Getting a Look at the Proform XP 160 Elliptical Trainer

Selling for around $400, after discounts, this particular elliptical trainer will deliver a great many features that usually aren’t found in machines in this price range. Generally speaking, one has to spend several hundred dollars more to get everything this machine offers, even though it sits at the lower end of this particular segment. For the price one will be paying, one will be getting quite a bit of trainer, to be honest.

For example, the XP 160 comes with several different stride lengths, which trainers costing this little usually can’t offer. The length can be set for as much as 18 inches, which is also something not seen in the machine at this price point. Normally, the most one can hope to expect is about 15 inches of length, which is acceptable – make no doubt – but which is overtaken by the full 18 inches available in the 110.

Additionally, magnetic resistance capability is offered in the Proform XP 160 elliptical trainer. For the price that this trainer will be offered at, that’s a little surprising, because one doesn’t often see magnetic resistance for this little, truthfully. There are also a wide range of resistance settings, which will prove to be more than enough for most anybody of any sort of fitness.

It will sit nicely and with a great deal of solidity wherever it is placed, and the frame is guaranteed to hold up well to users coming in at as much as 300 pounds. Additionally, there are a number of different workout regimens, with all of them having been designed by certified fitness trainers. Usually, though, most new users just play around with the resistance settings instead of going to the workout regimens.

There are two different ways that this machine is powered – meaning how it uses its LCD screens and other functions – with the first one being batteries. For those who tire of swapping out such things, there is an unmarked plug where a 6 volt AC adapter can be connected. The machine itself weighs a bit, so it’s a good idea to be sure of where it will be located because moving it around will take two people, usually.

Getting a look at the Proform XP 160 elliptical trainer, then, reveals a machine fully comfortable in its own skin and certainly attractive enough, especially after one spends a few minutes with it giving it a try. The price is also sure to attract those who may have a more limited budget but who also want quality for the money they can spend. This trainer will more than meet that criteria, it must be said.

Home Sellers! Are You Guilty of the 7 Sins of Home Selling?

Greed: This one is a biggie. It was easy in a seller's market to get in touch with your greedy side. Feeling like Midas, anything you asked for from a buyer turned to gold in your hands. Drunk with that kind of power, buyers were often left feeling feeling helpless to agree if they wanted your home. In a balanced market, or even in a buyer's market, many sellers have not kicked the greed habit. Ironically, greed is costing those sellers money. Ask any real estate agent and they will tell you stories of deals that were blown because of a $ 300.00 item that could not be agreed upon. No longer with the advantage, many sellers are refusing to make any concessions if it means less money in their pockets, but now the buyer's are free to move along to the next house on their list. A seller may balk at fixing a $ 500.00 item in the house, or providing an inexpensive home warranty, but when the buyer moves along to an accommodating seller, the greedy seller is left to wait for another buyer – all the while making mortgage payments on the house they can not sell. Bad move.

Unrealistic Expectations: Anyone who has sold a home in a seller's market is going to have a hard time gratifying a buyer's market. If you want to sell your house, you have to forget everything you remember about selling your house in the past. Odds are that your home will not sell in a week, nor will you receive multiple offers. Unrealistic expectations are the foundation of blame and resentment, and they keep you from selling your home. The first few weeks of having your home on the market is filled with hope, anxiety, and irrational exuberance. It's completely normal to believe that your home is somehow more special than the others on the market, and yours will be the exception to the tough market. Once it becomes clear that the bidding war has not materialized, and your home still sits along with the others, a home seller with unrealistic expectations is crushed. Stay positive about your home, but do not blind yourself to what selling it will entail. A home seller with a realistic view of what it takes to sell a house in a balanced or buyer's market, can easily adapt to changing market conditions, use constructive feedback to improve their home, and in return sell their home faster.

Pride: If you really want to sell your home, make the promise right now that you will never utter the following phrase: "I'm going to send that buyer a message." If you enjoy sending messages, then sometimes you could raise carrier pigeons. If you want to sell your home, drop that phrase from your vocabulary. The message that sellers send, when they respond to buyers that way is "I do not want to sell my house to you." You have insulted me. " In the end, all you are left with is your pride, and that house that just will not sell. As an active Ebayer, I have never witnessed a transaction in which the seller of an item got indignant at the lowest bidder. It's all business. Divorce your emotions from the home selling process, and you have an advantage over the angry sellers in your area, because the buyers that they turn way with their "messages" are going to buy a home – just not theirs! The message to send to a buyer should be in the form of a counter-offer. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Impatience: You want this home sold. Now! The impatient seller can not understand why their home has not sold in the first week. By the third week on the market, the impatient home seller is fuming, and wondering how to get out of the listing agreement. Are you an impatient home seller? If you've chosen your real estate agent carefully, and believed when you signed the listing agreement that they are up to the job, then sit back and let the market work. The impatient seller calls their agent more than once a day for updates, even if there has been no activity on the house. The question, "why is not it selling?" is regularly pleaded over the phone. Are you, the impatient seller, doing everything you need to do to get your home sold? Have you done the things your agent recommended to get your home in selling condition? Did you really listen to the comparable pricing data your agent provided you? Or did you have a set price in your mind and refused to move from it when listing the home? The impatient seller can create an awful amount of stress for everyone involved in selling the home, and it's totally avoidable. In the end, the timing of the sale of your home will be a combination of price, condition, and luck. No amount of impatience is going to change that.

Ignoring the market: Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is disaster for a home seller. Yes, we know that your neighbor sold their home for the same price you wanted for your home, but that was four months ago. The residential real estate market is more fluid than ever now. Educate yourself about current market conditions, not last year's market, not even last month's market. A home seller who ignores the market will interview a few real estate agents, read the data provided by the agent, then ignore the data and list with the agent that gives them the least argument about pricing them home unrealistically. Real estate agents do not price homes, sellers do. The agents will provide valuable information and input to help a seller choose a price. Some agents will refuse to take a listing if they feel the seller is unrealistic about pricing, but many others will take the listing with the caveat that the seller will open to reducing the price later. With so many other properties on the market, an overpriced home will sit there like a deli tray at a gathering of vegetarians. Then, the seller will be chasing the market by lowering the price after watching the prices around them fall. Occasionally, the house may sell, but the price will be determined by the market, as it always is. If you are guilty of ignoring the market, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache by scheduling a meeting with your real estate agent to go over the current sales data for your home, and setting a realistic price, now.

