Hello & Welcome to Boa Online

I would first like to thank my friend, Brian, for his help in creating this website. I had no idea about how to do it! This is my welcome post which will be on the main page of my website, or so I’m told.

So, welcome! You can find out more about me on the About Me page and if you would like to contact me you can do so here.

OK, now let’s talk a little bit about the site and what it is doing here. Now that I am retired, I wanted to get some more hobbies in my life and develop some new skills so that I am not left behind. Using a computer and creating a website seemed like a great one to start with because I know nothing about computers. I do, however, have plenty of information to write down and “blog” about.

Boa Online was created due to my love with snakes. I love the Boa Constrictor and I thought that this name was as good as any to use. I thought it was a little unique and more edgy rather than saying “dougbensononline.co.uk”. Maybe I wasn’t that effective at coming up with such a great name but it’s the thought that counts…

Anyway, I will stop writing my welcome page now and get to writing some other articles that should hopefully be of use to some people out there who are looking for inspiration and ideas for DIY, energy conservation and many other things in the process.

Wooden Furniture

The Best Ways To Recycle Old Furniture

Different furniture does have different lifespan. Some can last very long while others take quite a relatively short time and either refurbishment or replacement will be needed. The best thing is always to invest in the best furniture in the market. With leather seats, you do not only have a material that boosts the aesthetic appeal of the house but is also durable. On the other hand, wall units and tables made from hardwood such as mahogany and the likes will save you lots of money for refurbishment and replacement.

However, regardless of the type of material your furniture is made of, there comes a time when they are worn out. During such times, something has to be done to them. You will either need to repair, to replace the old with the new or to dispose them in one way or the other. Although buying new furniture has always proven to be among the best ways of spicing up one’s interior design, it’s important that in your plans, you should factor in what the old furniture should be done with.

Before you buy furniture in for your house, or before replacing the old furniture, let quality be the primary factor. Buying the best quality sofa will ensure that in future, you won’t get rid of them as fast as the poor quality ones. This principle applies not only to sofa sets but to all the furniture in your house.

Recycling Old Furniture

What about the old furniture that will be removed from the place that the new ones are going to occupy.

1.      Selling the Old Furniture

You have several options at your disposal. These include selling your furniture or auctioning it to the highest bidder. Auction companies know How to Judge a Sofa for Quality as well as the quality of other furniture. For these reasons, the value of a given piece of furniture will determine its price tag. Some of the factors they consider when determining how much they will pay you include;

  • The material used to make the furniture i.e. leather seats will be more expensive than suede.
  • The type of timber used i.e. mahogany table will be more expensive than a pine table
  • Appearance i.e. if you take good care of your furniture and it looks new, it will source more
  • The market will also dictate the value. Furniture that is more favored by customers will source more.

If you can get a customer who offers to buy your old furniture, don’t hesitate to negotiate with them. This is because in many cases, individual customers do pay better than the auction companies.

2.      Giving Out the Old Furniture to Relatives

The furniture you have may be old in your eyes but this might be exactly what a relative of your needs. Obviously, if you want to replace your leather seats, you won’t fail to get a relative who wants exactly those seats the way they are. By this, you will have helped someone and at the same time conserved the environment.

3.      Use in Other Places Within your Enterprise or Home

An old wall unit may not need to be sold or disposed. It is needed in your farmhouse. In the farmhouse, you can use this unit to store insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers among other farm tools and equipment.

Likewise, your old sofa may be exactly what is needed in the servant’s quarters during remodeling. You will have saved yourself the cost of buying new seats for the quarters. In addition, that which looks old in your main house and needs replacement is at times exactly what gives the servants quarters a boosted aesthetic value.

4.      Donation

Donation is the other green way that you can employ in the recycling of your furniture. Instead of leaving the seats to lie and do nothing in the garage, you can donate it for a worthier cause. Groups such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill groups and others will highly appreciate your sofa and other furniture. Such groups do sell these furniture and use the proceeds in the community well being and development. When this money is used in the funding of such projects, by extension you will also have participated in supporting the community.

5.      Give it to Friends

It never hurts to ask your close associates if they could be in need of the furniture you are no longer using. They may just be in need of such furniture for the extra room they have recently created. Some friends may also be in need of such furniture for their main living rooms.

6.      Have a Yard for Selling the Furniture

There is a possibility that old furniture is not the only thing you want to sell. Maybe you have refurbished the whole house and there are lots of other things that you want to recycle. These may include lots of old clothing, cutlery and utensils, old electronics and wooden parts removed from the frame and the roof of your house.  If that is the case, it will be wise for you to opt for a sale yard of your own rather than selling the furniture to auction companies. Chances that you will get better returns are higher when you have a yard sale of your own.

Advertising the furniture to college and university students may be a good idea. If you live close to this group of people, it’s worth it to advertise to them. College students are known to be economic and lovers of second hand furniture. You may end up selling your old furniture faster than you had ever imagined.

7.      Place an Ad Online

Several online resources are available to help you sell your old furniture online. EBay, Craigslist together with www.freecycle.org are just some of them. When posting it on these sites, remember to give all the details which include;

  1. Will you deliver the furniture or whoever acquires it will need to collect it by them.
  2. Are you selling it or you will be giving it out for free?
  3. State the price in case you are selling it.
  4. Add an image of the furniture and state how old it is.

