Although some of the tools are similar to high-quality tools

Black & Decker Corp. launched a new tool line last week aimed at grabbing back a market Japanese competition took over a decade ago.

The company spent seven years and tens of millions of dollars on its new DeWalt line of tools. The rollout, kicked off last week at the National Association of Homebuilders trade show in Las Vegas, is a direct challenge to No. 1 Makita Corp.

If the push succeeds, it could be worth $250 million worth of business a year to the tool-and-appliance maker, and could also serve as an announcement that Black & Decker can still introduce innovative new products despite its heavy debt.

“This is the biggest marketing initiative this company has ever attempted . . . They’ve got a hell of a shot of making an impact on that part of the market,” said Clifford F. Ransom II, an analyst for Ferris, Baker Watts in Baltimore.

The line of 32 power hand tools, marketed under the DeWalt name, is aimed at home building professionals who buy their tools from consumer retail outlets like Home Depot and Hechingers.

These buyers — small contractors or tradesmen, often working out of the backs of their trucks — spent $432 million on power tools last year. But they spent very little of it with Black & Decker.

Although the company dominates in expensive tools aimed at industrial and commercial construction users, and also in lower-cost tools aimed at do-it-yourselfers, it has almost no presence in the middle ground.

Black & Decker blames the problem on confusion between its two lines of tools. Less expensive do-it-yourself tools aren’t designed to hold up to the rigors of professional use, but are sold on the same shelves as the hardier professional tools. A professional who wore out a consumer tool in a week has a bad taste left in his mouth.

Analysts agree, but add that real quality problems with its mid-range line contributed to Black & Decker’s bad reputation. Professionals switched to the high-quality Makita tools in droves.

The DeWalt introduction is designed to address both brand confusion and perceived quality problems.

In the first place, it’s an entirely new line, which is supposed to solve the quality problems of the past. Black & Decker says the new tools are better than Makita’s. The company is confidently pricing them at a 5 percent premium to the competition.

Although some of the tools are similar to high-quality tools offered to the industrial market, they’ve been redesigned with the small contractor in mind. For instance, industrial drills require a key to change a drill bit — no problem if you’re in a factory where everything is kept in its place.

But for a contractor hauling his tools from job site to job site, having to keep track of a key is just one more headache. So Black & Decker designed a “keyless chuck” that lets the customer change the bit without the key.

In the second place, the company dropped the Black & Decker name from the tools to avoid confusion with its consumer tools, which are often sold alongside its professional tools.

Although not well-known in the general consumer market, DeWalt has a good reputation among industrial users for its large stationary tools.

Better still, generations of shop students learned on DeWalt best miter saw and other tools in school.


Introduce you to airless paint sprayer

Home painting is no longer hard and time-consuming thanks to a small paint sprayer. Fences, garages or barns with smooth coat within an hour or two that is impossible before now can be done easily by paint sprayers. These tools are not only powerful, portable but also easy-using by inexperienced people. Who have never painted before can even get high result with it. There are various kinds of paint prayers are available, and the airless is one of the best paint sprayer.

painting with airless paint sprayer

Why painting with an airless paint sprayer is better?

The airless paint sprayer with compressed air guns is able to vaporize and shoot materials better, especially for thin or medium objects. However, while spraying, small amount of paint is left at the gun, clog and block the way. For long-time using, the clumps of paint clogged at the gun limit its efficiency. These sprayers are preferred for small jobs to reduce overspray.

Different kinds of airless paint sprayers are provided in which the smallest one is also the most contented one. The level of pressure from diaphragm systems is indicated between that of compressor and piston pump sprayers, but in real it is even higher than air compressor. The most advantage of these sprayers is the airless system with piston which can create about 2500 PSI to 3000 PSI.

A piston with high PSI makes gun powerful that can be used with long hoses to apply for large material supply up to 5 gallon can of paint. With this piston, small painter with a ¼” hose can pull paint 25 feet away and larger one can pull up to 150 feet, which allows us move around a medium-sized building without material supply.

High pressures airless device can work not only far from material supply but also for great paint job. The paint is vaporized into tiny drop that coat the painting surface, drenched thoroughly and uniformly to create smooth surface. Moreover, all fissures and grooves on the surface will be filled with paint to cover tightly. This device ensures our objects’ surface have good coat without any marks, streaks or uncolored parts.

Paint Sprayer Good Brands

Graco, Wagner, HomeRight, and Titan are the most famous companies that produce highest standard and various function paint sprayers (Wagner Flexio 590, Graco Magnum x5, … ).One of the best airless paint sprayer is Graco magnum x7.

Graco Magnum x7 airless paint sprayer

Hand-held module with a paint cup or feed hose, portable freestanding or car types, all are found in those product lines. In this latter case, the spray gun becomes a small but wonderful dispenser that can be applied for almost situation however awkward it is, such as for a chink in narrow area.

Because of the powerful gun, especially of large one, airless paint sprayer must be used carefully. The piston with high pressure up to 3000 PSI can pull paint into skin to muscles. In this case, the toxic must be immediately removed with the help of medical techniques. Please follow the instruction, practice and never point the nozzle to others to prevent being injured.

Airless paint sprayer with good spray gun ensures the perfect finishing surface. Can fulfill fast, precise with smooth coat with high coverage, airless system is what you actually need for all painting projects, and trustful and reliable especially for bigger one. New way of painting that airless device brings turns hard job faster and more enjoyable for everyone, both beginners and experts.

Home theater: all in one box

home theater in a boxA home-theater-in-a-box system is the easiest and usually the cheapest path to surround sound with prices starting below $300. All these systems include a receiver and six speakers, plus wiring and instruction that make setup a relative snap. Many include a DVD player.

Reflecting the trend toward more features, the DVD) players axe often multidisc models. Some axe progressive-scan players that are capable of delivering superior picture quality with digital TVs, High-quality component-video inputs for digital equipment axe starting to show up.


Decide whether you want a DVD player, If not, you may save money by buying a system without one. If you do, consider a multidisc model that will provide uninterrupted play of music CDs and DVD movies. Some systems (including all of those we tested) have a progressive-scan player. These offer regular DVD) picture quality when used with a conventional TV but can deliver a smoother, almost filmlike image when paired with a TV capable of displaying high-definition (HD) signals. Some bundled DVD players offer support for multichannel DVD-Audio and SACD music discs.

Do you want a separate DVD player or one integrated with the receiver? Systems with separate DVD players and receivers tend to offer fuller functionality and more connections than those that integrate both units in one box. Integrated units are somewhat simpler to set up, but they may not allow you to connect video devices other than a TV to the receiver. Any other devices would have to be hooked up directly to the TV

Make sure there are enough inputs. Even home-theater systems without DVD players have fewer connections than stand-alone components, but they do allow you to connect the basic gear. These systems generally have enough audio and video inputs for an external DVD player, a VCR, a CD player, and a cable box or satellite receiver. Some systems have S-video inputs, which can provide better picture quality from DVD players and digital-cable or satellite boxes than composite-video inputs. Component-video inputs, better still, axe less widely available.

With audio inputs, there are two points to check. Some models have either an optical or a coaxial digital-audio input, not both types. Make sure whichever is offered matches the output on your CD or DVD player, digital-cable box, or satellite receiver. If you want to connect a turntable, you’ll need a phono input–hard to come by None of the tested systems has one.

Get features that suit your needs. With any system, you can be assured of basics such as AM/FM tuners and Dolby Digital and DTS surround-sound support. You almost always get Dolby Pro Logic II, which offers basic surround sound from TV and VHS programs and music CDs.

Features such as front-panel inputs and onscreen displays for making adjustments on the TV screen axe less common than on component receivers, so make sure a system has what you want. Only one tested model the Onkyo HT-S760B, offers Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES, surround formats that process 6.1 channels.

Features that count. These can add to the flexibility and convenience.

receiver inputs

Video Inputs. A composite-video connection offers decent video quality and can be used with almost any video source you connect to the receiver. For even better pictures from DVD players, digital-cable boxes, and satellite receivers, look for S-video or component-video connections.

Powered subwoofer. Also called an “active” subwoofer, this typically provides more control over bass and lets the receiver devote its wattage to driving other speakers. It requires an AC outlet.

