Front Porch Landscaping Ideas – What's the Best Accent For Your Front Porch?

Ever seen an impressive home? It's most likely a house with excellent landscaped front yard. This is the portion of your home that instantly makes an impression to your guest as well as the casual passerby. It sets the ambiance of your home to those who are on the outside. It is for this reason that the front porch landscaping idea you're going to implement matters a lot.

The front porch could be the place for you to chill out, entertain guests or it could simply be an additional feature to the design of your home. Whatever the case, the front porch serves as an entryway to your house and the first thing that guests and strangers alike will be able to notice.

If you are at the stage of going over landscaping ideas to implement on your front porch, it is best that you keep the following factors in consideration first:

Fixtures and Seating

Most porches would feature seats and a table. If you have a larger porch, you may opt to have more sets of seats of different designs. For example, you can have 1 set of wicker furniture of Victorian design and the other could be a children's picnic set. This works well if you plan to have some family or friends over with children.

Another idea would be to place some adirondack chairs to give a place to just relax an afternoon away enjoying the view from your front porch. Some would even have an ashtray placed conveniently near the smoking area. Whichever you decide, just make sure that furniture you're going to place in the porch complements well with the design of the house as well as the porch.

Flowers and Plants

A landscape is never complete without any plants in place. Plants are what adds life and color to your front porch. Make sure you add plants that represent your style as well as the ambiance you want to achieve. Flowers generally makes the ambiance lighter, more relaxing and refreshing.

If you are into container gardening, you can have a display of containers in your porch. Likewise, you can place pots in the steps of the stairs. Additionally, you may also consider planting some shrubs in front of your porch or have some of those hanging baskets on the roofline. With a nice display of plants around, I'm sure it'll make your house more welcoming to guests.

Painting and Lighting

A major consideration for your front porch design includes the painting as well as the lighting effect used. For the painting, make sure you use a color that blends well with the color of the main house.

Another thing that adds character to the porch is the lighting used. Of course, you can use a lighting that suits your preferences. Although, I strongly suggest you use those solar lighting or probably those ticki torches as those look good on front porches.

How to Build a DIY Luxury Swimming Pool For $10,000 – Part 2

This article describes in outline how a non-construction professional can install and commission a very long lasting in-ground swimming pool for about 10,000 dollars on a DIY basis. It is based on a system used in France on 40 pools that is in turn based on the theory described in Part 1 of this article.

The walls are built using hollow polystyrene blocks a bit like giant lego. The blocks are filled with high strength concrete that is reinforced by vertical and horizontal steel bars.

The pool floor is provided by the subsoil at the pool site and a thin covering of concrete and screed to level it up – ready to receive the PVC liner. The tops of the pool walls are then propped by concrete slabs that span back onto the undisturbed ground outside the pool excavation. The construction sequence is as follows:-

  • The excavation for the pool is dug 1 metre longer and 1 metre wider than the pool size
  • A 500 mm wide footing is cast around the perimeter of the pool with vertical reinforcing bars extending up for full the height of the pool wall
  • The polystyrene block formwork for the pool walls is erected, the through the wall pool PVC furniture in installed and the walls are filled with concrete (can be Quadlock type or similar in the US)
  • The pool floor is covered with leveling concrete and then 50mm of sand cement screed
  • The external buried pipework is installed and the void outside the pool walls backfilled
  • The liner lock is fixed down to the top of the pool wall
  • The underfelt and liner are installed and the pool filled with water.

The weight of water in the pool is transferred directly to the subsoil that forms the floor of the pool without the assistance of a structural element to reduce any subsidence that might arise from soft spots in the pool floor. The leveling concrete and screed finish that forms the pool floor may have the affect of stiffening up the surface of the sub-soil but it is not designed to do so. Therefore if, during pool construction, there are any doubts about any area of the pool floor, any soft-spots should be dug out and replaced with concrete. The walling system will provide the vertical face of the pool walls and the rigid concrete slabs that bridge across the backfilled gap between the pool walls and the side of the excavation for the swimming pool will stop subsidence around the pool and prop the top of the walls thus sustaining any large ice loads that will develop in most winters in the northern hemisphere.

The PVC liner will keep the structure watertight and if built properly the pool structure will be a significant asset to the property where it is built for at least 40 years The liner will need to be replaced in 12 to 15 years time – depending of course on how well the owner looks after the water temperature and the water chemistry. If top quality through the wall elements are used, such as skimmers, lights etc as provided by a major manufacturer, it should be possible to go back to them for new gaskets etc when the liner eventually needs to be renewed.

A 17-year-old Soldier in Germany

I turned 17 in my second eight weeks of basic training at Fort Hood, Texas and was too young to appreciate a tour of duty in Germany. I did visit some of the sites, but most of my free time was wasted. I should have taken more leave while there and toured more.

After the troop ship landed in Bremerhaven, Germany, we loaded into a train and headed south to a small town near Frankfort, Germany. Hanau would be my home for the next two years. The cold war was building up and we were warned about riding the trains to close to the border. You could get on the wrong train headed for East Germany and it would not stop until the first station inside East Germany. And then it would be too late and it might take months for the military to get you back.

