Using the Hammer and Hardie to Cut Marble for Mosaics

The Roman Hammer and Hardie

For cutting stone the hammer and hardie (sometimes spelt hardy) has been in use for 2,000 years. It is used to cut marble and other hard stones into a wide range of sizes to create the tesserae (tiles) needed for mosaic work.

Its advantage over using nippers in cutting stone is that it is the weight of the hammer which does the cutting thereby alleviating the stress on the wrists you get with using tile nippers. With practice you can even cut tesserae down to 1mm in size.

Using the hammer and hardie is a very straight forward practical skill and you should be able to gain a basic level of competency with 2 weeks of practice.

Your Cutting Position

The most common one people use is to have either a full size block or a smaller one on a table / small stool to the side of them while they are working from a stool of chair. The block needs to be at a height so that when you hold the hammer over the hardie, ready to use then your elbow should be at 90 degrees.

The block is, if you're right handed, on your left side and vice versa. This is so that when you cut you have to twist your upper body less. I will admit though that I use it a lot on my left side (I'm left handed) and find I move less to make the cut.

The main thing is to ensure that you have a relaxed seating position and you do not have to stretch.

Using the Hammer and Hardie

Remember, it's like a pair of pincers, the blades of the hammer and hardie should line up with each other in exactly the same way.

1. Hold the handle about of of the way down.
2. Your elbow should be at about 90 degrees, a right angle.
3. Move your wrist, not your elbow or shoulder, these should stay relaxed.
4. Hold the marble onto the hardie, make it easy for yourself any straight edges on the marble place those on the hardie and / or upwards (the part that the hammer will strike)
5. The hammer blade does not need to cover all the marble, half way across is fine. You are not so much cutting the marble as sending a fraction across the stone.
6. Drop the hammer onto the marble; you'll get to know the correct sound. They make a different sound if you have the blades connect; this is not good as it will blunt them.

The only time you need to use your whole arm is with hard stones such as granite. This is a very tough material that requires more effort and it is not generally used for mosaics.

You will notice the different sound the hammer makes when it is cutting correctly. Do not be too worried if you find you hear the hammer and hardie striking each other. You will 'soften' your strikes with practice.

If you find your piece of stone just is not cutting then stop, check your cutting position, if that's OK then generally you need to move the hammer further off the stone.

Positioning the marble for cutting

You are not cutting the marble more sending a fraction across the stone so you do not need to have the whole of the line you want to cut underneath the hammer blade.

Position the marble on the hardie just off the center. When the blade of the hammer comes down it will only need to strike part of the stone to make the cut

Here Are Some Tools for Gardening That You Should Be Considering for Your Purchase

Best Pruners

Most of the gardeners swear by their work that it is totally worth spending a bit extra on manual and classic F-2 Hand Pruner, while many of them say that they will never ever buy a different model for their purposes of taming shrubs and small trees. They sing in the praise of this pruner, that stands at 8 ½ inches, in its ability in slicing through the branches whose thickness is lesser than one inch in thickness with no dulling or jamming of the blade.

The F-2 model sports steel blades that are hardened, has an aluminum handle that is forged, and an alignment that is adjustable. The handle is rubberized and it has pads for absorbing shocks that makes it comfortable to work with them and the reviewers have reported that it does a very effective job of it. Some of the people recommend the other models for people with smaller hands – the F-6 in particular, or for those who have problems in their joints, they will really appreciate the ergonomic and rotating handles that are sported by the F-7 and the F-8 pruners. Another awesome feature that has become a favorite with many people happens to be the sap groove which helps in the prevention of sticking. The pruners are backed with a very good lifetime warranty.

Best Trowel

The Garden Trowel made out of Stainless steel and brought to you gets lots of rave reviews from the users who have found these to be indestructible, even if they are used for many years for the activities like light digging, planting and potting. Though most of gardeners fall in love with the versatile nature of the 14 inch trowel that happens to be the largest in the family, it is also made available in 12, 10 and 9 inches for tasks that are more delicate such as the weeding closer to the delicate plants.

The experts say that the longevity of the trowel is because of the steel construction of this single piece, which does not leave any joints that may break or get affected by rust. But apart from being durable, it also happens to be very effective. It can even be put to use as soil knife, all the time retaining its dexterity in more intensive jobs of digging. The users tend to agree, saying that it is sharp enough to be used in the tasks like digging effectively. They also love the handle that is so easy to grip and the convenient wrist loop made of leather.

Best knife for the garden

The garden trowel made out of stainless steel earns rave reviews from the users as being almost indestructible, even though they have been used for light digging, planting and potting for many years.

Ford, Near Chippenham, Wiltshire – Things to Do

Wiltshire is beautiful, quiet county with grassy uplands, rolling plains and picture postcard villages, like Ford near Chippenham. Ford is a small village offering a perfect retreat for anyone who wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of town and city life. Situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, there are several opportunities for remote walks along the nearby river and through the miles of unspoilt countryside and picturesque villages.

Wiltshire is on the edge of the West Country on one side and the Cotswolds in the northern part of the county. It is also surrounded by counties of Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Much of Wiltshire is agricultural and a very large part is devoted to pasture land.