Onscreen display. Shows menus and other text on TV screen, allowing easier adjustment.

Front-panel input. For easy connection of camcorders, games, and other devices you’re likely to connect and disconnect as needed.


For $300 or so, you can get a home theater system offering very good sound. Be sure there are enough connections for your needs because some models skimp on inputs and outputs. When the receiver and the DVD player are combined in one unit, setup may be easier, but basic operation may be a bit harder because control buttons are often multifunction.

Aesthetics may figure in your decision, along with functionality. Some systems have smaller, more stylish components and speakers, which can add to the price. Systems with DVD players generally cost more than those without.

The Ratings rank models by performance. The Quick Picks highlight models you might want to consider based on how they scored and on factors such as price.


If you want a DVD player separate from the receiver:

1.Sony $450

Player holds only one disc, but separate components offer more flexibility. Receiver has ample connections.

If you want an integrated DVD player In a low-priced system:

2.Pioneer $300

It has a five-disc DVD player, but it lacks the video connections for adding external devices. Speakers are fairly large.

4.Panasonic $500

5.Panasonic $400

6.Philips $700

The receivers and speakers on all three systems are very small. On Panasonic (4) and Philips (6), the two front speakers are on tall silver floor stands. Panasonic (4) holds five discs, (5) only one; both can play DVD-Audio music discs. Philips (6) has a single-disc player that can play SACD music. That adds to its price, as does its notably small, sleek design. None of the three systems has the video connections for adding external devices.

If you don’t need a DVD player:

7.Pioneer $300

8.Sony $300

9.Onkyo $500

All are very good. Neither the Pioneer (7) nor the Sony (8) has S-video or component-video connections. The Onkyo (9) costs more but has more inputs and offers 6.1 support. Similar model HT-S767C, S800, adds a six-disc, progressive-scan DVD player.

Pressure Cookers Making a Comeback

pressure cookingSales of pressure cookers are growing in a broad range of distribution channels including specialty shops and mass merchandisers. Pressure cooker sales volume is estimated to be about $45 million for merchandise ranging from $20 to over $200. The popularity of the pressure dropped during the 1970s and 1980s because consumers were afraid of their tendency to explode. However, suppliers have focused their marketing efforts on the safety of modern products which all have safety valves to prevent explosions. However, to ensure your safety when using a pressure cooker, you should find out and read some of the pressure cooker reviews are available on the internet.

Vendors’ efforts to quell consumer concerns about the safety of pressure cookers are paying off after the category took a popularity plunge in the 1960s and 1970s. The resurgence in popularity of pressure cookers – traditionally chosen by price-conscious consumers – is being assisted by the added dimension of the upscale market, according to vendors and retailers. Sales of pressure cookers are on the rise at a range of distribution channels from mass to gourmet specialty shops, at a broad spectrum of price points from $20 to more than $200, industry sources said.

Overall, the sales volume of the pressure cooker market is estimated by industry sources at about $45 million, with unit sales at about $1.2 million.

Pressure Cooker Brands

pressure cooker brands

“Specialty stores basically have gone with most of the European types – they tend to want to create a gourmet appearance,” said Joseph Berney, vice president of sales for Presto.

  1. WMF, Cuisinart, Chantal, T-Fal, Hawkins Futura, Lagostina and newcomer Fagor are among the companies – all international – that are competing at the higher end in the U.S. market, primarily with stainless steel pressure cookers.
  2. Mirro and Presto are the most popular brand names in the lower-priced segment of the business, which is distributed through mass merchants, department and hardware stores and catalogs.

“In the past, the only ones that sold had a name, like Krups or Mirro, because people were concerned about them blowing up,” said a buyer from a Northwest department store. “It’s very interesting that all these others that are not [well-known] name brands are doing a good job.”

Like Fagor’s products, which range from $99 to $139, pressure cookers on the higher end offer special features such as digital timers, steamers and various pressure gauges. All cookers, both high- and low-end, are equipped with pressure release valves for safety. For added value, Fagor also offers a 50-recipe cookbook with each pressure cooker purchase. “We want to support and educate the user about everything they can do with the cooker,” said Patricio Barriga, Fagor executive vice president.

Susan Dumont-Bengston, Cuisinart’s director of marketing services, said one sign of the market’s revival is the fact that a cookbook is being written by Lorna Sass with recipes suited for pressure cookers. Sass already has published one cookbook for pressure cooker recipes, and her new one will include only vegetarian recipes.

While the special features supplied by Fagor, WMF, Cuisinart, Lagostina and other upper-end manufacturers appeal to a gourmet customer, lower-priced aluminum and stainless steel pressure cookers by Mirro and Presto are more representative of the traditional business, which catered to consumers wanting to spend less.

The Safety Of the Pressure Cooker

pressure cooker safety

Advertisements in consumer magazines – WMF ran a full-page advertisement in a national bridal book for the first time this year – helped dispel fears that the cookers may explode. Without the proper safety valves, which all pressure cookers feature today, the vessels potentially can explode. “Unfortunately, the question of safety lingers in the minds of many consumers,” said Berney of Presto, whose line ranges from $25 to $40 for aluminum models and $55 and $70 for stainless steel.

Catching the newly kindled interest in the cookers, vendors started to penetrate the gourmet market about five years ago with highly stylized models – one manufacturer described them as having a “Euro-look” – at a $100-plus range. “We started carrying them about four years ago, because there seemed to be a market for them,” said Katie Dawes, owner of Kitchen Kaboodle, a gourment shop in State College, Pa. “I’d say they’ve definitely become even more popular since then.”

While vendors and retailers agree the market is reviving, growth remains spotty. Some vendors are reporting more than others. “The American consumer seems to be paying a little more attention to them now,” said Peter Braley national sales manager for WMF, which supplies cookers for between $150 and $230. Among manufacturers supplying the lower-priced pressure cookers, Mirro’s sales growth in pressure cookers is surpassing expectations.

How to make our Christmas-toy cookies

Re-create the playful collection of holiday cookie ornaments shown on pages 140 and 141 using Country Living’s handcrafted copper cookie cutters and the following recipe for our buttery cookie dough. Decorating tips and techniques are included here.

Handmade copper cookie cutters to make our nutcracker, choo-choo engine, drum, and rocking horse may be purchased using the coupon on page 195.


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • Royal Icing (recipe follows)
  • Food coloring (see Note)
  • Small gold edible dragees (see Note)
  • Paper plates or manila envelopes

1. In medium-size bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, corn syrup, almond extract, and salt until well mixed. Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour and beat just until combined. Gather dough and shape into 2 balls; flatten each to 5-inch round and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour or overnight.

2. When dough has chilled, heat oven to 350 [degrees] F. Lightly grease one or more baking sheets. Cut 2 pieces of waxed paper the same size as baking sheets.

3. Lightly flour waxed paper and roll out one round of dough between paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Remove top piece of waxed paper from dough. Using desired cookie cutters, cut out as many shapes as possible,. leaving 1/2-inch space between.

cutting cookieRemove all trimmings and press together to reuse. Invert waxed paper with cut-out shapes onto greased baking sheet and peel off waxed paper. Reroll trimmings between floured waxed paper to cut out more shapes; invert onto baking sheet. Repeat rolling with remaining half of cookie dough to fill other baking sheets or roll and bake cookies in batches if only one sheet is available (always cool baking sheet before inverting unbaked shapes onto it). If making cookies for hanging ornaments, use a toothpick to pierce a small (1/16-inch-wide) hole about 3/4 inch from top of each cookie shape.

4. Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes or until just golden at edges. If bubbles appear on surface of some cookies, flatten with back of metal spatula immediately after cookies come out of oven. Cool cookies 5 minutes on baking sheets; remove to wire rack and cool completely.

5. To decorate cookies, prepare Royal Icing. Divide icing among 7 small bowls. Using food coloring, tint icing in each bowl a different color: red, green, brown, yellow, pink, purple, and blue. Place half of each colored mixture in a separate pastry bag fitted with a small (#1) writing tip; these will be used to outline cookies. (Store all icing-filled bags in airtight container until ready to use.)