Following small arms target practice one day about an hour drive from Hanau, two of us decided to skip the target duty and hitch hike back to the barracks. Large targets would be raised for the solder on the firing line to shoot at, then you would lower the target and mark the bullet holes. If they missed the target all together, they would get a “Maggie Drawers,” a red flag would be waved from the pit for everyone to see. Sometimes if you didn’t care for the person on the line, we would give him “Maggie Drawers.” We walked out to the main road with our rifles over our shoulders and put out our thumbs. In no time we were back at the Barracks and no one said anything, I guess that we were not missed.

The Barracks at Hanau were built by the Germans before WWII and the base was well laid out in a half circle with the motor pool and equipment on one side and the barracks on the other side. It was a short walk to the motor pool but it seemed longer when you were caring all your gear and a 30-Cal Machine Gun or the barrel of a 50-Cal. We had Red Alerts about once a month and we would jump out of bed, rush down to the arms room in the basement, grab the equipment and run to the motor pool to await further orders. Our Barracks was on the corner with a good view of the athletic fields and lower buildings. The room was also on the top corner floor. It was great except for a low support beam that ran at an angle from the floor to the ceiling. We soon learned to duck under or avoid it.

We were trained for an Atomic War if hostilities broke out. One or more of the Atomic war heads for the Honest John Missile where stored in the basement of our barracks. We always new when they were moving them, because they would warn us about taking pictures out of the windows. I did take a few pictures of the crane that lifted the war heads but not of the warheads. Shells for the Atomic Cannon where moved around all over our area and could have very well been stored in the basement as well. One end of the basement was restricted and we had our classroom and arms room in the other end. There were rumors that we also had Atomic rounds for the 8 inch and 155 mm guns, but I never knew for sure.

B Battery, 3rd Armored Division 2nd Howitzer Battalion, 73rd Artillery, consisted of six 155mm M109 self-propelled howitzers and an armored personnel carrier for Fire Direction Control. Except for direct fire practice, the artillery would be shooting blind under the control of the Fire Direction Control Center. The Fire Direction Control Center would receive information by radio from the forward observer who would be watching the rounds hit the impact area. The pack of charges for firing the 155mm shells came in a pack of seven. They would then be told what charge to use, for example a charge five would mean that two charges would be removed and thrown into the fire pit. As a safety measure, one of the gun crew would count the discarded charges and repeat out loud to avoid mistakes.

A recorder on the phone between the fire direction group and the guns, would record all the information sent to the guns, in case there was a mistake or someone misunderstood, then verification could be made. This was my job, Battery Recorder. I would ride out ahead of the battery with the First Sargent and we would align the aiming circle, a device which had a compass and a scope for sighting in different angles. We would use this to obtain the correct direction for the guns and place stakes for them to line up on when they pulled into position. Great care had to be taken to insure that all six guns were pointed in the same direction parallel to each other. You aligned the device to magnet north by looking through a hole at the end of the compass needle. The danger here was that you had to be sure that you knew which end of the needle you were looking at. If you had the wrong end, then the guns would be laid out 180 degrees and you would be shooting backwards. One of the Honest John rockets was laid out backward in Grafenwohr during practice. The rocket with just enough explosive to blow the head apart, hit a building in a nearby town. No one was hurt.

The Fire Direction Control Center consisted of two drafting tables set up in the armored personnel carrier with field telephone contact with the guns. Each table was identical except that one used a plain paper chart and the other used a topographic map. The first order of business when we set up in a new position was to zero in on a known target. We would fire one round toward the target and the observer would then give us corrections over the radio. We would bracket the target with usually only three rounds. From this information we could then aim at any other target within our field of fire. The drafting equipment consisted of a metal scale for the elevation and protractor for the azimuth. There were other calculations that determined the proper charge and weather reports that gave us the air density. This information was sent to the guns in a string of information as Charge, Elevation and azimuth. The recorder wrote down this information as it was being given to the guns.

After setting up the alignment stakes for the guns and while waiting for them to arrive, I would dig a fox hole and set up the command station for our Lt. who over saw the operation. In practice I could get away with digging a shallow hole and erect a tent or camouflage over it, depending on the weather. Two pictures of Lt. Weske and myself on the field telephone are in the 1959-1960 Spearhead year book for the 73rd Artillery, 3d Armored Division

My cousin, Anna Lell, started writing to a pen pal in Germany when she was in high school and asked if I would look her up while I was in Germany. We wrote several letters back and forth and I was invited up to Hanover when I got some leave. Hanover was in the British sector and they were not used to seeing American solders. Annamarie’s father was a solder in WWII and I am not sure how he felt about his daughter seeing me. A friend of theirs owned a Hotel and they provided me with a nice room. We went to the movies, took long walks and toured Hanover. Nothing more became of the relationship and we lost touch. I am not sure if Anna Lell is still writing to her.

I also corresponded with Becky, my friend from Englewood, Tennessee while I was in Germany. It was nice to get letters from home and others while away from home. Once shortly after I arrived in Germany I took a week of leave and went camping. I did not have much money so it seemed like a good idea. I fit right in with the campers and my pup tent. The locals at the camp ground were friendly and they had a nice swimming hole.

