve.

While the Prostaff range offers a good quality basic scope, the Buckmasters are better in that they offer a wider range of magnifications and objective dimensions, and also better light transmission. These are three very important properties in a riflescope, and while they are important improvements, the jump in price from that of the Prostaff is a bit too steep to warrant just these differences. And then we come to the Monarch, and it is that on which we will focus (sorry!).

This is Nikons best, beating the other two hands down in all features. The problem with the Monarch is that that there is too many of them: they are subdivided into a range of different products and it is not easy for the uneducated to know which is best for their needs. For example, you can choose from the Monarch original UCC 3-9×40, the African, the Gold, the X series or just the plain Monarch, which I shall refer to as the standard. So what's the difference between these?

It would take too long a review to explain the differences between all the Monarch models, so I will stick to the standard 17 "long Monarch Riflescope 8-32x50ED SF with BDC which is excellent for serious hunters.


The entire range offers the 1 "main tube that Americans prefer, and 4x magnification range. The starting power options start at 2 and increase to a total of 7 possible starting points to 8, through 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6. With these magnification ranges come the targets: 2-8×32; 2.5-10×42; 3-12×42; 4-16×42; 4-16×50; 5-20×44; 6-24×50; 8-32×50. in the standard Monarch range.

Of these, this review is of the last in that line-up, the 8-32×50 with ED labeled glass, standing for Extra-low Dispersion that offers improved sharpness and color-correction, particularly at higher powers (20x or over). Our scope also had a BDC – bullet drop correction – reticule that compensates for bullet drop over specified distances on the reticule. The actual model number we tested was Nikon # 8480, the pinnacle of the Monarch series.

Eye Relief

Anybody familiar with Nikon Monarch scopes will know about the Eye Box technology that offers four inches of eye relief and 4x power magnification. What that means is that you can aim with your eye 4 inches from the eyepiece – this offers at least four inches recoil before the eyepiece hits your eyebrow. When I tested the scope the 4 "was OK at 32x power, but al low power you could take your eye even further away, but only by about an inch or so. where the optimum eye relief varies significantly with power.

Optical Properties

The Monarch 8-32x50ED was particularly clear and bright, even for the 50 objective lens. The ED glass has been explained, but it sure makes a difference to the clarity, particularly at higher magnifications. Appropriately this ED glass has been used on Nikon's telephoto lenses as standard, and has been applied to the Monarch riflescope – but only to the 8-32×50 as far as I can ascertain. It also offers excellent color compensation.

Nikon also have what they refer to as an 'Ultra Clear Coat' on their lenses, claiming it to boost the transmission of light through them to 95% as compared to the 90% of the lower-priced basic Prostaff range. This really is excellent, particularly in low light conditions.

The SF in the model name we tested means that it is fitted with a side parallax adjustment, SF standing for Side Focus. This works as normal, only it has a locking device while you pull out a locking ring to free the adjustment, make your adjustment, and then push the ring in to lock it in place. The adjustment then can not be moved by accident. The adjustment moves in 1/8 MOA clicks offering precise parallax adjustment at ranges from 50 yards to infinity. The same 1/8 MOA adjustment is available on the accessory target-style windage and elevation adjustment knobs and caps.

Bullet Drop Compensation

Nikon's Monarch BDC models offer BDC reticules which possess four circles on the bottom half of the vertical reticule axis, corresponding to 200, 300, 400 and 500 yard holdovers for standard cartridges. For magnum cartridges, with higher muzzle velocities of about 300 fps, they are each 100 yards higher.

Simply target using the appropriate circle for the appropriate range and cartridge type. This is a fairly simple no-frills BDC system that still requires a bit of skill and know-how to use accurately. BDC does not come as standard, but each scope can be configured using the system, so if you want it you have to specify.

Unexpected Extras

The model we tested came with a couple of useful accessories: a sunshade and two flip-up lens caps. That makes sure you can not lose your lens caps. They are probably only available with this scope model, although they can be ordered as after sales accessories from Nikon for lower priced models such as the Prostaff and Buckmaster range.


This is a good riflescope with some very useful features. The standard book price tag is possibly a bit high but you can it for over $ 200 less online, so in that respect it is very well priced for what you get. The glass is very clear with excellent color and the extra features are worth having, particularly the side parallax locking ring that helps maintain the setting even when knocked.

