Hello from Adam


Hello, my name is Adam Roberts and I am a novice woodworker and DIYer and there is nothing that I won’t try to save a few bucks around my home. I very much enjoy blogging about this subject area and I will endeavour to add some useful pieces of information from time to time.

I have picked up so much of my knowledge from stuff that I have found for free on the web and have also invested a little bit of my spare cash into online woodwork and home improvement courses, some of which have been money well spent and others a waste of money. I will publish my feedback as and when I have the time as I would love to help others who are getting started in this field.

Please enjoy my blog and I very much welcome your thoughts so please feel free to comment whenever you can.

Best Wishes


Mar 06

Everything you need to know about lockout kits and devices

Lockout Kits

renaissancechambara (Flickr.com)

As we all know, carrying out repairs, servicing and testing on electrical appliances or machinery can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, taking the necessary safety precautions is absolutely crucial.

But sometimes, simply shutting off the power is not enough. There is a chance that someone could switch it back on or start operating the equipment, which could have harmful or even fatal consequences.

For these situations, a lockout kit is considered to be indispensable. Featuring some sort of padlock and unique key, this safety devices guarantees that nobody can accidentally interfere with essential repairs or scheduled maintenance.

But for those unsure about current recommendations, the types of lockout kits available and when they should be used, here is everything you need to know.

Current recommendations

On the subject of secure isolation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has the following advice in its “Electricity at work – Safe working practices” guide.

“Make sure that any switch disconnector or other means of disconnection is secure. Switches, including circuit breakers, should be locked in the off position preferably using a ‘safety’ lock, i.e. a lock or padlock having a unique key or combination.

“Lockout devices that can be attached to the actuators of circuit breakers are available and should be used where appropriate. All keys should be retained in a secure place.”

When should a lockout kit or device be used?

It is highly recommended to use a lockout kit when:

  • Maintenance, servicing or repairs are being performed on or around any electrical machine where serious injury could result from unexpected start-up or the release of energy.
  • New electrical appliances, equipment and machinery are being installed and set-up for use.
  • A guard or other safety device has to be removed or bypassed.
  • An employee is working in close proximity to moving machinery.

Types of lockout kits and devices

  • Valve lockout – To prevent fluid or gas valves from being opened. These are typically ball valve lockouts, measured by the length of the handle, or gate value lockouts, measured by the diameter of the knob.
  • Circuit breaker lockout – To isolate a given breaker in a circuit breaker panel so the entire box doesn’t need to be locked out.
  • Electric, pneumatic and standard plug lockouts – To lockout electrical plugs up to a certain diameter. Multipurpose devices can also lockout electrical cords and hose connectors.
  • Wall switch lockout – To prevent tampering of switches or accidental start-up of machinery.
  • Adjustable cable lockout – Accommodates multiple padlocks and can be used on a wide variety of electrical or valve lockouts.
  • Hasp lockout – To protect multiple workers by putting their own individual padlocks on an energy control device.
  • Group lock or gang box – To lockout large machines or equipment with multiple work functions. A group lock or gang box allows each point to be secured with just one lock and all the individual keys are then placed in a box. The equipment can’t be turned on or re-energised until all locks have been removed.

For more about lockout kits, contract a reputable and knowledgeable source such as Instrotech.com – a leading distributor that has been in the industry for over 25 years.

Mar 01

7 Tips On How To Find A Good Plumber

Finding a good plumber

mikecogh (Flickr.com)

Water is a major necessity in every home. You might take it for granted, but good plumbing can mean the difference between convenience and disaster.

This is the very reason why finding a good plumber is key to keeping your home safe and comfortable to live in. If you don’t have a current plumbing issue, then it’s a great idea to look for a plumber in advance in case an emergency occurs in the future. You can search online and really do your research on the best plumbers in your area whether you are looking for a plumber in Huntsville, Atlanta or Boston.

But when disaster strikes, what do you need to know on how to find a good plumber in only a matter of minutes? When your bathroom is starting to flood, how do you find the right man to fix your pipes?