I was not much for drinking, I might go out on the town with some of the other solders and just sit on one drink all night. However one evening I thought that I would see what it was like to get drunk. I persuaded Zink who did not drink, to go with me. Funny how we used only last names in the service and seldom first names. I guess it was because our last name was always there on the front for everyone to see. Zink took good care of me that night, I sure don’t remember much and was very sick the next morning. I hated not knowing what was going on around me and I don’t recall ever trying that again.

Operation Winter Shield took place in February 1960 with over 60,000 members of the Seventh Army at the Grafenwohr training grounds. The weather was cold and dry. This was the cause of a major motor pool fire at the start of the training. A returning jeep driver was refueling one night from a tanker parked in the motor pool, when a static spark started a gasoline fire. We were called out in the middle of the night to evacuate the motor pool. It was quite a sight with all the vehicles moving past the burning jeep and fuel tanker with the tires blowing and flames reaching hundreds of feet into the night sky.

One of the Batteries experienced a shell going off just after leaving the barrel of the gun. There was a road some 100 yards in front of the position and a Lt. in a jeep had a close call. We got the cease fire on the radio and listened to the excited chatter over the radio. The shell is set for an air burst by placing a tool on top of the shell and setting a dial for the correct time. There are safety limits on the dial, so it had to be a defective shell in order for it to go off that soon.

We would go to Grafenwohr about every six months for training and that summer we returned.

Gen. Colin Powell writes in his 1995 autobiography “My American Journey” about his time with the Division in 1958-60 and about the Cold War and the Army’s mission in Germany.

Colin Powell was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division on December 1958, the 21-year-old 2nd Lt. joined the 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, at Coleman Kaserne. After a promotion to 1st Lt. and training in Grafenwohr, he related the following story. I was also in the field at Grafenwohr that fateful day. We were in the middle of a firing mission with our 155’s when the radio broke open with a command to cease firing, hold all positions and maintain radio silence.

(Form General Powell’s book)

While working as Louiseil’s exec, I got a foretaste of what hot war could be like if the Cold War ever ignited. It was a morning after payday in the summer of 1960. Our brigade had gone to Grafenwohr for field training. The troops were to be billeted in over six hundred general-purpose tents. Our company had not yet arrived in force, but a sister unit, the 12th Cavalry, had come in the night before. Its tents were full of troops, still asleep at this early hour. I was returning from a bartering mission with another company’s exec., bringing rations I had traded for back to our mess hall. My ears pricked up at an odd, whistling sound overhead. In about a nanosecond, I realized it was an artillery shell that had strayed wildly out of the impact area. I stopped, frozen, and actually saw the 8-inch round come in. It struck a tent pole in the 12th Cavalry’s sector, detonating in an air-burst. The roar was deafening, followed by a terrifying silence. I dropped the food and rushed toward the blast as dismembered legs, hands, and arms thumped to the ground around me. Money from payday came fluttering to earth. Some other soldiers joined me, wading through the acrid smoke and fumes. Inside the tent, I zipped open a sleeping bag, and what was left looked like an illustration of viscera in a medical textbook. In an instant, a dozen lives had been snuffed out and more men wounded. The tragedy was later found to have been caused by human error in aligning the gun, and the battalion commander and other officers were relieved of their duties. I had seen a hundred war movies, but nothing had prepared me for the sights I saw that day.

(End of account from General Powell’s book)

(Account of the accident from the History Web Site of the 3rd Armored Division)

Accidents in an actual shooting war, as well as a Cold War, are inevitable. This one, however, stands out as apparently the worst U.S. ground training accident of the entire Cold War. Just after roll-call, on a rainy Friday morning on September 2, 1960, sixteen solders were killed and 27 were wounded when a 200-pound artillery shell landed amongst them at Camp Kasserine, Grafenwoehr. All of the men were from the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 12th Calvary, 3rd Armored Division. The shell, which had an incorrect charge due to human error, was fired by a V Corps Artillery unit — Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery.

I knew exactly what happen that morning, someone misunderstood the correct charge and the round over shot the impact area. The big fear in that tent area that morning was that they all knew that usually a fire for effect would follow and that would mean six more rounds could be following the deadly misplaced round.

I tried to take a typing course during my time in Germany, I started the course three times and each time when I was about half way through the course we would pull out for field training. I never did complete the course. However the typing lessons have helped me over the years.

I took a couple of weeks leave and visited Copenhagen, Denmark. Saw a lot of museums and towers, one tower was built for a queen to ride up in a carriage had a circular ramp all the way to the top. I saw Tivoli Gardens and the Littlest Mermaid. I loved the food, they had a lot of dairy products and everyone was friendly. The bars rotated hours, at midnight half would close and another group would open. Copenhagen had a lot of night life and although I did not dance much, I enjoyed watching. I was a loaner, maybe because I was younger than the others. I took this trip and others by myself.

Near the end of 1960, the majority of our unit rotated back to the states for discharge, these were the drafted men who only had to serve two years. The enlisted who had to serve three years had to take over the operations for another six months. At the same time the Nike Missile sites in Germany were being turned over to the German Army. The men who still had the remainder of their tour to serve were transferred to units like ours who were now short of men.

