Woodworking Tips – Furniture Fittings

The usefulness of veneered and melamine-faced chipboard has been revolutionised by the wide range of fittings available for joining it together and for making furniture, such as fitted cupboards and wardrobes.

All the fittings described on this article are sold separately in do-it-yourself shops and by mail order, but the fittings supplied with bought furniture (particularly kitchen units) are identical. Many of the fittings are known as KD (knockdown) because they have the characteristic (unlike conventional woodworking joints) that the furniture can be taken apart once it has been assembled.

Chipboard screws and plugs

Ordinary woodscrews do not take well in chipboard, and special chipboard screws have been developed. Looking more like self-tapping screws than woodscrews. chipboard screws are usually threaded all the way to the head and often have a double thread, which means the screw goes in faster. The screw bites into the chipboard as it is put in to give a good grip. Some larger chipboard screws come with a special drilling jig to make sure the holes to receive them are drilled in the correct place. To cover the normal chipboard screws, special plastic covering plugs are available in white, magnolia or brown, depending on the type of chipboard being used. These cither push into the Pozidriv head of the screw or into a counterbored hole in which the screw is recessed.

To get a stronger connection, a chipboard plug can be used. Some of these work on the same principle as solid-wall fixing (expanding as the screw is driven in) while others are glued into the chipboard; both allow ordinary woodscrews to be used. A hole (typically 8mm in diameter) is drilled in the edge of the chipboard which will receive the screw and the screw is driven into the plug to give a secure fixing. Again, a dowelling or other jig will keep the hole square.

Where the countersunk head of a screw could damage a thin surface, surface or recessed screw cups can be used.

Block joints

These plastic blocks are used for joining two pieces of chipboard at right-angles.

The simplest type the mini-block – has a dowel to locate in one piece and a single screw to secure to the other. This makes for an unobtrusive joint, but not a very strong one.

A better connection is given by the one-piece block joint which is fitted into an internal corner and is simply screwed to the two pieces of chipboard. A neater result is given by a rigid triangular corner joint.

Better still is the two-part (or ‘knockdown’) block joint where one part is screwed to each piece of chipboard and the two joined together by a slotted-head machine screw. This joint has the advantage that it can easily be taken apart but, like the one-piece joint, takes up room inside the cupboard. Block joints generally come in a choice of white or brown colours.

Cam joints

A cam joint is more complicated than a block joint, but is completely unobtrusive once fitted. A nylon dowel is inserted in the edge of one board and is locked by driving a steel pin into it. A large plug is fitted in the other board in a hole drilled by an end mill. The dowel fits into the plug and a cam screw is then turned to lock it in place. Although neat, this type of joint is more difficult to make than other types and is not always very rigid.

Panel connectors

There are two special connectors you can use for joining panels end to end or back to back.

For joining panels end to end (two adjacent lengths of worktop, for example), a panel butt joint connector is used. This fits into a pair of holes drilled in the surface of the two boards to be joined (again using an end mill) and a slot is cut to join the two holes. The connector is positioned and tightened with a spanner, drawing the two boards together.

For joining panels back to back (connecting together two adjacent kitchen cupboards, for example), a cabinet connecting screw is used. This simply fits into a hole drilled through the walls of both cupboards and tightening it will bring them together.

Hinges

There is a wide selection of other types of hinge available for making your own furniture.

For kitchen cupboards, the most useful type of hinge is probably the adjustable concealed hinge which is fitted into two large holes drilled in the back face of the door and the side of the cupboard. This hole (typically 35mm) has to be made with a special drill bit called an end mill, which drills a flat-bottomed hole. For control on the depth to which it is drilled (which is crucial), the end mill is best used in an electric drill fitted to a vertical drill stand equipped with a depth stop.

Cupboard fixings

When it comes to fitting cupboards in place, there are several different types of fittings which can help.

First there is a variety of catches, including magnetic catches, magnetic touch catches (push to open; push again to close), roller catches and ball catches. If certain types of hinge have been used (and the door is hung properly), no catch is needed at all the hinge will hold il closed.

Hanging wall cupboards can often be a problem if the securing holes (for wall plugs) in the wall have not been made in exactly the correct place. Cabinet suspension fittings and cabinet hanging brackets both allow a degree of adjustment once lilted; the hanging bracket provides the more secure fixing.

An angle plate can also be used for holding cupboards to the wall, but is more commonly used for securing worktops to the sides of base unit kitchen cupboards.

For lightweight cupboards (or wall shelving units), glass plates can be used: these are simply screwed to the back of the cupboard and the surface of the wall, which means the cupboard stands out from the surface of the wall by the thickness of the plate.

