Best Portable Oscillating Power Tool For All Carpentry Jobs

Best Portable Oscillating Power Tool For All Carpentry Jobs


Sometimes, we may need to carry oscillating tools with our own for our different purposes. However, most of the best oscillating tools are quite heavy and that’s the cause of unable to carry all time. So, they mainly found in to be used for home or professional works only. But there are also some of the portable mini oscillating tools is available which can be carried with us for our mobile works too. The Rockwell oscillating tool is such kind of tool that can fulfill this demand and help you with the best way indeed.

Those things to be remembered:

Suppose, you have to complete some carpentry jobs outside of your home. For this purpose, you may need some particular oscillating tools for this specific work. You may notice that which tools the carpenters use while working. Make a chart by including all the names on it. But it doesn’t matter what oscillating tools you are going to carry or what brand they are going to represent. Only remember a few points like these-
•The tools should be very light
•Keep separate the very small tools
•Check the tools with the list that you made earlier.
•Carry duplicates parts or tools as optional
•Carry all of the oscillating tools in a bag or a box.

The tools should be very light

However, this is the core thing to keep in mind that, the oscillating tools, which are you going to carry, should be the lightest tools among the tools of your tool box. Because, you are going to carry them for your mobile jobs and where you may not get the sufficient places or chances to keep the all instruments with you. Moreover, you also may have to carry them with you all time. So, if those tools prove so much heavy, then they also may collapse you to move easily and fast work.

Keep separate the very small tools

The small oscillating tools have the highest risk of being lost any time. It may also make your slow if they can’t find out at the time of needing them. SO, it would be much better if you keep them in a separate side or in a different purse to find and use them very quickly whenever you felt for them.

Check the tools with the list that you made earlier

I have advised you before, that you should prepare a list of tools which can be taken by you whenever you are going for any work outside of your home. If you made a list, then it would help you the best to remember which things are essential for you. And by checking them in later, that will also assist you most that you skipped any of them or not. However, you can also keep it in safe to get help in later too.

Carry duplicates parts or tools as optional

This is another point that you should not forget. Sometimes, it happened that, the things which may be looked by us, can’t easily find out at the time of crying needs. So, it would definitely a wise decision, if you carry the duplicate tools with you, whenever you are going to carry them. I am not saying that you will be needed that, but it is better to act wiser than repenting in later. So, try to carry the duplicate oscillating tools as optional.

Carry all of the oscillating tools in a bag or a box.

If you are about to go so far for your works, then don’t overlook to carry a strong bag or box as storage of your portable oscillating tools. However, this bag or box will also help your tools to keep safe from the weather and water also. If the bag contains several pockets, then you can keep and find the various tools easily.


Well! If you can maintain all the points those were mentioned above, then you can certainly do better while working outside. However, it is only hoped that you just figure out the best result by using your portable oscillating tools.


10 Tips For Using A Vacuum Sealer

A vacuum sealer is actually a machine which seals as well as removes air from especial kinds of plastic bags. These devices are generally used to preserve foods but they have other uses also. But to use this device properly you must have some knowledge about the using techniques and other necessary information about this product. Here we will give you 10 basic tips for using a vacuum sealer successfully.