Stubbornness: When selling your home it's best to imagine yourself as a supple tree gently swaying with the wind, instead of a donkey with its heels dug solidly into the dirt resisting all attempts to be budged. Stubbornness can show up in many situations. When you are contacted to schedule a showing, do you leave the house? Although it's a fact that your home has a better chance of selling if you are not there for the showing, do you refuse to be inconvenienced by having to leave? You may tell yourself that the buyers can work around your schedule. They will not. The chance for a sale often vanishes because a buyer feels uncomfortable with the homeowner in the house, and can not freely assess the house. Expect to be inconvenienced when you sell your home. It's part of the process.

Being Uncooperative: Are you a partner with your real estate agent when it comes to getting your home sold? Do you resist all suggestions by your real estate agent to make changes to your home that will help it sell faster? I've had this conversation with home sellers many times. Is it fair that people judge your home based on the things that are not going to be in it when you move out? No, probably not. Do Buyers judge your home based on those things? Absolutely. I've seen buyers lose their enthusiasm for a home based on a decorating theme that did not suit them. No matter how many times their real estate agent may remind them that they can decorate in their own style, it's too late. The home is now referred to as the "duck home", or the "doll home", or the "pink home." Every house gets a nickname when buyers are shopping. Do not let your refusal to cooperate stop your home from being the "perfect home."

The sale of your home requires the cooperation of countless people, many of you you'll never meet. The key word here is "cooperation." We, as home sellers, expect those that are working to complete our sales transaction to be cooperative. What about you, the home seller? Are you willing to meet the buyer halfway in negations? Are you willing to work within someone else's schedule to get something signed? Remember, you may be selling a property, but in the end, real estate is about humans. Be a good one.

Importance of T-Shirt Designing in the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry has accepted T-shirts designing as important and it has gained popularity and growth since a couple of years ago as compared to other clothing styles. The trend in wearing tees will be changing fast because people want to wear something which is different and unique. This is the reason why they have lifted their focus from wearing conventional clothes to designer t-shirts. They find it quite exciting to display their feelings on personalities on T shirts. With the advances in technology; This has become possible and faster process to come up with unique designs and creativity for t-shirts. People are given option to design their own t-shirts and get what they want. T-shirts have become popular along people of almost every age including young, old, children, men and women.

Many good and skilled designers have bright opportunities to make presence in fashion industry and grab the opportunities to explore fashion industry. T-shirts designing can be one of the platform as graphic designers are able to design the t-shirts of various styles such as pet shop, hip-hop and sports t-shirts. There are numerous websites which are providing facilities to people to design Tees online and submit their designs to some of the brand companies. This opportunity can be beneficial for those who want to make place in fashion industry for t-shirt designing. T-shirt designing has opened the doors for many aspirants as this has emerged as new and growing segment in the fashion industry for recent years.

You have wider spectrum opened in front of you as people are considering various options for fashion and styles. With some nice designs and creativity; you will be able to get good customers for your clothing styles. There are a number of companies which are giving opportunities to new people as graphic designers for t-shirts. People have preferred t-shirts because of their comfort and styles and they consider it cool to design their own t-shirts. You can get in touch with people to invite their ideas and opinions for t-shirt designing. T-shirt designing is considered as money making profession in fashion industry because of its popularity and growth.

T-shirts designing requires constant efforts and innovative ideas so that designers are able to give people what they want. If you want to earn more in fashion industry; you have to work towards customer's satisfaction and you can achieve this only if you have given what they want.

It is highly recommended to do a market research so that t-shirts can be made more impressive than ever. You can invite people to take part in the contest and get their feedbacks so that you get the suggestions directly from your buyers. T-shirt designing will be gaining more popularity as people now prefer tees as clothing options and looking for something which is completely stylish and display their thoughts. Fashion industry has accepted t-shirt designing to great extent and this is the reason why people are becoming more aware of importance of t-shirts designing in fashion industry.

The Inclusive and Exclusive Personality Traits

If we were to be crude about personality, bringing it down to just two habits, we could see that there are inclusive thinkers and exclusive thinkers.

An inclusive thinker considers the words 'and' and 'both' to be at the top of their vocabulary. An exclusive thinker, on the other hand, thinks more in terms of 'either' and 'or' (one or the other – not both). The inclusive thinker holds well the tensions between competitive priorities, but they possibly accommodate too much blur between values. The exclusive thinker, conversely, is decent about their view, but they can be intolerant of others' views.

The truth is each of us is more inclusive or more exclusive in our thinking, most of the time, but there are times when we are specifically inclusive or purposely exclusive.

This is the task of wisdom to know when to be inclusive and when to be exclusive.

HOW ACCOMMODATING OR TOLERANT ARE WE?

Sitting on a fine point is a balancing beam of wisdom that finds us either too accommodating nor not accommodating enough. Of course, we are called to get the balance right, but we struggle maintaining such a balance.

There are times when we are called to hold important tensions between disparate matters – eg, the need to stay in a job we do not like in order to feed our families, or when we agree or disagree with both sides of an argument. Holding the tensions is our only option.

But there are also times when we are called to draw a line in the sand and commit to a course of action, and, in doing so, disregard and reject other options. On certain moral or ethical grounds we take sides, because of what we are and who we have become.

I think I am more typically the inclusive thinker – the sort of person that possibly tolerates too much. For people like me it is good to be discerning, and be prepared to act on such discernment by being more positively decent.

We can take tolerance too far, but in our world – as a society – especially as we see through the press media, we are usually found to be not tolerant enough. The opposite negative is postmodernism has broadened our tolerance in the wrong way – we tolerate the wrong sort of ambiguity, where 'the truth' is often blurred.

***

Whether we are more inclusive thinkers or exclusive thinkers is a moot point. The real benefit is in the self-awareness; to know when it's right to think inclusively and exclusively is the key.

