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Caring for a House Dog in Heat

Taking care of your  best house dogs ( click here for best house dogs)  is an interesting and at times a challenging responsibility. This is more so for your female dogs which have some extra layers of needs that require special attention as opposed to their male counterparts. Of all these special needs, the estrous cycle is the most challenging to most new dog owners. When that time of the year comes around, most inexperienced dog owners don’t know what to do and how to extend that special care for their dog. That is why this article endeavors to lay bare some of the best practices that you need to apply and keep your dog both happy and safe.

Understanding the estrous cycle

This is where everything begins. Unlike in human beings, the dog’s menstrual cycle comes after every six months. During that season, blood is secreted from its vagina and its vulva dilates. Another thing you need to understand about this season, its reproductive hormones are ready for breeding and if the dog is not sprayed she will definitely get pregnant.

best-dog-house

Image courtesy of: breedingbusiness.com

Keep the records right

One of the best ways to manage this season in your dog’s life is knowing when it will occur next. This will help you get prepared for it. To achieve this, you need to write down the starting date of the menstrual cycle so that you can know when the next one will occur.

Making the right choice

Your dog’s menstrual cycle is an opportunity for breeding and you can decide what to do with it. If the cycle comes and you have not sterilized her, then you can allow her to get pregnant if you want to get more dogs. If you do not want her to breed, then you can sterilize her so that she does not suffer from cramps.

house-dog

Image courtesy of: www.all-about-goldens.com

Exercise good understanding

This is the backbone of all the care that you can give to your dog during this moment. The reason is that she will change her behavior and begin messing the house. Increased passage of urine and flow of blood are not beautiful sites to behold but a humane heart will be patient with all this and do all that is necessary to deal without punishing the dog.

Taking care of increased urinating

When dogs are in heat, they increase their rate and frequency of passing urine. This means that you will be required to take them out to stroll a little bit. As you take the female dog out, you will need to be cautious and wary of the bull dogs out there because they can easily sense the heat and come to jump on your dog. Additionally, you will need to keep them in a place where cleaning can take play more conveniently.

Don’t Destroy Your Router Table

There’s something ravishing and enchanting about woodworking. You’ll be able to produce a masterpiece from an easy block of wood.

The craft leaves a feeling of gratification as well as an original experience, particularly if you might be able to create beautiful woodworks. But, you must own the right gear, tools and undoubtedly a router table.

Router Table

Router Table

While the router is a versatile tool, a best router table is a significant part of a workshop and a crucial that each and every woodworker must have. You can basically achieve anything using the utilization of this table compared to using a hand held router. Essentially, it is far more suitable and a lot safer if you cut, course, contour wood using a use of a router table.

There are certain elements you should consider when choosing the best router table obtainable in the marketplace. It rebound or shouldn’t creep when you’re routing. It should not torment or wriggle if you are taking on big and heavy jobs. It should not wobble or rebound. It will be perfect in the event you would like to produce and attain desirable woodworks.

There are a few important characteristics a top quality router table possesses. And maybe you might have spent a bundle merely to purchase the high end ones knowing that it’ll give you the sound performance you need. So, for your personal benefit, don’t destroy your router table.

How to Sustain a Router Table

Keep it Dry

Whether your router table consists of MDF laminate or stainless steel, you need to still keep it dry to prevent rust and corrosion. Incidentally, would you know the difference between corrosion and rust?

Well, rust is a chemical reaction between water and alloys, while corrosion is a chemical reaction between metals as well as other liquid substances (generally acid). Both don’t only ruin the aesthetic look of your router table, but it is also weakened by it. Therefore, it is important to protect and keep it dry from water and liquid materials.

Cleanliness Always Pays

Your router table keeps your workshop clean through its dust collection system. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should not clean the “cleaner”. Clean your router table use to maintain dirt, dust and resin. Resin, a material which is exuded by unique woods damage the other equipments found in routing as well as your router table and can work its way up. You are able to clean your router table with a piece of cloth and you also could use a suitable solvent as well as a fine brush to clean narrow spaces.

Unplug and make sure it remains Coo

Unplugging your router table when not in use or when you’re doing adjustment that is particular and needed changes is not only for security functions. In addition, it prevents damage and wear-outs. Monitor the heat transferred from the router cutter as overheating tamper or can distort the steel parts or the electrical cord of your router table. In scenarios that are worse, overheating causes injuries and fire.

Use it Properly

Routing isn’t a straightforward endeavor. It requires plenty of common sense, abilities, experience and also knowledge. Read instructions on how to correctly make use of a router table. Learn and practice the ability gradually try again when you’re confident enough to work with a router and a router table.

There you have it! With these tricks, I really hope you have the capacity to take good care of it correctly and will not ruin your router table. Happy routing!

Here is another article about woodworking tool: Sliding Miter saw.

MP3 players

They usually store at least a CD’s worth of music files. You’ll have to take the time to load them, and legal controversy still surrounds some usage.

MP3 encoding is currently the predominant means of compressing music files for digitizing music. Many of those files are transferred from computers to handheld MP3 players. Despite copyright-infringement lawsuits by the music and movie industries, free music-sharing web sites carry on. The sites let users download music files for transfer to MP3 players or burning onto CDs. The music industry has responded with subscription-based services that allow you to stream or download music and play it on your computer. (One service, Pressplay, allows a few songs to be burned each month.)

