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Chapter 01: Automotive and Outdoor Power Equipment

Chapter 02: Building Materials

Chapter 03: Electric House wares and Home Electronics

Chapter 04: Electrical Supplies

Chapter 05: Hand Tools

Chapter 06: Hardware and Fasteners

Chapter 07: Heating and Cooling

Chapter 08: Lawn and Garden Chemicals

Chapter 09: Lawn and Garden Supplies

Chapter 10: Lumber and Wood Products

Chapter 11: Non-Electric Housewares and Cleaning Supplies

Chapter 12: Outdoor Living and Sporting Goods

Chapter 13: Paint and Decorating Products

Chapter 14: Plumbing Supplies

Chapter 15: Power Tools

Chapter 16: Merchandising Techniques
Power Equipment
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
Automotive d-i-yers have gone far
beyond simple car care and appearance
projects, graduating into full-scale mainte-
nance tasks that include such things as
tune-ups, oil changes, etc.
With the available product knowledge and
easy-to-use products and kits, the range of
projects that d-i-yers are willing and able to
tackle continues to expand.
One of the simplest projects is an oil
change. When selecting a motor oil, a
consumer should understand its designa-
tor. SAE (Society of American Engineers)
ratings indicate the viscosity of the oil.
The most commonly used oil for automo-
biles is 10-, 20- and 30-weight or all-
weather combinations.
A rating of 10 represents a thinner oil
than a 30-rated oil. The thin oil is recom-
mended for winter driving, where cold
weather causes the oil to become thick
and sluggish. A 30-rating oil is heavier and
is applicable in warm climates.
The designator W in a rating indicates
that the oil has been tested for viscosity
levels at specific cold temperatures. An oil
rated 10W-40 is considered an all-weather
oil with sufficient viscosity for both sum-
mer and winter driving.
A CC or CD label on an oil indi-
cates that it is for diesel engines. It should
also be noted that high-compression diesel
engines usually require more frequent oil
changes than their gasoline counterparts.
Synthetic motor oils are higher priced
than petroleum products but extend
change intervals up to 25,000 miles,
according to some manufacturers.
Synthetics can operate under a wide
temperature range since the molecular
chemistry is specifically developed at the
outset rather than relying solely on refin-
ing procedures and additives to fortify a
petroleum-based product. However, addi-
tives are still used in synthetics.
Generally, synthetics lubricate better, thus
reducing engine wear; they are purported to
enhance performance and economy. Two of
the major drawbacks are increased price,
which can run up to four times the price of
conventional oils, and educating consumers
to alter their oil-change intervals.
Rerefined oils are used oils reprocessed for
consumption. Although rerefined or recycled
oil is almost equal in quality to virgin oil
lubricants, the consumer will have to be edu-
cated to eliminate the stigma of used oil.
Detergent Oil
Detergent oils contain additives known as
detergent dispersants, designed to suspend
combustion by-products and keep these by-
products from settling on engine parts.
Automobiles built since about 1970 require
a high-detergent oil, designated by the
American Petroleum Institute Service
Classification SE or SF for gasoline engines
and API Service Classification CC and CD for
diesel-powered engines.
Nondetergent oils are classified under
API Service Classifications SA and SB.
These indicate a straight mineral oil-type
formulation and may have some rust oxi-
dation additives added.
A specially treated paper filtering element
contained in a metal screening is the prime
component in virtually all oil filters. The
paper is pleated into an accordion fold for
maximum surface area and the metal screen
is used to hold the paper in place and prevent
its collapse under the high pressure that
builds up in the oil system.
Filter quality is determined by the mini-
mum-sized particle that the filter is capable of
stopping. A 10-micron rating, for instance,
will stop a particle measuring approximately
The first item you should look for on a
container of oil is the American Petroleum
Institutes symbol as an assurance of oil
quality. It should read API Service.
Next check the oils performance level. An
S means the oil is suitable for use in
gasoline engines, and a C means the oil
is suitable for diesel engines.
Following the S should be a letter from
A to F, indicating its service letter. F
is the highest designation and will provide
the greatest performance. Following the
C will be a letter from A to D.
If a customer says his owners manual rec-
ommends an SD or SE oil, assure him
that an SF will provide better protection
and is preferable.
The words Energy Conserving on the
label usually mean the oil contains friction
modifiers and may provide a fraction of
an mpg in fuel economy.
The grade of the oil is set in accordance
with standards of the Society of
Automotive Engineers (SAE). A multiple-
grade oil will have two numbers. The first
shows the oils flow properties at low tem-
peratures; the second indicates the oils
high-temperature properties. A single-
grade oil will have only one number.
The W denotes the oil is recommended
for winter use.
Above 32F 20,30 10W-30
0-32F 10W 20W-30
Below 0F 5W 5W-20
.0004 inches, but still allow the oil to circu-
late freely in the system.
Spin-On Filters
Most cars are equipped with spin-on fil-
ters. These come with the filter enclosed
in the canister. When changing the unit,
the used canister is thrown away. When
selling this type filter, always consult the
catalog; although the filter might appear
outwardly to fit on a given car, there is a
good chance that the gaskets might not
seat properly or that the bypass valves
might not function.
Special wrenches are available for use with
filters of this type.
Long-Life Filters
Dual or long-life filters are basically spin-on
filters equipped with two filtering elements.
The main paper filter handles the flow of oil
under normal driving conditions. As oil pres-
sure builds, pressure valves release some of
the oil and channel it through a second ele-
ment often made of a synthetic material such
as rayon.
This relieves back pressure and prevents
clogging as oil pressure increases. As the pres-
sure declines, the valves close and redirect all
of the oil through the main filter element.
Cartridge-Type Filters
Cartridge-type oil filters, used primarily on
older cars, fit into a canister that is mounted
on the engine. The filter and the canister lid
must be seated properly to prevent oil leaks
and to ensure that the oil passes entirely
through the filtering element.
Two types of grease guns are usually sold
by d-i-y retailers. One is a long cylinder
(about 14) that operates with a lever action.
It frequently has a flexible hose that allows
the user to maneuver the nozzle around cor-
ners and into tight spots.
A smaller, more compact pistol-type can is
operational with one hand and usually has its
nozzle at the end of a short, rigid tube. It is
suited for work in tight quarters.
Grease can be bought in bulk to load into
the guns or purchased in cartridge form.
Grease containing molybdenum disulfide is
recommended for auto chassis.
Spark-plug performance is one of the single
most important factors in maintaining gaso-
line mileage and engine efficiency. It is esti-
mated that one spark plug firing improperly
can rob an auto of 15 to 35 percent of its fuel
A spark plug consists of an electrode
encased in a ceramic insulator plus a metal
shell threaded to fit into the engine block. A
second electrode is attached to the shell.
The distance between the two electrodes is
called the gap and creates the spark. Gap set-
tings are specified by engine manufacturers
and should always be checked with a gauge
and reset prior to installation of the plug.
It is imperative that the consumer purchase
plugs recommended for use in his or her car,
based on the plugs size and performance pro-
file. Just because it fits doesnt mean that it
will work efficiently in the auto.
Hot and Cold Plugs
The terms hot and cold refer to the
ability of the spark plugs to dissipate operat-
ing heat. They do not refer to the intensity of
the spark.
As an engine runs, heat builds up in the
upper cylinder. If the spark plug cannot dissi-
pate its own heat, it can become hot enough
to ignite the fuel without the spark, causing
the engine to misfire. This is called preigni-
tion and can cause serious damage to the
engine, if not remedied.
A cold plug will dissipate heat more rapidly
than a hot plug. Engine manufacturers will
specify heat range ratings for the engines.
Situations where a colder plug might be rec-
ommended are when the engine is modified
for greater output, hauling heavy trailers, sus-
tained high speeds or heavy-duty applications
for exotic fuel uses. Hotter plugs might be
used for oil burners, light-duty applications
or continuous city driving.
Most socket wrench sets contain a deep-
well socket designed for use on spark plugs.
However, on many cars the plugs are
extremely difficult to reach. A special long-
handled, T-shaped wrench with a socket per-
manently attached to the bottom of the T
by a universal joint will solve the problem.
Spark-plug wires transmit the electrical
charge from the distributor to the spark plug.
They are available in sets of four, six or eight,
depending on the number of cylinders.
Length of the wires varies to reach the sepa-
rate spark plugs.
A spark plug, after extended use, can indicate many problems in an engine. Some of the common
indicators are as follows:
Brown to grayish-tan deposits
of powder on electrodes and
slight electrode wear.
Dry, fluffy black carbon
Wet, oily electrodes.
Red, brown, yellow and white
coatings on insulator.
Burned or blistered insulator
Normal for mixed high and low speed driving combination.
Over-rich carburetion, faulty choke, sticking manifold heat
valve, clogged air filter, faulty coil, condenser or spark plug
coils. Can also be caused by excessive low-speed driving or
idling so that engine temperature is not high enough to
burn off carbon.
Oil is entering combustion chamber. Can be faulty rings,
excessive valve stem guide clearance, etc.
Usually result from additives in fuel and oil. Can be cleaned
if powdery, but when glazed will short out charge.
Caused by overheating. Can be due to pre-ignition, cooling
system failure, improper fuel/air ratio, low octane fuel, over-
advanced ignition timing, improper plug installation or
defective heat riser valves.
They should be inspected annually and
replaced as needed. Faulty wires cause igni-
tion problems and a rough-running engine.
Paying the labor bill on installing an air fil-
ter is a waste of money, since this is one of
the simplest tasks for a d-i-yer. Air filters are
contained in the air-cleaning system which
may or may not be mounted on top of the
carburetor. If not there, it is connected to the
carburetor by a duct.
The filter requires inspection at least every
12,000 miles and should be replaced if light
will not show through it. It should also be
replaced if it shows wear such as tears.
Shock absorbers utilize a system that com-
bines a piston with hydraulic fluid to cushion
an automobiles ride, providing degrees of
stiffness and load-hauling capabilities. Several
varieties are available depending on how the
vehicle is used, such as driving conditions,
hauling and pulling requirements.
Changing shock absorbers is another task
that d-i-yers can handle without special tools.
You may want to suggest that they use pene-
trating oil before trying to remove the
absorbers and either caulk or silicone sealant
on the absorbers fasteners to guard against
rust after installing the units.
Hoses in a cars cooling system should
be checked at least twice a year for cracks
or other deterioration that can lead to
leaks and overheating.
When selling radiator and heater hoses,
make sure the customer purchases the size
and shape required for his automobile. Also
suggest clamps to fasten the hoses. Although
there are a variety of clamp styles, the worm
drive that uses a bolt to loosen and tighten
the clamps band is efficient and easy to use.
A system of belts and pulleys driven by a
main pulley connected to the motors crank-
shaft harnesses engine power to operate the
power steering pump, water pumps, fan, etc.
The most commonly used belt is the V-
belt, although there is another belt style that
utilizes grooves corresponding to grooves in
the pulley. Manufacturer programs offer a
selection of common belts and pulleys to fit
most of the cars on the road and target your
inventory investment to the most frequently
used items.
Consumers should be educated to check
the condition of all the belts on the car
and replace any that are cracked, slippery,
dry or brittle. Broken belts can cause the
engine to overheat.
In addition to headlights, taillights, turn
signals and license-plate lights, there are
numerous lights in the car interior that must
be replaced periodically.
Also, fuses occasionally need replacing.
Sealed-beam headlights are the most com-
mon; many state laws require this type of
headlight. When a nonsealed headlight goes
out, only the bulb needs to be replaced.
Sealed-beam headlights must be replaced as
an entire unit.
In addition to conventional headlights,
quartz-halogen headlights offer nearly double
the candlepower but are also more expensive.
Exterior Bulbs
Although d-i-yers may have to remove
the light lens, a whole light assembly or
reach the light from under the fender or
bumper, exterior light bulbs are still rela-
tively easy to replace.
Usually, the only tool needed to reach a
defective exterior bulb is a screwdriver. To
remove the bulb, push it into its socket,
turn it and lift it out; then replace it with
a new bulb.
Interior Bulbs/ Fuses
There are several bulbs in an autos interior.
Replacement can be as simple as putting in a
new bulb to as difficult as disassembling the
dash and other components.
Fuses are usually easy to reach and replace.
Fuses prevent the electrical system from over-
heating. Fuses, which are either glass-tube
types or ceramic, blow as the result of shorts
in the system. Glass-tube types are in most
American cars; ceramic fuses are used in some
imports. When replacing a fuse, it is best to
suggest using a special fuse puller. Point out
that pullers are much easier and safer than
trying to pry out a fuse with a screwdriver.
With the exception of very old model cars,
most cars have electronic ignition systems. In
general, the wire sets on electronic ignitions
need to be replaced every 30,000 miles due to
the high voltage (14,000 to 30,000 volts),
which breaks down the wire sets internally.
Also, the higher under-hood tempera-
tures of new cars deteriorate the wire sets
Autos equipped with electronic ignitions
have no need for points and condensers.
Distributor tune-up kits containing points,
rotor and condenser remedy ignition prob-
lems in cars without electronic systems.
Automotive chemicals comprise everything
from windshield, muffler, tailpipe and trans-
mission sealers to windshield washer solvents
and represent a major segment of retail auto-
motive aftermarket sales in d-i-y stores.
Almost all antifreezes are called perma-
nent and are made primarily from ethylene
glycol. Nonpermanent antifreeze is made pri-
marily of methyl alcohol, which evaporates.
The ethylene glycol, while preventing
water from freezing, also serves as a coolant
because of its high heat transfer qualities. As
an example, one major brand of antifreeze
mixed with equal parts of water will lower
the freezing point to -34F and raise the boil-
ing point to 260F. It can be used year-round.
Compact automobiles, with their high-
powered engines and low-capacity radiators,
require the use of coolants, and all major
automobile manufacturers add permanent
antifreeze at the factory.
Antifreeze containers should list the
amount of antifreeze required according to
radiator capacity and temperature level
required. Manufacturers recommend that
permanent antifreeze be changed every
two years.
Cooling system additives include sealants,
rust inhibitors, lubricants and flush. Sealants,
rust inhibitors and water pump lubricants are
added to the radiator and used under normal
driving conditions. Sealing ability is restricted
to minor holes.
Radiator flush requires that the radiator be
drained after allowing the chemical to circu-
late through the cooling system. It is
designed to dislodge accumulations of rust
and other foreign materials that might
impede the flow of water. Manufacturers
instructions will indicate the length of time
the engine should be run prior to draining
the radiator and block of the vehicle.
Automatic transmission fluid functions as a
power-transfer fluid, hydraulic fluid and a
gear lubricant. The fluid must perform these
functions in a wide range of temperatures; it
has an SAE grade rating of 5W-20.
Automatic transmission fluid must be high
quality and fortified against oxidation caused
by high operating temperatures in an auto-
matic transmission.
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend
against using automatic transmission fluid in
power steering systems. It can cause deteriora-
tion of the connecting hoses.
Transmission sealers and conditioners are
added to the transmission fluid and used
under normal driving conditions to improve
operation and to seal minor leaks.
Usually, they include chemicals that retard
oil decomposition and improve stability.
They seal by softening transmission gaskets
and seals, closing up small leaks caused by
dried or cracked seals. This remedies only
minor leaks.
Oil additives are combinations of oil distil-
lates and other chemicals that make engines
operate more efficiently by freeing sticky
valves, sealing piston rings, retarding oil
breakdown, etc.
They are usually a form of extremely heavy
oil more resistant to change under high tem-
perature so that viscosity (thickness) is main-
tained at high speeds. Increased lubrication
and sealing capacities are attributed to greater
adhesion to engine parts.
The additives are usually added to the oil
and used under normal driving conditions.
Oil additives are not cure-alls. They can
improve engine performance by sealing leaks
into valves and combustion chambers. They
will prolong the life of an engine, but cannot
repair serious damage.
Unlike oil additives, crankcase cleaners
or flush cannot be left in the crankcase.
Instructions are indicated on the contain-
er, but normally the chemical is added to
the crankcase and the engine is run for a
specific period of time to allow the chemi-
cal to circulate and break loose accumula-
tions in the oil pan.
The crankcase must then be drained and a
new oil filter installed along with a new sup-
ply of motor oil.
Cleaners include solvents and other
chemicals that remove road tar, dead pig-
ment and other materials without damag-
ing the cars finish.
Many car waxes include cleaning elements
to clean and wax in a single application.
Long-lasting liquid and paste waxes usually
cost more.
A stock of two or three varieties of liquid
and paste wax and cleaners will usually satisfy
most customers.
In addition to body cleaners and waxes,
there are also tire-cleaning compounds,
whitewall cleaners, tire blackings, vinyl-
top cleaners and conditioners, rug and
upholstery cleaners.
Windshield washer solvents are usually
made of methanol and other solvents to keep
the water from freezing as well as clean the
windshield. Available in concentrated form to
be added to water or in diluted form that is
ready to pour into the washer reservoir jar.
Ready-to-use solvents are usually rated to
about -30F.
If a customer is having engine perform-
ance problems that he thinks are linked to
a carburetor, suggest that he try a carbure-
tor cleaner before he invests in a new or
rebuilt carburetor.
These cleaners can be applied several ways
such as a fuel-tank additive or poured into
the carburetor throat. Another cleaner con-
nects the contents to the fuel inlet after dis-
connecting the fuel line.
Whichever the consumer decides to use,
read the instructions carefully and make
sure the cleaner will not damage the cat-
alytic converter.
Similar additives clean fuel injectors.
An automobile battery produces electricity
through chemical reaction. Two plates, made
of different metals, are immersed in sulfuric
acid (an electrolyte) which creates a flow of
electrons to produce electrical power.
Automobile batteries have several cells,
each of which produces 2 volts of power.
Most automobiles require 12V batteries
consisting of six cells. Each cell has its
own plates and electrolyte to produce a
portion of the total output of the battery.
These are wired in series to the positive
and negative posts of the battery.
Batteries are filled with sulfuric acid
and therefore can be dangerous if han-
dled improperly. The acid can eat
through clothing and burn flesh.
Do not smoke or cause sparking near
an auto battery. Wear outer garments
including gloves and safety goggles
when working on a battery. If battery
acid comes in contact with skin or
eyes, flush with water for 15 minutes
and get medical attention.x
As current is drawn from the battery, the
acid is absorbed by the plates. When all the
acid is absorbed, the electrolyte becomes
essentially water and the battery can no
longer produce a current. Charging the bat-
tery causes the acid to move from the plates
back into the solution.
Ampere-hour capacity or electrical size are
terms referring to the number of plates per
cell or the size of the plates. Increasing size or
number means increased power capacity.
Wet/ Dry Charge
The terms wet or dry charge refer to
whether the electrolyte is in the battery when
it is shipped. If batteries arrive dry, the elec-
trolyte must be added and the battery given a
boost charge. The following procedures are
o Fill each cell to the top of the separators
with electrolyte (water cannot be used).
o Boost charge until warm to the touch.
Electrolyte should be about 80F.
o Check specific gravity with hydrometer.
Should be minimum of 1.250.
o Add electrolyte to each cell to bring
level to appropriate level indicated by
Shipping and storing dry batteries has
the obvious advantage of eliminating
spillage, etc. The disadvantage is the time,
labor and materials necessary to convert
dry batteries to wet.
Maintenance-free batteries are permanently
sealed; the unit contains fluid but provides
no access to it.
They are considerably more costly but
require no additional water throughout the
normal life of the battery. Special alloy grids
reduce water loss, and a greater reservoir of
electrolyte works with the grids to extend the
normal life.
Cranking Amps
Cranking amps, or cranking performance,
is a measurement of the power relationship
between batteries and engine size. One crank-
ing amp is recommended for each cubic-inch
displacement of the engine.
A cranking amps value of 400, for exam-
ple, is the minimum rating that should be
used for an engine with a 400-cubic-inch
displacement. High compression ratios,
extreme weather conditions or high-power
accessories would require an even higher
cranking amps rating.
Battery Testing
The battery charge can be tested with a
hydrometer, which measures the specific
gravity of the electrolyte. A specific gravity of
1.000 means that the liquid is essentially
water. A fully charged battery should have a
specific gravity reading of approximately
1.265. A reading of 1.220 indicates a half-
charged battery and 1.180 means the battery
is near total discharge.
Batteries must also be tested for variance
between cells. A reading showing a difference
of more than .050 between cells means the
battery must be replaced; less indicates it can
be recharged.
Batteries stored wet should be periodically
checked to ensure that the specific gravity
reading remains above 1.250. Every battery
should be checked prior to its sale.
Another test that should be made prior to
selling the battery is the load test. A meter is
connected between the negative and positive
poles to check the actual load produced. A
poor reading indicates that the battery is
either not fully charged or that it is defective.
Maintenance Tips
Fluid levels should be checked once a
month and cells filled to within 1/4 of the
bottom of the filler neck.
If it is necessary to add fluid, distilled water
should be used and the engine run for a time
if the temperature is below freezing.
Dirt and water should be cleaned from the
top of the battery and corrosion removed
from the terminals and clamps.
Booster cables are insulated conductors
with alligator clamps at each end to provide a
temporary booster charge from a live battery
to a low battery.
Copper-core cables are considered quality
with better conduction capabilities than alu-
minum conductors. Aluminum cables are fre-
quently used for promotional purposes.
Battery chargers range from 1-amp-output
promotional models to commercial units
with amp ratings in excess of 100.
For normal home auto use, a 3- to 10-
amp rating is sufficient for slow charges
and 60 to 100 amps for fast charges. The
amp rating is the output of the charger
and controls the length of time required
for the battery to charge.
Most car batteries are rated around 50 to
70 amp/hours. A constant amp output
multiplied by the number of hours would
indicate the charge in the battery. Ten
amps output for five hours would equal 50
amp hours.
Most battery chargers, however, have
tapered charges, meaning that the output is
not constant. As the charge builds up in the
battery, the battery voltage retards the output
of the charger to as much as 50 percent
capacity. A 10-amp charger, then, might be
putting out only 5 amps as the battery nears
its full charge. Constant-output chargers are
available but have limited applications.
Lead acid batteries are the major
source of lead entering the municipal
solid waste system. Disposals of batter-
ies in landfills and incinerators can
result in human exposure to lead via
ground water, drinking water and
ambient air.
High levels of lead exposure can cause
brain and nervous disorders, anemia,
high blood pressure, kidney and repro-
ductive problems and even death.
Children are particularly sensitive to
the effects of lead poisoning.
Many states have enacted legislation
which bans the disposal of batteries in
municipal solid waste landfills and
incinerators. Most of these laws are
specific regarding how used batteries
are handled. Retailers selling a new
battery are required to accept and
recycle the old battery. In addition,
many states require that the secondary
lead smelter or state-authorized collec-
tion and recycling facility by the retail-
er who accepts used batteries.
Check to see if your state has such leg-
islation and be sure your store has a
copy of the law.
Another element found on some chargers
is the booster charge. This is a device that
converts household alternating current to
direct current, allowing the automobile
engine to start directly from the outside cur-
rent supplied. This eliminates having to wait
for the battery to charge before the engine
can be started.
Booster capacities are available in ratings as
high as 300 amps, but most cars require from
90 to 110 amps of cranking power. A 100-
amp booster element is usually sufficient for
normal home use.
Battery Voltage
Battery chargers specify the voltage of the
battery on which they can be used. Some can
be used only on 6V or 12V batteries while
others can be used on both types.
Manufacturers specifications should indicate
output at specific voltages.
Automatic Chargers
If a charge is applied to a battery after the
battery is fully charged, the amperage con-
verts to heat energy, causing the electrolyte to
evaporate. Automatic chargers eliminate this
problem by automatically switching off when
the battery is charged and back on again if
the charge decreases.
This is useful for people who own boats,
electric golf carts and other items used
occasionally. The charger can be attached
to the battery to keep it fully charged for
months at a time. Virtually all batteries
will lose their charge during a long period
of inactivity; an automatic charger keeps
them at peak efficiency.
A quality automatic charger should be
capable of keeping a battery fully charged
over a long period without causing electrolyte
evaporation or any noticeable increase in the
electrolyte temperature.
Auto body repair lines are natural additions
to do-it-yourself automotive departments.
Popular items, in addition to basics such as
tack cloths, sandpaper, files, automotive
paint, etc., are:
Plastic filler and hardenermixes, spreads
and then dries extremely hard, but sandable,
for auto body repairs.
Glazing puttysands to smooth finish.
Used for small imperfections, dents, scratches.
Plastic applicatorsused to apply plastic
filler and for other spreading jobs.
Spray undercoatingrust prohibitor used
under fenders. Also comes as aerosol for
To repair fiberglass auto bodies, the cus-
tomer will need hardener, fiberglass resin and
either fiberglass mat or fiberglass cloth. The
mat builds up new surfaces and shapes; cloth
refinishes existing surfaces. Combined with
hardener and resin, both cloth and mat will
change from cloth-like consistency to a solid
surface in 30 minutes.
When selling oil and oil filters, suggest an
oil drain pan to catch the old oil. Also, spe-
cially designed oil-filter wrenches make
changing the filters much easier and cleaner.
Pour spouts and funnels are excellent add-
on purchases for oil or other chemicals and
additives. Fender covers protect a cars finish
while a d-i-yer is working in and around the
engine compartment.
Working on a car raised on a jack is
extremely dangerous. Recommend that the
person use jack stands or drive-on ramps to
support the auto. It is suggested that jack
stands with a rating of 11/2 to 21/2 tons
should be used depending upon the size of
the auto. Also, ramps with a support rating of
21/2 to 4 tons are recommended.
Road safety items include emergency lights
and flares. Flat tires are less of a problem if
the consumer has an air pump. These are
available as either foot-operated types or ones
that plug into the cigarette lighter.
Auto emergency kits contain first aid prod-
ucts, aerosol tire filler and sealer, flares, a fire
extinguisher and a flashlight.
Interior Accessories
Portable vacuum cleaners that plug into a
cars cigarette lighter are convenient for clean-
ing up auto interiors. Car mats help cut down
on interior carpet wear. Interior accessories
such as compasses, litter baskets and beverage
holders appeal to most drivers.
Towing Equipment
In addition to chains, tow ropes (some
made of nylon or polypropylene) are specially
made for pulling vehicles. They are resistant
to oil, grease, etc., and come with braided
eyes, hooks and protective collars to guard
against cuts.
Additional Accessories
Some other basics in an auto department
include splash guards to protect a cars finish
from rocks, gravel and asphalt kicked up by
the tires. Snow brushes and ice scrapers are a
must for winter driving.
Chamois, polishing cloths and drop cloths
are also staples for add-on sales with car care
and clean-up products. Gas cans are steady
sellers in this department also, and you will
want to highlight garage door openers and tie
them into auto promotions.
Dont forget d-i-y auto repair books. Auto
d-i-yers are learning a new set of skills, and
the number of projects that they are willing
to undertake increases continually.
Power sources for lawn and garden equip-
ment fall into three categories: gasoline
engines, electric motors and battery-powered
electric motors.
For smaller equipment, the convenience of
cordless operation is a major selling point.
Not only has extended battery life con-
tributed to the popularity of cordless tools,
but lightweight gasoline engines on products
such as string trimmers allow the consumer
to move about freely without the fear of cut-
ting an electrical cord.
Starting cordless units powered by electrical
motors is easy, and battery charges will usual-
ly last through most typical yard jobs. The
unit can be recharged between jobs.
Increasingly, electric motors are being used in
a wide range of outdoor power equipment
and starter motor applications.
Larger power equipment is primarily gaso-
line powered.
Recoil starters are most widely used, but
battery-powered starters have grown in use
over the years.
The batteries for electric starters can be
recharged either with chargers that connect
to electrical wall outlets or with electrical
chargers built into the engine, which recharge
the battery while the engine is operating.
Battery voltage may be 6V or 12V, and the
number of starts possible depends on the bat-
tery amperage rating and the output of the
engine charger.
The convenience and reliability of electric
starters are good selling points. Electric
starters may add $50 or more to the retail
selling price of a walk-behind mower and as
much as $150 to the price of a tractor.
Gasoline engines are available in two- and
four-stroke cycle constructions. The four oper-
ating functions are intake, compression,
power and exhaust stroke.
In two-cycle engines, compression and
power are combined in one cycle, and
exhaust and intake are the second cycle.
A four-cycle engine uses valves and a two-
cycle engine utilizes intake and exhaust ports.
Lubrication for two-stroke cycle engines
comes from the oil being mixed with the
gasoline. The four-stroke cycle uses a reservoir.
Two-cycles are easy to start, but speed regu-
lation is usually limited. Some models have
fuel primers for easier starting.
When selling gas engines, features such as
visible oil and gas gauges may be stressed, as
well as the power-to-weight ratio and ease of
adding oil and gas. Salespeople will also want
to point out what grade and quantity of oil
and gas to add, how to mix oil and gas for
two-cycle engines and how to drain the oil
and clean the air filter.
Some gasoline engines have solid-state
ignition systems and improved carburetor
designs that can be stressed as well.
Selling spark plugs requires knowledge of
exact engine specifications. Failure to use the
correct plug, or substitution, could result in
poor performance or engine failure.
Engine manufacturers specify spark plugs
for specific requirements and best perform-
ance. Some of the considerations made in
specifying spark plugs include heat range,
size, sealing features, materials, depth projec-
tion (position of electrode) in the cylinder
head and electrode shape/design.
Original equipment manufacturers can
supply data on the specific plug needed for
individual power equipment engines.
Manufacturer representatives can also supply
information such as charts and brochures on
use and interchangeability.
The performance characteristics of rotary
mowers depend a great deal on the design of
the mowers deck.
Usually steel or aluminum is used in
deck construction. Steel decks cost less,
but can rust.
Fourteen gauge is the most common thick-
ness. If the steel is thinner, regardless of the
grade, the mower deck will flex easier, result-
ing in increased vibration.
Stiffness can be increased by properly shap-
ing the housing and adding reinforcements.
It should also be noted that the higher the
number used to denote metal gauge, the thin-
ner or lighter the product.
More suction is derived from extra-deep
decks; this decreases the possibility of objects
being thrown out from under the mower.
These mowers also permit cutting heavy and
tall growth.
However, deep decks require long
engine shafts, which are subject to bend-
ing and allow cut grass to pile up against
the decks underside.
Shallow decks have the advantage of a
short engine shaft that resists bending.
However, objects can be thrown out from
under shallow decks easily, and these engines
wont perform well in tall or heavy growth.
Rather than hitting objects head-on,
engine shafts may be bent when the blade
goes over or under objects like large tree roots
or rocks.
Decks also have additional safety features
such as trailing plates at the rear. All walk-
behind mowers comply with federal safety
standards, which require the blade control to
be held for the blade to turn and the blade to
come to a complete stop within three seconds
after the control is released.
To accomplish this, some mowers have a
blade-brake-clutch (BBC) mounted on the
engine crankshaft that will stop the blade or
turn off the engine.
If engine stop is chosen, the mower will
have either an electric starter to restart and a
battery that will be constantly charged while
the engine is operating; or the engine can be
manually restarted by a recoil starter if the
pull handle is located within 24 of the top of
the mower handle.
An exception allows the pull handle to
remain on the engine if the mower meets a
360 foot-probe test.
The pull handle also can remain on the
engine if the mower deck has extra guarding
around the outside.
The bottom edge of the front of the deck
should be lower than the cutting edge of the
blade. In order to meet recommended safety
codes, the blade cannot be exposed at more
than a 15 angle from the front of the mower
to reduce the risk of objects being thrown.
Quality rotary mowers must have properly
designed tempered-steel blades. If they are
not tempered in the middle, blades can twist
or bend and ends of long blades may flex up
or down when run at high speed. Range of
Rockwell hardness should be about 42 to 47.
Ask your source about the rating on his lines.
Rotary blades have a lip behind the cutting
edge that creates suction and throws cut grass
out the chute. A lip 1 or 2 long, with a
moderate angle, performs both functions
well. If the lip is too long or if the angle of
the lip is too steep, it will have a tendency to
throw the cut grass up against the deck
instead of out the chute.
If a blade isnt sturdy, it will vibrate
when run at high speed; this is especially
true of longer blades. For safety, the blade
tip must ride 1/8 or so above the bottom
edge and along the sides and rear of the
deck and it should ride 1/4 or so below
the top edge of the rod or bar across the
bottom of the grass chute.
It is necessary to take extra care to
maintain precision balance when a blade
is resharpened.
Cutting widths vary from 16 to 22,
depending upon the blade length.
Smaller sizes cost less, can be easier to han-
dle and may use less gas. Some have 21/2-hp
engines, but most have 3 hp. The 21 and
22 models usually have 31/2 hp.
Persons who choose the larger mowers
because they have large lawns may be good
candidates for a move up to riding mowers
when they replace their old mower.
Mini-mowers with 16 cutting widths
are good suggestions for trimming or for
cutting small lawns.
Bow shaped, T-shaped or slanted T-shaped
with rubber or plastic grips are the basic han-
dle designs.
A handle attached at an angle that allows
the user to push forward instead of down pro-
vides easier operation.
Quality features to look for are easy attach-
ment and removal, height adjustment and
upright position locks for storage or trans-
portation in a car trunk.
Swing-over handles may be dangerous,
allowing the mower to roll back on the users
foot. Also, it encourages the user to run the
mower backwards half the time, and this
results in poor performance.
Wheels can be plastic or steel. Mowers with
larger wheels are more easily pushed. Wide
wheels are best; narrow rubber tires may leave
wheel marks or tracks.
Plain wheel bearings have steel, plastic or
nylon sleeves, requiring at least some lubrica-
tion. Sintered bearings require no lubrication.
Because sand will destroy plain bearings,
some are replaceable. Ball bearings, if shielded
or sealed, require no lubrication since oil can-
not get out and dirt cannot get in.
Wheels are held by a threaded stud or by a
bolt-and-nut arrangement.
Three types of height-adjustment mecha-
nisms exist. Removal of all four wheels is the
first. This system is inexpensive and used on
low-priced mowers.
The most widely used mechanism is a
lever-and-cam arrangement at each wheel.
The prime disadvantage is that it may encour-
age the dangerous practice of holding the
deck up with one hand and shifting the lever
with the other.
The third approach raises or lowers the
entire deck by adjusting a lever or turning
a knob. This costs more, but is convenient
and safe.
Many mowers have up to five height
adjustments. A height change from 1 to
31/2 is usual, with four to six heights avail-
able. In California, many prefer a mower that
will cut closer than 1.
Grass-chute location determines
whether the mower is staggered wheel or
an inline model.
Rotary mower cuts are done in the 180
semicircle in the front half of the deck; with a
staggered-wheel model, grass is cut and eject-
ed instantly, much of it in a straight line.
If the chute is in the center of the right
side of the deck, little grass is ejected in a
straight line, and a hard object hit by the
blade has a good chance of hitting the deck
before it is thrown out, thus losing much of
its speed and danger.
Clogging is often the result of a thin deck
edge at the rear end of the chute and/or too
small a chute opening. If the engine isnt
stopped before the chute is cleaned, this can
be dangerous.
A baffle at the rear of a side-chuted mower
may help to prevent clogging, depending on
the design.
A rod or a bar across the bottom of a side
chute is necessary for safety to prevent the
blade hitting the ground.
Staggered and in-line wheel mowers trim
on the left side only since chutes must be
extended to meet foot-probe requirements.
Rear-chute mowers that bag at the back
offer several design advantages. They allow
the user to trim closely with either side of the
mower, since there is no bag or chute pro-
truding from the side and clogging is less like-
ly with their large discharge chute.
Also, the larger rear-bag size reduces the
frequency of emptying, which is an excellent
selling point.
Removing and reattaching grass catchers
should be both quick and easy for the user.
There are two types of discharge for grass
bagging. One utilizes the standard chute
opening; the other blocks the normal chute
and opens up direct entry into the bag, tend-
ing to fill it from back to front.
Leaf mulching does not require closing the
chute if the blade is properly designed and if
there is a baffle in back of the chute.
Mulching mowers eliminate the need
for bags altogether since they discharge
clippings into the lawn. Thatch buildup is
eliminated too because the enclosed deck
and cutting action converts grass clippings
into tiny pieces that filter into the lawn
without clumping.
Ecology-minded consumers like the idea of
the mulch produced by these mowers because
it decomposes rapidly, usually in about two
weeks, and returns valuable nitrogen to the
When the mowing season ends,
advise customers to get their lawn
mower in shape for next season by:
1. Disconnecting the spark plug wire
from the lawn mower.
2. Cleaning out old grass and dirt from
the blade and the mower surfaces by
brushing them with kerosene.
3. Draining gas and oil from the tank.
4. Removing and cleaning the spark
5. Removing and sharpening the rotary
6. Tightening all bolts.
7. Checking and replacing the muffler if
it has rusted.
soil. In addition, some states are beginning to
ban community trash disposal of grass clip-
pings and leaves.
The closed deck or cutting chamber pro-
duces a powerful vacuum action that straight-
ens grass when cut and recirculates the clip-
pings until they are recut into the fine mulch.
In addition to the benefits that the
mulch contributes to the soil, mulching
mowers also mean less work since there
are no bags to empty.
It should be pointed out that mulching
mowers may be less effective in heavy, wet
grass, which may ball up and drop onto the
lawn in clumps. And in extremely tall grass,
the mulching action is less efficient.
Some manufacturers offer a mower that
can be converted from a mulcher to a stan-
dard rotary by opening a plate in the side of
the deck for discharge and changing to a
standard cutting blade.
Based on different engineering approaches,
a variety of driving mechanisms has taken
the push out of hand-propelled mowers.
This may involve front- or rear-wheel drive,
but most are driven by two pinions. Some are
driven by pinions that press against compara-
tively smooth-tread rear tires; but under some
conditions, these pinions slip and the wheels
dont turn. This can cause the mower to
become semi-self-propelled.
Cogged pinions which fit into grooved
notches on rear or front tires power other
models. This approach works well until the
pinion teeth become worn. If the pinions are
easily replaced, this presents no problem.
Some models are driven by metal pinions
with teeth that mesh into the metal cog
wheels attached to the inner sides of the
mowers wheels.
A different approach uses pinions like
those on a reel mower. These pinions are
on a shaft driven from a transmission.
This type of design usually costs more but
is very satisfactory.
Another approach is to use a variable-speed
transmission with a differential gear box
located on the rear axle.
Putting some self-propelled mowers into
gear may require raising the handle, while
pulling back on the handle disengages the
gear. This works well with rear-wheel drive,
which is usually less expensive.
Others are put into gear with a lever and
wire, or lever and rod, like a gas-throttle con-
trol. This is preferred with front-wheel drive.
When such a mower is standing with the
engine running, it cannot be bumped and
put in gear.
An engine-kill/electric restart deadman
control is available on self-propelled mowers.
This control bypasses the starter cord and
allows the operator to start mower at the flick
of a switch.
Often known as bicycle-wheel mowers,
these units have 14 to 24 rear wheels, 6 to
8 front wheels and 21 to 24 cutting widths.
They are designed to cut heavy or rough
growth and on uneven or rough terrain.
When seeking quality characteristics, con-
sumers should look for sturdy rear wheels
with strong spokes and rims, pneumatic tires
and shielded or sealed ball bearings. Some
engines are 31/2 hp but 4 or 5 hp are pre-
ferred, and engines are sometimes mounted
on marine plywood to reduce vibration.
Swivel-front wheels that can be locked if
desired are also offered. Most have blade
clutch, permitting the belt-driven blade to be
idle while the engine is running; rear-wheel
drive is used if self-propelled. Another feature
to consider is extra sturdiness in blades longer
than 21.
These mowers are used extensively in
the South.
There are also lighter units available with
14 to 16 rear wheels. These come with
pneumatic or semipneumatic tires and with a
regular rotary as the cutting unit. These cost
less and are applicable for fine lawns as well
as for rough cutting. Widths are 21 to 22.
These models run at full speed and require
no gas, oil or starting mechanisms. However,
cords can present a problem in handling,
especially around trees, shrubs and other
obstacles. Also, some people will not use
them in wet grass.
Many have swing-over handles to make it
easier to reverse directions without tangling
the cord. Such mowers should have front and
rear baffles for operator foot protection.
Electric mowers meeting the Consumer
Product Safety Commissions mandatory safe-
ty standard have controls similar to those
required for gasoline-powered units. The
blade must stop when control is released and
this control must require two movements
1. The lawn should not be wet when you mow.
2. Mow in the evening hours. Newly cut grass can be damaged by a hot sun.
3. Adjust the height of the mower blade on level ground with the power turned off. Cut
upright grasses at about 2, Bermuda grasses at about 1-1/2 and bent grasses at about
4. Dont let yard debris injure you or damage your mower. Clean it up before mowing.
5. Mow once a week if rainfall is normal.
6. Keep mower oiled according to manufacturers specifications.
7. Tighten all mower parts periodically; any unusual rattle should prompt an extra check for
loose nuts, screws or bolts.
8. Grass should be upright, not freshly walked on, when you mow. Mow once or twice
around the perimeter of the lawn before cutting across. Change patterns each time you
cut, and mow with as few interruptions as possible (this helps the appearance).
9. Dont leave cut grass on the lawn. It sinks down and keeps moisture and fertilizer away
from soil and weakens grass. It also provides a bed for insects and fungi.
10. Clean mower after each use. Wipe grease, oil and grass from mower.
11. Always be cautious about using gasoline, whether fueling the mower, storing the fuel can
or storing the mower. Its a good idea to drain the fuel tank before storing the mower.
12. Never mow with a dull blade. Sharpen occasionally. Dull blades tear and injure a lawn.
before it can activate the blade. The two
movements are required to prevent accidental
blade startups.
Whereas rotary mowers use a single blade
to slice off the grass, reel mowers utilize mul-
tiple blades to shear off grass blades (similar
to a hand mower).
The most efficient cutting results when the
cutting blade contacts the grass at an angle.
Reels cost more than rotaries and are heav-
ier. They are not well suited to cut tall or
heavy growth, although the lifetime of a reel
may be twice that of a rotary.
Proponents of reel mowers say that the
danger of flying objects thrown by a reel is
almost nonexistent and contact accidents are
minimized because revolving cutters are in
full view of the operator.
Most reels have five revolving knives and a
stationary knife. The angle at which the
revolving blades touch the stationary one is
of major importance. When one revolving
knife is about 3 away from losing contact
with the stationary knife, the next revolving
knife should just be making contact.
If the angle is greater than that, the revolv-
ing knife tends to push some grass away. If
the angle is less, the revolving knife doesnt
have a good shearing angle and whips instead
of cuts.
The frame that holds the blades in place is
called a spider. Eighteen-inch mowers should
have three or four spiders; 21 mowers
should have four or five spiders.
Proper adjustment can be tested by turning
the mower upside down and pulling it
toward you. The reel should turn and make a
smooth shearing sound.
Revolving cutters run on ball, needle or
tapered roller bearings. The drive is usual-
ly a belt from the engine to a small pulley
and a chain from the pulley to the revolv-
ing cutter, which has two pinions
attached to its shaft.
These drive 10-, 10-1/2- or 11-diameter
rubber-tired wheels, which run on plain or
roller bearings. Both reel and wheel bearings
require lubrication and should be equipped
with oil cups or fittings.
A cover for the belt and chain decreases the
danger of catching clothing in them.
Rollers are sectional and should be at
least 2 in diameter. Cutting heights range
from 5/8 to 2-1/2 or 3. These are deter-
mined by raising and lowering the roller.
On most mowers there is an adjustment at
the wheels also, so the mower remains
level at all heights.
Since reel mowers can be set to cut at less
than 1, many Californians prefer them to
rotaries because they are better suited to
grasses in that region.
The handle should be attached so that
when it is lifted, it will lift the roller off the
ground to pass over hard objects that would
damage the cutting unit.
Frames and wheels are usually cast iron
or steel.
In recent years, sales of these mowers have
been increasing. Improved maneuverability
and a lighter-weight design combined with
smaller lots for new homes are some of the
reasons attributed to the renewed interest in
hand mowers.
The mowers are available in four-, five- and
seven-blade reel models. Some of these are
designed to cut specific varieties of grass.
Lower-end models have 14 cutting widths
with 81/2 wheels; higher-end models have a
cutting width of 16 with 10 radial tires.
Steel fabrication and composite materials are
used in all models to provide easy maneuver-
ing and lighter weight. Manufacturers claim
that the mowers cut better than their motor-
powered cousins and they are safe to use.
Consumers interested in hand mowers find
them appealing at several different levels:
o For the environmentally conscious, the
mowers do not pollute the air with
noise or emissions.
o For the health conscious, the mowers pro-
vide exercise. For those who prefer more
leisure time, the mowers have very low
maintenance requirements.
o For the economically minded, the aver-
age retail price for these mowers is less
than $100.
Riding mowers, which cut a swath 2 to 4
wide, are for homeowners with more than
half an acre of lawn.
Riding mowers and tractors fall into sev-
eral basic categoriesride-on mowers, lawn
tractors, garden tractors and small-acreage
tractors. Consumers need to look at the
engine power when comparing models.
They dont want a small engine which will
result in overburdening the unit. They need
an engine with sufficient power not only to
mow but to power the mower over uneven
and sometimes rough terrain.
Ride-on mowers are for mowing. They may
come in either front- or rear-engine models
with capability for light towing.
The traction drive (wheels) is a separate
transmission and differential connected by a
chain which is exposed to dirt in all but the
1. Store the unit under cover. If it is impossible to place under cover, be sure to cover the
exhaust system.
2. Block the unit up to remove the weight from the tires and to keep the tires from contact
with a moist floor.
3. Remove the battery and store it in a cool, dry place, or keep it fully charged in the unit.
4. Fill the fuel tank to the top to prevent condensation. The fuel should be treated with the
proper amount of fuel conditioner to prevent formation of varnish or gum. Run the engine
long enough to be sure all filters are filled with conditioned fuel.
5. When the unit is removed from storage, it should be serviced throughout, including drain-
ing and refilling the engine crankcase with fresh, clean oil.
most expensive models.
Attachments for ride-on mowers may
include a very light-duty snow blade; usually
the only power attachment for these models
is the mowing unit.
Lawn tractors can power optional snow-
throwing equipment in addition to the
mowing unit. The traction drive is a medi-
um-duty transaxle (transmission and dif-
ferential in the same housing), which is
fully enclosed and lubricated.
These provide increased performance
over ride-on mowers such as more towing