I was promoted to Sp4 and placed in charge of the Fire Direction Control Center under a new Second Lt. Phelps. Even though I had received advanced training at Butzbach, Germany in January 1959 in Fire Direction, I had been acting only as the Battery Recorder up until this time. Now I had a new crew with no experience or training in the Artillery. I conducted classes, but it was hard to hold the interest of displaced men with only months left to serve. I was very cautious, remembering the accidents that had occurred I did not want any blood on my hands.

During the winter of 1960/61 we were involved in more tests at Grafenwoehr and I am proud that we completed the exercises without incident. However, were slow in performing the test. I was given an article 15 and reduced back to Private and 2nd Lt. Phelps did not get his 1st Lt. bars. I fought the article with the help of barracks lawyers, until it was almost time for me to ship back to the states. One of the guys at headquarters told me at the end that if I had not fought so hard, he could have torn up the papers and no one would have been the wiser. But it was too late at that point so I stripped off all my rank from my uniforms, except one set that I saved for the trip home. This would keep me off any picky details that were dished out along the way.

We were fortunate to fly back to the states and I had a month off to visit family, now living in Florida, before reporting for duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. I was hoping to be stationed closer to my home, however you are returned to the nearest post that you enlisted. As I enlisted in Portland, Oregon, then Fort Lewis would be where I would be discharged.

Improving Your Residence's Exterior Illumination With Solar Operated Appliances

When you are a happy home owner, or despite a content apartment renter, there are many reasons you bought to install exterior lighting. On one hand, outdoor lighting can give a warm welcome to you, your family members, and guests. On the other hand, it can send a firm message to any burglars that someone is home, and since robbers would rather go after easy pickings, they are less likely to take the risk. All the while, your family, and all those who are welcome can navigate the exterior of your home in a safe manner.

There are several ways to illuminate the exterior of your home. I highly recommend that you install solar powered appliances. They're cheap to buy, save you money on your electricity bill, last a years on end, and do not need complex installation.

You can start by putting up solar driveway lights, so that once you arrive home you can be immediately welcomed by their lights and can be noticed by your neighbors in regards to safety purposes. Continue this illumination by lining the ground leading up to the front door using solar string lights.

Do not neglect the lighting of the front porch. If you have pillows, position a light sconce onto each one of them. If you do not, think about placing one on both sides of your door, 6 feet above the floor. If you prefer, you could use the same arrangement on your windows. The choice is dependent a lot on the overall structure and layout of your home, so adjust the recommendation accordingly.

Next, you could put up solar lighting in your backyard. A nice clean arrangement is to line the fence, sometimes placing a sconce or torchlight every fourth of the perimeter. Add some finishing touches by placing sconces beside your porch windows.

These are a few of several options which you have when planning to light the outside of your house. But as it is apparent, solar is cost effective and versatile way to go about it.

How to Assemble Rubbermaid Sheds

Thinking about buying a Rubbermaid shed? I will tell you just what I did to get my outdoor shed up and functional. Oh the instructions may look like a piece of cake but if I knew what I’m about to tell you it would have saved me so much time. I hope this helps you with the assembly of your outdoor Rubbermaid Shed.

First off, why did I decide to get one of the Rubbermaid sheds? Well let’s just say my work space was getting a little over crowded. I love to buy stuff, and I was running out of space to put it in. So after a lot of research I found that for me the Rubbermaid shed would do the trick.

My very first tip is make sure you have at least one other person helping out on this project. Don’t do what I did, get help don’t try to take it on yourself. My back still hurts just thinking about it. So get a friend or two to give you a hand on this one.

You do need to know your way around tools. If this is your first attempt at a do it yourself project then you might want to start with something smaller. The instructions tell you to use a stepladder, so do yourself a favor get a 6 ft ladder. It will make things so much easier. Remember my back, yea that is one thing that really made it hurt.

Make sure you put your shed on level ground. It is the first thing the instructions tell you and the first thing I didn’t do. Mistake number one, without level ground nothing lines up right and makes things so much harder. After about 2 hours of fighting with my new Rubbermaid shed I went back and read the directions again and took the time to make some level ground. Dig out the area about 3-4 inches down and put down some gravel rocks. This will allow any water to drain.

The directions say that Rubbermaid sheds can be assembled in 60 minutes. Well I’m not so sure about that. But with the right amount of help and right tools it can be done in less than 4 hours for sure. I’m going to say thing again “read the directions”. They are step by step and give you the proper way to assemble. My first attempt I didn’t even get all the parts out of the box before I started. Now with a bad back and some cut up hands I type this out to help the next person trying to assemble one of these outdoor sheds.

Now if you didn’t listen to anything I said in this report about getting some help, make sure you do when you try to put on the roof. Even with my friends help this was a bit of a pain. One person would have a very hard time trying to install the roof by themselves. Also, try to pick a day when it’s not too windy. Wind is not your friend.

All in all the Rubbermaid sheds are durable and have a vinyl siding look to them. Plenty of space inside for your tools. If you’re thinking about purchasing an outdoor shed then the Rubbermaid storage shed is a great choice. Just make sure you follow the instructions and get a few friends over to help out. It will save you time and money in the long run.

Shark Tales Party Games Adds Bite to a Birthday

Shark Tales is a great theme for a child's party. You can serve blue kool-aid as Shark Punch and serve goldfish crackers to guests. To keep the kids busy long after the last of the snacks has been gobbled up, consider adding these Shark Tales party games.