You can also load these small devices with music “ripped” from CDs, creating your own custom play lists and giving you new ways to manage your music library.

Many MP3 players look like portable radios, headphones and all. Others resemble large pens or watches. MP3 playback has been incorporated into some digital cameras and even cell phones, as well as some CD players and Sony’s MiniDisc player.

MP3 Player

Music can be encoded digitally in a number of formats; MP3 is the best known. The abbreviation stands for Moving Pictures Expert Group Layer 3, a file format that can compress music to one-tenth to one-twelfth the space it would ordinarily take.

Other encoding schemes include Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding (ATRAC), a proprietary format used by Sony products.

WHAT’S AVAILABLE

More than 30 brands of MP3 players are on the market. Sony and SonicBlue, which makes the Rio line, are the biggest brands, followed by RCA, Samsung, Creative Labs, and other, smaller brands. Some hybrid models incorporate CD-player functionality and PDA-like features.

Players come in all sizes and shapes. Many are quite small. A player with 64 megabytes (MB) of memory holds about an hour of music recorded at CD-quality setting. A player with 128 MB holds twice that. The MP3 standard also lets you save music at lower sampling rates; this may diminish quality but increases the amount of music you can store. High-capacity versions (sometimes called “jukeboxes”) are larger, similar in size to a portable CD player and store the music on a hard drive. These currently store as much as 20 gigabytes (GB), equivalent to more than 300 hours of music.

Many devices offer the option to add more memory via card slots, or “backpacks” on the unit. Players typically come with some combination of internal and/or external memory such as CompactFlash, MultiMedia Card, or Smart Media. Some models use MagicGate (an encrypted-audio version of Sony’s existing MemoryStick media), or SecureDigital. Additional memory can cost anywhere from $10 to more than $150, depending on what’s compatible with your player.

All players are battery-powered and have headphone outputs, along with a means of connecting to a computer for file transfer. Price range: $90 to $300 for regular players; $300 and up for high-capacity players.

IMPORTANT FEATURES

MP3 players come with software for interfacing with a computer, using a Universal Serial Bus (USB) or less often, the faster FireWire connection. Most support Windows and many support Macs; more manufacturers are working toward Mac compatibility. Apple’s iPod is now compatible with Windows. The computer-to-player interface consists of software drivers that let the computer and player communicate, along with a software application for transferring files to the player’s memory. Some players appear as hard drives on your computer for easy drag-and-drop transfer of files. Many players are bundled with a more fully featured software application, such as MusicMatch or Real Jukebox, that helps you keep track of your MP3 files, manage playlists, and record songs from audio CDs.

On many players, the firmware–the player’s built-in operating instructions–can be upgraded so the player does not become obsolete. Upgrades can add or enhance features, fix bugs, and add support for other formats and operating systems. (Check the manufacturer’s web site for such upgrades.) Most upgrades these days are to eliminate bugs.

Ipod

LCD screens on most players show such information as track number, song title, and memory used. Volume, track forward/ reverse, and pause-play controls are standard. Most have play modes such as Repeat All and Random. A customizable equalizer (EQ) setting gives you the most control over the sound, but some units have just a simple bass boost control. Many also have presets for various music types (rock, classical, and so forth), along with viewable song lists.

Standard players generally use one or two AA or AAA batteries, either alkaline or rechargeable. Most high-capacity models use four AA rechargeable batteries. Either alkaline or rechargeable batteries are preferable to nonremovable batteries; when these no longer hold a charge, the player must be professionally serviced. A battery-life indicator on most models helps keep track of how much power is left.

A number of players incorporate an FM radio tuner. Some MP3 players have features more commonly found on a personal digital assistant (PDA), such as voice recording and data file storage capability. (PDAs that run the newest version of the Pocket PC operating system from Microsoft, and some Sony PDA models, can play MP3-encoded files. Handspring’s Visor clones of Palm PDAs have an expansion slot to which you can attach an MP3 player.) Certain models can be used to transfer data files between computers, sometimes via the external memory card.

HOW TO CHOOSE

Performance differences. The processing necessary to turn music into an MP3 file led to very slight degradation of the audio signal on most models, evidenced by noise or a muffling in some frequency ranges. Poor sound quality was more likely to be caused by mediocre or poor headphones bundled with the player. These can be replaced, so the problem can be remedied easily and cheaply.

The players will run between 5 and 24 hours before their batteries give out–a wide range. Most play 8 hours or more. Manufacturers’ specifications are useful guides to battery life.

Getting started can be tricky with some devices. When we connected some tested models to a computer, the PC often didn’t recognize the player, and we had to resort to trial and error. Upgrading firmware also proved time-consuming. MP3 players use one of two methods for upgrading; one method, which executes the upgrade file on the PC while the player is still attached, can cause permanent damage to the player if there’s even a slight interruption during execution.