capacity and greater snow-moving ability
with a snow blade.
Although they are able to handle a variety
of simple attachments, they are distinguished
from garden tractors by their inability to han-
dle ground-engaging attachments.
Garden tractors are able to take more
sophisticated attachments such as tillers and
plows. They are equipped with heavy-duty
transaxles with three or four forward speeds
and have more ground clearance.
In addition to hitches for these ground-
engaging attachments, these units have built-
in lift systems and greater power to pull the
Small-acreage tractors are more complex
and employ more automotive features than
any other item in the outdoor power-equip-
ment group. They are best suited for large
areas and small farm chores.
Unlike larger riders, engine power is
greater, ranging up to 20 hp. Cutting widths
of up to 6 or more can be accomplished by
using gang reels.
Extreme versatility is achieved through
attachments such as a leaf mulcher, plow,
snow thrower, snow/dozer blade, dump cart,
sweeper, tiller, power sprayer, aerator, lawn
roller, cultivator, front-end loader, fertilizer
spreader, flail mower and discing devices.
This is a complicated piece of equipment
and you must study the lines your store car-
ries in order to sell effectively.
Prices range from $1,000 to $2,000 for
smaller riding mowers and tractors and
from $3,000 to $5,000 for large lawn and
garden tractors.
Also, safety is an important factor when
selling this type of equipment. An indus-
try safety standard calls for riding mowers
to have three features:
o Models must be equipped with inter-
locks to ensure the engine cannot start
while the mower is in gear or when the
blade is engaged.
o Another feature is the blade-stop system
that stops the blade quickly when the driv-
er disengages it.
o Deadman switches connected to the
seat kill the ignition and engine and
stop the blade if an operator falls off or
climbs down from the seat while the
blade is still engaged.
Some mowers have other safety switches to
prevent accidents. These safety features offer
some selling points when educating the con-
sumer about equipment benefits.
The design characteristics of riding units
are major safety factors. Operating safety is
increased if the drivers seat is located as far
forward as possible. This is particularly impor-
tant when operating the machine on slopes
and for units with engines mounted behind
the operator.
Both the blade and the rear wheels are
powered by the engine. A few low-priced rid-
ers may have the blade attached to the
engine shaft, like a rotary mower, but most
models have a belt-driven blade, and usually
such mowers have a blade clutch.
Another belt usually runs from engine to
transmission and a chain runs from the trans-
mission to the differential.
On units with transaxles, the differential
and transmission are in one sealed housing.
These usually have two belts and no chain.
The accessibility of belts, chains and other
replaceable parts is an important feature to
look for when selling these units as is the
ability to remove cutting units easily so
attachments can be utilized.
Electric starters are available on many
models and are desirable for higher-horse-
power engines.
Some riding mowers can be upended and
stored on the rear or front end to save space
or to gain access to the mowing unit without
problems from oil or gas drainage.
Front-wheel diameters range from 8 to
12 and rear wheels are usually 10 to 16
but may measure in at 20. Pneumatic tires or
semipneumatic tires are frequently used on
lower-priced models.
Turning radius for riding equipment is usu-
ally 32 or above, but can be as tight as 16
and consumers should look for both steering
ease and a ruggedly constructed steering gear.
All controls, throttle, transmission, posi-
tions, brakes, brake lock, blade clutch, height
adjustment and safety clutch (if so equipped)
should be easily accessible.
Transmissions vary from one speed for-
ward, neutral and reverse, to five speeds
forward, neutral and reverse, with most
models having three forward speeds.
1. Never wear loose garments when operating outdoor power equipment. They may get
caught in blades, belts, chains, etc.
2. Always wear proper protective footgear when operating power machinery.
3. Never leave a power tool or machine running unattended.
4. Dont let small children play with power equipment. Many like to ride power mowers. If
the cutting unit doesnt completely detach, this is terribly dangerous. Even if it does, there
is some danger.
5. Take care not to throw a unit in gear accidentally and have it jerk ahead unexpectedly.
6. Beware when operating some rotary mowers with a staggered-wheel design. Grass can be
cut and ejected instantly at a very high speed. A rock can be kicked out at the same speed.
7. Rotary mowers with shallow decks are more apt to throw an object out from under the
deck. Take extra care when using these mowers.
8. Store dangerous tools under lock and key, where children cannot accidentally start
Driving speeds range from 1 to 7 mph.
Three to 4 mph is usual operating speed.
Suspension systems include a front axle
that pivots up and down, or side to side, to
keep the cutting unit level over uneven
ground, or the cutting unit may be free float-
ing. With a free-floating design, gravity is
supposed to keep the unit level, even when a
portion of the lower deck is not in contact
with the ground. Guardrails are available on
some units and run the full length of the
deck to prevent the deck from contacting the
ground and the blade from scalping ridges
and large mounds.
Wheel bearings range from plain steel on
lower-priced models to sintered iron, sintered
bronze, ball bearings or roller bearings.
Dealers may need to ask about bearing
construction because it may not be
included in manufacturer literature. Most
riding mowers are designed to meet
industry voluntary safety standards,
which require that the blade stop rotating
within five seconds after the blade is
declutched. If the mower doesnt meet the
voluntary safety standard B71.1 1986, and
the blade takes longer to stop than five
seconds, a warning to the customer is
Braking the blade to an immediate stop is
a most important safety feature. Also deter-
mine whether the clutch can be eased into
the on position or does it grab and
sometimes kill the engine. Some riders are
equipped with a seat switch that prevents
the mower from moving unless the operator
is sitting in the mower seat or depresses a
foot pedal. Such devices provide extra safety
by shutting off the engine if the operator
gets off the machine without first declutch-
ing the blade and shifting the transmission
into neutral.
An automatic blade-stop mechanism, avail-
able on some models, brings the blade to a
stop after the pedal is released without stop-
ping the engine.
Cutting heights usually range from 11/4
to 31/2. Some still require the removal of
wheels or bolts or loosening of nuts and
retightening to change height. However, most
better models utilize a lever or crank to raise
and lower the deck.
Moderate pressure on the brake pedal
should stop the rider quickly. A conveniently
positioned brake lock should hold the rider
on a fairly steep slope.
Rider blades, being longer and subject to
more engine power than hand rotaries,
should be sturdier. When a blade is turning at
high speed, the tips will try to vibrate up and
down unless the blade is reinforced at its cen-
ter by a channel-shaped or heavy bar. It is
important that the center of the blade or its
reinforcement should not extend below the
cutting edge to prevent unnecessary rubbing
of the cut grass.
Seats on riding models are usually
adjustable to two or three positions, and the
cutting properties of riders depend on the
same quality features as on regular rotaries.
Electric- and gasoline-powered trimmers
give homeowners an economical way to slice
small trenches along sidewalks and driveways
or trim close to trees, flower beds, lampposts,
etc. One of the most popular types of trim-
mers whip-cuts grass and weeds with a
monofilament nylon line.
Unlike push-type trimmers with rubber
wheels and wide reels, string trimmers have
no wheels, guides, adjustments or blades. A
strong monofilament nylon line, spinning at
up to 12,000 rpm, is the cutting blade.
The line cuts both grass and weeds, but
inexpensive models are best suited for
smaller areas and lighter work like grass,
while heavier weeds and larger areas
require a heavy-duty, more expensive trim-
mer with more power.
Safety is a selling point for string trimmers.
1. WHAT SIZE MOWER DO I NEED? Consumers usually need help in matching a mower to
their yard. While most consumers, in the end, purchase a walk-behind mower with cutting
width of 18 to 21, sales personnel need to find out who will operate the lawn mower,
the property size and storage facilities.
concern of most customers, consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for a mower
with such features as being self-propelled, having an electric start or being equipped with a
rear grass catcher.
prefer the rear bagging system, which allows you to mow close to trees, shrubs and walls,
and offers greater convenience and maneuverability. Less meticulous consumers choose a
side-discharge system that leaves the clippings on the lawn.
4. WHAT KIND OF ENGINE DOES IT HAVE? Consumers usually dont care about actual
horsepower, dealers say, but they want to be sure the machine has enough power so its
engine wont be overworked.
5. DOES IT START EASILY? Customers often want assurance that a lawn mower will start easi-
ly, remembering the past, when many engines were balky and temperamental. Although
manual starting today is much easier, dealers say many customers are attracted to the con-
venience of an electric start.
Another option, for customers who fear difficult starting, might be the electric lawn mower.
Usually equipped with a 100 cord set, an electric mower can be ideal for smaller lots (up to
one-third acre, about 15,000 square feet). Electric lawn mowers start with the flip of a
switch, have essentially no maintenance requirements, dont require handling gasoline or
oil and are lightweight.
6. IS THERE AN IN-HOUSE SERVICE DEPARTMENT? The ability to offer in-house service for a
customers lawn mower, dealers say, is a strong selling point. The customer who values
quality and service as much as price wants to be assured that parts will be available and
that the cost of service and time required for repairs will be reasonable.
Source: Aircap Industries Corp.
The filament or line wont cut shoes, clothing
or its own electrical cord, although the line
could raise welts or break the skin.
Protective goggles or glasses should be
worn because the spinning line can throw
debris. Electric-powered string trimmers
are lightweight and easy to operate.
Cordless models provide even more
mobility, but these are used primarily for
light cutting jobs and operating time is
limited. String trimmers allow users to cut
around posts, rocks, shrubs, etc., without
damaging the tool. The only wear is on
the nylon line, which may need to be
replaced as it frays. Some units have auto-
matic feed systems to play out more cut-
ting line.
The smaller electric units weigh about 3
lbs. with a 1/8- to 1/10-hp power source. The
cutting diameter is approximately 7 to 10.
Heavier-duty models weigh 4 to 8 lbs.
with up to a 3/4-hp motor. Cutting lines
are about .06 in diameter and can cut up
to a 16-wide swath. A second adjustable
assist handle is usually available to pro-
vide two-handed operation and more con-
trol. With the wider cutting radius and
more powerful motors, these models can
handle larger jobs more easily.
Gas-powered string trimmers were original-
ly made for commercial users and owners
with large acreage. These weigh about 14 to
25 lbs. and are powered by a two-cycle
Lighter, scaled-down models can be used
by homeowners; these models weigh about
10 to 14 lbs. and provide the operating free-
dom of a cordless trimmer.
The increased capacity of gas-powered
units allows the user to dig a trench between
the grass and the walk with the string. In
addition, metal bush-cutting blades are avail-
able as accessories for heavier cutting.
Optional accessories also include blade
attachments for other lawn and garden uses.
By tilting the head of the trimmer at about
a 30 angle, the tip of the line provides a
more efficient tool.
When selling these units, be sure to point
out the manufacturers safety instructions and
proper operating procedures, especially for
metal blade accessories.
If a homeowner is tired of raking leaves
and grass, a powered or hand-propelled lawn
sweeper or a riding-mower attachment may
be just what he or she is looking for. A rotat-
ing sweeping action picks up leaves, rocks,
clippings, etc. Clippings are held in a contain-
er until they can be deposited in the trash or
other area.
When looking for quality, the user should
consider an adequately powered engine, large
swivel-caster wheels for maneuverability,
solid-tufted steel-backed brushes, wide semi-
pneumatic tires with top traction for heavy
loads and brush height adjustment.
A consumer also may want a sweeper
with a wind apron to contain debris on a
blustery day.
Another type of lawn cleaner uses the vac-
uum principle to handle debris. In addition
to lawn applications and picking up grass and
twigs, lawn vacuums can pick up paper, wood
shavings and other trash from parking lots,
factory or warehouse floors.
Two types of lawn vacuums exist. One is a
wheel-driven unit that is either pushed or rid-
den like a rotary mower. The other is a hand-
held unit that is carried around much like a
lawn trimmer.
Attachments like flexible hose kits allow
lawn vacuums to pick up debris in shrubs and
around growing plants and flowers without
the danger of damage from raking.
Flexible discharge hoses are also avail-
able on some models to load debris into a
mobile container, eliminating the need to
dump the bag.
Features in quality units include high-
capacity, self-discharging bags, interlocking
tubes, anti-vibration handles, enclosed
engines and grouped controls. On large units
look for suction force to pick up a variety of
debris; puncture-proof, semipneumatic tires
and a strong engine with direct drive.
Like many other types of outdoor power
equipment, lawn vacuums may prove to be
an excellent rental item.
As some states begin banning communi-
ty trash disposal of lawn clippings and
grass, these products may see increased
demand. Depending upon the model,
these machines shred, grind, tear and pul-
verize a wide assortment of materials such
as leaves, twigs, hedge clippings, brush,
branches and even thin metal.
Because of the variety of tasks performed
by these machines, you should stock those
best suited for homeowners in your market.
The basic design usually includes two
wheels, handle, intake hopper where the
debris is funneled into the cutting area,
blades and engine.
Ask the customer how he intends to use
the unit before selling a shredder-grinder.
Some shredders utilize high-speed rotating
blades to pulverize and blow debris into a
bag. These may be powered by lightweight
motors that can handle only dry debris and
bog down on damp material.
Avid home gardeners may require a heav-
ier-duty model to produce compost from
damp debris and leaves. These models shred
the debris and force it through a screen back
onto the ground.
Point out safety features such as shields
that guard against flying debris or keep the
consumers hands from touching the cutting
blades. Stress the manufacturers safety
Instead of picking up leaves and debris, air
blowers use a strong blast of air to clean side-
walks, driveways, patios and garage floors.
The power unit is carried by the operator and
a hose or tube directs the air.
In addition to these uses, air blowers can
clear trash and leaves from around shrubs,
bushes, fences; they can blow leaves into a
pile instead of raking and they can blow away
light snow.
Gas-powered commercial models were
the first units on the market. Power is
derived from a heavy two-cycle gas engine
worn on the back of the operator. The
engine delivers a blast of air down a hose
which is connected to a rigid tube with a
handle to direct the air flow.
A lighter-weight version of this commercial
model, although still relatively heavy and
worn on the back, is used on large acreage
and commercial jobs.
Two-cycle gas engines power some of these
units and offer the convenience of being
cordless but are more expensive than a simi-
lar model with electrical power.
Several types of electric models are
lightweight. They are carried in the hand
and the complete one-piece unit is moved
to direct the air. Some blowers accept vac-
uum kits as an accessory.
Make sure that you ask the customer
what type of applications he will be using
the blower for so that you can suggest the
correct model.
The most frequently sold hedge trim-
mers and shears are electrically and bat-
tery-powered units, although gasoline
models are manufactured.
Usually these tools have 14 or longer steel
blades and protective housings to guard
against shocks to the user.
Consumers should consider some of the
quality features in these tools when mak-
ing a purchase. Double-edge blades allow
the homeowner to cut in either direction
rather than in one direction as does a sin-
gle-edge blade.
Phenolic plastic housings or double-insu-
lated metal housings protect the operator
against electrical shock, and quality trimmers
are equipped with serrated or scalloped teeth
to cut through tougher stems.
The comfort of a wraparound handle is
an excellent selling point, especially since it
allows both right- and left-handed opera-
tion. Chrome plating is not just window
dressing; it protects exposed parts from rust.
While less-expensive trimmers may
have only one cutting speed, higher-
priced models usually have medium and
high speeds. Medium speed converts
power from cutting speed to cutting
power and provides better blade control,
less vibration, clean cuts, penetration of
heavy undergrowth and quicker, easier
cutting of thick branches. High speed is
better for trimming light hedges.
Trimmers should be balanced and light-
Heavy-duty models for professional use are
equipped with motors that develop more
than 1/4 hp. Clutch protected for all-day jobs,
they may have up to 200 extension cords for
access to a greater cutting area.
Advances in battery technology, especially
in rechargeable nickel-cadmium and lead-acid
batteries, add to the appeal of cordless tools.
Units can be recharged more than 500 times.
Low voltage and a plastic housing protect
the user from electrical shock, and safety
switches prevent accidental starting.
Consumers can choose from hand or long-
handled models of cordless grass shears, and
some units are convertible. Blades come in
several sizes, and the larger the blade, the
faster grass can be cut.
Blade life is usually longer than one
season, especially since the majority of
them can be resharpened. Replacement is
required when they no longer cut cleanly
after resharpening.
Like other cordless tools, cordless hedge
trimmers eliminate the danger of slicing
through a power cord. A cycle charge will
usually last for about half an hour, while the
cutting time on larger models may be as long
as 45 minutes.
Interchangeable power packs that fit sever-
al cordless units such as grass shears, flash-
lights and trimmers encourage consumers to
build up a cordless workshop. They buy a sin-
gle power pack and add whatever attach-
ments they want. When selling these cordless
tools, it is important to make sure that con-
sumers dont expect to operate them like a
corded tool. Dull, dirty cutting edges decrease
operating time. Heavy-duty cutting with a
lightweight tool will drain the power source
Make sure the customer understands these
facts and is aware of the operating time for
each tool he buys.
1. Operate power blowers only at rea-
sonable hoursnot early in the
morning, late at night or at other
times when people are likely to be
disturbed. From 8:00 A.M. to 5:30
P.M. on weekdays, and from 9:00
A.M. to 5:00 P.M. on weekends.
2. Operate blowers at the lowest possi-
ble speed to do the job. Maximum
speed is seldom necessary.
3. Use only one piece of power equip-
ment at a time to keep noise levels
4. Make sure the power blowers muf-
fler is in good working order.
5. Use the full blower nozzle extension
so that the air stream can work effi-
ciently close to the ground, minimiz-
ing the spread of dust.
6. In dusty conditions, wet down sur-
faces or use mister attachments.
7. Use rakes and brooms to loosen
debris before blowing.
8. Before using a blower, check wind
direction. Look for open doors and
windows, freshly washed cars, chil-
dren or pets at play, and other things
that could be harmed by blowing
dust, leaves or debris.
9. After using blowers and other equip-
ment, clean up. Dispose of debris in
trash receptacles. Make sure none
has blown into neighboring yards.
10. Check the condition of your power
blower, including air intakes and air
filter to make sure the unit is operat-
ing properly.
11. Wear ear protection if you operate
a blower for more than two hours
per day.
Source: Echo Mfg. Co.
Lightweight, less-expensive chainsaws
are a common homeowner purchase.
Chain saws are gasoline or electric pow-
ered, but gas powered are most common.
Power output is generally considered 1-
hp-per-cu.-in. displacement; however, pro-
fessional models have more horsepower-
per-cubic-inch displacement. At the bot-
tom end of the power-ratings chart would
be a lightweight model with as little as
1.4 cu. in. of displacement, while the pro-
fessional model will run as high as 7.5 to
8 cu. in.
Homeowners rarely need more than about
a 2.0- to 3.7-cu.-in. model.
Chain saws are direct drive and have chain
speeds from 3,000 fpm (ft. per minute) to
7,000 fpm. Advantages are lighter weight,
lower cost and faster cutting.
Weights usually are quoted as the dry
weight of the power head (with fuel and
oil tanks empty) and without the bar and
chain, which vary greatly by both type
and length. Most homeowner needs can
be satisfied with 8- to 16-lb. units. The
smallest saws may offer only a single bar
length as short as 10 or 12, while more
expensive units offer much longer inter-
changeable bars ranging from 12 to 42.
Electric chain saws, especially the smaller
models with 8 to 10 cutting bars, can be
used for trimming and pruning. Their low
cost is an especially important sales point for
occasional users. Heavy-duty extension cords
are an absolute essential.
There are quality differences that need to
be explained to customers. A sprocket-tip cut-
ting bar increases cutting speed because it
eliminates most of the friction around the bar
tip. It also keeps the chain from dragging
around the bar nose, thus eliminating bar
wear, and reduces chain stretch.
Safety is an important factor in chain saw
operation. The product must be treated with
great respect. Manufacturers are taking differ-
ent approaches to the safety problem.
You should become familiar with the
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
B175.1 safety standard for chain saws. The
standard requires chain saws up to 3.8 CID
(cubic inch displacement) to pass a test limit-
ing the kickback of a saw and making at least
two separate antikickback devices a part of
each saw.
Kickback occurs when the top 90 per-
cent of the bar tip comes into contact
with an object. This may cause the bar tip
to violently kick back toward the opera-
tor. The standard is aimed at reducing the
potential harm to the operator.
Most manufacturers are meeting the stan-
dard by using a combination of low-kickback
It pays to instruct customers on safe chain saw operation. Here are a few rules:
1. Read the instruction manual before operating the saw.
2. Wear gloves and safety goggles when working with the saw.
3. Wear proper garments when operating the saw. Clothing should be loose enough to permit
free movement but not loose enough to snag on branches or get tangled in the chain. A
safety-toed boot is also recommended.
4. Always start the saw on the ground or other firm base and be sure the chain and bar are in
no danger of touching anything.
5. Stand to the side of the saw when cutting, never directly behind it.
6. Beware of rotational kickback, the sudden upward and backward movement of the saw
when the nose tip of the bar touches an object while the saw chain is moving.
7. Go slow in cutting. Chain saws cut so rapidly that it is easy to cut too deep or at the wrong
angle. Dont press down on the bar in an attempt to make the saw cut faster. A properly
sharpened chain will cut without pressure. Forcing it may damage the saw or injure the
8. Always stop the engine before handing the saw to another person or moving it to a new
9. When finished with the saw, cover the bar and chain with a guard. If storing for a long peri-
od, empty the fuel tank.
10. Do not fill with gasoline when engine is either hot or running and do not smoke. Store the
fuel in a safe container.
11. Keep saw clean of leaves and sawdust and keep handle free of grease.
First rule of caring and dueling of a chain
saw, whether gasoline-powered or electric,
is to follow recommendations of the man-
ufacturer. But some rules are common to
all power saws.
Manufacturers recommend a gas/oil mix
ratio from 16:1 to 50:1, depending on the
type of two-cycle lubricant used. Chain
and guide bars need frequent lubrication,
and many saws have a built-in reservoir
and dispensing system. Special bar and
chain oil is available which adheres to the
chain components longer, providing
greater protection against wear. On some
models a manual override provides addi-
tional lubrication.
Chains should last a long time, but they
will become dull eventually. The time to
sharpen a saw is when it first begins to
get dull. Sharpening kits are a good add-
on suggestion. Professionals charge about
the price of the kit each time they sharpen
a blade.
Semi-automatic chain sharpening systems
are available on some chain saws. With
these, a sharpening stone may be activat-
ed against a specially designed chain to
help operators avoid manual sharpening.
When a new chain is needed, the user will
find no difficulty in changing it if he fol-
lows manufacturers instructions. A new
chain may stretch slightly when first
used, so it should be operated initially at
partial throttle and then adjusted.
Adhering to chain saw safety rules (see
Chain Saw Safety in this chapter) will
protect the user and the saw. Its basic,
but worth mentioning: Be sure not to
touch the cord of an electric chain saw
with a blade when the saw is in operation.
chain and one other device such as a tip
guard, chain brake or low-kickback bar.
Low-kickback chain has extra links or
rakers added near the cutters which pre-
vent the chain from cutting too deeply
into the wood. This greatly reduces the
risk of kickback. These chains can be retro-
fitted to older-model saws.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
points out that key features of the voluntary
standard include a test for measuring the
kickback potential of chain saws and the
establishment of a maximum computed kick-
back angle limit of 45 for gasoline-powered
chain saws under 3.8 CID.
The standard also requires that all such
chain saws must be equipped with a front
hand guard plus at least two of the following:
a low- or reduced-kickback saw chain, tip or
nose guards, chain brakes, reduced-kickback
guide bars or some other feature that will
reduce the risk of injury.
Reduced-kickback bars are designed with a
smaller radius, which reduces the kickback
area and contact area for cutters at the tip of
the bar. Bar tip guards eliminate the possibili-
ty of cutting with the tip of the bar, thus
eliminating the potential for kickback.
Another safety device is called a chain
brake. It is intended to stop the moving chain
on a running saw. When the saw begins to
kick back, the users hand, if correctly posi-
tioned, hits the chain brake to stop the saw.
Stress the necessity of reading the owners
manual before using the saw and the need to
regularly clean the brake of dirt and oil.
Other safety features include throttle latch-
es for safer, easier starting; safety triggers to
help avoid accidental acceleration; muffler
shields and chain catchers to prevent a bro-
ken or slipped chain from lashing back at the
operator; nonsymmetrical bars and low-kick-
back chains.
The cutting length of a saw without a tip
guard is greater than the bar length. It is actu-
ally twice the bar length. In other words, a
saw with a 10 bar can be used to cut
through a 20 diameter tree or log, half the
diameter from each side.
For specific details about saws carried in
your store, it will be necessary to study
manufacturer literature carefully. Features
differ from brand to brand. But a few gen-
eral points need to be stressed in conversa-
tions with customers.
Youll need to explain the proper mixture
of oil and gas and stress the importance of
keeping the saw chain oiled. Some saws have
automatic oilers; others require hand pump-
ing. The oil filter must be kept clean. The oil
and gas must be drained from the saw when
not in use.
The saw chain accessory market is growing
about as fast as the chain saw market. To
sharpen saws, consumers need a file guide,
depth gauge and proper files. Chain lubri-
cant, engine oil, gas cans with flexible spouts
and funnels are other good sellers.
For specific details about the saws and parts
needed, consult manufacturers literature or
ask your supplier.
Efforts to conserve energy and cut utility
bills have brought the woodpile into sharp
focus; cutting fireplace and stove wood is
much easier with log splitters.
Manually operated log splitters drive a
splitting wedge into logs after the wedge is
hit with a sledge. Powered log splitters are
much quicker.
Engineering techniques may vary from
model to model depending upon the manu-
facturers, so you should familiarize yourself
with the company literature on the models
that you sell. Generally, hydraulic action pro-
vides the force to drive a splitting ram into a
log secured in the frame.
There are also screw models that are cone
shaped and turn or bore their way into the
wood to split the log.
Log splitters may be powered by gasoline
engines with as little as 3.5 hp. There are also
models with electric motors. More horsepow-
er doesnt necessarily mean more splitting
power. Splitting power is the result of a well-
matched pump, cylinder and engine, which
allows the system to operate more efficiently
with less horsepower.
To find out how well matched these three
elements are, extend the ram to the wedge
after starting the splitter. Keep the ram in this
position for five to six seconds and if the
engine stalls or labors heavily, the system is
not properly matched or adjusted. This can
result in less than optimum splitting power
for the amount of horsepower the unit has.
Engines may range from 5 hp to 25 hp,
and most units will split logs up to 24 long.
Some splitters can also be towed behind a car
to the woods to split logs.
A deadman neutral return control handle
is a desirable safety feature. Cycling times
vary with different models, but the faster the
cycle, the more wood you can split.
You may also want to offer these units on a
The Logsplitter Manufacturers Association
offers the following list of terms to help iden-
tify and explain elements of the log splitter.
AIR GAPthe clear space remaining
between the ram and the cutting wedge
at the furthest outstroke of the ram drive
or wedge drive system.
control lever that, when engaged into the
forward position, activates the drive sys-
tem of the piston; when released by the
operator, disengages all forward move-
ment of the drive system. When operator
releases the control lever, it will automati-
cally return to a neutral position.
TERmachine that utilizes pressurized
fluid and a piston drive system to force
wood through a cutting wedge or a cut-
ting wedge through wood.
to hold or position a log on top plate of
the log splitter.
SPLITTERmachine that uses a mechani-
cal ram drive system to force wood
through a cutting wedge or a cutting
wedge through wood.
RAM DRIVEa flat piece of steel mount-
ed to a driven piston system that forces
wood against a stationary or movable
SPEED OF STROKEaverage rate of trav-
el of the ram or wedge drive system
through its splitting stroke under a no-
load condition.
WEDGE DRIVEcutting wedge that is
mounted to a piston drive system that
forces the wedge into a piece of wood,
thereby causing the wood to split. With
this system, the wedge moves into the
wood which is stationary on the unit.
rental basis, but be sure to provide adequate
instruction to ensure safe operation.
The Logsplitter Manufacturers Association
offers the following safety tips when operat-
ing one of these splitting systems.
o Both ends of each log should be cut as
square as possible to help prevent log from
riding out of splitter.
o Never place hands or feet between log and
splitting wedge or between log and ram
during forward or reverse stroke.
o Dont straddle the splitter when using it.
o Never split two logs on top of each other.
o Never load splitter while ram is in motion.
o Keep fingers away from any cracks that
open in log during splitting operation.
o Never move splitter while it is running.
o Operate splitter on level ground and
always block wheels to prevent movement
of the log splitter while in operation.
Power rakes or thatchers may produce
more volume as rental items or commercial
sales than as consumer sales.
They are expensive, hard to store and infre-
quently used by most homeowners.
The power rake or thatcher brings up the
thatch so it can be gathered by a vacuum or
brush-type sweeper. Thatch is matted dead
grass imbedded in the turf lying just atop the
soil, and the material must be removed if fer-
tilizer, air and moisture are to penetrate into
the grass root system.
A tine-type reel will remove dead thatch
without disturbing the soil or removing live
grass. The action of a knife and flail reel is
much more severe, but is required when it is
necessary to depopulate or remove part of the
turf with the dead thatch.
Thatch removal also eliminates a breeding
place for lawn insects and fungus growth,
which cause damage to a lawn.
Tillers can be used in both large and small
gardens in addition to small-acreage farming
to prepare the ground for planting and to cul-
tivate the growing crop. After harvesting,
tillers can mulch refuse back into the soil.
Multiuse tillers can convert into snow-
plows or pushers for winter use.
Tillers are available in both front and rear-
tined models. Front-positioned tines are driv-
en by the engine and actually pull the tiller,
relieving the user of pushing it.
Rear-positioned tines are usually found in
larger units, which are more suited for multi-
acre gardens than backyard gardens.
Front-tined tillers can plow to within 1 or
2 of a walk, foundation or other plants, but
some rear-tined tillers need at least 8 clear-
ance. Others, however, can till up to a walk-
way and within 1 or 2 of a wall.
Mini-tillers are excellent for homeowners
with small gardens. They are relatively low
priced, lightweight and easily stored in a
garage or basement.
Electric mini-tillers or cultivators are even
smaller and are good to use around flower
gardens close to the house.
Mini-tillers are powered by 2-hp motors
and are generally chain driven. Tilling area
varies from 6 to 18 wide, while regular-size
tillers will handle areas up to 26 wide. Mini-
tillers weigh under 80 lbs., with some tipping
the scales at only 60 lbs.
Regular-sized tillers have 10 to 14 tines
which are driven by 3- to 5-hp motors. Some
are chain driven but many are gear driven,
and the units may weigh as much as 300 lbs.
Tining attachments can expand the tilled area
well beyond 26.
Many models have reverse as well as for-
ward drive, and a deadman control is a good
safety device on models with reverse drive.
Tines are available in a variety of designs,
but the most common has its cutting edge
slanted upward so it strikes the soil at an
angle, slicing into the soil, which decreases
root and vine entanglement.
Tine assemblies usually have four knives,
and if tines are detachable, all can point in
one direction or they can alternate. Tilling
widths range up to 26, depending on tine
directions and on whether two, four or more
tine assemblies are used. The best tillers for
backyard work will have adjustable widths,
narrowing to at least 11 for passage between
crowded rows. Top tine speeds are usually 75
rpm to 100 rpm.
Some tines merely scratch the surface while
others pulverize dirt as deep as 9.
Transmissions in top-quality tillers utilize
precision-fitted worm and ring gears, with
two ball or roller bearings on both the drive
and tine shafts. Some chain-driven models
are available.
Higher-horsepower motors enable the user
to till at slower speeds without stalling the
engine, and this is important when the going
is rough.
Chain-driven tillers have no ring and
worm transmission, and producers claim this
is an advantage because it eliminates trans-
mission heating. Another advantage claimed
is that since tines can be turned backward as
well as forward when not in gear, no reverse
gear is necessary.
Lightweight snow throwers or powered
snow shovels are very popular, especially in
regions that experience frequent, but moder-
ate, snowfall.
In congested urban areas and in the south-
ern fringes of the Snowbelt, these models are
big sellers, but in the primary Snowbelt, con-
sumers prefer heavier equipment.
The basic components of a snow thrower
are the engine, blades to break up snow,
auger or paddles to pull snow in, impellers to
eject snow and chutes to direct thrown snow.
The combination of these components
depends on whether the model is a single- or
two-stage thrower.
Single-stage units are lighter, easier to
maneuver and less expensive than two-
stage units. Single-stage units use one
action to break up snow, draw it in and
discharge it. Two-stage throwers use sepa-
rate augers or fans and impellers with the
former breaking up and pulling in snow
and the latter propelling it forward or out
to one side. Directional controls adjust
the discharge chute so snow is thrown in
the desired direction.
Two-stage units can maneuver as much as
one ton of snow per minute, throwing it up
to 30. However, some high-performance sin-
gle-stage units can throw snow as far as small-
er two-stage units.
Heavy-duty units are all metal, have 3-
hp or larger engines (two- or four-cycle),
20 to 32 clearing widths and may be
able to throw up to a ton of snow a
minute as far as 40.
Lighter-weight, less-expensive models
are usually sufficient for ordinary home
snow clearing. These may have combina-
tion plastic (high-density polyethylene)
and aluminum construction, a 2-1/2-hp
engine and as small as a 14 clearing
width. These have the ability to clear a
50 driveway of 3 snow depth in about
10 minutes.
Gasoline-powered units offer 3 to 11 hp,
two- or four-cycle engines, cutting widths
from 14 to 32, automatic rewind or recoil
(optional electric) starters, two to five forward
speeds and one reverse speed (up to 2-1/2
Electric units have clearing widths of 16
to 18. Power units must be totally enclosed
to prevent snow and water from getting into
the motor.
Quality features to look for in snow throw-
ers are chain and gear drive, fully-enclosed
transmission and gear drive to eliminate
problems of snow and ice on drive train,
clutch control operating from handle,
adjustable rollers for paved surfaces and skids
for unpaved ones, heavy steel or good plas-
tic/metal construction, semipneumatic tires
(tractor treads recommended) and chains
available for use on inclines.
When consumers are shopping for a snow
thrower, find out how large an area they
intend to clear to help determine which
model best suits their needs.
For instance, in a region that experi-
ences frequent snowfalls of 6 or more, if
the customer has a large driveway to clear,
he may need an auger-type model. These
spiral blades spin like a screw, compact the
snow and throw it out the discharge
chute. These can come in both single-stage
and two-stage models.
Instead of the auger types, a paddle model
with two to three paddles made of hard rub-
ber or plastic mounted on a rotating drum
may be more appropriate for areas with
lighter snowfall. The paddles usually will not
dig as deeply as augers, which could force the
operator to make repeated passes over the
same area to remove a heavier snowfall.
Lightweight snow-thrower models, or
compacts, retail for about $250 to $500 and
heavier-duty, self-propelled units such as the
auger variety may run as high as $1,500.
Consumer Reports says that the typical
self-propelled thrower has two deadman con-
trolsone for the auger and one for the driv-
ing wheels. When the operator releases those
controls, auger and wheels automatically
come to a stop.
When selling a unit to a customer, rein-
force the safety story. Most injuries
involve hands used to unclog units. An
operator should never use a hand or a
stick to remove clogged snow or ice when
the machine is running.
An operator should avoid touching hot
mufflers, cylinders or fins; pull starter cord
rapidly to prevent kickback and allow the
engine to cool before adding fuel.
If the consumer has previously owned a
snow thrower with a manual starter or if the
person is elderly, an electric starter makes a
good add-on sale.
Portable generator sales have been sparked
by a growing homeowner and recreational
market. The majority of units sold are 5,000
watts (5 kilowatts) or below, which translates
into consumer and light commercial sales, an
ideal market for do-it-yourself retailers.
Electricity is generated by means of a gaso-
line-powered engine.
Portable or small stationary generators in
the 5-kilowatt-and-under category are prima-
rily bought for standby or emergency power
to the home, for recreational use, for con-
struction work and by farmers.
Standby units come in 1,200 to 5,000
watts, with the 2,000- to 3,500-watt models
the most popular. Some gasoline-powered
units are compact with low noise level and
put out 750 watts of power.
Prices vary depending upon the options;
some emergency power kits include a gen-
erator and accessories to put a complete
emergency power system together. The
system may include a generator, gasoline
storage cans, power-transfer switch, power
attachment to the house wiring and a
housing or cover. Battery-powered electric
starting may be added.
Other accessories include dollies to move
the units, covers, low-noise mufflers, conver-
sion kits that allow the units to run off liquid
propane or natural gas, battery chargers and
spark arrestors.
1. If using a snow thrower, be sure the
area is clean and avoid excessive
force. Let the machine do the work.
2. If shoveling, use a shovel that is pro-
portionate to your lifting ability. Use
arms and legs to do the work.
3. Avoid twisting and jerking motions;
they are the leading cause of back
4. Dress in several layers of clothing
muffler, jacket, sweater, etc., so you
can take off outer layers as you warm
up to the job.
5. Be careful. Snow shoveling requires 6
to 15 times the energy required dur-
ing rest period. This is comparable to
running at a speed of nine miles an
To dig out a 50, double-car driveway
after a 4 wet snowfall, you have to
remove four tons of snow!
Rochester, N.Y. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89.6
Denver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59.5
Cleveland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52.7
Hartford, Conn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52.0
Milwaukee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46.8
Minneapolis/St. Paul . . . . . . . . . . .46.3
Boston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41.9
Detroit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40.5
Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39.8
Amounts are record mean snowfalls for
these cities.
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
I Energy efficiency remains an important
consideration when consumers choose
products such as insulation, doors and
windows, and employees should be pre-
pared to sell the conservation benefits of
one product over another.
The ENERGY STAR Windows program is a voluntary partnership
between the U.S. Department of Energy and the fenestration
industry to promote sales of energy-efficient windows, doors and
All ENERGY STAR windows must be NFRC (National Fenestration
Rating Council) rated, certified and labeled for both U-factor and
Solar Heat Gain. The program establishes three climate regions
with one recommended product designation for each region. For
example, in the northern region, windows and doors must have a
U-factor rating of 0.35 or below, while skylights must have a U-fac-
tor rating of 0.45 or below. For more information, call the ENERGY
STAR hotline at (800) 363-3732 or visit its Web site at www.ener-
Building material products continue to be refined by manufac-
turers, who are developing enhanced and alternative products that
offer improved performance over the traditional offering. Today's
homeowners value products that require less maintenance and
offer functional yet decorative appeal.
Another important factor in the building materials category is the
employees need to know local building codes and product prefer-
ences in a particular town or region. The quality and applicability
of building materials for specific projects often depend on various
factorssuch as weights and stylesthat vary both by geograph-
ical location and the building itself.
Most home heatingand with it, many
dollars in heating and cooling costsis lost
through the attic because warm air rises.
Therefore, the attic floor is one of the most
important places in a house for additional
insulation. It is also the easiest place to insu-
lateand it can help reduce the need for air
conditioning in the summer.
Fiberglass blanket insulation is the most
commonly used material for d-i-yers. Others
include mineral fiber, mineral granules and
reflective foil.
Although each kind of insulation has dif-
ferent characteristics and benefits, the effec-
tiveness of insulation is ultimately measured
in R-values. "R" refers to "resistance to heat
flow." The R-value of thermal insulation
depends on the type of material, its thickness
and density. The higher the R-value, the
greater the insulation effectiveness.
Effectiveness of an insulated wall or ceiling
also depends on how and where it is
installed. For example, insulation that is com-
pressed will not provide its full rated R-value.
Also, the overall R-value of a wall or ceiling
will be slightly less than the R-value of the
insulation itself since some heat flows around
the insulation through the studs and joists.
The Department of Energy recommends R-
values, based on type of fuel used and zip
code area. A computer program is available to
help homeowners calculate the amount of
insulation appropriate for their house. It
includes weather and cost information for
local regions defined by the first three digits
of each zip code. It can be found on the
Internet at www.ornl.gov/roofs+walls.
The minimum recommendation for attics
in homes heated by gas or oil in most south-
ern locations is R-19. The recommendation
for an electrically heated home in the same
location is R-30. The minimum recommenda-
tion for homes in the coldest climates
regardless of heating methodis R-49.
R numbers can be added together. For
example, two R-19 batts can be stacked
upon each other to create R-38 insulation.
(R-38 insulation is recommended for most
1. In unfinished attic spaces, insulate between and over the floor joists to seal off living
spaces below.*
1A. attic access door
2. In finished attic rooms with or without dormer, insulate...
2A. between the studs of knee walls;
2B. between the studs and rafters of exterior walls and roof;
2C. ceilings with cold spaces above;
2D. extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flows.
3. All exterior walls, including...
3A. walls between living spaces and unheated garages, shed roofs or storage areas;
3B. foundation walls above ground level;
3C. foundation walls in heated basements, full wall either interior or exterior.
4. Floors above cold space, such as vented crawl spaces and unheated garages. Also insulate...
4A. any portion of the floor in a room that is cantilevered beyond the exterior wall below;
4B. slab floors built directly on the ground;**
4C. as an alternative to floor insulation, foundation walls of unvented crawl spaces;
4D. extend insulation into joist space to reduce air flow.
5. Band joists.
6. Replacement or storm windows and caulk and seal around all windows and doors.
* Well-insulated attics, crawl spaces, storage areas and other enclosed cavities should be ventilated to
prevent excessive moisture build-up.
** For new construction, slab on grade insulation should be installed to the extent required by building
codes, or greater.
areas of the countrywhen a house is air
conditioned as well as heated.) It's also pos-
sible to add loose insulation on top of a bot-
tom layer of batts, and then add the two R
numbers together.
Insulation batts can also be added to attics
with some insulation, though the consumer
should be advised to use unfaced batts.
Generally, if an attic floor has less than 9" of
insulation, it needs more.
Homeowners should check the informa-
tion on the insulation label to make sure that
the product is suitable for the intended appli-
cation. A good insulation label should have a
clearly stated R-value and information about
health and safety issues. An informative label
should state:
o The type of insulation material;
o The R-value (measured at 75);
o The types of spaces that can be insulated;
o Safety precautions in application and use,
including any fire-hazard related restric-
o The quantity in the package;
o The name and address of the manufacturer
or distributor.
For more information, click (Saving
Money With Insulation).
Fire Retardation
Mineral wool batts, blanket and blowing
wool are non-combustible. Mineral fiber insu-
lation, including fiberglass and rock wool, is
formed of either molten glass, metal slag or
rockmaterials that won't burn.
However, brown paper or internal bub-
blepack vapor barriers on batts and blankets
are flammable and must be covered after
installation. Ordinary gypsum board is ade-
quate covering.
Cellulose is a paper product and there-
fore naturally combustible. When properly
treated with fire-retardant chemicals (rep-
utable manufacturers treat cellulose), cel-
lulose is a safer insulation, but it can still
burn when exposed to a heat source such
as recessed lighting, fireplace stacks or
other electrical fixtures.
You should check to ensure that whatever
brand you stock meets the Consumer Product
Safety Commission's regulations for cellulose
insulation. Also, point out to customers that
A. These recommendations are based on the assumption that no structural modifications are needed to
accommodate the added structure.
B. R-value of full wall insulation, which is 3-1/2 thick, will depend on material used. Range is R-11 to R-
13. For new construction, R-19 is recommended for exterior walls. Jamming an R-19 in a 3-1/2 cavity
will not yield R-19.
C. Insulate crawl space walls only if the crawl space is dry all year, the floor above is not insulated and all
ventilation to the crawl space is blocked. A vapor barrier (e.g. 4 or 6 mil. polyethylene film) should be
installed on the ground to reduce moisture migration into the crawl space.
D. Thermal response of existing space for cooling benefits does not suggest additional insulation.
NOTE: For more inforamtion see:
DOE Insulation Fact Sheet (DOE/CE-0180)
U.S. Department fo Energy
Technical Information Center
P.O. Box 62, Oakridge, TN 37830
Source: U. S. Department of Energy
1. 49 49 19 11 19
2. 49 38 19 11 19
3. 38 38 19 11 19
4. 38 38 19 11 19
5. 38 30 19 11 19
6. 38 30 19 11 19
7. 30 30 (D) 11 19
8. 30 19 (D) 11 11
the word "fire-retardant" on product packag-
ing does not mean "fire-proof."
Vapor Retardation
Vapor from normal household water usage
naturally moves toward the exterior of the
home during cold times of year, when fami-
lies are heating their homes. A vapor retarder
is important to prevent condensation, which
occurs in the insulation or when the vapor
reaches a colder surface in the wall cavity
causing wood to rot and allowing mold and
mildew to grow over time. Siding and other
exterior materials can also cause condensa-
tion, especially when painted several times
and sealed.
Vapor-retardant facings on faced build-
ing insulation are the most common form
of material used to prevent condensation.
However, other materialssuch as treated
paper and metallic foilcan do the job as
well. Also popular is polyethylene sheet-
ing, which can be applied over unfaced
Vapor retarders should be installed
toward the interioron the side of the insu-
lation that is warm in winter. In some
areasparticularly in the most hot and
humid areas in the deep Southvapor retar-
dation should either be omitted or placed
on the outer surface of walls. Retailers in
these regions should refer the customer to a
professional who can determine the best
place for installation of vapor retarders.
Batts and blankets can be purchased with
a vapor retarder attached. However, if new
material is being added to insulation already
in place, use batts or blankets that do not
have an attached vapor retarder. For loose-
fill insulation or for batts and blankets not
having an attached vapor retarder, heavy-
weight polyethylene plastic sheets are avail-
able in rolls of various widths for use as
vapor retarders.
Loose-Fill Insulation
Loose-fill is poured into walls and between
joists of the attic floor. It can also be blown
into finished walls either by a professional
contractor or a d-i-yer, although d-i-yers often
struggle when trying to get the right consis-
tency. Blowing equipment for attic/wall uses
is a good rental item.
Loose-fill can be spread with a rake or
board. It settles over the years, so customers
who once had well-insulated homes may
need more insulation.
Each bag of loose insulation is labeled
according to federal specifications for both
mineral wool and cellulose. The column on
the left of the label lists the R number. The
next column tells how many bags are needed
to cover 1,000 square feet of attic floor area.
The third column gives the minimum thick-
ness after completing the job.
Some manufacturers will have two