Here are 7 tips on how to find a good plumber:

1. Ask Friends for Licensed Plumbers

You won’t have time to search the Yellow Pages nor the internet for the best plumbers in your area. Your best bet is to think of a friend or family member who recently used the services of a highly recommended license plumber. Call that person immediately and get the plumber’s contacts.

You must make sure the plumber is licensed to ensure your property that the service is done by a legit professional.

2. Make Sure the Plumber is Insured

If things go from bad to worst at the hands of the plumber, you’ll get a bigger problem if disaster strikes. Not only will you worry about your own property but your neighbors’ as well.

Make sure the plumber has the right insurance and always ask this in the beginning of your call.

3. Ask About Guarantees

A reliable plumber will always offer a guarantee – should the job be unfinished or unsatisfactory, then you get your full money back or some other terms.

Having guarantees ensures clients that every job done will be made with utmost diligence or else they won’t get paid for all their hard work.

4. Ask if the Plumber is a Member of a Professional Trade Body

Organizations like the Institute of Plumbing or the Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors require their members to strictly follow a code of practice. They also offer a recourse in case things go wrong – this ensures you that the services you will receive from these skilled workers are with high quality and done in an excellently professional manner, or else their membership in the organization will be put at risk.

5. Ask for a Quote

No good plumber will give you a flat price with your first call. The only way you can get that accurate rate is when the plumber is in front of the work and after he has evaluated the situation. They can only give you an estimate, but can also give the price for the worst case scenario.

Be wary of plumbers who promise a “fixed price” with your call, or those who offer cheap rates over the phone. Many opportunistic plumbers will eventually ask for a higher price due to “complications” of your plumbing problems.

6. Get 2 or More Quotes

Okay, when your bathtub is overflowing you won’t really have the time to call several plumbers. But, if you can turn off the main water line, then you’ll have some time to call a couple of plumbers and compare their estimate prices for services. But always make sure the companies or plumbers themselves are on the very same level of professionalism and quality.

Get the plumber who has the same quality of work but gives you a lower price.

7. Always Ask the Details of the Job

Before the job commences, always ask for the specific details of the job. Ask what specific work will be done, or what parts will be replaced, etc. Never accept an offer where there are hidden charges, and those who don’t tell you what’s wrong with your plumbing and what must be done to fix it.

Finding a good plumber can be difficult but if you have a little bit of patience and follow these tips, you’ll enjoy a good quality plumber who offers services at reasonable prices.

Feb 21

What Are Diamond Saw Blades?

Construction Image

Image source, Kyle May (Flickr.com)

In the world of construction, the search for a more perfect cut has led to the search for a more perfect blade. Eventually, the engineers of construction saw blades turned their eyes upon diamonds: the hardest mineral on earth. As it turns out, for the right type of material, diamonds do indeed make the best saw blade available on the planet today.

What does such a blade look like? It’s a normal saw blade with diamonds attached at the end that grind through harder materials in a manner more effective than the way traditional blades slice.

Why Diamonds?

It comes down to two things: precision and durability. Simply put there is no other substance on the planet that can offer as precise a cut or as durable a blade. When the job is to cut dense, hard, and abrasive substances that steel blades cannot touch – diamond saw blades are up to the task.

So, in industrial construction where extremely dense materials must be cut, or even in a jeweler’s workshop where gems need a precision cut, diamond saw blades offer optimal performance.

Different Blades for Different Materials

Depending on the specific type of material that needs to be cut, different types of diamond saw blades may be employed. There are three basic shapes of diamond saw blades created for three separate cutting jobs:

1.      A circular blade: This is the most common type of diamond saw blade as it has the widest application of uses. This type is used often on construction sites and in commercial workshops. If you’ve had exposure to a diamond blade before but weren’t sure what type it was, this is like the type you worked with.

2.      A gang saw: This specific type of diamond saw blade really only has one specific application, though it is widely used for that job: cutting stone blocks.