Recommendations

Memory size counts. For people who like to have lots of music in a small package, we recommend a standard MP3 player that has some memory built in (often 64 MB, but ranging from 32 to 128) yet allows expansion via external memory cards. A 64-MB card usually costs $35 to $70. If capacity is more important than the smaller size, a high-capacity model would be a better choice. The 20 GB of storage on the most capacious models provides enough space to archive and organize a sizable library of music. Some let you record from an audio system onto the player without a computer. If you want to minimize the odds that your player will fall behind the technology curve, look for a player with upgradable firmware that can accommodate newer encoding schemes or variations of MP3 compression. The more additional formats a model can play–such as WMA or ATRAC–the more flexibility you have in downloading and transferring music files now and in the future.

Before you buy, make sure the player is compatible with your Windows or Mac computer (including the version of the operating system your computer uses) and that your computer has the USB or FireWire connection the player requires. (Apple’s iPod supports FireWire.) Also, look for LCD displays and controls that are easy to read and controls that can be worked with one hand, as you would with other handheld devices.

CD players

The familiar console CD player is rapidly being replaced by more capable devices. Delivering superb performance at an affordable price, the CD is the music medium of the moment, having turned vinyl LPs into niche products for audiophiles and music collectors. But regular console CD players are losing ground to DVD players, which can play CDs along with DVDs, and to units that can record as well as play CDs.

Niche models are still thriving. Jukebox models can hold hundreds of discs. Portable players are now incorporating MP3 capabilities.

WHAT’S AVAILABLE

Sony dominates the CD-player category, making nearly one in three CD players sold. Other big sellers are Pioneer and Technics.

Console models

Single-disc models have virtually disappeared. Multiple-disc changers, typically holding five or six discs, can play hours of music nonstop. A magazine changer uses a slide-in cartridge the size of a small, thick book. Cartridges double as convenient disc storage boxes. Carousel changers are easier to load and unload than the magazine type. (Most let you change waiting discs without interrupting the music.) They’ve taken over the market. Price range: $100 to $250.

Megachangers

CD MegachangerAlso known as CD jukeboxes, these typically store 100 to 400 discs. Marketed as a way to manage and store an entire music collection, most models let you segment a collection by music genre, composer, artist, and so forth. The unit flashes album titles as you hunt through the discs. Inputting all the necessary data can be a tedious task (made easier on models that connect to a computer keyboard). But it’s worth the effort, because you can then set a jukebox to shuffle and play random selections all night or play discs only from your genre choice. To fit all those CDs, megachangers can be quite large. In fact, some may not fit the typical stereo rack. And all models aren’t equally efficient: Some are inconvenient to load, or noisy and slow in selecting CDs. Price range: $170 to $450.

Portable players

Small, sporty, and single-disc, these have simple controls. A growing number of models also play CDs you record yourself, using both the CD-R and CD-RW formats and digital file formats such as MP3. Early portables often skipped or had poor-quality headphones. Today’s players skip less, and many have good headphones that will convey decent sound. But some still have mediocre headphones; you’ll enjoy better listening if you replace them.

Battery life is improving, but it varies considerably from model to model: batteries typically lasted 16 to 30 hours but went as high as 40 hours. Some models come with an AC adapter, and some have a built-in battery charger. Most portable players can be connected to other audio gear and in that case many will play music as well as any home unit. Price range: $30 to $200.

KEY FEATURES

Console models come with more features than portables. Their controls should be easy to see in dim light. A calendar display shows a block of numbers indicating the tracks on the active disc and highlighting the current track. As play continues, previous track numbers disappear–you can quickly see how many selections are left. A numeric keypad on the remote gets you to a particular track more quickly than pressing Up or Down buttons.

CD remote

A remote control is convenient and now nearly standard equipment. Buttons should be grouped by function or color-coded and should be visible in dim light. Most CD remotes operate the player only. Some changers and jukeboxes have a handy single-play drawer or slot so you can play a single disc without disturbing any already loaded. Cataloging capability offers various ways to keep track of the many CDs stored inside a jukebox, such as categorizing by genre.

Memory features that make track selection easy include delete track, which allows you to skip specified tracks but otherwise play a disc from start to finish, and favorite track program memory, which lets you mark your preferences. Music sampling (also called track scan) plays a few seconds of each selection. Most models can be programmed to play tracks in sequence, to shuffle play (look for non-repeat shuffle), or to repeat a track. A volume-limiter switch lets you hear softer passages without having other sounds at ear-splitting levels.

People who do a lot of taping will appreciate auto edit (also called time fit for recording): You enter the cassette’s recording time, and the CD player lays out the disc’s tracks, usually in sequence, to fill both sides of your tape. With comprehensive time display, you check time elapsed and time remaining for the current track and for the entire disc. Running-time total lets you total the time of tracks to be recorded to fit the maximum on a tape. Music-peak finder scans for the loudest passage in a track you’re going to record, allowing you to adjust the tape deck’s recording level correctly and quickly. Fade out/fade in performs the audio equivalent of a movie fade for less abrupt starts and endings. Auto spacing inserts a few seconds of silence between tracks.

With a synchronizing jack, you can connect a cable to a tape deck of the same brand so you can run both machines simultaneously. Those recording digitally to a MiniDisc recorder or a digital tape deck need a digital output jack to attach a fiber-optic or coaxial cable.

Portable features focus on sound-quality enhancement and power management. Most portables have a bass-boost control to compensate for the thin bass of poorer headphones. Some have a digital signal processor (DSP), which electronically simulates the ambience of concert-hall music.