columns on thickness for loose-fill and cellu-
lose insulation. The second of these is labeled
"settled density"an important factor, since
cellulose settles quickly. Homeowners will
want to compensate to obtain the desired R-
value after settling.
For example, to achieve a performance rat-
ing of R-30, 30 bags for each 1,000 square feet
may need to be used. (These numbers vary
from manufacturer to manufacturer.)
To help customers determine how many
bags are needed, ask them to measure the
attic floor area. For instance, if the dimen-
sions are 30' x 40', or 1,200 square feet, you
divide that number by 1,000 and get 1.2.
Your customer needs 1.2 times the number
of bags of insulation shown on the label for
1,000 square feet.
Roll Insulation
Fiberglass blanket or roll insulation comes
in continuous rolls, which vary in width
and thickness. Roll insulation that has a
vapor retarder should be installed with the
vapor retarder toward the interior or heated
area. Torn vapor barriers can be mended
with tape.
Fiberglass roll insulation is available in R-
values of R-11, R-13, R-19 and R-25, and in
thicknesses from 3-1/2" to 8".
Batt Insulation
Batt insulation is either pre-cut or perforat-
ed into shorter lengths. Batts are suggested
where there are many cross beams or other
Batt insulation is available in R-values of R-
11, R-13, R-15, R-19, R-21, R-22, R-30 and R-38
(with thicknesses from 3-1/2" to 12"). Batts are
typically 93" for standard sidewall cavities, but
are also available in 90", 94" and 96". Shorter
batts are used in attics, ceilings and crawl
spaces. Attic batts are typically 47" or 48".
Batts installed in walls should not be com-
pressed to fit, but should fit snugly between
studs. Also, insulation should not be stuffed
behind wires; the insulation (not the facing)
should be cut to fit around the wire.
Encapsulated Insulation
Batts and rolls are also available in fabric-
encapsulated form, allowing easy handling
by the installer and reducing dust and other
irritants. Fabric encapsulation enables the
insulation to "breathe" and prevents con-
densation build-up.
In addition, non-woven encapsulating fab-
ric tends to stay in place better than plastic-
wrap insulation. Non-woven fabric products
should meet all building code requirements
for flame spread resistance because the prod-
uct is flammable.
Rigid Insulation
Rigid board insulation can be used on the
interior or exterior of the house. Various
materials are used for rigid board insulation,
which is often applied on basement walls,
especially when paneling is also to be applied.
All polystyrene and most polyisocyanurate
R-11. . . . . . . . . . . . 3-1/2-4 . . . . . . . . . . . .3 . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 . . . . . . . . . . .4 . . . . . . . . . . . .3 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
R-19. . . . . . . . . . . . 6-6-1/2 . . . . . . . . . .5-1/4 . . . . . . . . . .8-9 . . . . . . . . .6-7 . . . . . . . . . .5 . . . . . . . . . . . .1
R-22. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-1/2 . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 . . . . . . . . . . . .10 . . . . . . . . . .6-8 . . . . . . . . . .6 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
R-30 . . . . . . . . . . . 9-1/2-10 . . . . . . . . . . .9 . . . . . . . . . . .13-14 . . . . . . .10-11 . . . . . . . . .8 . . . . . . . . . . . .2
R-38 . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-13 . . . . . . . . . .10-1/2 . . . . . . . . .17-18 . . . . . . .13-14 . . . . . . .10-11 . . . . . . . . . . .
sheathings must be covered with 1/2" gypsum
board for this basement application.
Fiberboard sheathings impregnated with
asphalt are popular because of their durability
and low cost. Fiberboard repels water, while
the asphalt coating eliminates the need for
building paper.
Polystyrene sheathings are available in
molded board (polystyrene beads) and
extruded board. Molded board dissipates
water vapor well. Extruded board is also very
resistant to moisture but is most highly rec-
ommended for below-ground use.
Polyisocyanurate sheathings are avail-
able with aluminum foil or glass fiber mat
facers. Polyisocyanurate sheathings have
the highest R-value per inch of thickness
of all insulation products.
The R-value per thickness of polyurethane
and polyisocyanurate sheathings is very high,
but this type of rigid form insulation is not
recommended for basement walls or base-
ment floors.
Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is easy to use and
resistant to both fire and moisture. It may
also have a higher insulating value than
blown-in materials. However, it is more
expensive, and some shrinkage may occur.
Spray foam insulation should be used only
in closed, properly vented exterior wall cavi-
ties and sealed to the inside with vapor- and
fume-resistant paints. This insulation is par-
ticularly well suited for sealing cracks around
windows, doors and construction seams.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission
bans insulation containing formaldehyde.
However, not all foam insulation is subject to
the ban. In fact, formaldehyde is only one of
five chemically distinct types of foam insula-
tion. The other four are made from
polyurethane, polystyrene, polyethylene and
Foam Insulating Sealants
Polyurethane foam is an aerosol product
that expands to fill holes and gaps such as
plumbing feed-thrus, as well as sealing
around electrical outlets, vents, etc. After cur-
ing, it can be trimmed, sanded and/or paint-
ed. Unlike with caulk, the area should only
be filled about 33 percent; the expanding
foam will fill and seal the rest of the area.
Specialized formulations include triple-
expanding seal for general-purpose sealing
and insulating; minimal-expanding for win-
dows and door frames; and fast drying for
multi-step projects such as filling a crack
before painting.
Caution the consumer to wear protec-
tive gloves and eye protection. Wet foam
should be removed immediately with ace-
tone or acetone-based nail polish remover
since cured foam is hard to remove from
skin and clothes.
Reflective Foil
Reflective foil insulation comes in two dif-
ferent types. One is made of foil and poly to
trap air between the sheets of foil, generally
with bubble pack. The second type is manu-
factured to expand when installed between
stud spaces. The resistance to heat flow
depends on the heat flow direction, and this
type of insulation is most effective in reduc-
ing downward heat flow.
Reflective foil insulation comes in long
rolls of various widths. The installation of
reflective foil is a simple project, requiring
neither special tools nor protective clothing;
all that is needed is a pair of scissors and
either glue, reflective tape or a staple gun,
depending on the application.
A sturdy, yet flexible, material, reflective
foil installs easily, in conjunction with many
different building materials, and can be cut to
fit any desired shape. It is versatile and can be
used with wood, block or metal building
materials. It is typically located between roof
rafters, floor joists or wall studs. If a single
reflective surface is used alone and faces an
open space such as an attic, then it is called a
radiant barrier. All radiant barriers must have
a low emittance (0.1 or less) and high
reflectance (0.9 or more).
Other Insulation
Homeowners often use specialty insula-
tions because they are quick and easy to
install. For instance, insulation for water
heaters consists of an easily applied covering
of fiberglass or reflective foil (commonly
known as a "heating jacket"). It is slipped over
the water heater and reduces the energy
required to maintain hot water in the tank.
However, some water heatersparticularly
those manufactured in recent yearsalready
have good insulation, and some of those
manufacturers even discourage additional
insulation. Be familiar with manufacturer rec-
ommendations for any tanks in your store,
and make sure consumers are aware of recom-
mendations for their existing tanks before
they buy.
Other additional forms of insulation
include pipe insulation, which controls heat
loss when pipes carry hot waterand con-
trols condensation and dripping. Pipe insula-
tion can be slit strips of expanded foam or
wrappings of fiberglass.
Duct insulation is similar to pipe insulation
but larger in diameter. Ducts are generally
wrapped because of their different sizes.
Installation Tips
Before a consumer leaves to start any insu-
lation project, make sure he or she has a
sharp utility knife, a step ladder for high
reaches, a staple gun, a straight-edge and
measuring tape and a disposable dust respira-
tor, to comply with Occupational Safety and
Health Administration standards. Consumers
also should be advised to wear a long-sleeved
shirt with collar and cuffs buttoned, gloves,
hat and safety glasses.
In the attic, installation should be started
on one side and worked toward the center.
Homeowners adding a second layer of insula-
tion should use unfaced products. Do not
cover attic vents with insulation.
Do not cover or hand-pack insulation
around bare stove pipes, electrical fixtures,
motors or any heat-producing equipment
such as recessed lighting fixtures.
To insulate a wall cavity, each length of
insulation should be measured and cut
slightly long, which ensures a tight fit.
Again, it should be installed with the
vapor retarder facing toward the warm-in-
winter side. Wedge the blankets snugly
between the studs. Staple the flange to the
inside of the wood studs.
For unfaced insulation, a vapor retarder
should be stapled over the insulation and
directly to the studs to prevent moisture
build-up. Do not leave faced insulation or
polyethylene uncovered; these materials are
flammable. Cover with an approved interior
finish such as gypsum wallboard.
In addition, installation in the floor must
not segregate the water and drain pipes of a
house. A problem for some homeowners aris-
es when they insulate in the crawl space area
to eliminate cold floors. Instead of insulating
under the flooring and separating the pipe
system from the heated area, d-i-yers can
insulate the crawl space wall. This retains
heat not only to warm the floor, but to guard
against frozen pipes as well.
If a new room addition is above an unheat-
ed basement or crawl space, the floor should
also be insulated. To insulate the floor, slip
faced insulation blankets between the floor
joists. Again, make sure the vapor retarder
faces up, toward the warm-in-winter side. The
insulation will stay in place temporarily.
However, since you won't have a flange to
staple, install metal rods (called "insulation
supports") or crisscross wires to secure the
insulation, lacing the wire around the nails in
the joists.
When installing insulation, d-i-yers should
also ensure proper ventilation to guard
against moisture in areas such as the attic.
Also, with insufficient ventilation and move-
ment of air, odors can become a problem in
the house.
For more information, click (Saving
Money With Insulation).
Ceiling types include suspended ceiling
panels, ceiling tiles or ceiling planks. Ceiling
tiles are normally 12" squares. They are also
available in a number of designs and quali-
ties. Acoustical and sculptured tiles are avail-
able. Some have a vinyl coating that allows
them to be cleaned easily.
One method of installation involves a sys-
tem of metal tracks and clips that reduces or
eliminates nailing or gluing. This method is
often sold in kits.
Ceiling tiles can also be installed by sta-
pling the tiles to wood furring strips that are
nailed to the existing ceiling at right angles to
the ceiling beams. Or tiles can be installed by
cementing them to an existing sound drywall
or plaster ceiling.
Suspended ceilings can be used to lower
high ceilings and to cover open framing,
heating ducts and other pipes, making it a
popular choice for basements. Suspended ceil-
ing panels normally are 2'x 4' or 2' x 2' in
size. They are installed with metal runners
and cross tees, which are suspended from the
ceiling (usually by wire) and from the perime-
ter moulding of the room.
The 2'x 4' panels (often called "lay-in pan-
els") come in a wide range of surface designs
such as fiber and mineral board, fiberglass,
plastic or other translucent material. In fact,
electric light fixtures are designed to lie in
place of panels. Some of these panels are
specifically designed to absorb unwanted
noise, and many are fire-resistant.
Most tile and suspended ceilings provide a
small amount of insulation value, although
some are more effective than others.
Fiberglass suspended ceiling panels can be
backloaded with additional insulation.
A cover-up ceiling tile system is suitable
for remodeling and renovating jobs.
Installed easily over existing ceiling tiles,
cover-up tiles come in a variety of classic
and traditional design finishes such as
mahogany, cherry or paintable white. The
2' x 2' tiles are designed for use with stan-
dard T-grid suspension systems.
Ceiling planks offer a wood-grain texture
look to cover unattractive drywall or plaster
ceilings with pops, cracks or stains. Planks are
typically 48" x 6" and are installed the same
way as ceiling tiles.
Ceiling medallions are specially designed
with a solid core for ornamental use. They
can also be cut with a hole cutter or keyhole
saw to accommodate lighting or ceiling fans.
They come in a wide variety of decorative
styles and range in size from 5-7/8" in diame-
ter to 37-3/8".
Domes for new and existing ceilings
change the very shape and feel of a room.
Primarily decorative, domes increase the
height of a room and allow for larger light
fixtures. They are available in round and
elliptical shapes, from classic to contemporary
designs. They come in surface mount and
recessed mount styles.
For more information, click (Installing
Ceiling Tile) or (Installing
Suspended Ceilings).
There are two kinds of residential asphalt
roofing products: shingles and roll roofing.
For residential asphalt roofing, shingles
represent the most common roofing choice.
On roofs that have only one layer of shingles,
a new layer can be laid on top of the firstif
the current shingles are still lying flat. A pro-
fessional should also verify the soundness of
the roof deck underneath first.
Asphalt shingles have a base mat of either
organic or inorganic material. The mats are
then saturated or coated with asphalt and sur-
faced with ceramic-coated mineral granules.
The mineral granules protect the shingles
from the sun's drying rays, giving the shingles
added protection against fireand giving the
roof its color.
Most shingles have an inorganic base. And
for most inorganic-based shingles, glass fibers
are used in the base mat. (Some now have a
polyester and fiberglass blend.) Fiberglass
asphalt shingles feature a better fire rating
and often have a longer warranty. Since they
do not absorb water, fiberglass shingles resist
cracking better than organic shingles. Most
also come with seal-down strips; these strips
are most effective when applied in warm
weather, which allows the asphalt in the strip
to soften and adhere to the next shingle.
Although not as widely used now, organic-
based shingles are a good option in climates
that experience extreme cold. They have a
base of felt or cellulose and are easy to install.
Inorganic-based shingles usually have a
Class A fire-resistance rating from
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which also
tests the performance of asphalt shingles
against high winds. To qualify for the UL
wind-resistant label, shingles must withstand
test winds of at least 60 mph continuously for
two hours without a single tab lifting. Self-
sealing asphalt shingles that bear the UL
wind-resistance label have a factory-applied
adhesive strip. The adhesive bonds the shin-
gles to the adjoining course of shingles when
exposed to the sun.
Three-dimensional or laminated asphalt
shingle roofs are characterized by a more
rugged texture than standard three-tab shin-
gles. They also tend to weigh moreand
cost morethan standard shingles. They are
made of two or more layers that are lami-
nated to create that three-dimensional look,
which gives it an appearance closer to wood
or slate roofing.
The design life of most asphalt shingles
ranges from 15 to 40 years. Generally, the
heavier, three-dimensional shingles have the
longest life expectancy.
Many shingle manufacturers offer shingles
that are treated to resist fungus and algae,
which darken the surface of the finished roof.
These shingles are treated with copper-clad
granules. The water running off the roof dur-
ing rain will wash over the copper, which
kills the microscopic elements that form algae
and fungus.
When homeowners ask about the need to
replace their existing roof, youll need to
explain the symptoms of a worn roof that
needs replacement.
What should a homeowner look for?
Shingles that are blistered, broken or cracked,
an uneven roof surface or flat-looking shin-
gles. A certain number of granules will wear
off and collect at the bottom of downspouts.
Some of this should be expected, but exces-
sive loss should be a clue to keep close tabs
on a roof.
For more information, click (Applying
and Repairing Shingles).
Roll Roofing
Roll roofing is less expensive than shingles
and is usually applied to a lower-sloped roof
or as a supplement to shingles. It comes with
either a smooth or a mineral-covered surface.
It is composed of a heavy felt base that has
been saturated with asphalt and then coated
on both sides with more asphalt.
Roll roofing is easy to install. A cus-
tomer merely rolls it out and nails it
down, then cements the laps and covers
nail holes, leaving no space for damage
from wind, rain or snow.
A typical roll roofing, known as 90-pound
granule-coated, will cover 100 square feet. (In
roofing terminology, a "square" is a 10' x 10'
area.) A 45-pound smooth roofing, without
granules, will also cover a square. Those two
rolls, plus a smooth 65-pound roll, will suffice
for roll roofing needs. Properly applied, roll
roofing should last from 10 to 20 years.
To produce an even longer-lasting roof, the
consumer might want to use two rolls: a 45-
pound or similar smooth roll without gran-
ules that is nailed down and a 90-pound roll
placed over the smooth surface and set with a
cold asphalt-based adhesive.
For any customer interested in roll roofing,
be sure to suggest roofing nails as well as roof
coatings or cements as add-on products.
Metal Roofing
A wide variety of metal roofing options are
available that feature different fastening and
coating systems. Because of steels price and
supply stability, steel housing components
have become more popular in recent years.
The broad range of available sizes and thick-
nesses allows steel to be used in virtually any
roof system.
Steel panels are designed with either
exposed or hidden fasteners. Customers with
steel roofing must watch for rust, which can
be prevented with a coating of zinc or a mix-
ture of zinc and aluminum. The best steel
panels are manufactured with zinc.
Other Roofing Materials
Clay tile is known for its durability since it
can last for up to 50 years. Clay tile can be flat
or rounded in shape; it can even feature a
glossy surface. Clay tile available in the famil-
iar reddish brown color, but also in blue and
green. Tile can also be made of concrete.
Wood shingles and wood shakes are typi-
cally made of cedar, although composite
wood shingles are also available. Unlike
shingles, which are sawn and have a flat
shape and smoother texture, shakes have a
rougher texture. And while shingles are 1/2"
thick, shakes can be 1/2" or 3/4" thick.
Wood roofing is more expensive and more
difficult to install than asphalt shingles, and
fire-retardant treatment reduces but does
not eliminate its flammability.
Slate roofing offers excellent durability, low
maintenance and fire-resistance but is very
expensive. Color options include gray, green
and red. Like clay tile, slate roofing can weigh
three to four times that of asphalt, and not
every home can support that extra weight.
Corrugated asphalt sheets and tile systems
provide the look of metal, clay or cement tile,
but without the weight and installation cost.
BUCKLING The distortion of asphalt shin-
gles due to the movement of the roof deck
on which they are applied.
COURSE Each successive row of shingles.
The row beginning at the eaves is the first
roof surface on which the roofing material is
DRIP EDGE L-shaped weather-resistant
metal installed at exposed roof edges (eaves)
to help shed water and to protect the roofs
wood parts.
DORMER A framed window unit project-
ing out from the side of a sloping roof.
EAVES Overhanging horizontal edge of
roof structure where water runs off and gut-
ters are normally installed.
EXPOSURE When referring to shingles, it is
the surface of the shingle actually exposed to
the weather, measured by the distance from
the butt edge of one shingle to another.
FELT Building paper composed of a
tough, fibrous base saturated with asphalt.
FLASHING Strips of sheet metal or roof-
ing material used to make waterproof joints
on a roof.
GABLE The end of a wall that comes to a
triangular point under a sloping roof; also a
type of roof.
HIP The sloping line formed when two
roof decks meet; also a type of roof.
METRIC SHINGLES Slightly larger than
standard 12" x 36" shingles, typically meas-
uring 13-1/4" x 39-3/8".
RIDGE The topmost horizontal line
formed where two slopes or roof surfaces
SOIL STACK A vent pipe that passes
through the roof and requires flashing.
SQUARE The amount of roofing material
required to cover 100 square feet (10' x 10')
of roof surface.
VALLEY The trough formed where two
roof slopes meet.
They are made of organic cellulose fiber, total-
ly impregnated in asphalt, sealed with
melamine resin and painted with a primer
and finish coat.
Roof Coatings and Cements
Cold-applied roof coatings and cements are
easily applied direct from the container, and
with little or no heating necessary for applica-
tion. They employ a variety of resin technolo-
gies ranging from bituminous resins (asphalt
or coal tar) to polymeric resins (acrylic, neo-
prene and others).
Cold-applied roof coatings and cements
include the following types:
Reinforcing fabrics are used primarily with
roof cement to add strength and flexibility to
any surface repair.
Plastic roof cement is a trowel-grade, gener-
al-use sealing compound that makes flash-
ings, seams or patches in roofs and gutters
Wet surface plastic roof cement is similar
to plastic roof cement but has additional
components that allow it to be applied to dry
or wet surfaces. It is a great universal product.
Fibered roof coating is used to coat the
roof's entire surface to protect against water
and weather damage.
Cold process lap cement roof adhesive
is designed to form a water-resistant and
waterproof bond with most coated roll
roofing products. Some manufacturers
offer all-temperature products, while some
products are designed for specific seasons.
Roof coatings should be stored at room
temperature and never applied to a surface
covered with ice or frost.
While roof coatings can add years of life to
a roof, they will not provide optimum per-
formance unless all damaged areas are proper-
ly repaired prior to coating. All surfaces must
be clean and free of surface rust, scale or any
other loose material. Also, drains should be
properly connected and cleared so water can
drain properly.
Building codes require 1 sq. ft. of vent area
for every 150 sq. ft. of attic floor space and it
must be "balanced" or split between high and
low vent. The low vent acts as a fresh air
intake and the high acts as a moist or hot air
outlet. If a vapor barrier is present, then the
requirement goes to 1 sq. ft. for every 300 sq.
ft. of attic floor space and it must also be bal-
anced. Every shingle manufacturer now
requires adequate ventilation, otherwise their
warranty may be voided.
Ridge vents serve to vent exhaust from the
attic. Typical widths are 9" and 12". Ridge
vents prolong the life of the roof, keep the
attic dry and cool, reduce air conditioning
costs and help prevent ice dams. It is the most
effective but usually is installed when a house
is built or re-roofed. Shingle-over ridge vents
incorporate shingles that match the roof and
are nailed over the vent. Pre-drilled holes
make installation easy. Most feature baffles
because ridge vents without baffles can allow
wind and moisture to enter the attic.
For more information, click (Installing
Attic Ventilation).
To balance the flow of air, intake vents
are also needed in the soffit or eaves. Soffit
vents are usually made of either aluminum
or PVC. Reversible soffit vents can be flush
or recessed mounted.
Gable vents are designed to complement
most brands of vinyl siding. They can be
installed before or after the siding and require
little maintenance. They typically feature
open louvered joints and built-in screens to
keep out bugs and birds. Gable vents come in
a variety of shapes such as octagon, pentagon,
round, square, half-round or rectangular. If
you want gable vents to work as exhaust
vents, be sure to place them high in the gable.
Power vent systems offer a mechanical
device to control the air change in the attic.
Power ventilators are usually equipped with
automatic thermostats that activate the unit at
a predetermined temperature. They shut off
when the temperature has been reduced. In
winter, an optional humidistat can activate
and deactivate the unit. A roof unit coupled
with undereaves ventilators comprise an effec-
tive system.
A compromise-type ventilator is a wind-
driven turbine. This provides powered ventila-
tion without a motor. It is less expensive, uses
no electricity but is a larger projection from
the roof and requires a breeze to operate.
Aluminum, steel or plastic foundation vents
are used to ventilate basements and crawl
spaces. They can be used with brick, block or
frame construction.
Dryer vents provide dryer and exhaust
ventilation on siding. Most models feature
flaps or louvers that remain closed when
not in use.
The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association points out that buckling is the distortion of asphalt
shingles due to the movement of the roof deck. Homeowners with this problem or preparing to
replace an aging roof should be advised of this information.
Changes in moisture content can lead to movement of wood deck. If the movement of the
shingles is great enough, it can cause buckling.
1. Use only non-veneer decking of approved exterior-grade plywood properly conditioned to be
at moisture equilibrium with the job site environment.
2. Prevent non-veneer or plywood decking from getting wet before and after application.
3. Cover wood deck with an asphalt-saturated felt shingle underlayment or with No. 1 non-per-
forated asphalt-saturated felt and apply shingles.
4. Ensure adequate attic ventilation based on FHA minimum requirements.
5. Apply shingles in accordance with shingle manufacturers recommendations.
It is necessary to ventilate the attic space to eliminate excess moisture. Exhaust fans may be nec-
essary. When buckling persists, due to roof deck movement, remove fasteners and refasten or
replace all distorted shingles.
Replacement vents can be installed over
existing siding to add ventilation or replace
old vents. A flexible flange tucks under the
siding to provide easy installation.
Roof louvers can be used for bathroom
fan exhausts, kitchen duct outlets and attic
ventilation. They are typically made of alu-
minum, although plastic roof louvers are
also available and becoming more popular.
Midget louvers help contain moisture in
sidewall construction or other areas. Wall
louvers have louvered vanes and can be
flush or recessed mounted.
Mounting blocks offer a waterproof surface
for installing outlets, lighting and plumbing
fixtures with new siding. They can be used
with wood, aluminum, vinyl, stucco, brick or
shake siding.
Range hoods come in many styles, but are
either downdraft or updraft. Downdraft
hoods are built into the stove or surrounding
counter, but are less efficient than updraft
hoods, which hang above the cooktop and
easily vent air outdoors. The most efficient
kitchen ventilation duct systems lead air out-
side on a short and straight path.
Guttering is typically made of aluminum,
galvanized steel or vinyl. Wood and copper
are more expensive options, while plastic is
the least expensive alternative. Vinyl is direct-
ed specifically at the do-it-yourself market.
Galvanized box guttering comes in 4", 5"
and 6" sizes. Larger sizes will handle heavy
rainfall from large roofs. Rainfall capacity of a
guttering system is largely dependent on the
size and number of downspouts rather than
strictly gutter size.
Galvanized guttering is sturdy, but it's
unpainted and will require some type of fin-
ish. Since this is the traditional type of gutter-
ing, however, a long line of accessories is
available. Regular cleaning of galvanized steel
gutters is especially important for their long-
term endurance. Metal roof paint and alu-
minum paints are options for customers wor-
ried about rusting on the insides of galva-
nized guttering.
Aluminum guttering weighs less, but con-
sumers generally end up happiest when they
select the thicker versions, which are stronger.
A full line of prefinished accessories must also
be stocked, including endcaps, inside and
outside miters, downspouts, tees, elbows and
connectors. White blind rivets may be used to
secure metal parts together and aluminum or
nylon pin anchors secure downspout straps
to brick and masonry walls.
Vinyl guttering systems can be snapped or
glued (solvent-welded) together, depending
on the system; however, both types are easy
for the d-i-yer to install. Vinyl guttering
comes in 4" and 5" sizes. High-velocity-drop
outlet fittings enable the installer to satisfy
the needs of larger roofs without increasing
the sizes of the gutters, thanks to the
increased carry-away capacity these fittings
add to the downspouts.
Wood guttering can take a lot of wear
and tear, but it must be oiled regularly for
maximum durability. Wood guttering can
be a nice complement to a home featuring
wood siding.
Plastic guttering is the least expensive
option but is not very durable. Prolonged
cold and hot weather can cause plastic gutter-
ing to be damaged.
Gutters should be cleaned out in the spring
and fall, either by flushing out with a hose or
scooping out debris by hand or rubber uten-
sil. Gutters should be inspected for damage;
leaks can be filled with caulk, while sagging
gutters can usually be repaired by replacing
some of the fasteners.
Several products have been developed to
keep leaves out of gutters, and they make
excellent add-on sellers. Some are designed to
be installed over existing guttering, while oth-
ers are designed as complete guttering sys-
tems. One is a plastic mesh that covers the
gutter, allowing water in but keeping leaves
out. Plastic gutter guard is rust- and rot-proof,
and its UV-resistant. Several aluminum prod-
ucts operate on a similar principle. Another
model is sloped so rain water is dispersed
away from the home and leaves wash away
without gathering.
Mounting brackets are available in a
variety of styles, including an "invisible"
bracket system. These brackets hold the
gutter from the inside, giving an unbroken
look to a run of guttering.
Manufacturers make vinyl guttering sys-
tems in several colors. The fitting compo-
nents are injection-molded in the appro-
priate color. Vinyl systems can also be
painted a different color, although paint-
ing is not necessary.
To make installation easier, some manufac-
turers make available a slip agent such as sili-
cone liquid to assist in snapping the guttering
components together. Although not required
for the successful functioning of the finished
system, this slip agent speeds up the installa-
tion process.
Vinyl gutter systems are usually made of
rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is
subject to expansion and contraction as
much as 1/4" in 10' due to extremes in
temperature. Manufacturers, however,
allow for their products to accommodate
expansion and contraction.
For more information, click (Hanging
Gutters) or (Repairing Gutters and
Siding is a crucial part of a homes appear-
ance. Each geographical area has favorite
materials. Weather conditions also dictate
which material will work best. Vinyl is the
most popular siding material and it continues
to pick up market share. Other siding options
include aluminum, wood, steel and concrete
or cement fiber.
Vinyl siding has risen in popularity as the
technology used to produce it has improved.
Another reason is that the color can penetrate
the material, making it less likely to come off
in flakes or chips. Other advantages to vinyl
siding are low maintenance and easy installa-
tion. It also comes in a wide variety of colors,
textures and profiles, including grains that
closely resemble real wood. Panel thickness of
about 1/20" is available in various widths up
to 12" in lap style. This siding must be
allowed to expand and contract slightly with
temperature changes; the factory-made nail
holes are slotted to permit movement.
Architectural accessories replicating tradi-
tional aesthetics are now available to help
homeowners match their vinyl siding with
other exterior elements such as gables, door
and window surroundings, crown moulding
and soffits.
For more information, click (Installing
Vinyl Siding).
Aluminum siding is used less frequently
these days. Although it attaches strongly
to the house, it has a tendency to dent
easily and fade in color. Aluminum siding
has a baked-on enamel factory finish that
fades over time and needs to be repainted.
It can be installed over wood, stucco, con-
crete block and other surfaces that are
structurally sound. Aluminum siding's
durability is affected by its thickness,
which is not the case with vinyl siding.
Steel siding is made of galvanized steel
with a prefinished vinyl finish. With the tex-
tured pattern of wood and the strength of
steel, it is generally more expensive than alu-
minum and vinyl.
Aluminum and steel siding materials
need to be grounded with a No. 8 or larger
wire to the cold water service or the elec-
trical service ground.
Wood siding is available in many different
species and patterns. Redwood and red cedar
are the most popular species (with pine,
cypress, spruce, Philippine mahogany and
others also used). Redwood naturally ages to a
driftwood gray. Cedar clapboard can be left to
"weather" to a light gray color, but the even
color of a light stain is generally preferred.
Wood siding can be finished naturally,
stained or painted. Wood is a natural insula-
tor and adds to the R-value of the wall.
Retailers should store wood siding off the
ground where it will stay dry.
Wood has been losing popularity
because of its high maintenance, so manu-
facturers have developed wood siding that
requires less maintenance, is easier to
install and results in less waste. Architect
Knotty Cedar siding is a premium, high-
performance wood siding that is kiln dried
and coated for longer life. It is available in
plain, rabbeted and finger-jointed profiles.
One of the newer types of siding is con-
crete or fiber cement. Fiber cement siding
looks, feels and installs similar to wood. This
siding is created by mixing Portland cement,
sand, clay and wood fiber and forming it into
siding panels with various textures including
wood grain, smooth or stucco texture. It usu-
ally comes primed and ready to paint. Fiber
cement has a class 1 (A) fire rating and resists
rot and wood-boring insects.
Brick remains a premium siding choice,
with installation reserved for professionals.
Other terms to be familiar with are the out-
side corner posts, which are used to receive
siding and provide a more finished appear-
ance at the outside corner of adjoined walls;
inside corner posts, which do the same at the
inside corner; starter strip, which is used to
secure the first course of siding to the wall; J-
channel, which provides a finished appear-
ance around doors and windows; soffit, the
material that encloses the underside of an
eave; and fascia, the material that encloses
the front of an eave.
Building panels are used primarily for
color- and light-transmitting properties in
awnings, over patios, carports, windows and
porches. They are made of fiberglass/plastic,
vinyl or polycarbonate. Translucent and shat-
terproof, the products combination of
strength and light weight provide excellent d-
i-y opportunities.
In the residential field, the most popular
shapes are 2-1/2" corrugated (usually 26" wide
for overlapping on rafters spaced on 2' cen-
ters) and 4" x 5/8" rib (always 26" wide).
Standard lengths are 8', 10' and 12', with
some types available in 14' and 16' lengths.
Panel weights per square foot for residen-
tial use are usually 4 oz. or 5 oz. The 6 oz.
sells well in areas that get heavy snows.
Lighter panels cost less, but they also require
more understructure to meet building codes.
Flat sheets of fiberglass are often used to
replace glass in an existing sash. They come
in 24", 30", 36" and 48" widths and in 8', 10'
and 12' lengths as well as 50' rolls.
Installation of panels requires ordinary
hand tools.
Weather-resistant vinyl and polycarbonate
panels come in two styles: opaque (to block
the suns rays) and translucent (to provide
soft light). These panel types should be stored
out of the sun, preferably indoors, so no dam-
age occurs from heat build-up. Polycarbonate
is the strongest material and provides the best
snow load capacity. Vinyl translucent and
clear panels are to be installed for use in
milder weather conditions only and are not
recommended for locations with high UV or
surface temperatures. Do not overlap or apply
over existing roofing or lattice.
Accessory items contributing to add-on
sales include corrugated, rib-shaped redwood
filler strips; special aluminum nails; water-
proofing sealant and aluminum flashing.
Decorator Beams
Decorator beams are made from wood pulp
or plastic with a hand-hewn look finished to
match most decors. Whether made of plastic
or wood, the beams are usually a square U-
shape, with the open part of the "U" going
against a ceiling or wall.
Plastic beams can be nailed or glued
against existing surfaces; wood beams can be
nailed or suspended on U-shaped mounts.
Joints where pieces fit together are difficult to
detect in either style. Both plastic and wood
can be sawed, drilled and nailed.
Solid decorative wood beams or posts are
manufactured to support mailboxes and out-
door lamps.
Simulated Brick and Stone
Imitation brick and/or stone wall facings
are made of plastic or fiberglass. Some brands
come in interlocking panels; the best-selling
ones come in individual pieces. Quality differ-
ences are difficult to detect, so the most
important difference to the customer will
generally be a realistic appearance.
Panels, for instance, are less expensive,
but theyre used less frequently because
they generally don't look as realistic. They
also cannot be cut easily to fit smaller
areas or odd corners.
Depending upon whether a panel or indi-
vidual bricks are sold, grouting between
bricks might be needed. Usually, single bricks
are attached with a ready-mixed adhesive that
looks like real mortar, thereby eliminating the
final grouting step. They can be attached to
plastic, wood or drywall surfaces.
Remind customers to follow manufacturer
instructions when installing these products
around fireplaces.
Spindles are common decorative items.
They are turned wooden posts that come in
various diameters, shapes and lengths. They
are used as room dividers, between cabinet
bases and hanging cabinets, on stairs, as d-i-y
candle holders, as shelf supports or even as
floor and table lamp bases.
Diameters generally range from about 1-
1/2" to 4". Lengths range from 6" or 9" up to
as much as 72". Shorter spindles can be
screwed together, thus minimizing inventory
requirements and allowing the customer to
mix shapes or lengths. Prefinished spindles
are available in shades to match most home
decor needs.
Components include finials (tops), spacers,
base blocks and threaded connectors. Each
spindle sale should lead to the sale (or at least
the suggestion) of stains, paints and all their
related sundries.
Quality is apparent in the smoothness of
sanding, the ease of assembly and the fine-
ness of the woods grain.
Exterior shutters can be made of primed
wood or plastic, and are either louvered or
raised panel. Exterior shutters are for decora-
tive purposes and are not normally operative.
Plastic shutters are weather-resistant and do
not require repair.
Standard-size shutters come in many color
choices, in 15" widths and in lengths between
25" and 81". Custom shutters range in size
from 25" to 144" and style options include
center rail, straight or arch top, no-center rail,
offset center rail, two-panel and three-panel.
With improved manufacturing process for
shutters, baked-on colors will not chip, peel
or flake. The material will not warp or rot.
Interior wood shutters can be used to cover
interior windows or as cafe doors between
rooms. Besides the conventional louvered
shutter, open frame panels are available so
that fabric inserts or translucent plastic can be
inserted. Most interior shutters are made from
pine. Louvers should move smoothly, and the
finish should be reasonably smooth and
devoid of splinters. Customers can use stains
(liquid or aerosol) or regular paints to finish
them to match room decor. Aerosol finishes,
though somewhat more expensive than liq-
uids, are often preferred for louvers because
they go on easier.
Interior shutters are stocked in widths
from 6" to 12". Heights range from 16" to
48". They are available unfinished and pre-
finished pre-hung, with hardware attached
and ready to use.
Wood or plastic lattice panels are decora-
tive items for both exterior and interior appli-
cation. Lattice panels can be used as trellises
for climbing plants or as stylish entryways,
among other things. Basic panel sizes include
2' x 4', 2' x 8' and 4' x 8'.
Room Dividers
Two common types of room dividers or fili-
gree panels are made of wood or of translu-
cent polystyrene plastic. Pressed wood or
hardboard is usually about 3/16" thick and
sometimes veneered. Translucent plastic pan-
els which look like stained glass are available
with and without frames and are sold by the
sheet. If framed, they are ideal for room
dividers. In sheet form, they can be cut and
used as drawer and door inserts. Polystyrene
panels are 1/8" thick and usually come 2' wide
and 4' or 6' long.
Ordinary woodworking tools are used to cut
them. These plastic panels also are frequently
used as inserts for open interior shutters.
Doors are made of wood, steel, fiberglass or
composite material.
With consumers becoming more con-
cerned with energy conservation yet still con-
fused by their options when purchasing
doors, retailers should educate them about
the rating system developed by the National
Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). NFRC
labels enable builders and homeowners to
easily compare the energy efficiency of differ-
ent doors.
For more information, click (Framing and
Hanging Doors) or (Installing
Replacement Doors).
Wood Doors
There are two basic kinds of doors: solid
core and hollow core. Solid doors can be pan-
eled, carved or plain, while hollow-core doors
often have a plain front.
Hollow-core doors actually have wooden
or cardboard ribs inside for stability. Because
most hollow-core doors will warp and disinte-
grate from weather, they serve primarily as
interior doors. Some are made with exterior
glue; however, for replacement doors you
should recommend solid doors for exterior
use. Hollow-core doors generally are 1-3/8" to
1-3/4" thick, and most inside doorways are
30" or 36" wide. Common height is 80".
Doors should be sealed top and bottom so as
not to absorb moisture.
Solid doors can be made of tempered hard-
board, wood or particleboard, with or without
a veneer, and from several kinds of solid
wood. Mahogany is a common veneersuit-
able when a stained finish is chosen.
Particleboard doors are often purchased when
elaborate woodcarving and/or panels are to
be included in its design. Ash, birch,
mahogany, hemlock and pine are commonly
used for solid doors.
Solid doors come in standard widths for
front and rear entrances. Narrower widths
sometimes are used between house and
garage and/or breezeway. Solid doors are
more fire-resistant than hollow core doors,
and particleboard is more fire-resistant than
natural wood. It also resists warping because
of its higher density.
Wood door styles also come pre-hung. Pre-
hung doors are hinged in a framework that
includes the header and side jambs of the
door and the casing trim. The door may also
be predrilled for the lockset. Doors bought
separately for new construction require a
jamb kit along with the hinges and lockset.
Consumers should look for wood doors
that have top-quality stiles and rails that are
wide and solid, making them more stable and
able to prevent heat loss better.
Steel Doors
Steel doors are enjoying increased popu-
larity because they offer greater insulation,
durability, fire-resistance and security than
wood doors.
Insulated doors usually have galvanized
steel facing with polystyrene, polyurethane,
wood or particleboard cores. Insulated doors
have thermal R-values of up to 15, making
their core four times better than a wooden
door. The steel exterior provides structural
strength and eliminates cracking and warping.
However, the doors are still relatively light-
weight. They are primarily used as exterior
doors. Steel security plates at deadbolt and
passage provide added protection.
For more information, click (Installing
Steel or Fiberglass Entry Systems).
Fiberglass Doors
Fiberglass doors are becoming more popu-
lar as well. They offer greater insulation than
wood doors. Fiberglass doors are easy to
maintain and require less time to refinish.
They will not rot, crack or split.
New designs provide extra security. Most
manufacturers produce prefinished, paint-
grade and stain-grade finishes. Fiberglass
doors come in a variety of styles including
sidelites, transoms and beveled and obscure
or etched glass. Some sidelites are also hinged
to provide a wider opening.
Folding Doors
Folding doors come in two basic styles:
woven and laminated. Woven doors, used
when ventilation is necessary, are usually slats
of natural wood or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Laminated doors, the more durable of the
two, are usually PVC-laminated to steel.
The most common size is 32" x 80". Two
units or an expansion set can be combined to
fit larger openings.
Bifold Doors
A bifold door comes in two sections. Each
section is hinged to its side of the doorway
with a single fold down the center of each.
When closed, they meet in the middle of the
doorway. They are usually designed for an
extra-wide doorway between rooms and on
closets. They can be constructed of metal,
wood or composite wood. They can also fea-
ture decorative glass or mirrored glass for dec-
orative effect.
Louvered bifold doors are an assembly of
slatsor sometimes a combination of panels
and slatsthat slope downward to permit
ventilation while preserving privacy.
Swinging Doors
Also called "cafe doors," swinging doors are
hinged to attach to each side of the doorway
and swing freely without a latch. They are
easily installed by a homeowner. This is a
product that can be sold by suggestion.
Patio Doors
There are three types of doors that are
often lumped together under the category
"patio doors."
Sliding doors are made with safety or insu-
lated glass and come with a screen for hot-
weather use. Low-E glass offers protection
from ultraviolet rays and is more energy effi-
cient than regular glass. Frames are wood, alu-
minum, fiberglass or PVC vinyls, with a vari-
ety of finishes to match the inside decor of
the house. Aluminum patio doors are general-
ly the least expensive because they are the
least durable and energy efficient. In the past
wood was considered premium quality. This is
now changing as customers develop their own
preference. Some sliding doors have a multi-
point locking system for extra security. The
locking system uses tempered-steel rods to
lock doors at the top and bottom of the door
as well as in the middle.
Sliding doors may be two, three or four
panels wide. A two-panel sliding door con-
tains one active (sliding) panel and one
inactive (stationary) panel. A three-panel
door has one active and two inactive panels.
A four-panel door typically has two active
panels in the middle and two inactive pan-
els on the outside.
Also called "cafe doors," swinging doors
are hinged to attach to each side of the door-
way and swing freely without a latch. They
feature two or three panels and are available
in wood, PVC vinyl or insulated steel or
fiberglass. They tend to be more secure and
energy efficient than sliding doors and are
easily installed by a homeowner.
French doors (also known as "garden doors"
or "French windows") are made of wood, fiber-
glass or steel. They now come in a wide range
of glass styles. Homeowners can select
between full glass, caming, grilles and much
more. French doors are hinged at the outside
of the unit and contain at least two active
panels that swing in or out from the center.
French doors are traditional in detailing,
although they may be used to great effect in
modern architecture. The advent of three-
point locking systems that secure the door to
the head jamb and sill has improved the secu-
rity of French doors.
For more information, click (Installing
French and Patio Doors).
Dutch Doors
Dutch doors are divided into a top and a
bottom half so you can open and close either
half. They may be used as exterior or interior
doors. If exterior, they are usually rear-
entrance or doors to a kitchen.
Storm Doors
Storm doors provide extra security, protect
the main door against weather and stop
drafts and heating/cooling loss through door
openings. They can also provide ventilation
in the summer.
Storm doors are either made of solid wood
or have a wood or foam hollow core inside
an exterior skin of metal, aluminum or vinyl.
Look for some type of structural reinforce-
ment in the corners to ensure the door
remains square and does not sag. Glass
should be tempered safety glass, while fiber-
glass screens offer durability and do not rust.
Storm doors are manufactured in standard
sizes, although most manufacturers can
accommodate custom orders. Other than the
solid-wood doors, which can be painted,
storm doors are available in a wide variety of
colors, including white, black, almond, green,
blue, sandstone and brown.
Among the most common styles are
full view, full lite, crossbuck, traditional
and security.
Storm doors can be either interchangeable
or self-storing. Self-storing models store the
windows and the screen at the same time,
with many models allowing ventilation at the
top or bottom or have the entire opening
glassed in. The advantage is that the home-
owner does not have the hassle of changing
and storing the glass. With an interchange-
able model, the glass and screen are remov-
able to allow ventilation through the entire
opening. Some models have snap-in retainer
clips, while other models incorporate thumb
screws or other methods.
Installation instructions are usually includ-
ed with storm doors, and a d-i-yer with some
experience can usually complete the job in a
few hours.
Accessories include grilles and keyed exteri-
or deadbolts. In addition to their decorative
purpose, grilles act as a partial barrier against
breakage. Better models offer adjustable bot-
tom expanders and vinyl sweeps to help seal
out drafts.
Be sure the storm doors you stock meet
state and federal safety regulations.
Garage Doors
Hinged panels allow overhead garage doors
to roll up and down with ball-bearing rollers
and rope pulley on a steel track. Some have
polystyrene and/or air space between panels
to insulate and deaden sound.
Some doors feature steel frame construc-
tion and wood-grain raised-panel design,
while others combine hardboard panel with
wood frame.
Most models come with extension springs
to help the door lift and balance, as well as
safety containment cables to guard against
injury. Some automatic garage door openers
feature reversing systems that reverse a clos-
ing door if it strikes an object or fails to close
within 30 seconds to provide further safety
protection. Vinyl or aluminum bottom
weatherseal counteracts uneven garage floors
and protects against weather intrusion.
Most garage door openers come with auto-
matic controls that open with the press of a
button or with a sound emitted by a trans-
mitter. Garage door openers are packaged
with installation instructions. Universal
remotes that work with most garage door
brands are available.
For more information, click (Installing a
Garage Door Opener).
Window sashes can be made of wood,
vinyl, aluminum, composite wood or wood
clad in vinyl or aluminum.
Windows that feature low-emissivity (or
low-E) glass can provide meaningful energy
savings. Low-E glass uses a thin metallic
coating that lets in sunlight while also
blocking ultraviolet (UV) light and infrared
light. UV light is the type most responsible
for the fading of upholstery. Low-E glass
also reduces condensation and prevents
radiant heat from escaping. The metallic
coating itself warms the inside surface of
the window, which makes the nearby areas
of a room more comfortable in winter. The
coating is on one of the inner surfaces of a
double-pane window or suspended between
the panes on a thin film.
Low-E coatings are also available for exist-
ing windows; a coated film is available to be
applied to the inside surface, similar in princi-
ple to window films that block sunlight.
New to the market is self-cleaning glass for
windows. A special hydrophilic coating is
applied to the glass surface that causes water
to sheet off the glass instead of bead, which
makes dirt wash away and enables windows
to dry without spots. Look for more window
companies to begin offering this glass option.
Wood Windows
Wood windows, which generally cost more
and require more maintenance than windows
made from other materials, come in a variety
of styles. Some of the most common are:
Double-hung have a two-sash system,
each sash sliding vertically in a channel in
a common frame. They open from top and
Single-hung slide vertically, with one
sash remaining inoperative.
Casement have a single sash hinged at
one side to swing open by means of a crank
or lever.
Awning similar to a casement window,
