How to Care For Your Pool Cue {awesome|amazing|Great|Special}

Now that you’ve purchased your very own pool cue, and hopefully followed some of the advice from earlier articles before doing so, you’re going to want to take care of your investment. A good cue is relatively durable and forgiving, but all cues require care and a little bit of maintenance. We’re going to be talking about wood pool cues here, graphite and fiberglass sticks are virtually bulletproof and require somewhat less care.

CASES. You are going to need a case in order to carry your new cue to the pool hall. I would think that would be obvious but yet I constantly see people coming in carrying their new cue in their hand. Come on now, you just spent your money and took the time picking out a pool cue that you love, but you can’t spring for some sort of case? Basic cases are vinyl or soft-sided material. These will protect your cue against minor drops and dings, but not much else. I highly recommend hard cases just because they offer so much protection. Some cases are tested by driving a car over them without damaging the cue inside! Your pool cue can take a lot of damage in your car, in your house, and even at your billiard hall so protect it as best as you can.

While we’re on the subject of transporting your cue – never leave your pool cue in your car, especially in the trunk! Wood is highly susceptible to temperature changes and to humidity, so avoid storing your billiard stick in your vehicle at all cost. The wood will expand and contract which could lead to warping, loose joints, and cracked points.

THE TIP. The tip of your pool cue (the part that hits the ball) is the most important part of the stick. You can shoot pool with a tree branch or a broom handle – or the most warped stick in the house, if the tip is solid and properly shaped you can play with it! No joking! Screw- on tips are a serious no-no, so don’t even go there. “Real” tips are glued on and come in a variety of hardness. Soft tips hold chalk better and are better for applying “English” but they wear out and mushroom quickly. Extremely hard tips last forever but need constant re-chalking. Some say they make for a more accurate shot as well. A medium hardness tip should be fine for most players. The tip must be able to hold chalk, so periodic scuffing is necessary. The roundness of the tip should be maintained with a shaper. Most players compare the roundness to that of a nickel, though some prefer the tightness of a “dime curve”. Shaping and scuffing too often will cause your tip to disappear quickly, so only shape and scuff when necessary. The sides of the tip should be even with the ferrule, not mushroomed out. Get yourself a scuffer/shaper and take care of that tip!

THE SHAFT. When you first purchased your pool cue the shaft was nice and smooth, and slid through your bridge hand ever-so-easily. That didn’t last long, did it? The sweat, oils, and dirt from your hand will gum up on your shaft very quickly, making it sticky and not so smooth. How do you prevent this, and how do you clean it up? First, you cannot do much to prevent this from happening aside from washing your hands often and keeping them clean and dry. Some people use powder, like baby powder, on their bridge hand and on the cue. A tiny amount of powder that has been thoroughly rubbed in to your hand is okay – it makes your skin softer, but powder should never be used as a lubricant. Wash your hands! Powder will cause your pool cue shaft to gum up more quickly, and powder ruins the felt on the pool table. Nothing looks worse or plays worse than clean green felt with white baby powder all over it because some idiot thought that they had to dump powder all over themselves in order to shoot better! It just ain’t so – so don’t do it. It is bad for your cue and bad for the table. Have some respect, huh?

Wiping the shaft of your pool cue down with a soft cloth in the course of play will limit the amount of crud that builds up on it. Not eating or drinking with your bridge hand is a good habit to get in to as well. Using a very light leather burnishing pad occasionally is a good idea. In time however, the pores in the wood of the shaft will become completely crammed full of dirt and oils and it will need a thorough cleaning. I’m going to tell you how I do it, just remember that if you screw up you could ruin your cue. Forever. The first step is to completely wipe down the shaft (not he ferrule) with a soft cloth and some rubbing alcohol. You don’t want to soak the wood with it, use just enough to clean the wood. Continue wiping with alcohol until you don’t see dirt on the cloth. The alcohol removes the dirt and oil from the wood and opens the pores of the wood. Now you want to just let it sit and dry for several hours. Now it’s time for wax! That’s right, I said wax. You need to use 100% carnauba wax for this. Car wax is fine, as long as it is 100% carnauba wax.