Most portables have a liquid crystal display (LCD) showing which track is playing and a battery-level indicator that warns of low batteries. (The best indicators show a shrinking scale to reflect power remaining.) An AC adapter runs the player on house current and enables some players to charge rechargeable cells. Rechargeable batteries may cost extra.

Colorful “sports” models tend to be pricier than the rest of the pack and differ in a few other respects: Their lid is secured with a latch and sealed with a rubber gasket, and they have rubberized plugs covering jacks for an AC adapter and headphones. The latch keeps the lid closed so successfully that some sports models are a bit hard to open. The gasket and plugs help resist sand, dirt, and moisture, though you’ll need to wipe off a player that’s dusty or wet before you open it. Keep in mind that these players are water-resistant, not waterproof–the difference between a splash and total immersion.

A car kit, standard with some portables, consists of an adapter that powers the unit through a car’s cigarette lighter and a cassette adapter that pipes the player’s sound through the car’s tape player and speakers. (You can also buy aftermarket kits at electronics or auto-supply stores.) Some adapters add noise to the sound or otherwise compromised performance. A line-out jack is a better choice than the headphone jack for connecting a portable to a component receiver or other gear.

HOW TO CHOOSE

Performance differences. Many CD players can produce excellent sound–accurate tonal balance and free of coloration or distortion. However, not all CD players are equally convenient to use.

Better home units have an uncluttered front-panel display with clearly labeled main buttons grouped together by function. They also include features that make it easy to produce tapes from CDs. For portable players, skip-free performance depends on a good buffer, a memory feature that scans the disc, continuously storing upcoming music (typically from 10 to 45 seconds, sometimes more) so the player won’t cause audio dropouts. Some models skipped with just a mild jouncing, others only when jolted hard. Battery life in recent tests varied from 5 to 40 hours of continuous play.

headphonesHeadphones differ in comfort and performance. Comfort is very subjective, depending on the individual. Headphones ranged from decent to mediocre. For some models, at least, you can improve sound by buying replacement headphones. A decent set costs about $10 to $30.

Recommendations. If you’re looking to play CDs in a home-theater setup, consider getting a DVD player instead of a CD player. Some are nearly as cheap as CD players are now. They’ve become less expensive. The price of CD player/ recorders has also dropped enough to make them a reasonable alternative, with the premium for the extra functionality perhaps $100.

If you want to play only CDs, a multi-disc changer will save you from having to swap discs in and out. Shoppers for portable players should weigh battery life heavily if they’re frequent listeners or pay particular attention to antiskip performance if they’re active users.

Sliding Miter Saw Understand The Sliding Miter Saw

In the past articles in www.mitersawclub.com you are revealed with the different types of miter saw. Introducing you one of the miter saw, the best compound miter saw.

What you need to know about the sliding miter saw is this is the tool that specialized in cutting mostly on wood and it is widely used in building construction. The name that has the word “sliding” is already showing that this tool is named under its ability to hinge backward and forward in cutting material to give you the precise and and clear result.

A lot of builders using the sliding miter saw to cut a large piece of wood into the shape and length that needed. This is a tool that using the sliding arms in order to cut a different straight and angled of a material with a good precision and accuracy.

A sliding miter saw is available in single or dual features. The single sliding miter saw has the ability to tilt only on one particular side. The dual sliding miter saw is the tool that poses dual compound sliding meter that tilt on both sides. Most of sliding miter saws are having these types of features, so you can choose your favorite one according to the brand, size and models that you can find in the hardware store near you.

Here are the features of a sliding miter saw:

  • A Sliding feature that enables movement from forward to backwards for the saw blade
  • To give you a clear indication on your cutting, sliding miter saw has a laser guide that casts a shadow-like beam that shows you a clear indication on where the cut is going to be.
  • You can see a blade guard on the sliding miter saw. This feature is to cover the sharp end of the blade teeth. It is also available to retract easily. You can retracts the blade guard by lowering the blade and then it will back into cover position if you raised the blade again after using.
  • A sliding miter saw has a dust bag that helps you to collect the dust that created from your daily work. This is an environmentally friendly tool that connected to the saw to keep the area dust free and clean.
  • Some of the sliding miter saw are designed with a special safety clamps that used as a lock to the piece or material firmly to the working surface so the miter saw can cut it nicely.

The advantages of using a sliding miter saw

A sliding miter saw comes with several benefits that you can enjoy to work with. Here are the benefits of a sliding miter saw as a work tool for you.

  • The biggest advantage is you can see how portable this tool can be. It designed with a holding handle and you can bring it from your workplace to another. It is not too heavy even the women can carry it and you will be comfortable to work with this tool.
  • You can read the manual instruction before start to use it for the first time. This is not a complicated tool so you can use it easily and setting it confidently. You can practice and adapt yourself to use your brand new sliding miter saw and you can master it fast. You just have to mount it, lower it, and cut it. Read the manual so you can find out more.
  • This is a good and reliable tool for you to create an accurate and precise cut without a fuss. Sliding miter saw is capable to produce a very clean and precise cuts according to the shape and angle that you already planned for the project. You can draw the line on the material or wood that you intended to cut and slide it all along and you can see it will cut the wood precisely according to your drawing line.
  • It is not only giving you a precise cut, but it is also saving your time in cutting material and you can move on in building or distribute the material on the same day. This is the reason why it helps a lot of builders and contractors.