but the window opens at the bottom by turn-
ing a hand-held crank.
Bow and bay add architectural interest
to a home. Bow windows are actually made
of four or more windows that, all together,
form a shape that curves out. Bay windows
are made of three windowsone large unit in
the middle and two flanking units, which
usually are placed at 30- to 45-degree angles.
Hopper feature a sash in which the
top portion swings down to the inside of
the room.
Picture (fixed) are used for view purpos-
es. They have no moving parts or sashes and
do not open.
Geometric can be either operative or
non-operative. They are available in a variety
of shapes, including oval, arch, ellipse, octa-
gon and circle.
Gliders slide horizontally and are great
when space is at a premium.
Vinyl Windows
As with vinyl siding and soffits, vinyl has
emerged in the window category as a growing
alternative to wood. Vinyl windows use a
strong but non-rigid vinyl instead of wood.
They offer low-maintenance as well as resist-
ance to condensation. Although vinyl does
not truly insulate like wood, the design of a
vinyl window adds greatly to the frames
insulating value. As a rule, air infiltration is
even more important than insulating quality
in preventing heat loss.
Vinyl does not require painting and is free
of rotting, rust, flakes or corrosion. As vinyl
window technology has advanced, more
styles, shapes and designs have been devel-
oped by manufacturers, including designs
that emulate the look of wood. Among the
styles are single-hung, double-hung, case-
ment, awning, geometric, gliders and hopper.
Most come in white and almond, some with
woodgrain overlays inside.
Vinyl windows offer the same features
found on other top-quality windows such as
decorative glass, tilt-out sash on single- and
double-hung units, divided grids, high-effi-
ciency locking systems, brass hardware and
configurations such as circle tops, bay and
bow units.
Quality differences depend on the win-
dows vinyl formulation, frame design and
glazing. Manufacturers now use PVC without
plasticizers to minimize expansion and con-
traction during temperature swings, and they
developed additives that help resist the ultra-
violet rays in sunlight. Windows with welded
frames tend to be sturdier and more energy
efficient than frames that are screwed togeth-
er. Modern vinyl windows are available with
the same high-tech glazing used in top-quali-
ty wood windowsinsulating glass with low-
E coatings and filled with argon gas to
increase insulating value.
Vinyl is a good replacement window
choice and a relatively easy d-i-y project. Old
windows do not have to be removed com-
pletely because vinyl replacement windows
are custom sized to fit in the frame opening.
Some replacement windows have sloped
extrusions on the bottom that match the
sloped sill of the old window; others are flat.
If the bottom of the new window is flat, a
piece of wedge shim can be used as a support
for the exterior edge of the window. If not,
the homeowner or installer will have to make
an angled support strip that does not interfere
with an additional exterior trim piece.
A slight variation of the vinyl window is
the vinyl-clad window. Vinyl is applied over
the base material, which is usually metal. This
combines the strength of a metal frame with
the convenience of a vinyl window.
For more information, click (Installing
Vinyl Replacement Windows).
Storm Windows
An exterior storm window can be con-
structed from rigid or roll plastic fastened to a
frame. The end result is less expensive than
permanent glass storm windows, but it also
may not last as long.
Outdoor kits are often sealed with tacks
or small nails, and with waterproof mould-
ing rolled into the edges of the plastic
sheet. The top and bottom edges should
be fastened firstthen the sides, pulling
the plastic tight to minimize wrinkles.
Other fasteners include double-sided tape
and special two-piece plastic mouldings
that clamp the window material into place
so that it can be removed and replaced.
Interior storm windows create a dead-air
insulating space between the regular outside
window and the storm window itself. This
can be accomplished with rigid or roll plastic
and framing or tape. Several manufacturers
pack these materials in storm window kits.
Otherwise, the roll plastic can be sold from
the roll in 36" and 48" widths.
One type of interior storm window kit
contains rigid clear sheet plastic and a
snap-in mounting that attaches to the
inside window frame. The other type con-
tains clear plastic film and clear mounting
tape. Both offer reasonably clear vision
with little optical distortion.
Snap-in storm windows offer the additional
advantage of removal for cleaning.
Some indoor window sealers are installed
with double-sided tape. Other kits use double-
sided tape and are heated to shrink tight.
The quality of a window kit is best meas-
ured by the clarity of the window material
and the performance of the tape. One quick
method for gauging quality is to hold a
piece of the window material at arms
length and look through it. It should be
clearly readable. Also, tape should hold
securely, allow for repositioning during
installation and be removablewithout
residuein the spring. Caution customers
that tape should not be applied over wallpa-
per, weak paint or printed wallboard.
The quality of roll plastic materials is best
measured by the gauge of the plastic. The
thicker the plastic, the more durable it is
although the thickness of the material does
not increase the energy-saving value.
Improved flashing systems have made sky-
lights weather-resistant as long as they are
properly installed. In general, you should
have one square foot of skylight for every 20
Energy ratings provided by the National
Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) allow
consumers, contractors and architects
another way to evaluate the energy per-
formance of doors and windows.
A non-profit coalition of manufacturers,
builders and code officials, the NFRC creat-
ed a label that is placed directly on the
product to show customers its specific ener-
gy-performance qualities. The system is also
helpful in marketing and selling different
The information provided includes:
the label-wide horizontal box just below
the NFRC logo.
DESIGNATIONlocated in the upper
right-hand corner, next to the NFRC logo. This is reserved for the name and logo of the inde-
pendent agency that has certified the products fulfillment of NFRC standards.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONlocated on the right-hand side of the label.
ENERGY RATING FACTORSdisplays the specific energy-saving qualities of the product. Each
factor has two numbers: one for residential versions of the product and one for non-residen-
tial versions.
U-FACTORmeasures the heat that escapes through the product. The better the products
heat-loss prevention, the lower the U-factor will be. U-factor certification is required for all
NFRC certification.
SOLAR HEAT GAIN COEFFICIENTmeasures how well the product shields from the sun and its
absorption/reflection of solar heat. The lower the number, the better the products protection.
VISIBLE LIGHT TRANSMITTANCEthe percentage of visible light allowed. The higher the num-
ber, the more light it lets in.
square feet of floor space.
In addition to traditional skylight construc-
tion, venting skylights or skywindows are also
available. These "window" sections open and
close and are installed on the roof. A venting
skylight allows fresh air and sunshine into a
home without sacrificing privacy. It provides
outside exposure even for rooms located away
from exterior walls and ventilation without
exhaust fans. Venting skylights are popular in
bathrooms, kitchens and other areas that can
benefit from ventilation as well as natural
light. All venting units have screens.
If the skylight will be installed in a high
ceiling or difficult-to-reach location, opening
and closing may require a long pole. Some of
these skylights have motorized modules con-
trolled by an electric wall switch.
The skylight frame should be made of
strong insulating materials. Vinyl frames insu-
late better than aluminum or metal frames, so
they work best in colder climates. Aluminum
skylights work best in warm or hot climates.
Wood is more expensive and requires more
maintenance than other materials. If the sky-
light is placed in a humid area, such as a
bathroom, check for deep, built-in condensa-
tion gutters to catch moisture.
A standard compiled by The National
Wood Window and Door Association estab-
lishes comprehensive performance require-
ments for materials, construction and assem-
bly of skylights and roof window units.
Polycarbonate frames are an economical
choice for functional areas such as garages
and sheds. They are available in self-flashing
or curb-mount designs.
Roof windows are also available. These fea-
ture sash rotation, which allows the interior
and exterior glass pane to be cleaned from
the inside. They are designed to be installed
within reach, and opened and closed at the
homeowner's discretion. Vertical windows
with this feature are called "tilt" windows.
A self-flashing or curb-mounted roof win-
dow works best with asphalt or fiberglass
shingles. Deluxe wood curb roof windows
integrate a wood curb with the roof window
and require flashing. Roofs with cement or
clay tiles, wood shake or slate require a
curb-mounted roof window, a site-built curb
and flashing.
Tubular skylights are designed for rooms
where a larger, standard skylight may not be
practical and where ease of installation is a
key factor. They are available in 10", 14" and
21" diameter models. One-piece flashing
systems eliminate the possibility of leaks. A
light kit can be installed with a tubular sky-
light to light up dark areas of the home.
Extension tubes are available to complete
installations over 48".
Quality roof windows, venting skylights
and fixed skylights are available in a variety
of sizes and materials. For trouble-free instal-
lation, look for units that provide mainte-
nance-free cladding for exterior protection.
Keep in mind that a skylight will be directly
subjected to the elements.
Warm air rises, so energy efficiency is espe-
cially important with windows located up
high. Guide customers toward skylights with
a low "U-Factor," which measures the heat
that escapes from the window. The lower the
U-Factor, the better the thermal performance.
Meanwhile, step flashinga thin strip that
diverts wateradds excellent moisture-resist-
ance and is preferable to caulking.
When used in skylights, glass tends to be
more durable and provides a clear view with-
out the fading and scratching that occurs in
some plastics. Manufacturers offer many
choices of glass, including high-performance
or Low-E glass with argon injection.
Operator poles are available for venting
skylights and roof windows. They come in
fixed and telescoping models. For easier
operation, a rechargeable motorized han-
dle is also available.
For more information, click (Installing
Wrought iron rails, posts and columns add
strength, safety and beauty to homes, both
inside and out, and create attractive mailbox
mounts. Top-quality material is chemically
cleaned and phosphate coated before it is
painted to ensure a good bond. Black or
white prime coats are used for a flat finish.
Quality can be determined by weight, which
reflects the gauge of the metal. Look for
strong welds, no rough edges and thorough
paint coverage of all parts.
Manufacturer literature will provide addi-
tional details on styles, installation, etc.
Most parts require no welding and can be
assembled with common household tools.
Materials are adjustable to any pitch to fit
platforms, steps or patios. Lag screw
anchors, metal sleeve anchors and alu-
minum drive pin anchors may be used to
secure railings and posts to concrete patios
and brick and masonry walls.
Cabinet types include base cabinets, wall
cabinets and tall cabinets. Some "sub" types
include corner cabinets, sink bases and fronts,
range bases and fronts, drawer bases and
fronts, lazy Susans, peninsula and island cabi-
nets, microwave cabinets and pantry cabinets.
The two basic styles of cabinets are
American and European, described as follows
by Family Handyman magazine: "A traditional
cabinet may have any door design from colo-
nial to contemporary, but that door will
always be hinged to a wooden frame which
is, in turn, attached to a wooden cabinet box.
In a traditional cabinet, the frame is visible;
the doors dont cover it." With a European
design the doors fit flush to each other on a
frameless box. These doors "completely cover,
or overlay, the cabinet box." A frameless cabi-
net is identified as European regardless of
where it is made. In addition to decisions
about color or style, advise customers to con-
sider these features when purchasing cabinets.
Cabinets are generally classified as stock,
custom or semi-custom. Stock cabinets are
mass-produced in modular sizes while custom
cabinets are built to fit the customers specific
space requirements. Semi-custom cabinets are
similar to stock cabinets, but tend to offer
more style and finish options. The benefit of
stock cabinets is the immediate availability in
your inventory.
Cabinet doors come in several material
options, including hardwood, softwood, lam-
inate and veneer. Many people select solid
wood cabinet doors, sometimes even mixing
two woods for decorative effect.
Hardwood cabinet doorsmade of oak,
cherry, birch or mapleare popular because
they look good with almost any kitchen style,
and they can be painted or stained. They do
change somewhat in color as they age.
Softwood cabinet doors are made of a
wider grain and therefore tend to scratch or
dent more easily than hardwood. Like with
hardwood cabinets, they have a tendency to
warp when exposed to prolonged moisture.
Veneer cabinet doors feature a fine layer of
wood atop a substrate. They are generally less
expensive than wood cabinet doors.
Laminate cabinet doors correspond to flat-
panel door styles. Although durable and easy
to maintain, laminate cabinets often must be
refaced or replaced when dented.
Cabinet doors are available in a wide vari-
ety of styles, including flat, glass-front, raised
panel (square or curved) and recessed panel.
A number of accessories or features can be
added to customize the cabinets, including
cutlery dividers, bread and flower boxes, pull-
out shelves, dishwasher front panels, plate
and wine racks, concealed hinges, mouldings,
valances and dove-tail drawers. Open-shelf
cabinets serve as showcases for decorative
pieces and are becoming more common in
stock cabinet sets.
Here are some other considerations to
point out to customers:
o Drawers receive the most frequent use.
They should be sturdy and have a drawer-
and-tray slide system that supports the
weight it will need to hold. Look for a
quiet, wobble-free system.
o The drawer box may have sides made of
wood or particleboard. Both materials are
durable and functional; some people pre-
fer solid wood, which costs more. Real
wood sides with dovetail construction
makes a stronger box and adds to the life
of the drawer.
o Hinges and hardware should be conven-
ient and durable.
Gypsum wallboard, also known as plaster-
board and Sheetrock, is a core of gypsum
plaster covered with two sheets of heavy
paper. The panels are 4' wide and range in
length from 6' to 16'. Thicknesses include
1/4", 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8". The 1/4" boards are
normally used for recovering old walls and
ceilings. The 3/8" board is used in two-ply
construction and the 1/2" and 5/8" boards are
used in single-ply (new) work. The 5/8"
boards provide better fire resistance and
sound control.
Drywall is used extensively in residential
construction because of its low cost and ease
of installation, and the plain-papered face
provides an excellent surface for paint or
The edges of gypsum drywall are made in
square, tapered or beveled form. The tapered
edges along the length are made with a slight
depression, which allows for a filled and
taped joint.
For more information, click (Installing
Drywall) or (How to Patch and
Repair Drywall).
Aromatic red cedar closet lining comes in
tongue-and-groove boards, about 3/8" thick
by 4" wide. They can be nailed over existing
wall surfaces to provide mothproofing protec-
tion for blankets, clothes, etc. Many con-
sumers do not know about this product or
how easy it is to apply, so it is a good item to
merchandise and promote. Closet lining
comes in bundles covering 32 sq. ft.
Premixed Concrete
Many retailers sell premixed concrete in
volume because they have discovered that the
market is open to more than the d-i-yer who
needs a bag or two to do repairs, set a post or
replace a section of sidewalk.
Homeowners use premixed concrete for
construction as well as repair projects. Some
types are designed strictly for patching minor
cracks in concrete and mortar joints.
For more information, click (Pouring
Concrete) or (Repairing and
Patching Concrete).
Concrete Patching Materials
Latex patching cement comes as powdered
cement and latex liquid, which is mixed to
uniform consistency. Some types harden
quickly, so advise customers not to mix more
than they need for each job.
It can be applied in thin layersdown to
1/16"so it works well for smoothing rough
surfaces and repairing hairline cracks.
Vinyl patching cement is a powder that is
mixed with water. Like latex cement, it has
greater adhesive strength than cement and
sand mixtures and greater resistance to crack-
ing and chipping. It is not affected by repeat-
ed freezing and thawing. Vinyl patching
cement can be troweled to 1/16" thickness
and bonds to brick, tile, marble and concrete.
The vinyl patches consist of a cement-like
powder containing a dry vinyl polymer that
is activated by adding water. The latex patch-
es have separate powder and polymer liquid
components that are mixed to form the fluid
mortar. No water is added that would dilute
the polymer.
The more polymers a patching product
contains, the better it will bond. The latest
products use acrylic latex polymers that
are especially effective. The strong, con-
centrated polymers cost more, but the user
gets greater durability.
Polymer patches can be applied as thick
sections to repair broken edges or as feather
edges required to repair surface spalling.
High-polymer patches repair concrete cracks
effectively if the concrete is stable. Power
washing is an effective way of removing sur-
face contamination and weak surface layers.
Epoxy patching cement is fortified with
epoxy, making it the toughestand most
expensivemasonry patcher. It comes in a kit
of emulsion, hardener and a bag of dry
cement. The emulsion and hardener are
mixed; then cement is stirred in. It bonds
ceramic tile, glass and steel, plus sets flag-
stone, slate, tile or brick. It is probably not
the ideal choice for minor patching jobs.
Surface preparation for these three
patchers involves removing dirt, grease
and dust. Roughening the old surface is
not necessary. Ordinary concrete patcher
is a combination of cement and fine sand
that is mixed with water. It is used mostly
to repair cracks and holes in concrete
walks, foundations and chimneys.
Although waterproof cement paint, avail-
able in both powder and ready-mixed vari-
eties, stops moisture penetration inside and
outsideand both above and below the
groundhydraulic cement is required to plug
running leaks in masonry surfaces.
Hydraulic cement stops water leaks under
pressure and will work under water. It is fast-
setting and can be used inside or outside and
above or below the ground.
Other products include mortar mix;
plastic cement, used where a waterproof
finish is needed such as backyard pools,
fountains, etc.; asphalt patch; stucco patch
and topping mix.
Coverage varies with the size of the bag,
but a good rule of thumb is that two 60-lb.
bags of concrete mix will cover a 3-sq.-ft. area
4" thick.
Blacktop Sealer
Outdoor asphalt surfaces require periodic
treatment with a sealer to provide maximum
life and minimum damage.
Keep in mind that two thin coats are
always better than one thick coat. Thick
coats lead to problems such as tracking,
cracking and discoloration. Apply sealer in
a side-to-side motion, which enables all
pores to become sealed and creates a more
consistent surface.
The asphalt binder used in the paving
material is subject to damage from the
ultraviolet rays of the sun. Once the sur-
face cracks, moisture and ice compound
the damage.
Coal tar blacktop sealers protect asphalt
driveways against oil, tar and gasoline and
keep water from settling in pores, where it
would freeze and buckle the pavement.
Ideally, they are applied at 70F or higher and
usually require 24 to 48 hours to dry before
they can be driven on.
Surface preparation is the most important
point to stress to your customers. Clean sur-
faces will provide proper bonding of sealer
and the longest-lasting protection. Surface
preparation usually calls for washing or scrub-
bing the surface. The sealer is then applied
with a long-handled roller or squeegee. The
sealer will usually heal hairline cracks, but
larger breaks require a special caulking or the
addition of another material to the sealer to
give it more body. Caulk is available in car-
tridges or pails.
Oil spots should be treated with a cleaner
or primer to prevent adhesion failure. An oil
spot primer penetrates oil stains and pro-
motes bonding in problem areas.
Coal tar sealers often need yearly resurfac-
ing, while acrylic sealers, which cost more,
last approximately four years. In addition,
sealers developed from coal tar may contain
hazardous chemicals. Some acrylic sealers are
non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
For more information, click (Repairing
and Maintaining Asphalt Driveways).
Wood Patching Materials
Putty has been traditionally used for prep-
ping weathered and rotted exterior wood for
painting. Auto body fillers and epoxy patch-
ing materials are other alternatives. More
recently, polymer-based patching products are
being used to make structural repairs and for
resurfacing weathered and blister-prone wood
such as window sills.
Both the epoxy and polymer products
involve two-part processes. The latter is water-
based and requires that rotted wood be
removed so that the patch can bond to solid
wood. There are penetrants that can be inject-
ed into rot to restore its structure.
Introduced recently is a sun-activated,
epoxy exterior filler that requires no mix-
ing. The single-component filler cures by
the rays of the sun and can be sanded,
cut, stained or painted and will hold
screws or nails without splitting.
Metal Patching Materials
Various sealants, applied like paint, are tra-
ditional for restoring rusty surfaces by sealing
the surface against air and moisture. Auto
body repair kits repair rust holes and dents
but require heavy prepping. Polymer-cement
products resurface and patch, can be applied
over tight rust and are effective in preventing
further rusting.
Weather stripping is a thin strip of felt,
metal, wood or other material used to cover
the joint between a door or window sash and
the jamb, casing or sill. It is used to prevent
drafts and heat loss around doors, windows
or other small openings, and to keep out dirt,
dust, moisture and noise. To determine if an
area needs weather stripping, check for drafts
on a windy day. Most types are easy to install,
but efficiency and durability vary.
Felt strips are the least expensive type of
weather stripping, but they also have the
shortest lives, generally lasting one to two
years. They are nailed, stapled or glued to
frame or moulding around doors so the door
will close snugly and quietly against them.
They are also used around windows. Felt is
especially practical when appearance is of no
concern. It cannot be painted, for example,
and it has low moisture-resistance. It is avail-
able in various widths, thicknesses and quali-
ty. Reinforced felt is sturdier and designed to
last longer.
Adhesive-backed foam tapes are simply
pressed into position and stick permanently.
They require no nails and no tools. Different
kinds of tapes are available for various jobs.
Pressure-sensitive sponge rubber tape is suited
for larger problem areas. Pressure-sensitive
foam is used where appearance is most criti-
cal. Pressure-sensitive vinyl foam or felt is for
average sealing.
"V" type weather strips (tension strips) are
one of the most durable types of weather
stripping. Once the door is closed, the open
ends of the "V" close together, with one end
of the "V" touching the door and the other
adhered to the door. This compression action
forms an airtight seal. Spring-metal tension
strips are more difficult to install than adhe-
sive-backed tension strips made of vinyl, but
are the best permanent type.
Clear wood moulding with vinyl foam fac-
ing works well around doors and windows and
is one of the largest selling rigid do-it-yourself
weatherstrip products. This rigid moulding
requires less nailing and installs easily.
Caulking cord works well for temporary fill-
ing of large gaps around windows. It consists
of soft, rope-like strands of weather strip with
the consistency of modeling clay. It can be
easily applied by hand and remains pliable so
it can be removed when the weather warms
up. It can be painted.
Polyethylene tape is clear, wide weather
stripping used around windows, bridging
openings without marring appearance.
Aluminum and vinyl weather strip for
tops and sides of overhead garage doors is
now available.
Nylon pile works well in storm door and
window applications, although it has a ten-
dency to flatten out over time. The soft nylon
pile permits easy sliding action for the open-
ing and closing of storm windows.
Door jamb weather strips are a common
form of weather stripping. They are used to
seal the sides and top of a door to shut out
drafts, water, insects and sometimes smoke.
There are many different styles and finishes
available, including roll-formed and extruded
aluminum with vinyl bulbs or flaps.
Door sweeps are an easy but effective way
to seal the bottom of an exterior door, pre-
venting drafts, water, noise, light and insects.
Door bottom sweeps are usually made of alu-
minum extrusions with vinyl flaps. They
screw into the door, and some feature
retractable sweeps that lift automatically
when the door is raised.
There are several other types of sweeps.
One sweep is an aluminum extrusion with a
neoprene seal for cold weather climates.
Another is an aluminum extrusion with a
rain-drip flange to prevent the flow of water
off a door from collecting on a threshold and
flowing under a door. Yet another is an adhe-
sive-backed plastic door sweep.
Door shoes are constructed of extruded
aluminum and vinyl. These are applied to the
bottom of a door to help form a seal between
the door and the threshold. Door bottom
shoes are primarily used in conjunction with
a smooth-top aluminum threshold to form a
proper seal.
Installation Tips
For felt weather stripping, tack all four cor-
ners, starting at the upper left and working
clockwise. Cut off excess strip. Go back and
tack every 2" to 3", pulling the felt tight
before tacking. When applying any pressure-
sensitive tape, do not remove all the protec-
tive paper at once. Strip 1" off the end, set in
place and then start pulling off paper with
one hand while firmly pressing tape in place
with the other hand.
If the opening is not completely sealed,
build up layers of tape until the right
thickness is achieved.
To measure door bottoms, open the
door halfway, set the door bottom in place
from the hinge side of the door to the out-
side edge. Pencil mark the overhang and
cut off the excess. To install tack-type door
bottoms, close the door and line up the
bottom edge of the metal strip to the bot-
tom edge of the door.
Tack both ends to hold in place. For screw-
type door bottoms, close the door. To hold in
place, tack both ends. Pencil mark prebored
holes, remove the strip and punch the pencil
marks with a nail. Replace the door bottom
and secure with screws. Adjust height to com-
pensate for opening. Tighten the screws.
For a garage door bottom, measure and cut
the proper length of strip. Nail one end, plac-
ing nails every 4" and pull it tight so that the
strip lies firmly against the door bottom.
For garage door tops and sides, open the
door halfway and install the same way as
door-bottom weather-strip.
For more information, clcik (Weather-
proofing Your Home) or (Conserving
Carpet remains the most popular floor cov-
ering, accounting for more than two-thirds of
floor covering sales. Carpet tiles, indoor-out-
door carpet and roll carpeting are durable
enough for use in high-traffic areas such as
recreation rooms, family rooms, basements,
porches and patios. There are even special car-
pets designed for the garage.
Carpet is usually made of nylon, although
polyester, wool, acrylic or polypropylene
(olefin) are also used. In addition, a number of
different styles are available such as level loop
pile (Berber), multi-level loop pile, cut and
loop pile, cut pile and sisal.
Carpeting, which is usually produced in 12'
lengths, varies in quality and grade because of
its exposure to wear. A simple test of carpet
quality is to bend back a sample and examine
the closeness of construction. The less backing
you see the denser the pile. And the denser,
the better.
Another factor in carpet quality is the
"twist." This refers to the number of fibers that
have been intertwined to make the yarn. The
tighter and more well defined the twist, the
more durable the carpet will be.
Chemical treatments of the carpet fibers
can make them "stain-free." However, con-
sumers should follow the carpet manufactur-
ers instructions when removing spills from
these carpets.
Carpet tiles offer ease of installation and
convenience. They can be inexpensively
replaced if badly worn or stained. Damage to a
room-sized piece of carpet can be quite costly
to repair or replace.
If carpeting has no self-adhesive backing,
several methods of installation are available.
Adhesives include double-faced tape or a wet
adhesive that is troweled onto the floor. When
double-faced tape is used, a grid is laid down; it
consists of a strip around the edge of the room
and crisscrossing strips across the entire floor.
The strips should match the edges of the tile
being applied to keep them from turning up.
If roll carpeting has an integral backing of
foam or sponge rubber, the material should be
glued directly to the floor to ensure a solid
backing. Applying it over a pad, linoleum or
other surface that is not fastened to the floor
will cause the surface to ripple or turn up at
the corners.
Tools needed for installation include a
sharp razor-type knife, chalk line, edge, seam
cutter guides and the adhesive. If a wet adhe-
sive is used, the customer will need a notched
trowel and a solvent for cleanup.
Padding should be suggested because it pro-
longs carpet life and adds to residents com-
fort. Padding is usually made from felted cush-
ion, urethane, foam rubber or sponge rubber.
Weight, density and thickness vary by type
and the amount of traffic in the area to be
carpeted. Roll-type coverings and paddings
usually available in 36", 54", 72", 108" and
144" widthscan be installed with double-
faced carpet tapes.
Retailers should also have metal moulding
for doorways and other open areas; 36"
lengths are sufficient for most jobs.
To determine how much carpet is needed,
multiply the rooms length (feet) by its width
and then divide by 9 to get square yardage.
Then add 10 percent to that figure to account
for odd shapes in the room.
To make it easier for consumers to buy and
compare the cost of carpet, some manufactur-
ers and retailers have begun to price carpet by
the square foot instead of by the square yard.
Area rugs and runners are growing in pop-
ularity and are easy to merchandise and sell.
With more styles and patterns available, they
complement hardwood floors with a decora-
tive flair.
Resilient Flooring
Resilient flooring most commonly sold by
home improvement retailersand most easily
installed by d-i-yerscomes in 12" square tiles,
which are usually self-adhesive. There are also
sheet goods that are 6' or 12' wide and elimi-
nate the need for frequent seaming.
For more information, click (Laying
Resilient Floor Tile).
Manufacturers of flooring that requires an
adhesive should provide literature that guides
customers through the installation process,
including necessary application materials (the
proper adhesive, spreaders, etc.).
Two main kinds of sheet vinyl flooring are
inlaid (in which the pattern goes through the
entire thickness of the material) and rotovinyl
(in which the pattern is printed on and then
covered with clear vinyl or urethane). Inlaid
flooring is not recommended for d-i-y installa-
tion. However, laser technology is making the
inlaid flooring quicker to make and more
affordable for consumersand helping to add
stock inlaid flooring to the traditional cus-
tomized product that comes from craftsmen.
Neutral colors and patterns remain the most
popular, although many new patterns and tex-
tures have been introduced to the market due
to advances in technology.
Kits are also available that contain every-
thing to make a pattern of the room, transfer it
to the flooring and cut the flooring to fit.
Most floor coverings have a no-wax surface,
either vinyl or urethane. However, most manu-
facturers recommend application of specially
formulated floor finish to enhance or restore
shine and provide added protection.
A urethane surface is tougher than vinyl no-
wax. A vinyl no-wax floor will lose its shine
eventually; the floor is not harmed if nothing
is done, but if the customer wants a shine on
the floor, floor finish is necessary.
While often confused with vinyl flooring,
linoleum is distinctly different in composition
and features. Linoleum is made of all-natural
ingredients, comes in a wide variety of colors
and possesses excellent durability if sealed and
maintained regularly. Linoleum comes in tiles,
sheets or decorative area rug-like strips that are
stuck to the floor with adhesive.
Proper care is necessary to maintain all types
of resilient flooring. Resilient flooring, especial-
ly cushioned flooring, is susceptible to indenta-
tions from furniture, and it is advisable to use
furniture rests under all heavy pieces. Textured
or deeply embossed floors must be scrubbed
occasionally to remove accumulations of soil
or wax in embossed patterns.
A few other important factors:
o Wear will be determined by the quality of
the material as well as the thickness of the
vinyl covering. All else being equal, a thick-
er coating ensures a longer life. Urethane
lasts longer than vinyl.
o Resistance to scratching and staining is also
important. Most common household sub-
stances should not stain or discolor resilient
flooring; however, care should be taken to
remove spills immediately. Most manufac-
turers provide stain evaluation charts that
indicate materials resistance to staining.
o Resiliency or the ability to withstand or
recover from dents is important. With cush-
ioned vinyl, resiliency is doubly important.
For the most part, todays resilient floors are
better able to withstand dents, scratches and
discoloration while retaining their gloss.
o Most flooring can be affected by expansion
and contraction of the subfloor. With prop-
er installation procedures, this can be mini-
mized or alleviated. If material is not proper-
ly installed, seams or joints might open or
buckle, making the floor unsightly and
allowing the dirt and germs to be trapped.
For more information, click (Laying Sheet
Vinyl Floor Covering).
Hardwood Flooring
A wide selection of styles, shades, patterns
and textures of hardwood flooring is available.
Two popular types are nail-down and glue-
down. But for ease of installation for the d-i-
yer, a self-stick is available with self-adhering
foam backing.
Planks and parquet tiles are also a hardwood
option and come in a range of sizes to accom-
modate almost any room.
Hardwood floors should never be cleaned
with water or self-polishing waxes that contain
water. The best way to clean most hardwood
floors is with a quality, solvent-based wood
floor cleaner and wax. All hardwood floors
should be cleaned and waxed only when need-
edand dry-mopped between cleanings.
Sweeping or vacuuming regularly also keeps
the floors looking nice and in good shape.
The National Oak Flooring Manufacturers
Association (NOFMA) has set flooring grades.
NOFMAs appearance-based standards pertain
to oak and other species of flooring and are
determined by character marks. NOFMA
grades include Clear, Select, No. 1 Common
and No. 2 Common. The Clear and Select
grades are further identified by sawing
method. NOFMA also maintains separate grad-
ing standards for prefinished oak, maple,
beech, birch and pecan flooring.
Stenciling decorative designs onto hard-
wood floors is a low-cost method of achieving
a custom look.
Decorative inlays are another option.
Decorative inlays are most often constructed
from a combination of hardwood compo-
nents. Once the design is created, components
are laser-cut from hardwood flooring planks,
typically 5/16" thick. The components are then
joined with glue or urethane adhesive. When
the inlay is dry, edges are routed to match the
tongue-and-groove joints for the rest of the
hardwood floor, and the inlay is set in place.
Bamboo flooring is becoming more popular,
particularly in the South. It tends to be more
dimensionally stable (expands and contracts
less) and more durable than other species of
hardwood. Bamboo boards, which can be
nailed or glued down, are typically 3 or 6
long and 3 wide. Most bamboo flooring is
installed prefinished and should be kiln dried
and treated.
Engineered flooring has become a popular
alternative to traditional hardwood flooring.
The surface veneer is made of hardwood such
as maple or oak, while tongue-and-groove
strips are constructed of plywood. While it is
not less expensive than hardwood flooring,
engineered flooring is easier to install because
it can be installed without a subfloor and
requires no sanding or finishing. Some types
do not require glue because they snap together.
The size of the veneer will determine the floor-
ings durabilityhigh-quality engineered floors
feature surface veneer of 5/32" to 1/6".
Laminated Flooring
Laminated flooring has improved in popu-
larity in recent years as product developments
enhanced its look and performance.
Laminated flooring consists of thin layers of
wood or paper products that are adhered to a
resilient foam core. It can be designed to look
like wood, stone or marble. A coating of alu-
minum oxide provides hardness for the floor-
ing, which is installed over a subfloor or an
existing floor. Its primary advantages are the
fact it is hard to scratch, stain or dent. It is also
easy to maintain.
Laminated flooring can be vacuumed or
cleaned with a damp mop. Cost is similar to
that of other hardwood flooring. However,
since laminated flooring can swell when
exposed to water, it is not recommended for
installation in bathrooms.
Seamless Flooring
Seamless flooring is liquid floor covering
applied over any paintable surface in a number
of coats. Usually a base coat covers the old
floor. A layer of color flakes is then applied and
sealed with a transparent liquid that dries to a
highly durable finish.
While seamless flooring can be applied over
almost any surface, the flooring itself is only as
good as its base. If the flooring is applied over
peeling or cracking linoleum, the new coating
may peel; if the base is red concrete, the red
may begin to bleed through.
Floors can be renewed after traffic patterns
develop by application of an additional coat of
acrylic plastic glaze. Seamless flooring does not
require waxing.
Roll laminates are the do-it-yourselfers ver-
sion of countertop materialsthey are
smooth, easy-to-clean, and somewhat scratch
and burn resistant. Many people know materi-
als of this type by the brand name, Formica,
although there are other brands.
Roll laminates come in 39"- or 36"-wide
rolls. The kind you stock will be lighter weight
than that used in factory installation, a neces-
sity for easier do-it-yourself gluing.
To install roll laminates, a customer must
carefully measure the surface to be covered,
apply contact cement to both surfaces, and
then press the laminate in place, leaving a suf-
ficient overhang to be trimmed later.
Since contact cement holds permanently
when both objects have been coated, extreme
care is necessary in positioning the laminate.
Excess material is then trimmed off and edges
can be filed or planed to remove sharp edges.
If a customer is interested in roll laminates, be
sure to suggest contact cement, proper cutting
tools, a shaping tool or file for smoothing
edges, etc.
For more information, click (Installing
Plastic Laminate Countertops).
Tile can be used on the floor or the wall for
great decorative effect. Floor tile can be made
of ceramic, marble, slate, limestone, brick,
porcelain or granite. It is typically sold in 12"
x 12" or 13" x 13" pieces, but comes in all
sizes. Accent tiles come in 2" x 2", 4" x 4" or
6" x 6" squares.
Ceramic tile is more durable and easier to
maintain than vinyl or wood flooring.
Ceramic tile is divided into two major cate-
gories: glazed and unglazed. It is made prima-
rily of clay that has been fired at very high
temperatures in kilns. The firing process
makes both color and shape permanent, and
the surface becomes resistant to stains, burns
and scratches. Ceramic tile normally carries a
durability rating. Most manufacturers give
their tile a rating number from 1 to 4+,
according to the results of the Porcelain
Enamel Institute abrasion test. Class 1 is the
least durable, while 4+is intended for com-
mercial applications with heavy traffic.
Ceramic mosaic tile is small, usually
with a mesh backing. It can be used for
both floor and wall installation and is
available glazed and unglazed.
Marble tile is slick and easily scratched,
although it can be buffed out. Its stunning
appearance leads to it being considered a pre-
mium product. Marble tiles need to be sealed
after installation. Types of marble include
travertine (good for exterior use), white
(translucent) and green (usually installed with
water-free epoxy mortars).
Chips are less apparent with porcelain tile
because it is not glaze-coated like ceramic.
Porcelain tile can be used for either floor or
wall installation. It is a pressed tile allowing
numerous finishes.
Glazed floor tile is made of clay that has
been single fired at a high temperature,
which lends itself to highly durable glaze
Limestone tile is highly porous so it can be
used indoors or outdoors. It must be sealed,
but treating it can bring out the rocks natural
tones. Some very compact limestones may be
polished to a high luster.
Granite tile is similar to marble, but it is
harder, denser and more durable. Granite tile
has more of a pebble-stone appearance and
normally features no veining. It must also be
sealed. Granite tile is commonly used on
countertops. While it is more difficulty to
harm than marble, it is also more difficult to
restore when damaged.
Slate tile is cut directly from the rock so
each piece is varied in look. It is composed of
shale with natural cleft finish. The quarrying
process causes the surface texture. It does
have some chips and bumps naturally, so it
needs to be sealed.
Quarry tile features a shale body, extruded
then cut to size and sometimes with edges
that are ground smooth. It can be glazed, but
is usually used unglazed. Quarry tile is very
durable, so it is used most often in institu-
tional settings.
Pavers are popular for patios and walkways
but can also used indoors. They come in red
brick color as well as wood, sand, rust and
other colors. Similar to quarry tile, except it is
pressed rather than extruded. Paver tile is more
susceptible to staining than quarry tile.
Decorative thin wall tile features soft miner-
al body or red clay body (terra cotta). It is used
in areas where durability is not required.
White body tile is a soft mineral body tile
generally used for wall applications. It accepts
high-gloss glazing treatments and lends itself
to decorative applications.
Tile is usually priced by the square foot
instead of per piece to allow comparison of
prices of different-sized tile. Tile can be
smooth or textured. Textured tile is less slick,
so it works better for bathroom floors or high-
traffic areas. Natural stone tile should be
sealed with a penetrating sealer/impregnator
to prevent water, dirt and grease penetration.
Tile, stone and grout require different types of
cleaners. Cracked tiles should be replaced and
set with a flexible, high-strength, cement-
based, thin-set mortar.
Wall tile pieces are smaller than flooring tile
pieces. Tile for kitchen backsplash is typically
4" x 4", with hand painted or colored strips
used to accent the decor. In the bathroom, 4" x
4" or 4" x 6" pieces are used in walls, tubs and
showers; floor pieces are 12" x 12" or 8" x 8".
Smaller pieces are harder to clean.
Grout adds the finishing touch to the
appearance of a tile installation and comes in a
wide range of colors. Most grout is made of
cement and is either sanded or non-sanded.
Some grouts are polymer-modified. Pre-mixed
tile grout is available in white and used only
for repairs in dry areas. Ceramic tile caulk can
be used instead of grout to fill tile joints at the
junction where tiles change plane, where tile
abuts other surfaces and joints between tiles
set over different surfaces. White dry tile grout
is a non-sanded grout to be used with marble
and porous-bodied, high-glazed tiles.
Tools that d-i-yers will need for tiling
include a straight edge, tape rule, chalk line,
carpenter's level, rubbing stone, sandpaper,
sponge and cleaning rags. Special tools include
a tile cutter, notched trowel, rubber grout float
or squeegee and tile nippers.
Remember to emphasize these points when
recommending ceramic tile:
o Bright glaze finish on the floor will wear
away if walked on a great deal.
o Sell a sufficient number of tiles at one time.
Tiles purchased later may not match.
o Use proper adhesive material and grout to
fill in and anchor tiles.
o Be sure the tile purchased is appropriate for
the intended area of the home. High-traffic
areas require suitable tiles. Never use a wall
tile on the floor because it will show wear
very quickly.
Tile Surface Preparation Products
Concrete backerboard is an underlayment
for horizontal and vertical installations of tile
and stone. It replaces the traditional mortar
bed method of tile installation, allowing the
use of thin-set mortars and making tile instal-
lation easier. Fiber cement backerboard is
increasing in popularity for flooring and coun-
tertop installations. It is not recommended for
shower stalls and other areas that receive a lot
of moisture.
Self-leveling underlayments are used
after the surface has been primed to level
and smooth floors prior to installation of
floor coverings.
Waterproofing and anti-fracture membranes
are applied to the surface when waterproofing
is required prior to applying a bonding adhe-
sive. It also helps prevent tile from cracking
due to minor surface movement.
Storage Buildings
Utility buildings are used for innumerable
outside storage purposes, and their prime sell-
ing seasons are spring and fall in the North
and year-round in the Sunbelt.
They are constructed of wood or metal and
usually come in kit form. However, some deal-
ers offer assembled wood buildings delivered
on a truck or fully assembled on site by the
retailer or installer. Metal buildings are usually
from 6' high at the peak and range from 28 sq.
ft. to more than 400 sq. ft.
Style is an important element in their sales
appeal. Barn-shaped (high gambrel) roof
designs have proven to be the best sellers.
Doors available include the sliding-type, solid
hinged doors and overhead garage-type doors.
Roofs are usually peaked for extra head-
room, and doors can be padlocked. Floor kits
are generally an extra. Shelving, workbenches
and lights are also available from most manu-
facturers. Finishes can be unpainted galvanized
or prepainted colors or wood stains.
Kit buildings are pre-engineered and can be
assembled by do-it-yourselfers. Manufacturers
say two people can assemble a large metal shed
in three to six hours, using a few standard
hand tools and following step-by-step instruc-
tions from the manufacturer.
Walls, roof and doors are packaged
together, and a second carton holds long
frame members.
Pieces are fastened with stainless steel self-
tapping screws that fit into prepunched holes.
A steady interest in home gardening has
built the market for greenhouses, either factory
developed units that can be sold in a package
and assembled at home or do-it-yourself green-
houses that are built from components sold by
do- it-yourself retailers.
Because styles, types and materials vary
greatly according to manufacturer, the
prime source of good information is manu-
facturer literature.
But to best serve customers who inquire
about these, you should know quality factors.
These include the amount of framing (for stur-
diness); the kind and thickness of the material
(again for long-lasting life); rust resistance or
rustproofing on exposed hardware; anchoring
devices; and general stability.
Kits and instructions for do-it-yourself
greenhouses are available from, and in some
cases are supplied by, tool manufacturers.
Patio Covers and Carports
Patio covers and carports can be constructed
from kits comprised of sections of aluminum
or fiberglass for the cover and supports of
wrought iron, steel or aluminum.
All holes are predrilled, and no special
tools are needed by the homeowner. Some
packages come combined with materials for
a small utility building as an attached stor-
age compartment.
Home Electronics
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
Home-use coffeemakers include percolator
and drip models.
Drip coffeemakers are easy to use. A filter
containing coffee is placed in the filter bas-
ket, the decanter is placed on the warming
unit and water is poured into the reservoir.
Brewed coffee begins to drip in about 30
seconds and the pot is done in about nine
minutes. Grounds are thrown out with the
disposable filter. The carafe of brewed coffee
is kept hot for serving and, most important,
coffee does not continue to be flavored by
the grounds, getting stronger and stronger;
nor does it have the sediment sometimes
found in perked coffee.
Most recent models feature timers that
allow consumers to begin brewing automati-
cally at a preset time, automatic drip-stop to
help prevent leaks onto the warmer, and
brew-strength control to regulate how much
of the grounds are soaked with water.
Under-the-cabinet models are popular for
saving counter space. Consumers should be
cautioned about the dangers of leaving
nearly empty or empty carafes on a heated
warming unit. This has caused an alarming
number of home fires. Percolators have three-
to 12-cup capacity. They are made with a
chimney heating element which stands up
in the center of the perc, a rope element
(coiled on floor of unit), or a ceramic warming
unit (in side walls for longer life).
Some percs have an 11-hour timer which
permits delayed starting. Better percs are
heavy-gauge, polished aluminum, stainless
steel, chrome-plated copper, glass-ceramic or
heat-resistant glass. Some have non-stick inte-
riors and/or colored exteriors, either bonded
ceramic coating or anodized aluminum.
Percolators ensure good coffee because a
thermostatic heat control allows coffee to
brew without boiling, keeps brewed coffee at
drinking temperature (about 185 degrees)
without re-perking and brew selectors control
coffee strength automatically. Percs require
special handling when it comes to care and
cleaning. Few percs can be immersed in dish-
water; those that can are marked "immersible."
Infrequently used percs should be chemically
cleaned before being stored. These cleaners are
perfectly safe for stainless steel, but may pit or
darken anodized aluminum. One warning for
customers: Don't let a perc run dry. Put water
in before plugging it in, and unplug it as soon
as it is empty.
Party percs have 18- to 100-cup capacities
and well heating elements located in the
base. Like the smaller percs, these have
either rope or ceramic warming units. Most
percs are heavy-gauge, polished aluminum,
the remainder stainless steel. The most pop-
ular sizes are 22- and 35-cup. Party percs
have most of the features of household
percs, with the addition of a recessed base
and spigot positioned high enough to allow
a cup and saucer to slide under and back
out without tipping the full cup.
Glass-ceramic percs are completely
immersible except for the cord. They do not
have a brew-strength control. They are,
however, one of the easiest percs to clean
because they can be washed with other
dishes and because their non-porous surface
rejects coffee stains. The surface also pre-
vents carry-over of stale coffee flavors.
Heat-resistant glass percs consist of a glass
carafe that fits into a base containing the heat-
ing element. The carafe can be lifted out of
the handle and base, the basket assembly
removed from the carafe and all pieces (except
base) washed.
One-serving beverage makers will heat as
much as 12 oz. of water in 90 seconds for
tea, hot chocolate and other instant drinks
or soups.
When it comes to food preparation, there
are some jobs nothing but a blender can do
and some jobs a blender will do, but not as
well as another appliance.
Blenders will crush, liquefy, stir, mix, puree,
crumb, chop, grate, grind, whip, frappe and
blend at up to 20 speeds. Unless equipped
with attachments, blenders will not beat egg
whites, mash potatoes, crush ice, knead bread
dough, mix batter, grind raw meat or extract
juices. They can be used to whip cream,
although a mixer is better, or to grind coffee,
but a coffee mill is better.
Blenders are built with either conventional
or solid state controls. Motor rating usually is
350 to 1,000 watts. Cutter blade gear, driving
four or six tempered stainless steel blades, is
either metal (which is most durable), hard
rubber or plastic. Because stainless steel is rust-
resistant, all parts should be stainless for a
longer, maintenance-free life. The main fea-
tures of a blender container are its heat-, stain-
and odor-resistance, cup or ounce markings,
comfortable handle and pouring lip.
Containers come in 32- to 48-oz. capaci-
ties and are 10 1/2" to 16" high. Stability