8.      Old Furniture for New

There are some stores which are known to replace old sofas for new ones in the event that you want to buy a new one from them. Its costs nothing to ask before you makes any move.

9.      Remodeling

One of the options that many fail to pursue is to remodel the furniture. Your sofa may need the replacement of the fabric or reattachment of the arm rest. Many have failed to explore this option, an option that would have led them to saving up to 90% of what they spent on the new furniture.

It’s not worth it for your old furniture to go to the landfill. This might however be your last resort. Though not the best option, it is much better for you to split down the timber and use it as firewood rather than taking your furniture to a landfill.

Where Do The Trees for Our Furniture Come From?

The list of woods we use for our furniture is inconclusively long. Two major categories of timber are used. These are the hardwoods and the softwoods. Softwoods can easily be gotten in almost every country. This is because they can easily be cultivated in most areas. Their maturity time is also short compared to most of the hardwoods making it to be preferred by most farmers and investors. On the other hand, hardwoods cannot be gotten in any environment. Some countries do not have this form of wood at all. Such countries rely on other sources for them to get this type of wood. In general, some of the woods we use for timber come from the following trees; mahogany, mesquite, maple, walnut, cherry, pine, eucalyptus, cypress etc.

One of the chief sources of timber for our furniture originates from the rain-forests. Rain-forests are found in almost all the continents with the major areas being Africa, Australia, Asia, Central America, South America, Mexico and the islands found within the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the pacific. An example of a rain-forest is the Amazon in the South American continent.

There are several reasons why tropical forests tend to be more preferred source of wood for furniture. These include

High valued tree species such as the balau of Indonesia and Malaysia, Africa’s paduk, oklumé, wenge and African mahogany, nyatoh, kapur, kepmpaskeruing, apitong, ramin, ipe, virola and jatoba of the Amazon are all found in rain-forests alone.

When hardwood is needed for furniture, it can hardly be found in man made forests. Human beings like to cultivate softwood trees because they mature faster and guarantee you quick returns.

At least fifty percent of all tree species are found in the tropical forests only. Other trees found in other forests can also be found here. This means that almost all the tree species can be found in these rain forests. You therefore have a wider diversity for selection when you go to a tropical rain-forest than to other forests.

Timber of high quality standards which demands for very long lengths e.g. New York City’s boardwalks can only be found in rain-forests and nowhere else.

Types of wood

The two major categories of wood that do exist are the softwood and the hardwood. What many do not understand is that the names do not refer to the properties of the wood since some softwoods may essentially be hard and the vice versa.

Softwoods include pine, cypress etc. most of these softwoods come from the coniferous trees which are known to keep their “leaves” throughout the year. They can easily be grown in renewable and managed forests thereby making it possible for more wood to be produced to replace that which has already been used.

Hardwoods generally come from the deciduous trees and they include the beech, the oak, the mahogany and the likes. They generally grow slower than the softwoods. One of the reasons why they are slow is the fact that they lose their leaves every winter. During this time, growth is reduced. Because they take decades and decades to mature, many people prefer not to cultivate them at all.

Importation from other countries

Countries that do not have these rain-forests also benefit a lot from trees logged in countries that enjoy the wealth of tropical rain-forests. This is through exportation and importation. The greatest importers of wood are the United States of America and China. China is the greatest importer by volume while the U.S.A is the greatest importer by dollar.

Some of the great exporters of rain-forest timber are in Africa and Asia. South America also has its share in the exportation of timber used for furniture construction. Gabon for example exports 90% of all the okoume logged down from their rain-forests. Similarly, Brazil exports 70% of the mahogany lumbered within their borders.

It is of great importance for us to know some of the places we do get our furniture timber from.


One of the most widely used woods is that sourced from teak. One of the major reasons why furniture from teak is most preferred is the tree that its timber comes from.  Teak wood is very dynamic and can be used when working on any kind of furniture hence it is advantageous not only to the users but also to the carpenters.

The teak tree comes from the verbena tree family and is commonly found in the southern parts of Asia. Most notably, it is found in Myanmar and India together with some parts of Philippines. Teak tree is well spread out within these countries which happen to be among the greatest exporters of the teak timber. We generally get most of our teak timber from these countries.


Mahogany is among the most popular hardwood timber in the world. No wonder, furniture made from mahogany is held with lots of value and have very high price tags with them. Mahogany furniture is found in luxurious homes and offices alone. This tree is majorly found within the rain-forests. Africa is among the greatest exporter of mahogany together with Brazil and other Asian countries. Mahogany of the best quality is however thought to originate from the Caribbean islands.

In general, timber can be found in several places in the world. What matters is the type of timber you want. Interior designers will prefer softwoods that are locally found while carpenters making furniture will need both the hardwoods and the softwoods to satisfy different customer needs. For these reasons, it’s almost impossible that a given region may sufficiently supply itself with all the types of timber it requires.

central heating

When to Use a Halogen Heater over Fire and Central Heating

Heating system is a very essential thin in most of the houses. In some regions, it is not just essential but a necessity. No wonder, several countries in regions that experience winter have legislations compelling owners to install heating systems in all the houses under construction. Without clear understanding of some of the heating systems, one may not have the ability of choosing the best heating system for their premises. This article generally talks about three forms of heating systems namely;

  • Halogen heaters and
  • Central heating system
  • Fire heating system

Halogen Heaters

Halogen heaters are associated with the production of radiated heat.