3.      A band saw: This type of diamond saw resembles the traditional band saw and is used in the same manner on hard and dense substances. The only difference is this saw has diamonds affixed to its teeth.

Diamond saw blades are extremely versatile and can cut through anything, including concrete, asphalt, and other common construction materials.

Wet vs. Dry Cutting

With Diamond Saw Blades, because they grind the material down, an excessive amount of heat is produced during the cutting process. To prevent damage, injury, or errors while cutting, the blade must be actively cooled. Depending on the type of blade and material being cut, there are two different types of cooling: wet and dry.

In wet cooling, water is used to cool the blade, and in dry cooling, air is used instead. The proper type of cooling method is dictated by which is most effective with the material and type of blade in question.

Quick Tips & Facts

When using a diamond saw blade, all normal power tool precautions should be followed. Proper attire, including gloves, protective gear, safety goggles, and a helmet should be worn at all times to prevent flying debris from causing injury during cutting.

Additionally, as discussed, each blade is made for a specific type of material to cut and needs a different type of power saw. Blades should never be used on the wrong type of material or forced onto a power saw they were not designed for. This includes using diamond blades on traditional materials that do not require them as the way these blades grind is simply not designed to cut such substances. Both types of misuse increase risk of harm and breakage of equipment.

When starting a new major construction job, always consider investing in new blades to optimal efficiency and safety – just as you would with any other saw blades. While diamond saw blades do have a higher durability, they are put to the task cutting surfaces that require that extra durability out of them. Therefore, even though they are diamonds, they do wear down and must be replaced regularly just like any other blade.

Jan 25

In the Kitchen: Quartz vs. Granite

Choosing kitchen countertops is a decision that should not be taken lightly. The results can be hit or miss, and kitchens countertops are a focal point of the household. With so many stone options out there, many homeowners are ultimately faced with this question: quartz or granite? Caayu.com helps to answer this common question.


Quartz Worktop

Photostream Worktop Projects

Quartz is an ever-growing stone option, as it is a manufactured composite that duplicates the look of stone. With a plethora of colors and pattern’s to choose from, it’s no wonder many homeowners are going crazy for quartz. Granite is a natural stone with a unique and timeless appeal. For a more traditional atmosphere, granite is the premiere choice. However, quartz would be a great fit for a funkier trendy home.


Considering stone durability is arguably the most important part of the decision process. Granite is traditionally regarded as the most durable stone on the market, cited for resisting cracks and chips. Granite also resists heat, and can handle normal wear and tear exceptionally well. The most concerning problem with granite is it’s staining. If not properly sealed, it can absorb liquids like wine, juice, and oils leaving stains that are virtually impossible to get out. Quartz is a man-made material that ranks No. 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. In addition, quartz is a nonporous surface, meaning that it won’t soak in liquids that are placed on it’s surface. Unlike granite, quartz does not need sealing. This means it is ready to go immediately, rendering it relatively maintenance-free.


Granite Worktop

Photostream TChapman9

Granite is “relatively” nonporous, meaning there is still the possibility of liquids seeping into the stone and leaving stains. The porous nature of granite as oppose to quartz, means that it will be more difficult to clean. However, with the right annual resealing it can be resistant to staining and discoloration. Quartz is completely nonporous and refuses substances like food coloring, oils, wine, etc.


When choosing kitchen counters, cheaper isn’t necessarily better. There isn’t a major price disparity between quartz and granite, so homeowners should expect essentially the same price. Granite countertops are approximately $100-$225 per square foot, and engineered quartz countertops can range between $100-$185 per square foot.

Oct 20

Tips For Using MDF

A Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) is a one of the most versatile materials for practical woodwork projects. When used correctly it is effective in making works like shelving. Basically, MDF is made from saw dust and glue fused together in a mold at a high pressure. It is light and smooth surfaced making ideal materials for finishes.

MDF Tips

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prepare for dust

When working with MDF, dust is inevitable. A dust mask that fits tightly will come in handy. Mask off cabinets and surfaces with plastic to keep them dust free. Close all doors, windows and air vents to keep dust from spreading to other parts of the premise you are working in. After working with MDF, you might want to vacuum clean the place.



