How to Install Laminate Flooring

If you are a home owner and want to save yourself the cost of having a so called professional install your laminate flooring, and take the pride of do it yourself install, you will need good step by step approach instructions.

The first thing you will need is a good solid and level subfloor. Make sure it is clear of all debris left over from taking out your old floor.

You will then have to determine which way you want the grain of the wood to run. Take and lay out some of the planks to see what way looks the best for you. Once you have figured out which way to run the planks you will need to determine where to start. I always recommend starting at the longest straightest wall in the left hand corner of the room.

You will need to stagger out your joints when laying your planks. This is accomplished by starting with a full plank in your first row then running full boards all the way down to where your landing ends. Remember to keep a 1/4 "gap between your planks and the walls for an expansion joint. a 1/3 of a plank the full boards down the row the rest of the way. Then you just start repeating the pattern all over again, full, half, third.

You will need to undercut your door jams so that the laminate will fit under the tribs of your doors giving you that professional look you are seeking. When you get up to another floor where the laminate stops you will need a transition piece between the two floors. Most all of the manufactures have transition pieces to match the same color of your flooring. You will need to stop your laminate one inch short of the flooring you are butting up to. This will leave a gap between the two floors where a track is put down that the transition piece fits into. Once you have your transition piece cut to the proper length it will just snap into the track. Once it is snapped into place do not plan on getting it out because once it is in it's in. If you try too take it out you will end up snapping it in half. trust me I learned the hard way and broke too many pieces trying to get them out.

The Best Carpet Choices

There is a lot more to picking out a carpet that you might realize, but carpet retailers are here to help. From the fiber to the cut, style and color there are an awful variety of carpets to choose from for almost every conceivable purpose. Carpeting is manufactured for indoor or outdoor use, there are even carpet squares that are affixed a lot like vinyl flooring tiles. New materials and techniques have sped up the process and made the carpets of today more durable to stand up to the wear and tear of the modern world. Carpet that is correctly chosen and installed will last around 20 years with proper care.

Different Types Of Fibers

Nearly every carpet today is made with synthetic fibers, nylon and olefin (polypropylene) being the two major fibers that a large majority of the carpets today are composed of. Olefin in particular makes an excellent choice for indoors or out. Natural fibers, such as wool, are more expensive and not nearly as easy to maintain as synthetics. Acrylic and polyester are also synthetics that are commonly used. Synthetics are often blended for added durability and ease of maintenance. A new trend in the carpeting industry is leasing towards Eco-friendship and much carpeting is manufactured from recycled materials.

The types of carpet that your carpet distributor can offer you is immense. Probably the most popular type is the cut pile, if you cut the looped strands of yarn that make up the carpet it creates a tufted strand that can be cut to any length depending on the customers' desires. As with any type of carpet durability is determined by the type of fiber used and how it is constructed. For example, if the tufts of yarn are given a couple extra twists, then its durability is increased.

Many Different Types And Styles

Loop pile carpeting is another type that is becoming increasingly popular in the carpet community. The loops that are affected in a cut pile carpet remain untouched to provide a level loop appearance. It is easy to maintain, but needs to be vacuumed often to prevent soil from working its way inside the loops. Patterned loop carpets are created when the loops are of varying height to give the appearance of a design, usually geometric in nature. While loop carpeting tend to be more durable than cut pile it is not as soft and luxurious.

Berber carpeting has made a comeback in recent years and is available major carpet outlets. Originating from Morocco, their compact loop construction makes them very durable for high traffic areas, but again, not as comfortable as cut piles, but it works very well in office and school settings where no one is likely to be running around barefoot anyway or very high traffic areas of the house. Hand woven Berber can still be found, but is very expensive and has been widely replaced by carpets created by mechanical means. Berber is stain resistant and reliably inexpensively when you consider the use that you will get out of them.

Loop And Cut Pile

Loop and cut pile carpet techniques are also combined to give a textured appearance throughout the carpet. The loops appear lighter in color than the cut pile tufts and can create some very interesting patterns. These carpets normally come in solid colors and provide above average performance. It also creates an informal and cozy look. Because of the unique patterns that they display, this type of carpet tends to hide dirt a bit better than others although that should not be a concern for those who care for their carpets properly.