meat in a vacuum-sealed cooking bag

meat in a vacuum-sealed cooking bag on the black background

10 Tips for using a vacuum sealer

  1. Only vacuum sealing can’t save your food: You must understand that a vacuum sealing will not save your foods from being spoiled. It means you mustn’t Pack raw meats and put it in your closet expecting it will not be spoilt. However, if you put the vacuum sealed meat in the freezer then it will remain fresh and tasty.
  2. Do not keep liquids in the plastic bag: Vacuum sealer sucks the air from the packet. So if there are liquids in the packet that can also be sucked by the vacuum sealer. This kind of incident precisely is not so good for the machine itself. So what can you do? You must make the liquid elements frozen before giving it to the vacuum sealer. So particularly if there are meats, stews or soups in your packet then before placing the packet before the vacuum sealer you must make the things inside the packet frozen.
  3. Do not overfill the packet: Overfilling the plastic bag will be a wrong procedure. You must have at least three inches of the empty place at the top of the bag. Especially if you are planning to reseal the bags then you must consider this. Resealing allows you to use the needed amount of product from the bag and then again using it. Just for your information, if you have at least extra 5 inches of extra space then you have the option of resealing the pack 5 times by your vacuum cleaner.
  4. Use only the compatible plastic bags: It will be wise for you not to make your own plastic bags for the vacuum sealer without taking any help from the experts. Every model of vacuum sealer has its own type of plastic bags. Using other types of plastic bags which are not particularly compatible with vacuum sealer does not give you any guarantee that your sealed foods or other products will not be spoiled.
  5. Stop residual air: In many cases people forget to maintain the opening of the plastic bag smooth when they give the bags in the vacuum sealer. There is a problem in doing so. In many cases it happens that if the openings of the plastic bags do not remain smooth then even after they are sealed by the vacuum sealer there remains residual air. This air is unwanted air and it can cause harm to the products in the plastic bags especially the foods. So be careful about it.
  6. Use the option of Re-sealing: In many cases you may be confused whether the seal is safe enough or not. Well, you don’t have to be too much tensed. The solution is simple. If you have any kind of confusion you can reseal the pack. Well you must be thinking about the space problem. Vacuum sealer actually takes a very little space for sealing. You can reseal the plastic bag near about quarter of an inch of the earlier seal. This will surely extinguish your confusion.
  7. Beware of the sharp edges of the products: It is true that the materials used for making the special plastic bags for vacuum sealer make the bag a strong one but still have the possibility of licking. Be aware of the sharp-edged products like non-food items, dried foods, pasta etc. So what can you do? You can wrap those sharp-edged products by soft materials like paper towels and then you can put them in the plastic bag. By this way you can prevent the puncturing of the plastic bags and thus protect your food from being spoiled.
  8. Check if the items are prepared or not: You must prepare your vegetables and fruits before packaging. If you are going to freeze the products then you must be sure that you have pre-freeze the products. And if you are planning to store the foods in your closet then you must be sure whether you have properly dehydrated the foods or not.
  9. Be innovative: It is true that is a great extent the vacuum sealer sucks the air in the plastic bag. But for foods even that cannot give you a 100 percent guarantee of safety. You have to use other processes for getting better results. You can make use of moisture absorbers before giving the products finally to the vacuum sealer. You can also use moisture absorbing or oxygen absorbing packs mostly known as desiccant packs. This will certainly increase the preservation period of the foods.
  10. Take care of the machine and the machine will take care of you: Taking care of the vacuum sealer is very important. But unfortunately many people forget to take proper care of the machine. The working condition must be good. You must store the machine properly after every time you use it and clean it properly according to the guidelines of the user manual. This guarantees you that you will get the maximum service from the machine.
vacuum-packed sausages

vacuum-packed sausages thermoformage on the black background

These 10 tips are just some of the basic tips for using a vacuum sealer. There are many other ways to use the vacuum sealer properly and making the 100 percent use of this machine. But these 10 tips will help you to be innovative surely and also make you aware of the basic knowledge of vacuum sealer. In fact the best knowledge about this product will come to you when you use this product in your day to day life. And also this is the practical use of this product that will make you innovative about its better use.


Commissioners debate free snow removal

The fastest method of snow removal

A first-term North Huntingdon commissioner has challenged the long-standing township policy of providing free snow removal for private streets. Commissioner Lee Moffatt said Wednesday night the township is losing thousands of dollars by offering winter maintenance to roads that have not been dedicated to the municipality. He pointed to practices of surrounding communities that charge developers a “per mile” rate for snow removal on their private streets. “There is no reason to take care of them. We’re spending taxpayer dollars on them and we’re not even getting liquid fuels money for them. It’s a huge deficiency. It’s not just money, it’s the liability,” he said.

Moffatt said officials of communities he polled told him they charge developers from $2,200 to $4,100 per mile to clean snow from their private streets. “I’d like to see the developers have to pay,” he said. However, some commissioners felt snow removal for residents of private streets was a service to taxpayers. “We went this route a few years back and decided these people are paying taxes for services. We had issues with some bad roads,” said Commissioner Tom Kerber.

Service Snow Removal

Chairman Rich Gray said the township is getting revenue for maintaining private roads because there are taxpayers living on them. Solicitor Craig Alexander said local governments do not have to service roads before they are completed and offered over. “It’s the developer’s responsibility to maintain roads,” he said. “You’re giving away a service you don’t need to be giving away.” Kerber asked if the developers would have the opportunity to perform their own maintenance. Alexander said they would definitely have that option.

“I know of no other municipality that does this. You providing this service for the developer. He’s making more money because he doesn’t have to do it. It’s the developer’s responsibility to maintain roads, not the residents,” the solicitor said. In other business, commissioners voted, 4-3, to accept the resignation of Manager John Shepherd, effective Sunday. Both Kerber and Gray got teary-eyed when they spoke of the township’s loss of Shepherd’s leadership. “You made this board look very good,” Kerber said.

Snow Removal Machine

“It’s a great loss to the township.” “I echo the sentiments of the board,” said Gray, his voice breaking with emotion. Commissioners George Fohner, Tim Hondal, Moffatt and Gray voted to accept Shepherd’s resignation. Commissioners Angelo Furlin, Kerber and Don Austin voted against it. Kerber said his “no” vote was merely an expression of his sentiment.

Alexander said that even if the board did not vote to accept the resignation, it still would occur. “He’s not indentured,” he said. Shepherd, who has been manager for almost nine years, said he and his family will continue to live in the township — at least until his children graduate high school. He said he will continue to be visible in the community and thanked the board members for their comments. Shepherd said he is in the process of finalizing a new position and would not reveal where he will be employed.