6. Add a few drops water to colored icing remaining in each bowl until icing is the consistency of house paint – thick though runny. With small artist’s brush, partially paint cookies as pictured. (Be sure not to cover pierced hole.) Let “paint” dry completely, then with icing in pastry bags, outline each painted area; use outlines on remainder of each cookie to add detail and define their shape. On drums, rocking horses, and nutcrackers, attach gold dragees using icing in bags as glue. Dry decorated cookies completely; to store, arrange carefully in layers separated by bubble wrap in airtight container.

7. Before hanging, reinforce hole in each cookie as follows: From paper plate or manila envelope, cut out a 1- to 2-inch piece, trimming it to a size that generously overlaps hole on back of cookie but will not show when viewed from right side. Match piece to hole of cookie and mark location of hole. Using a hole punch or metal skewer, pierce hole in piece. Using Royal Icing, glue piece to back of cookie, aligning holes. Let icing dry before threading with string, ribbon, or wire.

Royal Icing: In large bowl, with electric mixer on low speed, beat one 1-pound package confectioners’ sugar, 3 large egg whites (if cookies are to be eaten, use meringue powder and follow directions for Royal Icing; see Note), and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar until mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Makes 4 cups.

Note: We used Wilton’s Icing Colors concentrated food-coloring pastes in Daffodil Yellow, Pink, Violet, and Royal Blue and Chefmaster’s Gel Base Colors in Forest Green, Red Red, and Nut Brown. Both edible and nonedible dragees are available; be sure to purchase the edible kind. All food colorings, meringue powder, and dragees are available from the New York Cake and Baking Center, 56 West 22nd St., New York, NY 10010; (800) 942-2539.

Nutrition information per 4-inch cookie – protein: 2 grams; fat: 5 grams; carbohydrate: 19 grams; fiber: .3 gram; sodium: 56 milligrams; cholesterol: 13 milligrams; calories: 132.

Surviving Sleepless Nights as a Parent

During your younger years, you suffer from sleepless nights because you have friends over at the house or because you are out partying until the wee hours of the morning. Once you become a mom or a dad, however, you are still sleepless, but this time, because of your baby. This is especially true during the first few months of the baby. Endless crying at the middle of the night can be your worst nightmare. However, this does not mean that you have no choice but to just live with it. There are some things that you can do to survive being sleepless. Keep on reading and you will gain insights on some of the things that you can do.

The Problem with Sleep Deprivation

Are there days wherein you feel like you cannot survive the day in the office and you feel tired even before you start doing something in line with your work? Are you often disoriented and lacking focus? These are some of the indications of sleep deprivation – a condition that is a burden for most parents. You are sleep deprived if you are experiencing any of the following: tiredness, grumpiness, stress, emotional breakdown, clumsiness, disorientation, lack of concentration, and feeling hungry all the time. You find it hard to survive your normal day and even if you find inspiration in your babies, there are times when you feel that you have had enough.

When you are deprived of sleep, there is a tendency to act in such a way that does not show your normal self. For instance, you can shout at people at the office and the quality of your job output can tend to be inferior. Some people resort into overeating, which is obviously unhealthy. In order to avoid these problems, it is important to know exactly what can be done to handle sleep deprivation. The solution does not seem as hard as some might think it is.

What Can Be Done ?

The following are some of the things that will help parents to survive their sleepless night:

  • Find time to exercise: This is the least that most people do. After all, if you are tired and sleepless, why would you still
    exercise? In reality, however, exercise is essential in order to keep your blood pumping, and hence, providing you with the energy that you will need to survive throughout the day. Also, lack of sleep can affect your health. With exercise, on the other hand, you are basically doing something to maintain a healthy body in spite of not getting adequate amount of sleep.
  • Invest in your baby’s comfort: Most parents are sleepless because babies cry at the middle of the night. Of course, when they cry, you should be doing something to make them stop. Why are they crying in the first place? It would be most probably because of their discomfort. It is possible that it is too hot or too cold in the room. Having a cheap pack and play can also help to make them comfortable, whether they are awake or asleep.
  • Ask for help: Regardless of how much you would like to be as hands-on as possible in taking care of your child, there are just some things that are too much to handle on your own. Do not be afraid to ask for a helping hand, such as from other family members who are willing to provide you with assistance. Both moms and dads should play an active role in raising a baby. At work, if you know that your sleep was not enough, do not also be afraid to ask for help from your colleagues.
  • Find time for yourself: Even at least once a week, find time to relax. It can be a visit to the spa or just hang out with your friends. This is going to provide you with the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate.
  • Do not underestimate the power of a power nap. In most instances, all that you need is to nap for a couple of minutes. According to several studies in the past, resting for even just up to 20 minutes can provide you with an extra boost. Even within just a short period of time, you can soon be back in the game.
  • Do not forget to eat: Being busy with your life as a married couple, parent, and employed individual can often lead into forgetting regular eating. It is important to never skip meals regardless of how busy you can be. If you are sleepless and if you are hungry, the problems can be worse.
  • Create a plan: It will also help if you can keep a schedule of activities. By having a well-planned schedule, you can find a specific time for you to sleep and relax. Remember to have it well-balanced, making sure that you have equal time for you, your family, your work, and your friends.

How to install a new kitchen

kitchenWe aim to make you a more savy home improvemnet consumer and school you in some streetwise remodeling jargon before you jump into remaking your kitchen.

What we tell you make the planning and buying more complicated, but you’ll fall in love with the results. Remember, remodeling a kitchen can cost more than a new car or van. Unlike those items, however, a kitchen can’t be traded in if you make a mistake. You gotta plan ahead!

Our method (no surprise here!) is to show you step by step how to do a quality job by yourself. But please, be realistic about what you can and can’t do.

So make the plan, then follow the plan. DIY disasters happen when there is no plan. We’ll tell you how to install new cabinets and countertops, and also give you tips on layout and design that will help keep you on the right track. And we list all the articles we’ve done in the recent past that provide additional information we don’t cover in this article: window installation, plumbing, electrical work, ceramic tile installation, and more.

If you have moderate do-it-yourself remodeling skills, can do your own planning and install the cabinets and countertops yourself, you can save big and really get your money’s worth (see “Pro Labor Costs”).

These days, top-quality, national brand name cabinets are readily available at home centers, and offer better value than ever for your dollar. To make the purchase and installation of these cabinets as simple as possible, manufacturers offer matching prefinished trim, moldings and panels. Plus, the huge variety of accessories lets you customize your installation to suit your needs. Most home centers provide free computerized layout and design assistance to help get the sizes right.


Below are some general cost guidelines, based upon the kitchen shown on these pages. The cabinets and countertops in our kitchen form a typical 10 x 12-ft. “L” shape (measuring from the wall corner to each end of the “L”). All the appliances are contained within these 22 ft. However, we don’t include the cost of any new appliances in the list below.


We show a bare room–just the plumbing and electrical lines protruding from the walls, and a new window in place. It looks oh-so-very neat. And that’s the way you should start your installation. But don’t be misled into thinking it’s easy getting to this point. It took a lot of work. Although this article isn’t about that work, here’s a short summary:

Tearing out the old: No great skill required here, but it can be sweaty, dirty work. Before you begin, make sure you turn off water lines, as well as the electrical lines to the kitchen at the main electrical panel. Take your time, and observe how your cabinets and counters were installed originally; take them apart the same way rather than trying to use force. Get a helper when removing wall cabinets so they don’t crash to the floor. Be gentle with the old cabinets so you can reuse them in your garage or basement.

Window: The window shown requires a ceiling higher than 8 ft., so it’s not for everyone. However, if you’re doing a complete kitchen remodel, consider a wider, crank-out casement or bay window. You’ll have to open up your wall for a new header to support the wall above the window, but you’ll get a new, “bigger” look in the room. Keep in mind, however, that the wider the window, the less cabinet space you’ll have.

Flooring:ceramic tile floor

Since we decided to use ceramic tile on our floor, we put down 3/8-in. plywood underlayment directly over the existing floor surface to provide rigidity. A long-lasting ceramic tile floor calls for two layers of wood subflooring that total at least 3/4-in. thickness. For the best appearance, put down the tile after installing the cabinets–so the grout lines can intersect uniformly with the cabinet lines. Vinyl flooring and thin prefinished hardwood are also usually installed after the cabinets are in place. Install full-thickness (3/4-in.) hardwood floors before the cabinets; it’s easier, and you won’t lose that 3/4-in. height in the toe space.