Perhaps the 32 power magnification is a bit high for this scope, unless you have a rest or bipod when using it, and the 20 MOA internal adjustment is somehow not quite enough for longer distances. Neverheless, for its intended use it is a magnificent riflescope and you will have to look far and wide to get better value for money (at the online price) than the Nikon Monarch 8-32x50ED SF BDC.

Awnings – Why You Should Have One

Whether for your own house, or for your RV, awnings are one of the most important things you should consider when it comes to making some improvements. They can help a lot when it comes to blocking the heat from the sun or when you need protection against the rain. When used properly, awnings will allow you a good working space without being bothered by the weather at all.

Sunsetter retractable awnings are one of the most popular awnings when it comes to home improvement. They offer a lot of models in different colors to fit the motifs and designs of any house. Although some retractable awnings prices may be expensive, you have to think about its durability and whether the amount you have to pay is justifiable by the strong materials that go with it. But if you really are on a budget you may want to learn how to make an awning yourself, although this will take some extra effort and skill of course.

For your kitchen windows, I would recommend that you replace your whole window with aluminum awning windows. They are basically a type of window that opens from the bottom instead of the sides, allowing you proper ventilation even if there is heavy rain outside. But if you do not wish to replace your window, another option would be to install awnings for outdoor windows.

RV awnings retractable should be your only option when it comes to your camping vehicle. You only need to set them up once and you can open and close it whenever you need them. I would suggest that you install additional RV awning parts like camper awning lights to help you move around your space at night. These RV awning lights can come in different shapes and sizes, but I recommend that you buy one that is very functional and bright rather than thinking of buying a pretty looking light bulb. Some of these light bulbs are like novel items, they can look really good but they may not provide you with a bright enough lighting for you to work around with. Having these kinds of bulbs will only cost you some frustrations later on, so you better avoid them before hand.

A Guide on How to Lay a Block Paved Driveway

Basically this article will act as a guide for you to outline the steps to take to successfully lay your own block paved driveway.

So lets look at the process:

Firstly You will need to remove your existing driveway, this could be either concrete, tarmac or concrete flags. To make life easy hire a mini digger from a local tool hire company and you will clear this stage in a day. If you want to however this can be done by hand but will take much longer to do!

The minimum amount you need to remove from the top of your existing driveway is 250mm (10″) to allow for 150mm (6″) of hardcore, 50mm (2″) of sand/gravel and 50mm (2″) for your block paving.

If the ground underneath your driveway is particularly soft you will need to remove more earth or clay and replace with additional hardcore which will need to be compacted in layers of no more than 75mm – 100mm at a time.

Remember that if the driveway butts up to your house or garage building, the finished level of your drive must remain 150mm (6″) below damp-proof course.

Step Two Set up your level line. You will need to knock 2 timber or steel pins into the ground, one at the house end of the driveway and the other at the pavement side. Next, attach a tight builder’s nylon line at what will be the finished height of your block paving, this line should be approx 10mm higher than the pavement and 150mm lower than the damp proof course to allow for final compaction of the block paving.

Hold your level on this line at the house end and either raise or lower it until it is level, if you have a gap under the level and the line on the end facing the pavement, then you have the correct direction of fall in the driveway. When you are satisfied with the height and fall of the line, wrap some tape around the pegs to the underside of your line, this will save having to go through the same process again if the line is moved for any reason.

Make sure the line is tight as you don’t want any sag in your line, this will give a false reading with your levels which could result in your finished driveway holding water.

If your driveway is falling towards the house, then simply reverse the fall and levels from the pavement towards an existing rain water gully. If this isn’t possible, you will have to install drainage channels along the front of the property. Water should then be directed into a soak-a-way within your garden area.

Step Three Place a geotextile layer (weed control fabric) on top of the subsoil to the total area of your driveway. This eliminates mixing of the sub soil or clay and the hardcore yet still allows water to flow away freely.

Hold this in place using a few bricks or blocks and keep it tight whilst adding the hardcore.