Shark Tales Feeding Frenzy
Don Lino from Shark Tales is very hungry and is looking for some fish! Have the children help feed Don Lino by putting Goldfish in his belly! Draw and color a shark head on a large piece of poster board. Cut out a hole in his mouth large enough that small bags of Goldfish or Swedish Fish can to be tossed inside. At the party, line up the guests to help Don Lino! Hand each child three schools of fish which can be made by placing Goldfish or Swedish Fish into small sandwich bags. Every child who tosses all three schools of fish honey into the Sharks mouth wins!

Shark Ring Toss
The sharks are loose in the backyard Shark Tales game of Shark Ring Toss. Cut shark fins out of cardboard about two feet wide by one foot tall. Paint and scatter the fins in the backyard about five feet apart. Give each shark fin a point value increasing as the distance grows from the spot where children will be tossing. Line up the children behind a line spray painted in the grass and hand the first child a hula hoop. Tell the children their goal is to catch as many sharks by getting the hula hoop around the shark fin. The winner after three rounds is the one who has the highest point value of shark fins!

With party games like these, your Shark Tales party is sure to keep guests smiling from gill to gill.

Getting Stairs and Stair Railings

Do you have any sort of staircase in your house? Are you considering installing one? Would you like to have a nice, clean, good looking staircase that you can call your own? If deciding upon a new style of staircase to install in your house, do not forget to look into wood spiral stairs.

A spiral staircase is the definition of classy. There is not a single soul who does not enjoy the design of a spiral staircase. There are many positive sides to owning one. First of all, it takes up much less space than a standard flat staircase, because it can wind around the same central pivot. If you're an upper level is very high, or you are at a lack for space, spiral is the way to go.

However, the downside of this staircase is that it can be a bit difficult to walk up every day. You have to be constantly and consistently turning, making the normal stair procedure a bit annoying. Additionally, a spiral can be a bit unsafe if you do not properly protect yourself.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself from a bad fall by building stair rails onto your steps. Stair rails are important and very useful for securing yourself against a potential fall. You may save a life by installing proper rails, so make sure you have your rails installed by a professional.

Do not waste time on buying a new staircase or new rails. Ask a hardware store expert today about the best options for your home.

Stair Parts – Your Stairway to the Best Stairways

You may not notice it, but you use the stairs almost every day. Even if you live in a bungalow (which often times also has stairs for a relatively elevated level of the house), you may encounter (and use) stairs in work, in the mall, in transport system stations, or where it is that you will need a travel vertically.

You might notice that even in this modern world, when a building with one hundred floors can have as many elevators and escalators it needs, stairs are still a necessary or integral part of the main building structure. First, of course is because stairs are really an integral part of the whole structure of a domestic or commercial (high-rise) building, not to mention that it will of course still work (or more approbably, be used) even without electricity. Second, even the elevators and the escalators are working; you may always find the need to use the "waiting-free" traditional stairs, especially if you will just go up or down a level or two. Moreover, especially during these times when programmed exercise regimen is rare opportunity for the busy worker, ascending and descending stairs are a great exercise in itself! And of course, (these is especially true for homes) a grand-looking stair way is always a good point for your house, which is reminiscent of the elegant stairways that you can only see on mansions and palaces. With these functions, it is absolutely necessary that a stairway is beautiful and sturdy. And one sure way to have both beautiful and stable stairway is to make it decorative and sturdy stair parts!

There are many different kinds of stair parts. First, is of course in terms of the materials, there are wooden stair parts, metallic stair parts, marble stair parts, concrete stair parts, stone stair parts, among others. They can also differ from their general shape, design, and color. These differences in stair parts of course account for the differences in stairways themselves. You can construct your stairway by using only one type of material, as in the elegant marble stair ways of large houses or you can use a combination of materials, which is common in modern houses. You can focus also have a combination of designs, although more common is the use of only one design. The important thing is that the final design of your stairway will not just be pleasing in your eyes (and of the others who will see it), but also of course is stable enough to withstand constant use (for obvious safety reasons).

Generally, when choosing the Stair Parts for the intended stairway, the design of the whole house is considered, for it is important that the design of the stair parts (and eventually, the stair way) will complement that of the rest of the house, after all, it is an integral part of it.

Role of Scaffolding in the Construction Industry

Scaffolding is actually a temporary structure or formation you may say, that is manufactured in order to assist materials which are used in the construction of residential or industrial buildings. The main reason of scaffolding items is to give a complete secure place of work all along with safe entrance appropriate for the work which is being completed. It permits for expedient working platforms which can easily reach many high meters. In fact, scaffolding is quite compulsory as even though you use a ladder, but it can’t help you to reach at the same level of stability. As such, scaffolding is only the solution which can help you in reaching those heights as you will get a huge platform for your tools of construction and functional workplace.

While using scaffolding items during buildings construction, only specialized experts or professionals are allowed to raise the towers. In fact, there are some training courses accessible on the formation of scaffolding. Nowadays, there are many scaffolding and shuttering items service providers available in all over India. Some of the basic scaffolding accessories and tools that are generally used during construction are like Cuplock System, Prop, Base Jack, U Head Jack, Ledger, Shuttering Plate, Bottom Cup, Base Plate, Scaffolding Chali and much more. The basic essentials of scaffolds are transforms, ledgers and standards. Actually, the standards are the vertical tubes which help in transferring the whole structure mass to the ground. On the other side, ledgers are horizontal tubes that join between the standards and transoms take a break upon the ledgers at right angles.