Electrical: Kitchen electrical requirements are tricky, and subject to the National Electrical Code or local codes. Most codes require outlets at each countertop 12 in. or wider. On larger countertops, all points along the backsplash should be within 24 in. of an outlet. Outlets must be on 20-amp circuits and be GFCI protected. GFCI protection can be either in the outlets themselves or the circuit breaker to which they run in the electrical panel. Generally, there must be at least One outlet per island or peninsula.

Two or more 20-amp appliance circuits are required for all of the kitchen outlets including the refrigerator’s. Separate 15- or 20-amp circuits must be provided for the dishwasher, disposer or other motor-operated appliances, or combinations of appliances. (Have an electrician do any work required in your electrical panel; that’s not do-it-yourself stuff.)


How can you possibly get along while you’re remodeling? Eat out. Well, for dinner at least. Maybe some of the time. But face it, a new kitchen can take a long time if you’re doing the whole thing yourself.

Hook the stove back up after you tear out everything, and just work around it. If you’ll be including the stove in your new kitchen, cover it so it won’t get damaged. Put the microwave and refrigerator in the dining room for a while. Wash dishes in the bathroom. Make a plan you can live with temporarily. It’s not as bad as you might think. After all, your great-grandparents never even had it this good.

Importance of home gardening


Anything related to any task needs some advice from the experts who have a lot of experience in that field you are looking to work in. The field home and garden also needs some advice before you go through into it. Getting proper instruction can be very helpful for you. If you have no friend in your area who can guide you in this regard, just go online and search the related terms to find tips and tricks. You will find a large number of advice about flowers, lawns, roses, pests, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and a lot of other techniques. If you have any question in this regard, just put a line of a question on the discussion forums of home and garden, and you will get the answer solved by more than one expert who is very active on those kinds of forums. Some websites offer you to join their newsletter, weekly updates, monthly recipes, home improvement ideas, and many other offers. Of course, all these will be free of cost at most sites, however, if you need some great information by spending some money you can do it also.

So, if you are looking for some great ideas to update your house, or you are willing to learn how to upgrade the garden in your home, my suggestion would be to join the Better Home and Garden website. The articles that are being published almost daily, are unique and contain great theories and ideas that you may need in future to make your home and garden better.

Better home and garden magazine is responsible for taking care of your thoughts and you are free to provide your ideas that you have in your mind, to provide the information to the world. You will never find a low-quality article on that magazine or site, and the products that are being discussed on that magazine are beneficial for you and your family. There you can find solutions for you problems that you may have regarding your home gardens. I don’t claim that all the articles are useful for all the readers who join this magazine, but I am sure at least one article can be the advantage for one reader. And also, if you think an article is not helpful for you, it may useful and helpful for other people that you may know such as your sister, your friend, your mother, or even your neighbor. Today, everybody is searching the information that can be helpful for his garden and home as well as for cooking.

Expectations from this magazine

home-and-gardenThe expectations from the magazine we are talking about, are several. For example, you can learn how to complete certain projects. There are many ideas to learn that how to compliment the home nicely as well as some great recipes are being published for dinner parties. By reading this magazine regularly, you can learn how to organize your house if you see that it’s currently not an organized home and also you can learn to make your home more modern and more attractive. Read the articles about beautiful plants that can be well planted in your region and read the info on how to plant them.

Plus, about different plants can be read on that magazine that go well together as well as you will be provided images to help stimulate the ideas you have regarding planting and gardening. Don’t forget to read the instructions on how to save your skin and other parts of your body during all seasons and the magazine provides you all the recommendations. The magazine compares the products and provides you the result and outcome of which products are the best in their performance. A lot of health tips and beauty tips are being published that have been checked, tried, and liked by other people.

Why is it recommended to every reader?

  • The magazine I am talking about is recommended to any person who has some interest in gardening and health tips because fresh ideas can be gotten every month.
  • The homes are updated constantly by the people, whether the furniture is being moved around, or they paint their walls, or they completely renovate their home, the magazine provides the ideas and many new products that will provide their home a unique look .

Remember, a new look for your home will not only give you some pleaser, but your guests will also appreciate it when they think about your original thoughts. A software have been created by the staff of the magazine, so download it and install on your PC or on your smartphone. This software is very necessary for you if you need to improve your gardening skills. The software can also help you manage a location where you can run your spin bike. Click best spin bikes 2015 to read and get info about latest spin bikes.

Home again – the past is never far behind

A few weeks ago, I did something, I promised myself, I’d never do again. I went back to the trails where I fell in love with mountain biking. I was a freshman in college when I stumbled upon the spaghetti bowl of root-strewn single track sandwiched between South Florida’s turnpike, a storage facility and a budget-friendly sushi buffet where intestinal trauma always came free.


Wrenching my high-tensile steel bike from the trunk of my car, I had no idea I’d just met the trails that would change my life. Years later, Harvey, the trails’ sole volunteer, introduced me to the anonymous pride of trail maintenance. Over time, two volunteers became dozens and a handful of riders grew into thousands. Somehow, a little pocket of unexceptional trails transformed strangers into a tribe. Of mountain bikers. In Florida.

I was proposed to on the remnants of an old dock a few pedal strokes away from the first trail I ever helped create. A year later, Harvey officiated my wedding in the field across the lake. That summer a series of hurricanes pummeled our community with a cruel tenacity. Houses remained in disarray as riders hoisting chainsaws and clippers poured into the trails like ants rebuilding their mound after a storm. When the final hurricane of the season gazed at us through her clear blue eye, we stared back, nervous but unflinching, ready to repair her damage. But after the skies cleared, we saw a level of destruction that couldn’t be remedied with tools or passion. Hurricane Wilma unleashed tornados that flattened our square mile of forested refuge, toppling shallow-rooted Australian Pines with the random power of a toddler stampeding through meticulous lines of dominos.

With a new job offer in hand, I took a last look at the park’s once-towering pines splayed across the land like a giant game of pick-up sticks. From a thousand miles away, I received word that an army of bulldozers and wood chippers erased my first love from the earth. I decided right then that I would never go back.

As I moved on with life, the broken remains of an unlikely mountain bike community looked at the barren landscape and saw a blank slate. Bulldozers that scraped away ‘the wall’ and ‘impossible corner’ came back to carve sprawling coquina waves. Volunteers planted saplings and shrubs and the seeds of new trails.

Ten years later, passing through the park entrance feels familiar, yet foreign, like running into a college friend who got a nose job. Gone is the trailhead marked by a glorified piece of plywood plastered with sodden scraps of trail maintenance flyers-the ones we printed using garishly bright paper and comic sans font. Pungent hot boxes masquerading as port-o-lets are no more. Instead, a fancy kiosk and bathrooms with flushing toilets greet new riders.

Following a sandy white thread through tall grasses, the languid morning glow illuminates a latticework of webs draped across the trail. First tracks mean web patrol, so I tuck my head down, pedal faster and try to ignore a raging paranoia of being covered in spiders. Head down isn’t the best way to ride any trail, especially a new one, but given my distinct lack of a flame-thrower, it seems the next best option.


South Floridians have a knack for creatively answering the ever-present question of, “What the hell do we do with all this sand?” It’s not uncommon to find moldy shag carpet lining a particularly sandy section of trail, so I can’t help but smile when I come to rolling hills of pavers meticulously placed in rideable waves, banked and bermed, clutching the pliable sand with their terracotta-colored grip. I only wish my patio was as well laid. The trail weaves past a handful of cypress trees, the grown version of saplings planted by volunteers throughout the park. Twisted ropes of wood crawl toward the canopy above, and the shadows pry open a box of memories covered in dust. I know this feeling, momentarily lost in a jungle escape worlds away from city streets in plain sight. It’s the feeling of being home.

The biggest nemesis of a local trail is boredom. To a first-timer, it feels like this trail was designed to sap speed. Tight, blind corners toss you toward steep, punchy hills. Constant ups and downs. No guidance as to what will come next. This is jazz music. This is local flow. The more you ride, the more you understand its rhythm. Right now, I’m sitting next to the band playing “Hot Cross Buns” on a recorder, but with time, I get the feeling that I’d be reaching for the saxophone.