One other type of carpet that holds a small niche in carpet market is the plush or velvet type. These carpets are made by twisting the tufts of carpet in the same direction just slightly. Their luxurious appearance makes them perfect for formal areas or up the risers of a sweeping staircase. They are harder to care for than other carpets nor do they provide the durability of other carpeting options as they do not hold up well under heavy traffic. They tend to show every footprint and vacuum trail although these marks are easily brushed out.

Do not Forget The Pad

Whiche carpet type and style you pick them all require an under pad that, when properly chosen, help reduce wear and tear and makes the carpet more comfortable. Be certain to put as much thought and research into the choice of the pad as you did for the carpet. Different carpets perform at their best with the proper choice of pad. Rebound carpet pads are the most popular, but others are made of foam while others still are waffle shaped to increase shock absorption.

The advent of synthetic materials has made carpet care much easier. Not only in durability, but in ease of cleaning. Substances such as olefin and nylon are more soil and stain resistant than natural fibers and make them much easier to care for on your own without having to call in a professional, although any carpet should be cleaned at least every six months as part of any carpet maintenance regimen. Vacuum all carpets regularly. Consult your local carpet professional if you have any questions about the proper way to care for the carpets in your home.

As much as choosing the proper carpeting for your needs is important, it is also important to choose the correct carpet distributor. Find one that is a warehouse of carpets, as well as all floor coverings that employs knowledgeable personnel and carries the supplies, hardware and amenities that you need from reputable companies in the industry. You normally pay less at established distributors due to their high volume of sales. Many provide installation services and free estimation, carpet can be installed directly by homeowners, but depending on the size of the job can be quite the undertaking. Whatever type of carpet you buy or hire someone to install it or lay it yourself a one stop shop for all your flooring needs is essential.

Brick Pointing Techniques For New and Old Brickwork

Brick pointing is the method of applying a small amount of mortar into the face joint between bricks. These bricks can either be newly laid ones or old brickwork. In new brickwork, pointing is done to apply harder mortar to increase weather protection on the exposed faces. In old brickwork, the method is used to repair the mortar joints that have been eroded by exposure to various elements.

For laying new and old brickwork, there are several techniques that need to be followed in order to do the task properly.

On new brickwork, brick pointing should be done at convenient intervals. Breaks at convenient points must be held to allow sufficient time for cleaning out the surface mortar of the section. The mortar in the joints should be scraped to a depth of about 12 mm from the brick surface. A wall can only be pointed when it has been completed.

In terms of old brickwork, the important brick pointing techniques include chipping out the old mortar and pointing it to a right depth. The standard depth is 12 mm from the brick surface. In removing the old mortar, angle grinders are often used. Take note that the process will cause a lot of dust, so you better wear face mask and goggles as you do the job.

Once the wall is ready to be pointed, the brick pointing techniques for the mortar follows. Make sure that the joints are wetted first before being filled with the pointing mortar.

Make a fairly stiff mix of the mortar and put a small amount on a hawk. In cutting off slithers of mortar, a small pointing trowel can be used. Hold the mortar up on the edge of the trowel and press it into the joints to be filled. Then, carefully draw the blade backwards. Repeat the steps until the mortar is flushed with the face of the bricks.

Do the brick pointing techniques by filling the vertical cross-joints first, followed by the horizontal bed-joints. When more than a square meter has been filled, finish it using the required style.

Roof Tiling – Consider Learning This Trade

Roof tiles come in many varied materials, including blocks of hooked that tile to enable an easy DIY that job to an outdoor area. Working as a roof tiler for a profession, however, requires training.

Roof tiling courses are available and cover the following types of tiling (and more):

o Shingle

o Slate

o Spanish

o Roman

o Interlocking

o Plain

o Pantiles

o Double pantiles

Roof tiles are all basically laid in rows called courses from the eaves up to the ridge of the roof, each course overlapping the one benefit it. Vertical joins between the tiles are staggered in adjacent rows so that any one tile partially covers two in the row below it.

Three sizes of tile are used:

o A standard tile for the main covering

o A tile called a tile-and-a-half (which is half as wide again as the standard size at the end of alternate rows up to the roof)

o Short version of the tile-and-a-half (for the course along the eaves and along the ridge of the roof)

On some roofs, there are narrows tiles called creasing tiles at the gable end of each course. They are laid underneath the end to tilt the edge of the roof upwards to ensure that rainwater can not run down the gable wall.