depends on the way the container is seated
on the baseit should be locked or fastened
securely during operation.
Glass containers are strong and heavy
enough to endure normal use. Plastic contain-
ers may scratch or discolor.
Blender costs are predicated on number of
speeds, container capacity and features such as
a removable container open at both ends for
easy cleaning, removable blade assembly and
automatic timer.
Blend and store covered containers are
well-suited for juices and batter, since they
come in sizes from 12 oz. to 48 oz. and can be
stored in the refrigerator. A low-silhouette is a
selling point if the customer has a storage
problem, as it can be pushed under overhead
cabinets. Portable or cordless models may be
attractive for the same reason.
Blenders that cannot be disassembled for
cleaning should be filled with soapy water,
run at low speed for a few seconds, rinsed
and dried. To remove last traces of damp-
ness, run empty blender at low setting for a
few more seconds.
There's a fine line between frypans and
cookers, because they do many of the same
jobs. Frypans (also called skillets or buffet fry-
ers) roast, fry, stew, bake, simmer and pan
broil (which a cooker can't), in addition to
warming food for table serving.
Promotional skillets usually are thin-gauge,
stamped aluminum that may warp with pro-
longed high-heat use or scratch when scoured.
Better quality frypans are heavy-gauge, pol-
ished or porcelainized cast aluminum or stain-
less steel with an aluminum core for better
heat distribution.
Aluminum won't scratch with scouring and
the smooth finish of steel reduces chances of
food sticking. Some have non-stick cooking
surfaces such as SilverStone and Teflon.
Neither should warp unless mistreated.
Brown stains on the underside of frypans
caused by carbonized greasecan be removed
with a commercial cleaner.
Other quality features are proper fitting,
dripless lid and smooth edges on both lid
and pan; vented lid to release steam; cook-
ing chart on lid or handle; indicator light
on thermostat and removable liner also suit-
able for use in oven. Additional features
include 11" square or; 7 3/4" x 11" rectangle;
3 1/2 to 5 1/2 qt. capacity; deep dish (high
sides) or low base; buffet or stick handle;
standard (1 1/2" deep) or high dome (5"
deep) lid; removable or built-in thermostat.
Some frypans are available with crockery
inserts that can cook as long as 10 hours as
slow-cookers. Two types are offered: an open-
bodied ceramic insert or partitioned to pro-
vide two or three separate cooking areas.
The addition of steaming racks extends the
usage for food preparation. A high dome
cover adds room to roast larger meat cuts,
while a standard cover almost limits a pan to
frying and some baking.
Lower-priced dome covers are separate from
the pan; better ones are hinged with one, two
or three tilt positions. Clear, see-through cov-
ers on some models are for cooking conven-
ience and buffet serving. Broiler covers are
available on some models. Removable ther-
mostat and water-sealed heating elements
make a frypan immersible; a built-in thermo-
stat (usually in handle) means the skillet is
not completely immersiblethe handle must
not get wet.
Electric slow cookers are attractively
designed electric casseroles that can be set at a
low temperature so that food begins cooking
in the morning and cooks all day with no
attention from the cook. They may also be
used as serving dishes.
Available in 1- to 6-qt. capacities, some
are porcelain or non-stick finished alu-
minum pots on a separate heating base.
Others are ceramic crocks with a wrap-
around heating element encased in metal.
Either type may offer a removable liner for
easy clean-upsomewhat of a chore with
the non-immersible, one-piece units.
Be sure to explain that slow cookers will
not overcook, even though cooking time may
be prolonged by as much as two hours. Also
point out that cooking temperatures are rela-
tively low but still sufficient to kill bacteria.
While most cookers offer only low and
high heat settings, some do vary by degrees.
In either case, shoppers will appreciate your
pointing out that they should be careful to set
the dial exactly on target; being slightly off
can cause it to not heat up.
Also find out where the shopper intends to
use the cooker, as there are model variations
in cord length.
Other electric cookers include deep fryers,
electric Dutch ovens, electric kettles or remov-
able crockery vessels to slow-cook stews,
soups, roasts or vegetables; deep fry potatoes,
chicken or seafood; pop corn; warm rolls,
buns or bread; steam puddings; blanch veg-
etable for home freezing, and bake casseroles.
Most have a 5-qt. capacity, polished alu-
minum or porcelainized exterior, with or
without non-stick interior, and come with a
deep-fry basket.
Mini-versions of these deep fryers have 2
1/2 to 5 cup capacity. Some electric cookers
function as double-cookers with separate
cooking units on the same base, with sepa-
rate controls for each unit. Features to point
out include warming controls to keep food
at eating temperature but not continue
cooking; wide simmer range; clearly visible
heat indicator light that shows when preset
temperature is reached, and a large, well-
balanced and sturdy fry basket that won't
let food drop into fryer.
Some cookers have removable thermostats
and sealed heating units for safe washing.
Those with built-in controls must be cleaned
by putting a small amount of warm soapy
water in the cooker.
Always read the manufacturers instruc-
tion book.
Use the appliance for what it was
designednothing else.
Never place small electric appliances on a
range or store them in an oven.
Never touch electrical cords or fixtures
when hands, feet or shoes are wet; cords
should never come in contact with water.
Plug small appliances directly into wall
outlets whenever possible. When using an
extension cord, the electrical rating of the
cord must be no less than the wattage of
the appliance. Do not overload outlets.
Turn off an appliance before unplugging
it. If it has a detachable cord or control,
plug into appliance first, then into wall
outlet, disconnect at wall first, then from
Hold the plug itself to disconnect; dont
yank on the cord.
Operating appliance should not be left
unattended, particularly if children are
around. Small appliances are not intended
to be used outdoors.
Unplug heating appliances as soon as fin-
ished and allow to cool.
Replace worn or damaged cords imme-
Clean after every use.
Always clean underside of appliance; if
brown stains develop, use commercial
Dont put water in hot pan; it will warp.
If pan is greasy, wipe with paper towel
while pan is still warm.
Dont immerse an appliance unless the
label says you can; if it is immersible, always
remove the heat control immediately after
using and wipe with damp cloth.
Light scouring is permissible for metal sur-
faces; NEVER for non-stick coatings.
Always wash and condition non-stick
finishes before use and occasionally use
commercial chemical cleaner (specifically
for the purpose) on non-stick surface to
clean stains.
Always remove partswaffle grids, knife
blades, beaters, can opener cutting wheels,
etc.from motor housing to wash them.
They can safely be put in dishwasher. Never
immerse the motor housing; wipe clean
with damp cloth.
Whatever the kind of cooker, advise your
customer to read manufacturer tags and book-
lets with cooking and handling instructions.
Some cookers perform best with foods
requiring some liquid; others may require a
lower temperature than oven cooking because
the food is in direct contact with the heating
element in the bottom of cooker.
A few variations on the basic cooker
o Electric sauce pan4 to 5 qt. capacity in
polished aluminum with non-stick lining.
Has deep-fry basket and thermostat-con-
trolled heating element with warm setting.
o Electric casserole2 to 3 1/2 qt. capacity
with removable insert that can also be used
on top of stove. Primary function is baking
and roasting; will not brown meat. Has 150
degrees warm setting.
o Electric egg cookerboils or poaches eggs.
Boiling rack will hold up to eight eggs.
Poaching insert holds four eggs (insert can
have non-stick coating). Visible or audible
signal when eggs are done.
Waffle bakers are round, square or rectan-
gular; come with or without non-stick finish;
have plain waffle pattern grids or fancy design
grids; include four or six waffle sections, and
make regular waffle size or large, family size.
Round bakers and less expensive rectangu-
lar ones are wafflers. The rest convert to a
griddle by changing plates or reversing waffle
grids. In any case, grids are made of heavy cast
aluminum and are removable for washing.
They usually have a chrome-plated exterior.
Other features common to some units are
overflow rim on waffle side and grease drain
spouts on grill side; thermostat reaching 485
degrees that shuts off when preset tempera-
ture is reached; signal light that comes on
when waffle is done or when unit is preheat-
ed; light/medium/dark settings, and expand-
able hinges that allow movement of upper
grid as waffle rises.
As griddles, they can be used flat as a nor-
mal grilling surface or closed to grill sandwich-
es. Belgian wafflers make thicker waffles with
indentations up to 1" deep to hold more syrup
or other toppings. They generally have no sec-
tions as traditional waffle bakers do and are
equipped with greater heat adjustment con-
trol and non-stick surface.
Automatic grills provide a large (about 200
sq. in.) grilling surfaceenough to hold 15
hamburgers, eight to 10 pancakes or to cook
two entirely different foods at the same time.
They can also be used to heat frozen dinners,
as a roll warmer or warming tray. Most grills
are cast aluminum with or without non-stick
finish and have a detachable thermostat with
range of 150 degrees to 450 degrees, light indi-
cator, drain hole with grease cup, cooking
guide on grill and low side rim. Some have a
domed cover.
Electric crepe pans have a small, circular,
non-stick grill surface with long-life tubular
heating element. Just dip pan in batter and
turn right side up, wait a few seconds and
gently pry loose with a spatula for wafer-thin
crepes. Crepe makers can often be turned and
used as gourmet frying pans for sauteing and
frying. The base surface can also be used as a
hot-plate. They are energy-efficient, too, using
only about 750 watts.
Emphasize to buyers the importance of
preparing batter of exact consistency and care-
fully adhering to suggested dipping times
when making crepes. This is an ideal product
for dynamic in-store demonstrations.
Buffet ranges have one or two burners
and cook anything that can be cooked on a
kitchen range, only more slowly. A single-
burner range reaches maximum heat of
1,100 watts; a double-burner unit has one
fast, high-heating burner (1,100 watts) and
one slow, medium-heating burner (550
watts) and dual controls.
Higher-priced ranges have variable heat
control; chrome-plated, enameled or porce-
lainized steel cabinet; chrome cooking surface;
front- or top-mounted controls; lift-up ele-
ments; and removable chrome drip pans.
They have sealed rod heating elementsinsu-
lated wires sealed in a metal tube that looks
like a flat spiral (like burner on an electric
range). They are electrically safe because no
wires are exposed, although in high humidity,
dampness may penetrate to wiring and pro-
duce a mild shock hazard.
Less expensive buffet ranges have only
off/on switch, galvanized sheet metal cabinet
and chrome or enamel top. These models fre-
quently have open coil elements, which
means heating coils are laid in grooves on the
surface of a ceramic plate. Open coils are
potentially hazardous because the live wire is
exposed. Although a double pole switch
ensures that element is not electrically alive
when unit is turned off, it does not eliminate
the danger of accidentally touching the wire
when unit is on.
A few other questions to answer about the
units you carry include:
o If controls are located on top of range, can
setting be changed without brushing
knuckles against a hot pan?
o Can setting be accidentally changed if
bumped while moving pans on burners?
o Does the range heat up on the sides and
around the controls?
o Do the control knobs or buttons stay cool
enough to touch while range is on?
o If a two-burner range, are high and low
heat burners identified?
o Will it maintain a low warming temper-
o Are burners far enough apart to hold two
large pans?
o How thick is chrome plating?
o If thin, it may be susceptible to scratch-
ing and rusting, especially in high-
humidity areas.
When a customer walks into your store to
buy a toaster, there's a wide variety to choose
from. Two-slice or four-slice? Square or slim
line? Single or double control? Reflector?
Toaster-oven combination? Under-cabinet or
counter-top model?
Two- and four-slice pop-up toasters toast
one to four slices and automatically lift
toast when done. Square toasters have sin-
gle or double pairs of slots side by side; slim
line toasters have slots end to end; under
cabinet models mount so that toast pops
out of the front.
Selling features include adjustable light/dark
settings; hinged crumb tray; toast lift that rais-
es toast high enough to remove without
reaching into slots; bread wells wide enough
for most thicknesses of bread, frozen waffles,
etc.; and an easily cleaned finish.
Each slot has two heating elements (better
ones are made of nichrome wire wrapped on
mica for longer life) and holds bread an equal
distance from element.
All toasters have toast release to interrupt
toasting cycle if desired, and some have a
heat-sensing device to warm up cold toast
without further darkening it.
Some models have energy-saving switches
that cut out one bank of elements, especially
in four-slice units, so that one side of the ele-
ment arrangement heats up when only two
slices of bread are being toasted. Others have
separate controls for each pair of slots.
Timing mechanisms on better toasters heat
and cool quickly, automatically compensate
for voltage variations, and toast bread to same
degree of selected color in the same amount
of time, regardless of number of slices toasted
Wattage reduction-control toasters allow
user to regulate wattage in the outside ele-
ments for toasting pastry foods with sugar-
glazed coatings that would otherwise melt
inside the toaster. Adjustable-width slots will
toast a variety of different-sized breads and
pastries without concern that they will warp
or stick inside the toaster.
Speed and power are the major differences
between portable and stand mixers. Many cus-
tomers prefer portable mixers because they are
usually less expensive, more compact and can
be stored conveniently. But even those with
12 speeds won't serve as well as a stand mixer
if your customer has a large family, entertains
frequently or does a lot of baking.
The portables simply do not have enough
power to perform adequately in large, heavy
mixturesstand mixers have 50 percent to 75
percent more power.
Neither kind of mixer should be forced
beyond its motor capacity. If it can't cope with
the mixture, the motor will slow or stall, then
overheat and burn out.
Portable mixers will stir, mash, mix, cream,
beat and whip. Stand mixers perform these
functions plus handle heavy dough or batter
and larger quantities of other foods.
All mixers have either conventional or solid
state motors, and the better conventional
motors are governor-controlled.
The major advantage of a solid state motor
is that it maintains full power at lower speeds.
Governor-controlled conventional motors
offer the same advantage plus maintaining
full and steady power at all speeds.
Some selling features apply to both portable
and stand mixers: adequately controlled
motor power; selective or variable speed con-
trol; beater ejector positioned for one-hand
operation; mixing guide on head or handle;
and open-center, chrome-plated, tightly lock-
ing beaters with plastic tips to prevent scratch-
ing the bowl.
Other features that apply only to portable
include light weight (less than three lbs.); bal-
anced handling; comfortable handle (must be
held through mixing job); detachable cord if
plug-in or recharging unit is cordless; and
under-cabinet mounting.
Stand mixer features include sturdy and
well-balanced stand unit; method of detach-
ing head from stand; 12 speeds varying
from 150 rpm to 1,200 rpm; one, two or
three glass or stainless steel bowls in gradu-
ated sizes from 1 1/2 to 4 qt.; bowl shift
lever or two-position turntable mounting;
ball-bearing or other smooth-operating
turntable; bowl-contoured beaters that cover
full diameter of bowl; detachable cord; and
instant extra power button that delivers
increased speed to mix tougher batter.
Included among the attachments for
stand mixersanother selling point, since
portables won't operate these attachments
are can openers, food choppers, vegetable
slicers, dough hooks, juicers, knife sharpen-
ers, drink mixers, blenders, silver buffers
and ice cream freezers.
An electric slicing knife consists of two 9" or
12" serrated blades linked at the tip and
locked into a handle containing a motor
which is activated by pressure on a trigger to
drive the blades back and forth.
Blades are hollow-ground stainless steel,
some tungsten carbide tipped. They should fit
tightly together so that food scraps don't catch
between them as they cut. Motor housing is
heavy-duty plastic unaffected by heat generat-
ed by the motor.
Retail price depends on some of the follow-
ing features: tapered blade tips to trim and cut
around bones; extra set of shorter blades for
paring; well-balanced, comfortable handle
that helps user direct the blades; grease guards
on blades; table rest on handle to keep blade
from tipping forward onto table; two cutting
speeds; fingertip blade release button; wall-
hanging storage rack and/or detachable cord
Are they easy to operate?
Are controls accessible and marked clearly?
Are materials suitable for the appliances
intended use?
Is there any feature of the appliance that
may create a hazard for the customer who
uses it?
Are handles sufficient to move the appli-
ance without chance of dropping it or harm-
ing the user?
Are feet and handles heat-resistant?
Is base insulated to protect tabletop or
Do appliances have non-marring feet or
How easy are appliances to clean?
Point out removable parts and accessories,
surfaces that wipe clean with little effort.
Do you understand the warranty well
enough to answer any questions?
What happens if the appliance needs
repair? How readily available is service? And
from whom?
What size will fulfill the need?
What equipment does the customer
already have? Try to sell an appliance that
doesnt duplicate.
How often will it be used? This indicates
whether a heavy-duty, long-wearing appli-
ance is better, whether storage is a factor,
whether customer will pay more for a better-
quality item.
for plug-in knives, recharger stand for cordless
ones; and safety blade lock to keep blades
from cutting even when the knife is plugged
in but not being used.
It is not a good idea to use any electric
knife to cut through bones or frozen foods;
use kitchen saws for that. It is best to carve on
a wooden board, since blades may scratch din-
ner platters or metal pan surfaces.
Why grind away on a tough can when a
small, powerful motor will do it for you? This
is the way to sell electric can openers. They
cost more than manual ones, but the effort
and time they save may be worth it. Can
openers operate one of two ways: 1) single
lever pierces lid, activates motor and requires
constant hand pressure to keep motor run-
ning; 2) cutting begins automatically when
can is clamped into place and stops when can
is open.
A popular feature is a removable turning
gear that allows the opener to be cleaned
completely. The cutting assembly can be
removed without tools, and the gears that
turn the can while the lid is being severed lift
out to be cleaned.
Features to point out include: steel cutting
blade attached to removable unit; the opener
cuts irregularly shaped cans and is high
enough to cut large juice cans; cans lock into
cutting position and a magnet holds severed
lid (if it isn't aluminum); unit is properly
weighted, so weight of can won't tip it;
retractable cord or cordless option offer con-
venience; and under-cabinet or countertop
storage saves space. Presence of these features
is a major factor affecting price, as is the mate-
rial from which the housing is made.
A brushed chrome-plated or enamel hous-
ing withstands tougher use and protects the
motor better than a plastic housing.
Other appliances commonly combined
with a can opener include a knife sharpener,
ice crusher, fruit juicer or bottle opener. Each
of these works off the same motor as the can
opener and is usually located on the opposite
side of the housing.
Whatever the job, whatever the preferred
price range, there's an electric iron to fit it. In
regular irons, you can step up from a
steam/dry iron to a spray/steam/dry iron,
corded or cordless. In travel irons, it's either
dry or steam and dry.
A few points apply to all irons. Soleplates
can be polished cast aluminum or non-stick
finished to resist starch pick-up. Soleplates
on less expensive irons are less durable and
may scratch easily. An iron should never be
used on rough surfaces like zippers, pins,
snaps, etc. A scratched metal plate can be
smoothed with fine sandpaper and rubbed
with paraffin or waxed paper to replace its
finish; a non-stick finish shouldn't be ham-
pered by small scratches.
Some irons turn off automatically if they
are not picked up for several minutes. They
usually give an audible warning signal before
they shut off.
Metal plates can be cleaned with mild, non-
gritty powder and rubbed with waxed paper
to clean off any foreign material. Non-stick
finishes should be wiped with soft cloth.
Never use abrasive cleaners.
Most manufacturers say that unless the
customer has extremely hard watermore
than 180 parts per million of dissolved
mineralstap water is fine to use with
steam or spray/steam irons. However,
many consumers may prefer to use dis-
tilled water. (Hard tap water contains lime
and other minerals that, in time, clog the
steam chamber, duct and vents.)
A commercial cleaner will dissolve these
deposits but may also damage internal parts of
the iron (follow manufacturer recommenda-
tions on this point). Self-cleaning irons uti-
lize an extra burst of steam to blow sediment
out of steam ducts and vents.
Steam/dry irons are fitted with an electrical-
ly heated water chamber that should hold
enough water for a half-hour's normal iron-
ing. A push-button should open the steam
duct to release steam through soleplate vents.
Others have water chambers in the base. They
take about 30 seconds to heat, two minutes
for steam to develop and weigh 3 to 4 lbs.
Steam/spray/dry irons are constructed gen-
erally like steam/dry irons but have a second
push-button that produces a fine mist spray
that does not leave water spots. Some irons
have two sprays, fine and medium, and some
offer an extra puff of steam for badly wrinkled
areas. They need about the same time to heat,
weigh about the same as steam/dry irons and
are more expensive than steam/dry irons.
Manual spray can be used at any fabric set-
ting and requires thumb-pumping to produce
spray. Power spray works only on steam set-
tings and provides a continuous spray as long
as the push-button is depressed. The impor-
tant factor is not the number of steam vents
but whether they provide complete coverage
over the soleplate.
To store any of these irons, empty reservoir,
wrap cord if it has one loosely around handle
(after iron cools) and store on heel rest, never
on soleplate or in carton. Some have
retractable cords.
Other features that help sell irons include
heating element and thermostat that main-
tain steady temperature at any setting for long
periods; tip-proof heel rest; comfortable, heat-
resistant handle with thumb rests on either
side (for right- or left-handed people); cen-
tered cord lift; fingertip adjustment of temper-
ature selector and steam/spray buttons; fabric
guide on handle or saddleplate; wide-
mouthed, funnelled fill opening; water win-
dow or fill guide; chrome-plated shell with
smooth edges and tight fit; permanent press
touch-up setting; and button nooks.
Cordless irons rest in a recharging stand
that is plugged in while the iron is in use.
When the user stops ironing to adjust
One point to make to the purchaser is not
to plug in more than one heat-producing
appliance on a 15-amp (normal house
current) circuit at one time. It will proba-
bly overload the circuit and blow a fuse or
trip a circuit breaker.
Extension cords are not advisable on
heavy current pullers, but if one is
absolutely necessary, use nothing smaller
than a #16 gauge.
Always caution the user about the hazards
of using electric personal care appliances
around water. These appliances can cause
electrocution when plugged in, even
when not in use. Recommend use in the
bedroom or other room besides the bath-
room, especially for children.
clothes on the board, the iron is placed in
the stand to recharge for a few seconds.
Light to medium ironing loads can be
done in one recharge; heavy jobs may
require a second recharge. Travel irons,
are naturally, more compact and light-
weight to take up minimum room in a
suitcase. They usually have a full range of
fabric settings and a handle that is either
built low or folds flat.
Some have a built-in water reservoir,
while others have a plastic water bottle
that screws into the iron. Travel irons will
usually tolerate tap water. They frequently
come with overseas adapters and voltage
adjustment bars and are packed in a serv-
iceable travel bag. As with other irons,
they shouldn't be used on rough surfaces
and should be thoroughly drained and
dry before packing.
Electric air purifiers function with a fan
that draws air from beneath or behind the
unit, through a filter and blows the purified
air through the top or front. Top quality
units will have two or three fan speed set-
tings, a quiet motor and the capacity to filter
a large room or several rooms. Filters for
these units are made predominantly of char-
coal with fabric coverings and may be scent-
ed. Another type of air cleaner, which does a
better job of removing pollen and microscop-
ic particles from the air, uses an ionizing fil-
ter. This filter gives the particles passing
through it a positive electrical charge and
traps them on a negatively charged precipita-
tor plate, which then may be removed for
cleaning every four to six months.
This type of unit is much larger and more
expensive than the charcoal filter type.
Some are attachable to furnace ducts or
replace normal furnace air filters. This unit
may be useful to consumers with severe
allergies or breathing impairments, since it
helps remove a number of different aggra-
vating particles from the air.
Two- to 6-qt. poppers rest on the heating
base. Most have non-stick linings and see-
through covers. Automatic poppers turn off
when popping is done; non-automatics
require user to remove bowl and unplug the
unit when popping stops.
Special dispensers in some models will but-
ter popcorn as it pops. See-through covers
usually double as 4-qt. serving bowls. A hot air
popper pops corn with heated air, not oil.
Called continuous flow units, most hot air
poppers feature built-in thermostats, butter
melters and premeasured bins for loading the
correct amount of corn. Not all hot air pop-
pers will pop gourmet popping corn; check
manufacturer's literature.
Food processors are multi-purpose kitchen
appliances that perform a wide variety of food
preparation functions in a few seconds.
Functions most food processors perform are:
slicing; chopping; grating; shredding; minc-
ing; crumbing bread, crackers, cookies, cereals;
kneading bread; pureeing; and mashing. Mini-
processors generally perform the same func-
tions but have a smaller capacity. A serrated
cutting blade is used for heavy-duty chopping
of meat and kneading bread; slicing disc uni-
formly slices vegetables, fruits, etc.; shredder
disc shreds and grates; and a plastic mixing
blade whips, blends and kneads larger
amounts of bread.
Features on better models include: cover
locking tabs and bowl locking rims so that
motor will operate only when bowl is covered
and locked into position; cover with food
chute to add liquid or dry ingredients while
processor is in action; food pusher used to
direct food in chute into discs and bowls;
thermal overload protection device that auto-
matically cuts off the motor in seconds if
overheating occurs; three-position switch
(on/off/pulse); sturdy housing; and a base
with suction feet.
The following glossary lists other portable
appliances generally sold by do-it-yourself
Coffee grindersusually consist of an
upper container for coffee beans and a lower
container to catch ground coffee. Have grind
setting and measure marks on coffee container
or cup-measuring device.
Cookie/ candy gun a cylindrical press that
produces cookies, canapes and candy at the
press of a trigger. Also useful for stuffing mani-
cotti and cream puffs and making decorative
garnishes. Comes with up to 11 attachments.
Electric meat slicerssimilar to the meat
slicers seen in delicatessens, but down-sized
for home use, meat slicers can be of die-cast
metal with chrome finish or plastic. Blades
measure 6 3/8" to 7 1/8" in diameter, and are
made of serrated stainless steel. Slicers have
adjustable thickness control from paper thin
to a half-inch. Units should always have a
thumb guard and should be held steady by a
table lock or non-skid feet.
Freezer-bag sealerseals up fresh and
leftover foods in air-tight freezer bags.
Electric unit seals bags in five seconds. Bags
come in three sizes: 8-, 24- and 32-oz. Some
even have compartments for sealing several
foods in one bag for instant meals. The unit
can be wall-mounted or used on counter-
tops. Other features include: recessed cord
storage, on indicator light and instant on-
off without warm-up.
Ice cream freezersconsist of tub, can and
driving mechanism much like hand-operated
freezers, but an electric motor drives the
cranking mechanism. Tubs are frequently
made of fiberglass. Can is suspended in tub
and holds ingredients; tub is packed with ice
and salt. Newer models offer 2-qt. makers that
will prepare two flavors at the same time.
Most units will freeze ice cream in 30 minutes
to an hour.
Meat grindersoperate much like an
attachment for a food mixer but are in their
own housing and have their own motor. They
have coarse and fine cutting discs and come
with a hardwood pusher; they also chop or
grind vegetables, cheese, nutmeats, etc.; and
may have a salad-maker attachment, or
slice/shred vegetables, fruits, etc.
Warming trayslook like serving trays but
have warming unit under shatter-resistant
glass surface to keep food warm for serving;
cannot be used as cooking surface. May have
shallow drawer for rolls, pies, etc. Can also be
used to melt butter, chocolate, etc. Food
should not be placed directly on tray, always
in serving dish. Some have high, low, and
normal settings.
These mini-ovens have a wide range of
kitchen uses, including toasting, browning,
heating and baking. Features common to
most portable ovens include temperature
range from 200-500 degrees; separate con-
trols for each function; removable doors,
crumb trays, racks, heating elements and
rotisserie assemblies; automatic timer;
adjustable door position; chrome-plated
housing; and metal accessories.
Toaster oven/broilers have smaller capacities
and are capable of toasting bread on both
sides at the same time. Tabletop oven/broilers
are much larger and will toast only one side at
a time. While some models have top and bot-
tom elements for baking and broiling, some
come with only one element. This one-ele-
ment unit stands with the element in the top
to broil; when entire unit is turned over, the
element is on the bottom to bake or roast.
These appliances are useful as second ovens
or can be used in place of a large oven to
reduce energy consumption. However, capaci-
ty is obviously limited and food preparation
results may be less consistent than a conven-
tional oven. Toaster ovens come in different
sizes, some with a signal bell that rings when
food is done. Some models pop up toast from
the top, like a regular toaster.
Those that offer "slow heat" cooking have
low wattage current constantly flowing
through top and bottom elements so different
foods can cook simultaneously. Other models
provide two shelves for baking, but heat distri-
bution may be uneven. Other toaster oven
features include a special defrost cycle and
porcelain catalytic finish that cleans itself con-
tinuously at normal cooking temperatures.
Related to the table broilers/ovens are the
smokeless broilers and broiler rotisseries which
have no covering but are safe for indoor cook-
ing because they do not smoke or spatter. Two
reasons explain this:
1. Infrared heating element reaches a
temperature well above smoke range and
forms a heat shield around the element;
grease disintegrates as it strikes the element,
without smoke.
2. A stainless steel reflector pan under the
broiler rack or spit has water in it (about 3/4").
Should drippings fall through the element,
they land in the water without spattering.
Most smokeless broilers have aluminum
frame and chrome-plated grilling rack, spit
and skewers. They disassemble for washing.
Microwave ovens use very short electro-
magnetic waves to cook foods in a short
timeabout 10 minutes per pound for most
meat cuts. All basically cook the same, so it's
usually a matter of directing customers to the
right size with the right features to suit their
needs. Microwave ovens offer a variety of fea-
tures including digital timer, automatic
cycling defroster, variable power dial for
changing cooking speed and automatic food
temperature control (oven stops automatically
when internal temperature of food reaches
temperature set on indicator).
Other things that must be considered are:
1. Placement of oven. Will the customer
need a left-hinged or bottom-hinged model?
How about the vent? A front-vented model
can be placed under an upper cabinet, but a
back-vented appliance must have air space of
2" from the wall.
Space requirements vary. Newer
microwaves have been down-sized without
sacrificing interior cooking space. Under-cabi-
net models also solve some counter-space
2. Kind of cooking to be done. If the oven
will be used mainly for defrosting and reheat-
ing, a smaller, lower-priced, two-power model
will be fine. The compact microwaves available
may require slightly longer cooking times but
are good for one-or-two-person households.
A top-of-the-line model with variable power
settings and temperature sensor probe is
preferable for extensive, full-meal cooking.
Check the wattage output, which will range
from 300 to 700 watts. Cooking will take
twice as long in a 300 watt, and most
microwave cookbooks are written for 600- to
700-watt models.
3. Timers. Since a lot of cooking will be
done by counting seconds, digital timers are
good. If it has dial timers, is one marked off in
15-second increments? Touch timers (those
that are sensitive to finger heat) require fewer
repairs than dial timers.
4. The megahertz (one megahertz equals
one million microwave cycles per second).
Most microwave ovens operate on 2,450
5. Browning option. Some foods cooked for
a short time with microwaves will not brown
as in conventional cooking. (Foods with a
high fat content, such as bacon, will brown in
a short cooking time.) Is it worth more money
to have a unit with a browning coil? (A few
minutes in a conventional oven can finish the
job. So can a microwave browning dish that
costs much less.)
6. Power setting. There are models with
three to 10 power settings. Lower settings are
needed for egg and cheese dishes, less tender
meats, baked products, softening butter, melt-
ing chocolate and defrosting.
Models with phase cooking make it possible
to set both low and high power at one time,
which is useful for those who cannot stay
with the microwave to reset the timer when
switching from defrost to cook. Many models
are also equipped with a memory function.
User can preset the time the oven turns on, at
what power and for how long. This feature is
particularly useful for families where both par-
ents work outside the homemeals can be
cooking with nobody in the kitchen. In addi-
tion to cooking foods from scratch, the oven
is also useful for heating beverages, soups, pre-
cooked casseroles, sandwiches, leftovers,
canned vegetables and baked goods.
Microwave ovens are a safe and convenient
appliance, provided that purchasers know and
follow some guidelines:
1. Do not tamper with the safety interlocks,
which prevent a microwave oven from operat-
ing when the door is open. Operation with
the door open may result in harmful exposure
to microwave energy.
2. Do not place any object between the
oven front face and door or allow soil or
cleaner residue to accumulate on sealing sur-
3. Do not operate if unit has damaged door
(bent), hinges or latches (broken or loosened),
door seals or sealing surfaces.
4. Microwaves should be adjusted or repaired
only by properly qualified service personnel.
To clean, use a mild detergent, water
and a soft cloth. Commercial cleaners
specifically for microwaves are also avail-
able. Odors can be eliminated from inside
by boiling a solution of one cup of water
and several tablespoons of lemon juice in
the oven for five to seven minutes. These
are the most important guidelines that
you as an employee can provideempha-
size to customers that they thoroughly
study manufacturer's information before
operating their microwave oven.
Convection ovens use electrical energy as
do conventional ovens, but more efficiently.
The air inside a regular oven is almost static,
and cooking depends on the gradual conduc-
tion of heat from the outside to the center of
food. Convection ovens use a stream of
power-driven air produced by a high-speed
fan that swirls continuously over a standard
heating element.
This results in uniform temperature
throughout the oven, which not only speeds
cooking but saves up to 50 percent of the
energy used by conventional ovens. Because
of the constantly circulating air inside convec-
tion ovens, they remain efficient when filled
to capacity, even with foods touching each
other and the oven walls.
In fact, convection ovens are more efficient
than microwave ovens for larger amounts of
food, though they too lack the size of conven-
tional ovens. Some can be used as slow cook-
ers or to dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
Foods can be cooked at lower temperatures
for shorter periods of time in convection
ovensin many cases, temperatures may be
lowered by up to 75 degrees when baking, and
roasting time is cut by about one-third. Frozen
convenience foods, such as TV dinners, can be
cooked in half the recommended time with a
25 degree temperature reduction. Since con-
vection ovens give off less heat than conven-
tional ovens, the kitchen remains cooler when
they are in use.
Convection ovens need no special adapter;
regular household current may be used. They
are easy to cleanmost have either remov-
able, dishwasher-safe components or continu-
ous clean interiors, or both. Optional tempera-
ture probes are also available.
Every customer wants to buy quality items
for personal care, be it a shaver or a blow
dryer. And that's where you come in.
Remember, you are selling what the product
does, not just a piece of machinery. When a
customer buys, he or she is usually looking for
a model with a special feature. Because so
many different models are available, color,
styling and storage provisions may be decid-
ing factors. A study of the appliances in your
store will tell you what features you can point
out. Don't forget the men and teenagers in
your merchandising efforts.
Teenagers are especially susceptible to the
advertising media's efforts to promote a better
appearance. By advertising personal care
items, you can get these segments of your
market coming into your store regularly. A
quality personal care product will have a
small, quiet, powerful motor to do the job
well; a well-sealed housing with few or no
crevices to collect dirt; will handle easily; and
has clearly readable, easily set controls.
Consumersboth men and womenare
opting for carefree hair styles and equipment
to keep their hair looking good with a mini-
mum of time and effort. Hand-held blower
dryer/stylers are a sure seller, and there are
many to choose from. Pistol-type models fea-
ture relatively high wattage (1,000-1,250) to
dry hair rapidly.
Styling is done by simultaneously shap-
ing the hair with a brush. Compact, light-
weight, hand-held dryers, averaging 8" long,
are usually mid-range wattage, generally
about 1,200. Often, handles fold down for
storage and travel.
Other models combine the drying feature
with comb, brush or detangler attachments.
They usually offer 850-1,000 watts, but some
offer adjustable power from 300-1,000 watts
and air flow control from fast drying to soft
styling. Either kind provides from two to five
temperature settings and can be used to style
wet or dry hair.
New models have added safety features to
help prevent electrocution should the dryer be
immersed in water. If you merchandise these
dryers, the safety factor will be a major selling
point, particularly to customers with children.
There's also a hair care center consisting of a
power center with detachable hose which can
be hooked up to a bonnet, pistol-type nozzle,
brush or comb. It features 1,000/700/575 watts
with three comfort settings: low speed/low
heat, high speed/medium heat and high
speed/high heat. Soft- and hard-bonnet dryers
share a few selling points: quick heating and
drying (about 20-25 min.); number of heat set-
tings (usually fourhigh, medium, low and
cool); quiet operation; variety of accessories;
light-weight and durable carrying case; and
ease of set-up and dismantling.
A soft-bonnet dryer usually averages 300 to
400 watts and consists of a large, soft bonnet
with elasticized headband. The small
heater/blower unit is attached to the bonnet
with long, flexible hose or is built into the
bonnet with remote temperature control, in
luggage-style carrying case, either hatbox or
handbag shape.
Accessories for bonnet dryers include nail
polish drying slots on blower, brush and
comb, mirrors, hair rollers or spot-drying
unit that is cup-shaped to fit over one roller
at a time. Salon or hard-bonnet dryers con-
sist of a rigid plastic hood attached to base
Dont piggy-back appliancesplug-
ging in more than one appliance into the
same outlet. The circuit could overload,
plus it takes both appliances longer to do
their jobs.
Operate appliance away from drafts so
they dont have to overwork to maintain
Keep appliances ship-shape. Worn, fraz-
zled electric cords can use extra energy
and make other appliance parts work
overtime to compensate.
Dont use extension cords unless you
must. Theyre not energy-efficient.
Pressure cooking, pressure frying or stir-
frying cuts cooking time and adds up to
energy savings.
Follow directions carefully. Use a timer so
you know when cooking time has
Always follow manufacturers instruc-
tions for product capabilities and helpful
containing heater/blower by angled, col-
lapsible support arm.
With most of these dryers, arm folds into
base and hood fits down over base to form a
carrying case. These dryers average 900 to
1,000 watts. The base also holds a mist unit,
cord storage compartment, any other
attachments plus extra storage space for
rollers, pins, etc.
Hair setters usually consist of a kit including
heating base fitted with thermostat-controlled
heating posts that hold hair rollers, clips and
small foam pads to cushion rollers so they
don't feel hot against scalp.
Rollers heat in eight or nine minutes, then
can be rolled into dry hair and left for six to
15 minutes to set hair. The longer the rollers
are left in, the firmer the set. Fifteen minutes
is about maximum since rollers will cool.
Rollers should not be used in wet hair, nor
should they be used every day, for they tend
to leave hair dry and brittle. In some hair set-
ters, all posts are heating posts; in others,
some are storage posts.
When rollers are hot, readiness is indicated
by an indicator light on the heating unit or by
a temperature-sensitive paint dot on each
roller which turns dark when roller is hot.
After indicator says rollers are ready, they con-
tinue to heat a while longer, then temperature
stabilizes. Price depends mostly on number of
rollers, variation of size of rollers and whether
or not the setter has mist or steam feature.
Features indicating better-quality hair setters
include quick warm-up, evenly heated rollers,
low readiness temperature, carrying case with
mirror, and lighted on/off switch.
Curling irons operate on the principle of
wrapping hair around a heated element. They
feature thermostat-controlled even heat, cool
handles and long cords. Some have a mist
spray for firmer set and non-stick coating to
prevent pulling hair (this also prevents rusting
in mist spray).
A heel rest is usually included or incorporat-
ed into the base of the wand. An expanding
barrel on some irons lets a woman choose the
size of curl she wants without the use of addi-
tional attachments. Some irons are cordless;
they plug into a base heat source. Or, they
may fold down to fit into a purse or suitcase.
Models often have swivel cords to prevent
cord tangles.
Men's and ladies' shavers are basic to any
personal care line. Certain features are com-
mon to bothplug-in or cordless, detachable
cords, removable shaving heads, vibration-
free, smooth shaving without nicking, pulling
or scraping.
Shaving heads on men's shavers are flat,
curved or rotary; those on ladies' shavers
are usually flat. Flat or curved heads pro-
duce a back and forth motion with steel
or stainless steel blades. Rotary heads
have two or eight circular cutting heads
all turning in the same direction.
Most shavers offer a grooming feature for
beards, mustaches and sideburns. Some mod-
els will automatically adapt to any interna-
tional current by means of a built-in charger.
Ladies' shavers are smaller and may be styled
in various colors with small lights. Models
have separate or reversible shaving heads
and/or adjustable comfort bars (some with up
to 5 settings) that provide the right degree of
closeness for underarms or legs. Cordless
shavers will recharge in eight to 24 hours.
One problem women often encounter
when applying makeup is that the result
changes in appearance under different light-
ing conditions. Lighted mirrors provide shad-
ow- and glare-free light around regular and
magnifying mirrors in several settings to simu-
late indoor, outdoor, office and evening light-
ing. These mirrors, depending on construc-
tion, swivel or tilt to preferred positions.
Lights, either incandescent or fluorescent, are
across the top or on either side of rectangular
or square mirrors or encircle a round one.
Sun lamps produce the same tanning
rays as the sun, and because the density
of these rays can be several times stronger
than the sun, users should be careful with
exposure times and distances. Users
should follow manufacturer recommenda-
tions on time and distance carefully to
avoid burns. Infrared heat lamps provide
warmth to relieve aches and pains, but
also pose danger of serious burns if not
used properly. Lamps are rated by hours
of performance, from 2,000 to 5,000
hours, with the higher-rated lamps being
more expensive.
Heating pads are another source of warmth
for relieving minor aches and pains. Usually
they have three to six settings ranging from
110 degrees to 145 degrees, a rubber or plastic
inner cover to protect heating wires from
moisture, illuminated control panel, and cloth
outer covers. Regular size pads are 12" x 15"
and king size are 12" x 24". Flexible band
styles measure 6" x 20" and are equipped with
straps to fasten around the body. Moist heat
types come with sponge pads that can be
dampened and fit next to the heating pad
with a terry cloth clover.
Hand-held massagers offer several vibrating
speeds from flat surface vibration to slower,
penetrating motion. Infrared massagers add
heat to vibration and usually have three heat
settings but only one vibration speed. They
can be used with or without heat. Swedish
massagers fit on the back of the hand and the
vibration is transmitted through the user's
hand. They have single or dual speeds. Foot
massagers provide relief through the vibration
of warm, swishing water.
Electric toothbrushes have a power handle
that drives individual brushes up and down,
back and forth or in an orbital motion. They
can be plug-in or cordless, and come with
stands that hold the power handle and four or
six individual brushes. Cordless brush stands
contain the recharging base while plug-in
stands function only as storage. The power
unit is sealed against water but should not be
left in standing water.
Most brushes have serrated bristles to work
in and around teeth. Replacement brushes are
available as are wall brackets and removable
travel chargers. Oral lavages use a jet of water
to flush out food particles and to massage
gums. These devices are especially good for
cleaning partial dentures, bridges and ortho-
dontic appliances. Usually the lid of the unit
is turned upside down to become a reservoir
for water or mouthwashes and to which is
attached a retractable plastic hose that holds
the sprayer nozzle.
A continuing interest in health and fitness
and high technology have combined to create
a personal home health care category. Items
such as digital thermometers and electronic
blood pressure monitors are now available for
home use.
Digital thermometers are available in one-
and two-piece styles. One-piece thermometers
resemble pencil-type glass thermometers, with
the readout on the end of the unit. Two-piece
styles feature a small, lightweight probe,
linked to the readout by a flexible cord. Some
feature beeper signals when the thermometer
has reached peak temperature.
Electronic blood pressure monitors feature
a digital readout meter with a connected arm
cuff. No stethoscope is required with the
units. Higher-end features include blood pres-
sure reading printout, automatic inflation of
arm cuff, pulse meter and clock. Units operate
on penlight batteries.
Humidifiers relieve common winter prob-
lems connected with dry air, such as
swollen sinuses, sore throat and dry skin.
Although this is not a new category, recent
technological breakthroughs have brought a
new type of humidifier to the forefront
the ultrasonic humidifier. While warm mist
humidifiers use heat to create the steam,
and cool mist units use paddles and air
pumps, the ultrasonic units break up the
water with sound waves.
Ultrasonic units are priced three to five
times higher than conventional humidifiers,
but they generally offer quieter operation and
few refills. Remind customers that no matter
what type of humidifier they buy, water
should be changed often and the unit should
be cleaned frequently to remove any bacteria
from standing water and ensure proper opera-
tion of the unit.
Clocks and watches are fashion items and
should be given proper treatment in your
store. Sell fashion to your customers, not just
a timepiece. Don't be afraid of price. There is
such a wide price range that customers can
easily find a timepiece in the style and price
range they want. Customers aren't afraid to
pay for quality. Manufacturers oblige by offer-
ing clocks and watches in every conceivable
style and decorator scheme.
Clocks operate one of three waysspring-
wound, battery-operated or electricand fall
into four general categories depending on
usealarm, wall, occasional and travel.
Clock OperationAll spring-wound (or key-
wound) clocks must be wound by hand.
Many of the smaller, less costly ones, like
alarm clocks, will run for 40 hours (72 hours if
alarm is not used) without winding. More
expensive strike and chime clocks, sometimes
called eight-day clocks, need winding once a
week. Anniversary clocks, often sold as gifts,
require winding once a year.
Battery-operated cordless electric clocks
operate on a single flashlight battery, which
provides enough electric current to wind the
mainspring. Technological advances have
improved time-keeping accuracy of battery-
operated mechanisms. Time-keeping accuracy
of both types depends on the owner. Spring-
wound clocks must be wound regularly,
preferably at the same time (morning or
evening for 40-hour variety and same day of
week for eight-day clocks).
Cordless electric models need a battery
change about once a year. Besides fashion-
able styling, spring-wound and battery-oper-
ated clocks can be used anywhere, regard-
less of availability of electricity. Electric
clocks operate on a 60-cycle, 110-volt cur-
rent, but will run satisfactorily on 95- to
125-volts. Accuracy of electric clocks
depends on the power source.
Only a major disruption in the power line
should stop the clock or cause it to lose time.
Although styling of electric clocks can be
equal to that of battery-operated clocks, home
decorators prefer the latter because they need
not worry about placement near an outlet or
an unsightly cord.
Digital ClocksLight emitting diodes (LED),
better known as digitals, come in all price
ranges. The modern look and convenience of
digital clocks make them necessary to clock
selections. They operate on household current
and perform all the functions of other clocks,
even clock radios. They feature a solid state
unit with no moving parts and a battery-oper-
ated auxiliary power supply in case of house-
hold power failure.
Wall ClocksHere is where fashion really
counts. People don't buy wall clocks, even for
the kitchen, just to be able to tell time; they
want the clock to blend with room decor
themes. Wall clocks can be battery-operated or
electric, but the former are the most popular.
If your customer prefers an electric clock but
doesn't want the cord to ruin a carefully
planned room, you might suggest a recessed
wall outlet immediately behind the clock, and
refer the customer to the electrical department
for the necessary equipment. Kitchen clocks
have joined the ranks of under-cabinet appli-
ance. These models can be coordinated with
other under-cabinet appliances if the con-
sumer is interested.
Occasional ClocksOccasional clocks
include expensive, highly decorative, finely
made table, mantel or shelf clocks, such as
strike and chime pieces. Traditional strike and