Tolerance is a commendable attribute, but like all good things it can be taken too far. But it's often better to be too tolerant than not tolerant enough.

© 2012 SJ Wickham.

How to Get F1 Drivers Autographs and Photos

F1 autograph hunting TIPS for people with not much money. (Legal stuff only) If you have no money to pay the paddock club access then how on earth would you ever go close enough to the F1 drivers to get them sign your merchandise/autograph/photo. Your not even related to any F1 crew. That was my question since I first attended my first Formula 1 race.So what did I do to tackle this problem? How did I manage to get autographs and photo’s with F1 celebrities not to mention a few World Champions(Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Niki Lauda, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikonnen) from the past and current lineup. Here I share my tips ->

Tips 1 – Identify your target.

Know the drivers family members, gf’s, race engineers,technical crew,team directors, owners and entire crew if possible. It’s always good to know who is who. Reason? not many people know them, so +1 point as competition to take photos with them are less. You can even ask them were and when the actual F1 drivers will arrive at the circuit. Do not focus on only 1 famous F1 driver. You might not know that a young rookie would be famous one day. My F1 circle of friends took photos with Sebastian Vettel when he was still the 3rd driver for BMW Sauber. Imagine him now and you know what I mean. So the keyword here would be identify and do not be picky.

Tips 2 – Always bring a marker pen + merchandise

Bring stuff for autograph in your backpack at all times during Grand Prix weekend. You will never know who you bump into. A friend of mine bumped in Sebastian Vettel in a local Puma store and there was no publicity on that!

Tips 3 – Identify and hangout at the drivers/crew Hotel.

How? – you need to be good to the hotel personals before the F1. You can even go and ask the receptionist and pretend as if you are going to stay at the hotel. It may not be so ethical but the important thing is it’s legal. You will be surprised on how easy to get some drivers photo’s or even autographs. You can also check your local forums and ask around where the drivers are staying. Someone out there might know!

Tips 4 – Wait in front of the paddock access gate.

Some circuits, drivers walk to the paddock. Example(Singapore GP). This is a great opportunity to get them to take a photo or sign autographs.

Tips 5 – If the paddock lane is open, get your way in front of the garage.

On race day, normally teams who win P1 will have a team photo session. Smallers teams will celebrate P2 and P3. But you will never know, so make sure you wonder around the teams who made it to the podiums. I’ve personally took pictures of Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes 09, and RedBull team photo’s. The drivers were so near to me and I manage to take pictures with them as well! Best time is after race when the teams are packing but you must be sensitive enough, some teams who didnt do well might ignore you but don’t stop and just go to next garages/teams.

Tips 6 – Wonder at your local airport the day after the F1 race finishes.

You will be amazed on how little supporters are at airports! You will never know who you might bump into. Seriously I’m talking of experience. Some friends and me have meet Fernando Alonso at Changi Airport once.

How to Build a Chicken Coop – 6 Crucial Elements on Building a Chicken House

When building a chicken coop, it is suggested that you follow the guidelines below for a successful endeavor.

Element # 1. – Appearance and Design:

Sketch out your design on a sheet of paper before you do anything else. Think of the colors you will paint the roof and chicken coop walls. Always keep in mind that if your chicken coop is clearly visible to your neighbors, (unless you live in a farm it will most likely be visible to your entire neighborhood,) it should not ever serve as a distraction or defacement of its utmost surroundings . So make sure to design an aesthetically looking chicken coop so that your neighbors do not complain of its detracting appearance. Once finished, always remember to remove and dispose of any types of garbage or weeds from around your chicken coop. Try to maintain an appealing landscape around it to enhance its overall appearance.

Element # 2. – Using Sound Judgment:

When designing your chicken coop structure, you must use sound judgment in almost every aspect of the way.

For instance, you want to use building materials in which the cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be quick and easy. The doors you install should open inwards, not outwards. You do not want your chickens rooting on your windows, so it is best to install sliding windows.

A question many people ask is how to build a chicken coop who's floors are easy to hose and spray down without much puddling? Well the secret to that is to slightly slope the floor toward the door. This way, when you spray out the chicken coop, the water will flow out, it's solving your puddling problem.

Element # 3. – Protection from Hazardous Elements:

So you want to learn how to build a chicken coop with maximum protection?
Then listen up.

As you may know, a well built chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather (heavy rain, wind, hale, snow, cold climates, etc), but they will also protect them from hungry predators, theft and injury .

So how do we accomplish that?

Easy. You want to build a draft free chicken house with windows and doors that can be opened and closed as needed. Make sure the windows and doors both have proper screening systems installed in them such as a heavy gage mesh wire. Building the chicken coop on a high yet well drained area with ensuring the least amount of dampness of the coop. Be sure to build your chicken coop in an area that faces the sun which will help warm and dry the soil and coop itself after it rains.

To protect your chickens from predators, the best thing to do is to bury your outside runs with chicken wire all around the coop about 1 foot deep. This will prevent some very hungry predators such as raccoons, cats and even dogs from digging underneath it.

Strategy # 4. – Coop Ventilation:

You may be wondering how to build a chicken coop that will not only keep your chickens locked up and protected from bad weather and predators yet receive the proper ventilation it requires. If so, then you already understand the importance of draft free air movement from within the coop. Chickens, much like humans, need fresh air and oxygen. The same goes for the removal of unwanted excess moisture and carbon dioxide. A chicken coop with ample air movement and proper ventilation will help remove the ammonia build up and dampness that may grow inside its walls.

Speaking of walls, the chicken coop walls should have proper insulation installed which will help keep the chickens dry. As long as chickens are dry, they can handle cold climates very well, but humidity plus cold weather will cause health issues for your poultry. Therefore, insulated walls are a must!

Strategy # 5 – Light Source:

If you want a good source of light and warmth for your chickens during the cold months of the year and a solid source of ventilation during the hot months, then be sure to install the chicken coop windows facing the southside where they will receive direct sunlight through the day.