Some tiles are nailed to battens on the roof. Others have small projections called nibs which fit over the battens. It is always necessary to nail tiles without nibs.

All these necessary things you would learn in a Roof Tiling Course, which would include extras such as damp-proofing and structure of roofs, but proper that would not fall under a Roof Tiling Course, as it is an art of itself requiring specialized lighting conductors , etc.

At a Roof Tiling Course, you would also learn about safety recommendations and possibly, scaffolding requirements, dependent on the height of the roof.

The ridge of a tiled roof is covered with semi-circular right-angled ridge tiles, the edges formed by two sloping surfaces called hips which have semi-circular or bonnet shaped tiles.

The eaves course on a plain tiled roof rest on the top of the fascia board with curved tiles filled with mortar at the outside edge. On some roofs, a valley junction may be tiled.

o Pantile eaves are small pieces of tile inserted into the mortar to help reinforce the eaves course.

o Creasing tiles are narrow tiles inserted under the main covering to tilt up the edge of the roof.

o Valley junctions are specially shaped tiles that interlock with each other and are available for processed gutters.

All such terminology is among the essentials you will learn in a Roof Tiling Course.

A good course will also offer damp proofing and roof tile repairs.

Consider becoming a Roof Tiler if you are agile, do not suffer from back problems and are not obese. You could expect to earn a good living wage as a roof tiler – always needed regardless of the state of the economy.

Fake Fireplaces

It is the dream of many to make their homes look classic and elegant. Fireplaces are known to add to the look and beauty of any room, while adding to the property value of the house. However, they are usually very expensive and cost a fortune when opting for the real granite or marble fireplace. The fake fireplaces are the best option to meet pre-determined budgets and enhance the beauty of the room.

Fireplaces not only provide warmth and coziness to the room, but also provide a place for displaying ornaments and other decorative accessories on the mantelpiece. It adds to the distinct feature of the room. In order to fulfill the purpose, within a budget, people opt for fake fireplaces.

Several do-it-yourself kits are available in the market to guide the homeowners in designing and building up their own designer fireplaces. While opting for fake fireplaces owners must consider the size, shape and placement of the fireplace, according to the room space and other furniture. Materials for setting up fake fireplaces are also easily available and give the desired finish and look. These include plywood, cardboard, PVA glue, screws, nails, hammers, wallpaper, rags, paintbrushes, paint rollers, quality acrylic primer, pencils and rulers, newspapers, masking tape, plastic plates for mixing paint and colors and sea sponges, to name a few.

All these materials are used to build the fireplace, following the instructions and guidelines. Fake fireplaces can be built during the Christmas week, to celebrate the occasion and enjoy the presence of a fire and the cinders in the fireplace. Various online sites offer guidelines and video demonstrations to build fake fireplaces. Individuals can also take the help of professionals to guide them. These additions to the home are always welcome and enhance the interiors with a touch of class.

Retinal Detachment – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

The retina is an extremely thin tissue that lines the extreme back of the eye and is basically responsible for the assimilation of visual data, which is then transmitted to the brain by the optic nerve for interpretation. A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue, usually due to trauma, bleeding, extreme near-sightedness, medications or surgery. This condition invariably leads to complete loss of vision, and needs to be treated urgently. Currently, surgery is the only viable medical option in the management of retinal detachment.

The limitations of surgery are that eyesight may not be regained for several months, and recovery may be only partial. In addition, complications like infection and recurrence of retinal detachment are also possible. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can be quite useful in these situations as supportive therapy, to prevent bleeding, reduce the severity of damage to the retina, induce faster healing, salvage the maximum possible vision in the affected eye, and prevent a recurrence of the condition.

Ayurvedic medicines like Tapyadi -Loh, Laxadi-Guggulu, Usheerasav, Saarivasav, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Triphala-Ghrut, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, and Gokshuradi-Guggulu can be used to reduce or prevent swelling and bleeding in the interior of the eyes. Herbal medicines like Laxa (Purified wax), Naagkeshar (Messua ferrea), Sphatik Bhasma (Purified alum), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), and Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia) can also be used for this purpose.