chime clocks are automatically compensated
to strike the correct time within one hour
after setting or resetting. They chime every
quarter-hour and strike each hour, but some
can be adjusted to strike only on the hour.
With their gracious styling, modern or tradi-
tional hand-rubbed hardwood cases, these
clocks can be quite expensive. Cordless elec-
tric occasional clocks with wood or metal
cases carry lower retail prices.
Alarm ClocksMost electric alarm clocks
have a buzzer alarm, although more expensive
ones may have a bell alarm or blinking light
that accompanies or replaces the ringing
alarm. Many offer a snooze featurethe alarm
rings once, then rings again several minutes
later. Lower-priced clocks are simply the time-
keeping and alarm mechanism enclosed in a
plastic case. Medium-priced clocks will have
plastic or metal cases, illuminated dials or
lighted alarm-set indicators.
Higher-priced models may have metal
or hand-rubbed wood cases, blinking light
alarm indicator and metallic-finished
bezel and dial. Better electric and spring-
wound alarms have shatterproof crystals,
sweep alarm and/or second hands, sepa-
rate setting and winding keys on the back.
A few electrics have alarm bars on the
front which set and turn off the alarm. A
more enjoyable form of alarm is a clock
radio. Instead of sounding a bell or
buzzer, the clock turns on the radio. Some
clock radios can be set to turn off at night
and to turn on again in the morning.
Better models combine all quality features
of portable radios (see Home Electronics)
and alarm clocks, and some combine
clock/radio and telephone in one unit.
Convenience features include reversible
time-setting, snooze function and bright-
ness control. The radios are limited in
quality of sound mostly due to size, but
some higher-priced models deliver better
tone quality.
Travel ClocksCompact travel clocks, aver-
aging about 3" in opened height, fold down to
a small 1" depth for packing. All have alarms,
and better ones incorporate the snooze fea-
ture. The more extras added to the clock, the
more dollars added to the price.
Digital watches feature no moving parts to
wear out, need little or no service or repair,
and are far more accurate (within one minute
per year) than the most expensive mechanical
watches. They offer as many as five func-
tionssecond, minute, hour, day and date.
Most digital watches do more than tell the
time. Many also act as stop watches and have
dual night-viewing lights. The digital watch
operates with four battery-powered compo-
nents. The battery causes a quartz crystal to
vibrate rapidly, and an integrated circuit
divides the vibrations into one pulse per sec-
ond and accumulates the pulses to compute
seconds, minutes, hours and days.
The circuit transmits signals to the display
to illuminate appropriate parts to show time
or date. Most watches sold in the United
States incorporate light emitting diode (LED)
glowing numerals which are turned on by
pushing a button. But an increasing number
use liquid crystal display (LCD) that provides
continuous reflected light. Two silver oxide
batteries will provide enough watch power for
at least a year.
Experts say there are negligible working dif-
ferences in efficiency between the lower-
priced digital watches and more expensive
models, since neither involves moving parts.
As for mechanical watches, one of the most
frequently used descriptions of better watches
is the number of jewels. Jewels are used in a
watch mechanism as bearings at friction
points. Watches without jewels have only
metal at these points, and metal will wear out
in time, while jewels will not. The more jewels
in a watch, the more friction points are pro-
tected, the longer the watch will lastand the
more it will cost.
Home electronics products are frequently
sold as components of a system rather than as
single items. Electronics industry observers say
that the next development in this field will be
a gradual combining of products: for example,
a "unified control" for TV, VCR, stereo and cas-
sette player or audio and video elements com-
bined with computers and telephones.
In fact, systems that allow users to go from
music to movies with the flick of a switch are
already reaching the market. So is interactive
computer software for mystery and science fic-
tion games and this is expected to lead to
interactive movies.
These new systems carry high price tags,
from $1,000 up. They do not yet make exist-
ing elements obsolete because they will accept
current equipment as components of the larg-
er system.
Selling these sophisticated home electronics
products and systems requires special expert-
ise. People who are willing to spend the kind
of money to pay for these high ticket items
also want to know exactly what they are get-
ting, how to use it and to be assured that they
can always come back for additional advice,
instruction and service. They want to know
that if something goes wrong they can come
back to the store where they purchased the
system and be taken care of with minimum
trouble. That's why electronics specialty stores
have been so successful in some markets. Not
only do they play a price game, they project
the image of being experts with the equip-
ment they sell.
Salespeople talk confidently; they demon-
strate the units with ease; they assure cus-
tomers who are unfamiliar with some of the
more sophisticated equipment that anyone
can make it work. This is what it takes to sell
electronic products.
The information that follows is only a
beginning in acquiring the expertise and
confidence to sell this kind of merchandise.
From this basic information, salespeople
will need to become totally familiar with
the specific lines they are sellingread
manufacturer literature, talk to salesmen,
actually use the equipment themselves so
they can demonstrate it with ease and con-
fidence. And last, make it a point to keep
current on changes in the merchandise.
Color TV remains the dominant factor in
home electronic sales, but black and white
has a lot of appeal as a second or third set.
Extremes seem to be bringing more options
to television viewing. Sets range from the
very small 1 1/2" to 4" mini-TVs to 7 pro-
jection TVs. Other developments are slim-
ming down the size of sets and, at the same
time, offering more viewing area. A picture
tube with squared off corners is both slim-
mer and provides a larger screen. For exam-
ple, a picture tube with a 22" squared screen
can fit in a set smaller than the convention-
al 19" set but offers 28 percent more view-
ing area. These newer tubes come in 20",
22", 26" and 27" sizes.
Stereo sound is also being built into
newer TV sets. Called MTS (multi-channel
TV sound), this feature will carry stereo
broadcasts. In many areas, there are few TV
stations set up to transmit stereo programs,
but MTS stereo sets provide better sound
quality even during mono broadcasts. Tuner
attachments can be connected to existing
TV sets to feed sound through a stereo sys-
tem if MTS is available. Remote control is a
feature much in demand. More than half
the color sets sold have remote controls;
most of the VCRs now on the market have
remote control and there is also strong
acceptance of remote-controlled audio
equipment, especially compact disc players.
Unified control is gaining more accept-
ance, too. This is a single remote control for
all audio and video machines in the home.
Color TV features include solid state, modu-
lar chassis; the black-matrix color tube; solid
state (electronic) tuning and comparable VHF-
UHF tuning, and the full-year parts-and-labor
warranty on selected models. Projection TV
units project a regular size image on wall or
screen up to 7' from corner to corner, in much
the same way that a slide projector magnifies
images. One-tube and three-tube lens systems
are available. With brightness the key in the
projection TV concept, three-tube systems are
said to be 20 percent brighter than one-tube
lens systems.
These projectors are still higher priced than
other video items and remain outside the nor-
mal shopper's price range. Since most dealers
who handle television sales carry only one
brand, it's important to understand the manu-
facturer's claims and use them as sales tools.
The most important aspect of any TV is pic-
ture quality, and a major element in selling a
TV set is the demonstration. No one can argue
about the quality of color reproduction if the
set is turned on and producing a beautiful
color picture.
Consumer magazines often rate the quali-
ties of new television sets, and one rating is
reception under various conditions. Some tele-
visions apparently are better at pulling in
weak broadcast signals, which could be impor-
tant to customers who live in rural areas and
don't have cable TV. To get maximum demon-
stration quality, make sure you have an anten-
na system that will pick up available stations
with maximum effectiveness. A high-quality
antenna could be a small investment if it
helps to sell TV sets. If you're selling portable
sets with built-in antenna, it's a good idea to
experiment with the antenna beforehand to
find out in which position it gets maximum
reception. It could save embarrassing
moments in front of the customer when the
set won't function properly because of faulty
AMPLIFIER Control panel for the entire sound system. Receives a signal from the tuner, tape
deck, CD or phone cartridge and magnifies the signal until it is powerful enough to drive the
loud-speaker. Quality of an amplifier is determined by amount of continuous power it can deliv-
er relative to how much it distorts the original signal.
BIAS Voltage fed to the recording head during record to minimize distortion.
CROSSOVER NETWORK Channels the correct range of audio frequencies from the audio
amplifier stage to the woofer, tweeter and mid-range speakers. Woofer handles low-frequency
audio (bass); tweeter reproduces high-frequencies (treble); and mid-range handles those audio
frequencies lying between bass and treble.
CROSSTALK Audio interference from one track of a stereo tape to another. Poor head align-
ment often causes this.
DB Abbreviation for decibel, a measure of sound density.
25 DB quiet conversation
55 DB noisy room
95 DB busy downtown street
110 DB nearby thunder
120 DB deafening sound, threshold of feeling
DIODE Two-element receiving tube or semiconductor device.
FEEDBACK Squeal or howl from speaker caused by speaker sound entering microphone of
same recorder or amplifier.
FLUTTER In recording equipment, a high-speed tone variation caused by tape moving over
head at uneven rate of speed. In phone equipment, distortion of reproduced sound caused by
variance in speed of turntable.
HAND-WIRED CIRCUIT Traditional TV wiring method using wires as conductors between
contacts. Easier to service but usually requires larger chassis.
HEAD Encased magnetic coil that erases, records or picks up a signal on a tape.
HZ Abbreviation for hertz, a unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second (cps). One kilo-
hertz (KHz)=1,000 cps; one megahertz (MHz)=1,000,000 cps.
HUM A background tone caused by improper shielding of audio components or inadequate
filtering of line voltage entering the equipment.
MID-RANGE A speaker covering frequencies between those picked up by the woofer and
tweeter in a three- or four-way speaker system.
OVERLOAD More audio output power than the speaker (or microphone of a recorder) can
POWER AMPLIFIER Circuit used to boost extremely weak signals to levels acceptable to audio
PRE-AMPLIFIER Circuit used to boost audio signals to power levels sufficient for speaker oper-
PRINTED CIRCUIT Uses strips of solder bonded to panel to act as conductors rather than reg-
ular wiring.
RECEIVER Single component that combines the functions of both tuner and amplifier.
SOLID-STATE CIRCUIT Use of solid state components in place of vacuum tubes. Eliminates
heat generation, less fragile and more compact than vacuum tube design.
SYNCHRONOUS MOTOR Motor controlled in speed of the frequency of the current which
runs it. Normal frequency for U.S. power is 60 cycles per second.
STYLUS A tiny jewel that follows the grooves on a record. Diamonds are most often used and
outlast others.
TWEETER Loudspeaker that handles only low frequencies.
WOW A type of distortion in recorders and turntables resulting from variation in speed, creat-
ing a low-pitched, wavering sound from the speaker.
antenna positioning.
The success of video cassette recorders
(VCRs) proves the profound impact TV view-
ing has on American society. By dropping a
cassette into the recording machine and push-
ing a button, the viewer can record a TV show
or play back one he has already recorded. He
also may edit what he records with one of the
numerous features currently available for
VCRs, or hook one up to a black and white or
color movie camera and produce home
movies instantly on his television screen.
In addition, old Super-8 footage or color
slides can be copied onto a magnetic tape
cassette and be viewed on the TV screen.
Most video tapes in use today are VHS or
Beta format. These two formats are not
interchangeable, but both use 1/2" video
tape. Latest entry in the video market is an
8-millimeter wide tape.
Cassettes are smaller but do not fit the mil-
lions of VCRs already in use. The narrower
tape, however, does open the door to smaller
VCRs. One of the best selling features of the
VCRs is they are easy to use, provide lasting
enjoyment and are no more difficult to con-
nect than a stereo set. VCRs are used primarily
for time-shifting, taping a television broadcast
to watch at a different time. If this is what
your consumer wants to do, recommend
models that are easy to program. Another
consideration is the lack of pre-recorded
shows available on Beta tapes. Some people
only want to watch pre-recorded tapes. If this
is the case, the most basic VCR may suffice.
A higher priced VCR does not necessarily
mean a better quality picture. For example,
many people believe that more heads are bet-
ter, but that is not necessarily the case. A basic
VCR must have two heads, and for hi-fi
sound, the top of the line for Beta and VHS
recorders, two additional heads are needed.
For slow motion viewing, stop action, and
slow tape speeds, additional heads are
required. Picture enhancements are also avail-
able. On VHS machines, this is referred to as
HQ, and Beta machines have SuperBeta.
Cable-ready VCRs require no cable-con-
verter box to hook the recorder up to non-
scrambled cable services. Several formats are
currently available, each offering slightly
different features and recording times of five
to six hours. Features common to most
VCRs include:
Audio dub lets viewer erase a sound track
and record new one without erasing the origi-
nal picture. It is useful in adding soundtracks
to home movies and slide shows.
Double speedlets viewer switch the pic-
ture to fast motion.
Memory(or scan system) lets viewer set
tape-counting mechanism to find selected part
of a program automatically, without running
the tape back and forth innumerable times.
Programmerlets viewer set VCR to turn
on and off and even change channels auto-
matically to make several recordings while he
is away. Machines feature from three-day pro-
gramming to up to 365-day programming.
(Programmable machines are not to be con-
fused with machines equipped with timers.
Timers may turn a machine on to record a
single program while viewer is away but won't
change channels.)
Remote pauseallows the viewer to stop
and start the VCR silently to edit out commer-
cials as it records a TV show. An accessory
called a "rabbit" transfers the image from the
VCR to any TV in the home as long as it
works off the home's electrical wiring. Portable
VCRs that work for an hour on a rechargeable
battery are also being marketed. They are espe-
cially useful to home movie makers, since the
one-hour period is equal to shooting more
than a dozen rolls of Super-8 film. They are
light enough to be carried around to use with
a video camera.
Home video cameras make home movies
easier; but they are unhandy. Making home
video tapes requires several pieces of equip-
mentcamcorders, video recorders, micro-
phones, tripods and cable. Camcorders change
all that; these video products combine camera,
video recorder and microphone into one piece
of equipment. The camcorder produces video
tape that can be played back immediately
(unlike film which must be developed after
shooting). It rests on the user's shoulder and is
used by viewing through a lens and punching
a button.
Most have an electronic viewfinder on the
camera that permits the user to see what he's
recording; all play back through a TV set. A
video tape can be viewed through a cam-
corder as long as it is the same formatVHS,
Beta or 8mmas the camcorder. This elimi-
nates the need for a VCR for viewing; cam-
corders will not, however, record TV programs
without additional equipment. Camcorders
can be used in conjunction with VCRs to edit
video tapes, again as long as the camcorder,
VCR and tape are the same format.
Consumers are enthusiastic about home
video equipment, but it requires in-depth
knowledge of the specific product in order
to sell it. And changes come rapidly. It
would be wise to study all the literature
about the lines you sell and learn to operate
the equipment expertly before trying to sell
it. This equipment demands demonstration
and instruction.
Video games, games that can be played on
the television set, operate by means of a small
converter attached to the back of the TV set.
When the owner wants to play, he switches
on the game at the back of the set and on the
playing device. Whatever is on the television
will black out and the game will appear on
the screen. The playing device usually consists
of a few knobs that can be rotated or turned
back and forth to make the figure on the
screen move to do whatever the intended pur-
pose of the game is. Most games are intended
to be played by one or two people and up to
as many as four. It's unlikely that normal use
of TV games can damage the TV set if left on
for long periods. However, if the game is left
on for several days at high contrast, it may
burn the phosphor coating off the picture
tube, in effect etching itself on the screen.
If a customer shows concern, tell him he
can lessen the likelihood of a burn by playing
the game at the low contrast option offered
on most games. Some don't use potentially
damaging, bright white light at all; the games
show up in muted colors. A minor color dis-
coloration can right itself after a few days of
rest, and even severe burns are usually visible
only when set is off. Some video games offer
the option of additional cartridges that make
it possible for customers to add extra games to
the basic unit. This is a great way to add on
sales of the game during the Christmas/holi-
day season and keep them all year long, too.
Another way is to let customers play the game
in your store. Turn on a game and let the
demonstration sell the TV video game for you.
Basic components of a stereo sound sys-
tem are receivers, speakers, turn-tables and
cartridges, cassette decks and compact disc
players. The configuration of each system,
as well as its cost, is determined by what the
customer wants. Real sound buffs may want
a complete system and every component of
the best quality. Others may simply want a
system that will give them good quality
reproduction for pleasant listening. Cost of
these systems can range from $500 to sever-
al thousand dollars.
The receiver, in some forms called the
tuner, controls the stereo system. It holds the
AM/FM radio and controls for volume, tone
and balance; it also holds the mechanism that
switches from radio to phonograph and the
jacks for connecting tape decks and disc play-
ers and up to two speakers. Factors that
increase the cost of receivers include more
power in the form of greater volume or the
ability to hook up more than one set of speak-
ers; the ability to pick up radio stations with
weaker signals or from greater distances;
acceptance of more than one tape deck; dual
function of copying tapes and listening to the
radio at the same time.
The quality of a stereo system is in the
speakers. They produce the sound, and better
speakers produce sound that more closely
duplicates the original sound. Efficiency is
another guide to evaluating speakers. It is not
the same as volume. Efficient speakers pro-
duce more sound with less power. The most
efficient speakers are vented or open box type
that produce the booming sound rock musi-
cians like. Closed box or acoustic suspension
speakers produce a flatter sound that is more
to the liking of classical music listeners.
Another difference in speakers is in the num-
ber of sound elements. A two-way speaker has
two elements for high and low tones; a three-
way speaker adds a third element for middle
tones. Both kinds offer quality music repro-
Turntables and cartridges make up the
component that plays traditional phono-
graph records. Turntables should be bal-
anced so that normal movement near the
player will not cause the needle to jump
and damage the record. Belt-driven turnta-
bles are considered better than direct-drive
turntables because they produce sound dis-
tortion. Most turntables play one record at a
time. The automatic models that hold sever-
al records and drop one at a time onto the
turntable are available, but the single record
variety are much more popular. These have
some automatic features, such as raising and
lowering the arm at the push of a button.
Cartridges hold the needle and their main
function is to follow the groove in the
record to produce sound. This makes them
almost as important to sound quality as the
speakers. Better needles pick up sound
vibrations from the grooves and relay them
to the speakers without undue distortion.
Tape decks add versatility to stereo systems.
In addition to playing pre-recorded tapes, they
can record music. They will tape radio broad-
casts, copy a tape or record and can combine
portions of several tapes onto one tape. To do
all this, they have record level controls,
meters, buttons to play, to pause, to fast-for-
ward, to rewind. Many tape decks also have a
review feature to search for specific recordings
on the tape, or a timer feature to start playing
or recording at a specified time. Some decks
have an automatic tape selection feature
which resets itself to accept the kind of tape
cassette inserted. Decks should also have two
noise reduction circuits to reduce background
noise during playback of pre-recorded tapes
and during original tapings. Another feature
to note is frequency response which shows
the range of frequencies a deck can handle.
Mid-priced machines usually range from 40 to
17,000 Hz.
Compact discs are laser discs; they differ
from standard records in that electronic
data on the disc is read by a laser beam
inside the disc player rather than by a nee-
dle coming in contact with grooves. The
greatest appeal of compact discs is the clari-
ty of the recorded music; there is next to no
distortion. The recorded sound is almost
identical to the live performance. The discs
are harder to damage than conventional
records and they never wear out. There's no
wear on them because only a laser light
beam touches the disc unlike the needle
moving in record grooves. They should be
handled carefully though, to keep finger
prints, dust and scratches off the playing
surface. They make a long recording; a 4 3/4"
disc holds 75 minutes of recorded music.
Discs are easier to use than records; they are
inserted into the player and the touch of a
button starts them playing. Compact disc
players can be plugged into most stereo sys-
tems. However, hooking one to an old sys-
tem may distort some of the clear sound if
the amplifier or speakers on the old system
are flawed or worn.
All compact disc players have a filter to
keep out unwanted signals when the digital
information on the disc is converted on an
analog system that can be played through the
stereo system. Quality differences come in the
machine's resistance to vibration and the
physical features such as convenience of the
control panel and ease of using it. Other dif-
ferences include the speed with which the
player can accept the disc and begin playing
and the ability to select certain portions of the
disc rather than playing the entire side. There
is great variety in the quality, function and
performance of each component of a stereo
system. This is particularly true of compact
disc players. The best advice one can offer to
persons selling this kind of equipment is to
learn everything about the specific lines they
are selling, and to be able to demonstrate
them and to talk confidently about each com-
ponent and how to combine them into the
BIT The smallest unit of information in a binary system.
BOARD A card that contains circuitry for one or more specific functions
such as memory, peripheral device interface. Most repair of computer
equipment is done by exchanging malfunctioning boards for working
BYTE Technically, the smallest unit of addressability of main memory.
By common practice in the computer industry, this has come to mean 8
bits of information. New 16-bit technology is coming on strong
CATHODE RAY TUBE (TERMINAL) A device capable of displaying
information on a screen. Usually, CRT refers to terminal with a video dis-
play and keyboard for data entry. A common CRT display screen is 24
rows by 80 columns.
CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT Any device capable of performing a
series of instructions automatically. The series of instructions to be per-
formed are stored in primary memory which is not part of the central
processing unit. Central processing units may be as small as a single inte-
grated circuit that forms the basis of a microcomputer to a complex elec-
tronic system found in larger computers. The central processing unit is
the heart of any computing system.
COMPUTING SYSTEM Any configuration involving a computer and/or
software data and peripheral devices.
CORE A form of memory which uses small iron cores (doughnut
shaped pieces of iron) to store information. A bit of information is stored
by magnetizing the iron core.
DATABASE Any collection of information that is organized in such a
manner that it can be accessed, updated and retrieved in a generalized
manner. The interpretation of this definition varies within the computer
industry. Database systems vary significantly in the generality and flexibil-
ity they offer to the user. Database systems are offered on microcomput-
er systems and usually cost a few hundred dollars. Database systems on
larger systems can cost up to $100,000.
DATA PROCESSING All analysis, communication, manipulation, stor-
age and retrieval of information done by computer.
DISK, MAGNETIC An information storage device that stores data on
an iron-oxide surface. Such disks typically rotate at high speed and are
capable of accessing data within a relatively short period of time.
ELECTRONIC FILING The process of storing assorted information with
the intention that the information may be referred to in the future.
FILE Any set of similar records, such as an employee file, customer file,
or inventory file.
HARD COPY DEVICE Printed report on paper or microfilm.
HARDWARE The electronic circuitry and mechanical devices that com-
pose a computer system; excludes programs and operating systems
KILOBYTE (KBYTE) Approximately a thousand bytes; actually 1024
MEGABYTE (MBYTE) Approximately 1 million bytes; actually
1,048,576 bytes.
MICROCOMPUTER Any computer in which the central processor is
contained on a single integrated circuit.
MINICOMPUTER A computer of intermediate size and capability
between a microcomputer and a main frame system.
MODULES (SOFTWARE) Relatively independent programs that can be
applied in different contexts to perform commonly required functions.
MODEM Any device that sends information from one point to another,
such as over telephone lines.
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer. Anyone who purchases and
packages computer equipment and/or software to meet specific need.
Normally an OEM adds value to a computer system by including appli-
cation software and/or specialized equipment.
PERIPHERAL DEVICE Any device connected to, but not part of, the
central processing unit of a computer. There are two major categories of
peripheral devices: 1) auxiliary memory devices, e.g., disks, tapes; and 2)
input/output devices, e.g., card readers, printers, terminals.
PRE-PACKAGED SYSTEM Hardware-software or software systems
capable of performing desired tasks with little or no programming effort
by the users of the system.
PRIMARY MEMORY (STORAGE) Information storage, connected and
directly utlilzed by the central processing unit. Typically, primary memory
devices are forms of high speed, random access memory.
PROGRAMMER A person responsible for writing, testing and maintain-
ing computer software.
READ ONLY MEMORY Information (usually pre-defined programs)
that may be accessed but not altered at relatively high speeds and usual-
ly connected directly to the central processing unit.
SCROLLING The property of some CRTs to move the entire visual dis-
play upward when the screen is filled.
SECONDARY MEMORY (STORAGE) any information storage device
other than primary memory which is an integral rather than optional
part of a computer system. Examples are card read/punches, disk and
magnetic tape devices..
SOFTWARE A general term referring to programs, data and operating
SOFTWARE PACKAGES Collections of programs that are designed to
automate a set of related functions. Supportive data may or may not be
included. Examples of software packages are accounts receivable pack-
ages, general ledger packages and inventory control packages.
TERMINALS, COMPUTER Devices typically consisting of a keyboard
and paper or video display; units that are used to enter data directly into
a computer and produce limited reports.
TEXT PROCESSING A term referring to the editing, analysis and pro-
duction of textual material using a computer.
WINCHESTER DISK A type of magnetic storage device that attains
high storage capacity and performance at relatively low costs. Its disad-
vantage is that the disk medium is not removable, thus requiring more
complex backup/restore procedures.
WORD PROCESSING Activities related to the electronic filing, editing
and production of textual material.
kind of system the customer wants.
Radio technology changes little, but the
products themselves seem to grow continually
smaller. AM/FM stereo radios are as small as a
credit card! Otherwise, this most common of
home entertainment devices offers a wide
variety of sizes, styles and price points.
Weather radios tune into regional govern-
ment-operated weather frequencies to receive
up-to-the-minute forecasts 24 hours a day. The
weather band is also designated by the federal
government as the emergency broadcast chan-
nel for communicating disaster or attack
warnings directly to the public. Many radios
have weather buttons which can be pre-tuned
to receive the nearest weather channel.
Multiplex or stereo radios have receivers
that allow two or more separate signals to be
received on a single frequency. This provides a
stereo effect by channeling each of the signals
into a separate speaker. Two-channel multi-
plex is the only commercially feasible receiver
since most stations broadcast a maximum of
two signals.
Multiplex stereo works only with a station
broadcasting the special multiplex transmis-
sion. In addition to tone fidelity and freedom
from interference, FM provides a wide array of
broadcast selections, generally has fewer com-
mercials and offers a wide choice of jazz, clas-
sical music and other arts. Few households are
without at least one AM receiver. Styles range
from simple units to more complex, digital
units that combine with FM or offer such con-
veniences as a clock radio.
Some clock radios come with fluorescent
time readouts tied to the 60-cycle alternating
current, while others come with flashlights,
bed lamps and an endless number of varia-
tions to provide a competitive edge. Beeper
radios or paging units have also developed
into price ranges acceptable to consumers.
Most radios are transistorized, ranging from
six to more than 14 transistor units. The
greater the number of transistors, the greater
the range and channel selectivity of the radio.
Not only are CBs, citizen band radios, fun
to use, they provide a measure of safety on
the highway. Help is a CB call away, and CB
operators keep each other informed about
accidents, weather, road conditions and
even speed traps. There are two basic types
of CB radiosmobile and base units. Base
units are used in one place. They require
roof antennas and most use stand-type
microphones. They rest on a flat surface like
a radio. Mobile units are installed either
under the dash of an automobile or in the
dash along with AM/FM radios, where they
are more protected from theft.
Mobile units that are powered through a
cable connected to the cigarette lighter are
made to take in and out of an auto. Mobile
units outsell base units by about four to one.
Differences in quality, reception, transmission,
lighted dials, etc., determine differences in
price. There are also several classes of CB
radios. Class refers to particular frequency
bands and types of service.
Most CB radios bought by consumers are
licensed for class D operation, working 40-
channel units. Class D sets operate under cer-
tain restrictions: No more than four watts out-
put to the antenna, AM operation only, five-
minute operation except in cases of emer-
gency, etc. Forty-channel units receive all
channels currently available, but lower-priced
models are also available which receive fewer
channels. Most of those that receive fewer
channels will accept crystals that enable them
to receive up to five additional channels.
Class E CBs use VHF frequencies of 218 to
220 megahertz with FM equipment, at a high-
er transmitting frequency. Another advantage
to class E is freedom from interference and
skip. Interference is caused by sunspots, and is
the one major problem for class D operation.
Manufacturer literature can be most helpful
in pointing out the many features of each
individual radio as well as differentiating qual-
ity and style points.
CB monitors do not permit two-way com-
munication, but do allow the listener to mon-
itor channels and listen to what is being said.
Models are available which connect to the car
radio. By pushing one of the radio buttons,
the driver can tune in CB channels. Monitor
receivers monitor the Public Service Bands
(PSB). Besides the police and fire department,
other often monitored are government agen-
cies, businesses, ship calls, etc. PSB receiving
equipment ranges from massive, multi-chan-
nel models to pocket-size units with a choice
of fixed or turntable models.
A turntable receiver can be operated over a
band of frequencies using a variable capacitor
system much like the standard FM radio. A
fixed receiver is one which operates on a
selected frequency. Most of these feature scan-
ningeach channel is automatically tuned for
a second or less. If there is a station on the
channel, the receiver automatically locks to
the channel and releases the squelch, allowing
the user to hear the station. As soon as the sta-
tion stops transmitting, or after a short delay
to allow hearing the other station, the scan-
ning resumes until it seizes another channel
with a signal.
The FCC does not control receivers or their
use and no license is required. Scanners are easy
to merchandise for this reason, but they oper-
ate on completely different frequencies than
CBs. An understanding of them is necessary, so
study the chart that accompanies this section.
Antennas are the most important accesso-
LOW BAND VHF, 30-50 MHz. Lowest and
oldest of monitor bands. On this band a
town or city may have almost any type of
public safety activity; police, fire, civil
defense, etc. Frequencies can be received
at greater distances.
HIGH BAND VHF, 150-174 MHz. Created
to take the overflow from low band.
Beside public safety, includes marine VHF
radio and two-meter ham bands. User can
be mounted on vehicles roof.
LOW BAND UHF, 450-470 MHz. Large
number of police and fire frequencies.
Antenna is a toothpick, about 4" tall.
HIGH BAND UHF, 470-512 MHz. Has
been created to take overflow from low
band UHF.
AIRCRAFT BAND, 108-136 MHz. Not a
major band. Used by aircraft communica-
tion over short distances, usually 200
miles and under. Considerable activity
because of number of planes in flight.
ryno CB radio is complete without one.
Models for mobile units mount on hood,
trunk or roof. Base unit models mount on
the roof top of a building. Today, many
consumers are looking for antennas that
attach to their car with a magnetic base or
clip onto the car's rain gutter. Microphones
for mobile or base units improve transmis-
sion of messages. They plug into the unit
just like a regular CB microphone.
Telephone headsets plug into the set to
give the user privacy and to help screen out
distracting noises. Speakers also plug into
the unit to improve reception and amplify
messages if the unit is being used in a noisy
Open reel tape recorders continue to sell
because of greater capacity and versatility, but
the convenience of cartridge tape recorders
makes them highly popular. The cassette car-
tridge consists of a length of tape attached to
two separate reels. The tape can record or play
back in either direction.
Cassette tape units run at only one speed,
but open reel units usually offer speeds
ranging from 1 7/8" to 15" inches per sec-
ond. All things equal, the greater the tape
speed, the greater the fidelity (or frequency
response) of the tape unit. Another impor-
tant feature on a tape unit is capstan drive.
This ensures a constant speed of the tape for
proper reproduction and recording of
sound. Reel sizes are 3", 5" and 7" and repre-
sent a greater length of tape on a larger reel.
Some portable open reel units have capacity
for only the smaller size reels.
Microcassette recorders are becoming an
invaluable tool for many businessmen. They
are primarily regarded as dictation and cor-
respondence tools. Mini-recorders are a little
larger and offer a little less quality, and are a
little less expensive. Mini-cassettes offer
wide access to a variety of low-priced stan-
dard cassettes. Microcassettes come in two
different micro formats, capstan and spindle
drive. Capstan drive products can use one of
three different size tape cartridges. These
aren't interchangeable with cassettes
because of their dimensions. Microcassettes
are produced in a variety of ways to entice
customers, such as a microcassette recorder/
AM/FM combination unit.
One of the key trends in sound repro-
duction equipment is the modular unit.
This equipment is compact and versatile.
Modular units, with separate turntables,
speakers, tape decks, etc., can be arranged
on bookshelves, under end tables, and
other out-of-the-way places, making them
easier to fit into the room decor. Also,
modular units allow the customer to
upgrade his equipment in smaller invest-
ments, since each component can be
replaced individually. Micro stereo com-
ponents are scaled-down versions of full-
size stereo systems. Apartment and condo-
minium dwellers will be interested in
their space-saving advantages, and the
performance quality of micro stereos has
been rated equal to their full-size counter-
parts. A basic system includes amplifier,
pre-amplifier and tuner.
Home and personal computers have
turned into a steady market. Game-oriented
home computers can use a television screen
to handle display of the information, but
more sophisticated personal models have a
special video display screen as part of the
peripherals of the system. Other peripherals
include printers which are available in letter
quality or dot matrix, and a number of
printing speeds. To store information,
devices such as disk drives use floppy disks
which are magnetized. Also, some systems
use cassette tapes instead of floppy disks to
store information.
The more powerful professional or per-
sonal computers need at least two disk
drives. To sell computers effectively, you
must discover the knowledge level of the
consumer shopping for computers and
what they want to do with the computer.
ACCUMULATIONS sums, differences, products and quotients run in total.
ADD MODE assumes the logic of an adding machine for decimal use.
AUTOMATIC CONSTANT user can multiply or divide a series of numbers by the same divider
or multiplier without re-entering each time.
CAPACITY number of entries that can be handled in one operation: usually corresponds to
maximum number of digits in display.
CHIP tiny silicon unit that carries electronic circuitry.
CLEAR remove all components of a calculation.
CLEAR ENTRY remove only the last number, not the entire calculation.
CLEAR MEMORY KEY removes what is stored in the memory register.
DISPLAY numerical read-out.
DROP-OFF when a decimal is required in the answer, digits to the right of the decimal exceed-
ing the calculators capacity are dropped without rounding off.
FIXED DECIMAL user is limited to established decimal category; can be preset for specified
number of places in the answer or pre-set so that numbers are entered as they would be written.
FLOATING DECIMAL user can calculate any decimal category; decimal may or may not be
present; if present automatically positions itself correctly in the answer.
MEMORY ability to retrieve a number from storage register for further use.
OVERFLOW when capacity of calculator is exceeded, a signal (usually a light) so indicates.
PERCENTAGE KEY figures percentages automatically.
ROUND-OFF allows last number of an answer to be increased by one if the next lower number
is 5 or larger or dropped to the next-lower number if it is less than 5.
SQUARE ROOT KEY automatically determines square root of entered number.
ZERO SUPPRESSION allows non-significant zeros to be dropped from end of answer.
Some know exactly what they want and
need, and others are complete novices and
require a strong sales and product knowl-
edge effort. Initially, find out what the
consumer wants to do with the computer.
Does he want to work at home? Is he pri-
marily interested in budgeting and finan-
cial management? Is he or she looking for
word processing? Or are the shoppers
interested mainly in computer games?
With all of the excitement in the com-
puter market, it should be easy to find an
employee who is interested in this prod-
uct category. This is important because of
the rapid changes in the market not only
in hardware, but in areas such as software
like games and educational programs.
Better business software programs can cost
from $200-$400. Game software is much
less expensive, ranging from $25-$70. In
addition to software, a variety of comput-
er accessories will build add-on sales and
margins in this department. Some include
video game dust covers, activating sticks
and command buttons for games,
game/computer switches. Since computers
are susceptible to power surges, computer
surge protectors are strong add-ons as are
computer cooling fans.
Calculators are as common as credit
cards, and about the same size. Many
have extra features that have nothing to
do with calculating. Slim-lined LCD
machines are packed with added features
and stylized cosmetics such as stop watch-
es or alarm clocks; some are attached to
notebooks. Calculators have three basic
components, one or more tiny integrated-
circuit chips, keyboard and display. Most
use semi-conductor light-emitting diodes
to provide a read-out, although some use
power-saving liquid crystal read-outs.
Models range from those with the four
basic mathematical functions (addition,
subtraction, multiplication and division)
to those with highly complex functions
used by professionals. Hand-held or pock-
et models are the most popular and gener-
ally the least expensive. Size varies from
the card calculator, which is about the
size of a business card and not much
thicker, to larger briefcase models.
Desk-type models are larger and more
expensive. Some calculators produce
printouts of their computations. When
selling calculators, several questions need
to be answered. What will the calculator
be used for? If the customer plans to use
it mainly for household needsbalancing
checkbooks, checking a grocery bill and
the likethe simple four-function model
will satisfy his or her needs. But for a
slight additional cost, extra features can
greatly increase its usefulnessfloating
decimals, automatic constant, memory,
etc. (See accompanying chart.) Where will
it be used? Display figures must be easily
readable in an office's fluorescent light,
when sitting at a desk or when calculator
is held at an angle. What kind of batteries
does it use? Or is it light activated?
Many calculators can be operated by
batteriesdisposable, rechargeable or
both. Most can be operated from a wall
outlet with an adapter. The length of time
a calculator will operate before being
recharged varies widely. Those activated
by light turn on when natural or artificial
light strikes the face of the calculator. If
the unit is to stand open most of the
time, light activation may be undesirable.
Some models are equipped with a fade
circuit which blanks the numbers after
they have been illuminated for a certain
number of seconds to save the batteries;
in this case, a symbol appears during the
wipe-out to alert the user that the calcula-
tor is still operating and a push-button
restores the numbers. Encourage cus-
tomers to try operating the calculator to
make sure keys are spaced comfortably
and make sure you know the purposes of
all the special keys.
Consumers look at telephone purchases
much the same way as they look at other
home electronics purchases. They want a
quality product sold by a reputable retail-
er. Service back-up is important because
telephone owners are responsible for their
own repairs, just as they are for any other
kind of equipment they own. If the tele-
phone breaks, they take it back to the
store that sold it.
Telephones are becoming electronic
devices in much the same sense that com-
puters are. They contain microprocessors
and other electronic parts. New and more
sophisticated features are being added,
such as automatic dialers. As telephones
become more complicated, they require
more sales attention. Consumers need to
be shown how to use the additional fea-
tures. If they are into installing, replacing
or rewiring, they may need instruction in
these areas, too. To stock the telephones
and accessories most needed in your mar-
ket, study the demographics of the area.
Cordless phones may work well in subur-
ban and rural homes, but are subject to
interference in urban areas. Affluent areas
may be a good market for accessories such
as telephone answering devices, while low-
cost compact electronic disposable phones
may appeal more to a middle class market.
Beyond the basics, consumers can buy cord-
less phones, automatic redialing phones and
combination clock-radio phones. Here are
important points to keep in mind when
selling phones and accessories.
Telephone companies require con-
sumers to report their ringer equivalency
number (REN). This REN is published on
the instruction sheet or phone unit hous-
ing. Standard AT&T phones have REN rat-
ings of one. Compact, low-cost models
may have as low as .7 REN or as high as
1.3 REN. If the REN on one line exceeds
four, the phones will not ring. There are
three basic types of phones: rotary, push-
button tone and dial pulse. The dial pulse
phone looks like a push-button tone, but
its push-buttons technically dial the
phone. It doesn't process a call as fast as
the push-button tone.
Dial pulse gives the convenience of the
push-button tone type of dialing without
higher monthly cost. It should be noted too
that push-button tone type phones are
required to access long distance services.
Consumers should also be aware that
installing a push-button tone phone
means they must also be receiving this
type service from the phone company.
Cordless telephone systems incorporate a
base station connected to telephone line
and a wireless handset. The distance a
cordless phone will work away from the
base station varies. It may be as little as
50' or phones with antennas may work as
far away as 1,000'. Elevating the base sta-
tion and placing it away from other recep-
tion barriers can improve cordless phone
One word of warning: In most cordless
phones, ringers are located in the earpiece.
The ring registers near 130 decibels, and if
the phone is picked up and the switch not
turned from standby to talk position, a
phone ring could damage hearing. Cordless
phones are powered by rechargeable nick-
cadmium (nicad) batteries.
The length of time required to recharge
and the length of time between recharg-
ings seems to vary; it is necessary to read
the instructions with the individual prod-
uct to see how long the charge and how
sensitive the battery is to frequent
rechargings. Some nicads will "remember"
how much time elapsed between charg-
ings and if they are recharged too often,
will shorten the length of time they hold
a charge. Eventually the batteries will
have to be replaced, but most phones will
take several hundred chargings.
Accessories are available in either "con-
ventional" or "modular" designs. Installation
of a conventional system requires no more
than a screwdriver. Accessories are used in
conjunction with standard telephones, using
standard four-prong plug configuration, spade
tipped wires or hard wiring.
All wiring in the phone base, hand-set
and wall receptacle can be replaced by
matching the colored wires. But it is
important that store employees know
enough to help d-i-yers with wiring infor-
mation and connection procedures on
the models you stock. Plugs and jack pro-
vide the connection for standard tele-
phone and extension cord hook-ups.
They may also be attached to existing
cords, adding versatility to existing
phones. No tools are needed for modular
connections; the system was designed to
allow "snap fit" connection of miniature
plugs with mating hardware.
The following connections are available
using the snap fit modular concept:
Coil Cords old cords can be removed by
depressing a clip and pulling the plug out of
the phones base and handset. The new cord is
then pushed into place until it locks.
Straight line cordsplugs are clipped into
the base of the phone and the wall receptacle.
Extension cordscords are equipped with
modular plugs that snap into wall receptacle
while modular jack accepts the line cord
from the existing telephone.
Modular adapterallows phones with
modular line cords to be plugged into four-
pronged conventional plug that matches
the holes of conventional telephone jacks.
Modular plug and conventional jack
allows connection of conventional four-
pronged plug extended line cords to modular
jacks so that conventional phones can be
plugged into modular connections.
Modular couplerallows connection of
modular plug ended cords to each other for
easy extension of phone system.
Duplex modular adapter allows two modu-
lar extensions to be run off one modular unit.
Used to connect telephone answering devices.
Retrofit modular adapterallows conven-
tional telephones with spade tipped conduc-
tors to be connected to modular jack assem-
blies without tools.
Surface wall mount jack assemblyallows
conversion of conventional terminal blocks to
modular jack.
Portable wall mount jack assembly allows
connection of modular plug ended line cords
in any location to convert four-hole jack to
modular design.
Flush wall mount jack assemblyallows
flush mounted connection of plug ended
modular line cords for initial installation or
conversion from existing wall receptacles. Can
be connected in parallel when more than one
jack is required.
Wall mount modular patio jack weath-
erproof assembly accepts plug end modu-
lar line cords.
The kind of telephone answering device you
recommend will depend in large part on the
kind of use the customer expects of it. Models
vary by price and optional features. Basic units
require a tape recorder to handle incoming
messages, as do some of the more expensive
models. In most models, total answer time is
limited, but more sophisticated units will allow
for messages of varying lengths.
There can be a hidden charge in these
devicessome require the purchase of an
Authorized Protective Connection Module
that plugs into the telephone jack. The tele-
phone company demands these if the
recorder could produce excess voltage on the
telephone line, thus damaging equipment or
creating spurious signals.
Some models requiring APCMs include
them and they add to the retail price. If units
do not include APCMs users will have to pay
for installation as well as a monthly rental fee.
Features which differentiate models include:
o Leaving messagessome units permit the
user to leave a tape recorded message.
o Dictationsome units double as dictating
machines with no time limit on record-
ing. A switch will stop and start the
answer tape.
o Announce onlyfor messages which
require no response, announcements of
when owner will return, for example.
o Ring response adjustmentallows machine
to wait to answer call until phone has rung
up to 10 times. An advantage since it elimi-
nates connecting and disconnecting unit
each time owner leaves and returns.
o Remote pick-upallows owner to pick up
messages from a distance by telephoning
the answering unit.
o Extended recordingallows user to record a
complete two-way conversation without
being cut off after allotted message time.
o Monitorallows user to listen, undetected,
to incoming messages as callers leave them.
Listener can pick up phone and interrupt
recording message if desired or simply let it
be recorded.
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
I The consumer trend in the elec-
trical category is shifting toward
higher-end products that have
model variety and energy-saving
features. Energy-efficient lighting
products are finally beginning to
catch on with consumers, long after the 1992 passage of the National
Energy Policy Act, which required lighting manufacturers to replace
outdated lamps with brighter, more energy-efficient models.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, using money
from manufacturers, has boosted demand by conducting a nation-
al promotional campaign to inform consumers about the benefits
of energy efficiency.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) further helped matters
in 1997 by creating its Energy Star