Snow removal budgets dwindling

Snown Removal Overview

Feb. 21–Manassas public works employee Dustin Hogue scooped cement-like chunks of ice off a sidewalk in Old Town Tuesday, almost one week after a major ice storm covered the area.

For other storms, he said, snow blowers would have been used to clear sidewalks, but to deal with this ice, technology doesn’t always cut it. “You expect this in the arctic,” said Manassas City Manager Lawrence D. Hughes. “Where’s global warming when you need it?”

Slick and thick ice has become commonplace this past week, depleting local cities’ snow-removal budgets and keeping public works staffs busy. But the temperature finally warmed sufficiently Tuesday to allow for some real thawing of the ice piles shoved into the corners of Manassas and Manassas Park. The impact from the ice on both cities this past week was severe. Since Feb. 13, students have lost days of learning, businesses have lost hours of productivity and cars have endured the trials of winter road conditions.

Manassas has either spent its $200,000 snow removal budget, or at least is pretty close to doing so. Manassas Park has gone through about 75 percent of its snow removal budget, though Public Works director Kathleen Gammell couldn’t pinpoint the exact department budget Tuesday.

Snow Removal Guide

Though Manassas snow removal funds are nearly depleted, that does not mean the city can’t respond to another storm. “We’ll just take [the money] out of contingency or the fund balance,” Hughes said. “We’re not going to let the snow backup.” Hughes said last week’s storm was particularly brutal because of the nature of the precipitation.

“It wasn’t really snow, it was ice,” he said. “It was really heavy and then it froze like cement.” The heavy ice caused problems because snowplows had to go faster, gaining momentum to move it. This often led to ice landing on already shoveled sidewalks, sparking complaints from some city residents to the city, Hughes said. Chemicals were put on roads early in both cities to cut down on the build-up of ice.

But as the freezing rain came down Feb. 13 and 14, Gammell said there was just no keeping up in Manassas Park. “I guess it was about four o’ clock in the morning that it started to come down so heavy that salt just wasn’t taking care of it fast enough,” she said.


Gammell said Manassas Park Public Works wasn’t able to hit many side streets or residential areas until Wednesday. There was another freeze Wednesday night and by Thursday, the ice was like concrete.

Back-hoes had to be used to break up the ice at that point, Gammell said. Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones said the storm had a personal impact on him. “My back still hurts,” he said. The ice presented a challenge, but the city’s public works employees faced it well, he said. The roads were able to be cleared sufficiently that Manassas Park students didn’t have to miss too many days of school, Jones said. In contrast to neighboring jurisdictions like Manassas and Prince William County, Manassas Park schools faced more delays than cancellations.

“From the perspective of size and getting out early, we are able to get things opened up generally faster than the jurisdictions around us,” Jones said. Gammell said that there is still ice that Manassas Park needs to remove from sidewalks in the city, but she hopes all the city’s ice will be gone by next week. Hughes was less optimistic, saying that he wouldn’t be surprised to see ice still lurking in Manassas in a month. The Manassas public works director, Gene Jennings, said that some ice is still being removed in Manassas during normal work hours. “As we get inquiries about issues like water forming during the day and then freezing during the night, we are responding to those type issues,” he said.


Food Security Under Siege

THERE IS SO MUCH delicious food in the world. Most local regions and cultures have their own wonderful flavours and dishes, many from long ago. Yet today food security is under threat from the handful of agro-industrial multinational corporations operating under free trade arrangements and from the private and offshore banks and stock exchanges that are driving food prices up through speculation. Their global financial center is, ironically, the Anglo-American world which is reputed to have the least healthy, least tasty, and least sociable cuisine of all.

Mike Davis documents the historical roots of the current food system in the late Victorian period when the British Empire essentially created the “Third World.” Droughts caused by El Nino weather events interacted with the colonial economy. Mono-cropping replaced much subsistence farming, and global food prices were fixed in London, making worldwide food staples unaffordable. Food was shipped from the periphery to London, even though it was known that millions of people were dying of starvation.

It’s essential to understand interactions. Climate change directly affects agriculture and vice versa within the dysfunctional economic system. For example, climate change warms the ocean surface and melts ice sheets, and rising sea level then inundates and salinates major rice and wheat growing deltas. At the same time agricultural fertilizers seep into the ocean causing dead zones. To make matters worse, recent court decisions allow agro-chemical multinationals to patent seeds, so there are fewer seed varieties available to farmers for experimentation and adaptation to changed conditions. Wheat, rice, and fish shortages lead to higher prices and profits for investors, while farmers and fisher people lose their livelihood and migrate to urban slums.