  • In fact, these forms of heater get credit for having the highest percentage production of such heat.
  • The insulated lamp that is designed with these forms of heaters makes them very safe to use.
  • It has a reduced risk of causing fire because of its typically low heat production (400w/bar)

Central Heating System

  • The Central heating system is designed with pump-driven radiation system for the circulation of either heated air or heated water through a piped system connected to the radiators found in every room within the house.
  • You can close the radiators in rooms that do not require heating.
  • When using a water based central heating system, the same water is recycled and you will only need to occasionally replace this water.
  • With the air based central heating system, new air will continuously be drawn in to the piping system.

Fire Heating System

  • Fire heating system is the most basic form of the central heating system.
  • A fire place is provided for during the construction of the house.
  • It’s difficult to put a fire place in a house that after its construction.

Reasons Why a Halogen Heater is Better than Fire and Central Heating System


A halogen heater happens to be among the portable, lightweight and efficient heating devices. The system is plugged in to an electrical outlet for it to provide the desired warmth within an enclosed room or area.

Application is Possible in a Variety of Environments

The halogen elements that are used in place of the electrical coils have got several pros in comparison to the propane, butane and electrical coils that are used in the fire and central heating system. Whereas the two gases mentioned above cannot be used in all the environments, the current models associated with the halogen heaters can be used in almost all the environments. This is because they are equipped with several safety features.

Variety and Efficiency

One has the option of opting for either the blowing heaters or the halogen oscillating heaters. Both are more efficient in comparison to the fire and the central heating system. However, it’s worth it to go for the oscillating halogen heaters that are more efficient than the blowing halogen heaters. Heating the air while it circulates in the oscillating heater after which the heated air is propelled in brad arcs around the space helps one to spread warm air in the whole space within a very short time and with a very high efficiency degree.

Nice for Augmentation of Existing Heating Systems

The halogen heating systems come in different sizes and with different heating capacities. This makes it possible for every room to receive warmth worth the comfort needed there. You can buy a halogen heater that will supply enough heat for your living room and buy a different size that’s most efficient for the bedroom. You can s well buy just a small halogen heater that will supply heat to your feet as you work on your study table.

All these are impossible with the fire heating systems and the central heating system. The fire heating system may not be easy to regulate and it’s quite expensive to run this system in all the rooms. It’s almost impossible that a house can have fire places in all the rooms. Secondly, it may also be difficult to freely move around your house with the fire system.

The central heating system provides equal amount of heat to all the rooms. When one wants some lesser heat in their room, it will not be possible to achieve this because the heat is controlled from a central location. The best one can do is to either persevere with the higher heat levels or to switch off the radiation system in their room and suffer from the extremity of the weather. There is no possibility for intermediaries.

Technological Features

With technological advancements, we need heating systems that move with the present times. Unlike the fire system and the central heating system, all the modern halogen heaters have been equipped with casings that remain cool to touch. They also have an automatic shut down system in case of an accidental tip over. In case of accidental tip overs, chances of injury are highly reduced. Damage of property such as fire or flooding of the house is almost impossible in the event that you are using a halogen heater.

Halogen heaters are therefore the safest options for those who have children and own pets within their premises. It is very easy for the children or pets to get injured when you use the other forms of heaters. You also risk losing your entire house when you employ the use of fire heaters in your home.

Cost Effective

When you put the durability of the heating device into consideration, and you consider the average running cost, then a halogen heater is far cheaper than the central heating system together with the fire system. Some halogen heaters may be relatively expensive to install in comparison to the central heating systems. However, this is not always obvious because central heating systems also do demand a lot. The fire heating system is virtually the cheapest to install but the most expensive to run and very environmental unfriendly. The halogen heaters require the least amount of energy among the three forms of heating systems.

Environmental Consideration

When oil is used to heat the boilers of the central heating system, or a gas of any form is used, green house gases are produced. Such gases are always responsible for global warming together with having general negative impacts in the lives of both flora and fauna. On the contrary, the halogen heating system used electricity which is a form of green energy.

A lot of heat energy may be lost to the environment. In cases where you cannot cut off the heating of other rooms, you may end up wasting a lot of energy in those rooms. Naturally, a lot of heat is also always lost at the boiler, while being transmitted by the pipes and the walls are also good absorbers of some heat. Halogen heaters save a lot of energy.

A Review of the Central Heating System

Although in rare cases the halogen heating system may be more expensive than the central heating system, in most of the cases, the vice-versa is always true. Below are central heating system components that make it to be more expensive to install than it is to have a halogen heater.

  • Gas or fuel supply lines: this may include a propane tank, an oil tank together with its supply lines or the District supply lines.
  • Boiler/Heat exchanger: this is the one responsible for the heating of the water in the heating system.
  • Pump: Necessary for the Circulation of the water or the heated air
  • Radiators: these are mounted in or on the wall panels and are where the heated water will pass so as to release heat to the rooms.

The three main central heating methods are the hot air method, the steam method and the hot water method.

A Review of the Fire Heating System

A fire place is designed by an architect during construction. It has a chimney to release the unwanted fumes and is strategized in a position that can enhance for the circulation of the heat in the whole area. In most cases, the fire place is only found in the lounge and not in the other rooms. Source of energy such as firewood or combustible gases is needed.

This form of heating system has got its limitations. First, it is environmentally unfriendly. It highly encourages deforestation and gases produced during combustion are important air pollutants. It’s also not efficient as lots of heat energy may be lost to the environment. It’s not conducive for bedrooms because carbon monoxide produced during combustion can be fatal.