label, which manufacturers may

voluntarily display on energy-efficient lighting fixtures if they meet
program guidelines. Fixtures carrying this label can trim the cost of
lighting high-use areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, by 50 per-
cent to 60 percent. In addition, bulbs and lamps for these fixtures last
three times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Another key trend in the category is increased demand for low-
voltage outdoor lighting. Motion-sensor lights are popular with
consumers concerned about home security.
Many consumers are scared of electrical projects, and for valid
reasons. Retailers should remind consumers of the dangers posed
by household electrical systems. For example, tell consumers to
shut off electrical power at the fuse or circuit breaker box before
beginning any wiring project. And make sure they consult local
building codes before embarking on an electrical project.
Interior lighting must satisfy two require-
ments: function and design. A customer
replacing an existing fixture will be con-
cerned mainly with the design, whereas a
person remodeling or adding a room may be
concerned with both function and design.
Along with design and function, many cus-
tomers are becoming more concerned about
conserving energy. Lighting takes only 12
percent to 15 percent of the electricity used
in a home. Customers are finding ways to
reduce this expense by using more efficient
lighting and advanced lighting controls.
Task lighting gives localized light for specif-
ic activities such as reading, writing, sewing
and food preparation. The light should cover
the entire task area and be located so shadows
are reduced to a minimum. Under-cabinet
lighting is a popular form of task lighting in
kitchens or under shelves.
General or ambient lighting provides
comfortable background brightness in a
room. Light reflected from walls and ceilings
or from large sources overhead reduces light-
ing contrasts and contributes to the comfort
of the environment.
Accent or specialty lighting cre-
ates a mood and adds interest to a
room. This kind of lighting is pri-
marily for decorative effects and
should be used in conjunction
with task and general lighting.
Track lights, a system of movable
lights wired to a metal track, make
a great accent lighting choice for
living rooms, bedrooms and din-
ing rooms. Track lighting is avail-
able in many colors, sizes and
shapes, is easy to install and flexi-
ble since the lights can be moved
around and repositioned.
Recessed can lighting and sur-
face-mounted fixtures are one way
to provide ambient lighting.
Increased amounts of light are
achieved using additional fixtures.
This should be strictly observed
because of the heat produced. Maximum
wattage limitations are indicated on all fix-
tures and should be followed. Recessed light-
ing is good for rooms with low ceilings and
can be used to supplement existing light in
kitchens and bathrooms.
No-glare lighting is also available in over-
head fixtures, undercabinet lights and desk
lamps. No-glare lighting fixtures are
designed with a louver that cuts off high-
angle light to provide glare-free, true-color
lighting. No-glare lighting works well to pre-
vent eye fatigue in home offices where com-
puters are used. For more information, click
(Installing Wall or Ceiling Fixtures)
The following guidelines suggest lighting
standards for various rooms.
Living Areas
Permanent lighting fixtures are not a
major consideration here because so many
homes depend on table or floor lamps. Wall
lighting (fluorescent tubes shielded by a cor-
nice or valance) and recessed down lights
are frequently used permanent fixtures.
Track lighting is also applicable.
Place light sources at various heights with-
in the room to add visual interest. Use
translucent shades on table lamps to con-
tribute to the ambient light level. Use a
halogen, floor-mounted directional fixture
under a large plant to create an artistic pat-
tern on the ceiling.
A room larger than 225 sq. ft. will require
separately controlled wall lights along two
walls or multiple ceiling fixtures rather than
a single light source.
Bedrooms under 150 sq. ft. use a total of
120 to 200 watts in a ceiling fixture, 4' to 9'
of wall lighting or one 150-watt recessed fix-
ture. Over 150 sq. ft. use 120 to 200 watts in
a ceiling fixture, 12' to 16' of wall lighting,
or five to eight 20- to 75-watt reflector bulbs.
For closets, use a 40- to 60-watt fixture
and 60 to 100 watts in walk-in closets. These
should be ceiling mounted at least 18" from
clothing or stored items, or use a 20-watt
fluorescent above the door header.
Overall lighting should consist of at least
one recessed 75-watt unit for each curtained
tub or shower area. If the lavatory counter is
wider than 3', overhead fluorescent tubes
should be installed along the entire length
of the counter in a soffit extending at least
18" from the wall. Smaller lavatory areas
need 20-watt fluorescent tubes mounted on
either side of the mirror and cen-
tered 60" from the floor.
A ceiling fixture over the lavato-
ry mirror can provide extra light.
Every 50 sq. ft. of floor space
needs about 150 watts of incan-
descent or 50 watts of fluorescent
light from a ceiling fixture.
Additional fixtures should be
installed over sinks, work areas,
etc. A 20-watt fluorescent tube,
mounted under cabinets above
the countertop, is considered ade-
quate for every 3' of counter space
to be lighted. Light the sink area
using recessed halogen or fluores-
cent valance lighting. Fluorescent
strip lights can be concealed
above cabinets to provide soft,
indirect illumination. Suspend
Here are a few general guidelines to help consumers begin their planning.
The light sources, lighting fixtures and construction of the home, as well as
the materials and colors of the furnishings, will affect the lighting plan.
14, 15 wattsUse in multiple-socket hallway fixtures, small decorative
wall and table lamps, recessed aisle or step lights.
40, 55, 60 wattsWall fixtures and sconces, multiple-socket ceiling
fixtures and floor or table lamps, pole and tree lamps, recessed shower
lights, single- and multiple-socket bathroom mirror fixtures.
70, 75, 95, 100 wattsCeiling, wall and pendant fixtures.
150, 200 wattsSingle-socket ceiling fixtures; floor, table and desk
lamps where three-way flexibility is not desired.
170, 250 wattsPortable table, floor and desk lamps with single-
setting sockets.
30, 70, 100 wattsPortable dresser, table and hanging wall lamps.
50, 100, 150 wattsFloor, desk, table, double-dresser portable lamps.
100, 200, 300 wattsLarge floor lamps with mogul (large) sockets.
decorative pendant lighting with compact
fluorescent globes over the table or island
for visual interest and energy savings.
Dining Areas
A single ceiling fixture or hanging lamp
with at least 150 watts of incandescent light-
ing will usually suffice for an average dining
area. However, layering with light from a
variety of sources will provide flexibility for
creating different moods. The best choice is
to install a dimmer switch to control light
levels. Chandeliers with open sockets should
contain decorative bulbs. When using down
lighting over the dining room table, be care-
ful not to create dark shadows that might be
unbecoming to guests. Halogen directional
bulbs can be used in adjustable accent lights
to highlight plants, artwork or special fur-
nishings. In addition, china cabinets can be
lighted from within with small halogen or
miniature fluorescent bulbs.
Recreation Areas
Relatively even lighting throughout the
room can be accomplished with one
recessed incandescent box, with a 100-watt
bulb for every 40 sq. ft. The number of fix-
tures can be reduced by using fluorescent
tubes, which produce as much as four times
the light of incandescents.
Use ceiling-mounted fixtures with 75 to
100 watts for every 10' of hall or one
recessed fixture with 75 to 100 watts for
every 8'. Locate fixtures near closets or pow-
der rooms. For halls that need light all day,
recommend fluorescent fixtures; this saves
energy and reduces bulb replacement. Wall
sconces can add a warm, welcoming touch
to a foyer. Place wall or ceiling-mounted
lights and switches at the top and bottom of
stairs for safety.
Laundry Areas
Center a diffusing fixture with 60 to 80
watts of fluorescent or 120 to 150 watts of
incandescent light over appliances.
Outdoor lighting primarily serves a securi-
ty function. There are four basic types of
outdoor lighting: area, motion, landscape
and entrance/ exit lighting.
There are a wide variety of systems for
outdoor lighting, including: highintensity
discharge (HID) systems for mercury, metal
halide and highpressure sodium light
sources; incandescent and tungsten halogen
fixtures; low-voltage lighting systems; and
incandescent or halogen PAR spotlights and
HID lighting provides considerably greater
illumination than other lighting commonly
available. Its cost is also higher, although
operating costs for lumens output is general-
ly less. Lumens are the measurement of light
output. Locate fixtures at both ends of the
house for better spread of light over the
entire yard. Many outdoor lighting units are
equipped with a photoelectric cell to turn
the fixture on at sunset and off at sunrise.
Timers are also available for outdoor units.
Fixtures to be used outdoors must seal
moisture and dust from wiring and switches.
Photocells provide automatic activation
from dusk to dawn.
Brass, aluminum, copper and baked-finish
metals as well as non-metallic products will
withstand extremes of outdoor exposure best
and offer long product life.
Outdoor lighting options have expanded
with the advent of low-voltage lighting. A
low-voltage system of six fixtures, for exam-
ple, usually uses less electricity than a 60-
watt bulb. It makes maximum use of elec-
tricity by splitting the light source.
A power pack is the heart of the low-
voltage system and should be located out-
doors by installing a weatherproof outlet
cover to keep snow and rain out. Because
of the low voltage, users will not receive
an electric shock even if they touch the
bare wires or cut a buried cable with a
garden tool. Consequently, these systems
are harmless to children and pets and do
not require cables to be buried. Power
packs typically range from 88-watt capaci-
ty up to 900-watt capacity.
To determine which transformer you will
need, add up the wattage of all the lamps
you plan to useotherwise known as the
total nominal wattage (TNW). The total load
wattage of the lamps should not be less than
half of the transformers TNW or volt-
amperes (VA) rating, nor should it exceed
the transformers maximum capacity. If the
TNW is too high, divide the electrical load
between two transformers, or use a more
powerful one.
The first fixture should be installed at
least 1' above the ground and at least 10'
from the power pack. Low-voltage cable
transmits the electricity through a weather-
resistant, self-sealing stranded copper wire
between 12-gauge and 18-gauge. On runs
over 150' or when 10 or more lamps are con-
nected to one line, consider using heavier
cable (12- or 14-gauge), which reduces volt-
age drop and produces greater efficiency
from the lamps. A cable connector is used to
quickly join separate cable lengths or to split
cables going different directions.
The low-voltage lamp can be one of sever-
al types. Bayonet base lamps feature a cop-
per base that twists into the fixture socket,
while the wedge base lamp plugs into the
socket. Halogen lamps provide the most
energy efficiency. Remote photo control
automatically turns lights on at dark and off
during daylight hours. For more informa-
tion, click (Installing Outdoor
Wiring/ Lighting).
Area Lighting
Spot and floodlights, along with tradi-
tional yard and security lighting, are used as
decorative lighting for landscaping, architec-
ture or holiday decorations. Colored lenses
can enhance different features; a green lens,
for example, will brighten foliage while
detracting from reddish objects.
Weatherproof sockets are essential here
because the fixture is often mounted near
the ground and pointed upward, exposing
the socket opening to rain and dirt. Most
outdoor lighting fixtures should be installed
only when the ground is completely dry,
although low-voltage systems can often be
installed anytime. Always consult the manu-
facturers instructions.
Well lights are designed to be buried,
and they cast light upward to create spe-
cial effectsfor example, highlighting
Motion Lighting
Motion sensors are popular accessories
to low-voltage outdoor lighting. They
attach to a power pack and mount on
walls or fences 6 to 8' above the ground.
By detecting heat and motion up to 40'
away, they can cover 600 sq. ft. of proper-
ty to guard against intrusion.
Motion sensors are used with incandes-
cent, halogen and fluorescent bulbs.
When used in combination with a switch,
the user can manually switch on the
motion detector light.
Indoor motion sensors are also available
that automatically turn on a light when
someone enters a room.
Landscape Lighting
Landscape lighting is designed to accent
or light steps and pathways. It also serves a
decorative function and is relatively easy to
install. Advise customers not to hook up
landscape lighting with extension cords,
which are for temporary use only.
Mushroom lights, named for their sloped
shades, are commonly used along pathways
or in gardens. The bulb ranges from 5 watts
to 60 watts, and light is reflected downward
to give a soft illumination to the immediate
area near the fixture. Opaque, tiered lens
attachments shield light from the eyes and
direct it downward.
Bollard lights are cylindrical in shape,
with the faceted lens being part of that
cylinder. The lens diffuses light in a 360
pattern to create a soft glow. Lens shields
can limit lighting to a 180 range.
Globe lights have spherical lenses, so they
cast light in all directions, providing subtle
illumination that can cover a large area
without glare. They are often used around
outdoor living areas.
Deck lights are designed to fit under
steps, benches and railings. They can be
mounted in many other ways as well.
Many other kinds of fixtures are also
made to be recessed into steps or planters
to directly illuminate pathways.
What follows are some common lighting
techniques used in landscape lighting.
Down lightingshines light down from
large trees or eaves onto surfaces below
the light source to create safer passage-
ways at night. Down lighting is used to
outline driveways and walkways, mark
garden paths and flowerbeds, and to
accent patios and decks.
Uplightingplaces fixtures in the ground
and directs light upward to create a dramatic
focal point that accentuates the detail in a
trellis or archway, illuminates fountains and
statuary or highlights small trees and shrubs.
Front lightingpositions light sources in
front of an object to highlight important
features and details.
Back lightingilluminates objects or
plants from the back to highlight architec-
tural features and eliminates darkened areas
Reflector Bulbs (2-1/2" dia.) Pole and tree lamps. Track lighting and recessed downlights
Reflector Floods (3-3/4" dia.) Track lighting and recessed downlights (cans).
Reflector Spots (3-3/4" dia.) Track lighting and recessed downlighting (cans).
Reflector Floods (5" dia.) Track lighting and recessed downlights (cans).
Reflector Spots (5" dia.) Track lighting and recessed downlighting (cans).
Floodlight Bulbs (4-3/4" dia.) Exposed weatherproof sockets under eaves, on garages,
porches and other outdoor locations. Bullet-shaped outdoor
floodlight fixtures.
Bug Lights (yellow coating) In fixtures on patios, porches and entrances to houses.
Post Light Bulbs For post lights and coach lanterns.
Plant Lights Special color bulb finish enhances plant appearance,
helps growth.
Rough Service Workshop, utility area, garage. Usually used on trouble
light extension cord.
High-Intensity Bulbs Replacement bulbs for high-intensity portable lamps, they
provide supplementary lighting for sewing, manicuring,
hobby work and other close-up tasks.
Night Lights Use in plug-in fixtures in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways.
Garage Door Opener Bulb Built to take shock and vibration.
Appliance Bulbs For ovens, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, saunas and
range hoods.
Showcase Tubular Bulbs Approximately 6 long, frosted and clear. Use for picture
lights, piano lights, aquariums, range hoods. Regular (medi-
um) base.
Always check the fixture for required diameter and wattage limitations before recommending any of
these bulbs. In general, floods are used for wide area lighting, spots are used for accent lighting.
Cool White Use for work areas only.
Warm White Good for living areas. Will harmonize with incandescent light-
ing. Not for use where color discrimination is important.
Soft White The recommended fluorescent for living areas, baths,
kitchens. Good color rendering. Harmonizes with incandes-
cent lighting.
Different wattage tubes are different lengths. It is important to purchase the right length tube to fit
the desired fixture. Fluorescent tubes come in a variety of white colors. Use these guidelines to select
the correct white tube for your use.
behind large bushes and around doors and
windows for security purposes.
Area lightinguses a floodlight or anoth-
er source of wide light to illuminate large
areas for evening entertaining.
Safety lightingprovides light for certain
areas, such as paths or steps, so people can
navigate safely.
Also available are landscape boulders that
blend naturally into the environment and
glow from within, casting illumination for
pathways. The faux boulders contain low-
voltage lamps and UL-listed components
that are easy to wire, can be installed on
their own system or added to an existing
low-voltage system.
Entrance/ Exit Lighting
Light each entrance to illuminate the door
and to identify callers clearly. Recommend
wall lanterns, 25 watts to 60 watts, on each
side of the front door, centered 66" above
standing level.
For secondary entrances, recommend a
single fixture on the latch side of the
door. Lanterns with concealed downlights
light up wall-mounted house numbers as
well as the lock.
Suspended or over-door lanterns should
allow the light to flow downward. Wall-
mounted lanterns above doors should
accommodate 75 watts to 100 watts;
lanterns suspended from a ceiling 100
watts to 150 watts. With shallow, close-to-
ceiling fixtures for a porch, recommend
60 watts to 100 watts.
Exit or emergency signs are used to
identify exit areas in commercial build-
ings. Internally lighted models are the
most common.
There are three main types of light bulbs:
incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity
discharge (HID). Generally, the higher the
wattage, the greater the light output.
Bulb Finishes
Originally, only clear glass was used to
make incandescent bulbs, which left the
bright filament exposed and resulted in a
harsh, glaring light. To remedy this, special
finishes are used to reduce the glare by dif-
fusing the light.
Clear glass is still used in applications
where accurate light control is desired and
in decorative lighting.
A frosted finish used to be the most com-
mon. Light loss averages less than 0.5 per-
cent due to the frosted finish.
Today, light diffusion is usually accom-
plished by applying a coating of fine powder
to the inside surface of the bulb. This coat-
ing provides a softer, more even distribution
of light and reduces glare. Inside-coated
bulbs are made in colors as well as white. A
variety of colors are available in outside-
coated bulbs which can be either transparent
or translucent.
Bulbs can be made to direct the light by
applying a reflecting material to the inside
surface of the bulb, or in the case of R, PAR
and sealed beam, light can also be directed
by beveled cuts on the surface of the bulb.
General Classes of Light Bulbs
Bulbs come in a variety of shapes, sizes
and designs, each with a different purpose.
Bulb shapes have letter codes that corre-
spond to a general guideline. For example,
"C" refers to cone-shaped bulbs and "T" to
tubular bulbs.
General service is the Type A (arbitrary)
bulb used for lower-wattage bulbs from
about 15 watts to 200 watts. This type is
normally used for home lighting.
Vibration service is used on machinery or
where continuous vibration could cause
early failure of the filament. These bulbs
have lower lighting efficiency.
Rough service bulbs withstand shocks and
bumps. The relatively long filament is securely
mounted with many supports but has a lower
efficiency than general and vibration service
bulbs. They are used in workshops and
garages and with trouble lights.
Appliance bulbs are for ovens, refrigerators,
freezers, microwave ovens and range hoods.
Special coated bulbs are covered with a
Teflon or silicon protective material to
prevent shattering and to resist breakage
upon contact with water. They are recom-
mended for use in trouble lights and out-
door fixtures.
Decorative bulbs with clear or coated flame-
shaped glass, smooth B-type glass, C-line glass
with bent tip bulbs and globe-shaped bulbs
are useful in chandeliers and wall bracket fix-
tures where fashion is important.