There are other frightening interactions. According to a Globe and Mail article on the troubled city of Hamilton, “Steeltown’s new hope” is agriculture as the city’s port “welcomes grains, fertilizer, soybeans.” That means more fossil fuels from the 240 trucks per day that will transport genetically modified crops to Hamilton to be shipped overseas. International shipping, with its exhaust emissions of CO2, NOx and SO2, is exempt under Kyoto. Steeltown will be a distribution hub for nitrogen fertilizers, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Another interaction: in British Columbia, controversy erupted with the proposal to fold the Agriculture Land Commission into the Ministry of Agriculture, with the likely aim of authorizing natural gas development on agriculture reserves. The Agriculture Minister who drew up the proposal had worked for 25 years in the oil and gas industry. The BC government is vigorously pursuing hydrocarbon investments, even courting Petronas which is accused by the UN of violating the arms embargo to Sudan.

David Pimentel, agro-ecology expert from Cornell University, writes of the undeniable but often denied fact that all fossil fuels need to be eliminated soon. Putting a stop to fossil-fuel based agriculture entails replacing farm mechanization as well as the current distribution networks that rely on international aviation and shipping and on speculative pricing. Pimentel calculates that fossil fuel-free farming means that many more hours per week need to be devoted to agriculture. He estimates that returning to horses and mules for tilling and other farm operations would increase labour from eleven hours to between thirty and forty hours per hectare. As he observed in Monthly Review (July-August 2009): “Mechanization decreases labor significantly, but does not contribute to increased crop yields.”

The necessity of quickly eliminating greenhouse gases ought to clarify social priorities. Jobs in agriculture could certainly outpace jobs in the manufacturing sector. This is “low hanging fruit” as it can happen immediately and would not have to wait for new technology. There are a number of related work opportunities in fixing and maintaining water services and restoring much that is degraded by current land-use practices. A rational economy would prioritize and subsidize food security so that farmers would not be forced to sell precious water to industry or sell off farmland for fracking. And a rational economy would protect workers in all sectors.


Vacuum Technology Brews Perfect Cup Coffee Home

The Infuze[TM] Vacuum Coffeemaker produces true vacuum-brewed premium coffee in less than 10 minutes.

vacuum technologyHave you ever wondered what makes a truly great cup of coffee? Part of the answer deals with the quality of the water, and the quality of the bean you use. But the other part has to do with the coffeemaker itself. Where temperature of the water and the amount of time the water is in contact with the coffee grounds are concerned, the Infuze[TM] Vacuum Coffeemaker steps in to take control and serve you a cup of coffee you’ll never forget–every time. If you’re a coffee lover, can you imagine how it would be to have a perfect cup of gourmet, robust coffee every single morning? Or serving guests the best coffee they’ve ever had? It’s possible with the remarkable technology of the Infuze[TM] Vacuum Coffeemaker.

The science of better coffee. The Infuze[TM] Vacuum Coffeemaker is a unique method for brewing a consistently great cup of coffee. Where ACD’s (Automatic Drip Coffeemaker) only have a single pass of hot water for coffee extraction, and percolators re-circulate the water and coffee/water mixture repeatedly, the Infuze has performance/extraction characteristics closely related to the taste of a French Press. Featuring true “vacuum” brewed, premium coffee in under just 10 minutes, the Infuze has a tubular heating element that allows for variable brewing (two to 10 cups). The bottom vessel of the Infuze acts as a removable water reservoir and wide-mouth serving carafe. When brewing, the water is funneled to the top vessel to mix with the grounds after it’s been heated. The volumetric/physics calculations of the lower vessel work as a “timer” to keep the hot water and coffee in suspension for a determined period of time that will result in maximum coffee flavor and optimal bean extraction. The coffee is then filte red back down to the lower vessel, while the spent grounds stay up top! With a permanent filter and “soft-grip” handles, the Infuze is easy-to-use, and also easy-to-dean! Just imagine no more annoying paper filters that lose or taint flavorful oils and have to be thrown away! Also comes with a convenient kickstand for storing the top vessel after brewing cycle, and is completely programmable with a digital clock Dishwasher safe.

Vacuum CoffeemakerWake up to a great cup of coffee–every morning. Forget mediocre coffee in the morning! It’s time to find out for yourself how the innovative technology of the Infuze Vacuum Coffeemaker can serve you an incredible cup of coffee every single morning! The Infuze comes with a 1-year warranty and is backed by TechnoScout’s exclusive in-home, 30-day trial. If you aren’t completely satisfied by the quality of this high-tech coffeemaker, simply return it within 30 days for the full purchase price.


Cleaning Supplies and Demands

Your carpet-care arsenal should offer a range of products and equipment to respond to your specific maintenance needs

It’s not easy to keep your carpets looking like new. And knowing which carpet-care supplies can best accomplish this is as important as the type of carpeting you choose.

When selecting your carpet-care supplies, two things are critical: carpet-care supplies should be safe to use and safe for the environment. According to Michael A. Berry, deputy director of the Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, “Carpets serve as |sinks’ and collect pollutants of all kinds from both the indoor and the ambient environment. Humans, in turn, are exposed to those sinks through direct contact, such as children on the floor, or by the release of the contaminant from the sink.”