Use a trim nailer

A trim nailer works well on MDF because it shoots the nail right through the board without leaving pesky molds on the surface. When using a hammer, drill holes for each and every nail you want to drive in through the board.
Always drill holes before driving screws through the board. The core of the MDF splits easily because it is soft. Use a countersink drill bit to ensure you have a pilot hole for the screw and a recess that will accommodate the screw head. A countersink bit is advantageous because it achieves both ends in one step.

Avoid wetting MDF

MDF does poorly in wet conditions, just a little water disfigures the surface with bumps. Do not use for baseboards and window sills. If you are going to use MDF where there are chances of contact with dampness, paint it with oil based paint to avoid soaking. Water resistant MDF is rare to find.

Treating high gloss edges

When you plan on applying a high gloss paint, you will achieve a better gloss if you prime and sand the face and edges two times. To avoid brush marks from appearing, feather out any premier on the face of an MDF.
MDF and wood combinations

You might find it easy and cost effective when you work with both MDF and wood when working on cabinets. For the moldings, use wood, that is, parts like the base shoe and the base cap. For the larger flat or plain areas use MDF. You can finish the surface off with a coat of premier and paint to give them a similar look.

MDF trims

Cut costs with MDF when the job requires a painted trim profile. You can easily make your own trim by cutting the MDF into proper size strips. Use a router to shape the edges. You can create any profile that you like if you get the right bit for the wok.

Here we have some further MDF tips that you will hopefully find useful. A top selling online course that also offers a wealth of advice in the woodwork and home improvement sector is Teds Woodworking. This course is jam packed with woodworking plans, advice and recommendations for woodworkers of all levels.

Sep 21

How To Select The Best Plans For The Construction Of Your Garden Shed

A Few Key Factors To Consider

Garden Shed Plans

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are so many different garden shed plans available online today so you are sure to find a set that suits your needs. Prior to going ahead and selecting the garden shed plans to proceed with, it is key that you think sensibly about exactly what the shed is going to be used for. This will best help you to select the appropriate shed for your needs. You may like the look of a specific set of plans that are suitable for a workshop or summerhouse but are completely unnecessary for a simple garden storage unit.

If you need your garden shed to house large commercial pieces of garden equipment and other sizable household items, then you will clearly be on the look out for shed plans that fit this requirement. If on the other hand you are planning to store little more than some basic domestic gardening tools and machinery then you will want to search for plans of a slightly more modest nature.

The most suitable set of plans for your specific needs will clearly have to take the size of your outside space and your budget in to consideration. If you are searching for plans to guide you through the construction of a large garden unit, such as a summerhouse or music studio then you are clearly going to be looking to spend a larger sum of money.

The next thing to consider is the type of material that your shed is going to be built from. Following plans that lead to the construction of a wooden garden shed will mean that you will almost end up with a stunning looking garden structure but this is sure to set you back far more than if you opt for a simple shed made of sheet metal or plastic. If you are thinking about using your new outside structure as guest accommodation or as a home office then you will have to factor in the cost of insulation, lighting and other creature comforts.

Something else to think about when choosing your set of garden shed plans is whether you will be building your shed from scratch or purchasing a ready made structure in kit format. If you are looking for something small and simple then it is often prudent to buy a ready made shed that can be assembled in a matter of a couple of hours. However, if you are planning on a slightly more complex structure then you may wish to build the whole thing from scratch. This will inevitably cost a whole lot more and also take up a great deal more of your time. If you are taking on more complex plans, make sure that you have the carpentry skills as well as the appropriate tools to complete the task properly.

Another very important issue to consider when planning the construction of your garden structure is whether or not the item requires planning permission. A typical garden storage shed will generally not require any building consent from the local planning authorities but this can vary significantly depending on the area in which you live so it is always wise to do your research long before choosing plans and certainly before ever paying out money.