Salisbury, the county town, is particularly beautiful and dominated by its Cathedral and spire. This is the tallest in England and rises majestically over Salisbury plain. The nearest city, Bristol, has fantastic shopping, museums, and theaters, offering a lively alternative for day or night activities. The World Heritage Site of Bath Spa is a few miles drive away from Ford, with its Roman Baths and Abbey, stunning Georgian Architecture and rugby stadium, home to Bath Rugby. You can also visit the Thermae Bath Spa, Britain's most memorable spa, pool and relaxation center. It is the only place in the UK where you can bathe in natural hot water, which has fed the same springs in Bath for thousands of years.

If you like history you can visit the Jane Austen Center in Bath, an intriguing visitor attraction and museum celebrating Bath's most famous resident, offering an insight into life during regency times. There are also several National Trust properties in the county, like Dyrham Park and Lacock Abbey, the magnificent Stonehenge, Avebury stone circles, and the famous limestone white horses. Stonehenge is an ancient stone circle and one of the most famous World Heritage sites, shrouded with mystery and magic. It is an impressive prehistoric monument surrounded by burial mounds and other circular stone monuments.

You can also visit Longleat in Warminster, Bowood, the magnificent family home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, Corsham Court and Wilton House, Stourhead. For the more adventurous you can experience kart racing and off-road driving at Castle Combe, located 4 miles from Chipenham and 12 miles from Bath. The Circuit also offers great driving experience days where you can drive cars like the Formula Ford racing car, the powerful Subaru Impreza WRX and the stunning Lotus Elise, and experience the Rally School, providing an exhilarating rally experience on the purpose built special gravel rally circuit .

If you want somewhere to stay to visit all the attractions of Wiltshire and experience the idyllic Wyvern Valley try The White Hart at Ford. It is everything you would expect from a rambling 16th century Coaching Inn, located near a babbling trout stream, the hotel offers the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy total peace and relaxation.

His Most Famous Painting (The Sunblind) – Juan Gris

Juan Gris, originally Jose Victoriano Gonzalez-Perez (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927), was a Spanish sculptor and painter, who operated from France for the most of his life. Gris was a student of Mechanical Drawing (1902-1904) at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas, Madrid. During this period, he drew humorous illustrations for local journals. During 1904-1905, he learnt painting from José Maria Carbonero, an ‘Academic’ artist. While he continued to paint for local periodicals, it was only in 1910 that he started taking his painting seriously, and had developed his own unique style of ‘Synthetic Cubism’ by 1912. Two of his works in this period include ‘Guitar and Flowers’ (1912) and the ‘Portrait of Picasso’ (1912), while “The Sunblind” marked 1914.

Though Gris was associated with Pablo Picasso and the other artists following ‘Cubism,’ his creations were however, distinct from the other Cubist artists. Strict geometric patterns characterized most of Juan’s works. He also used paper collage in his works, as evident in his “The Sunblind.” Exacting and explicit are the words that can come close to describing Gris’ artworks. In contrast to Picasso’s and Braque’s ‘Cubist’ works, which were monochromatic, the use of vivid colors, done in a harmonious tone, characterized Gris’ style. One of his most famous works is “The Sunblind” (1914), a ‘Synthetic Cubist’ gouache, collage, chalk, and charcoal on canvas work, measuring 92.1 cm x 72.7 cm. Juan Gris used crayons generously to create this piece of art.

The beginning of ‘Synthetic Cubism’ is marked by the usage of collage or ‘papier colle,’ along with other materials, on a multicolored surface. In this style of creative art, the canvas surface is treated as opaque, which is accentuated by other materials applied to make the imagery stand out from the surface. “The Sunblind” is a beautiful piece of art depicting light slipping through a venetian blind. The creation also shows the shadow of a wine glass being cast on the table lying nearby. This beautiful collage depicts painted blinds along with a real newspaper. The newspaper named Le Socialiste des Pyrénées-Orientales was a local newspaper from Collioure, a place where Gris stayed in 1914. The depiction of the newspaper may possibly be reflective of his political preferences.

Juan Gris created only one sculpture in his life, which was a painted plaster named ‘Harlequin,’ in 1917. During 1917 to 1920, Gris played with objects and shadows in his work and used complex textures and bright colors in his paintings, which included ‘the Fruit Bowl on Checkered Cloth’ (1917). His works therefore became more and more complicated. His paintings showed that Juan was more interested in maintaining ‘Realism’ in his ‘Cubist’ art works, more than both, Picasso and Braque did. The Spanish painter died in 1927, in Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris), when he was just forty years of age, but not before creating a niche for himself in the ‘Cubist’ genre and creating a masterpiece like “The Sunblind.” “The Sunblind” is presently displayed at Tate Gallery, London.

Chandeliers As a Symbol of Status and Wealth

Fundamental to our experience as human beings is the desire to control our surroundings.

We desire to do this for many reasons. The paramount one is our survival. Next on this list is the adoration of other people. We admire the goal achievers in our society and wish we could control our world as they do. Not surprisingly we have created many items that symbolize our mastery of our world.

The main one is wealth itself. After that comes all the symbols of wealth. It seems that virtually anything expensive and / or hard to get can be made to show the world how capable one is. Boats. Cars. Jewelry. Clothing items. Houses.

And this brings us to one that has served as a symbol of wealth and status for centuries now … the chandelier.

It seemed that from it's birth it was meant to play a role in distinguishing between the rich and the poor. Centuries ago the materials involved in night-time lighting were expensive enough to alienate all but the rich in society. As a result chandelier lighting became the evidence of the wealthy and this association has stuck in peoples heads for centuries.