You can help keep these “sinks” clean and safe through preventive, interim and restorative maintenance methods with quality carpet-care supplies.

Preventive maintenance supplies

Preventive maintenance protects carpet from soils and spots that could damage the carpet if left unattended. For preventive maintenance, you should have three basic supplies:

* Walk-off mats. About 70% of the soil on carpet is tracked in from outdoors via foot traffic. Look for mats that are 12 to 15 feet in length because 30% of the soil is trapped within the first three feet, while 85% is trapped within 15 feet. These walk-off mats should be cleaned on a regular basis, because dirty mats become a source of soil.

* Vacuum cleaners. A wide variety of vacuum cleaners are available to meet your specific needs. Everything from backpacks and uprights to wide-area vacuums. Each one has a specific place and purpose. For schools and universities, a dual-motor upright is recommended for most areas. Dual-motors provide more power and airflow to remove soil and airborne pollutants from the environment. Wide-area vacuums are also necessary for large areas to reduce labor costs and offer great cleaning results.

When selecting a vacuum, look at the airflow cfm (cubic feet per minute) – the amount of airflow that can pass through it in one minute. The higher the airflow, the better the soil recovery. It’s also very important to purchase vacuums that feature internal bags or hoppers and good filtration systems. Vacuums with external bags, poor filtration or dirty air systems simply put a portion of the harmful materials (i.e., dust, irritants, allergens, fungus spores, bacteria, germs and other biocontaminants) back into the environment. Some new vacuum bags are anti-bacterial – they destroy germs and bacteria and also provide superior filtration. Your choice of vacuums is central to your maintenance program because 80% of all soils are removed by proper vacuuming.

* A spot removal system. Spots require prompt attention to avoid the possibility of spreading harmful materials or staining the carpet. The type of spill will dictate what type of chemical should be used and what process should be used to remove it.

There are four basic types of spots: water-soluble, oil-based, non-soluble and special treatment. The carpet-care chemicals you select should have Material Safety Data Sheets, and they should be safe for the environment, safe for the operator and safe on the equipment used.

Interim maintenance supplies

Interim maintenance cleans the surface of the carpet and removes wet and oily binders that trap and hold soils in the carpet. For interim maintenance, you can choose from among surface extraction, bonnet cleaning and low-moisture absorbent cleaning.

For surface extraction, the only supplies you need are a self-contained extractor, chemical and hot water. The extractor is operated at a quick pace for light surface cleaning. If you are interested in the bonnet method, you’ll need a rotary floor machine with a pad driver, a pressure sprayer, chemical and a bonnet pad.

You may choose to use a low-moisture system, which requires a machine with counter-rotating brushes and absorbent powder. Each method has its time and place. Use the system(s) that provides the cleanest, safest results for your facility.


Cleaning Floor Care

To get the most cost-effective finish and performance, careful evaluation of floor equipment and products is necessary

Cleaning the floors of today’s educational institutions requires more than a bucket, some water and a mop. Maintenance departments are dealing with tight budgets, staff cuts and increasing costs as they strive to maintain quality and performance.

The first step to labor savings and improved floor appearance is understanding quality – and lack of it – in floor coatings. Many purchasing plans reflect selection based on price per gallon. However, obtaining floor finish based only on bottom-line factors is like buying the least expensive textbook without considering content, practicality or durability.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to get desired results with an inadequate floor-care tool. By determining the real expense of current programs, maintenance departments can enhance results while streamlining floor-care budgets.

Figuring actual cost

Cost per square foot of coverage is one criterion for determining actual value in floor coatings. Consider, for example, a low-bid finish that costs $6 per gallon, covers 1,500 square feet and requires six coats to produce an acceptable shine. This product will cost $24 to coat 1,000 square feet. However, a product that costs $12 per gallon, covers 3,000 square feet and requires three coats to produce an acceptable shine will actually cost $12 per 1,000 square feet. Although the second product has a higher purchase price, the program results in a 50-percent savings over the first coating.

Assessing the long-term labor and chemical expense of an existing floor-care program can be done manually or with the help of a computer software program. Many software programs determine total floor-care costs based on a selected floor finish, its rate of coverage, cost per gallon, type and frequency of maintenance procedures (such as spray buffing vs. high-speed burnishing), type of equipment used and established labor estimates for tasks. Software can help answer important questions, such as:

* What happens to the budget by using a 24-inch propane burnisher instead of a 20-inch, 350-rpm electric machine to buff classrooms and hallways?

* What will annual chemical and labor costs be based on a neutral cleaner dilution rate of 1-to-64 and damp mopping twice a day?

* How much time will be saved by switching from 24-inch dust mops to 36-inch?

Concise printouts of the existing floor-care program and the proposed program allow quick comparisons of overall life-cycle costs and provide documentation to motivate sound purchasing decisions.