Some of the scaffolding tools are well described as below:

Fitting and tubes

Actually there are two kinds of tubes used in scaffold and they are that are steel and aluminium. The tubes are mostly accessible in different sizes of lengths and diameter of 48.3mm with 1.5NPS pipe. The only difference between those tubes is that the aluminium one is having lower weight with 1.7kg/m as contrasting to 4.4kg/m. Also, they are also having a great suppleness and less conflict to force. In fact, the couplers are basically used for the scaffolding fittings that join tubes.

Jacks

There are many jacks at turbo scaffold using in its building construction and you can install those scaffold jacks all along with a minimum board numbers at every level. It’s actually a huge strand rod along with a wing nut and a welded steel plate known as a base plate right on the bottom. These are very compulsory for safe, secure and level work stage.

Couplers

Coupler is the fittings that actually join the tubes all together. These are available in several forms like some tubes are joined end-to-end and some hold tubes at right angles to each other.

Hoists

There is one more important accessory that is used these days. It is basically accumulated right on the side of the scaffold formation is extensively used to pull materials from one level to another one. These are used with scaffolding and are highly prepared with a motor and a pulley wheel. It actually carries out the cable and draw back when it is really needed.

In brief, scaffolding accessories are very useful during constructions as it make more convenient and easy while using.

Troubleshooting Common Laminating Problems

Whether you’re new to laminating or have been using a laminator for years, troubleshooting common lamination problems can seem confusing. Luckily, most issues can be solved relatively easily, as long as you know how to properly recognize the symptoms. Below is a list of some of the most frequently encountered laminating problems, and tips on how to remedy them.

My laminating pouch appears cloudy, even after going through the machine.

All laminating pouches have a slightly cloudy appearance before they are sealed, since the adhesive has not been thermally activated. If you have run the pouch through your machine and it still has a milky look to it, it is most likely an indication that the laminating temperature is set too low. For laminators that have adjustable temperature settings, simply increase the temperature in small increments until the cloudiness disappears. If you own a machine that does not allow you to adjust the temperature, then you are probably using a pouch that is thicker than recommended by the manufacturer, which is why it is not heating properly. Refer to the owner’s manual for additional information.

The edges of my pouches aren’t sealing, or there are bubbles that don’t adhere in the center.

Like cloudiness, improper sealing is most often a sign of not enough heat. Try slowly increasing the temperature until the pouch achieves a uniform seal. Poor adhesion and delamination can also occur if you are laminating documents that were printed on a laser or inkjet printer. These documents can be particularly difficult to stick to if there is heavy ink coverage and may require the use of a “photo” quality laminator.

My document looks wavy after being laminated.

When a laminating pouch has a rippled appearance after being run through the machine, it probably means that the heat is set too high. If you own a machine with adjustable temperature, back the heat down incrementally until the waviness disappears. If you’re using a machine without that option, then you are most likely using a pouch that is too thin for that machine to laminate properly, or you may be require to use a carrier sheet. Refer to the owner’s manual for additional information.

When I run the pouch through the machine, adhesive squeezes out from the edges.

Oozing adhesive is another sign of excessive heat. To prevent this from happening, reduce the temperature and run a sample pouch. Repeat this process until the adhesive remains within the pouch and still achieves a proper seal. Depending on the specifications of your machine, you may also want to try using a carrier sheet to help prevent any adhesive from sticking to your rollers.

The edges of my pouch come unsealed after I trim away the excess.

We recommend that you leave a 1/8″ border around your document in order to maintain a proper seal. Trimming away more than that may result in some or all of the edges becoming exposed to moisture or humidity. When this occurs, the paper absorbs the moisture and causes the lamination adhesive to release, or delaminate.

My rollers have residual adhesive stuck to them.

Many companies offer roller cleaning kits that contain special cleaner and abrasive pads that will remove adhesive build-up without hardening or damaging your rollers.

My documents laminate perfectly when I run them through my machine without using a carrier sheet, however they don’t seal properly when I try to use one.

Since carrier sheets add a barrier between the heating element and the laminate film, you’ll need to increase the temperature to ensure that the proper amount of heat makes it through the carrier and onto the film. Conversely, if you are accustomed to laminating with a carrier and need to laminate without one for some reason, you’ll want to turn the heat down since the heating elements will be making direct contact with the film instead of passing through a carrier beforehand.

Unraveling The Uniqueness Of Vietnamese Lacquer Art

Vietnam art is one among the many art traditions, which has absorbed multiple influences without sacrificing its uniqueness. The history of Vietnamese art and painting narrates an elaborate tale of influences, especially the Chinese and French of the colonial period. Surviving these influences, Vietnamese art has emerged from dormancy and is once again seeing the limelight, especially in France and other European countries. Vietnamese paintings in lacquer have played a major role in the sustenance of the entire tradition of Vietnamese art and paintings.