When a curiously placed fence catches my eye, I follow the tree trunk it surrounds upward until I’m confronted with golden-hooked beaks peeking over a massive nest. The bald eagle fledglings are on the cusp of flying, an anxiety-inducing period when trying and failing is disastrous, but giving up isn’t an option. A chick whose enormity seems incongruous with the word chick, hops to a branch, stretching her wings to catch the wind.

Pedaling along, I almost ride right by the cement dock where champagne was once hidden just behind the bushes, a mid-ride commemoration of an engagement 10 years in the making. A shiny ring. A partner in crime. A tattered square of mortar. It all remains, having weathered the winds of change. These aren’t the trails I knew, but I recognize their spirit, passed on through the calloused hands of strangers from one generation to the next. I recognize it as easily as the knotted roots we used to jump next to the ‘slow down’ sign, and the two narrowly spaced rocks that bore the clawed artifacts of trial and error.

For all that’s changed, these trails remain the playground we flocked to after school. The secret neighborhood lair hidden behind the mailboxes. Our respite from adulthood. A handful of miles that won’t ever grace the pages of a magazine. Miles that could be anywhere. That are, in fact, everywhere, strewn across backyards all over the country and persisting through people whose names and faces change with the ages.

I’m not sure when I’ll return to these trails again. But I know it’s only a matter of time.

Home fitness equipment



So much fun it won’t collect dust, this whisper-quiet machine will make you feel like you’re riding a bike or going for a power walk – without putting undue pressure on your knees, hips and ankles. How? It follows your body’s natural range of movement as you move your feet in an elliptical motion, and makes you feel as if you’re walking on air. The bonus: You work your upper body, too.


As treadmills go, fancier doesn’t necessarily mean better. The Proform 725tl sticks with the basics and adds a few perks such as an extra-wide platform, ideal for arm swinging. It also has an adjustable power incline, four preset workouts, a cushioned deck and a five-window monitor that helps you track your speed, time, calories burned, distance and pulse. (The machine comes with a headband to monitor your heart rate.)



Rowing is an excellent allover workout: You utilize your legs, arms, back and butt while improving aerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength. One big plus on this model: The extra girth in the seat makes it easy on the glutes. The rower breaks down easily into two pieces for storage, and it also features a battery-operated monitor that displays elapsed time, strokes per minute and work output. If you wish, you can even add a heart rate monitor.


Although it looks like a minilaptop, this electric-blue “coach in a box” mounts on the handlebars of any bike (balanced by a trainer frame made by CycleOps). It offers computer-generated personalized workouts, a series of preset workouts and prerecorded rides. After running you through a fitness test, the computer customizes a training program, whether you want to increase your endurance or focus on burning fat. The etrainer even stores your fitness log. The biggest benefit? An adapter allows you to record data on outdoor rides and download the information to re-create the ride, hills and all, indoors. Although the display visuals are not yet state of the art, this trainer will get the most serious rider through months of rain, sleet and snow.

spin-bikeCOMP BIKE

Spinning at home offers the same great workout you get in the gym. You work your hamstrings, upper thighs and butt, stretching them far more than on a regular stationary bike. This home version, modeled after the bikes used in classes, features a 31-pound flywheel, a road-bike saddle and direct-drive gearing that simulates the feel of road racing. Your toes fit snugly into toe clips for maximum pedaling efficiency, and you can adjust the handlebars and tension. Be sure to order the accompanying videos ($20 each) featuring Johnny G, spinning’s creator, for the complete experience.


Capable of executing more than 30 exercises, this piece of equipment really is a gym in itself. What sets it apart from many other home gyms is its configuration, which allows you to perform exercises in their traditional, optimal positions, unlike other, makeshift home versions. Position and weight adjustments are simple, and high-quality components mean you get a smooth workout. If everything from rowing to leg curls isn’t enough, an optional leg-press addition is available.


Taking convenience to a new level, the EverYoung features a push-button, electronic folding system. A cushioned floating deck alleviates some of the impact of intense running and walking, and a display calculates time, speed, distance and calories burned. If you’ve ever been on a jet ski, you’ll recognize this treadmill’s safety feature: a strap that attaches to the user and arrests motion if disconnected.

Fitness to go: it doesn’t take a “super mom” (or dad) to master a jogging stroller

Three years ago, the sight of a “super mom,” half-dazed and painting behind a jogging stroller containing a 20-plus pound bundle of joy, would have left me in awe. Two children later, I consider pushing just one child in a jogging stroller light training. Having graduated to the “deluxe playground on wheels” (double stroller) to accommodate an infant and a toddler, I know the secrets to making a stroller run an experience everyone can enjoy.

Most parents break into a cold sweat just thinking about taking a jogging stroller around the block. Where does a novice runner begin? How do you run without using your arms? If you think that a jogging stroller is beyond your parenting, running and aerobic skills, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Jogging stroller is better than standard stroller

The jogging stroller can be intimidating, especially if you have little to no hands-on experience with this rugged, all-terrain contraption that looks more like a high-tech moon buggy than a stroller. Fortunately, however, a jogging stroller may actually be more user-friendly than a standard stroller — even on roads, sidewalks and gravel — thanks to three 14-inch to 20-inch tires. Additionally, the large tires make pushing 45 pounds surprisingly easy (unless you happen to be running up a hill). Don’t be surprised if, after doing a few trial runs, you find you never want to use a standard stroller again.

Types Of Jogging Stroller

There are two types of jogging strollers — the single and double passenger.

single jogging stroller

single jogging stroller

While the single typically comes with more perks (it’s lighter, has hand brakes, larger tires, it’s easier to maneuver, folds for an easy fit into most car trunks and sports a more comfortable seat), it only holds one child.

double jogging stroller

double jogging stroller

The double passenger stroller, often already equipped with a windscreen/rain tarp and removable front wheel to adapt to a pull-cart for bicycles, is slightly more cumbersome — especially to the novice jogging stroller operator. However, it’s ideal if you have two children and are interested in packing lots of weight training into your running routine.

What stroller to purchase?

Both types of strollers cost between $150 and $300. If you want to purchase a used jogging stroller, be prepared to buy at a moment’s notice. It’s a hot item, especially during the spring and summer months. One of the greatest advantages of the used stroller is that it is already assembled. However, if you can put together a crib, you can easily master the stroller.

If you purchase a two-passenger jogging stroller with a hard plastic shell and no padding on the seats, you can make it more comfortable for your children with a standard outdoor chair cushion with ties ($10 to $20). Cut holes or slits in the cushion for the shoulder straps and lap belts to pull through, and tie to the frame of the stroller. In less than five minutes, you have a comfortable stroller ready for an all-terrain ride.


Once your stroller is ready for its first run, help yourself and your passenger(s) prepare for a successful run with the following guidelines.

For Parents

  • Make sure you spend at least five to 10 minutes stretching.stretching
  • Start out slow. Runners who typically travel five to seven miles may want to consider starting off with one to two miles. Beginners may want to experiment with one to two miles of speed walking mixed with five to 10 minute intervals of jogging. It will be hard to motivate yourself for a second day of running if you are an aching mass of raw muscle.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Invest in sports bras that provide adequate support. Although an underwire push-up bra may give you some impressive cleavage, it may not give you the support and comfort you need. Nursing moms might try wearing two sports bras, or a combination of a sports and full-support bra to minimize or alleviate breast discomfort. Also, they should empty breasts, especially if running first thing in the morning. Breasts tend to become engorged after a full night’s sleep.
  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes ($45 to $100).
    running shoes

    running shoes

    Many running enthusiasts recommend buying a new pair of shoes every 300 miles. If you are prone to impact injuries ankles, shins, knees and hips), you may want to switch your shoes more often. (Helpful hint: When trying on new shoes, if the shoe is uncomfortable or falls into that “all it needs is a little breaking in” category, don’t buy them. Your feet and body will thank you later.)