Chandeliers adorn the halls of Buckingham Palace, the White House, and Celebrity Mansions. And though our main impression of those who have chandeliers is that they are wealthy, modern manufacturing technology has made it possible for anyone to get a chandelier.

In fact you have now have one … as well as the status it bestows for a very reasonable price. You can even get one to go with almost any kind of decor or style. Traditional, Modern, Williamsburg, Art Deco, and Crystal are just some of the many options available.

You can have a glass chandelier, a black chandelier, a bronze chandelier or the very popular oil rubbed bronze chandelier. It is possible for you to get a Schonbek Chandelier. (Schonbek is the maker of some of the finest chandeliers in history including many that adorn the White House and Buckingham Palace.) Chandeliers have even adapted to those who prefer more of an informal "outdoorsy" kind of style, the Rustic Chandelier.

So even if you are not exactly among the super-rich you can now have some of the symbols of their wealth. You can enjoy the same beauty reserved in the past for the privileged elite. And you can do so without spending a fortune.

Age To Get Puppies Spayed

Having your puppy spayed is by far the best way to ensure that we combat the problem of unwanted dogs. There are a huge number of healthy dogs put to sleep each year in America and an even greater number waiting in Shelters to be adopted. Much of the trauma that these animals go through would have spared if only we took a more responsible view regarding the age to have puppies spayed.

Puppies are sexually mature at around six months old. From this time on a bitch can become pregnant and have her own litter of puppies, despite the fact that she will still seem like a puppy to you. Therefore, if we wish to keep the overpopulation of dogs to a minimum, the best age for puppies to be spayed would be before they are six months old. This should be before the puppy comes on heat for the first time.

Not only is this the best age to have puppies spayed from the perspective of controlling the dog population, it is also better for the dog on medical grounds. You will have reduced the risk of your dog suffering from mammary adenocarcinoma by about 98% when she is older.

Whether there is a limit regarding there being too young an age to have puppies spayed is a much discussed subject. The American Medical Veterinary Association now advocates the spaying of female puppies from as early as 7 weeks. There are many other reputable organizations who agree with the AMVA on this decision including The Humane Society of the United States and The Kennel Club of the United States.

There has been years of research into the subject and findings have been contra to previous beliefs. It was thought in the past that operating so early in life could cause the dog problems in later years. It has now been proved that there are no medical contraindications for the procedure at this age regarding either behavior or physical well being. Many veterinarians however, will still not agree to the procedure at such an early age and are still of the opinion that the best age to have puppies spayed is at around six months, just prior to first season. Veterinarians who are involved with The Humane Society of the United States are particularly supportive of early age spaying if it means that the animal can be adopted from a shelter rather than euthanized. Another rule for some is the weight of the puppy. Some will only spay if the animal weighs at least two pounds.

The majority of specialists will say that the ideal age to have puppies spayed would be at six months. In some cases this can be reduced for an early age spay from as young as 7 weeks. Either way, the important issue is that you do have your puppy spayed. This will be one step closer to helping reduce unwanted pregnancies and save the trauma that unwanted dogs have to end.

Preventive Snow Removal Tips

Snow removal is one of the many services you must provide to your tenants in exchange for rent. Snow removal is also a necessary preventive measure to reduce risk and liability from slips and falls by not just your tenant, but their family, friends, and other visitors to the property. Prevention begins at the front door, and ends anywhere anyone could possibly walk, slip, or fall.

How and When to Protect Your Property

You should have your snow removed every day before you or your tenants go to work. Ice should be removed on an hourly basis if needed, especially if there is a rainstorm. If you use a contractor, frequent talks with them to determine the best times to visit your property are recommended.

Mark the date and time you did snow removal at your property. Also have your contractor do the same. If you are sued for a slip and fall, you can use the dates and times the property was served as a defense with your homeowner's policy.

Some homeowners think that shoveling a path through the sidewalk is insufficient. Not only is it not sufficient, but also one snowstorm after snowstorm will make shoveling harder to complete. The snow not shoveled will be packed down, and heavy. Also, you will find it hard to find someplace to put the snow. A good path clearing should be at least 42 inches wide. Designate yard or driveway space in anticipation of a big winter of snow.

When there is a blizzard, it could snow day and night. You will want your snow removed so your tenants can go to work in the morning to avoid slip and fall suits. Also, research your city ordinances about required snow removal. In Boston, Massachusetts, landlords must remove the snow and slush from their sidewalks within 3 hours of a storm, or they will be fined every day of non-compliance.

Make sure the path to the trash cans or dumpster is clear. If not, people will not put their trash there any more. When it snows, they will leave it at the near convenience to the trash cans.

If your commercial contractors have a lease voting that they are responsible for their own snow removal, take a ride and see if they are doing it properly. If not, send them a warning letter, with a specific deadline for lease compliance.

Again, check your local ordinances on snow removal. Some cities charge a substantial fine for shoveling your snow on the street or your neighbor's sidewalk area.

Hire Someone Else to Shovel the Snow

Your back is killing you, your legs feel like jelly, and your head is throbbing from a head cold. I think that is when it is time to call it a day. A shovel full of snow could average 7 lbs., Not including the weight of the shovel. Add to that the exertion of throwing the snow over your head into the front yard.