Hands-on cost accounting

Empirical data show the close relationship between floor machine speeds, correct selection of finish and the cost impact of incompatible products. A floor finish that costs less per unit, but is not compatible with ultra-high-speed (UHS) burnishing, may require several passes with a burnisher to produce acceptable gloss. This increases labor expense and nullifies any upfront savings.

Coatings designed for low-speed buffing, though less expensive per gallon, are generally more brittle than UHS coatings, produce powdering during burnishing with high-speed equipment, and require extra labor to remove dust residue from the floor and classroom furnishings. UHS coatings – often no more responsive and durable than more economical products in low-speed buffing applications – are sometimes fiscal overkill with equipment under 1,000 rpm. New dry-bright coatings that provide acceptable gloss without buffing may be a viable alternative.

Finish durability is linked to proper matching of coatings and machine speeds. UHS products respond properly to modern floor burnishers, increasing hardness and slip resistance during the burnishing process.

Tests on resilient tile in high-traffic areas using a gloss meter – which measures light reflection from the floor – demonstrate the potential difference between a UHS finish and a lower-priced product. Before exposure to traffic, the non-UHS finish registered 80 on the gloss meter. After a full day of foot traffic, the reading was 60. Under the same conditions, the UHS finish after buffing began at 90 and ended the day at 85. The more durable shine produced by the high-speed coating reduced the need for restoration work, and lowered the facility’s overall maintenance budget.

Product testing

Merely explaining the long-term benefits and cost-savings of a product isn’t enough. Testing and qualification teams can provide the data needed to help promote systems to upper management and cleaning staffs.

Bill Bond, manager of custodial services at Arizona State University, Tempe, conducted a nine-month evaluation of floor-care systems on 18,500 square feet of resilient flooring in the Academic Services Building. Tested products included a 28-inch propane burnisher, a metal-free UHS finish, restorer, neutral cleaner and 17-inch autoscrubber. The new system lowered costs from 8 cents to 1 cent per square foot compared to the existing low-speed spray buffing program. The test produced a $1,267 chemical savings over nine months. This prompted adoption of the program despite the higher initial per-unit cost of products.

Stripping cycles also proved to be cost effective. Under the previous spray buff maintenance arrangement, the building required quarterly stripping and refinishing. With the new equipment and cleaning chemicals, stripping hasn’t been performed in more than four years, and floor appearance levels remain excellent.

Another consideration is how difficult the finish is to remove. Stripping is one of the most labor-intensive floor-care procedures. Many poorly formulated finishes are hard to strip and require prolonged exposure to potent strippers. Some floor coatings, by contrast, don’t require conventional strippers. Instead, maintenance workers apply a specially formulated remover, which when combined with a scrub pad, dissolves the damaged or soiled top layer of finish and leaves the sealer intact. This lowers labor and recoating expense.

An “inexpensive” finish that isn’t slip-certified and fully backed by the manufacturer can be very costly if its use leads to a slip or fall lawsuit against the institution. Select coatings that are UL-classified as slip resistant and test floors periodically using a portable motorized slip meter.

The machine ingredient

Autoscrubbers can contribute to floor safety and high productivity. An autoscrubber consolidates many procedures, including mopping, scrubbing, rinsing, squeegeeing and vacuuming, while providing superior cleaning and a virtually dry floor.

Hefty productivity gains allow greater floor coverage with fewer personnel and in less time compared to manual floor care. Floor production rates for light scrubbing with a 17-inch machine average 18,500 square feet per hour. Actual cleaning speed will depend on conditions, but increases of 2 to 10 times over mop-and-bucket maintenance are common.

Carefully evaluate facility needs before recommending purchases, including:

* Size of floor area.

* Width of aisles.

* Nature and size of obstructions.

When selecting a machine, factor in:

* Adequate solution and recovery tank size.

* Solution flow rates.

* Head width and available head pressures.

* Operating time between charges.

The goal is optimum, effective floor scrubbing capacity, with maneuverability and access to all floor areas.

It is important to select machines that are UL-listed, follow recommended procedures to minimize emissions, and investigate units equipped with electronic emission controls and other safety features. Seek out propane safety certification programs that provide instruction in maintenance and operation practices to reduce risk and optimize cost effectiveness.

The benefits of this learning process emerge in the form of a better grasp of the total floor maintenance picture and the complex interaction of factors involved. By assessing interactive lifecycle costs – rather than product price shopping – school systems will reduce costs and enhance floor appearance.

RELATED ARTICLE: Sticky business: Choosing a carpet detergent

Before you specify any detergent to be used for carpet cleaning, it is important to get a sample and perform this simple three-step test:

1. Place a small amount of detergent in a glass dish.

2. Allow the detergent to dry for 24 hours.

3. Check for stickiness. If the detergent sample is dry and not sticky to the touch, it is acceptable for use in cleaning carpet.