Medicines like Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Tapyadi-Loh, Ekangveer-Ras, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Yashtimadhuk (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) are used to minimize eye damage and induce faster healing.

Further damage can be prevented by treating known risk factors like diabetes and hypertension, and by boosting the immune status of the body by using medicines like Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati , Panch-Tikta-Ghrut and Maha-Triphala-Ghrut.

Retinal detachment is currently a medical condition which is difficult to treat and therefore, the potential contribution of Ayurvedic herbal treatment assumes special significance. It is important that all such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of a team of Ophthalmologists.

Insulated Rug Pads – Which to Choose For Sound and Warmth

I am often asked if a rug pad could also help insulate against sound and cold and my answer is yes, the right rug pad can do this. There are plenty of rug pads available that will provide some sort of protection such as non slip or protecting your floor and rug. Taking things a step further, there also are a few rug pads that provide sound insulation as well as adding warmth to your floor.

The first thing to know about choosing the best insulating rug pad is that it needs to be a solid pad, not one with holes that are readily available. Under area rugs, the choice for a solid pad should include a recycled jute material. There are two rug pads that contain recycled jute. One is 100% recycled jute and since it does not contain rubber, should only be used under rugs that do not tend to slide. This is excellent for your room size rugs or rugs that have furniture on them. The other pad is a combination of recycled jute and a real layer of solid rubber. It is important to make sure the rubber is actually rubber and not a sprayed on latex or imitation rubber since these can break down and harm your floors.

The recycled jute pad is available in a few quality weights and the best at protecting rugs, floors and providing insulation is a 40 ounce weight. This means that there are 40 ounces of fiber per square yard of pad and this results in a dense pad that will reduce noise and cold. The recycled aspect brings with it a mold and mildew resistant quality as well as a pad that does not contain any odor. It is also hypoallergenic and safe for all floors.

Now, if your rug tends to slide, then the recycled jute and solid rubber rug pad is for you. This pad is quite dense and the combination of jute and rubber insulates well. The added protection with this pad is that it provides a non slip function, providing safety with rugs that could slide. The rubber is real rubber, not to be confused with a latex spray, and is completely safe for all hardwood and hard floor surfaces.

While rug pads were originally intended to prolong the life of area rugs, they also possess qualities such as floor protection, comfort and sound and weather insulation. Investing on the proper pad now could prove to save lots of money and frustration later by prolonging the life of your rug and being safe for your floor.

Beginners Guide to Timber Decking Kits

Timber Decking Kits for your Patio & Garden

Garden Decking has witnessed a revival of late, which is possible attributable to the fact that it is a simple, elegant, and easy to create feature which adds both practicality and usability to your garden.

Constructing a decking kit is a rewarding and simple experience – and one which is open to almost any practical-minded individual or half-competent DIYer. By following just a few instructions, you too could create a highly practical area within your garden, which can be enjoyed by for all the family.

First up, ensure that the garden timber decking kit is constructed from ethically sourced, sustainable timbers. Ethically managed forests help ensure that the deck boards have been harvested from sustainable sources. Pine deck boards are the most common deckboards in the UK – typically at 12.5 and 14.5 centimeters wide. Ensuring that your deckboards are grooved will also ensure that the deck provides extra grip in wet weather conditions, so try to source timbers which have at least four grooves. Reversible deck boards will give you the option of perhaps four or seven grooves.

The construction process begins with the preparation of your ground area – the space on which the deck is to be built. Having removed the weeds, rocks, and other unwanted objects from the ground, start by laying a weed control membrane underneath the area on which your project is to be constructed. This will help prevent any further weeds from growing up through the timber boards.

Once the ground area has been prepared, the project will begin constructing the wooden joist frame. This will typically be constructed from C16 grade softwood, 4 "x2" in profile. Raised projects will use 6 "x2" timbers mounted on steel post anchors.

Now that the timber joist frame is in place, the framework will provide a solid base onto which the deckboards can be laid. Timber decking boards should be laid at 5-6mm intervals, to allow the timber to expand and contract under different weather conditions and seasons.

If you wish to install a handrail system, this will be supported vertically by the use of either steel fence post spikes or the more conventional bolt-down steel anchors.