Do you have any form of asthma or bronchitis? If there is one snowstorm after another, and you have a full time job, why are you out there shoveling snow and throwing down ice melt? Hire a company which job it is to make sure your sidewalk and driveway is always clear when you leave for and come home from work. It's a tax deductible property expenditure.

When you hire a snow removal company, the liability is on them. Make sure the company has liability insurance. Give clear directions as to when you want the snow removed from your property. Talk about what to do if it rains, and the sidewalk freezes over.

This is a high-risk time for people to fall on your property. Protect your investment by having someone remove snow and ice, regardless of when it snows or rains. You can still go by yourself and throw down some salt and sand.

If your back goes out, you are sick, or have to stay at work for overtime, having a contractor will save you the aggravation of doing it yourself. Also, your contractor can hire people to do this work even if one of his employees take sick.

If you live on the property, have your contractor shovel out your car, too. Again, why shovel and sand your property in your business suit before you have to go to work?


1. Fire Hydrants – A large snowstorm will cover what could be a life saving device. Remember to clear your fire hydrants, and instruct your snow contractor to do the same.

2. Wheelchair Accessibility, the Disabled and the Elderly – Winter is especially difficult on disabled people, the elderly and those who have to go to work using a wheel chair. Give them enough clearance to navigate your sidewalks with ease. Do not just shovel a path – shovel the entire sidewalk. If your property is next to the end of the sidewalk, shovel the handicap ramp.

3. Plant Life – Do not plant flowers or shrubs where you plan to dump your snow for the winter. The sand and salt from the street mixed with the snow will kill your plants. I have found that bulb plants can survive. Yet, if you have an extended snow season that goes through April, your tulips may start coming up while snow and ice is still on the ground. Better to strategically plant your flowers and bulbs where you do not intend to dump snow and ice during the winter.

4. Rock Salt vs. Ice Melt – Rock salt, which contains water, will only melt snow and ice up to the freezing temperature. Rock salt also has a corrosive nature, and will wear out the cement on brick stairs. Ice melt is a bit more expensive, but is better long term as a preventive protection. Ice melt is better for indoor carpeting.

Use sand to give people some transaction on icy areas. Sawdust is really messy when tracked inside your apartment.

5. Maintenance – Keep your snow blower tuned up after every snowstorm. It will increase its longevity. Do not store gasoline in your house.

6. Before shoveling or plowing, spray some WD-40 oil on the shovel or snow plow blades. It will help make the snow slip off the blades quickly, and prevent ice from forming on the blade and shovel.

Maintain your snow removal efforts in a preventive manner to reduce risks and liability. You will also find that consistent and consider snow removal management will give your property a good reputation.

Elevator Safety Tips

Elevators are such a staple of everyday life that most office employees do not even think about stepping into a car every day, even one carrying them hundreds of feet up or down to their destinations. While it is true that massive improvements in safety have been made to this unique mode of transportation since it began to appear in city buildings in the 19th century, accidents still happen.

The most common incident involving elevators may not need to be life-threatening, but it is quite frustrating. While most cases are not as extreme as that of Nicholas White, trapped on a New York City elevator for forty-one hours, nearly everyone knows either first or second-hand of the experience of stalling – commonly known as getting suck – for at least a few minutes.

However, other elevator accidents are less common but far more serious. The safety of elevators in Japan recently came under serious question after a 16-year-old boy was killed when the car he was backing out of with his pick suddenly jerked upward, inflating major damage to his skull. Closer to home, a Houston doctor was decapitated by an malfunctioning elevator in 2003, becoming one of the 30 or so elevator fatalities in this nation every year.

To best avoid this possibility, consider the following safety tips before you take your next vertical ride:

  • Use caution around closing doors, never trying to slide in at the last minute. Many people assume that safety sensors are infallible, but this is not always the case. Moreover, many are located near the center of the doors, so if, for whatever reason, you happen to be near the bottom of the car, take special care of your actions.
  • Enter and exit cars only at designated floor alignments. One common malfunction of elevator rides involves the door opening when the car has not come to a complete stop or is stuck midway, exposing the shaft below. Even if you are trapped, do not attempt to exit a craft that is stuck in this way. Instead, call for help and wait for crews to properly align the car.
  • Related to the point above, always keep clear of open elevator shafts. Apart from the obvious possibility of falling in, some office building have very fast-moving cars that could catch you unawares from above or below if curiosity gets the better of you.
  • Finally, be way of any suspicious activity on the part of potential fellow riders. Never take unnecessary risks when feeling uncomfortable with those around you.

Liability is a major issue for those who own, operate, and service elevators. If you or someone you love has been affected by an elevator accident, you should consider the possibility of legal compensation for your difficulties.

Novelty Number Plates – Display

Collectors and others who purchase novelty number plates usually have some kind of system for display. However, when one does not usually collect and receives a novelty license plate as a gift, look for advice on how and where to display them. Most novelty license plates have four elongated holes in them for attaching them to almost any surface with either screws or bolts.

Some public bars and restaurants have made interesting displays of novelty license plates, especially as a feature wall behind the bar. It seems that owners of some of these establishments do not entirely trust their patrons. In the US, novelty license plates are often displayed in a license plate frame, and attached with bullet head bolts, whereas in Australia, they are usually attached to a surface without any frame. The frames used most commonly in the US are silver, black or gold, but there may also be other colors.