Working underneath a street rod or at your workbench

Any project can be an ordeal or a satisfying moment, and oftentimes the determining factor is the tool or tools we select to do the job. The right tool for the job has always been a true statement but nowadays with portability (rechargeable batteries, lightweight, and compact design universal) it’s never been more easily attainable.

Hot rodders are all about cutting metal and putting it back together. Chopping a top or fabricating a bracket requires cutting. The problem that often occurs when working on a hot rod is one of location, much like real estate, location, location, location is often the determining factor on whether or not a job is done well.

Working underneath a street rod or at your workbench convenience is paramount. Cutting metal, wood, or “whatever” can be a challenge inside, outside, or underneath your street rod. The latest in portable tools, the MasterForce (PN 241-0440, $99.99) 18-volt cordless band saw is something you will appreciate from the get-go when working on your pride and joy. The MasterForce line of tools now offers a cordless band saw (sold at Menards) that functions with a Lithium-ion battery (but can work off of a NiCad battery as well; battery and charger are sold separately).

And what can the saw cut? According to the manufacturer it can handle a 2-1/2-inch cutting capacity, which is enough to slice your way through 2-inch square tubing and up to 5/8-inch rebar.

At a measly 7 pounds, 11 ounces with battery, the band saw is truly portable and working underneath a car isn’t a problem when holding on. Speaking of holding on, the soft grip handle and the non-slip auxiliary handle make handling the band saw that much easier. Swapping out for different or new blades is also an easy task given the tool’s quick-change blade release.

We asked Rod & Custom Tech Editor Kev Elliott to put the saw through its paces and give us some feedback.

When asked what he thought about the portability of the MasterForce portable band saw Elliott told us: “The band saw really came into its own when I had to cut the exhaust tubing while the tubing was still underneath the car. Truly portable and with enough battery power to complete my exhaust system project within one charge.”

When asked about the clean-up process after the job was finished he says: “Quicker and with less mess to clean up than when using a cutoff wheel in a grinder.”

Selecting the Best Blade for the Job

Using the correct band-saw blade can extend blade life, improve cut quality, and reduce costs. Selection begins by understanding the properties of various blade materials, tooth forms, and the effects of changing the number of teeth per inch.

Reducing tooling costs associated with band-sawing operations while continuing to meet productivity requirements can challenge the best fabrication shop manager.

To help customers meet the challenge, distributors need to cover four issues: selection of the band-saw machine, selection of saw blade products, determination of proper machine operating speed and feed parameters, and establishment of a machine preventive maintenance program.

Choosing the Best Band Saw Machine

  • The most difficult part of the process is the first–determining which saw to buy. Machine designs typically suit certain operations better than others. The specifics of machine design are beyond the scope of this article. Specifying certain features will help match the machine to the job.
  • Machine capacity is one of the most critical issues. The capacity specified is usually the width and height of material that will fit in the machine’s vise.
  • Keep in mind that as the width of the material, or bundles of materials, increases, the machine blade width capacity greatly influences its ability to cut straight.

For example, the capacity of the blade to resist bowing is called “beam strength.” During sawing in the horizontal blade position, while the guides push down on either side of the material being cut, the material pushes the blade up in the middle. When the upward force of the material exceeds the beam strength, the blade bows up in the middle, causing the tooth edge of the blade to become unstable, or buckle, resulting in a crooked cut.

The width of the blade and the distance between band guides determine a blade’s beam strength. Shops that anticipate cutting larger material, like wide-flanged beams or large bundles of material, need enough beam strength to make a straight cut. Other machine issues can affect ability to optimize blade use. These include feed control capabilities, band-speed range, and ability to adjust machine parts that effect blade alignment.

Even with existing band saw machines there is plenty to do to improve operations.

Selecting the Best Blade for the Job

Selecting the correct band saw blade is an important step in order to achieve longer blade life and reduce tooling costs. Consider three aspects of the saw: blade material, tooth form, and number of teeth per inch.

Band-saw companies manufacture three types of blade one piece carbon steel, bi-metal, and carbide-tipped blades. These account for the vast majority of all sawing.

Interior paint: a brighter picture

This is a good time to buy paint. Manufacturers have survived a period of struggle with changing technologies to meet stricter environmental regulations. Now the paint companies seem to be back on track.

Paints are better than their predecessors in several important respects: They spatter less and have ample tolerance for scrubbing. They also keep stains and mildew at bay. Those are major improvements if you’re ready to paint parts of the house that get heavy use–a family room, kitchen, hallway, or bathroom.

exterior painting

Such improvements result from several reformulations by many leading brands over the past few years. Two brands in particular have made large strides. The current versions of Home Depot’s Behr Premium Plus and Lowe’s Valspar American Tradition paints perform extremely well across the board and are very moderately priced. We’ve judged both CR Best Buys.

Major national brands aren’t the only good choices, however. A number of regional brands perform well and offer reasonable values.

There are also more celebrity paints to choose from, now that the home-improvement guru Bob Vila has lent his name to a Sears brand. Bob Vila Signature Collection joins Martha Stewart’s Everyday Colors for Kmart and Ralph Lauren’s paint. Among the celebs, Lauren’s was the best by a very small margin; none was excellent overall.