On another note, if your goal is to raise chickens that will produce great eggs all year round, then you should look into an electrical source of light. You should be able to easily install an electrical light at the height of the chicken coop's ceiling which will help keep your chickens warm and help them lay better chicken eggs through the year. One ceiling light should be sufficient for a small scale chicken coop, for larger chicken coops though, try to install one electrical ceiling light per every 30 – 40 feet.

Strategy # 6. – Conveniently placed Wateres and Chicken Feeders:

Chicken feeders and waters should be placed where your flock will have easy access to them. However, you have to becareful where you place them because chickens like to make a mess of everything they eat due to their chicken scratching instincts. I'm sure you do not want to see your chicken feed mix all over the coop floors so, to avoid this, place the chicken feeders at the height of the chicken's back. This way they will have to stretch their necks up to eat but will not reach the feeders with their feet. Same goes for the waterers. Just make sure to keep the waters full of fresh clean water throughout the day.

There you have it folks. 6 quick and easy strategies that will show you how to build a chicken coop fast and efficiently. Whether you're building a large scale chicken coop or a small one, these tips should get you moving in the right direction.

Folks, did you know that the average american spends about $ 300 to build a chicken coop? Some even invest over 2 months of working trying to assemble the darn structure and in the end are not even fully refused with their product. Not very enticing is it? A great chicken coop plan can cut your time and efforts in half while saving you a vast amount money on building materials. To learn how to build a chicken coop with maximum benefits for your flock without investing a magnitude of your time and money, click here:
how to build a chicken coop .

The Importance of Building Insurance

All lenders insist on Buildings Insurance if any property is secured against a loan. If anything adverse happens to the property (like it being burnt down), the same property can be rebuilt from the proceeds of the insurance claim. And if your property is mortgage free and a similar destruction occurs to it, you will still be protected by the insurance policy and will be able to rebuild your property from the proceeds of your claim.

All Buildings Insurances are taken out so as to have a peace of mind against misfortunes that you hope will never occur. This kind of insurance offers protection against structural damages eg roofs, walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors. The causes of structural damages specified in policies are usually by fire, detonation, burglary or attempted burglary, malicious damage / vandalism, natural calamities like lightning, flooding, storms, earthquakes, disappearance and falling trees etc. Also included in the policies are damages on outdoor properties such as gates, fines and railroads.

But do be aware that not all policies cover all the above mentioned potential damages and each insurer will have its own exclusion due to that particular policy. Should you require any specific cover which has not been detailed in the policy then you can obtain one by paying an additional premium.

In the unfortunate event of you not being able to reside in your property until it has been deemed safe and secure for you to live in, you will need to ensure that your buildings insurance policy covers you for a suitable alternative. out on your property. Also make sure that your policy covers you for any associated architects' or surveyor's fees.

What Is The Difference Between Laminate Flooring and a Floating Floor?

What is a floating floor? I get this question often from customers because someone has told them they should get it. But, they don’t understand what a floating is.

Technically, a floating floor means that it is “floating” on top of the floor below it and is not directly secured to the floor (i.e. no nails and no glue). Instead it is held down or secured around the edges of the room – the base molding/shoe molding and transitions. This is often used if it is going over an existing floor or on top of cement – more about this later. Now, because the floor is floated and not secured to the floor there tends to be a bit more movement in the floor – you especially see and hear this in laminate floors and it’s more noticeable if it was poorly installed.

Given the definition, there are many types of floating floors as you’ll see below, so anytime someone tells me they want or think they need a floating floor, I need to dig a little deeper to make sure I’m understanding their wants and needs because there are many types of floating floors. (Plus sometimes someone tells me they need a floating floor and when I get to their house I discover that they don’t need a floating floor).

1. Laminate floors -Laminate floors are floating floors. Laminate is fake – it looks like hardwood, but it’s not – it’s a digital picture of hardwood and it clicks together. (There are also versions that look like tile) One of the advantage of laminate is that is less expensive than hardwood – both material-wise and labor-wise and it can often be placed on top of existing flooring without needing to rip it up, so this saves more money in labor.

2. Some engineered hardwoods are floating floors. Hardwoods can be installed 3 ways: 1) nail down (if there is plywood there), 2) glue down (engineered only) and 3) floated (engineered only). Some hardwoods are specially made to click into place just like a laminate does (they are easier for do-it-yourselfers and some can be installed over radiant heat). You click them into place and once they clicked, they are locked into place. The other option for non-clickable engineered hardwood is to glue the joints of the hardwood. Either way, both options require underlayment underneath the hardwood just as you would use for a laminate.

3. Cork is a floating floor. They come in interlocking pieces (usually 1 ft x 3ft) and click together just as a laminate does.

4. Some vinyls are floating floors (but most aren’t). Usually vinyl is glued down, but some of the more recent fiber floors that have some fiberglass and extra cushion for your feet can be glued or floated. If they are floated, they just lie on top of the floor and are secured along the base molding or cove base along the walls and cabinets.

So, after all of that, why would someone want a floating floor? Here are some of the reasons:

1. They want to save money by not ripping up the floor. Instead, they just want to go on top of it.

2. They have asbestos tile on the floor and it would be dangerous/illegal to remove that (or very costly to have an abatement company come in and professionally abate it).

3. They have a floor where glue will not adhere to it well (e.g. epoxy floor or floor w/ lots of ridges and not a flat surface.

4. They are putting hardwood on top of radiant heat (and hence need to avoid adhesives and nails).

Here are some reasons why customers mistakenly THINK they need a floating floor.

1. They don’t have plywood or it’s going over a cement subfloor. This is the most frequent area of confusion. While floating floors definitely will work over cement, you do not need to do a floating floor. You can, but you also have the option of doing an engineered hardwood and gluing it down. So, be sure to understand your objectives and your budget before ruling options out.

2. It’s below grade/in a basement. Floating floors can work in the basement, but other floors can also work so this is where it’s necessary to understand the objective of the room, moisture issues and budget.