In private homes there seems to be many different ways used – no way is really better than any other, as they usually suit the owner. The novelty license plates can be framed in either a standard frame or in some cases people use either clear or tinted number plate protectors to display the plates, particularly when they are mounted in places other than indoors. Some people simply hang the plates from a series of hooks on a veranda, and they blow about in the breeze. Other license plate displays indoors have a narrow shelf and the plates simply sit on them – they are not actually fastened.

It is becoming more common that people purchase "Design Your Own License Plates" with their own design and use them as signs. Some ideas that have been used include "PUMPROOM", "TOILET", "MUMS ROOM", "POOLROOM", "OUTHOUSE", or any word that makes sense. These are usually screwed onto the door or onto the space above the door. The word is only limited by the imagination and copyright laws.

Some have glued the plates to flat surfaces using products like "Liquid Nails" and other similar products, but it will be difficult to remove the novelty license plate without damage should that need to occur later.

Acquiring a memory license plate is reliably easy and so is the displaying – it is not rocket science, generally bolt with a frame, or screw into a flat solid surface where it can be approved.

Good lighting is recommended in the place where the display is located.

Novelty number plates are made from steel and the paint-work is usually designed to survive outdoors for at least five years – so give them a go anywhere!

Buying Clean Burning Efficient Wood Stoves

Looking to purchase a wood stove that is right for your home? Some of the largest and best-known hearth manufacturers make some good wood stoves. There are many factors to consider and lots of products to choose from. Finding a high quality clean burning wood stove that meets your needs may require some digging. The specifications and terms used by the manufacturers and the EPA are technical and generally confusing. Understanding the specifications and ratings (and how they are determined) will help you make a better buying decision.

On top of confusing ratings and specifications there generally are not independent third-party reviews such as Consumer Reports to rely on. Underwriters Laboratory (UL) can evaluate gas fired solid-fuel fired hearth appliances, including fireplace stoves and fireplace inserts, to applicable US, Canadian and global requirements. The UL mark will appear on hearth products that have been evaluated. The largest trade group in the industry, Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association (HPBA), provides general product information and guidelines relating to buying, installing and operating hearth products (ie, fireplace inserts, gas fireplaces, gas logs) but does not recommend hearth products.

Wood stoves are not part of the energy star program, so it's not as easy to know which are the most efficient stoves (as well as the wood stove efficiency rating which is discussed below). However, as of this year, wood stoves that are 75% efficient or more will be designated (see sticker on back of stove) as such in order to show that they are eligible for the 30% Biomass Federal Tax Credit that is (up to $ 1,500 federal tax credit) available in 2009 and 2010.

In order to properly evaluate wood stoves and fireplace stove inserts the best place to start is a basic understanding of the more significant ratings and specifications that accompaniment wood stoves and fireplace stove inserts.

Catalytic versus Non-Catalytic

A chemical combustor is a device used on some wood stoves to increase combustion efficiency of wood stoves by lower flue gas ignition temperatures of wood stoves.

The two general approaches to meeting EPA smoke emission limits are catastrophic and non-catastrophic combustion. Both approaches have proved relatively effective, but there are performance differences. In catalytic combustion the smoky exhaust is passed through a coated ceramic honeycomb inside the wood stove where the smoke gases and particles ignite and burn. Catalytic stoves are capable of producing a long, even heat output. All catalytic stoves have a lever-operated catalyst bypass damper which is opened for starting and relating. The catalytic honeycomb degrades over time and must be replaced, but its durability is large in the hands of the stove user. The catalyst can last more than six seasons if the stove is used properly, but if the stove is over-fired, garbage is burned and regular cleaning and maintenance are not done, the catalyst may break down in as little as two years.

EPA certified wood stoves have a particulate emissions limit of 7.5 grams per hour for non-catalytic wood stoves and 4.1 grams per hour for catalytic wood stoves. All wood heating appliances subject to the New Source Performance Standard for Residential Wood Heaters under the Clean Air Act offered for sale in the United States are required to meet these emission limits.

Firebox Size

Size of the chamber where the firewood burns. Usually referred to in cubic feet and firewood capacity of the chamber in weight. Big fireboxes can be nice. They are easier to load, and can often accomodate those extra-long pieces of firewood that somehow find their way into the woodpile. When choosing your woodstove, however, keep in mind that stoves with large fireboxes tend to produce higher heat output, and easy fueling is a dear price to pay for being cooked out of the house.

Maximum Log Size

Largest log length that will fit into firebox. The standard firewood length for wood stoves and fireplace stove inserts is 16 ", mostly because it is the most practical length for handling. firewood.

Heating Efficiency

Measure of how much of the heat value contained in the firewood is extracted and delivered into the living space. This is the equivalent of the MPG rating of your car or truck. Remember the quality of the firewood will affect actual results.

The heating efficiency rating is determined by the stove manufacturer by testing full loads of seasoned cordwood. When testing for heating efficiency, two criteria are examined: extraction efficiency; the firewood load is weighed going in, and the particulate emissions and ashes are weighed after the fire to determine how effectively a firebox design breaks down the fuel to extract the available heat and heat transfer efficiency; this testing is performed in calorimeter rooms equipped with temperature sensors. Similar temperature sensors are installed in the exhaust flue. The degree changes in the room and flue are monitored for the duration of the test fires to determine how much of the heat extracted by the fire is delivered into the room, as compared to the heat lost up the flue.