Timber decking kits need not cost the earth – pretty much anyone with fundamental DIY skills will be able to complete an elegant and practical ground deck. Decking kits can be easily adapted for level ground decks, and raised decks can help accommodate uneven ground or a sloping garden. Decking kits are often consider cheaper than a paved decking area, and far more environmentally friendly.

Finally, ensure that all decking timbers are protected with a quality decking stain. Sadolin 2 in 1 Deck Stain and Preserver is specifically good value, and offers a very high level of finish and quality.

Composite Decking Vs Pressure Treated Wood Decking


Composite decking claims a 25 year fade warranty. That sounds great, right? Well after the initial install you will not notice the fading that is really taking place. It is a very slow process. How ever, if you have the need to replace one or more of the topping boards a year later, you will see the drastic change in color fade. There is a positive side to this however. In time, the new boards will also fade into the same color as the original boards. So if you can bare to live with the different colors for some time than its all good for you. If you think the difference would bother you, then you may want to do some more research on composite decking before you purchase.

Reasons why you may need to change composite topping after installed-

Composite topping boards are not scratch proof. Let me repeat this, composite topping boards are not scratch proof. Although they are very durable, they are not by any means scratch proof. And if a scratch happens, it can not be removed by sanding are any other means. You will either have to live with it or replace the board and deal with the color difference until it fades to match.

The good side to composite decking-

If you can live those downfalls, the upside to having a composite deck is the life span of the material. The composite decking will not rot. You will never have to paint it, stain it, or seal it. So once it has been installed it becomes virtual maintenance free. And that was were the down fall to pressure treated wood coming into play.

Pressure treated wood decking warranty-

Most pressure treated wood manufacturers will have between 15 to 25 year warranty on their product. This warranties only if you maintain proper maintenance for the life of the product. Yes that means you will need to power wash the decking at least once every 3 years and seal it with a good sealer. It is extremely important to do this or the decking will dry out, crack, and rot.

The up side to having an pressure treated wood deck-

Although you will have to keep up maintenance on it, the natural wood deck has the best appearance to it. You can use a semi translucent sealer to leave the natural wood grain exposed or you can use a solid stain to color it to match just about any color you may need. If a board gets damaged by a scratch it can be sanded and sealed again to match. If need be that more than one board needs to be replaced, they can also be sealed to match in color.

My opinion:

Well, in all of my years of installing decks, I have to say I like the wood decks better. They just look like they are real. I feel that the composite decks are very rich looking and elegant, and practical as far as maintenance goes. So it really is just a matter of what type of house do you have, what look you are going for, do you have time for maintenance, and maybe even what area you live in.

Important House Design Planning Considerations

If you have purchased a section of land and enlisted the services of a custom home designer to design your blueprints it is very important that you spend time considering the following house design points before any construction begins.

Ensure that your sections borderary pegs match up with your blueprint plans or have a surveyor do this for you to be absolutely sure. This process will help determine if the size of your floor plan will fit comfortably within the constraints of your section and boundary. This process may also highlight better use of certain land areas within your section or show that certain parts of your blueprints can be extended / altered.

Will certain areas of your house such as the deck and living room receive the best amount of sunlight in the position you have planned? When thinking about the positioning of your future home note where the sunlight will be during the day. Look around your section for potential sunlight blockers such as trees and empty neighboring sections that may have buildings erected in the future.

Are there any building contractors on the site that could affect the draw up plans of your home? Have you invested in a new subdivision that requires the developers' approval over your house plans? Does the site have restrictions in terms of building size, height and materials allowed? It is a wise idea to have your lawyer look for potential restrictive covenants before you get too far into the design process.

Find out where utilities such as electric, telephone, gas, sewer and water connections will enter your property; are they near your sections border or will you need to bring these services on-site? A Land Information Memorandum Report (LIM) from your local council will highlight these utilities and also make you aware of important environmental and land related information such as storm and drainage, likelihood of flooding, erosion risk, heritage and conservation classifications.

Be sure to have all your building consent forms organized and ready before starting any house construction, it is important that all your home design planning complies with your country's building code, particularly if you wish to sell your home once completed. It can be a cost and time consuming mistake for new home owners / builders if the above house design considerations are overlooked.