3. There is a moisture issue. Well if there is a moisture issue, this should prob. be addressed first. Or, if you are not going to make any changes, then pick the appropriate floor that will work with moisture. Hardwood, laminate and cork are no no’s if you have a moisture issue. Many customers mistakenly believe that laminate is waterproof, and I have news for you…it’s not. It’s made w/ hardwood shavings, so if you are concerned about hardwood and moisture same goes for laminate. If there is a moisture issue, consider vinyl or tile.

4. They have a sloping or uneven floor. Hard surfaces don’t generally work well over uneven floors regardless of whether it’s hardwood, laminate, or tile. it’s best to level these out first, but the floor prep will cost you more money. If budget is a concern w/ the leveling, the consider a more flexible surface such as vinyl, carpet or rubber.

I know there are a lot of issues to consider and I suppose this is why it’s best to consult a professional. Everyone’s situation and budget is different. Frequently, I will narrow down to the 2 or 3 choices that could work for my customers and price them all out and then let them decide what works best with their needs and budget. I’ll always add in my 2 cents (or sometimes even a nickel).

Common Defects Found in Timber From Timber Merchants and Their Causes

We’ve all heard the horror stories of timber arriving and only half of it being usable. We thought we’d have a quick look at some of the reasons timber can be defective.

Cupping.

Cupping is literally when tangential-cut boards experience shrinkage due to the growth rings swelling faster at the heart, causing them to bow. Radial-cut boards are therefore a safer bet as their shrinkage will be less noticeable.

Knots.

Knots are often a good indicator of the quality of the timber. The fewer knots, the higher the grade of timber. Knots are evidence of where trees have started to grow branches that got broken off (branch fail!). Knots only tend to dramatically affect the strength of the timber if they are “dead knots”, or knots that have become loose.

Shrinkage.

As the cause of cupping mentioned above, shrinkage occurs as timber continues to lose moisture content. The drying process increases timber strength, but continued drying often leads to shrinkage.

Bowing.

Imagine a sagging shelf. Incorrect storage or even the board’s own weight if ill-supported can cause gravity to pull it down in the middle.

Splitting.

Like the fraying ends of cloth, splitting starts at the end grain and carries on through the board.

Shakes.

When enormous pressure builds up under the earth, fault lines are present where the earth’s tectonic plates slip past each other due to huge pressures. In trees, when growing (either non-uniformly, or sometimes due to frost) or seasoned, the release of internal stresses, and subsequent “crack!” result in shakes. Shakes can go all the way through the diameter of a tree, making a lot of its wood hard to use. It’s not always apparent until sawing that this fault exists.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of timber defects, but covers a few of the most common you may come across.

Minimising Wastage

Of course, the more timber you have that can be used, the less wastage there is and the further your money goes. Timber that consistently suffers from any of the above defects delivered time and time again is going to give any company a bad name.

Some merchants will simply ship you out what’s in stock, no matter what state it’s in. Merchants that commonly do this aren’t usually concerned with repeat business and you might find you have a hard time getting things rectified, with staff not wanting to know.

A merchant that prides itself on delivering quality timber will have rigorous quality control procedures and mechanisms in place. These should include the timber merchant company buyers visiting the sawmills that the timber is imported from and hand-selecting the timber that they know their clients will be able to use.

Because this is a time-intensive process, prices may be a little higher from a reputable timber merchant, but you’ll be able to use 99% of the timber you receive, rather than 50-60% in some poor cases, for which you’ll end up paying more in the long run in time and money.

Tips on Building a Quality Wooden Poker Chip Case

So you have decided to invest in a poker chip case to store all of your poker chips. Before you get started, whether building the case yourself, or ordering a custom case from a third party, there are some things to consider that differentiate a quality poker chip case from just a plain wooden box.

JOINTS

Joinery is a part of woodworking that involves joining together pieces of wood, to create furniture, structures, toys, and other items. The characteristics of wooden joints – strength, flexibility, toughness, etc. – derive from the properties of the joining materials and from how they are used in the joints. Therefore, different joinery techniques are used to meet differing requirements. When designing a poker chip case, you have to take into account the weight of the chips, which can approach 50 lbs for a 1000 chip case. The joints have to be strong, or the case will fall apart under the weight of the chips.

Most pre-made cases bought on the market utilize a butt joint. A butt joint is a joinery technique in which two members are joined by simply butting them together. The butt joint is the simplest joint to make since it merely involves cutting the members to the appropriate length and butting them together. It is also the weakest because unless some form of reinforcement is used, it relies upon glue alone to hold it together. Because the orientation of the members usually present only end grain to long grain gluing surface, the resulting joint is inherently weak.

When building or ordering a custom chip case, you should avoid butt joints and use a something stronger, such as a dovetail joint. A dovetail joint is a joint technique frequently used in fine woodworking joinery. Noted for its resistance to being pulled apart (tensile strength), the dovetail joint is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front. A series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of tails cut into the end of another board. The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape. Once glued, a wooden dovetail joint requires no mechanical fasteners.

Another simple and strong joint is the mortise and tenon joint, which has been used for thousands of years by woodworkers around the world to join pieces of wood. This is commonly used when the pieces are at an angle close to 90°. Although there are many variations on the theme, the basic idea is that the end of one of the members is inserted into a hole cut in the other member. The end of the first member is called the tenon, and it is usually narrowed with respect to the rest of the piece. The hole in the second member is called the mortise. The joint may be glued, pinned, or wedged to lock it in place.

HARDWARE

Hardware for a poker chip case must also be durable. A variety of hinges and hardware are available, but you should avoid a stamped hinge, which is the weakest type of hinge. When building or ordering a custom case, there are a variety of hinges you may request.

A full length piano hinge is a long narrow hinge that runs the full length of the two surfaces to which its leaves are joined. This imparts additional strength to the hinge when a heavy solid wood lid is used.

Concealed Hinges are used for furniture doors (with or without self-closing feature, and with or without dampening systems). They are made of 2 parts: One part is the hinge cup and the arm; the other part is the mounting plate. They are also called Euro/cup hinges, and give a cleaner look to the case.

FINISH

One thing to consider when choosing a finish for your wooden chip case, is to be sure to use Polyurethane or a non-soluble varnish that does not stain or seep into your chips. You should avoid any type of Oil finish such as Tung or Danish oil, as these oils can penetrate into clay chips over time.