At the bottom of kitchen base unit cupĀ¬boards, some kind of foot is necessary to keep the chipboard sides off the floor -particularly important if the chipboard is left unsealed when any water on the floor could damage it. Feet may also be needed to deal with uneven floors, though many kitchen fitters will simply pack the cupĀ¬boards out with slips of hardboard. The simplest type is the metal foot, which is banged into the bottom of the cupboard sides. More sophisticated are the cabinet leveller, the base levelling screw and the adjustable foot, all of which allow for adjustments to be made to allow for discrepancies in the floor surface. As well as feet, there is a range of castors which can be used if the cupboard is to be movable.

Drawers

Making drawers in the traditional way can be very satisfying, but is hard work and, for a kitchen cupboard, may not be the best solution as all-timber drawers can be difficult to keep clean.

There are various drawer-making kits on the market, which use plastic slotted sections for the two sides and back of the drawer: you add your own front (sometimes attached to a fourth plastic section) and base (typically melamine-faced hard-board, positioned melamine face up).

Making your own drawer like this is fairly simple and involves only cutting the profiles to length, screwing pieces on to the back of the drawer front and slotting the whole thing together. You must double-check that everything is correct before you assemble the drawers (for example, the base is the right way up), because, once assembled, these drawers cannot readily be taken apart.

The drawer slides on simple rectangular plastic runners which are fitted to the sides of the kitchen or other cupboard.

Embroidery Tools and Equipment

Although embroidery doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, for those of us who get serious about our crafting there are certain techniques and equipment which help us embroider faster or fancier.
Laying Tools. When you work with multiple plies on a single needle, you’ll need to keep the threads parallel, not twisted, as you stitch. (This is called “laying” the thread.) A variety of laying tools will help you achieve this. The simplest is a large tapestry needle or bodkin. Others specifically designed as laying tools include a stroking tool (also known as a tekobari); one end resembles an awl or stiletto, and the other end is square to prevent it from slipping from your fingers. A trolley needle has a point like a tapestry needle affixed to a metal band that fits on the end of your finger.

Pincushions. Pincushions are useful for stowing threaded needles if you must change colors often. Pincushions come in a variety of sizes and styles; select one that fits in your stitching bag or basket. Many stitchers like to make their own personalized models.

Many manufactured pincushions come with an emery, which looks like a very small pincushion filled with a gritty, sand-like material which keeps needles clean and sharp.

Needlebook or Needlecase. With “pages” of soft fabric, a needlebook keeps your pins and needles protected (and protects you from the needles, too) and organized. Each “open page” is designed to store a particular needle type in a range of sizes. As with pincushions, this is an item you can make yourself to show off your stitching talents.

Many stitchers like to store their needles in needlecases, which may be narrow and cylindrical or large and box-like; some of the latter have magnets to keep needles in place.

Thread Palette. These plastic wood or paper palettes have a series of holes along the edges to hold individual colors of threads, which you attach using half-hitch knots.

Thread Organizer. There are many products on the market for storing and identifying threads you accumulate. One of the simplest is small individual plastic bags held together on a metal binder ring. Storage boxes such as those used for hardware and fishing lurs work well for thread wound on bobbins. On the other end are wooden boxes or chests that resemble fine furniture.

Ruler and Tape Measure. Clear plastic rulers calibrated in inches are invaluable and come in a 6″ length that fits easily into a stitching bag. For measuring a larger area, a tape measure is useful and takes up little space.

Thumbtacks and Tack Puller. Use these to attach fabric to stretcher bars. (Don’t use staples to attach embroidery fabric; you’ll risk pulling one of the fine threads and spoiling the appearance of the fabric.

Drafting Tape. This tape is less sticky than regular masking tape and helps keep your needlework cleaner. Use it for taping the cut edges of your fabric before mounting it in a stitching frame. Find it at art supply stores.

Lighting and Magnification. Both your eyesight and your needlework deserve optimal lighting. Choose a light that directs a circle (not a spotlight) of light onto your entire stitching surface. Floor lamps and swivel-arm table lamps (such as an architect’s light) are good choices. To avoid casting shadows over the work surface, right-handers will benefit from a light directed over the left shoulder, left-handers from the right.

For very fine work you may want to use a lamp that has a magnifier attached. Other possibilities include magnifiers that hang around the neck, attach to your eyeglasses, or are worn atop the head.

Embellishments. Small, decorative accents give your embroidery beauty, whimsy, and individuality. Look for buttons, beads, and charms at your local needlework shop, catalogs, consumer shows or online. Find them also in embroidery kits, often as the focus of a design theme.

Different Types of Tools and Equipments For House Cleaning

It is very important to keep your house clean. A clean house will not only make your residence look neat and tidy, it will also keep your mind fresh and peaceful. It will even reflect your charming personality to the guests who will visit your home. No matter how costly decor items and furniture you buy and place in your rooms, if the house is cluttered and messed up, your priced items will become valueless. And who would want to stay in a place, which is untidy and messy.

However, I know a few people who love staying in a disorganized way and the best part about these people is that they clean the house on a regular basis but without paying attention to the cloths or books or other items that are muddled up in one place. You would be surprised to know that the floor, beds, kitchen and bathrooms are in the tip top condition; it’s only that few of the items make the house look terrifying.