Service Design – Steps and Processes Involved

There are a lot of stages and processes involved in service design before any new product or service is launched into the market. This concept offers a lot of benefits both to the customer as well as the service provider. While the customer is guaranteed reliable, usable, desirable and quick service, the provider obtains adequate profits, long-term success and customer satisfaction in return.

The first and foremost step in the service design process is research. Extensive research at multiple levels is required before any new service or product is launched. Reports developed after insightful research helps the provider to understand the requirements of the customer and also the kind of service that is currently available in the market. Exploratory research techniques are used to understand the current situation and get a deeper understanding of the customers, their needs and expectations. The next step is genetic research in which the focus is on exercises and activities that will reveal how to respond to the findings of exploratory research. The final leg is evaluative research which helps to validate whether the service or recommendations designed actually meets the need of the customer or end user.

Service or product development process can be categorized into four stages starting with design, analysis, development and then market introduction. Each of these is connected and can be considered to be a feedback loop. The design process can involve both product and service design in equal measures and is put forward as a blueprint, physical model, prototype or business plan. While designing a physical product, multiple characteristics and attributes of the product is considered to make it effective and efficient. And while designing a service, the new idea is put forward through creative and meaningful representations. Usually both fuzzy and procedural approach is used during designing; in the fuzzy approach, the importance is on the idea. The executives are asked to come up with creative, genuine, unique and technologically advanced ideas that can be implemented either into the product or the service. In the procedural approach, a more methodological way of planning is employed and the product or service is looked into with greater detail.

There are various tools that are employed in this process; along with physical elements, interactions with people are also an important part during development. Sometimes, only an improvement in the existing service will be taken up which require a defect understanding of the current service, its strengths and weaknesses and the customers' opinion obtained in the form of feedback and surveys.

The success of any service experience depends largely on an integrated service design program which has been implemented seamlessly into the process. Creating a service blueprint allows the organization to consider all the issues and factors inherent in managing the particular service. The first step is to analyze and identify the weak points in the service, then create a time frame to make the necessary changes and the final step is to analyze the user reaction and profitability of the service.

Craft And Hobby Woods – Basswood – Balsa Wood and Others

Many hobbies involve building, carving, or wood burning which require specialty woods. These hobby and craft woods are available for just about any purpose. Hobbyists may choose from balsa, basswood, plywood, walnut, cherry, maple, among others for their project needs. Sheets or strips of these fine woods are available in thicknesses from 1/32 "to one inch, and in widths from 1/16 through six inches.

Balsa is the most versatile of the hobby woods. Native to South America, these sixty foot trees are grown on large plantations. The wood is lightweight and strong. South Americans have been using balsa for boat and raft building since antiquity. Anyone who can recall Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki adventures will know of his successful attempt to reach the Polynesian Islands from South America on a balsa raft.

Balsa's fine grain combined with its strength and light weight have made it valuable for a great number of uses. Its heat retention ability has made it useful for insulating refrigerator and ship holds. It is used in aircraft to reduce vibration. Surfboards and life preservers have also been manufactured from balsa wood.

Crafters and hobbyists will find balsa very easy to cut and carve, making it ideal for a multitude of projects. It can also be painted or stained any color the hobbyist desires. Its greatest value for hobbyists is unduly in the construction of model airplanes. Free flight, control line, and radio control aircraft are all made primarily from balsa wood. Other uses for this versatile wood include model boat building and dollhouse construction, as well as many other craft projects. Model railroaders can use balsa for scratch-building houses and other structures, bridges, and structural support for scenery.

Basswood, or linden, is another wood crafters and hobbyists find very useful. This North American wood is grown primarily in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. Heavier than balsa, it shares many of it's characteristics – close-grained, strong, and lightweight. Basswood's hobby uses mirror those of balsa, but its heavier weight limits its use in building model airplanes. Because it carves easily, it is the premier choice for both beginning and advanced woodcarvers. Novice wood burners will also find basswood friendly, as it burns well. Like balsa, it is available in strips and sheets. Additionally, specialty shapes for dollhouse building include molding, siding, and roof shingles.

Special project needs may require the use of hobby plywood. This extremely high quality plywood ranges in thickness from paper thin 1/32 of an inch to 1/4 inch. Birch is the wood used, so it can take any stain desired. It is very durable and suitable for many uses.