Step Four Spread your hardcore to the total area of your driveway and ensure it is to a depth of 150mm (6″). It now needs to be compacted to form a solid base for your blocks to be laid upon. This is achieved using a vibrating plate compactor or vibrating roller.

Step Five All areas of your block paving must be surrounded by a solid edge to prevent the blocks and the sand on which they are laid from creeping.

Use a tight string line to keep the front edge of the edging block in a straight line, the blocks are laid on a semi dry mix of 3 parts grit sand to 1 part cement and hauched front and back to hold in place.

Step Six Spread 50mm (2″) of course grit sand to the entire area approx. 20mm higher than the finished height to allow for compacting. Level the sand with a shovel roughly to the correct height continue this over the total area until you have covered all the hardcore.

This now needs to be compacted, go over it 2 – 3 times. Continue until you don’t leave any marks on the sand when you walk over it.

There are 2 methods you can employ as the bed for block paving, one, you have fully compacted sand making the sub base and the laying coarse much firmer, achieving a much flatter surface. To achieve this you need your sand approx 10 – 15mm higher than the finished screeding height, this surplus sand is screeded off to the correct height and then you lay your block paving.

The other way is to have 2/3 compacted sand and a third loose sand which you screed to the desired height, this is easier to screed but can result in soft spots.

Step Seven To establish the finished height of your block paving use a block as a guide and push it down into the sand until it is 5mm higher than the finished height to allow for the final compacting once all the block paving is laid.

The finished level of block paving should be 150mm below the house D.P.C. Level

Step Eight You need a flat bed for your pavers to lay on, to do this you can use 18mm galvanised steel electrical conduit, they are not expensive but are better than using timber because the piece of timber or aluminum used to screed the sand will slide along them much easier.

Using a tight string line to get the screeding rails to the correct finished height prior to screeding the sand, check for level or falling towards any drains, a 1:60 fall is required, that’s 1″ in height to 60″ in length minimum fall to ensure any surface water drains into your drainage system or soak-a-way.

Once the screeding rails are in place begin to screed the sand to the correct height. When the screeding is finished remove the steel screeding rails and fill the gap with grit sand sand using a steel trowel to give a flat finish.

Step Nine The next step is to start laying the block paving, the full blocks are laid first to a straight line using a string line and then keep laying the blocks until the total area of your drive is completed. The block can be laid either square to the house or on a 45 degree angle.

When you complete the laying of your full blocks you then need to cut in the borders, you can cut bricks using a block splitter. Holding the brick in place over the border, looking from above mark a line onto the full block on each side where it meets the border, draw a line between these 2 points and cut off the surplus using the block splitter, then simply put the cut block in place.

Step Ten When all blocks are in place, brush down the driveway to remove any broken pieces of block or debris to ensure they don’t get down the joints between the block paving.

Brush kiln dried sand over the entire area making sure all the joints are full to the top. Then give them a compacting with the plate compactor, leave surplus sand on top of the the driveway so when the vibrating plate passes over it, it will spread about filling any joints which may require more sand.

Run over the total area 2 to 3 times to ensure the blocks are fully bedded into place, any surplus kiln dried sand should then be swept away.

Your Block Paving Driveway is now completed and ready for you to use. Give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to nice cup of tea!

Learn to Play Duplicate Bridge

There are many ways to play bridge, and one way is duplicate bridge. It's quite fun actually, and people have been playing this for almost 100 years now. Oh, you do not know what it is do you? Well, maybe you should learn. There are duplicate bridge tournaments, and they are not run the same as regular bridge tournaments, but I would submit to you they are more enjoyable. The scoring is slightly different and there are bonus points for non-vulnerable games and for vulnerable games. Let's take this article to a higher level of we might.

You see, if you'd like to learn more about duplicate bridge, there's a very good book I believe you should read. This is a book that I do own, and have read through, and feel as if I am ready for my first tournament of this type. The name of the book is;

"Duplicate Bridge" by Alfred Sheinwold, Dover Publication, New York, NY, 1971, originally published in 1954, 158 pages, Library of Congress Number: 75-156814, Reprints ISBN: 0-486-22741-3.