HOW TO CHOOSE

Begin with the color. Computerized color matching can produce a paint that’s the shade you want when dry, to complement draperies, upholstery, or accessories in the room. If you’re not sure you’ve made a good choice, many paint departments have interactive computer programs that let you see how a specific color will look in a room.

You can also select a color the old-fashioned way, using the color-chip samples on display. Color chips usually show the shade in a flat finish. A glossier finish may look different. If an exact match is critical, buy a quart of the paint and test it on the wall.

color chips

The color you select will be custom-mixed using an appropriate base, the uncolored paint formulated to accept a range of tints. A pastel base is meant for light colors, white for the very lightest shades, and a medium or deep base for darker ones.

Many aspects of paint performance depend on the quality of the base, not the color. We test each brand’s pastel and medium base as well as white. So if you want, say, a medium or dark color, it won’t matter if it’s brilliant red or deep blue or anything in between. Its performance should track with our findings.

Match the paint’s performance to the room. These are characteristics that matter:

  • Scrubbing. Heavily used rooms need a paint that can stand up to scrubbing. That characteristic depends on the tint base; the Ratings show how the bases for each brand perform.
  • Fading. Sun-filled rooms need paint that won’t fade quickly. In very general terms, that means avoiding colors such as yellow, tan, and green, which include yellow pigment; yellow is more likely to fade than other pigments. The Ratings highlight brands with yellows that are more likely than others to fade, based on our testing.
  • Mildew. Mildew can happen in any warm, humid room, not just a bathroom or kitchen. A paint with high mildew resistance won’t kill mildew already on the walls (that requires cleaning with a bleach solution), but it will slow the buildup of new deposits.
  • Sticking. This affects glossier paints, which are used to paint woodwork and trim. Even when dry, a paint that suffers from sticking makes doors hard to open and books seem glued to shelves. Check the Ratings. Many good brands don’t have this problem.

Stay with the top of the line. Most paint companies offer grades of paint, often dubbed Good, Better, Best. We have found that lower grades do not perform well and often entail more expense and work. Where two coats of a top-line paint will cover all but the darkest colors, a lesser paint may need three or even four coats. But plan on two coats even with a top-rated paint.

Choose the right gloss level to prolong a room’s good looks.

FLAT FINISH

flat paint

Looks completely matte, with no shine.

Best for formal living rooms, dining rooms, guest bedrooms, and other spaces that don’t see lots of heavy use.

On the downside Flat paint may not hold up to heavy scrubbing. Rubbing with cleanser can burnish the finish, leaving shiny spots.

Low Luster

satin paintAlso called eggshell or satin; has a slight shine.

Best for family rooms, kids’ rooms, high-traffic hallways, and the like. Resists staining and scuffing. Holds up well to cleaning.

On the downside Some may be too glossy or too close to a flat. Check our Ratings. Looks best on a smooth, well-prepared wall; the shine will bring out imperfections.

Recommendations

It’s easy to pick a high-quality paint. However, even fine paints differ in important qualities. That’s why the Ratings highlight paints that hold their original color well and that slow the growth of mildew. We also show which paints can be scrubbed without damaging the finish.

We tested most brands in three finishes: flat, low-luster, and semigloss. In a few cases, we couldn’t represent a brand in all finishes because of reformulations.

The Ratings list paints strictly by overall performance. The Quick Picks, below, highlight paints that are well suited to specific situations.

QUICK PICKS

Fine choices for most rooms and CR Best Buys:

1, 25, 45 Behr $20 to $22

3, 26 Valspar $18 to $20

6, 29, 51 Dutch Boy $13 to $16

Behr and Valspar are excellent overall. Given its price, Wal-Mart’s Dutch Boy represents an outstanding value. Most of these paints are excellent at resisting mildew, making them good choices if you have to paint a bathroom or kitchen.

For a very sunny room:

2, 32 Benjamin Moore $19 to $35

4, 36 Pratt & Lambert $33 to $34

5 Ralph Lauren $23

46 Dunn-Edwards $35

These faded the least in our tests, The Benjamin Moore (32) and the Dunn-Edwards (46) are glossier than advertised and may be more suitable for trim.

For the kids’ rooms:

27 Sears $20

28 True Value $21

29, 51 Dutch Boy $15, $16

These low-luster and semigloss paints hold up well to scrubbing and stains. If you want a durable flat paint, the best values are Behr (1) and Valspar (3).

For bookshelves, sills, and trim:

31 MAB $25

32 Benjamin Moore $19

53 Kelly Moore $33

These hold up well to scrubbing and don’t let objects stick. MAB (31) is sold in the East. Kelly Moore (53) is sold in the West. Benjamin Moore (32) is available nationwide.

High End Picking Up Steam: Pressure Cooker Focus

pressure cooker salesWith pressure cooker sales still hot, manufacturers and retailers are hoping to fuel the consumer trend toward better models by increasing awareness of the category through demonstrations, advertising and point-of-purchase displays.

According to suppliers and cookware buyers, consumers seeking convenient, time-saving cooking vessels helped revitalize the pressure cooker business about two years ago. Improved technology and better features on the cookers have renewed consumer interest in a category that was a household fixture for previous generations.