Vietnamese lacquer art works date back to more than two thousand years. Lacquered items found in ancient tombs in Vietnam, date as far back as the third and fourth centuries B.C. The first instances of lacquer work in Vietnam were found in household items and wares such as the links in the planks of fishermen’s boats, peasant household basket ware and wickerwork, sumptuous gilded objects, mother-of-pearl inlay work in furniture and so on. Later the traditional lacquer technique was applied to paintings, thus creating a new genre of art. Initially, these lacquer paintings portrayed the scenic beauty of nature but with the changing socio-political scenario, socialist and communist overtones overshadowed every other theme. However, during 1980’s and 1990’s, the younger generation of Vietnamese artists rejuvenated the old art form, along with introducing some innovative experiments.

Currently, lacquer art works are produced in large numbers in Vietnam, particularly in the Phu Tho Province. The entire process requires careful attention and patience. In the Phu Tho Province, resins are harvested from the Rhus Succedanea Tree and converted into natural lacquer, which is then applied to paintings and fine art. The traditional process of lacquer painting requires a minimum of 75 days and is quite complex. Lacquer paintings are done on wood and any imperfections on it are first sealed with lacquer. Traditionally, lacquer comes in three colors- brown, black and vermilion. Artists also use a new technique called chiseling, which gives a richer mix of colors and an apparent sense of size and distance. Next, the wood is covered with a piece of cloth glued to it, using the sap of the lacquer tree and then coated with a layer of the sap mixed with earth. The board is sand papered and recoated with a layer of hot sap. The board is then polished to lend a smooth black surface with a brilliant luster. Once the board is prepared, the painter begins to give expression to his imagination. He draws the outline and applies color one by one so as to let each coating dry slowly. Polishing and washing are the final steps of the procedure, which should be attended with great care. These add a brilliant shine to the surface of the painting. Years of experimentation have produced some great stuff where Vietnam artists have used such materials as plant ash, crushed eggshells, gold and silver to beautify their works.

Such patient and laborious work ought to be unique and this perhaps, is the reason for the growing popularity and demand of Vietnamese lacquer paintings today. Realistic themes depicted in so many works through each historical period, convincingly confirm the expressive, inexhaustible resources of lacquer art. Such Vietnam artists as Nguyen Sang, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Le Quoc Loc, and Sy Ngoc have contributed greatly to enhance the value and prestige of Vietnam Art and painting, especially the lacquer tradition.

Carpet Cleaning Professionals

Carpet cleaning professionals will of course clean your carpeting. However, most of them can also clean your air ducts, your upholstered furniture, the grout around your tile, and your draperies. The exact services will depend on each individual firm and the methods and equipment it employs.

The two most popular methods are currently steam cleaning and dry cleaning. With steam cleaning, a carpet cleaning professional will apply hot water and a cleaning solution with a machine. The machine's brushes will work the solution into the pile of your carpeting. Then a wand is used to extract the water, which is why this method is also called extraction clean. Hopefully, when the water is removed, it will carry the dirt with it, leaving you with clean, albeit damp, carpeting. Actual drying times vary, depending on how much water the carpet cleaning professional had to use and how well he was able to extract the moisture. As a rule, it is best to allow at least 6-8 hours of drying time before walking on the carpet.

Dry cleaning is not moisture free, but it does use very little water. Special chemicals are applied with a machine and the rapid evaporation means that carpets are ready for traffic almost immediately.

Encapsulation has been increasing in popularity with carpet cleaning professionals and homeowners alike. This relatively new method involves the application of crystals that encapsulate the dirt, allowing it to be vacuumed up immediately. Drying time is eliminated, and the entire process is usually much faster than the other methods.

Duct cleaning involves the use of a high powered vacuum hose to suction out the duct work. Make sure that the company you engage has the equipment that will provide enough power and enough hose to reach through your ducting. Some companies sincerely vacum around the vents, which provides little benefit and which you can easily do with your household vacuum and extension wand.

Most carpet cleaning professionals who perform upholstery and drapery cleaning use steam cleaning to accomplish the task, although a few use the dry cleaning method. A wand is attached to the same machine as is used for cleaning the carpets, and the wand is moved over the surfaces to be cleaned. Drapes can be cleaned while hanging, although they naturally can not be pressed.

Few carpet cleaning professionals today use the shampoo method, which was the most popular for decades. Shampooing involves using a machine to work a detergent into the pile of the carpet, rinsing it, and then extracting it to various degrees of dryness. The shampoos tend to leave a sticky residue that attracted dirt, and dirt from the padding and carpet back often worked its way into the pile, making the carpets look soiled again very quickly.

You can often save money on your clearing needs by "bundling" them and then getting quotes from several carpet cleaning professionals for providing all the services. Since the company will be there anyway, you can usually save the amount that would have been charged for transit time if nothing else.

Minimum Rules Needed For Air Hockey

If you're ready to begin playing air hockey there are some important things you need to know before you begin. If you want to play the right way you need to know a minimum of 5 air hockey rules. Just follow these five rules for a fun, fair game of air hockey.

1. One of the most overlooked rules when playing air hockey is using your mallet to stop the puck. More specifically lifting the mallet and placing it on top of the puck. This is known as "topping" and can not be done at any time whether before a serve or after a serve during play.

This is probably the one rule you want to keep in your back pocket next time you play. More than likely your opponent will not remember this rule and at some point during play will "top" the puck. This is a foul and you will receive the puck.