Although the halogen heating system seems to be the best, the power of choice is under your own discretion. Due to one reason or the other, another form of heating system may be the most appropriate for you. It is of great importance that you analyze all your options first before you can make a decision on the most appropriate heating system you can go for.

Metal Worker

Career Progression From Carpentry to Metal Work And Welding

The carpentry profession leads the carpenter to work in a variety of fields within the building and ornamental industries. Building tasks are very diverse and construction companies do work to construct, renovate, remodel and do the interiors of a commercial or a residential structure. Carpenters may therefore be found working with construction companies, carpentry contractors or renovation businesses.  The number of carpentry jobs has been in a constant increase especially within the 21st century. It is therefore predicted that in a decade’s time, carpentry work may end up being among the hottest blue collar jobs for grabs.

Carpenters who opt to gain their working skill and experience from reputable colleges are trained to deal with not only wood but also metals. This is the reason why some carpenters will be able to do metal trusses joinery work without having to call professional welders on site. A certified carpenter may well be well equipped with the knowledge and skill of cutting, preparing, repairing, joining and installation of metals by the use of welding machines and equipment. Technically, this is not their major field of study. They can therefore only be able to handle some simple metal work and not the very complex ones. For a carpenter to become a professional welder and metalwork handle, furthering their studies is important.

From a Carpenter to a Welder

Welders spend more time in class in comparison to apprentice carpenters. However, the time they will spend in the field is still considerably more than the time spent in class. On average, a welder will take at least a year of study, 80% of this time being spent on the field and not in class. As a carpenter, before you even think of going to proceed with your studies, you may decide to seek for employment in companies that deal with both metal work and carpentry. As you go by your daily carpentry work, in collaboration with the welders, you will be able to gain skills slowly by slowly till you achieve your goal. In fact, most of those welders who have done their training in the field go to collages only for the sole reason of getting the required papers for certification purposes.

Carpentry and welding work have got a lot of similarities. The two professions are equally competitive but due to interest or other reasons, you may deem it well for you to switch from carpentry to welding work.

This is among the easiest progresses you can make in your career. It is worth noting that it’s easier for a carpenter to progress to becoming a welder than it is for a welder to switch to carpentry. This remains a fact as long as the carpenter in question acquired his professional skills from a reputable, accredited college.

During carpentry training, there is a lot of metal work that is taught. By the time a carpenter goes to the field, or by the time he wants to switch to metal work and welding profession, he will already be having vast knowledge and skill pertaining to metal work. Carpenters are trained to be able to handle roofing work that involves metallic trusses among other responsibilities.

Carpentry Categories and Specialization

Two major categories of carpenters include;

  1. The structural carpenters and
  2. The detail carpenters

Structural carpenters specialize in building and construction of structures such as houses, wall units, cabinets and the rest. Safes, trusses, cabinets, beds are all metallic structures that can be built by either carpenters or welders. Only detailed carpenters may however be able to achieve this. The detail carpenters do specialize in interior designs and the cosmetic appearance of the internal applications of a structure.

There are different carpentry specializations that exist. One of this is the Green Carpentry specialization.

i.            Green carpenters specialize in using only environmentally friendly materials to make their products. The use of metals in carpentry work is considered environmentally friendly since wood from trees are saved. If you are a green carpenter, it’s absolute that you have an upper hand of becoming a welder than all the other carpenters within your profession. It is therefore advisable that before you plan to switch from carpentry to welding, you should first think of specialization into the green carpentry side. By this, you may end up noticing that you probably don’t even need to go for further welding training.

ii.            Finish carpenter: Other countries call these carpenters-joiners. They can double up as cabinet makers. This occupation needs the minimum possible error margin and exact joints to be done. Such carpenters need to have welding skills because cabinets can be made of metals and wood alike.

iii.            Ship Carpenter: This is a carpenter who is specialized in the shipbuilding as well as their maintenance together with and other water vessels. Both steel warships together with the wooden ones need ship carpenters. With welding skills, you will be at the best position to work in this industry

Welding training in reputable colleges will not only guarantee you of certification but also the fine detailed skills. In college, you will be trained in the latest hand and power tools welding technology that’s quite different from the technology used in woodwork. Some of these include computerized machines that enhance the efficiency of your welding work. This will enable you to be able to cut, assemble and fit metallic materials in the construction of a building or any other structure such as the body of a motor vehicle and other machinery.

Generally, as a welder, you need to study how to read a blue print, how to measure and to mark the project layout, cutting and the shaping of the materials as well as the final implementation of the project in question. With this knowledge, you will have different areas where you can work and practice your skills. Such areas include

  • Starting your own welding contractor firm
  • Working for a welding contractor in a contractor firm
  • Arranging work for sub contractors
  • Preparation of cost estimates and quotation
  • Writing of progress reports
  • As a carpenter and welder, clients will prefer you because they get all the services under one roof, obviously at reduced rates because of reduces cost of production.

Just like carpentry, welding needs lots of physical and intellectual skill and attention. You need to be very keen when cutting, metals, grinding or joining the metals using the welder. Carelessness in welding will obviously result to more serious injuries than in carpentry. More fatal accidents have been reported in welding than in carpenters’ shops. You therefore need to go to school so that you can gain the organization skills together with safety measures.