Pressure Cooker Focus

presure cookersThe popularity to fast cooking speed, energy savings, health concerns and improved safety systems. The large percentage of double-income families has also affected the surge in pressure cookers. Margie Davis, owner of two Culinary Corner gourmet shops in Colorado Springs, Colo., explained that the speed of a pressure cooker enables families to cook a complete meal easily, Davis said. If you use a best pressure cooker, a meal that might take two hours on a stovetop can be cooked in 40 minutes.

Health concerns are also an important issue for many customers. “We have customers who buy pressure cookers because they have become aware that the products retain the food’s natural vitamins,” explained William Sonoma’s McKenzie.

“Pressure cookers are starting to be popular at retail,” said Carrie Lynn Becraft, president of Kitchen Kaboodle, a four-store specialty chain based in Portland, Ore. In the past, consumers were afraid of pressure cookers because of their noise and tendency to burst from the steam, she explained, adding that with the newer technology, the products are quieter and safer.

Sales of the Pressure Cooker Supplier

Pressure Cooker SupplierProducts such as T-Fal’s Sensor pressure cooker feature improved technology that locks the lid until the sensor determines that the pressure is safely released. Chantal’s Speed Cooker features stay-cool metal handles with a patented air pocket that diffuses the heat from the pot before it reaches the handle. Chantal’s other safety elements include a multiple independent valve system. Cuisinarts’ pressure cookers have permanently affixed pressure regulators that cannot fly off. They also have quick pressure-release knobs in the handles, making it safer and easier to stop the cooking process, according to the company.

Suppliers representing the high end of the market which retail for $100 to $200 are Chantal, Cuisinarts, Fissler, Prestige, T-Fal and Bay City International, the U.S. distributor for the Hawkins Futura pressure cooker produced by Hawkins Cookers Ltd. of Bombay, India. National Presto Industries and Mirro-Foley, who have owned the pressure cooker business, carry moderate-priced products carrying suggested retails ranging from $30 to $75.

Some retailers noted that moderate-priced products are not matching sales of their high-end competitors.

“Over the last three or four years, sales in the traditional pressure cooker category have been flat,” said John Gadish, buyer for U.S. Merchandise, a six-store catalog showroom based in Cleveland. He added that stainless steel pressure cookers have been selling better than the aluminum.

A buyer for a Midwest major department store said that although he currently carries a moderate-priced product, it is not selling well at retail. As a result, he is considering bringing back a higher-end product he carried years ago. However, some retailers are seeing increases with moderate-priced stainless steel and aluminum pressure cookers.

Stove top vs Electric Pressure CookerAn associate buyer for a Midwest catalog showroom said sales have increased for Presto’s stainless steel and aluminum products. “Both of Presto’s pressure cookers are selling about the same,” she said.

The buyer also carries Nordic’s Tender Cooker, which has been “selling very quickly.” When Nordic Ware brought in its own staff to demonstrate the product, the catalog showroom experienced a boost in sales, the associate buyer said. However, she said it has not been necessary to demonstrate Presto’s items. “I find that people who buy traditional pressure cookers know exactly what they want them for, such as canners,” he added.

Many buyers say the key to selling pressure cookers is demonstrations.

pressure cooker guides“Customer education is the key to pressure cookers,” said a manager of an eastern department store chain. He explained that many consumers were intimidated by pressure cookers based on past experience or knowledge of older items. “We schedule a lot of demonstrations to explain the benefits of the product,” he said. “When we demonstrate, consumers are drawn to the product.”

“Sales of pressure cookers represent a real education challenge for the retailer,” Kitchen Kaboodle’s Becraft said. The biggest obstacle, Becraft added, was training her staff, which did not have any prior experience with pressure cookers, on the use and merits of the products.

Heida Thurlow, president of Lentrade Inc., which markets Chantal cookware, explained that manufacturers are faced with two consumer challenges: experiencedconsumers who were disappointed with the performance of pressure cookers in the past and consumers who have never used a pressure cooker. Because of this, Thurlow said, many retailers may find it necessary to demonstrate the products.

Sales of the Brand Pressure Cooker

Many suppliers report increased pressure cooker sales within the past year.

“I think the upscale, better quality stainless steel products are what’s trending up,” said Henry Read, vice president of sales and marketing for T-Fal Corp. According to a recent consumer survey, Read explained, people who have discovered the speed of microwave oven cooking but who have been disappointed by the ovens’ cooking limitations are now purchasing better quality pressure cookers.

pressure cooker guidesSales for T-Fal’s pressure cookers, carrying suggested retails from $69 to $99, have increased about 80 to 90 percent over its 1987 figures, Read said. “Pressure cookers are a very good category for us,” he said. T-Fal has expanded the number of retail outlets its pressure cookers are placed in by about 70 to 80 percent over last year, according to Read.

According to Art Krull, national field sales manager for Presto, stainless-steel pressure cookers sell better than aluminum. Many consumers, Krull said, prefer stainless steel to aluminum since it is easier to care for.

In addition to national advertising and demonstrations, Presto has been providing film strips for high school and college economic classes for the past few years to inform the latest generation of consumers about the benefits of pressure cookers, Krull said. “The more we educate the consumer, the more pressure cooker sales increase,” he said.