In this book you will learn about seating assignments, shuffling the deck, bidding, and how to play the cards. You'll also learn strategies and about traveling score slips, entering the score and moving to the next round. Match points are countered differently and just totaling the points is not enough when figuring out the private scorecard to get to your total score. Chapter 2 of this book is excellent talking about the general principles of tournament play.

In duplicate bridge safety is not enough, and it pays to play for the advantage. But do not forget there are ethics and etiquette involved in play of this type. In this book you will learn who your true opponents are and all about fail numbers and hair-trigger doubles. Do Bill Gates and Warren Buffett play this style? Perhaps not, or sometimes they do, I am certain but it is quite competitive. There are standard principles of bidding, offending bidding in duplicate, and competitive bidding during the same. You may not know this but there are special bidding conventions also. In this book it gets all into that as well.

If you are bridge player you need to learn how to play bridge different ways, that's what makes it so intriguing, and one of the best card games sports there is. Some people think that bridge is only for old people, trust me when I tell you that is not true. After you read this book you'll see why. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Adhesives For Electronic Assembly

How do adhesives for electronic assembly differ from general engineering adhesives? Are they stronger? Faster? Do they resist higher temperatures? Have less volatiles or odor?

Certain specifications and requirements are unique to the electronics industry. For example electrically conductive epoxies are silver filled for the required conductivity. These epoxies are understandable very expensive which would make them appropriate for other applications. Other requirements for some electronic applications make adhesives designed for the application undesirable to other industries. For example, the very fast cure of single component adhesives required in electronic assembly results in products with very short shelf life that require frozen storage.

However, most adhesives marketed specifically for electronic assembly are really no different from general engineering adhesives. The marketing of the products is geared towards a specific industry to include only that information that is relevant to that industry.

The same single part epoxy that is marketed to electronic engineers to encapsulate relays, microchips and bond heat sinks may also be marketed to engineers in the filter industry to bond and pot an end cap onto a filter and engineers looking to bond a motor magnet in a brushless motor or a biomedical engineer to bond an insulin needle into the hub. The difference is that the motor manufacturer is not concerned with the products biocompatibility and the needle manufacturer is not concerned with the impact strength on neodynium.

An epoxy is an epoxy; be it meant for a toy train, a medical device or the latest computer technology, it is an epoxy. Providing the manufacturer has proper quality in place to provide a consistent product and that that specific epoxy suits your requirements, there is no magic in it being tagged an Electronic Epoxy. It is however likely that it will have a higher price tag. (All that marketing costs money that has to come from somewhere!).

Similar cyanoacrylates with specific properties cross from one industry to another. Adhesive manufacturers produce cyanoacrylates that resist high temperatures for a variety of applications; only one of which is to resist solder reflow processes.

Low odor cyanoacrylates are preferred by many manufacturers in countless industries to improve the workers comfort, however, the same adhesives are marketed as low blooming to electronic manufacturers as the blooming or chlorosis (the white powdery effect on the area surrounding the bond) can be problematic on sensitive electronic components. Whether the adhesive is used to bond plastic dice on clocks sold in Las Vegas or to keep the electronics clean the product of choice is a low bloom / low odor cyanoacrylate.

So when sourcing an adhesive, chose a material based on the specifications, the quality and the desired process – not the hype.

Woodturning: How To Mount Wood On A Lathe Using a Faceplate

Woodturning is generally divided into two categories, spindle turning and faceplate turning. Spindles are held on the lathe between centers and faceplate work is held on a faceplate. Using a faceplate is a simple matter, easily understood.

Most wood lathes will come with a faceplate and the after market is full of them. These are simple devices with an integral nut designed to fit the threads of the lathe headstock and a disk intended to be screwed to the wood intended to be worked on. The most common questions that arise are what size of faceplate to use and what screws should be used to hold it to the wood.

As with most things relating to the wood lathe, answers start with the wood that is to be turned. The simple answer for size is to use the smallest faceplate that will securely hold the wood. Since many lathes only come with one faceplate and beginners seldom have after market faceplates in various sizes, this becomes a moot point. Generally speaking, the faceplate that comes with the lathe will be at a third or more of the diameter of the largest piece that can be turned on the lathe. This is safe unless the wood is unbalanced or appears less than solid. This should be turned by experienced turners and at their own risk. A beginner at faceplate work wanted to start with good wood and with the lathe at slow speed.