In Review

The formal welding and metal work training is available in certificate programs, seminars, high schools, online classes, associate degree together with advanced college degrees. These programs are in many times referred to as pre apprenticeship training and will help the learner to be able to construct, restore and preserve welding fields. In the modern construction industry, it’s important that you do not just rely on one construction material but train to use different building materials. This will make sure that you are always ahead of your competitors. For these reasons, it’s very prudent for you to progress from just being a carpenter to a carpenter who also brags of certified welding skills.

Wood house

Where In the World They Still Build Wood Homes

Wooden houses and structures are unarguably among the oldest structures to have been constructed by man. However, today many people have migrated from timber to other forms of building and construction materials. Reinforced concrete, ironic structures, mud houses and others are today more popular than the wooden houses. However, there are some places that still do hold wooden houses with lots of value.

China and its Appetite for Wood

One of the places that are known to be heavy users of wood is China. Statistics say that more than fifty percent of the global timber shipment is destined to China. Several Companies in China have been blamed for being responsible for the high levels of deforestation in the world. This is because the unscrupulous companies in this country have resorted to buy illegally logged wood from all over the world.

Timber that’s imported to china is not only used for making furniture but also wooden houses. Most of the companies that either sell prefab houses or construct wooden houses on site are either of china origin or have a branch in china. The Chinese do not only make wooden houses for themselves but they also export these structures. Prefab houses range in size and design starting from a very small single roomed structure to a whole family house with several bedrooms in it.

Wood a Necessity in Housing

Although the times have made people to shy away from wooden houses, there is no society that can completely overrule the importance of wood in their structures. It is possible to construct a wooden house without adding concrete or other materials on the structure. However, it is almost impossible that the same can happen when you are constructing a concrete house.

Most of the modern standard and high class interior and exterior designs employ the use of wood. The fisher boards, wall panels, the best tiles and ceiling boards, trusses and others are all made of wood. In essence, we may say that we do not live in wood houses but partially, we do.


Contractors who have been contracted to build an industry, road or any short term project will always prefer prefabs to the concrete houses. Contractors, especially the Chinese cones, have been able to transfer the wooden home technology to several places of the world. There are several reasons why prefabs are preferred to other forms of houses and these include;

  • They are easier to construct
  • Setting them up is not time consuming
  • In some cases, they may be cheaper than the reinforced concrete house
  • Demolition after the completion of the project is easy
  • It is easy to carry them from one location to the other.

After completion of contracts, most contractors have left the prefab houses on site. New residents occupy such homes while others tend to borrow the technology to set up their own new homes. Due to this, wood houses have virtually been made available in almost all the corners of the world

Proposed 18-storey UBC wooden tower which will become the tallest of its kind in the world


The University of British Columbia’s Vancouver Point Grey Campus has resorted to design and construct buildings that enhance sustainability and green design. The upcoming multi-storey project will stand out not only in the university but in the whole world. The building will be 53 meters in height and is to have between 16-18 storeys making it to become the tallest of its kind in the world.

Tall wooden buildings have also been seen in Austria, Norway and Sweden. So far, in almost all the corners of the world, it is common to come across low rise wooden structures. It is only in such few areas like the countries mentioned above where high rise wooden structures have been done. Proponents of tall wood buildings  have claimed that such structures are safer than steel houses save for the fact that they seem to be fire hazardous. This is because the underneath wood in such structures is protected by the charred wood surfaces unlike steel structures which happen to be weakest at the post supporting areas.

The Predictable Future Trend

In addition to the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver Point Grey Campus building, a 14-storey, 51-metre tall building under construction in Bergen near Oslo is also underway. These two will surpass the tallest wooden building in the world which happens to be a ten storey apartment that is 32 meter in height. This building is found in Melbourne, Australia.

Such buildings may definitely change the perception of people towards timber as a home construction material. Structural engineers have been able to prove that timber houses have got high structural strength. Architects have also been able to prove to people that a wooden house may even be more beautiful than the concrete ones. For these reasons, it is very likely that soon people all over the world will soon start embracing timber as a home construction material.

China is of course the country that boosts of the highest number of wooden houses. However, other countries such as Poland, Greece and Asia in general also do have a good number of wooden houses still coming up. The other parts of the world are also not left behind even though the count of their wooden structures is negligible.

Wooden Ornament

A History of Furniture and Wood Carving for Ornamentation

Furniture making has been in existence for a very longtime with records dating back to 3000 BC where discovery of preserved furniture was made in Orkney, Scotland. The furniture definitions at this time were so broad enabling human beings to continuously improve on those basics. The design concepts and forms of new furniture has thenceforth gradually been improving to satisfy the wants of man both within the decorative arts such as ornamentation and home furniture, security doors and the rest. Today, an artist can just think of something attractive after which he goes ahead to make wood carvings that will represent the ideas he has.

History together with inference gives us an idea of what the wood carving works of the Assyrians, Romans and Greece was. The Assyrians were considered to be pacesetters of the Greece carving and refinement works during the old civilization era. Pausanias and some other classical writers did a good job of describing to us some of the important wood carving pieces of the Roman sculpture. Most of the images of the roman gods had to be preserved to the late years of the historic times. Some of these wooden figures to have been preserved till such times include the Palladium- the sacred Pallas figure that was guarded by the roman Vestal Virgins.

Archaeologists have been able to find classical era wood carvings that date back to the 8th century BC. These have been found in Gordion Turkey and they comprise of tables, inlaid serving stands and relics used in worship by Muslims.