Measurement of particulate matter emissions in grams per hour. Particulate Matter is a fancy term for air pollution and means small pieces of matter such as dust and soot that are suspended in the air.

Emissions testing is performed in EPA-approved test laboratories using the EPA's prescribed protocol. When testing for emissions, a nailed-together "charge" of kiln-dried Pine is burned, and the particulate matter in the exhaust is measured through the duration of several fires at various draft control settings. In this way, an average grams / hour particulate emissions rating is derived. Heating efficiency is not measured during EPA emissions testing.

The internal design of wood stoves has changed since 1990, as the result of the EPA regulation established in the late 1980's. The EPA's mandatory smoke emission limit for wood stoves is currently 7.5 grams of smoke per hour. Today, all wood stoves and fireplace inserts, and some factory-built fireplaces sold in the US must meet this limit. Stove manufacturers have improved their combustion technologies over the years, and many newer wood stoves have certified emissions in the 1 to 4 g / h range. The EPA certified emission rate is a reliable number that can be compared from one model to the next, but a one or two gram per hour difference in smoke emissions does not mean much in day-to-day use.

Heat Output

Usually represented as maximum heat output (you sometimes see a heat output range) of the wood stove expressed in BTU's per hour. The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the primary heat measurement unit used by the hearth industry to indicate heat output. It is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1 degree F. Typically 10,000 BTU can heat approximately 500 square feet. All wood stoves and wood burning fireplace inserts are rated by BTU output.

The heat output ratings can be misleading. In determining a maximum heat output rating, test labs used by manufacturers (usually using hardwood fuel) cram the firebox full of firewood and crank the draft control wide open. This raging, short-duration fire is just the opposite of how people burn their wood stoves, and can be misleading: if the only thing you look at is the maximum heat output rating, a small wood stove with a really big air intake can seem just as powerful as the largest wood stoves. Some manufacturers use the heat output rating from EPA testing, which uses softwood fuel. Another way these figures can be misleading is that non-chemical wood stoves tend to produce a higher peak heat output, but that does not mean they'll produce more heat over an eight hour burn cycle, which is a more relevant performance indicator . The result is that you can not compare the heat output of stoves because the ratings are not standardized.

Heating Capacity

The estimated square feet of space the wood stove will heat. Many manufacturers display very wide ranges like 1,000 to 2,000 square feet or suggest the maximum area the unit will heat. The reason for the big ranges and vague estimates is that a particular wood stove may heat 1,000 sq. ft. in Maryland, but only a 500 sq. ft. house in New Hampshire due to the climate difference. In addition, an old house might have twice the heat loss of a new house of the same size in the same climate zone. Also, the layout of the house could materially impact capacity. For example, if your house is divided into many small rooms, you probably will not be able to move the heat around the rest of the house, so the square footage rating is useless to you. And lastly, a stove burning softwood will put out much less heat per firebox load than it will burn a hardwood. Heating capacity ratings based on square footage are unreliable.

Burn Time

Maximum estimated wood stove burn time. Burn time depends on wood species and moisture content, and on how much heat is needed during the burn. How long will a given stove burn on a single load of wood? The only reasonable answer is: It depends. One advantage of catalytic wood stoves is that the good ones can deliver a lower burn rate over a longer period than non-catalytic wood stoves and yet still burn clean. But the disadvantage of these long burn times is that the door glass tend to get dirty at very low firing rates. In other words, a stove that has a claimed burn time of ten hours may not be better or more convenient to use than one that delivers an eight hour burn.

Bread Maker Recipes That Are Easy to Make

Bread is a universal diet and it is ateen almost in all countries. Even the countries where bread was not so much popular have now become popular, but, of course, with a different name and variety. Now the arrival of the breadmaker and special bread recipes have proliferated bread so much so that it is understood that bread have so many recipes even more bread maker recipes are in the market. The reason is that several bread maker recipes have not reached the market and are still used at homes.

Now several chefs are engaged in discovering new recipes for their bread maker recipes lists. Even bread maker recipes are available in the market in the shape of a booklet and on internet with a wide list of bread maker recipes. However, human bread makers have discovered several recipes for making, preparing and baking breads. In fact, it depends, first of all, on the society and then on the environment.

For example, in the eastern society, bread making, and breadmaker recipes are fields solely reserved for females of the family and males know nothing about cooking or bread except eating. However, in case of hotels, it is different different, for chefs and machine bread makers, and bread maker recipes have special hold in hotels. But, the case of western society is entirely different. With the proliferation of specialization in every field, bread making and bread maker recipes have become fields to be reckoned with. Several bread makers have discovered several different recipes and have become popular solely on account of their recipes. Same is the case with bread making and also with bread maker recipes. You are to take the ingredients of your favorite recipe, put it in your bread maker and your favorite bread is ready in a minute or so.

Moreover, the recipes of the bread making process depend on the taste and diet advice. They also depend on the types of the bread. Several breads are prepared through different machines and bread maker recipes are handy in this regard. Several other recipes are prepared manually and break maker recipes are also available at that time.