TRAY SIZE

The majority of poker chips are 39mm in size, however, large denomination chips, as well as chips based on the Paulson Inverted Hat and Cane mold, are 43mm size. Be certain that the chip trays are appropriately sized for the type of chips you have. If ordering a custom chip case, be sure to specify the size of your chips.

So when building or designing a custom wooden poker chip case to store your chips, remember to consider the type of joints, hinges, and finish used in the design of you case.

Etosha Camps: Okaukuejo or Halali? The Better Option

Etosha National Park has three camps inside the park, but which is the better option, Okaukuejo or Halali? Namutoni is the third camp, and by far the least popular. Why? The waterhole doesn’t draw in the large numbers of wildlife as the other two camps.

Of the two, which camp is the better option?

Halali Camp is the newest of the three camps and the most relaxed, in a stretched mopane woodland setting. The rooms have en-suite toilet/shower. Camping has toilet/shower facilities, braai areas, and electrical outlets. There is also a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and the Tsumasa Trail up a small dolomite hill to the summit. A small floodlit waterhole, at this Etosha Camp, was built about three hundred meters behind the camp attracting elephants and rhinos along with other game animals.

Okaukuejo is Etosha’s oldest resort, located near Andersson Gate. Climb the tower to have a 360° view from the park’s highest vantage point and spot game far off in the distance. In the evenings, relax on the benches in front of a floodlit waterhole visited by Etosha’s game animals including giraffe, elephant, lion, and black rhino. The rooms have en-suite toilet/shower. Camping has toilet/shower facilities, braai areas, and electrical outlets. There is also a bar, restaurant, museum, swimming pool, and post office.

As you can easily see, essentially the two Etosha camps are the same. However, it is the waterholes, and those around the camps, that visitors generally use as decision makers.

Okaukuejo is famous for its waterhole having the ability to attract large numbers of wildlife -elephant and rhino visit regularly -on any given day. It’s seating around the waterhole spreads far and wide leaving ample room for visitors to cozy in comfortably.

Halali’s waterhole on the other hand provides a feeling of exclusive seclusion, a quiet hide tucked amongst the rocks, the same rocks you sit on whilst waiting for wildlife to appear. The hide, at this Etosha camp, is perched above, allowing for great views of wildlife only few feet away. Halali is also in the center of the park with excellent year-round waterholes attracting large herds and hungry prides.

No matter which camp you choose, or if you divide your time between the two, you’ll certainly fall asleep to the roars of lion, the crying of hyena, or the callings of the various other wildlife that call Etosha home.

It is important to note advance bookings must be made at Namibia Wildlife Resorts main office in Windhoek or online. Reservations for Etosha camps cannot be made over the telephone, and should be made well in advance.

When booking with Etosha NWR, you need to stick to your itinerary, as it is very difficult to change your plans, especially during the holiday months or at the end of July and August. During these months the park is full and the resorts and camping spots are generally completely booked. It is sometimes possible to camp without reservations, however to keep your trip smooth it’s better to book your reservations in advance.

Reception offices are at each Etosha camp and are open from dawn to dusk. It is here you pay for your stay and park fees that are due. It is important to note that all park fees must be paid at the reception office before attempting to leave the park as you can’t pay at the gate.

Combine your visit to Etosha with Sossusvlei. Get started planning your safari today! http://wildsafariafrica.com/about/your-specialist-in-african-safari-planning/

The Role of Glycerine in the Production of Soap

Glycerin, also spelled glycerine, is a basic ingredient in most soap. In fact, it is a by-product of soap manufacture as it occurs due to the reaction of strong alkali with an animal fat. This process is known as saponification and it is this process that brings out soap or detergent. While most manufacturers separate glycerin from the mixture, others incorporate the compound for its natural benefits.

Lots of soap-makers recommend glycerin as a basic ingredient because it has the ability to draw in moisture preventing drying of the skin. The compound is a natural moisturizer. In fact, it is a humectant – a substance that attracts water. Thus, soap containing the hygroscopic compound is known to have skin conditioning and moisturizing effect.

Glycerin is a viscous liquid that is at the same time sweet and colorless. It solidifies to a paste-like substance and has a high boiling point. During the soap-making process, some manufacturers remove the compound from the soap mixture and incorporate it into other products like lotion and creams. However, when it is added to a bar of soap it results to a nearly transparent product with moisturizing properties.

The compound is known to be a good solvent and this is one of its most remarkable properties. In some instances, it is better as a solvent than water or alcohol. This property makes it highly miscible in both alcohol and water. However, it never dissolves in oils. In its pure form the compound is called glycerol which suggests it belongs to a classification of organic compounds called alcohol.

It is extremely hygroscopic, which means that it readily absorbs moisture from the air. For instance, leaving a flask of pure glycerol open allows attraction of water that it soon loses the purity.

It was in 1889 when the compound was first obtained from animal fat through candle making. During which time the only way to derive the compound is through this process. Also, in that time animal fat was the only raw material for making candles. During the World War II, it has become a major component of dynamites and heavy demand for the substance was not sufficed by soap making industry. Thus there was an abrupt production of synthetic forms of the compound.

The substance has a chemical formula C3H8O3 which is also occurs as a liquid by-product during the production of biodiesel in a process called transesterification. This syrupy liquid occurs in nature. Found in cells of plants and animals (including humans), it is a part of the large bio-molecules of many lipids. In biologic processes the compound occurs as a result of the fermentation of carbohydrates. In organic chemistry it is produced by propylene synthesis.

Glycerin is an ingredient in several health-care products and toiletries. It is found in food products, as well as pharmaceutical and cosmetic items. It is found in moisturizing lotions and creams because of its hydrophilic and hygroscopic properties, which allow the substance to retain moisture. There is a debate whether it is the hygroscopic properties of the compound that makes it good for the skin, or it may be possible that the chemical has other unexplored and unidentified properties aside from the one already mentioned. The moisture-drawing property makes it an excellent emollient when added in soaps and moisturizing creams. An emollient is a substance that smoothens and softens skin. Another reason personal care products utilizes the substance is because of its skin lubricating advantage, not to mention it serves as a thickening or emulsifying agent in cosmetic products.