The best screws to be used with a faceplate are self tapping sheet metal screws at least one quarter inch in diameter. They are strong and have a deep thread for a good hold. Regular wood screws are not as strong nor are the threads as deep. Drywall screws are brittle and should not be used in case of breakage.

More important than screw length is the surface on which the faceplate sets. It should be flat so the plate has good hold without wobble. Four screws going one half inch into the wood are usually sufficient in this case but if there is room for more then it is only added assurance. If the faceplate is being fastened to end grain, the surface must be flat and the screws should penetrate three quarter inch or more and preferably at an angle to give a better purchase.

Wooturners have been making bowls and vases for a long time without the benefit of the modern screw or the four jaw chuck. A faceplate is a old and established way to turn wood and a solid way to hold it. Some common sense easily opens the fascinating world of faceplate turning.

Anvil Or the Hammer

Someone once told me that when they first entered a Karate dojo on their first visit to Japan many years ago and saw everyone sitting in seiza (kneeling position) all lined up in a military fashion without a smile on their faces, he was surprised that he felt through the strict and stillness, a feeling of gentleness.

He believed he had experienced the true spirit of Japan.

People often ask me which martial art I consider to be the best. I think that those who ask this question do not really understand the martial arts world.

Here's why, in the feudal days of Japan, if you met an opponent you knew that he was out to kill you and it was then a case of kill or be killed. Consequently, the Bushi (warrior class), learnt techniques that would now be considered extremely dangerous.

In order not to cause injury to our training partners, modern Budo (Martial Arts) has incorporated special rules banning such techniques. I covered this in my last article Kata or Combative.

Even in Japan there are very few true martial arts schools that teach and practice killing techniques.

The result is that many of the techniques you are taught today are just for sporting competition and therefore not for real world situations and are not the original Budo techniques at all.

Remember, these rules were developed to avoid injury, which is counter to what they were actually intended for. Real Budo has no rules and execution of a technique in a real confrontation that could result in serious injury to the aggressor.

I will leave to your imagination to realize the terrible consequences and the dangers of fighting without rules.

So much of what is taught is nothing but a game. Real combat can never be competitive.

The question which martial art is the best? Well in my opinion no one art is any better than any other, each has its own advantages. No one art has all the answers.

You must understand this one simple fact, the martial arts have a link with the feudal era. So in order to begin to understand the meaning behind any particular martial art you must first learn about traditional Japanese etiquette.

The way of the warrior has been passed down from generation to generation and has survived from those feudal days.

We live in a time of violence, where shootings, and stabbings are commonplace. Budo and sport are different. If it's budo then we disregard our own life but in sport, then we take safety measures, you must differentiate between the two.

Have We Come Full Circle?

What goes around comes around.

In modern day combative training you do not fight for sport. You fight to WIN.

Thus, you must strike first be pre-emptive and resort to any tactics as clearly as possible because that is the best form of self-defense.

But also please realize that if you are aware of what is going on around you then you'll avoid any potential danger areas and will not end up in a difficult situation in the first place.

Attaching the eyes, gouging, smashing a kneecap, head butting are valid in combative training. One of the most important lessons you can learn is that fancy moves and aerobic kicks being taught in some dojos as self defense just do not work in reality.

That's why, combative and experienced martial artists alike are discarding many conventional actions that thought were effective.

What's more, a lot of practitioners do not want to learn just how to do a Kata (form) or a fancy high kick. They want to learn practical self-protection for today's environment.

Street Gutter Tactics.

Literally means the techniques of striking vital parts of the body. You can not burst someone's eardrum and call it sporting tactics.Indeed, if a Karate person used this technique in a contest he would be disqualified on the spot

To be proficient in any martial art takes years of dedicated practice but as I have said before in today's high-pressure society many people have either the time nor the inclining for lengthy training sessions.

As a result, they want a more practical street orientated system, which teaches them to dispose of an assailant as quickly as possible. See my manual: (The Secret Power Of Simple Self Defence Tactics), available on line. They want the best way to zap any attacker.

Some May Even Call It Barbaric!

Mindset and 100% aggression and commitment will win the day. Not sport. When your life is at stack anything goes. All options are viable.