The first eleven centuries during the AD era has got extremely rare examples of wood carvings. Some of the few sculptures that can be associated with this Christian era include the carven panels found at the main doors of the St Sabina of Rome. These doors comprise of several small square panels with each of them being carved from a New Testament scene. Some fine fragments of Byzantine art- eleventh or twelfth century- can be found at Mount Athos, Macedonia in a monastery.

Gothic period- the 12th-15th centuries

The wood designer of this period cannot be competed with any other designer of any time. This is the period when wood carving received the greatest transition and revolution. A lot of credible architectural works were seen during this era in all the sectors. The roodscreens, roofs, choir stalls and retable’s of France, England together with Teutonic countries within Europe received a transformation that had never been seen before and has never been seen thereafter. Details were seen in carving works in minuteness, in detail, in mechanical accuracy and great architectural conception for the enhancement of decorative treatment

During this time, the keynote of any scheme work was color. The gorgeous vestments of the priests, the crucifix, the incense, and the lights all overshadowed the walls to crown the glorious gothic art work.

17th-18th centuries

During the early AD era, wood was the raw material that was dominant. It was therefore highly used to heavily decorate carved designs since ornaments were mainly made from it. During these times, Palladianism style was majorly characterized with Great Britain, Neoclassic and Rococo associates with Western Europe while opulent and at times Baroque designs were characterized with the southern and the northern Europe.

Grinling Gibbons, a great school arose in England. Gibbons name is highly associated with decoration that was directly copied from nature. His carvings and moldings were very beautiful and of conventional form i.e. Chatsworth, Hampton Court Palace etc. during this era, ornaments such as earrings and others were crafted in the design of birds, fruits and others. The masterpiece during this time naturally became a rule that carvings were done using pine wood after which they were painted white.

19th century up to present day

The demand for carved decorations has greatly reduced during this time. There is also little that has been done to come up with new improvements in the wood carvings of ornaments. People are not so much in to these forms of ornaments and carvings. For those who love them, they use what was designed during the previous eras. The only new wood fashion of this era is the collection of old oak. Sculptures in church today get the work of repairing old wood carvings and productions of imitations and nothing new.

In Review

Religion receives lots of credit for the development of ornamental wood carvings. When we look at all areas where wood carvings were gaining momentum in development, a religion is associated with the people of that land. In Greece, most of the ornaments were in honor of Mithras while all the ornaments discovered in Istanbul turkey were either directly used in the Islam worship of Allah or indirectly giving honor to those in the Islam hierarchy. During the roman era, wood carving ornaments sprung up for the decoration of the saints’ images as well as relics for worship. Hinduism is also not left behind as well as Buddhism and other religions.

Several dynasties also came up with different wooden ornaments to honor those on authority. The furniture found in the palace of the pharaoh of Egypt was not as plain and simple as that found in the houses of commoners. The furniture in such palaces had to be ornamented with the finest wood carvings. As time went by, the rich started embracing these ornaments, something that moved down the hierarchy to the commoners. This is the same thing that happened with the Babylonian empire, the Greece Empire, the Roman Empire.


Although wood carvings seem to have come to a standstill and no more development is being seen today, wood carvings still remain to be very important aspects for the decoration of our furniture, places of worship etc. A lot has already been done and what may be seen today as a new design might just be a revival of a design that was done long ago.

Carpenter Tools

5 Best Woods For Carving

Different wood carvers have different preferences on the type of woods they will pick for carving. Some prefer soft woods like white pine while others prefer mahogany due to its straight grains. Others will go for woods without difficult grains or knots and those that are able to hold details.

Before wood purchase, it is important to note the most obvious problems that might interfere with wood working e.g. loose or large knots, cups and wanes not forgetting shakes, twists or any sort of warping. Consequently, wood affected by fungi and with stains might not be appropriate.Unless considering enhancing twisted or interlocked grains when carving, straight grains are always easy to work with and produce shiniest, smoothest cuts.

Whatever the choice, below is a summation of the best five woods that will offer extra satisfaction to any wood worker.

I.                  Basswood

Bass wood is the best wood for hand carvers. This is because of its relatively soft nature.  It is closely grained for well holding of details and is non-toxic. Although it is mostly white, it sometimes contains brown grains and its sapwood and heartwood can easily be differentiated.

With the brown grain patterns not fully developed, basswood may sometimes look bland and this often calls for painting. To bring out the grain and seal the carving, it is usually advisable to mix boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits then apply to the finished carving.

In Europe, most wood carversuse lime wood which shares similar characteristics to basswood although Northern states e.g. Minnesota and Wisconsin produce the best basswoods. For beginners, basswoods with patterns are the most recommended and proper research should be done before purchase to ensure quality wood is obtained at a reasonable price.

Another type of wood called Northern white pine is soft and has similar characteristics to basswood. The same applies to sugar pine which is consequently cheap.

II.               Butternut

Another good wood for carving is butternut though extremely difficult to find. What makes it popular is its beautiful light colour, grains and ability to be easily carved. Though prone to insects, it contains wormhole features that make it a natural wood for carving.

Butternut is white walnut and is generally softer than black walnut. They both contain similar grain patterns with almost dead narrow sapwood, light brown heartwood, pink tones and sometimes dark brown streaks which are very effective for carving when done by a professional. Butternut wood is preferred for its light weight and course texture. It again holds details well and is very easy to work with making it appropriate for beginners.