Home-made soaps or the hand-made varieties naturally contain glycerol, which commercial soap-makers remove. The separated liquid is used in massage oils, lip balms, skin softeners and moisturizers, perfumes and essential oils, and pharmaceutical preparations.

Metal and Wood Baby Furniture – Pros and Cons

Are you currently looking for baby furniture and want to know the pros and cons of woods and metals? With so many choices out there, doing some research can really help you narrow down what is the best fit for your home. While so many metal and wood baby furnishings are pretty, will they meet all the functions you have in mind for them? Hopefully this article can answer some of those questions for you and give you a clearer picture of what your needs and wants are for your dream baby nursery.

Pro’s of Wood:

* Style options! One of the obvious reason’s wood is a zealous choice is because of so many choices out there for styles and finishes! With crib brands like DaVinci, you can get anything from light natural finish to a dark espresso or black and in-between. Young America furniture from Stanley takes design a step further and has almost any color you can think of like pink, green, blue and purple. In the style section, every design out there is now available for wood baby furniture. Take any theme you have in mind, and you will find wood furnishings to coordinate. Retro, modern, French, classic, traditional and much more!

* Functionality! In today’s baby crib market, you can buy one baby bed and have it last your child’s entire lifetime. DaVinci and Storkcraft brands offer wooden convertible cribs that can transform to up to four different bed sizes. Most of the time there are additional parts you will need, but what a time and money saver to get a bed your baby can use as long as he wants? Not only is that beneficial to the family, but it makes a deep impact on the planet by helping with deforestation.

* More storage selections. Choosing wood will increase your storage options. Armoires, dressers and chests aren’t readily available in metals. DaVinci has a combo changer and dresser in almost any size that you can use as a changing station for the first few years, then you can just take off the changing pad and use this as a full time dresser his whole childhood.

Pro’s of Metal:

* Upscale elegance! No one can deny the fashion statement that an elegant metal crib makes in a nursery. The opulent iron scrolled cribs like Corsican and Little Miss Liberty offer incomparable sophistication. Notably, metal cribs are now offered in several themes and colors. You can get bunny, horses and tea time finials with the post iron cribs that really tie up a nursery theme.

* Durability. Of course a metal crib will be more durable than wood. If you’re looking for a solid and simple crib that can work with a lot of different themes, LA Baby has taken their industrial grade cribs that were once only available to professional places like hospitals and daycares and opened them up for parents. These cribs have stout hardware and concentrate on stamina versus themes.

Con’s of Wood:

* Not as strong as metal. Wood is definitely durable or the majority of furniture wouldn’t be wood, but when comparing it to metal…metal will definitely win out. You always run the risk of scratching paint and finishes more easily with wood. To ensure that wood furniture retains its new appearance you can get furniture markers that match the finish for when touch-ups are needed.

Con’s of Metal:

* Selection. If you have in your mind a very upscale and antique styled nursery, getting a lavish iron crib will really set the scene! But besides antique and classic, you’re going to be hard pressed finding other styles in metal furniture. You will also struggle finding other baby furniture in metal that will match your crib and nursery theme. If you go with the industrial design, you can get lots of colorful pieces you can use for storage, but you won’t find metal baby furniture in categories like armoires and full size dressers. You can pair wood furnishings with a metal crib if you get furniture with coordinated metal knobs.

* Price. These extravagant metal cribs can cost a pretty penny! Their intricate designs and solid frames are costly to make and they only last one stage. Many parents decide on the iron cribs for the heirloom factor and then subsequently buy big kid furnishings and pass the crib down through generations. Metal cribs are generally more of a sentimental investment rather than something you’ll be buying for function and overall versatility.

Final Thoughts

There’s no argument that both metal and wood have their positives and negatives! You have to determine what your wants and needs are and get what will fit best. Metal is a smart choice for pure luxury and heirloom quality or as a contemporary industrial sleep environment with amazing crib functions. Wood on the other hand can be found in designs that are diverse and useful at any stage of your child’s life. They do stand up to use, but will require some minor maintenance through the years. You can find wood baby furniture in any theme, price, style and color for you to create whatever nursery décor you have in mind.

Views From Seats Around The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Track

In part 3 of this series we describe the various seating views on the outside of the south end of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The south end of the Brickyard covers slightly more than a mile of track and includes the Southwest Vista, the South Vista, Grandstand G and the Southeast Vista.

RESERVING YOUR SEATS: At the Brickyard 400 all seats are reserved. But if you want to reserve the same seat year after year, you must purchase your tickets from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) directly. Getting on the renewal list requires you to not only purchase your tickets from the IMS, it also requires you to purchase your tickets each year right after the race. Once you get on the IMS ticket purchasing list you can also ask to be placed on the list to upgrade your tickets as better tickets become available.

It may take many years before you earn the right to purchase prime tickets, but if this is your goal, you better get started now. The IMS will allow you to reserve your seats for your lifetime and then they will allow you to pass your renewal rights to your children. They will not, however, allow your children to pass it down to their children.

GRANDSTAND INFORMATION: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway offers grandstands on the inside and the outside of the track. All grandstands on the inside of the track end with Terrace in its name. Grandstands on the outside of the track include Vistas, Paddock, Penthouse or a Grandstand with a letter in the name. The IMS has removed all infield grandstands in the turns. If your seating chart shows grandstands on the inside corner of the speedway, it is outdated. See the updated seating chart at the Brickyard 400 Seat Photos on this website for an updated seating chart. The following list provides detailed information about each grandstand at the speedway.

SOUTHWEST VISTA: The views from the Southwest Vista located at the end of turn 1 at the south end of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway provides a view of turn 1, the short chute and turn 2. The seating in this grandstand is bench style with no backs . There is no roof covering these grandstands. As with most other grandstands at the Brickyard, the best views are up high in the stands. You must have seats in the double letter rows in order to have a good view of the track. There is no view of the front straightaway from this grandstand. The closest parking to this grandand would be the Main Gate Lot and Lot 2.