2. Another rule that many forget in their attempt to strike the puck is reaching too far and crossing the center line with their mallet. This results in a foul and the puck is given to the other player.

I have been guilty of this one way to many times. I get so focused on the game that when the puck inevitably slow down in the center of the table I reach to gain that extra advantage over my opponent only to reach to far giving the advantage back to my opponent. Do not make this mistake and watch to make sure your opponent does not make it to.

3. In reference to the above rule, there is a rule that states, "When the puck is in contact with any part of the center line, either player may strike the puck." So you can cross the center line with your mallet in an attempt to strike the puck only when the puck is in contact with the center line.

4. Once the puck crosses the center line a player has 7 seconds to execute the shot. Failure to hit the puck back to the opposing player's side results in a foul and the puck will be given back to the opposing player.

5. And the fifth rule to be aware is also the easiest to remember, what score do you need to win the air hockey game? Well the answer is 7. Just remember lucky number 7 and you'll know what you need to win in the game of air hockey.

So if you really want to play air hockey follow these minimum of 5 rules and chances are you will catch your opponent breaking one of them!

Brick on Chimney Vs Brick on the Rest of the Home

A chimney, by code, projects high above the roofline. This brick above the roofline has no protection whatsever from the elements from other areas of the house. There is nothing to protect it from the driving winds or precipitation. The difference of deterioration between the brick above the roofline and the brick on the rest of the home is often very distinguishable. As your home ages, it will become apparent that brick on the chimney has suffered more damage than the rest of your brick.

Rainfall soaks the brick on your chimney, and if the climate you live in experiences any freezing weather through the year, you can certainly count on some freezing and thawing damage to the brick. Moisture that seeps into the brick from rainfall, snowfall, or even just vapors in the air will expand and contract significantly enough to cause cracks that will worsen with each new freezing and thawing cycle. Remember that brick has a small percentage of moisture that occurs naturally. This moisture needs to be able to exit the brick freely to prevent spalling (the face of the brick popping off). Be sure that if you water proof the chimney you use a product that forms a semi permeable membrane around the brick such that it will not trap the vapors inside, setting the stage for spalling to occur.

Chimney crowns are another particularly susceptible area for damage, especially since most crowns in the United States have been improperly constructed in the first place. A crown constructed from mortar will not have the same strength as a crown constructed from concrete. Sometimes, bricklayers will construct a crown improperly due to lack of knowledge, but under no circumstances should a crown be a simple layer of mortar on the top of a chimney. Cracks are a part of life that are almost assuredly going to appear and require repair.

Concrete is made of cement, stones, sand, and water. Stones in this concoction add strength incomparable to a crown made of mortar alone. Concrete should be the material that your crown is structured from. Similarly, if an expansion space between the crown and the flue liner is not left, cracks are, again, almost certain to occur. As the moisture present in the crown expands and contracts the crown needs room to expand and contract as well. If no expansion joint is left, the pressure that builds will cause cracks to occur.

It’s Winter, Where Did These Flies Come From?

Remember seeing a big, slow moving fly in the window on a sunny winter day in January and thinking, “Where the heck did that come from?” Well even though they look like a common house fly, these are indeed Cluster Flies, and they can be a real nuisance to homes, hotels, and many office buildings, especially if there is a wooded area near by.

Cluster Flies breed and spend most of their time in the woods, migrating to buildings in the fall, looking for a warm place for the winter. You can often see them on the sunny side of a building on cool days in the fall. They are attracted to the siding as the sun warms it up. Then they will climb the wall looking for an entry. Most times they find them at the roof eaves or under windows. They then hide in attics and crawl spaces and filter down in to the building over the winter months, so the top floor is usually the hardest hit.

Cluster flies are usually larger than a common house fly. They fly very slow and are so lethargic; one can almost touch them before they will fly slowly away. Lady Bugs and “stink bugs”(a/k/a Western Conifer Seed Bugs) will all enter the same way, and you may see them wintering in your facility as well. These pests don’t pose any real health threat. They are more of a nuisance, although your hotel and restaurant guests will complain about them, and nobody in the hospitality industry wants to leave a negative impression with their guests.

In very light infestations, it’s just a matter of vacuuming them up. Squashing them can leave an unpleasant musty odor (that’s why they call them stink bugs) and/or leave a stain on your wall, window, or drapes.

In the case of Cluster Flies, especially if the infestation is mainly on the top floor, incandescent light traps with glue boards placed in attics and crawl spaces can often catch them before they filter down in to your building. Ask your pest management professional about these.

An even better approach is to have your pest management company treat the outside of your building in the late summer or early fall every year, especially if your problem involves Lady Bugs or Stink Bugs. This way they march through the material and die before they can become a problem on the inside.

If your home or business has a log construction, your problem is complicated because, with no attic or crawl space, these pests come directly in to your living space.

As with any pest problem, one should consult a professional. Home remedies can often exacerbate a problem by driving pests deeper in to the walls, only to have them reappear at a later date and in greater numbers. This makes a professionals job more difficult, and thus, more expensive for the consumer. Many over the counter pesticides can be many times more toxic than what a professional would use, making the remedy much more of a health hazard than the original problem.