For Passengers

  • Feed your kids, change wet pants, and take toddlers on a last visit to the bathroom prior to venturing down the road. You may want to pack along a spare water or juice bottle, or spill-proof sip cup — especially for longer runs or hot weather.
  • Dress your passengers appropriately for the weather. Keep in mind they are passive participants in your exercise plans, and the elements will affect them differently. Don’t forget the sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
  • Avoid running close to nap times. Exercising first thing in the morning can be a great way to start the day and take advantage of cooler temperatures — especially during the hot summer months.
  • If the scenery doesn’t appear to hold your children’s attention long, try throwing in a couple of their favorite toys. Be sure to avoid anything with small or moving parts that can easily break off and be swallowed.
  • If you find yourself stopping and starting because your passengers are fighting over toys or can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves, place a piece of foam, pillow or board between them to create a safe barrier.
  • Always remember to properly strap in your precious cargo with the appropriate safety belts. Also, you may want to post lists of emergency phone numbers on the inside and outside of the stroller in lieu of advertising any personal identification information.

Running Forms

Before you even reach the end of your driveway, you will notice there is nothing natural about running behind a jogging stroller. In fact, the more experienced you are at running, the harder it will be to break old habits like running with a long stride or using your freely swinging arms to help keep your pace. However, you’ll soon adapt to a new running form.

You can use one hand or two to push the stroller. If you are running with a single passenger stroller, it may be easier to travel with one hand on the stroller handle and allow the other arm to swing freely at your side.

If you are using a two passenger stroller, however, most runners recommend using both hands to compensate for the additional awkwardness of the larger stroller and extra weight. Allowing your shoulders to swing slightly, in lieu of your arms, will help alleviate some of the initial awkwardness. Avoid the temptation to run along beside the stroller since your ability to steer in a straight line will be impaired. Additionally, you may want to decrease the length of your stride to avoid hitting or tripping over the stroller. Remember to allow your hands to comfortably rest on the stroller handle and bend your arms slightly at the elbows.

If you want to add an additional challenge to your run, try experimenting with hills of varying grades and lengths. Learning into the hill and flattening out your body will help make ascension easier. Contrary to any thoughts you may have on your way up a hill while staring at the rear tires of the stroller, no one has ever been severely maimed, injured or died from being backed over by a jogging stroller. While descending, lean back away from the stroller and try to resist running full-force down the hill in order to avoid a runaway stroller.

With a little practice, running behind a jogging stroller will not only be second nature, but it will be a great way to spend some special time with your children and work off those last few pregnancy pounds. While you may be a super parent for exercising with your children, it doesn’t take a super hero to master the jogging stroller. See you on the jogging trails.

The look of stoneware … and you just spray on paint

Create the lacy pattern with a fork!

Lace Stone Boudoir Set



  • Spray paint(*): Mauve Dust waterbased enamel, Rose Quartz basecoat, clear acrylic.
  • Glitter paint*.
  • Small flat paint brush.
  • Fork.
  • Newspaper/dropcloth.
  • Paper towels. Sandpaper.
  • Glue gun and glue sticks.
  • Scissors.
  • Ruler.

Tissue Cover

  • Wooden boutique tissue box. Wooden boutique tissue box
  • Mauve pregathered lace, 5/8″ wide,2 1/4 yards.
  • Pink satin ribbon, 1/8″ wide, 1/2 yard.
  • Wooden hearts, 2 3/4″ across, two.
  • Pink satin roses, 12mm, two.
  • White pearls, 3mm, two.


  • Wooden corner shelf. Wooden corner shelf
  • Mauve pregathered lace, 5/8″ wide, 12 inches.
  • Pink satin ribbon, 1/8″ wide, 1/4 yard.
  • Pink satin rose, 12mm, one.
  • White pearl, 3mm, one.


  • Wooden tote. Wooden tote
  • Mauve pregathered lace, 5/8″ wide, 1 yard.
  • Pink satin ribbon, 1/8″ wide, 1/2 yard.
  • Pink satin roses, 12mm, two.
  • White pearls, 3mm, two. (*) Plasti-Kote Ultra[TM] Decorator Water Based Enamel, Fleck Stone[TM] Basecoat, Clear Acrylic Topcoat; Delta Crystal Glitter Stuff were used for this project.


(Note: Read instructions on paint cans before beginning project. Allow paint to dry several hours between coats.)

1. Paint the wood pieces. Spread newspapers or dropcloth to protect working surface and adjacent areas from overspray. Stuff paper towels in tissue cover opening to protect interior. For undercoat, spray two coats of Mauve Dust enamel on all sides, tops, and bottoms of tissue cover, shelf, and tote, and one side of hearts; let dry between coats. (Note: For ease in painting, spray top and sides first; let dry, then paint bottom.)

For basecoat, work on one side at a time for each wood piece. Spray on two coats of Rose Quartz in a circular motion. While paint is still wet, use fork to draw squiggly lines in several directions over painted surface until area is completely marked. (Note: Small paint clumps may appear, but will be sanded down when paint is dry.) Apply basecoat to sides and top of tissue cover, shelf top and front, sides and handle of tote, and painted sides of hearts. Let dry overnight.

When paint is completely dry, lightly sand all “lace-stone” areas, removing small paint clumps. Spray all painted surfaces with one coat of acrylic topcoat. Let dry.


2. Tissue Cover. Glue lace around outside top edge of box, having straight edge of lace even with top edge; overlap and glue ends down. Glue lace around outside bottom edge of box, having scallops even with bottom edge. Glue lace around opening on top of box.

With scallops facing outward, glue straight edge of lace around back outside edge of each heart. Cut satin ribbon in half; tie each half into a bow. Cut ribbon ends at a slant. Glue one bow to top center of each heart. Apply a coat of glitter paint to satin roses; let dry. Glue one rose underneath each bow; glue one pearl to center of each rose. Glue hearts in center of opposite sides of box.

Shelf. Having scallops facing outward, glue straight edge of lace under rim of shelf top. Tie pink satin ribbon into a small bow; cut ribbon ends at a slant. Glue bow to top center of heart cut-out on front of shelf. Apply a coat of glitter paint to satin rose; let dry. Glue rose to center of bow; glue pearl to center of rose.

Tote. Glue lace around top outside edge of tote. Cut pink satin ribbon in half; tie each half into a bow. Cut ribbon ends at a slant. Glue one bow to center top of handle, above cut-out heart, and one to center front. Apply one coat of glitter paint to each satin rose; let dry. Glue one rose to center of each bow; glue one pearl to center of each rose.

Basic furniture stripping

Furniture strippingIf you’ve ever wandered through a garage sale, you’ve probably found a piece of furniture that you fell in love with — at first glance. But upon closer inspection, its outward appearance looked like it was beyond hope.

Well, now you can buy those ugly ducklings, because we’re going to show you how to remove that old, worn-out finish and bring back the natural beauty of the wood. Even if you’ve never stripped furniture before.

First, however, we need to say we’re not going to go into detail on how to apply a new finish after you’ve stripped off the old.


Completely removing the finish from an old piece of furniture, or “stripping,” may not be necessary. Often, the old finish is just tired or dirty and only needs a good cleaning, or what’s called “restoration.” That’s a thorough scrubbing of the wood with mineral spirits, followed by a couple of new coats of varnish.

But if the old finish, whether it’s paint or varnish, is cracked or flaking, it’s time to strip. If you want to change the color, it’s time to strip. Or if you want to put on a hard-finish top-coat, such as polyurethane, the only way to get good results is to first strip off the old finish. And, finally, if the piece has deep stains or scratches, stripping is the first step in repairing these problems.


Here are the tools you’ll need to remove old finishes, all of which are in your home now or available at most paint and hardware stores:

  • Two flexible putty knives — one with a 2-in. wide blade and one with a 3- or 4-in. wide bladeputty knive
  • medium-grade steel wool, or a finish-stripping scrub pad
  • a brass-bristle brushbrass-bristle brush
  • a scratch awl or ice pick
  • a kitchen vegetable brush
  • string
  • old toothbrushes
  • old 1-1/2 or 2-in. wide paint brushes to apply the paint stripper
  • cardboard, newspapers or an old dropcloth that you’re willing to throw away
  • aluminum pie tins — to catch the drips and to collect the old finish
  • rags
  • mineral spirits — for solvent-base stripper cleanupmineral spirits
  • oxalic acid and borax — to remove black water stains
  • tack cloth, and
  • safety gear

You’ll notice that a number of these tools should be “old.” Stripping is a messy job and often the tools need to be thrown away after use.