Furthermore, bread recipes and their popularity Also depends on the name and namesake taste. For example, French bread and Italian bread immediately reminds us the best bread recipes, for the names are attached with culinary tastes and no experience of the bread is required. Likewise, garlic bread, pumpkin break, carrot bread and such other exports immediately tell us about the ingredients that have been mixed, and they have also become specialty of bread makers. Such bread recipes are not naturally shifted from one generation to another generation. Their recipes have been particularly discovered along with the ratio of their ingredients and then they have spread among the people. Same has happened with rye break, dark rye bread, west bend classic rye bread, dark pumpernickel rye bread, sourdough bread and several others.

Moreover, some very simple recipes that are quite common are available for you and you can have it among your bread maker recipes to use it when required.

& Honey Bread

2 TBSP honey (liquid or melted)

3/4 cup warm water

1 tsp salt

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP lemon juice

2 tsps granulated yeast

1/2 cup rolled oats

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 TBSP olive oil

These are the ingredients and you are required to mix salts with the yeast, oats and flour in the breakmaker. Make a hole in the top for the yeast to put there and bake as usual. Your bread is ready.

Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop Overview: How Is This Series of Desktops Designed?

While PCs designed for gaming and entertainment tend to be more expensive than the standard PC, this in no way means that they are beyond your budget. If you want to enjoy all of the popular games on a computer, all you have to do is invest in a Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop. There are a variety of configurations from which you can choose, all offering the level of graphics power, speed and reliability you need for your specific game requirements.

Some of the computers in this series can even handle virtual-reality level graphics. With AMD Ryzen processors and up to 32GB of memory, expect smooth, fast gameplay. View virtual landscapes in the finest details.

This is a great looking machine in addition to being a good-performing one. Select between a slate-gray enhanced exterior with deep-blue LEDs and a sleek black exterior. The Inspiron towers are around average in size for a mid-tower system. The panels located outside of the chassis are made entirely of quality-plastic, but the inside frame is metal.

The power button is also backlit in blue. The lighting is bright enough to give the tower an aura in the dark. You can use the Dell Light Bar Control to toggle the settings – simply place it in the system tray and click on it with the mouse whenever you want to change the settings or turn the lighting off.

What kind of hardware can you configure when ordering a Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop PC? As noted above, Ryzen processors are included, beginning with an AMD Ryzen 3 1200 model with four-cores, four-threads and a 10MB cache (up to 3.4GHz with Precision Boost technology). The system DDR4 RAM starts with 8GB and can go up to 32GB if you want to expand. As with any PC, additional memory slots are sold separately. However, they are easy to install in this tower.

Storage Options for Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop

Storage is another important consideration when purchasing a desktop computer. With Dell's Inspiron gaming series, you can start out with a 1TB SATA hard drive (7200-RPM 6Gb / s), which includes a 64MB cache. Like the memory, add more later on if you need a greater storage capacity (up to 2TB). The base option for graphics is an AMD Radeon RX (570) with 4GB GDDR5 memory.

To ensure a quiet and cool operation, these desks are designed for optimal temperatures and airflow. There are performance fluid cooling options available along with Extended Frequency Range (XFR) technology, which adjusts the clock speed for a boost in overall system performance.

No matter how you choose to configure it, you can count on a Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop to get you through all of your favorite games with ease.

If this Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop review has you seriously considering buying one of these PCs, it's time to get started with your savings. Look over some Dell coupon codes and special offers to learn about easy, affordable desktop financing.

How to Determine the Right Handrails to Use

You may have noticed in the places you've been to the different issues relating handrails. You may have complained in some instances that certain handrails you used were too big and hard to help. Or you may have observed the others to be too small you'd wonder if it is sturdy enough to protect you and the people who use it.

Handrails are supposedly to provide comfort and security to people with physical disabilities especially those who can not walk normally and the elderly. However, not all builders are perfect the reason for these problems.

In order to serve people, handrails should be installed properly. In other words, the right measurements have to be followed by builders and homeowners to assist and protect people in areas which are safety hazards.

In the home, handrails are a must in staircases as well as in balconies wherever located on the ground level or on an upper level. They can be installed together with railings or they can put up as it is on the wall, in the bathroom and toilet as well as on a bar counter. Handrails mounted in the toilet and bathroom are meant to help people keep their balance in case of slips and to prevent falls.

Depending on the type of people you're targeting to use it for, handrails can be installed in different ways and with varying measurements. For the elderly and disabled people, handrails should ideally be installed at a height of 0.85 meters and 0.95 meters from the floor level.

A second handrail can be added measuring 0.70 and 0.75 meters in height for people on wheelchairs. Additionally, a third handrail can be installed to benefit short people including children at a height of 0.60 meters.

Handrails can be made from various types of materials such as wood and metal. They can also be of different shapes such as circular and square or with multiple sides. If possible, these should allow people to grip it firmly and easily. Handrails with sharp edges should always be avoided.

For those that are mounted on the wall, there is a required distance. For smooth walls, the handrail should be between 40 mm and 50 mm while for rough and textured walls, the ideal distance is 60 mm.

An important consideration when installing wall-mounted handrails is that they should be of a different color from that of the wall. Using a contrasting color will make it easy for people to see the fixture. This is also very beneficial to people with problems in their vision.

Whether in homes or buildings, handrails should always be continuous. There should not be gaps in between except only when it's around the landing and when near the doorway. For stairs or ramps that measure more than three meters wide, it is vital to have a continuous handrail.

Keep these things in mind in order to install the right handrail with the proper measurements. If you're able to do this, you can rest assured that your loved ones will be safe in your home.