Other woods are available for specialized hobby projects, including walnut, maple, cherry, and mahogany. Twenty four inch lengths include both strips and sheets. The maximum width for sheets is four inches.

Basswood and balsa are the most commonly available hobby / craft woods. Other types may need to be special ordered from your local craft or hobby shop. Check out the selection today for all your project needs.

Differences Between Hardwood and Oak Sliding Doors

A common type of wood that is used for internal doors for a closet is oak. Oak is a type of hardwood from various oak trees that is hard and durable. A common type of softwood used for internal doors is pine.

Doors made from a hardwood and a softwood differ in many ways. A typical door made from oak has a high resistance to humidity and humidity. This means that the door will not easily warp if you have high levels of humidity in your home. Standard internal doors made from pine will be stiff and sturdy. These doors will also tend to show wear over time if they are heavily used.

Appearance is another difference that is seen with oak hardwood doors and pine softwood doors. Doors that are made from oak tend to the darker in color with a unique grain pattern in the wood. The grain of the wood also has a texture that you can feel. A door made from pine will be smooth and will show any flaws such as knots with other natural characteristics.

One big difference between oak hardwood interior doors and pine softwood interior doors is the cost of the wood. Oak doors are typically more expensive than pine. The reason for this is that oak trees have a longer growing period than pine. Another reason is that pine trees are also more plentiful in the US than oak trees. The cost of an oak door made with oak wood from the US will be nearly double a door that is made from pine wood from the US.

The consideration of oak interior doors or pine interior wardrobe sliding doors will need to be based on many factors. One important factor is the type of stain or paint that you will want to use. Paint is not a great option for oak because it hides the natural grain. The find grain of pine looks better painted than when it is stained. Another factor is that pine is porous and does not even absorb stain.

Different species of wood are used for the construction of interior wood doors. This gives a buyer of this door a choice for the color and grain of the wood. Oak doors can be made from a red oak or a white oak that have different characteristics. Pine doors can be made from a yellow pine, a white pine, and even a red pine. Compare the types of wood that you have available for internal sliding doors.

Cognitive and Behavioral Learning Theories

Here's a short primer on Cognitive and Behavioral Learning Theories

Behavioral learning theories suggest that learning results from pleasant or unpleasant experiences in life while cognitive theories of learning suggest that learning is based upon mental processes. However, in an admonishment against being too closely guided by any one set of pedagogical principles, Johnson (2003) suggests that a fixation with process oriented educational theories among those in the politics of education has not served the education community well by aligning practitioners into separate camps.

A behavioral view in psychology has held that exploratory analysis of cognition must begin with an examination of human behavior (William & Beyers, 2001). Behavioral theory has benefited from the work of early researchers such as Pavlov, Thorndike, and later on the work of BF Skinner. Work relating to the development of behavioral theories in educational psychology has allowed theorists to explore ways in which human action could be controlled through manipulation of stimuli and patterns of reinforcement.

Cognitive theory as it relates to epistemological processes within the individual is based upon the idea that learning comes about as a result of processes related to experience, perception, memory, as well as overtly verbal thinking. Since the 1970s, information processing theory has been a dominant focus of study for cognitive theorists. Although the list of theories associated with cognitive theory is an expansive one to say the least, for the purposes of this paper, it is appropriate to mention several contemporary theories on cognition including: information processing theory, schema theory, and situated cognition theory.

Informational processing is based on a theory of learning that describes the processing of, storage, and retrieval of knowledge in the mind. Factors such as sensory register, attention, working memory, and long term memory play a significant part in this theory of cognition. Schema theory offers that human beings interpret the world around them based on categorical rules or scripts; information is processed according to how it fits into these rules or schemes. As an epistemology, schema theory focuses on meaningful learning and the construction of and modification of conceptual networks. Signed cognition theory postulates a social nature of learning located within a community of practice in which knowledge is socially constructed.

An important component of this type learning, apprenticeship, is informed by social learning theory. Situational cognition as a theory posits that the individual is not a passive vessel, but rather, is an active self-reflective entity; as such, cognitive processes develop as a result of interaction between the self and others.

Another loosely related concept linked to social cognition is the construct of reciprocal determinism. This is a behavioral theory under which it is theorized that the environment causes behavior and at the same time, behavior causes the environment. Under this theory, personal factors in the form of (a) cognition, affect, and biological events, (b) behavior, and (c) environmental impacts, create interactions that result in a triadic reciprocality (Pajares, 2002).