Just like waxing a car, apply a coat of wax with a soft cloth or applicator and let it dry to a haze. You cannot let it dry too long, just let it sit awhile and have some patience. Once the wax has dried thoroughly you’ll want to wipe it off – and immediately start working the shaft with a leather burnishing pad (or a plain piece of thick leather if you don’t have a burnisher – which you should have anyway). Wrap the leather around the shaft and stoke it up and down as fast as you can (yes, it sounds dirty). The more you rub and the faster you rub the hotter the wax will become, which allows it to work into the pores of the wood. When you are finished you will have a beautiful, smooth shaft once again – but you’re not finished just yet! You are going to need to run through all of the steps again, except for the alcohol part. Apply more wax, let it dry, rub the heck out of it, repeat until you have at least 3-4 layers of wax thoroughly worked into the wood. Now take care of the tip and go shoot some pool!

THE BUTT. The butt of your pool cue shouldn’t need much maintenance at all. Keep it clean and wipe it down with a soft cloth during and after play. Don’t hit things with it and don’t drop (or throw) it on the floor. The joints will loosen up, the wood will crack, and parts will separate if you do. Then you’ll have to buy a whole new cue.

“Dings” in the Shaft. Nothing is more annoying than working your pool cue through your bridge and feeling little “dings” in the wood. As hard as we try to take care of our pool cues these little dents always seem to show up – as if by magic. Here is a method I learned that will remove small imperfections from your pool stick’s shaft. First, you need to wipe the shaft down with rubbing alcohol just like in the paragraph on cleaning the shaft. This will open the pores of the wood. Next, find a spot where you can place the shaft where it will not roll, and where it won’t get bumped. Lay the shaft (horizontally) down with the dings that you want to remove facing up. Now, soak a very small piece of tissue with water and roll it into a ball (think miniature spitball) and place the tissue ball directly on the indented spot on the shaft. It is important that the tissue ball not be larger than the actual indent on the shaft. Let that set until it dries completely – what happens is that the wood in that one tiny area absorbs the water from the tissue and swells, bringing that spot level with the surrounding wood. In a perfect world the “ding” will have disappeared, but what usually happens is that the “ding” becomes a small “bump” – which is fine because bumps can be worked out with a burnishing pad fairly easily. Once you have all of your “dings” up to level or slightly above level it is time to wax the shaft. Follow the instructions above for the proper method to do this. Of course another way to remove dings and dents from your pool cue would be to take it to a professional, but where’s the fun in that?

NEVER USE ABRASIVES. Ever. Period. That means no sandpaper, no scouring pads, no wet/dry paper, nothing. If it was designed to remove wood than keep it far away from your pool cue! You never want to remove a layer of wood just to make it smooth – you want to clean the existing wood to maintain the shape, balance, and feel of the cue.

Your pool cue represents an investment on your part, so keeping it clean and in good condition will make it last a lifetime – now that’s a lot of pool playing!



Source by Steve Didier

Why Urbanisation Has Spurred a Growth in the Self Storage Industry {awesome|amazing|Great|Special}

New research has revealed that an incredible 82% of Brits are now living in urban areas.

Whilst it might not come as much of a surprise to learn that the majority of us want to live close to where the jobs and all the amenities are, the growing demand for houses in cities means that people are being forced into smaller, yet more expensive homes.

Despite the fact that the number of people per household has also grown, the size of the average one bedroom flat is now just 47 square metres (505.9 square feet).

As living spaces get smaller and property prices get bigger, it’s forcing more of us into rented accommodation and first-time buyers are getting older and older. In 2001, 17% of the UK population was renting whereas today in 2015, this figure has risen to 25%.

As well as people struggling to afford a decent sized home, even many of those who were once living in a reasonably sized house or flat are being forced to downsize.

This certainly doesn’t sound like a good deal for any of us but one industry that is reaping the benefits of this is self storage. In fact, an annual report conducted by FEDESSA has revealed that across Europe, the industry is showing solid signs of growth, more units are being built, existing units are being expanded and new start-ups are becoming commonplace.

What is the link between the housing crises and self storage however? As many of us are being forced into smaller accommodation, it makes it very difficult to store all of our belongings. The fact that a huge proportion of the population can only afford a flat as opposed to a house also means that they are losing valuable storage space because they won’t have a loft, garage or garden.