I do not believe in the philosophy of turning the other cheek. It's your duty to defend yourself and I'll definitely retaliate with kind if attacked. If someone tries violently to change my life then I will certainly change their minds that's for sure.

But learning the craft of close combat does not make you invincible I describe it like learning to swim. It might not necessarily save you from drowning if your ship goes down, but your survival odds are a heck of lot higher than a non-swimmer. Get my point?

In summary, the western military arts have a lot to offer someone who wants to learn about self-protection and until recently civilians were excluded from learning a lot of these extreme end techniques.

But not any more, because with a slight adaptation for civil life they are now becoming very popular via combative type training clubs and with some excellent enlightened instructors and specialist fighting men who will tell you what really happens when you have to react under stress.

So if you want to learn what really works you 'de do well to seek them out as they have a wealth of knowledge to impart.

When your backs against the wall you must enter, suffer or triumph.

Train Hard.

Buzz Campion.

Creating Your Own Photo Mosaics

A photo mosaic has an attractiveness that catches the eyes instantly but then exactly is a photo mosaic? A photo mosaic is usually made from a digital photo graph as well as other types of photo. The photograph is divided into equal rectangular sections to create a visual effect that is appealing to the eyes. So in other words photo mosaic can be said to be a type of imaging art.

In creating your photo mosaic every one of the rectangular partitions is replaced other images for instance you decide to make a photo mosaic of your parrot; you use different photos of your parrot to make up the photo mosaic. So when you look at the picture of your parrot from distance you will simply see it as one photo but upon closer observation you will notice the photo is made up of other smaller images of your parrot. So to create a photo mosaic you input other different photographs to make up one photograph.

You can make great photo mosaics to decorate your home, give as gifts and you can even make money from photo mosaics buy submitting such photos to stock photo sites where they can be used and downloaded by interior decorators, advertisers and many more.

To create your own photo mosaics you do not need extensive tools or equipments, all you need is a digital camera, software like Andre mosaic, and a color printer. This can be a great pass time as well as a way to earn a little income by creating photo mosaics for commercial purposes such as stock photo sites mentioned above.

Some other software that you can use for your photo mosaics are, Pic to Brick, Photomosaic, Imosaic or you could also use the services of commercial establishments to create your photo mosaics if you want that a job is something that any one can do with the right tool.

Glass Mosaic Tile Installation For a Steamer Shower

I’ve always enjoyed installing residential tile. There’s something about thinking creatively and making an artistic statement that appeals to me with the challenge. To express a customer’s design vision calls for good communication skills and at least some intuition. Making a customer happy and feeling comfortable in their home environment makes me happy, too. Nothing can compare to the satisfaction of knowing a job has been well done, in seeing a beautiful and properly installed tile job. And, indeed, a glass mosaic tile installation can look fantastic. This glass mosaic installation sure was a challenge in it’s complexity.

A short while ago Debbie and Rich asked me to finish a bathroom that would include tiling a steamer/shower surround with glass mosaic tile, for shower pan, walls, and ceiling. They chose a transparent glass mosaic called Tesserra red #777, non-iridescent, by Oceanside Glasstile of Long Beach, Calif. I believe they wanted to see as well as feel the red hot heat of a steam bath. The glass mosaic tiles were of the same red hue, but randomly varied in saturation: some glass tiles were darker or lighter than others.

Each one inch square handmade mosaic glass tile was a quarter inch thick with a finished face surface that was seemingly chipped, crazed, or irregular, not smooth. The tiles came in sheets twelve inches square, face glued to brown backing paper with a water soluble adhesive similar to that used for wallpaper. The tiles reminded me of chipped ice cubes, with sides tapered away from the face and a flat back slightly textured from molds. Most tiles were fairly square, some were slightly trapezoidal in shape, as the molten glass poured into the molds overflowed a sixteenth inch to form a sheet that was broken apart after cooling.

The bathroom had been framed in and sheetrocked walls and ceiling before my involvement, with green board placed in the steamer/shower surround area. I wanted to jump right in, assuming I could apply a builder’s felt paper moisture barrier over the greenboard, then install cementitious backerboard and parge it with a waterproofing membrane to contain steam. But, being a relative beginner to any mosaic tile installations, it was a good thing that I had some uncertainty, so I decided to talk first to Oceanside’s technical support experts.