Johnson, B. (2003). Those nagging headaches: perennial issues and tensions in the politics of education field. Education Administration Quarterly, 39 (1), p. 41-67.

Pajares, F. (2002). Overview of social cognitive theory and of self-efficiency.

Williams, R. & Beyers, M. (2001). Personalism, social constructionalism, and the foundation of the ethical. Theory and Psychology, 11 (1), p. 119-134.

History of Skincare Part 13: The Elizabethan Era, 1500-1599

A Northern Renaissance

It took nearly one hundred years for the Italian Renaissance to catch up with the British Isles, but when it did, the results were spectacular. Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, England began a quest of expansion that saw the creation of new colonies throughout the world. Large portions of India, Africa and North America were built up under British rule. While the merits of British colonialism may be debatable, however, there is no doubt that the Elizabethan Era represented an expansion of thought as well as an expansion of political power. Legendary playwrights and poets such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare based their works on the same Classical material that had inspired the Italians a century earlier. Clothing became increasingly elaborate and make-up quickly followed suit. At a time when a much greater emphasis was put on appearance than on health, however, hygiene and skincare often fell by the wayside.

The Elizabethan Look

During this time, Queen Elizabeth’s look ruled the hearts and minds of British women. While clothing had become increasingly structured throughout the later part of the Middle Ages, Elizabeth took this sense of structure to new heights. Tight corsets were worn to give the body a smooth, shaped appearance. While proper hoop skirts had yet to be invented, women tied large pieces of padding around their hips to thrust their skirts out into wide, oblong hoops. Starched ruffles were worn around the neck and hair was often pinned into elaborate up-do’s. In spite of the extreme ornamentation of their clothing, however, the face was still the focal point of the look and cosmetics took on a much greater importance than they had in Medieval England.

Queen Elizabeth is often credited with being the first of her time to adopt a completely made-up appearance. While she may have been the first, however, the noblewomen of Britain quickly followed suit. Women would paint their faces with a white powder referred to as Venetian ceruse. The best ceruse was made of lead, carbonate and hydroxide. Less expensive alternatives were made from talc or boiled egg, although these were considered to be less effective. Once the heavy powder was applied to the face, women would rouge their cheeks with a red paint called fucus and paint their lips with vermilion. The first lip sticks were made during this time by putting sun-dried vermilion and ground plaster into a device similar to a pen. (Go here to learn more about the Elizabethan lipstick-making process: ) To add a glazed appearance to their look, women would coat their face, make-up and all, in a layer of egg white.

The Great Coverup

During the Elizabethan Era, elaborate make-up was seen as a sign of nobility, because few common people could afford the lead powders and dried vermilion used to create the popular look. As the century wore on, however, cosmetics also began to be associated with disease. Poor hygiene had led to a number of serious plague and smallpox outbreaks and many survivors still carried horrible scars and pock marks on their faces. While disease was rampant among rich and poor alike, only the rich had access to the expensive cosmetics that would cover their scars. Strengthening the connection between make-up and poor health, doctors at this time began to discover that lead powder was not as safe as had previously been thought. Women rarely washed their faces, choosing instead to layer new powder over the old, and years of this treatment were found to turn the skin underneath a dull shade of gray. While many doctors recommended switching to an alum or tin-ash based powder, lead prevailed in popularity.

Many women went great lengths of time without cleaning the powder from their faces. When they did want to remove their make-up, however, they found that the thick, caked-on lead was not easily removed with water alone. In order to strip the cosmetic layers, they turned to a combination of skincare science and superstition, washing their faces with everything from gentle rainwater or donkey’s milk to more astringent red wine or urine. Mercury was also among the common skin care products used to treat acne, wrinkles, scars and discoloration. While it did effectively remove these blemishes, it did so by corroding the surface of the skin and often caused scars that were far worse than those it removed. (Go here to learn more about Elizabethan cosmetics and hygiene: )

In spite of the health concerns of the day, Elizabethan women were known for their excessive beauty and cosmetic practices. It was these excesses, among others, however, that would cause a Puritan revolt in the next century and see Oliver Cromwell take control of the British throne.