Compared to basswood, butternut is browner and therefore the best option for carvers who do not prefer white from Basswood. Consequently, it offers a nice polish making it good for furniture. Despite the fact that this type of wood is prone to insects, it is resistant to rots. Its lightweight nature also makes it comfortable to use.

III.           Cherry (Prunusserotina)

Also called Prunusserotina. Even though basswood and butternut is easier to work with compared to cherry, it produces attractive carvings due to its gentle figure and reddish brown colour. It also shrinks a lot when drying but thereafter it becomes very stable.

Cherry is most appropriate to use with hand tools since power tools, if not utilized we can burn it. With age, it darkens with the colour eventually getting lighter.

Cherry wood holds up well in terms of detail and as at now, it is the highest priced in America curving woods making it very popular for overall wood working.

IV.           Maple (Acer saccharum)

Maple wood is of the Acer saccharum species. Compared to other woods, maple contains grain patterns that are not as straight.  When finished, they have a tendency of blotching (which comes up in different densities when carving). With numerous grains i.e. the tiger, fiddle back, Birdseye and curly among others, maple needs special planning before being worked on since the grains sometimes make carving harder but ultimately complement the general carving outlook. Maple holds details well and produces high shine quality products.

V.               Mahogany (Swieteniamacrophylla)

Mahogany (Swieteniamacrophylla) is also called Honduras mahogany. Most of this type of wood comes from Central America and has heartwood colour that varies from dark reddish brown to light or deep red grain. With its majorly straight grains that may be interlocked and medium to course texture that vary according to the rate of growth, mahogany is considered among the best carving woods. It exhibits resistance to shock loads and is of low stiffness nature. It is consequently not distorted with drying and offers stability during use. The fact that it is easy to work with makes it appropriate for use even for long hours. Apart from carving it is also suitable for making furniture and decorative woods.

The type of carving is likely to influence the type of wood to be used. Wood workers who use power tools often consider different woods to their counterparts who use hand tools. For small hand held objects, basswood is recommended due to its softness and easy to curve nature. For sculptures, most wood carvers prefer mahogany, butternut or cherry. Butternut is soft and easy to curve; cherry has dense grains and is rich in colour while mahogany is lightweight.

It is also important to note that when air dried, wood dries slowly thereby releasing tension slowly. Drying in kilns require close monitoring so as not to add stress to wood. Therefore, for better and quality carving results, wood should be air dried in ambient environmental conditions. Wood for carving should also be allowed to adapt to the surrounding for approximately eight weeks before utilisation

Hard woord

3 Durable Woods You Should Be Using In Your Home

Before purchase of wood, it is important to remember that, darker heartwood located at tree centers are considered to be much more durable and resistant to rot compared to sapwood. Always choose ‘heart wood’ material for all your household products including indoor or outdoor furnishings

Other than priority, suitable wood for home use should be durable. Well sustainable and pocket friendly in terms of cost of acquisition. Its aesthetics should also be considered for that impressive look.

Most durable woods resist rot since they contain chemical compounds that create unfavorable environment to bacteria, bugs, ants and other decomposition agents. Also, durability can be as a result of use. Some home structures or products protect wood from moisture thus prevention of decay causing creatures from existence.

It does not matter the nature of durability adopted i.e. chemical or physical. What is important is that durable woods thrive season after season. The following are three most durable, attractive and natural woods you should be using in your home.

I.                  Cedar

Cedar is a name used to refer to cedar wood. Cedar originates from coniferous trees and includes Deodar cedar, Atlas cedar and Cyprus cedar just to name a few.

Both northern white cedar and western cedar contain resins which are important in making cedar resistant to rot and infestation by insects.  In terms of weight, cedar is very light making it the most appropriate for home use.

Most people prefer it for furniture or household furnishings because of its good paint characteristics. Its grains, if not treated eventually end up being rough. Therefore, maintenance every year through cleaning and sealing is of utmost importance.
Cedar being a soft wood dents and scratches more easily and shows signs of knotting but all these do not in any way affect its durability nature. It is known to retain moisture, does not give splinters like other woods and does not die out easily. It is also good in resisting cracks and weathers naturally to adopt an elegant, silver grey color.
With extreme durability of more than 20 years even in outdoor conditions with no signs of warping, rotting and splitting coupled with interesting wood grain patterns, cedar is a valuable investment.
II.               Redwood
Like cedar, red wood is soft and can dent and scratch easily. Its deep brown beauty can therefore be enhanced and protected by the use of coats or clear seals. It also has natural tannin that might stain clothing thus the origin of the name ‘red wood’. With coats or clear seals, staining is well constrained.
Redwood’s most pronounced characteristics are stability and resistance to warping and shrinking. It is also resistance to rot and insects, weathers well and when used, it gives a very good finish.
The fact that Red wood contains cell structures with a lot of air pockets makes it suitable for insulation. It is also a very safe home material sue to the fact that it is very slow to burn. Consequently, unlike teak that blunts tools when working, red wood does not. It is also very attractive with a lot of aesthetic features.
In terms of cost, it is relatively cheap compared to other types of wood. The only setback posed by redwood is its insufficiency in supply and the long growth to maturity duration. But as long as it is harvested in the long run, redwood will always have a five star recommendation.
III.           Teak
Teak is from hard wood species and is obtained from deciduous trees characterized by hairy leaves (from below their surface) with fragrant white flowers.
Unlike red wood, Teak is relatively expensive.Initially, the use of Teak wood experienced setbacks due to misrepresented information that negatively affected its sustainability. Thanks to the western world plantations that have carefully managed the growing of Teak Wood.
Teak is resistant to decay; it also has water repulsion qualities, has dense straight grains and does not swell nor shrink. For the Long term, Teak is superior, incredibly strong and ages well. Reasons why it has a higher price tag.