If the detergent is sticky to the touch, do not specify it for use in cleaning carpet, as it will leave a residue on carpet pile, which will attract and hold more dirt after cleaning. After cleaning with a sticky detergent, carpet gets dirty again much faster.


Hot Cuisine Mark Miller Story

mark millerMARK MILLER — anthropologist, chef and restaurant owner — is talking intensely over some very intense food at Red Sage, his new restaurant in Washington. He says that 15 years ago he looked at “upper-class, upwardly mobile, Eurocentric American society” and thought: “Let them eat chilies.” And they did.

They ate shrimp rubbed with chipotle peppers and served on corn cakes, organic greens dressed with jalapeno buttermilk vinaigrette, venison rubbed with ancho chili paste, green chili stew with posole.

The chili pepper had arrived — and so had its main man. Miller’s restaurants, Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, N.M., as well as Red Sage, are always packed. His books, “Coyote Cafe” and “The Great Chili Book,” sell like hot cakes. In a recent article about chilies, The New Yorker wrote that under Miller’s tutelage, chilies have been “most conspicuously elevated from local produce to a widely known symbol of a new American haute cuisine.”


Miller shifts uncomfortably in his leather seat at Red Sage. The restaurant, cafe, bakery and retail food store (all of which he designed) cost more than $3 million to build. It defines Santa Fe chic: a little bit adobe, a lot Georgia O’Keeffe.

“I distrust the Euro-bias in the ‘haute’ descriptor,” says the 43-year-old chef. Gazing at the plate of Indian flat bread with black beans and house-cured gravlax on the table between us, he shakes his head like a battle-weary soldier.

“I’ve been fighting against hierarchical, culinary stereotypes for so long,” he says.

Improvisations like the unctuous flat bread and the silky poblano and corn chowder garnished with chanterelles that followed would seem to indicate that he has won his battle. Like most of Miller’s cooking, they use arcane knowledge of indigenous American cooking as a starting point and draw on French technique to build whimsical, full-flavored improvisations.

We taste a sausage made of corn fungus and tarragon garnished with grilled tomatoes and poblano peppers, a sage-scented buffalo sausage with a sweet-pepper relish, a duck breast sliced around beet greens. The flavors are earthy, the crafting perilously close to the dreaded “haute.”

“That word simply reaffirms a particular class, the status quo, the pretense of aspiration,” says Miller with a sigh, sinking his fork into a husky, molasses-roasted duck with a rutabaga flan. He tries to strike a proletarian note. “Doesn’t this flavor remind you of ham hocks and baked beans?” he asks.

It certainly reminds him of the homey food he ate growing up in Massachusetts, the son of French Canadians. The dish also draws from his graduate studies in Cross-Cultural Esthetics at the University of California at Berkeley, which is where he began cooking.

Miller was soon working at Chez Panisse, helping to create daily menus that were blueprints for the New American Cuisine. He opened Fourth Street Grill in Berkeley three years later, at a time when a band of culinary pranksters were firing up their mesquite grills.

He soon proceeded to fulfill the American entrepreneurial dream. Shuttling between his restaurants, which gross about $11 million a year, with regular forays to Asia where he consulted for a Japanese company, he became an unabashed jet-set chef.

But he is still trying to make his point, he says, tapping the toe of his lizard-skin cowboy boot under the concrete table at Red Sage. “The point is that American cooking is bigger, deeper, older than the public has any idea,” Miller frets.

He adds: “People have lost the experience of food. Eating in restaurants has become a status experience.”

Then he stops talking like a Ph.D candidate and starts to eat like a cowboy. The frustrations of raising a rambunctious toddler of a cuisine slide away like a sunset over the prairie. The brow unfurls. The eyes become a clear blue sky. Within a bite, Miller is roaming the range of his own America: his cooking.

He imagines a Fourth of July menu — lobster salad from New England with a basil mayonnaise twist, fresh corn tamales from the Southwest, brisket slathered in green chilies and given a good old-time barbecue, a firecracker cake that could be the centerpiece of a Midwestern church supper. Intellectual quandry fades. History, appetite and occasion intersect. It’s a great country and it’s dinner time. LOBSTER SALAD The basil mayonnaise: 1 small egg yolk 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 2 cups basil leaves, minced The salad: 4 cups shredded savoy cabbage 1 cup shredded red cabbage 1 large red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, deveined, peeled, cut into 24 very thin strips lengthwise 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 4 1 1/2-pound lobsters, steamed and shelled, antennae reserved 4 Serrano or small jalapeno chilies.

1. To make the basil mayonnaise: Combine the egg yolk, lemon juice and mustard in a small glass or ceramic bowl. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Season with salt. Add the basil.

2. Put the basil mayonnaise in a large bowl. Add the shredded cabbage and toss. Mound 1 cup of cabbage salad in the center of each of four plates. Drape 4 red pepper strips around the sides. Cut one-third of the meat off the top of the lobster tail, chop finely and add to the remaining cabbage.