If people really don’t want to downsize or simply can’t because of their growing family, they are choosing to turn different rooms of the house into bedrooms. Studies for example are quickly becoming a thing of the past as many people are being forced to turn this extra room into more suitable living arrangements.

Sometimes we may simply be forced to throw out the things we don’t really need but other times, there are essentials or sentimental items that we want to keep hold of. As space is limited in the home, people are opting to store their possessions in self storage. Quick, convenient and incredibly secure, it’s not hard to see why this has become such a tempting option.



Source by Charles Cockerton

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Backyard Shed Is Critical {awesome|amazing|Great|Special}

When choosing your backyard shed you are faced with a number of choices before finally making a decision. These start with the size and style of the shed and also include color and material. Of all of these choices, what you finally decide to build your shed out of may be the most critical of all. This one choice affects how durable your shed will be and how long it might last in your yard.

While all the various materials available for sheds have certain advantages, wood is still the number one choice by most homeowners for many reasons. Even though metal and resin sheds are still sold for certain applications, a wooden shed is the clear choice for most installations that require a larger shed that you want to be able to use for decades.

Resin sheds are a relatively new style of shed for homes. These sheds were initially used for smaller applications and have grown over the years to rival some of the medium sized alternatives. While these resin sheds provide a durable material that can withstand the elements, they lack the charm and style choices that other materials like wood provide.

Resin is a tough material but has a much lighter weight, these sheds tend to be smaller than other styles as well. This means that if you need a larger shed in your backyard to store a few bikes or even a lawn tractor, resin may not be the best choice. This weight also makes these sheds very susceptible to high winds and if they are not anchored adequately they will move off their foundations over time.

Metal sheds are another option for your backyard and even though they have been available for decades as an alternative to wood, they have their limitations.

This type of shed is typically sold in kit form and assembled by the homeowner on their property. Their construction is usually based on corrugated steel sheets that are used for both the walls and the roof. While this provides a durable construction, the walls and roof are very thin and may warp out of shape over time.

These metal sheds also suffer from rusting and other weather related damage and will need to be replaced more often than other shed types. They are also smaller in design than many wooden sheds but do a decent job of storing your items if you’re not too concerned with aesthetics.

Wooden sheds provide the best choice for most homes and offer both durability and good looks. Because they can be built in all shapes and sizes you’re sure to find one that meets you needs. You also have a wider selection of colors and materials than with the other shed types, which makes it easier to match you décor.

There are far more plans available for wood storage buildings than other styles and therefore you have a much broader selection to choose from. You can even customize most of these plans to add another window or door if needed. Most homes that install a wooden storage building can expect to use it for decades and keep all of their bikes and garden items safe.



Source by Brad Appleton

The Advantages Of Using Garage Storage Systems {awesome|amazing|Great|Special}

Getting organized in the garage can be frustrating without the proper garage storage systems. Consolidating garage items is an often neglected task; however, it can be simplified if you have the right storage tools at your disposal. Nearly everyone has an abundance of garage clutter, but the mess often gets ignored since it does not intrude on living areas. Organizing a garage does not have to be a frightening home improvement task and is easier than it seems. By using various garage storage systems, you can find a place for every item in your garage.

Wall Mounted Garage Storage Systems

There are numerous types of storage systems available for homeowners, but the most efficient ones are wall mounted. Depending on your storage needs, you may need to implement several different types. Shelving may be the most popular choice, and it is cost-effective and easy to install. A distinct advantage to choosing shelving is the convenience. Because open shelves are mounted to the walls, it is easy to find anything you need when you are in a hurry. The disadvantage to this option is the possibility of items falling off the shelves. Garage shelving is perfect for medium sized items that won’t create too much clutter.

For small items such as pool equipment, tools, or gardening gear, basic hooks are the ideal organizers. Hooks and garage shelving can be integrated with slat wall systems to provide maximum storage. A slat wall system consists of a wall panel that contains evenly distributed grooves. Shelves and hooks are inserted into the grooves. Cabinets can also be used with slat wall panels. A cabinet system is a good alternative to shelving. Garage cabinets provide ample storage space for items of all sizes, and everything remains hidden behind closed doors.