Here I am going to discuss about the different kinds of tools and equipments that are used for house cleaning.

Brooms

Brooms are the best tool to keep your house clean. They are used for sweeping up all the dust and dirt in the house. You can find different kinds of broom in the market. The small broom is used to sweep up your pet’s hair around house, a millet broom can be used for backyard and a commercial grade broom is best for cleaning car parking areas or club houses.

Dusters and cloths

These are the ideal tools for dusting your furniture, home decor items and furnishings. They are available in various materials like wool, feather, micro-finger and others. You need to choose the material that you want for your use. Different kinds of materials are used for different purposes. For example, the soft grip electrostatic duster is perfect for general cleaning and blinds whereas wand dusters are best for hard to reach areas and delicate surfaces.

Buckets

Buckets are used mainly for cleaning purposes. Use strip mop winder buckets for your residential use. For window cleaning, you can use those buckets that are designed to fit window washers and squeegees. Buckets are an essential tool for cleaning as well. So, don’t forget to buy them before cleaning your house.

Robot vacuum cleaner

A robot vacuum cleaner is a great equipment for those who want to get their house cleaned while sitting back and relaxing on a sofa. All you need to do us tell the equipment where to go and what to clean and it will do all your cleaning jobs that you want to get done. saddle has become the buzz word when it comes to robot vacuum cleaner. If you use it you will get to know how much time you can save cleaning your house. The best part is when you come home, you will find a clean house and the machine did all while you were at work or out for the day.

Staying Fit and Motivated – 10 Ways to Keep Your Workout Routine Interesting

As a personal trainer I get asked quite often about how I stay focused and motivated to train every day. Is there some secret that I know about that other people don’t? No. Is there some piece of fitness equipment that I have found that helps me? Not really. The truth is, despite the hype of gym-oriented fitness industry, one doesn’t have to be a gym regular to be fit and healthy, though it is immensely beneficial.

While there is no one right answer for everyone, over the years I have seen some things that seem to help people more than others. I’ve complied a list of “top 10″ ways to stay motivated and on track with your workout routine. Hopefully you can find a few that will help you stay on track and stay fit.

My top 10 ways to stay fit and motivated are…

1. Get an iPod and find music that you love to listen to. You can download virtually any music from sites like iTunes.

2. Buy an outfit you would love to fit into (a few sizes smaller) and work for it! Show your partner how strong your determination and will power is by making workouts a part of your routine!

3. Maintain a Fitness Diary where you can make an entry while you have the statistics of time, distance, pulse rate etc fresh in your memory. In a month’s time, you will be able to notice the improvements in your statistics. This really works to keep you motivated because on any given day you might not see any real improvements in your fitness level, but over the course of a month or two you will.

4. Get outdoors. Don’t just workout in your gym or basement. Walking/Jogging/Running are all much more fun in nature. Walking helps sleep better, builds leg muscles and helps you lose weight without injuring your knees or ankles. Plus, you can burn 125 calories for every half hour your walk. If you are fit, you can choose to alternate jogging and running in the same session to provide beautiful interval training.

5. Swimming is perfect at any age and helps tone every part of your body without impacting any one of them! And it’s never too hot to go swimming! You can burn up to 140 calories in half an hour with moderately paced breast-strokes. More calories burn during back strokes. A mere 20 minutes will help tone in 3 weeks time pitting in 5-6 days a week.

6. Cycling is another great low-impact high aerobic exercise. Get out your cycle to visit a friend or do groceries. It can burn up to 150 calories at speeds of 9.5 mph for a half hr ride. Plus it’s a great cardio and lower body workout.

7. Hiking can be an opportunity to spend time with friends or family away from home. And, it is a BIG calories spender – up to 200 calories or more every half hour. Some hiking expeditions are more strenuous than others. So be careful here.

8. Aerobics Class work great if you are a social person. Join an aerobics class with workouts such as Step (bench), weights, Taebo etc built in. You can use up to 150 – 200 calories in half an hour depending on whether your class is a low or high impact one.

9. Dancing is a great exercise with your partner. There’s lots of fun dances that you can learn, Tango, Waltz, Swing. What a fun way to burn up to 200 calories in half an hour of fun!

10. Household work can be a blessing in disguise. Sweeping the porch, gardening, wiping down the counter tops, taking down curtains and washing them, dusting, and polishing furniture can burn as much as 200 calories a day… the same as jogging for 20 minutes!

Bonus tip #11. Set time aside: Staying fit should be a commitment to yourself and your family. Make sure you set a firm time aside from all work to get any exercise of your choice that will help you stay fit and stay on track.

As you can see one of the keys to staying fit and being able to maintain a regular fitness regiment is simply to mix it up. This keeps things interesting and makes you look forward to your next workout instead of dreading it. Good luck!

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