3. Top each mound with the lobster mixture. Place 2 of the remaining red pepper strips over the top of each mound. Sprinkle with equal amounts of diced carrot.

4. Cut the remaining tail meat into 6 pieces crosswise. Reassemble the tail and place it below the mound. Cut off the base of one of the claws and stand it up on the plate, leaning against the cabbage. Put a Serrano or small jalapeno chili between the claw and the cabbage, stem side up, so it looks as though the claw is holding the chili. Lay the other claw on its side, tip pointing away from the cabbage. Insert two antennae in the top of the mound and serve.

Yield: Four servings. FRESH CORN TAMALES 8 ears corn, shucked; reserve husks 1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal 1 tablespoon sugar 1 large egg 1 egg white 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted.

1. Using a sharp knife, cut a thin layer of the kernels off the cob. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside. Using the back of the knife, scrape the sides of the cobs to remove the remaining corn. Combine all of the corn, cornmeal, sugar, whole egg, egg white, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter in small amounts. Beat until smooth.

2. Set 6 large outer husks aside. Pick out 6 smaller husks from the inner leaves and set aside. Tear 12 thin strips from the remaining outer leaves. Set aside. Lay the 6 large husks, narrow top pointing away from you, on a flat surface. Fill the center of each with the corn mixture. Lay a smaller piece of husk on top, and fold the edges over the center so it is completely covered.

3. Fold the top of the husk over and tie it with one of the thin strips. Hold the tamale upright in your hand. Shake gently so the mixture settles in its wrapping. Lay it down. Fold the bottom end over and tie closed.

4. Place on a rack. Steam until tamales are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve with the green chili brisket.

Yield: Six servings. GREEN CHILI BRISKET The brisket: 1 4-pound brisket 6 large Anaheim or poblano chilies, roasted, seeded, deveined and peeled 12 large jalapeno chilies, cut into thin round slices The green chili sauce: 4 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground cumin 4 pounds Anaheim chilies, roasted, seeded, deveined and peeled 3 large jalapeno chilies 8 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled 4 cups water 2 teaspoons salt.

1. Prepare the grill. Place charcoal in grill opposite the air vent. Light the coals. After the coals turn to ash, put a large pan of water next to them. The temperature should not rise above 165 degrees.

2. Put the brisket on the grill directly over the water. Cover the grill. Smoke until tender, about 12 to 14 hours. Turn once.

3. Meanwhile, make the chili sauce. Combine the oregano and ground cumin in a small skillet. Toast over medium heat until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Do not let the mixture brown. Set aside.

4. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.

5. Take the brisket out of the grill. Spread the green chili sauce over one side of the meat. Cover with a layer of the roasted peppers. Top with rows of sliced jalapenos. Wrap the brisket in foil and continue smoking for 30 more minutes. Serve with fresh corn tamales.

Yield: Six servings. FIRECRACKER CAKE The cake: 1 tablespoon melted, unsalted butter 6 egg yolks 1 cup water 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon lemon extract 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 10 egg whites 1 teaspoon cream of tartar The buttermilk ice cream: 1 cup heavy cream 5 egg yolks 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/2 cups buttermilk The blueberry mousse: 2 cups heavy cream 1 package gelatin 1/2 cup water 1 1/4 cups blueberry puree.

1. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-by-12-by-2-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Brush with melted butter. Set aside. Whisk all wet ingredients together, except egg whites. Set aside.

2. Combine the dry ingredients except cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Mix constantly until smooth.

3. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip the egg whites to a soft peak and fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the baking sheet, spreading it to the edges with a rubber spatula. Bake until lightly golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

4. To make the ice cream: Scald the cream in a saucepan. Combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until thick and light, about 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain into a clean bowl. Put the bowl in a large container of ice water and stir until the mixture is cold. Add the buttermilk and pour it into an ice-cream maker. Proceed as directed.

5. Churn the mixture until it is thick but loose. Do not let it harden in the ice-cream maker. Spoon the ice cream into 6 3-inch diameter molds or ramekins and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

6. To make the blueberry mousse: Whip the heavy cream into soft peaks. Refrigerate. Soak the gelatin in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry. Set aside. Bring 1/4 cup of the water to a boil, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved.

7. Put 1 cup of the blueberry puree in a large bowl. Set aside. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the puree until blended. Fold in the whipped cream, spoon into 6 3-inch diameter molds or ramekins and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Combine the remaining puree and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

8. Thirty minutes before serving, unmold both the ice cream and blueberry mousse. Place the mousse over the ice cream. Using the back of a butter knife, smooth the seam to fill in any gaps, and freeze until set, about 15 minutes. Lightly brush the sides of each piece of cake with the reserved blueberry mixture. Let drain on a rack.

9. To assemble the firecracker: Put the cake rounds in the center of 6 chilled dessert plates. Top with the mousse and ice-cream mold. Smooth the seam to fill in any gaps and freeze for an additional 15 minutes.