Technical support insisted that I remove the greenboard from the steamer/shower surround. Originally developed as a substrate for directly applying tile, greenboard has now become unacceptable for any bathroom use according to building code. Also, there was a chance, however slight, that steam moisture could permeate the waterproofing membrane and eventually dampen any sheetrock or greenboard, causing deterioration and mold buildup where it could never dry out. More recently developed cementitious backerboard, code approved, performs far better for tile, especially in a wet environment.

Then, a key point to this entire installation, technical support strongly advised me not to apply a waterproofing membrane directly behind any transparent tile. Water would certainly settle behind the tile, especially where steam would force it, causing a splotchy look where some tile would areas appear darker than other areas. Untreated backerboard would allow water to diffuse away.

Finally, expansion joints are essential for glass tile installations, as well as most other tiles, especially in a steamer environment where temperature swings are most pronounced. Otherwise, glass tiles, being brittle, could crack or pop off under shear pressure. I was advised to install expansion joints at the inside corners of walls and ceiling, as this steamer/shower surround measured 4’6″ wide, 7’6″ high, and 3’6″ deep. Of course, the steamer/shower surround area 2×4 walls and ceiling were insulated with R-13 fiberglass batts.

With any steamer/shower, it is advisable to slope the tiled ceiling for water runoff to reduce the chance of steam condensation causing dripping. I reframed the flat ceiling to provide a slope of one inch per foot, this being a judgment call on my part, while the Tile Council of North America recommends a slope of two inches per foot (SR614-05).

After removing greenboard in the steamer/shower surround area walls and ceiling, I installed builder’s felt paper over wall studs and ceiling joists, and lapped it over the shower pan vinyl membrane as a final barrier to water penetration. I then installed 1/2″ cdx plywood, which does have some exterior water exposure rating, unlike greenboard. The plywood had the added benefit of stiffening surround walls and ceiling, creating a stable base for the glass mosaic tile. I stopped the plywood at the built-in seat level 16″ above the shower pan, because I was concerned about water otherwise wicking up through the plywood from the shower pan mortarbed. Below seat level I installed 1/4″ backerboard over the shower pan vinyl membrane and then applied hydraulic cement parging to straighten backerboard bulges caused by vinyl membrane folds and to bring the backerboard into plane with the 1/2″ plywood.

I taped and mudded all plywood and backerboard joints with white alkaline resistant fiberglass mesh tape and thinset. Thinset is not impervious to water, of course. Then I applied two thin coats of Mapei’s trowel-on waterproofing membrane system consisting of Mapelastic #315 powder mixed with undiluted Mapelastic #315 liquid. The powder is reinforced with fiberglass fibers and the liquid is an acrylic latex admixture. Be sure to wear old clothing when using this product, because at the consistency of thin pancake batter, the mix may get all over you, especially when working overhead. When set, the waterproofing membrane remains surprisingly flexible and adheres very strongly to anything. All inside plywood corners were taped, mudded, and waterproofed.

Over the waterproofed plywood and backerboard, I installed 1/2″ backerboard, and I again taped and mudded all joints, being careful to stay away from inside corners. In the backerboard corner expansion joints, I installed 1/4″ closed cell polyurethane backer rod, which is water resistant. I caulked over the backer rod with grey Latisil NS polyurethane flexible joint filler/sealant.

After this preparation, I was ready to tile. I was very concerned about the one inch square mosaic layout, trying to eliminate glass cuts and to balance the field width and height. I procured a pair of glass mosaic tile carbide nippers (available from stained glass supply shops or through the tile supplier), which cut the glass with a chiseling action. The tiles may also be cut by a wet tile saw with a continuous, smooth-rim diamond blade, but I preferred to use a hand-held 4″ dry grinder with diamond wheel to trim and square nipper cuts. The glass acted in a fashion similar to chiseling ice – I could never be certain of an initial square cut, but with some practice, the nippers worked quite well. As it turned out, the layout was fairly easy to adjust with the approximate 1/8″ to 1/16″ spacing of the somewhat irregular tiles. I tried most of all to use more than a half tile. Where cut for layout, it was best to cut the tiles a bit more than it seemed necessary.