Installing Iron Balusters

Tools Needed:

3/4 "speed bore drill bits – approximately 1 for every 20 balusters.
Caulking Gun
Angle Grinder or Metal Saw to cut iron balusters
1-5 / 8 "drywall screws
Jig Saw or circular saw.
Products needed:
Iron balusters of your choice and color
Baluster Shoes
Epoxy adhesive or polyurethane adhesive
Installation Instructions:

LAYOUT GUIDE AND DESIGN – Before ordering your balusters, make a detailed drawing of your stairway, layout in a straight line or circular line (depending on the stairway design) each of the steps and the number of balusters on each step, and the landing areas (flat areas) with the number of balusters in the landings. Assign a circle to each of the space. In other words, if your steps have 3 balusters per step, you would assign 3 circles to each step in your layout as shown below in diagram # 2. Please make note that the layout has been determined and a number has been assigned to each baluster and then totaled to place the proper number for your order.

Step # 1 Baluster Removal – Remove the wood baluster by cutting them with either a circular saw or a jig saw half way between the treads and the handrail. Pull out the lower portion and the upper portion and then remove any remaining nails left in the holes with pliers.

After the baluster has been removed, you will have either a hole in the tread like pictured above, or the area will be flat with no hole, depending on the installation of the old wood balusters.

Step # 2 Drill Holes for Iron Balusters – You will now drill a 3/4 "hole in the center of this space vacated by the wood baluster, drill as deep as the drill will go, preferably 3-4" deep.

Step # 3 Measure the Baluster Length – Set the new iron balusters in this new 3/4 "hole UPSIDE DOWN and mark the other end (actually the bottom) of the balusters against the bottom of the handrail near the corresponding top hole. to align the top and bottom in a plumb (level) line as it is easy to move from one side to the other giving you an improper length. upside down in the hole and marking the other end, you are actually marking the bottom of the baluster. your drill penetrates the wood framing completely, sometimes this will happen.

Step # 4 Baluster Cutting – Cut the baluster approximately 1/2 "shorter than the mark, this will allow for you to slide the baluster into the hole, and up inside the top hole of the handrail.

Always test your baluster fit before gluing. Slide your shoe onto the baluster. The baluster should slide down into the lower hole first, and then into the upper hole. If you drilled the hole deep enough and cut it properly, your baluster should fit in this space by filling the upper hole and still have 2 "into the lower hole.

Step # 5 – Adhesive in the TOP hole – Apply adhesive (epoxy or polyurethane) to the upper hole.

Step # 6 Fastening the Baluster in the LOWER hole – Place a 1-5 / 8 "drywall screw into the lower hole on the side of the baluster at a 45 degree angle, wedging it into place. necessary. These two screws will wedge the baluster firmly into place holding it permanently.

Adhesive can also be applied.

Final Steps
Wipe off any adhesive left in the top hole.
Slide the shoe down over the baluster for a finished look.

Align the baluster so it is properly aligned.

Enjoy your new stairway.

Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools and use tools in the manner they were designed.

Neither Stairway Creations Supply or any of its employees assumes any liability for the installation of products purchased from our company. Installation instructions are general because each and every job will be different and certain conditions will have to be adapted to the individual situation. We assum no liability for use or misuse of any equipment or products.
Please make sure you comply with all building codes.

Health and Safety Regulations Relating to Balustrading and Handrails

When it comes to choosing handrails and balustrades for a building, the design is one of the most important considerations along with the fact that how well the design and color go with the rest of the interior, or the exterior in case of external balustrades. Other than the design, the other important thing that you should consider carefully and thoroughly is the safety and health regulations associated with balustrades and handrails.

The first thing associated with the safety of balustrades is that there should be proper checking as to see that the structure in which the balustrade is being fitted is firm and strong and there is no deformation in any part of the structure. The connection points at the beams should also be checked so that it can be made sure that there is no deterioration.

Another factor associated with checking the safety of balustrades and handrails is to make sure that there is no rusting anywhere in the rails and the metal is not rusted. Rusted metal might result in loosing and thus may cause instability of the balustrades and handrails which poses a serious threat.

If the balustrade and handrail of wood, then it is important to check that the timber is not rotted as it does sometimes at the joints. The bolts and brackets should also be examined, and you also need to make sure that the timber is not soft and spongy. Probing something sharp in the wood can help in achieving this.

Other than these careful measures, there are also regulations regarding the height of the balustrade. There is also a fixed difference which has to be maintained, and if the difference is more than that, a handrail is required for supporting the load and for interlinking. The kind of glass that can be used in such a handrail has to be toughened.

The location of the glass and its height in linking a handrail is also regulated while keeping the best safety measures in view, and to make sure that the interlinking handrail functions well for the purpose it is meant to serve.

There are also regulations associated with the glazing of the balustrades and handrails. There are different kinds of balustrades, and hence, different regulations apply to them in terms of handrails and other safety measures.

There is a building code associated with balustrades and handrails, and the buildings have to be constructed while complying with this code as it is illegal to do otherwise. There are also inspections made to see the level of compliance to the code and to look at the safety conditions of houses in relation to balustrades and handrails for children as well as the adults staying in a place. The height of the balustrade and the infill in between is specified in the code and thus has to be followed. It is important that the regulations should be complied in order to remain safe from any financial loss as well as loss of lives.