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French Polishing PDF Print E-mail

Thursday, 01 April 2010 13:42


By Mac Simmons

French polishing is one of the classic finishes for wood. Although French polishing came to the fore in the late 19th century, the underlying premise of using shellac has been used for nearly 4000 years. In this article we offer advice on one particular French polishing technique, although there are certainly many variations.

Shellac is sold as a ready to use coating in most paint and home improvement stores and is usually sold as either a clear (blond) or amber (orange) color. These ready to use variations come pre-mixed with Denatured Alcohol. It is also possible to purchase "pure" shellac flakes that you can mix yourself. The advantage of this latter approach is that it has a longer shelf life than the premixed variations as once the alcohol and flakes are mixed together the wax has life-span of about 12 months (depending on the temperature).

The "pure" Shellac flakes come in various types of flake and, as standard contains a natural wax. However, while the inclusion of this wax can make sanding easier, in some cases the shellac does not adhere to the wood surface too well. To address this issue, you can also buy a de-waxed version of some Shellacs.

Filling wood grains with a paste wood filler: PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 April 2010 13:40

By Mac Simmons

Some woods have an open grain that makes it difficult to produce a smooth finish. To avoid this problem it is necessary to apply what is known as a grain filler prior to the application of wax or polish. In this article, Mac Simmons describes how to get the best finish using paste fillers.

How To Choose Furniture For Your Bedroom PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:25

Every bedroom needs a few important pieces. Fill your room with quality dressers and nightstands, a beautiful bed, and other furniture that suits your personal needs and style.  It doesn’t matter how you decorate your bedroom, if you don’t have great furniture, the room will look old and outdated.

Choosing the Right Bed

The bed is the most important piece of furniture in any bedroom because it creates a natural focal point.  Buy platform beds to take up less space if your room is small.  King size platform beds give you plenty of room to spread out at night, without taking up a lot of space within your room.  When you buy platform beds, look for a style you like that coordinates with dressers and nightstands in the room.  You can find these special beds in all sizes, especially if you order online.  Platform queen beds are the best choice if you are single and want to preserve space.  When you shop online and order platform beds, free shipping is often included, so they aren’t as expensive as you might think.

To buy or not to buy, that is the question PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:21

fish4homes reveals the quandaries Brits face over buying or renting in the UK

A survey from fish4homes (www.fish4homes.co.uk ) can reveal that Brits are still eager to get onto the property ladder despite the current economic climate, but are prepared to be patient rather than rushing in to pick up a bargain.

Out of those surveyed 56% own a property in the UK, with 52% of those home owners having bought their first property between the age of 21 and 30 years.

Of those who do not own a property in the UK right now, 25% are staying with family, and 66% are renting, and the rest are in the process of buying. The majority hope to purchase their first home between the age of 31 and 40 years.

When it comes to finding the deposit for the first property, 23% of those surveyed found the deposit themselves, 23% split the deposit with a partner, and 21% received help from their family. And despite the stamp duty threshold increasing to properties over £175,000, 77% of those surveyed still agree that it is much harder to get on to the property ladder than it was 2 years ago mainly due to the difficulties in getting a mortgage agreement. Interestingly out of those surveyed 15% said that they will not buy in the UK and 10% wanting to buy abroad.

Stewart Black, Head of Sales fish4homes comments “In previous years more people were in a position to buy properties in the UK as the market was more buoyant and the economy more stable so mortgages were easier to get and people had less to fear when embarking on their first buy. This year we have seen a drop in the number of people buying and selling homes. However, with the forthcoming changes regarding stamp duty, it will be much easier for first time buyers to get onto the ladder”. He adds “It is not a bad thing to wait for the right property at the right price, and there are plenty of homes available to rent to bridge that gap. Many people who own properties are hanging on for a little longer before putting their property on the market with the hope that the prices will stabilise”.

Lisa Martin, PR Manager Leaders Group Limited adds” At this time renting is an ideal solution, giving people flexibility to watch the sales market. There is an excellent choice of quality rented accommodation available right now including large luxury houses. The other bonus of renting is that you are not responsible for repairs and maintenance!”

As part of the research, fish4homes identified the most popular areas in the UK that people would like to move to and the South East came out top with over 54% of the votes, closely followed by Yorkshire and Humberside (13%), East Anglia and Essex (6%), South West (6%), and Home Counties (5%).

On the fish4homes site there are tips and advice to help people when looking to buy or rent a property, and to add to this we suggest the following 5 tips to help you get onto the ladder for the first time:


  • Make sure you research the area you want to move to thoroughly and do not compromise on the most important things on your list.
  • Consider the fact that for the next year properties under £175,000 will be exempt from stamp duty so you could save money by waiting.
  • Renting is a good way to test out an area whilst saving money for your deposit.
  • If you are buying with someone else make sure that you have legal documents drawn up to cover your payments, in case things turn sour.
  • Avoid spending more than you can afford when both renting and buying, and remember that sometimes it is better to wait for the right property to come along than to compromise and settle for second best.


Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:19

fish4homes research uncovers the true cost of the next door neighbour from hell.

For most Brits, buying a dream house in the Naughties can mean months of stresses, strains and struggles both emotionally and financially. But once the deal’s done, you know you are home and dry in your perfect haven…or are you? New research out today from property experts fish4homes reveals a staggering 78% of Brits have suffered at the hands of the resident local evil – the next door neighbour!

According to the fish4homes research, an unbelievable 1-in-5 of us (18%) has upped sticks and sold our properties as a result of a nightmare neighbour. Whilst 30% continue to suffer in silence, a surprising half of Brits (52%) have resorted to confronting the menace head on; dispelling typical perceptions of the ‘British stiff upper lip’.

Despite so many of us having our fingers burnt, the research shows only 8% of Brits would consider spending a crucial 5 minutes knocking on a potential neighbour’s door yet most of us (61%) would rather judge them at distance by taking a driving tour of the area. Interestingly, men are more thorough than women when it comes to doing their homework; men are more likely to google the area (30% v 28%), check out the local pubs and shops (39% v 36%) and even peer into the neighbour’s gardens (29% v 25%) to make the right decision.

Selling up, moving out and buying somewhere new because of a dodgy neighbour is a costly affair with thousands of pounds being spent on legal work, surveyors and solicitors amongst other expenses. Yet the poll reveals most Brits (61%) are only willing to stump up £10k[1] to get the perfect neighbour for life.

So what can we do to avoid nightmare neighbours whilst house hunting this Easter weekend? Mark Cooke, National Sales Director from fish4homes, comments: “We all know buying a house is stressful at the best of times. It’s an easy thing to overlook but checking out your neighbours first is probably one of the smartest thing you can do and will only take 5 minutes!

With the Bank Holiday weekend coming up, fish4homes is the perfect place to find some helpful tips on what to look out for when house hunting. You can also find a wide selection of properties for sale.”

The fish4homes research has uncovered exactly who our neighbours from hell are:

· The Battersbys (36%) - relentless racket of shouting, music and the noisy TV…not a moment of peace when you’re living next door

· The Vicki Pollard (27%) – has kids with multiple ASBOS and seems strangely proud of them

· The Hoarder (21%) – constantly has a garden full of junk, odds and sods that that is never cleared away

· The Rab C Nesbitt (16%) – has never heard of the word hygiene and happily lives amongst rotting rubbish, overflowing drains and the dreaded vermin

· The Living Dead (15%) – scare the living daylights out of you with their strange behaviour behind closed doors…unexplainable noises, strange guests turning up and family members disappearing for months on end

· The Hyacinth Bucket (10%) – likes to turn their noses up at everything you buy or own and always offers a snobby opinion…even when it’s not welcome

· The Invisible Man (9%) – is anybody there? They own the house next door but you’ve never laid eyes on them!

· The Naturists (5%) – like to walk around in the nude…all the time!

· The Dormouse (5%) – scuttle indoors with a terrified look on their faces if you ever try to say hello or have a friendly chat

· The Borrowers (5%) – always quick to pop round asking to borrow the mower or a light bulb but never quick to return things

People are improving rather than moving PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 15:17

~fish4homes reveals the latest home improvement trends~

With the current uncertainty in the property market, many people are choosing to improve rather than move.

In a recent survey conducted by fish4homes, 54% of people said they were looking to buy or rent, yet 62% were planning improvements, with a further 19% considering renovations, some time in the future.

Some people have decided that if they aren't going to move, they should make the most of the home they have.

Others are spending money on improving their property so that they can make their home more attractive to prospective tenants or buyers, in what has now become a very competitive market.

The most popular form of DIY is a lick of paint, with 48% of people who are planning to improve their home, simply intending to re-decorate. 37% of people are planning something a little more substantial, with building work planned. Most people plan to spend between £1,000 and £5,000, improving their property.

Stewart Black, Head of Sales for fish4homes comments; “lots of home owners are struggling to get new mortgages, yet are enjoying low interest rates from their current mortgage provider. It’s therefore no surprise to see UK homeowners choosing to invest the money they are saving on their mortgage payments, improving their current homes. Plus any improvements made, will help when the time is right to sell.”

A Vision in White PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 March 2010 06:40

Raines & Willow unveils its gorgeous summer collection

As summer approaches and the wedding season gets underway, Raines & Willow, the specialist new bedroom furniture company, launches its exquisite range of handcrafted furniture, to brighten the bedroom with a romantic feel for summer and new beginnings.

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