Also, buy only the smallest amount of stripper that you think you’ll need to do the job. Storing excess stripper in your home can be dangerous. It’s better to have to buy more than to store.


Deciding which stripper to use will depend on a number of factors: your safety when using the stripper, what you’ll be stripping, how much time you have to do the job, and how much money you want to spend.

Most solvent-base strippers contain methylene chloride, a potent chemical that makes them fast and thorough. However, the vapors these products give off as they evaporate can be extremely dangerous, even deadly.

If you or a member of your family is sensitive to chemical fumes, is pregnant or you simply want to play it safe, consider using a water-based stripper. These products are safe to use in most situations, according to the manufacturers.

water-based stripper

water-based stripper

Since stripping furniture involves both horizontal and vertical surfaces, it’s best to choose a stripper with a semi-paste consistency. The semi-paste type will cling to the vertical surfaces; liquid strippers won’t.

You also need to decide how much time you have to work on the project. If you want the stripper to work in minutes, use a solvent-base stripper. But if you can let strippers work for hours or even overnight, consider using the water-base type.

The cost of materials could also be a factor. Solvent-base strippers sell for around $15 a gallon. The water-base strippers cost $20 or more.

Finally, you could consider having the furniture stripped by a professional.


Here’s a good point to remember: If a product is strong enough to strip paint, you don’t want to breathe it into your lungs, get it on your skin or in your eyes. To prevent this, you need to use the following safety equipment:

  • Safety goggles ($5). Make sure you get goggles and not glasses. Goggles wrap around the head and protect the entire eye; glasses don’t.Safety goggles
  • Solvent-resistant gloves ($5). Don’t use the rubber type you wear when you wash dishes.Solvent-resistant gloves
  • A respirator ($15 – $20). Make sure it’s a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirator, suitable for use with paint strippers.respirator

These products are available at most full-service paint stores.

Also, wear a long-sleeve shirt to keep the stripper off your arms.


Stripping furniture is not a quick, one-day project. It’ll take a minimum of two days, depending on how difficult it is to remove the old finish, the size of the piece and whether there are ornate carvings and moldings.

Flat surfaces strip the fastest; intricate carvings and curved or rounded pieces often require multiple applications of stripper.

The most important point on using paint stripper: Don’t rush it. Read the container label before starting and then follow the instructions completely. Once you apply the stripper, give it time to penetrate, but don’t let it dry out. If it does, you’re in for even more work.


1. Your work area must be well ventilated. If possible, work outdoors in a shaded area, such as on a patio or at the apron area of your garage. The temperature should be above 50 degrees F.

2. Once you choose a spot, lay down cardboard or three or four layers of newspaper.

3. Make sure you’ve read the directions on the stripper container.

4. Apply the recommended amount of stripper using an old paint brush. Spread the stripper in one direction only. A back-and-forth brushing action will reduce its potency.

5. Let the stripper work the recommended length of time. For solvent-base strippers it’s between 10 and 30 minutes. Water-base strippers need to work longer, at least a couple of hours or even overnight.

6. If you’re using a solvent-base stripper, check it periodically to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it starts to dry, apply a little more, in the same direction as the first coat.

7. When the stripper has been in place the recommended time, lightly rub the area with medium-grade steel wool or a paint-stripping scrub pad to loosen the old finish.

8. Now use a putty knife to remove the old finish from the flat surfaces. A vegetable brush works great on curved areas, such as legs. Use the aluminum pie tins to collect the old finish.

9. Our table had a raised edge, grooves and round sections — three areas that are always hard to strip. Here’s how we dealt with each:

  • To loosen the old finish along the raised edge, we used a brass-bristle brush .
  • To remove old finish from the edges, we used a scratch awl. Make light strokes to avoid gouging the wood.
  • And, to remove the finish from the round legs, we wrapped medium-grade steel wool around a length of string and used it in a back-and-forth, shoeshine motion.

10. Finally, don’t get discouraged if all the finish doesn’t come off the first time. Be prepared to apply more coats of stripper, especially in curved or carved areas.


Once the piece is completely stripped, you’ll have to dispose of the old finish. The best way to do this is to put the aluminum pie plates outside in the shade and allow the stripper to evaporate. Place any solvent-soaked rags outside, too. Make sure they’re out of the reach of kids and pets.

Most cities have hazardous waste disposal areas that will take this type of residue. Contact your city hall for instructions for your area.


Before you apply the new finish, make sure the surfaces are smooth and clean. To get rid of any solvent stripper residue, rinse the entire surface with mineral spirits. If the stripper is water-base, use clear water.

If you notice any black water stains on the stripped areas, you can bleach them out using an oxalic acid solution. Then neutralize the acid with a borax and water solution. Oxalic acid and borax are available at most full-service paint stores. Follow the directions and safety instructions on the oxalic acid container.

To get the best-looking finish, you need to sand the stripped wood. Sanding is done in three stages: Use 100-grit (medium) sandpaper for the first sanding; 180-grit (fine) for the second; and for the final sanding, use 220-grit (very fine) sandpaper.

To get rid of any dust, wipe the entire piece with a tack cloth. The tack cloth is a cheese cloth that has a sticky coating to pick up and hold dust.


Now you’re ready to apply the new stain, but make sure the piece is dry first. Any major brand name product should give you good results, if you follow the directions.

Apply a final top coat. If the piece will get heavy-duty use, consider applying polyurethane rather than regular varnish. It’s recommended that you apply the same brand stain and finish.

Proceed with caution: the do’s and don’ts of operating a plural component sprayer

A plural component sprayer represents a significant capital outlay for most contractors, and protecting that investment is a compelling reason for learning to use the equipment correctly. Additionally, the contractor who takes the time to thoroughly learn sprayer operation will be rewarded with high quality results on the job.

Operating a plural component sprayer the right way is nor rocket science, but using it incorrectly can cause major problems. In fact, one of the most common causes of coating failure is operator error, due to carelessness or lack of knowledge or experience, such as the spray tech neglecting an important step in sprayer operation. The results can be disastrous and expensive to remedy.

Proper operation of a dual component sprayer actually begins long before the trigger is pulled. The equipment and material preparation that take place before spraying starts set the stage for success. Attention to detail must continue through chemical application, completing the job and shutting down and storing the equipment after use.

A plural component sprayer can be used to apply polyurea, polyurethane and other high-performance, two-component, elasromeric coatings. The finished quality of any of these coatings depends on the ratio of the two components, typically referred to as “A” (the resin) and “B” (the curing agent) as the mix exits the gun. The ratio at the gun depends on viscosity, temperature and pressure of the chemicals during delivery.

The spray technician has all of these variables under his control. The more effectively he can manage them, the better results he will achieve. This article takes a closer look at the steps involved in operating a plural component sprayer to help the spray technician understand the key factors that can impact the quality of the finished product.

This is a very important step that often gets neglected in the rush to get the job done, understandably so when there are schedules and deadlines to be met. That is unfortunate, though, because preparing the chemicals lays the foundation for the quality of the finished coating. Inadequate attention to this step will yield a less than adequate result.

To get every job off to a good start, mix the resin in the drum at high speed for at least an hour before starting to spray. The pigment in the resin is thicker and heavier than other components and sinks to the bottom during storage. It needs to be mixed back in with the other components before spraying begins. Vigorous agitation is essential to blending the components of the resin to make it a uniform viscosity.

The recommended drum mixer to use is one with a series of blades along the shaft. This configuration helps move the material sufficiently to get the solids on the bottom back into suspension. To create the maximum movement in the chemical, the mixer blades should be about one-third the diameter of the chemical drum. Keep the mixer running at moderate speed while spraying to keep the resin at consistent viscosity during the entire job.

Do not show up at the job site, connect the drums of chemicals to the sprayer and pull the trigger. At least, do nor do this and expect a good result. Poorly mixed resin will yield a product that is off-ratio (having incorrect proportions of components A and B). The transfer pump cannot pick up thick pigment that is settled at the bottom of the drum. This means the material mixing at the gun will be the curing agent, plus the thin liquid from the top of the resin drum so the mix will contain excess curing agent. The technician should observe a drop in the component A (resin) pressure at the machine when this happens.