SOUTH VISTA: Sitting on the outside of the track between turns 1 and 2 is the South Vista. This grandstand provides views of Turn 1, turn 2 and the short chute. No view of the front straightaway or the back stretch is possible from these seats. The seats are bench style with no backs. There is no roof structure covering this grandstand. The closet parking to this grandand would be Main Gate Lot and Lot 2. Double letter rows offer the best view of the track. Seating in the single letter rows have a somewhat less expansive view of the track and are partally constructed by the catch fence.

GRANDSTAND G: This grandstand sits on the outside of the track in the south short chute. The seats in this grandstand are bench style with no backs and there is no roof covering the seats. The Main Gate Lot and Lot 2 would probably be the closest parking lots. The best views are high into the grandstand. This grandstand is somewhat smaller, height wise, than the South, SW and SE Vista grandstands. From this grandstand you can see turns 1 and 2. Views from the seats in the single letter rows are more constructed by the catch fence.

SOUTHEAST VISTA: This grandstand sits in Turn 2 on the outside of the track. The seats in this section are bench style seats with no backs. There is no roof covering this grandstand. Best views of the track from this grandstand will be found in sections 17, 18, 19, and 20 high in the double letter rows. The Main Gate Lot and Lot 2 would probably be the closest designed IMS lot. Views from the single letter rows are somewhat obstructed by the catch fence.

You Need to Understand the Extent of the Sin of Fornication and Adultery Which Are Against God

Have you read of the story of Joseph and Portiphar’s wife in the Bible? The Go to Genesis 39:6-12. Most youths and individuals of our present generation will marvel and exclaim “wow!” he is super human to resist such a caliber of lady and who knows, she may be as well a very pretty woman. But if you understand why fornication or adultery is sin against God, then you must have understood why Joseph did that, and you can also have the strength to say “NO”. Here are several reasons:

1. Such sin gives Satan a chance to taunt Christ and ridicule His sacrifice on the cross. It is Satan who charges God, “You are unfair to expect mankind not to sin! sin is my invention, and it is so strong that it is impossible to say ‘No’ to it! The Bible says Christ died to save His people from their sins: not in them. (Matthew 1:21) ha ha ha! look at your ‘child’ who has fallen into adultery-that proves I am right, God, and You are wrong! Christ has died in vain.” If Joseph had said “Yes” to Mrs Potiphar, Satan would have taunted God like this.

2. It is because of our sin that murdered the Son of God on the cross. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5); that hurt! Someone may object, “Yes, but was nearly two thousand years ago. and His suffering was “once for all” and it is finished now. My continued sinning doesn’t hurt Him any more!” This is the lie that many professed Christians believe. Let us read how Hebrews describe man’s fresh re-crucifixion of Christ.

There is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us. What, then, of the person who despises the son of God? Who treats as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant which purified him from sin? Who insults the spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26).

This was what Joseph “saw”, and his faith kept him from doing it. It wasn’t fear that held him back. He didn’t say, “oh, maybe my father or my brothers will hear about it”, or “perhaps I will get a venereal disease.” or “maybe portiphar’s wife will get pregnant by me.” No! “By faith Joseph…” felt a deep heart-appreciation of the sacrifice of the son of God for the sins of the world. How could he treat it as “cheap”? “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul!” he prayed; he would not “insult the spirit of grace,” nor “crucify the son of God and expose Him to public shame.” Yes! Joseph may have lived years before Christ won born on earth, but in general he saw the mercies of God, His grace as something not cheap to be thrown in the gutter by compromising his faith. Thank God for Joseph! The world owes a great debt to him….

3. Adultery or fornication always brings sorrow and suffering to someone; in fact, there is murder wrapped up within it. Millions of people, for example, openly recognize that abortion is murder; and it is almost always the result of sin. Even when fornication or adultery is done only for “recreation” or “fun”, someone will surely get hurt. The pleasure of the moment is offset by the guilt that will remain, poisoning the heart and life. In order to silence the sense of guilt. many people simply renounce all title to heaven, give up, and choose to go to hell. They may appear outwardly to be happy once they have made that final choice, but as Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” And they know it. And since it takes two people to commit fornication or adultery, one has led the other to the loss of his/her soul eternally. also many a marriage is poisoned within the painful memories of pre- or extramarital sexual transgression; and again, the children are the unfortunate losers. They are deprived of the happiness and peace of a home every innocent child has a right to have. Their parents always bear the “wound and dishonor” that their sin brought (see Proverbs 6:33).

Many girls are also led into prostitution. They are to blame, of course, but others are to blame also. Those who patronize them help to make and keep them what they are. What a misuse of human capability! Even when the girls become so hardened that they have forgotten how to shed tears and have become dehumanized as it were, the misery is deep. Joseph didn’t want to add to this destruction of humanity. And it was in Africa that this mighty victory was won for the world!

4. All this resultant pain and suffering Christ feels. The Bible teaches, “In all their affliction He [Christ] was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9). HE feels it even more keenly than we humans feel it. for He sees the end from the beginning. “His souls was grieved for the misery of Israel” because of their wrongdoing (Judges 10:16). A wise writer once said:

Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His…. humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very beginning, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him…. As the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Romans 8:22), the heart of the infinite Father is pained in sympathy. Our world is a vast scene of misery that we dare not allow even out thoughts to dwell upon. Yet God feels it all. In Order to destroy sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and HE has put it in our power through cooperation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end- Ellen G. White..

This is what Joseph “saw”. This is why, when Potiphar’s wife offered him that alluring, almost over-mastering temptation, he said “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Someday we shall see all the fruits that have been borne by the seeds of sin. It will be a terrible sight. God will not say one word to condemn us- He won’t need to. We shall condemn ourselves, and the whole universe will condemn us as the world today condemns Hitler. Is it not good that the Holy spirit convicts us of sin today so we can find repentance before it is too late?

God has revealed His grace for the salvation of all mankind. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living, and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed day we hope for, when the glory of Our great God and savior Jesus Christ, will appear. He gave Himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to Him alone and are eager to do good (Titus 2:11-14).