While the Tender Cooker does not compete directly with traditional pressure cookers, Dalquist said, “We have enjoyed the same success other pressure cooker manufacturers have had.” Except for the fact that the Tender Cooker only has a 2.5-quart capacity, Dalquist said the product provides similar results to stovetop cookers.

Nordic has been advertising the product on national television and in consumer print. “The more advertising we do and the more the consumer becomes aware of the product, the more our sales increase,” Dalquist said, adding that this year’s sales are about 25 percent ahead of last year’s. “I think our product will still maintain sales through the next few years,” he added.

The Pressure Cookers Should be Merchandised By Category or By Vendor

pressure cooker categoey

Lentrade’s Thurlow suggests that creating a pressure cooker category on the retail shelf may create additional consumer interest in the products. “Retailers that show all of their pressure cookers together are much more successful than those who show the products with other cookware items,” she said.

However, Dayton Hudson’s cookware buyer Karen Dodge said that the store prefers to display its pressure cookers with each manufacturer’s other cookware products. “A separate category might spark additional consumer interest, but we believe more strongly in a vendor statement,” she explained.

How To Paint And Decorating Exterior Walls of A House

About painting exterior walls of the house, by doing it on your own, it will save you a lot of money. It is an advantage if you know how to paint the exterior of your house and also the decorations. Here you are going to be revealed with the steps to paint your exterior walls, the suggestions of tools and how to do the preparation before start painting. It is easy to do this on your own, and you will never need a tradesman to do this for you.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Paint

choose exterior wall paint colorYou need a fresh coat of paint to improve the exterior of your house and the decorations are also becoming even more interesting and better. It is also can brighten the decorations and looks much tidier and newer.

For the best result, choose specialist exterior masonry paint, and you can choose what kind of color you wish for. Do not forget to discuss the color with your neighbor if your property is attached to theirs. For the joined buildings, different colors can look a little strange if you choose the wrong combination of color.

Most common colors to paint with are white and cream, but for the exterior, the color is too bright and blinding, it is also easy to show a speck of dirt.

Step 2: Painting the exterior of a house

You need to buy enough paint to start your painting job. You have to check the square meter coverage that’s available in each container. This information can be asked directly to your salesman in the paint store. Before deciding on the painting, you have to ask for permission to alter the exterior if your property is in a Conservation Area.

Step 3: Preparation for Painting Outside the Walls

First and foremost, you need to prepare the painting site. Lack of preparation is only increasing the chance for you to repeat the job all over again before you meet the perfect result. You have to make sure that the wall is clean and no dirt attached to the surface. Make sure the surface is dry as well for the easy application and it will avoid clotted look.

Use a wire brush to remove any mold or dirt with bleach and water solution for a complete dust, dirt and cobweb removal. You need to remove any flaking paint if the walls have been painted previously.

If you see any cracks on the surface, you need to fill it first to create a smooth finish after paint.

Mask all windows and door frames, to avoid the unwanted area to get painted. A part of preparation is also about safety, if your house is facing directly onto the street, a bright safety cones are needed.

Step 4: Equipment for Painting Exterior Walls

painting tools

Here is the equipment that you need to start painting:
-Scaffold tower or ladder to paint higher spot

-Roller to coat larger areas or you can use a paint sprayer to cut down the painting time (You can find more information about paint sprayer

on this website: http://gopaintsprayer.com)

-Wide brush to paint a rougher surface

-Long extension handles to reach any spot easier

-Small brush for painting in small and hard to reach areas as behind or under down-pipes.

-Paint canister if necessary

-Comfortable flat shoes while working

-Coverall to cover you from splashed with paint

-Eye goggles to prevent your eyes while painting something that on top of your head

Step 5: Get Painting Your House Walls

After you’re done with all required preparation, you can start with the painting part. To make everything effortless, you have to start at the top and work all the way down. With this way, you can ensure to finish your job early without excessive drips and runs.

Use a small brush first to cut-in around the edges while painting, and then continues with a bigger or larger brush to finish the part. If possible, try to follow the sun around the building, so the paint dries perfectly.

You need to have a good time management so you can finish your painting in one go, so you can avoid visible lines that occur when you stop the job and continue again the next day.

Cover all the surfaces well, use your roller and brush with enough paint to give a good thick coat of paint to the walls and decorations. The paint need to be not too thick, but not so much drips and runs while applying them to the wall.

Be careful when using the roller, and cover yourself well before getting splattered with paint.

Most exterior paints require two coats of paint at least. You can refer to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time and second coating.

If you want to paint behind downpipes, you can wrap around the pipes using an old newspaper so that you can paint easily without getting the paint on the pipes.

Conclusion

Remember to use these steps to complete your painting job for exterior walls of your house:

Step 1: Choosing the Right Paint – Important step to have a tidy and new finish

Step 2: Painting the exterior of a house – Estimate how much of paint you will need

Step 3: Preparation for Painting Outside the Walls – Remove all the dirt and let the wall completely dry before start painting

Step 4: Equipment for Painting Exterior Walls – Get all your equipment ready for the job including your personal protective equipment

Step 5: Get Painting Your House Walls – Paint it thoroughly, covered the unwanted spot to paint, and give two coats of paint for exterior wall