I started tiling with the shower pan where I could lap over layout cuts at the perimeter with full wall tiles. Installing a square drain cover helped to make tile cuts easier and complemented the square tile theme. I used Mapei Kerabond #102 white dry-set mortar with undiluted Keralastic #310 liquid acrylic latex admixture to enhance bond and flexural strength. I greatly appreciated it’s long open time for this challenging installation. Using the flat side of a trowel, I applied the thinset and then raked it with a 3/16″x1/4″ V-notched trowel to establish the proper depth of the setting bed. I then used the flat side of the trowel again to flatten notch lines and reduce the possibility of air pockets or voids, resulting in a consistent setting bed 1/8″ thick.

The shower pan, seat, walls, and ceiling tile mosaic sheets were then applied to the setting bed with brown face paper outward, using light even pressure to establish setting bed contact and eliminate voids. Then, to achieve a uniform finish surface, a 3/4″ plywood beating block was lightly tapped with a hammer. I worked quickly applying subsequent sheets with grout joints aligned to avoid skinning of the setting bed and to unify the overall tile surface with the beating block. After 15-20 minutes of setting time, I lightly misted the brown backing paper with a household spray bottle several times, patting with a sponge, using a mixture of water and a small amount of DIF wallpaper remover. After the water absorbed into the paper, the glue released from the paper, allowing the paper to be carefully and slowly peeled away to the side without lifting tiles out. Timing of paper removal was critical not to pull tiles out while at the same time allowing for tiles spacing adjustments in the setting bed’s semi-fresh/flexible state. Particular attention was paid before final set to make grout joints adjustments appear random between individual tiles and adjacent paper sheets to eliminate the sheet pattern. Some individual tiles might sag over time – I would eventually remove them, scrape out the thinset behind, then reattach with some new thinset. I even used some plastic tile spacer wedges where necessary.

Some thinset would ooze into and fill adjoining grout joints, but the setting bed was allowed to cure overnight. Then, taking a putty knife, excess thinset could be scraped out from grout joints when still relatively soft, while not disturbing the tiles. After more curing time, I could then remove residual paper and glue by wiping clean with a damp sponge. I waited for several more days before grouting to be sure the thinset had cured.

But before grouting, I filled corner expansion joints with a color matching sanded caulk to be sure grout did not fill the joints. I was amazed at the holding power of the thinset, as during the application of grout, I really had to force it into tile joints. I used a Mapei Keracolor S sanded pearl grey grout. Of course, glass tile is impervious to moisture, so the grout will take a bit longer to set than otherwise.

After cleaning and sealing the grout, I was able to stand back and feel satisfied knowing I rose to the challenge and accomplished something out of the ordinary. Hopefully Debbie and Rich are happy and able to enjoy many relaxing steam baths.

How Commercial Painting Contractors Outshine Amateurs-Non-Professionals

Finding a painter who can actually breathe life into the dull walls of your home / office can be quite taxing. It often happens that you search wretchedly for a painter, hire one, and then end up completely dissatisfied with the income.

The resulting dissatisfaction can not be blamed on the weather condition or on the paint quality but on your choice of a non-professional painter. So the next time you want your home / office painted, choose only commercial painting contractors with a good portfolio.

Being equipped with state of the art technology, commercial painting contractors can deliver the right output within a stipulated time. Equipped with a skilled workforce, painting contractors promising high quality work which is indeed reflected on the walls.

Commercial painters certainly have an edge over non-professionals on account of their expertise as well as years of experience. Their advice can be very valuable for deciding the paint texture or making your color choices. Colors cast a deep impact on ambience and hence should be chosen judiciously.

Use of better equipments enable commercial painters to come out with unmatchable output. They know the type and quality of paint brushes, rollers etc. to be purchased for that impossible finish.

Being professional to the core, commercial painters ensure that all work is completed within a promised time-frame. Another great convenience of hiring them is that their work does not cast an obstacle in your daily life which might have been the case had you hired an unprofessional painter.

Going by the benefits, one can easily conclude that commercial painting contractors are any day better than unprofessional painters. By hiring them, you not only save loads of time and energy, but also ensure the best results for your home / office.