The problem with spraying material off-ratio is chemical cross-linking cannot occur. Chemical cross-linking is what causes a coating to cure and achieve the desired physical properties, such as tensile strength and chemical resistance.


As soon as the resin is mixing, sprayer preparation should be started. This is the point at which temperature and pressure control begins, so it is important not to rush this part of the process. Spraying material at too low a temperature or pressure will cause the mix to be off-ratio.

Temperature influences the viscosity of the material and the ratio of A to B. The spray technician needs to control three heat settings before and during spraying: hose, component A (resin) and component B (curing agent). For optimal results, all of these temperatures should be maintained at greater than 150 degrees F, unless specified differently by the spray equipment manufacturer.

Turn on the sprayer hose heat and uncoil the hose (to prevent it from overhearing) at least one hour prior to spraying. Turn on the component A and B heaters on the machine when the hose heat teaches 100 degrees F.

The goal is to bring the chemicals to 150 degrees F before spraying begins. Applying a band heater to the drums of chemicals can help bring the material to the right temperature more quickly, but care must be taken to avoid scorching the material in the drums. Do not cut short the prep time for a job and skimp on heating times for hoses or chemicals.

When material is not heated thoroughly before spraying, it will exit the gun in a stream instead of a fan pattern. At the first sign of this error, the technician needs to stop spraying and correct the problem.


How chemicals are stored can influence preparation time and the quality of the material. Drums containing resin and the curing agent should be stored inside, at temperatures between 60 and 110 degrees F and elevated on pallets to prevent contact with bare, cold concrete.

Pressure is equally as important as temperature in achieving an even spray pattern during application and a quality coating that cures perfectly. Allow time for the static pressure (pressure read on the gauges when the trigger is not pulled) for both components to reach 2,000 psi before pulling the trigger. Maintain equal static pressures at this level or above at all times during application.

Starvation is a common pressure problem that occurs when the pressure on the curing agent side drops too low. A pressure drop can be caused by a clog in the filter at the chemical supply or by too high a viscosity in the chemical. The curing agent will separate, and a partial vacuum or cavity will be created at the bottom of the drum (cavitation).

Continuing to spray at too low a pressure will result in a coating that appears to have normal physical properties but will blister on the surface within an hour. (Off-gassing of an uncured primer also can cause surface blisters.) Alternatively, the coating may appear to be normal and set on the top surface, but the interior will remain tacky and unset. The thin top layer can be peeled away to reveal the inferior, uncured interior.

It is important to note that off-ratio material is more than just an aesthetics problem. The finished coating will exhibit diminished adhesion and physical properties such as tensile strength, elasticity and abrasion, or chemical resistance.

Do not ignore warning signs of low pressure. These include a reduced spray pattern or fingering in the spray. At the first sign of trouble, the technician should stop spraying and correct the problem. Scheduling two technicians on every job can help minimize the risk of quality problems. While one tech is spraying, the second one can monitor temperatures and pressures at the machine.

Spraying a test plaque is the best and easiest way to make sure that temperature, pressure and viscosity are correct and the equipment is operating smoothly. The rest plaque should be about 2 x 4 feet, large enough to allow the quality of the spray pattern and coating to be evaluated.

This may sound like a waste of good material, but it is a cost-effective practice that will save time and material in the long run. If the rest plaque is perfect, the technician can proceed with the job. But if problems are detected in the test, it is far easier and cheaper to correct them at this stage, before gallons of material are sprayed on the actual project substrate.


With plural component sprayers, what happens after the job is finished is as important as what takes place during the preparation for the job. The key is keeping equipment clean. Some curing agents are highly reactive with air, which means daily maintenance is very important for protecting the equipment. Residual material that sirs in pumps and lines for more than a few days can solidify and block the lines. Likewise, any residual material left in the nozzle or gun will set if the gun is nor properly cleaned at the end of the day.

Properly shut down and clean the machine and gun after every job or at the end of the day. The pressures in the lines and pumps should be bled down and the fluid sections of the pump fully retracted at day’s end or the conclusion of the job.

On a daily basis, the gun should be broken down according to the manufacturer’s instructions to be cleaned and greased. Every technician who operates the sprayer should be required to read the maintenance manual and demonstrate knowledge of cleaning the machine and the gun.

Success with a plural component sprayer on the job starts with adequate training. Every technician who will be operating the equipment should be thoroughly trained in every step, from setup to cleanup.

Falling prices boost demand for VCRs, microwave ovens

video cassette recordermicrowave oven

VIDEO CASSETTE recorders and microwave ovens are the twin stars of the home appliance market this year, the gifts many Canadians will find under the tree Christmas morning.

Demand for these products is growing steadily. Canadian retailers expect to sell a million video cassette recorders and 825,000 microwave ovens in 1985. Before the year is through, one in three households will own a VCR and one in four will own a microwave oven.

No longer a luxury, these appliances have evolved into mass market items. When microwave ovens and VCRs were introduced, in 1972 and 1976 respectively, both were priced at about $1,000. Since then, prices have tumbled, and you can now find models selling for less than $300. (Sharp’s subcompact microwave oven sells for $229. Sears has just introduced its lowest-priced VCR ever, a top-loading, wired remote control Beta model, for $299.) Top-of-the-line models are also becoming more affordable. A VCR with high-fidelity sound reproduction initially sold for $1,500. Now you can buy one for $700 to $800.

A microwave/convection oven, a combination that gives the best of both worlds, carried a $1,200 price tag when it was introduced in 1980. Now it’s priced as low as $750 to $800. Until recently, these units sold slowly. They’re expected to capture a 5 per cent market share this year.

Industry sources predict that prices of both appliances will stabilize in 1986, because of a decline in the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the Japanese yen. However, imports from Taiwan, Korea and Singapore may fill the gap.

Low-priced, non-Japanese imports – with names like Samsung, Goldstar, Danby and Candle – are already making inroads in both VCR and microwave sales. Quality is steadily improving. “Though critics say there is no comparison between the Korean or Taiwanese plants and Japanese manufacturing,” says Canadian Consumer magazine in a report on VCRs this month, “it’s expected these low-end players will claim part of the market.”

Consumer Reports tested microwave ovens last month and found the Korean-made Samsung equal in quality to Sanyo, Sharp, Panasonic, Quasar and Toshiba. Eaton’s recently introduced a Samsung model under its own Imperial brand name.

Also on the quality side, VCR manufacturers are improving their picture quality. Sony recently introduced SuperBeta, which, according to tests by Consumer Reports, fulfills the manufacturer’s promise of a 20 per cent improvement in image resolution. VHS makers are fighting back with HQ (high-quality) models.SuperBeta vs VHS

As for microwave ovens, manufacturers are scaling their units down to suit smaller kitchens. The biggest sellers this year are compact models with an oven cavity of .9 to 1 cubic feet. Though they don’t cook as quickly, they save money as well as space, selling in the $350 to $400 range.

There is still room for improvement. VCRs come in three incompatible formats – Beta, VHS and eight-millimetre – and microwave ovens offer power levels ranging from 500 to 700 watts and timing systems varied enough to make it difficult to follow recipes.

VCRs, prone to breakdowns and costly repairs, come with warranties of only 90 days to one year. Even Toshiba, which gives 50-month warranties on appliances such as TVs and microwave ovens, gives only one year on VCRs. “There are a lot of moving mechanical parts,” explains Toshiba Canada spokesman Martin Siefarth.

Consumer Reports surveyed its readers and found most had owned their machines for two years or less. “We expected few people to report any trouble,” it said. “However, 20 per cent of the two-year-old machines had already visited the repair shop.” Microwaves, on the other hand, are more reliable and come with manufacturers’ warranties of two years for parts and labor, and five years for the magnetron tube.

Ease of use is a problem for both VCRs and microwaves, which have so many features that buyers can be overwhelmed. Manufacturers should simplify their control panels and instruction booklets.

Inglis Ltd. launched its first microwave ovens this fall with a toll- free telephone number for customer inquiries. A direct line to the consumer is an initiative other manufacturers might consider.

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