Regarded as the ‘king of durable woods’ teak products are passed from generation to generation. They only need maintenance in terms of occasional cleaning and sanding for removal of dirt.

With high mineral content, Teak doesn’t rot even in the wettest of conditions. As times go by, it weathers into silver grey patina.

It also has high oil content, is of high tensile strength and preferred for outdoor furniture because of its tight grains. Some people prefer it for framing, planking, flooring, making counter-tops and boards.

In as much as it is very easy to work on, Teak contains Silica that can severely blunt edged tools.

Although the above woods are durable and long lasting, it is important to exercise measures of protecting them so as to maintain their beautiful and natural look. Their clean surface needs to be maintained. For reduced maintenance costs, painting and use of clear covers is recommended. Covers will also save much of your time in clean ups.

Technophobe Tech-ing…

I’ve had this website, Boa Online, for a while now and wanted to continue posting to it which I have done regularly and I’ve actually written a load of content which I have scheduled to post out over the coming days and weeks.

The one thing I was missing were any social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. So, today, I can proudly announce that I have created my first Facebook Page and a Twitter account. I had to get a little advice about how to do it but it’s all good now and I will shortly be adding some of my old posts to the account and making sure that going forward all new posts get added to both Facebook and Twitter.

If you are on either of those two sites please swing by and say hello! That’s all for now, next post will be in a couple of days time.

Boiler Room - Central Heating

Best Ways to Heat Your Home Without Central Heating

Heating your home without central heating basically means keeping your house warmth without the use of heat from a central source or the mains. Among other measures, additional curtains can be incorporated so as to insulate the house and protect from thermal loss. The following are some of the best ways of home heating in without central heating.

Use of curtains

For homes with radiators, it is usually advisable to tuck curtains behind radiators so that they don’t trap heat.If no central heating is in place, curtains should be used to keep the available heat in the house. Because most heat escapes through windows, it is recommended to always keep curtains closed. Consequently, use of additional curtain lining (double layered curtain sheets either self-made or locally obtained)should be practiced.

Curtain use should not be entirely restricted to windows but doors too. Appropriate door curtains should be long, wide and lined with heavy material e.g. duvet. As soon as darkness approaches, all window and door curtains should be closed to help in keeping the house warm and insulated.

Shutting doors and windows

This is an obvious measure but one worth noting especially for homes with playing kids where a window can mistakenly be left open. Counter check that no window or door is left open. Also inform the family on the importance of this measure during winter. Ensure all the rooms that will be used at night are on the recommended habitable temperatures then shut that heat in.

Utilize natural light

In as much as window, doors and curtains should be closed to minimize heat loss, opening them when sunny is appropriate for natural heat from the sun to warm the room up. Use of sunlight should be embraced since it’s absolutely free.

Watching for draughts

Draughts are leakages that may occur via electrical outlets, window frames, Baseboards and switch plates among others. To minimize on unnecessary heat loss, small holes around pipes and vents should be sealed. Again, rolled up towels or unused clothing can be placed at the door bottom to keep the cold outside. Hanging curtains in front of draughty doors and windows can also help.

If your house has a cat flap or letterbox, it is vital to fill it with sheep wool, unused blanket or any other insulation material to prevent loss of heat or influx of unwanted cold air.

Use of double glazing windows is also encouraged. Because they are of different types, the best ones are those with an energy saving trust seal. Double glazing windows ensure sufficient heat is trapped inside the house thereby minimizing on the overall efforts made in home heating.

Again, revamping windows is also essential in minimizing heat loss. This can be through the use of multiple panes for effective insulation or sealing of edges and cracks. Always check and practice simple repairs such as replacing damaged wood and missing putty.

Layering up

This can be through different ways. The easiest is the use of blankets on sofas and arm chairs for that cosy and warm feeling. Consequently, the use of extra blankets in beds will also provide additional warmth. When it comes to floors, covering them with rags and towels will help protect your feet from their coldness.

A warm mode of dressing should also be considered. Wear tights and leggings under trousers. Also sleeveless T-shirts and tops should be worn under shirts for provision of another layer. Consequently advise every family member to wear a hat, hand gloves and booties.

Use of hotties

In addition to layering, heat the body from inside by taking tea, soup or hot drinks. Keep fingers warm by holding the warm or hot mug from outside.

Cheap hot water bottles can also be used to treat each family member by snuggling before bed time. If it is entirely cold, hot water bottles can be put in bed some few hours before bed time to create an electric blanket feel.

Spreading the warmth

An oven can be a very important source of heat to your kitchen and house as a whole. After preparation of the evening meal, the oven door should be left open (with the oven switched off) to spread the already used heat to the entire kitchen and the surrounding areas. This way, a lot of heat which could have easily been wasted is preserved.

Another way of getting the most out of the heating source is to dry clothes in front of fire. This way, warm air rises to the living room and with all openings closed and draughts taken care of, sufficient heat is kept in the room.

With the current unfavorable economic conditions and high cost of maintaining a central heating system, the above are some of simple ways that can be utilized to heat your home.