Overhead Garage Storage Systems

To optimize your storage needs, overhead systems are ideal. An overhead storage system allows you to move the mess and confusion away from your line of vision. These systems consist of racks or boards that are mounted near the ceiling. Items that you do not regularly use can be stored out of the way. Larger, seasonal items such as bikes, camping gear, and wheelbarrows can easily be packed away during the winter. Using garage hoists or pulleys can simplify storing big items. Pulleys make it convenient to retrieve large or cumbersome objects.

When it comes to a home improvement project like organizing the garage, a little investment into several storage products can go a long way. Understanding what your options are and how to best utilize them will free up vast amounts of space in your garage. You will be able to transform your chaotic garage into an organized and clean space. Finding a storage system that works will allow you to spend your time doing the things you love to do rather than constantly fussing over the clutter. By choosing one or more of these garage storage systems, not only will you save space, you will save time and money.



Source by Michael Greene

Anatomy of the Banknote {awesome|amazing|Great|Special}

A banknote is a promissory note made by a bank, payable to the owner of the note and is considered legal tender (along with coins). While currency has taken many forms over the course of time, banknotes were first developed in China during the 7th century. The heavy bulk of coin had become cumbersome and unsafe, so the merchants of the Tang Dynasty came up with a sort of receipt that represented coinage. The ‘receipt’ evolved into paper money. It took seven hundred years for the concept of paper money to find its way to Europe, and another three hundred years for bank notes to begin circulating outside of China.

The transition between ‘receipt’ and legal tender was fraught with problems. The first bore nothing more than a picture depicting merchants, and a certain number of coins that corresponded with the amount represented. Printing up bogus copies would have been easy enough for anyone with a printing press. To be clear, in the days of the 7th century, printing presses were not exactly household items. On the other hand merchants, wholesalers and moneylenders made up the wealthier members of society and could definitely afford to source one out. Plus, they would be the most likely people to benefit from making counterfeit promissory notes. Members of the reigning dynasty eventually took over the production of banknotes and the general population began to recognize their usefulness.

Since the bank note first came into use, it has been printed on a variety of materials. Some are predictable, others are not so easy to recognize. The first Chinese banknotes were printed on paper made from mulberry bark. Today, there are some denominations of Japanese banknotes that contain the same material. Wooden bank notes have been used several times in history, and not just paper made from wood – actual pieces of wood.

In Canada, during Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763, the Hudson’s Bay Company issued wooden bank notes. In Bohemia wood checkerboard pieces were used as banknotes in 1848. Even more curious was the use of playing cards as banknotes several times in history. France, French Canada, the Isle of Man and Germany all have records of playing cards as banknotes. During times of war, when banknotes were hard to come by, it was not uncommon for reigning monarchy to issue banknotes from the battlefield – made of animal skin. For example when Russia still held administrative control of Alaska, banknotes made from sealskin were issued.

Some of the more common materials used for banknotes are linen, abaca, cotton paper and silk. On a global scale, the most common material is either polymer or cotton paper with silk threads embedded into the cotton. Of course, no matter what the base material is, the paper is always made in a manner that makes it more resilient. The banknote needs to be able to resist tearing, smearing, fading and disintegrating in liquid for at least two years. Many mints now infuse the paper with a special formulation of alcohol to give it extra strength. Polymer banknotes are made from biaxially-oriented polypropylene, which is a very thin and pliable plastic.

The biggest benefit of the polymer banknote is its durability. However, when combined with state of the art security features commonly used today, the polymer banknote becomes virtually impervious to counterfeiting. To date, the following countries are the only ones to circulate polymer banknotes: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Samoa, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zambia. Nigeria and Canada have laid out plans to begin issuing polymer banknotes in the near future.

The above list of countries already circulating polymer banknotes omits a few significant nations. The US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, China and Japan are all world super powers whose currency is traded far and wide but have chosen to incorporate alternative counterfeit protection devices. Watermarks have been included in the banknote making process for many years. They usually bear the image of a national figure pertinent to the history of the country. Security threads are another common security feature. Although a thread in a banknote may look fairly mundane, they are actually quite complicated components. The usually contain fluorescent elements, have metallic features, are magnetic and bear micro printing of national slogans.

The banknote is definitely not what it used to be. From a monochromatic mulberry bark parchment to a multi-colored slip of plastic, the banknote has become a statement of the world’s advancements in technology. Next time you withdraw money from the bank, take a moment to investigate the banknotes. They are more than just a promissory note.



Source by Donald Berger