bulbs are usually made of soft

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health
Administration) standards affect the physical
facilities of retail stores, but some of the rules
make good safety sense for customers who
are embarking on do-it-yourself electrical
projects. Following are 10 OSHA rules that
can be adapted as safety tips for consumers.
1. Be sure all electrical installations are
in accordance with the National
Electrical Code.
2. All live parts of electrical equipment
operating at 50V or more must be
guarded against accidental contact.
3. Protect all equipment against over-
4. Overcurrent devices in damp and
wet locations must be of the type
approved for this use.
5. Fuses and circuit breakers must be
located and shielded to prevent
burns or injuries.
6. All fixed electrical equipment must
be grounded.
7. All electrical equipmentair con-
ditioners, sump pumps, portable
tools, othersmust be effectively
8. All boxes and fittings in wet locations
must be waterproof.
9. All electrical outlet boxes must be
durably and legibly marked with the
manufacturers name and/or trade-
mark. They must be rigidly and
securely fastened to the surface to
which they are mounted. All outlet
boxes must have a cover.
10. Flexible cords must be in a continu-
ous length when used-without
splices. They cannot be worn,
frayed or taped. They must be con-
nected so that tension will not be
transmitted to joints or terminal
screws. Flexible cords cannot be
used where fixed wiring is required.
glass for indoor service as a directional light
source with a built-in reflector. These are
available as spot or floodlights.
Projector (PAR) bulbs are made of hard
heat-resistant glass molded into a reflector
and lens that are sealed together. Most are
Elliptical reflector bulbs are shaped differ-
ently than the parabolic reflector bulbs,
bringing light to a focus a couple of inches
in front of the bulb. Less light is wasted in
deep-baffle fixtures, and glare is reduced in
downlight fixtures.
Light Bulb Bases
Light bulbs come with a variety of bases
for use in different fixtures. The following
are the most commonly used base types:
Candelabra is a screw base used for spe-
cialty chandeliers and decorative lighting. It
is the smallest base for 120V lamps.
Intermediate is a screw base with applica-
tions similar to the candelabra bulb.
Medium is a screw base, standard on most
general-service bulbs of 300 watts and under.
It has a high degree of interchangeability in
bulb applications.
Mogul bases are used for larger, heavy-
duty bulbs rated at 300 watts and higher.
Skirted screw base is used on bulbs where
the neck is too large to fit into the desired
size base or where additional space between
filament and bulb terminals is desired.
Three-contact bases are used for three-
way bulbs that contain two separate fila-
ments in one bulb. They are similar to other
screw bases, but use an extra ring contact to
light wattage filaments separately or in com-
bination for three light levels.
Bayonet bases are used on specialty lamps
such as vacuum cleaners, sewing machines
and low-voltage bulbs. It provides a more
secure contact by using two small protrud-
ing pins on the sides of the base that fit into
slots in the socket.
Medium bi-post base is used for higher-
current bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs produce light by pass-
ing current through a thin coil of wire called
a filament. As the wire heats, it becomes
white hot and emits visible light.
Incandescent bulbs come in two types:
vacuum filled and halogen gas filled.
They are mainly used for general and task
lighting around the house.
Incandescent bulbs offer many advan-
tages: a concentrated light source that is easy
to direct; instant lighting; a wide assortment
of sizes, shapes and colors; easy mainte-
nance; and low initial cost.
Moreover, incandescent lighting is flexi-
ble, particularly since light levels (propor-
tional to wattage) for a given bulb-holder
can be changed simply by using the desired
wattage bulb. However, users should be care-
ful not to exceed bulb wattage recommenda-
tions for a fixture. Underwriters Laboratories
(UL) tags on fixtures designate the maxi-
mum allowable wattage. A mercury or fluo-
rescent system is typically limited to a single
bulb size.
An incandescent bulb can operate on
either direct current (DC) or alternating cur-
rent (AC). Wattage indicates the amount of
electric power used by a bulb to produce
light. Roughly speaking, the higher the
wattage, the greater the light output. Some
bulbs, however, produce more light output
per watt than others do.
Standard household bulbs have an aver-
age life of 750 to 1,000 hours, which can
be lengthened or shortened by the treat-
1. Single-Contact Bayonet Incandescent Base
2. Candelabra Incandescent Base
3. Double-Contact Bayonet Incandescent Base
4. Intermediate Incandescent Base
5. Medium Incandescent Base
6. Medium Skirted Incandescent Base
7. Three-Contact Medium Incandescent Base
8. Mogul Incandescent Base
9. Three-Contact Mogul Incandescent Base
10. Circline Florescent Base
11. Medium Bi-Pin Fluorescent Base
12. Four-Pin Fluorescent Base
13. Recessed D.C. Fluorescent Base
14. Two-Pin Single-End Fluorescent Base
15. Four-Pin Single-End Fluorescent Base
6 7 8
1 2 3 4 5
9 10 11
12 13 14 15
Heat Deflecting
Stem Press
Incandescent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Halogen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Mercury Vapor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
Fluorescent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
Metal Halide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125
High Pressure Sodium . . . . . . . .140
Low Pressure Sodium . . . . . . . .200
ment they receive. For example, a 120V
bulb operating on a 125V circuit may pro-
duce more light but wont last as long as
one on a 120V circuit.
Long-life bulbs, which may last up to
twice as long as ordinary bulbs, have heavier
filaments that do not burn out as quickly.
However, these bulbs do not produce as
much light as standard bulbs.
Manufacturers disclose average light out-
put (in lumens) and average bulb life (in
hours) on package labeling.
The filament vaporizes as a result of cur-
rent flowing through it, and generally, the
bulb burns out. Three-way bulbs lose two
light levels when one filament burns out
because two filaments are used in the bulb
separately for two of the levels and together
for the third.
Bulb designations denote size and shape.
The figure following the bulb shape letter
designation is the bulbs maximum diameter
in eighths of an inch. Thus, A-19 would
mean an A-shaped bulb with a diameter of
19 x 1/8", or 2-3/8".
Most standard bulb envelopes are made of
lime glass, but bulbs that must withstand
greater heat are made of harder, heat-resist-
ant glass. Hard-glass envelopes are used in
many high-wattage bulbs and in bulbs rec-
ommended for outdoor use where there is
danger of thermal shock from condensation.
Incandescent bulbs turn black as they
near the end of their lifetimes. Customers
should consider replacing darkened bulbs, as
they use the same amount of electricity to
produce less light.
Halogen bulbs are technologically
advanced incandescent bulbs used in resi-
dential and commercial applications. As
with incandescent bulbs, light is produced
by passing current through a coiled tungsten
wire, but the tungsten wire is enclosed in a
small quartz or high-temperature glass tube,
which is then filled with gases, including a
halogen gas.
The advantages of tungsten halogen bulbs
compared with standard incandescent bulbs
include less loss of light over lamp life;
smaller physical size for better directional
light control; whiter, brighter light; more
light per watt; and longer life. Like incandes-
cents, halogen lights have the advantage of
instant-on light. They are easy to use with
dimmers for energy savings.
Typical halogen lamps last 2,000 to 4,000
hours compared to 750 to 1,000 hours for
incandescent lamps. Wattage levels for home
use run from 5 watts to 500 watts.
Halogen bulbs are more energy-efficient
than standard incandescent bulbs. They gen-
erate up to 30 percent more light for the
same electricity. In addition, because their
bulbs blacken much less than incandescents,
they stay brighter as they age.
Halogen bulbs are available for accent and
task lighting and for general lighting appli-
cations. Since their brilliant, white light reg-
isters true colors, they are excellent for dis-
plays. Shading is important because of halo-
gens intense brightness. They are available
in A-type equivalent bulbs, PAR spotlights
and floodlights in a variety of sizes, as well
as low-voltage spotlights and floodlights.
Advise customers not to touch the glass
on halogen bulbs.
The two main types of fluorescent bulbs
are tubular and compact fluorescent.
Fluorescent bulbs are used in commercial,
institutional, industrial and residential light-
ing. The popularity of the fluorescent bulb is
due to its high efficiency in producing light,
resulting in low lighting energy costs.
Fluorescent bulbs produce up to 105 lumens
per watt, compared with a 100-watt, type A
incandescent, which produces around 18
lumens per watt.
A fluorescent also has long lamp life,
relatively low brightness and low heat
content and glare compared with incan-
descent lamps. Fluorescents work well for
area lighting, especially in kitchen, bath
and task areas.
In a fluorescent bulb, current flows
through an atmosphere of inert gas and
mercury vapor, producing ultraviolet ener-
gy that is invisible to the human eye. A
phosphor coating on the inside of the
tube transforms the ultraviolet energy
into visible light.
Fluorescent bulbs can vary from straight
tubes 6" to 96" long to U-shaped tubes and
circular tubes. Wattages for home use range
from 4 to 75 watts.
Tubes also come in a variety of diameters.
Several common types are available in
reduced-wattage versions that consume 15
percent to 20 percent less energy.
The most common tube is the 1-1/2" used
in most bulbs from 15" to 96" long. The
smallest diameter is 1/2", used in low-
wattage twin tube designs. The largest is 2-
1/8" used for some high-wattage, non-resi-
dential installations.
Fluorescent bulbs are available in many
shades of white, as well as colors determined
by the type of phosphor used in the bulb.
These colors are indicated by the color ren-
dering index number printed on the bulb.
A Type Flame
Tubular Bulge Tube
Screw Base
Screw Base
Screw Base
Circular Tube
The higher the number, the more accurate
the color produced. Soft white fluorescent
bulbs are recommended for living areas,
baths and kitchens since they offer good
color rendering. Warm white bulbs, 3000K
and lower, emphasize reds and yellows and
are good for living areas, although not in
areas where color discrimination is impor-
tant. Cool white bulbs, 4000K and higher,
emphasize blues and greens and are used for
work areas.
There are a few important limits to the
use of fluorescent lamps. Because they use a
ballast, they can be dimmed only with spe-
cial equipment that is relatively expensive.
Standard household fluorescents are also
sensitive to temperature and therefore work
best indoors. High-output fluorescents are
for outdoor use and commercial application.
Ballasts have sound ratings A is the
quietest; C is the loudest. If a customer is
complaining about the noise made by fluo-
rescent bulbs, suggest replacing the ballast.
The main objection to fluorescents in the
past has been their unflattering color. New,
color-corrected tubes overcome this draw-
back with recent developments in phosphor
technology. Premium types use rare-earth
phosphors to offer superior color that blends
beautifully with incandescents.
Electrical connections to the bulbs are
made to the bases at each end. The most
common is the two-pin base, designated
miniature bi-pin for small diameter bulbs,
medium bi-pin for average-size bulbs and
the mogul bi-pin for industrial bulbs. Single-
pin bases are used for instant-start bulbs,
and recessed double-contact bases are used
on rapidstart bulbs longer than 48".
Ballast Operation
Because fluorescent lamps are arc dis-
charge devices, they require special auxiliary
equipment to provide reliable starting and
to assure proper electrical operation. The
principle function of the ballast is to hold
operating current within proper limits and
to provide enough voltage to start the lamp.
Initially, all fluorescent lamps used a
starter or time-delay switch, which
allowed the electrodes to heat up prior to
the lamp starting. The starter is a small sil-
ver-colored cylinder found mostly in older
fluorescent lamps. When the lamp in an
older fluorescent begins to flicker, both the
tube and the starter should be replaced.
Starterless operation is achieved with
instant-start and rapid-start ballast designs.
Instant-start ballasts provide sufficient volt-
age to start fluorescent lamps without pre-
heating and are commonly used with single-
pin lamps and some special lamp types.
Rapid-start ballasts heat the cathodes con-
tinuously from a low-voltage transformer
within the ballast. This is the most common
type of ballast in use today for 40-watt
lamps and for all lamps that use recessed
double-contact bases.
Reduced-wattage lamps operate on most
existing ballasts, which can reduce wattage
14 to 20 percent. In addition, new ballasts
developed to minimize the wattage con-
sumed by the ballast itself further reduce
electrical consumption.
Compact Fluorescents
Compact fluorescent bulbs offer different
style and performance from standard fluo-
rescent bulbs. Their color nearly equals Soft
White incandescents, and they offer superior
energy efficiency and long life.
The new compacts can be used in many
household fixtures. Circular units are
already familiar in ceiling fixtures and
artists lamps; new applications are wall
sconces, table lamps, lanterns, desk lights
and outdoor fixtures. Compact fluores-
cents feature sizes and shapes to match
most incandescent bulbs including one
that resembles a standard household bulb.
They can be as small as 4.5" long, and
some are the same size as their incandes-
cent counterparts. Not all fixtures
designed for incandescents may have
enough room inside the shade or glass for
the bulb.
Compact fluorescents cannot be
dimmed. Their life will be maximized if
they are used in locations where a light
stays on for hours at a time.
Compact fluorescent lamps typically last
7,000 to 10,000 hours, which is nine to 13
times longer than comparable incandescent
lamps. Energy efficiency can go up to 105
lumens per watt. Wattages for home use
range from 7 to 27 watts.
Reflector-shaped compact fluorescents can
replace standard R30 and R40 shaped incan-
descent reflector bulbs. Globe-shaped com-
pact fluorescents can replace standard G25
bath and vanity globes or G30 decorative
globes that are used in pendants. Decorator
or flame-shaped bulbs can replace similar
incandescent bulbs in chandeliers, sconces
and outdoor fixtures. Stick-shaped compact
fluorescents can replace standard Type A
ULUnderwriters Laboratories Inc. is a not-for-profit independent testing laboratory.
Manufacturers submit products to UL for testing. UL-listed means that the merchandise meets
minimum safety standards and is suitable and safe if used for the purpose for which it was
intended by the manufacturer.
ANSIAmerican National Standards Institute is a non-profit organization that coordinates the
voluntary development of national standards by industry, establishes national consensus stan-
dards and represents United States interests in international technical standardization. Its stan-
dards are developed and used voluntarily, becoming mandatory only when adopted by govern-
ment bodies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
NEMANational Electrical Manufacturers Association writes performance standards for prod-
ucts. These standards are formed by committees that reach a consensus on individual matters. A
typical committee consists of manufacturers, industries that will use the product, Underwriters
Laboratories and other standard-setting groups. Consumer organizations are also on the com-
mittee where matters that apply to them are considered.
NECNational Electrical Code is based on safe, functional wiring methods and is updated every
three years. Many cities and states require that wiring conform to NEC specifications. Local and
state codes and ordinances also supplement the NEC.
CSACanadian Standards Association is an independent, not-for-profit Canadian organization
that is similar to UL of the United States.
bulbs in portable lamps, while twist-shaped
compact fluorescents can replace standard
Type A bulbs in virtually any application.
There are also household-shaped compact
fluorescents that make ideal replacements
where the bulbs are visible in the fixture.
When choosing a compact fluorescent
bulb to replace an incandescent bulb,
compare the lumen output of the two
bulbs. For maximum energy efficiency,
select a bulb with the highest lumens and
lowest wattage combination. For example,
replace a 100-watt incandescent house-
hold lamp that produces 1,600 lumens
with a 25-watt compact fluorescent lamp
that also produces 1,600 lumens.
High-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs pro-
duce light in a manner often described as
lightning in a bottle. As in fluorescent
bulbs, current flows through a conducting
gas and ballasts are required to start the
bulb and to control its operation. Unlike
fluorescent, most of the light comes from
the arc itself rather than through the
work of the phosphor.
The highest-efficiency light sources (the
most light per watt) are members of HID
families. The four basic HID types are
mercury vapor, metal halide, high-pres-
sure sodium and low-pressure sodium.
HID bulbs are primarily used for area
and security lighting. They feature a lifes-
pan of 20,000 to 24,000 hours. They come
in a variety of shapes and in medium and
mogul bases.
Mercury vapor lighting is used for exte-
rior area and security lighting, such as
dusk-to-dawn residential lighting.
Mercury vapor lamps provide twice the
light output per watt as incandescent
lamps. Along with the higher output, they
also have a longer lamp life, in some cases
up to 30 times as long. They are also more
expensive than incandescent or fluores-
cent. Mercury vapor bulbs produce a
bluish white color.
Self-ballasted mercury lamps can be
used with a ballast in incandescent fix-
tures and are available for 120V systems
in the lower wattages (up to 250 watts)
and for 240V systems in both lower and
higher wattages. These lamps deliver
slightly more light output per watt as the
incandescent lamps but have the long life
of mercury lamps.
Lighting systems that provide three to
six times the light output per watt of
incandescent lamps can replace incandes-
cent, mercury and self-ballasted mercury
systems. These metal halide and
highpressure sodium (HPS) lamps require
specific ballasts, but offer major energy
savings to users.
The metal halide lamps feature medium
efficiency, with 50 to 110 lumens per
watt. They provide good color characteris-
tics (similar to cool white fluorescent
lamps) along with higher light output.
The high-pressure sodium lamps pro-
vide even higher light output per watt
than metal halide (50 to 150 lumens per
watt), with a golden yellow light.
Residential applications include security
and landscape lighting.
Low-pressure sodium bulbs feature the
highest efficiency, with 100 to 180 lumens per
watt. They produce an orange light.
When replacing HID bulbs, it is neces-
sary to use the exact bulb.
Energy-Saving Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs can be
screwed into a standard incandescent
base. In addition to energy savings, their
main advantage is longevity. The lamps
give as much or more light as an incan-
descent bulb, with about 1/4 the wattage.
The bulbs life is approximately 7,000 to
10,000 hours.
Energy-saving incandescent bulbs general-
ly provide nearly the same amount of light
output as conventional 60- and 100-watt
bulbs but use fewer watts.
Energy-saving PAR spot and floodlights
combine a special reflector design with
lower wattage to provide almost the same
amount of useful light, using considerably
less electrical energy.
Lighting takes approximately 12 percent
to 15 percent of the electricity used in a
home. However, the following will help cus-
tomers economize on the lighting portion of
an electricity bill:
o Turn off lights when you do not need
o Use dimmers, when desirable.
o Use photoelectric cells or timers to turn
outdoor lights on and off automatically.
o Use reflector bulbs, especially for task and
You can further both your sales and your know-how image by making sure the customer has every-
thing needed for the job. Here is a checklist of items to go over in the store.
CABLEAre they buying enough to reach the distance of the circuit? Allow at least 10 percent
excess to accommodate bends. Also, make sure the wire will handle the amount of amperage it
will be expected to draw. Explain that lower resistance wire, while more expensive initially, will
save money by reducing power loss or blown fuses and will increase safety.
BOXESGo over the proposed circuit with the customer. They will need a box for every outlet,
fixture, splice or other break in the cable.
WIRE CONNECTORSAt least two of these are required at every cable splice. Most light fixtures
are pre-wired and must be spliced onto the circuit cable. Sockets and switches do not require
connectors since cable is usually mounted directly to the device.
INSULATED STAPLESThese will be needed to mount the cable to the studs. Make sure they
are the right size for the type of cable being used.
INSULATED TAPENecessary for wrapping splices or taping any electrical wires.
TOOLSWire cutters, strippers stapler and screwdrivers are all part of the electrician's toolbox.
WALL PLATESDoes the customer have the right number and configuration of wall plates to
match the fixtures being installed?
LIGHT BULBSMost lighting fixtures are sold without bulbs. Does the customer have the prop-
er size and number for the fixtures being purchased?
Two-Conductor Cable
Two-conductor cable has one black wire
and one white wire. The black wire is always
the hot wire and must be fused. The white
is always neutral and must never be fused.
When current bridges the gap from the
110V hot wire to the neutral, it results in a
110V input to the appliance.
Three-Conductor Cable
Three-conductor cable contains a red
wire in addition to black and white. The
black and red wires are hot, carrying
110V each, and both must be fused. The
white remains neutral.
Bridging either 110V wire to the neutral
wire produces 110V. Bridging both 110V
wires results in 220V. This three-wire circuit
is increasingly common in home wiring; it
accommodates major 220V appliances, such
as ranges and air conditioners.
Grounding Wires
Both two- and three-conductor cables can
carry grounding wires, which provide a path
of least resistance from the frame or case of
an appliance to the ground to guard against
electric shocks.
The electric motor in a refrigerator, for
instance, might develop a current leak to the
frame of the appliance. A person touching
the refrigerator could create a path for the
current to pass to the ground. Consequently,
he would receive a shock.
A grounding wire, attached to the frame
of the refrigerator and directly to the
ground, would provide a lower resistance
path than the person. The electricity could
then pass safely to the ground.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) was
changed in 1996 to require a separate
ground wire for certain appliances to ground
their frames. If your customers are wiring for
120/240V or 120/208V ranges, wall-mount-
ed ovens, counter-mounted stoves or clothes
dryers, they need the separate ground wire.
Thermostat Cables
Thermostat cables are used in low-voltage
control, alarm and communication systems.
Most common types are braided, twisted
and plastic-jacketed types.
All three use solid copper conductors and
are twisted and insulated with plastic.
Twisted cable, which has no outer braid,
is used in doorbells, burglar alarms, intercom
telephones and public address systems.
Braided cable is covered with cotton
braid and is used primarily in thermostat
controls and other low-voltage, remote
control circuits.
Plastic-jacketed cable is also used in simi-
lar low-voltage applications.
Although thermostat cable is low voltage,
it carries a UL-listing for being flame-retar-
dant since it is installed in the wall. Wiring
used in security alarm and smoke detection
systems must be UL-listed.
TV Wire and Accessories
Television lead-in wire connects the
receiving set to the antenna. Good quality
300-ohm wire is used for both VHF and
UHF receivers.
A TV set coupler is a loss-producing device
for connecting two or more TV receivers to
the same antenna. The loss introduced into
the circuit is small, but can be critical in
fringe area reception. In such areas, cus-
tomers should be told of this small loss and
to expect a slight reduction in signal
strength at the receiver.
A lightning arrestor mounts on the out-
side of the house as close to the TV receiver
as possible to protect the receiver against
lightning damage. The lead-in wire is
attached to proper contacts and the ground
rod to ground connector. Lightning will
jump the gap inside the arrestor and flow
into the earth if the circuit is properly
Home Networking
Multiple computers in the home, satellite
dishes, cable TV, sophisticated audio systems
and home theaters have given rise to the
desire for home networks.
The heart of these systems is the network-
ing hub. Usually thought of in conjunction
with computers, the home network hub dif-
fers in that it provides central control of
computers, peripherals, phones, TVs and
audio components. This is the unit where
most of the wiring from different locations
comes together to meet.
Most home networks use coaxial,
Category 3 and Category 5 cable. Coaxial
cable is used for TVs, VCRs and satellite
equipment. Category 3 cable is used for
telephones while Category 5 is used for
telephone, fax and computer systems.
Some cables combine different functions
into one cable.
Structured wiring refers to a bundle of
cables that runs from the networking hub to
meet a homes future information-carrying
needs. This wire bundle may consist of some
combination of Category 5 cables, fiber-
optic lines, Category 3 cables and coaxial
lines. New home construction and renova-
tion jobs should try to accommodate wiring
in this fashion to meet the bandwidth needs
of digital transmissions.
Jacks are used to terminate the cable.
Stress to your customers that they use common sense when working with electricity. Before
proceeding with any electrical work, make sure the main disconnect on the service entrance
panel is at the off position or pull the main fuses if the panel is the cartridge fuse type.
When working on individual receptacles or light switches, turn off the circuit breaker for the cir-
cuit being worked on, and test with a test light before handling bare wires.
Other tips:
Never stand on wet or damp floors when working at the service entrance on any electrical
device. Wear rubber gloves and stand on a rubber mat for added safety.
To avoid overloaded circuits, never use a fuse which has a higher amperage rating than the
rating on the wire for the circuit.
Never run more appliances from one receptacle than the amperage rating for that outlet.
Never use a penny or tinfoil in a service panel instead of a fuse.
There are different jacks for telephones,
computers, satellite, audio and video equip-
ment. Many of these jacks and cable connec-
tors require special tools for installation.
Patch cords are used to connect different
computer and audio/video devices with one
another or with a central networking device
such as a hub.
Binding posts are used to connect bare
speaker wire, while F-Connectors are used
with coaxial cable.
Home Wiring Testers
New tools and testers are making the job
of installing and maintaining household
wiring and home networks easier and safer.
Non-contact voltage testers allow you
to see if a line is carrying current without
touching the line. Features include audi-
ble and visual alarms, battery-checking
circuitry and a size that is small enough
to fit into a pocket.
Circuit analyzers and receptacle testers
are designed to determine if circuits are
wired properly. They plug into any grounded
electrical receptacle and test receptacle
wiring and grounding in standard and GFCI
outlets. A convenient chart and lights tell
you if the circuit is wired properly, if the
wiring is reversed, the ground is not working
or if there is an open line.
A ground fault receptacle tester and ana-
lyzer performs the same functions for GFCI
receptacles plus it also tests the ground fault
feature. Similar tools are available for tele-
phone and computer lines.
Circuit trackers easily locate circuits with-
out turning off breakers or fuses. They fea-
ture a transmitter that is plugged into a live
outlet. A receiver is used at the service panel
to identify the circuit into which the trans-
mitter is plugged. Some models incorporate
a visual and an audio indicator. Adapter kits
allow you to identify light switches and light
bulb sockets.
An in-wall pipe and wire detector
locates metal objects and live unshielded
conductors behind drywall, paneling and
plaster walls.
Electrical cords provide a path for current
to travel from a fixed outlet to an appliance.
The type of cord needed for a given job
is determined by the amperage drawn by
the appliance, whether the appliance is
grounded and the degree of physical pro-
tection required.
Extension Cords
Extension cords are for temporary power
only. Make sure the customer uses the right
size for the application. Outdoor and
indoor/household types are available, as well
as commercial cords with heavier gauges,
higher amp ratings and extra flexibility.
Indoor extension cords come in two-
wire and three-wire cords in lengths from
6' to 15' with 6' and 9' being the most
popular lengths. White and brown are the
basic colors.
Outdoor extension cords are used for out-
door power tools and exterior lighting. They
come in 16/3, 14/3 and 12/3 wire, and the
most common lengths are from 25' to 100'.
Heavy-duty extension cords should be used
with high-wattage appliances. Be sure to
match the construction of the cable to the
job. SJT round cord is better able to with-
stand the constant flexing of use with power
tools than SPT2.
Any UL-listed cord will carry a UL label
near the female end. Many companies are
now using an alternative method of label-
ing allowed by UL, which permits the UL
markings to be molded into the cord
ends. This ensures a permanent marking
that cannot be provided with a label. It is
important to check for this UL insignia,
whether it is a label or a permanent mark-
ing. Non-listed cords can be similar in
appearance to listed ones.
To be UL-listed for outdoor use, three-wire
round cords must have connector and cap
molded to the cord and a lip on the end of
the connector to prevent misuse. Beginning
in 1998, UL-listed outdoor cords began
appearing with the SJTW marking on the
cord, not SJTW-A as was previously used.
For a period of time, either marking will be
acceptable for outdoor use.
Grounding cords are available in both
heavyweight and heavy-duty construction
differing from standard cords, because they
have three conductors instead of two and
are equipped with a three-prong grounding
plug and connector.
An assortment of specialty extension
cords includes:
Step-saver cordshave built-in pendant
switches to control appliances and lamps
across the room.
Wind-up reelskeep tangled, foot-catch-
ing cords off the floor.
In recommending a proper extension cord,
pass along these buying and safety tips:
Non-Metallic Sheath Cable
Armored Cable
Type SPT Cord
Type S and SJ Cord
Type HPD Cord
0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125
2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
R Rubber All-purpose building wire, 600V, 60C.
RH Rubber & cotton braid Same as R with heat resistance to 75C.
RW Rubber Same as R with moisture resistance.
RHH Rubber & cotton braid Same as R with heat resistance to 90C.
RHW Rubber & cotton braid Same as R with heat and moisture resistance to 75C wet or dry.
RH/RW Rubber & cotton braid Same as R but 75C dry and 60C wet.
T Thermoplastic vinyl All-purpose building wire, 60C.
THW Thermoplastic vinyl Same capacity as RHW.
TW Thermoplastic vinyl Same as RW.
WP Cotton braid Weatherproof for suspended outdoor use.
NM Paper overlaid with cotton For dry use only, 60C. Braid or plastic
NMC Plastic or neoprene coating Wet or dry use, 60C. Only cable approved for barns.
USE Rubber & neoprene Underground service entrance. Fusing or additional covering not required.
UF Thermoplastic Underground feeder and branch cable. Can be buried but must be fused.
ACT Armored cable on plastic Branch circuits and feeders. Insulated wires.
ACU Armored cable on rubber Same as ACT. Insulated wires.
C Rubber & cotton braid Lamps and portable appliances in dry areas, 300V and 600V, 60C.
HPN Neoprene Same as HPD with moisture resistance.
SP-1 Rubber Lightweight for lamps, clocks, etc., 300V.
SP-2 Rubber Same as SP-1 with heavier construction for more general use, 300V.
SP-3 Rubber Heavier construction than SP-2 for use with refrigerators, air conditioners, etc., 300V.
SPT-1, SPT-2, SPT-3 Thermoplastic Correspond to SP-1, SP-2 and SP-3.
S Rubber and jute twine Heavy duty for power tools, battery chargers, etc., 600V.
SJ Rubber and jute twine Same as S but only 300V.
SJO Rubber and jute twine Same as SJ but oil resistant, 300V.
AWG 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Actual Size
amperage 125 95 70 55 40 30 25 18 13 10
Actual size of copper wires and maximum amperage allowed in permanent installation.
o Advise customers to follow manufacturer
recommendations for outdoor use and to
not use a household extension cord out-
o Damaged or worn extension cords should
be replaced, not repaired. Replace older
cords that are non-polarized and dont
have safety closures.
o Know the length of cord needed and elec-
trical load it can carry. Cord should reach
easily from wall outlet to appliance. Never
put two short cords together to obtain
needed length.
o Only use an extension cord that has been
tested by a nationally recognized testing
laboratory such as UL, CSA or ITS.
o Keep cords out of the reach of children
and out of high-traffic areas where people
might trip over them.
o Never remove the third prong or cut
down the blade of a plug to fit a non-
polarized receptacle.
o Do not cover cords with carpet, furniture
or appliances.
o Cord should be permanently bonded
to the plug and the connector to
ensure a good connection and no
exposed wiring.
Appliance Cords
Appliance cords combine cord and con-
nector. The difference between cord sets can
be in type of connector and/or cord used.
Free-end attachment cord sets without
connectors are used in re-wiring direct
attachment irons, toasters and similar small
appliances. They have pre-tinned ends to
speed up wiring.
Range and Dryer Cords
Range and dryer cords are free-end types,
commonly called pigtails, attached direct-
ly to the appliance. Free ends are fitted with
cable terminals that connect to screw termi-
nals of the appliance to assure positive con-
nections. A metal clamp attached to the
cable serves as a strain relief at the point
where the cable enters an appliance and a
cord protector.
Heavy-duty attachment plugs for
ranges and dryers are much larger than
standard attachment plugs. Most are L
shaped with a power cord feeding out
the side of the plug.
Sizes range from 30 amps for dryers and
small ranges to 50 amps for larger ranges.
The different amperage attachment plugs are
not interchangeable because of a difference
in their configuration.
A recent change in the National
Electrical Code requires new range and
dryer receptacle installations to be 3-pole,
4-wire grounding receptacles. The neutral
(grounded circuit conductor) can no
longer be used to ground the frames of
electrical ranges and dryers.
Heating Tapes
The primary function of heating tape is
to protect pipes from freezing. Today
there are heating tapes to warm the soil
for growing plants as well as tapes for pre-
venting water damage caused by snow
and ice buildup. They are all designed for
quick and easy installation.
Tapes are automatic, constant-heat or self-
regulating. A thermostat controls an auto-
matic tape. Constant-heat tape must be
manually turned on and off as the tempera-
ture changes. A self-regulating tape is made
of semi-conductive plastic that adjusts to
outside temperatures.
Other Cords
Plastic parallel cord can be sold off the roll
for use with lamps, radios and other small
appliances. Plastic bell wire is used for bells,
buzzers, chimes, toy electric trains and other
similar systems and hook-ups.
Wires and cable form circuits to carry
electricity through a building. Wiring
devices described here are used to control
current flow and provide access points so
electricity can be used to power appli-
ances and lights.
A switch controls power to lights and
devices by turning off the hot side of the cir-
cuit. Selection depends on design and load
capacity. For more information, click
(Installing or Replacing Electric
Conventional Switches
A conventional switch makes or breaks
contact when a mechanically connected
tumbler or toggle bridges or breaks the line
contacts in the switch.
A single-pole switch is simplest and most
frequently used in the home, controlling
current on one circuit from one point. It fea-
tures two terminal screws.
Double-pole switches have four termi-
nal screws.
A three-way switch controls one circuit
from two separate points, such as a garage
light that can be turned on or off from the
house or the garage.
Four-way switches are used in connection
with three-way switches to control one cir-
cuit from three or more points.
Single-pole and three-way switches are
available with lighted handles that glow in
the dark.
Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches control the amount of
current in a lighting circuit, allowing the
user to control the degree of light from off
to full capacity.
Some dimmers control the amount of
voltage going to the lamp, increasing or
reducing the amount of light given off.
Other dimmers control a portion of each
alternating current cycle applied to the
lamp. This means a solid state dimmer turns
the light off and on approximately 120
times per second. The on-off rate has no
noticeable effect on the life of the bulb or
on the eyes of persons in the room.
One undesirable side effect of this on-off
cycle is interference on AM radios. Some
dimmers have radio/TV filters and printed
circuitry. There are table lamp dimmers and
dimmers that wire parallel into the lamp
cord. In addition, use of a dimmer will cause
some light bulbs to hum. The sound is cre-
ated from the turning on and off of the A.C.
sine wave. The rapid switching causes the
tungsten filament to resonate. Filament hum
is typical with inexpensive lamps that are
commonly installed in new construction.
The hum can be greatly reduced by upgrad-
ing to a lamp with a heavier filament.
It is also normal for a dimmer to get warm
during operation, which is why dimmers are
built with a heat sink. If the load is not over
the wattage rating of the dimmer and is a
proper load for which the dimmer is
designed to control, the dimmer does not
need to be replaced.
There are several styles of wall dimmer
switches available. The most popular include
a push on-off/dial-to-dim type, a rotary full-
range type, a slide type and a toggle type
that offers full-range control but uses toggle
motion instead of a dial.
Dimmers also come in single-pole or
three-way construction. If two, three-way
switches are involved, only one of them can
be a dimmer. Otherwise, the setting will not
work, although some toggle dimmers allow
two three-way switches to be used.
An air gap switch is built into all dim-
mers as a safety feature to ensure that
power can be removed to the outputthis
is a UL requirement.
Specialty Switches
Rocker switchused in place of a stan-
dard wall switch, it is activated with a push-
button mechanism. Useful near a doorway
or area where hands might be full or for
appearance and for range hood and appli-
Delayed-action switchcircuit remains
active for a few minutes after switch is
thrown. Useful in garage or breezeway,
allowing individual to get into the house
before light goes out.
Programmable memory switchset to go
on and off at specific times for security or
safety purposes.
Photoelectric switchoperates by light
striking cell. Usually used on yard lights.
Daylight turns circuit off; it goes back on at
dusk. Circuit usually has a delay device to
prevent passing headlights from turning
light off.
Motion switchturns the light on as you
enter the room. Used for both convenience
and security. Can be used to replace existing
wall switches.
Illuminated switchis available in two
types. One has a small light that is on when
the switch is off so it can be easily found;
these are usually used at entrances to rooms
and in hallways. Pilot light switches are on
when the light is off and usually used for
out-of-sight lights such as those in the base-
ment, garage and attic.
Outdoor switchenables electrical power
to be used for outside applications. They fea-
ture a turning lever inside a weatherproof
box cover with a toggle switch.
A second type of tamper-resistant outlet
utilizes an overlapping shutter system
that limits improper access to its ener-
gized contacts.
Voice-activated switchoffers a hands-
free approach to illuminating dark areas
quickly and safely. Voice-activated switch-
es incorporate the latest technology in
speech recognition to enable homeowners
to control the brightness of the lights.
Used in place of any standard wall switch,
they can be programmed with any com-
mand or language.
Silent switchprovides the same operation
as many of the other switches with little or
no noise. Silent switches are either mechani-
cal or solid state. The mechanical switch is
almost identical to the regular switch except
Single Pole
Two Switches Grounding
Double Outlet
Keyless Ceiling
Pull Chain
Pull Chain Ceiling
Pigtail Socket
Duplex receptacle
2-pole, 3-wire
Cord switch
grounding switch
Three-way lighted
toggle grounding
S T R I P #12 WIRE
2 single-pole switches 3 single-pole
protective cover for
single receptacle
Single-pole AC
quiet switch
Three-way AC
quiet switch
S T R I P # 1 4
# 1 2 W I R E
6A 125V AC, 3A 25 0V AC, 3A 125VT
for an extra bumper to reduce the noise. Prior
to 1991, silent switches contained mercury
and used no springs or mechanical devices.
This resulted in smooth, silent operation and
long life. Due to health concerns they were
removed from the market.
The wall receptacle, or outlet, taps the cir-
cuit to provide electrical power at a given
location. The slots in the outlet are designed
to match the plug blades of the appliance or
extension cord. Building codes specify num-
ber and spacing of outlets.
Receptacles come in flush- and surface-
mounted designs. Flush-mounted (recessed)
is the style most commonly used for perma-
nent installations.
Configuration of a receptacle refers to the
arrangement of slots or openings on the face
of the outlet. These arrangements vary
according to voltage and current rating of
the receptacle.
The most common configuration is three-
wire grounded. The most common outlets
used in homes are standard 15-amp, 125V,
three-wire designs. All outlets must be
grounded (three prongs).
A single- or double-wipe contact refers to
the area of the inserted prong on which con-
tact is made. In the case of a double wipe
contact, contact is made on both sides of
each blade.
All outlets should have a faceplate to help
prevent exposure to live wiring.
There are three basic ways to terminate
wiring in wall receptacles. First is the con-
ventional binding-screw method where
wires are stripped, looped and placed under
binding screws and then secured by tighten-
ing down screws.
Second is the pressure-lock method,
which eliminates binding screws. In this
method, connection is made by inserting a
stripped conductor, which pushes the con-
ductor into and against the terminal chan-
nel for a strong connection. Release slots
permit easy removal of conductors.
A third method involves clamp-type ter-
minals. Stripped wire is inserted into an
open clamp beneath a screw that is then
turned down to lock connection.
Some receptacles have small pilot or
guide lights. Appliance receptacles consist of
one vertical slot and two slanted slots and
are designed to be surface-mounted.
Specialty receptacles include twist lock,
childproof, surge suppressor, isolated ground
and RV.
Any flush-mounted receptacle may be
installed outdoors if covered by a protective
plate. These weatherproof covers have
hinged or threaded caps that cover the out-
let face. A self-sealing gasket fits between
the plates and the wall surface to add fur-
ther protection.
Safety outlets have spring-loaded caps to
prevent children from inserting objects into
them. To insert an attachment plug, its
prongs must be placed into the slots of the
protective cap, then turned 90 degrees or
until the slots of the outlet are exposed.
When the plug is withdrawn, the cover
automatically returns to its original protec-
tive position. A slight variation of this uses
an overlapping shutter system.
A second type of safety outlet utilizes a
cam to make an internal electrical con-
nection only when both blades are prop-
erly inserted.
Ground Fault Circuit
Even with proper wiring and fusing or cir-
cuit breaking equipment, danger exists from
ground faults, which are the most common
cause of electrical shock.
Ground fault occurs when a person comes
into contact with a live
electrical wire. This can
happen by touching an
exposed wire, or by operat-
ing a faulty appliance or
power tool. Worn insula-
tion, hidden damage or
faulty connections can
make the metal housing of an appliance a
hot electrical conductor. Technically, this
happens when a wire develops a small leak
that will flow to the ground through any
path, including a human body. This can
cause serious shock, even death. Ground
faults can also cause electrical fires.
This hazard is so serious that the National
Electrical Code requires all new homes to be
equipped with ground fault circuit inter-
rupters (GFCI) in bathroom, kitchen, work-
room, outdoor, basement and crawl space,
garage and swimming pool receptacles. It is
a good idea to suggest that homeowners
install such a device in older homes. The
GFCI interrupts power quickly enough to
help prevent someone from receiving a
lethal dose of electricity.
GFCIs are available in receptacles, mod-
ules, breakers and extension cords.
Receptacles work for 15- or 20-amp circuits.
GFCIs should be tested monthly to ensure
they are working properly.
For convenience, a portable GFCI can
be plugged into any existing outlets,
either two-wire or three-wire, without
rewiring. Circuit breaker GFCIs can be
added in electrical panels to replace ordi-
nary circuit breakers. They should be
installed by a qualified electrician.
Surge Suppressors
With increasing use of home computers
and other sensitive electronic home enter-
tainment equipment, there is a growing
need for protection from voltage surges,
often called spikes or transients. Surge pro-
tection is also needed because of the sheer
number of
spikes and
surges that occur in the home every day.
Surges can cause equipment to malfunction
and in severe cases cause catastrophic dam-
age or fire.
A surge is a transient increase of current,
voltage or power on an electrical system.
The larger, more destructive surges, generally
caused by lighting, can reach thousands of
volts. Surges can also come from utility
transformer switching, air conditioner opera-
tion, inductive and power switching, distant
lightning strikes and static discharges. They
put extreme stress on solid-state compo-
nents. Unchecked, such surges can quickly
destroy wiring, appliances, telephones and
other electrical devices.
Transient voltage surge suppressors (TVSS)
help protect sensitive electronic equipment.
5 1
4 23 5 1
Surge protector power strip
Ground fault
circuit interrupter
Surge protectors limit surge voltages by
discharging surge currents to ground.
Proper grounding is the strongest prereq-
uisite for proper surge protection.
The key component in almost all surge
protectors is metal oxide varisters (MOVs).
Under normal conditions, MOVs offer
high resistance to currents, preventing
normal currents from discharging to the
ground. Under surge conditionstypically
115 percent or more of a normal cur-
rentthe MOVs resistance drops within
nanoseconds, creating a path with far less
resistance than the facilitys wiring for the
current to flow to the ground.
Basically, there are two types of sup-
pressors. Onealso known as a surge
stripis similar to a grounding adapter,
and the appliance plugs into it at the wall
outlet. Surge strips are not capable of sup-
pressing a powerful surge. The other type,
designed primarily to prevent lightning
damage, is mounted at the service panel
and protects the home where the electric,
telephone and cable lines enter. The
Institute of Electronics and Electrical
Engineers recommend whole-house surge
suppression as the most effective way to
protect against damage in the home.
Some of these suppressors also feature
filters that reduce or eliminate line noise
distortion that is picked up on radios, tel-
evisions and tape recorders. These filters
also help guard against accidental data
loss in home computers triggered by
spikes or line noise.
A whole-house surge protector mount-
ed at the service panel also protects sec-
ondary distribution wiring and electrical
appliances such as ovens, air condition-
ers, dishwashers and refrigerators from
most sudden power surges. To
increase the protection of elec-
tronic equipment, it is also rec-
ommended that a plug-in surge
suppressor be installed at the
point of use to supplement a sec-
ondary surge arrester.
Surge protectors are rated in
Joules and clamping voltages.
Once surge protection has been
provided at the maximum levels,
the unit must be replaced. Look for audi-
ble or visual indicators.
When selling surge protection devices,
stress the low cost of these products com-
pared to the high cost of repairing or
replacing branch wiring and electrical
appliances and equipment. However, a
surge protector will not protect against a
direct lightning strike.
Transfer Switches
Transfer switches have become more
popular for new construction and after-
market installations due to weather
storms or accidental power outages.
Transfer switches are wired up to specific
load center circuits that will be utilized
when there is an emergency power out-
age. A portable generator is then plugged
into it and the switch transfers generator
power through the homes existing electri-
cal circuits. There is no backfeed when
power is restored. Transfer switches elimi-
nate unnecessary extension cords and are
easy to install. Available in choice of
watts and number of circuits, plus option-
al accessories.
Lampholders are devices with a screw
base that hold light bulbs. Some have
switches to turn them on and off.
Lampholder sockets come in two basic
styles: single and multiple holders. The
most popular styles are twin light,
adapter, keyless, pull-chain tap socket,
push switch and turnkey.
A socket has three principal parts: shell,
cap and interior. The cap has three basic
styles: pendant, nozzle and side outlet. A
pendant is used with a suspended socket;
a cord enters through the top. Side outlet
fits cords coming through the side. Nozzle
caps are used on table lamps where cord
feeds through the bottom.
The shell is the body of the socket. It can
be brass, brass-finished, nickel-finished alu-
minum or plastic. Shell liner, interior and
cap may be disassembled for wiring.
Other sockets include pigtail weather-
proof, which comes with two short leads
for splicing into a power source.
Similar to the pigtail is the pin type,
but tightening down the top and forcing
contact pins into wire makes contact.
The most common size sold is medium
base (such as on 60- and 100-watt bulbs).
Other principal sizes are large-base mogul,
used on three-way floor lamps; and inter-
mediate, which is used on outdoor
Christmas tree bulbs, candelabra and
some night lights.
Appliance and Heater
Connectors are used to connect older
style, heat-generating, small household
appliances with heat-resistant neoprene-
type HPN cords.
The connectors are molded of strong,
heat-resistant materials and come in a vari-
ety of styles, such as switchless, armored (or
heavily protected), side outlet and monop-
ull. All have spring cord protectors.
There are two standard sizes: 11/16"
and the miniature 1/2". Standard 11/16"
connectors generally fit on irons and
toasters. The 1/2" connectors are for cof-
feemakers, corn poppers, some electric
skillets and other similar appliances.
Bulb Life Extenders
Extenders have different
designs. One screws into a reg-
ular socket like a socket
adapter; the other is a small
disc placed in the base of the
socket before the bulb is insert-
ed. Bulbs last up to 30 times
longer than in standard sock-
ets; extenders should be recom-
mended for use where the bulb
burns continuously.
Lampholder with
pull cord
Keyless lampholder
Boxes, Fittings and Conduit
According to the National Electrical
Code, every break or termination in an
electric cable must be enclosed in an
appropriate box. This rule applies to
switches and fixture connections as well
as to splices and junctions.
Wall boxes, ceiling boxes ( junction
boxes) and weatherproof ( outdoor) boxes
are the main types of electrical boxes.
The three types of boxes are switch and
outlet, ceiling and utility boxes. Some are
made of galvanized steel with knockouts
to bring cable into the box. Non-metallic
(plastic) boxes are also available. Clamps
are included in some boxes to hold cables
in place.
Switch boxes are 2" x 3" in size and can be
used to house receptacles (outlets) as well as
wall switches. Switch boxes are designed so
that two or more may be fastened together
to form a larger box. The side walls must be
removed where the boxes join.
Octagonal ceiling boxes are used primarily
in ceilings to hold overhead light fixtures
and splices.
Utility boxes are used for the same pur-
pose as switch boxes, but their rounded cor-
ners make them suitable for surface wiring.
All boxes require covers. Box covers can
be made of metal or plastic and come in sev-
eral different shapes. The box covers may be
solid or feature knockouts for receptacles.
Electrical fittings are used to couple, con-
nect, fasten or ground conduit or cable.
Refer to local codes for requirements.
Cable is sometimes held in place by straps
or staples that are designed to handle differ-
ent sizes and is terminated by the use of
cable connectors. A number of other fittings
are available for service entrance installa-
tions, for grounding purposes or for haz-
ardous locations. Fittings can be installed
easily with a screwdriver, hammer or pliers.
Conduit is a raceway in which wires are
installed and protected. Types of conduit
include metal, non-metallic and flex. Each
conduit and size requires its own family
of fittings.
Metal conduit can be electrical metallic
tube (EMT); intermediate metallic conduit
(IMC); rigid or surface raceway.
Non-metallic conduit can be surface race-
way or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Flex conduit types include flexible
(steel and aluminum); electrical non-
metallic tube (ENT); and liquid tight
(metallic and non-metallic).
Conduit can be held in place by a variety
of straps and hangers that are designed to fit
a specific size diameter. The diameter of rigid
and EMT conduit differs, so the correct strap
or hanger must be specified. Lengths of con-
duit are joined together by couplings (either
rigid or EMT) and terminated by connectors.
Couplings and connectors generally are
either a set-screw type, threaded for rigid
conduit or rain-tight compression type for
damp locations.
PVC, EMT with rain tight fittings, liquid
tight, rigid and IMC conduit can be used
outdoors. For underground applications,
only PVC and rigid conduit can be used.
Surface Wiring Devices
Surface wiring switches, receptacles, lamp-
holders, etc., are installed entirely on the
surface of the wall as opposed to a normal
flush-mounted installation.
The device includes a box, cover and elec-
trical device in one unit. The unit is molded
of an attractive and sturdy plastic insulating
material, which makes it suitable for use in
the home as well as in barns, garages and
On-the-wall wiring systems created for
do-it-yourselfers allow the consumer to
run electrical wires to the point of use in
the home without breaking into the wall
or ceiling.
These systems have adapters that alter
existing outlet boxes, so consumers can tap
wires off them and snap together vinyl
channels that carry the wires to the new
outlet or switch. The channels hide unsight-
ly wiring and can be painted to blend into
any decor. Quick and easy installation and
economy are its major advantages.
Fuses and Circuit Breakers
A fuse or circuit breaker box, commonly
called a main service entrance panel or load
center, is located between incoming power
lines and house wiring. It divides the main
power line into branch circuits. Load center
applications vary, depending on local codes.
Fuses and circuit breakers are safety
devices that break an electrical circuit
when it is overloaded. The fuse or circuit
breaker is sized to protect the branch cir-
cuit wiring between the breaker and the
outlet and does not protect anything
plugged into the outlet.
Circuit breakers come in three main types:
single, double and thin.
You can generally tell if a fuse is blown
by looking at it. If the fuse is blackened,
that indicates a short circuit has occurred;
if the metal is melted, then an overload
has occurred.
Weather protective cover for
duplex receptacle
3-hole outlet box 4-hole outlet box
5-hole outlet box
Switch Box
Utility Box Cover
Octagon Box
Utility Box
There are several types of fuses. Plug fuses
are available in 5- to 30-amp sizes and are
the most commonly used fuse.
Another fuse is the Type S, which pro-
vides a minimum time delay for the starting
of small household motors. Type S fuses pre-
vent anyone from replacing a lower-rated
fuse with a higher one. It consists of two
parts: the fuse and the adapter, which has a
different diameter for each fuse ampere rat-
ing. Once an adapter of a particular size has
been inserted into the fuse socket, it cannot
be removed and only the same rating fuses
can be used in that socket.
Cartridge fuses are used in high-current
applications, such as the main service box
and in clamp- or bar-type fuse boxes that
serve electric ranges, water heaters, clothes
dryers and air conditioners. Round cartridge
fuses have ratings to 60 amps; greater capaci-
ty (to 600 amps) requires a cartridge fuse
with knife-edge contacts.
A screw-in breaker can replace a fuse.
When a circuit malfunctions, a button on
this device pops out; it must be pushed in
to reset.
A circuit breaker contains a bi-metal strip
that breaks the circuit when current exceeds
a predetermined rating. A broken circuit is
indicated by the breakers switch being in
the mid-point position. This is commonly
referred to as a tripped breaker.
After the overload has been corrected, reset
the circuit breaker by switching it to the off
position and then to the on position.
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters
Existing circuit breaker technology does
not protect against an occurrence known as
an arc fault. Arc faults are believed to cause a
significant percentage of the more than
43,000 electrical home fires, 330 deaths and
1,800 injuries annually.
An arc fault can occur when insulation
around cords, wires or cables is damaged or
deteriorates. In many cases, arc faults are the
results of aging wire. Arc faults can flare at
temperatures in excess of 10,000F, igniting
surrounding combustible material.
In many cases, conventional circuit break-
ers do not respond quickly enough to arc
fault situations. By the time a circuit breaker
responds, a fire may have begun to smolder.
An arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is
a device that recognizes the unique char-
acteristics of many types of arcing faults
and acts instantly to interrupt the circuit.
In some devices, the arc-fault circuit inter-
rupter is integrated into state-of-the-art
circuit breaker design.
In 1999, the National Electrical Code
mandated that arc-fault interrupters be
installed on all 15- and 20-amp circuits in
bedroom outlets in new home construc-
tion starting in 2002. Some states mandat-
ed the change earlier.
Now available is a combination
AFCI/GFCI circuit breaker that is certified
by Underwriters Laboratories. The breaker
protects against electrical fires and dan-
gerous electrical shock hazards, enhancing
electrical safety in the home. It also sim-
plifies the installation process for electri-
cal contractors since there is no need to
wire two separate devices.
Wall Plates
Wall plates include all plates used to fin-
ish or cover switches, receptacles or combi-
nation devices. Standard plastic wall plates
are constructed with durable, smooth sur-
faces. Builders in new homes often install
inexpensive ones. There are also designer
and decorator plates, switches and recepta-
cles with smooth plastic faces in contempo-
rary colors.
Chrome-plated wall plates are made of
steel and brightly finished for lasting appear-
ance and durability.
Decorative wall plates come in many
styles and materials such as ceramic, alu-
minum, brass, wrought iron, stainless steel,
copper, wood and die-cast metals. Die-cast
products include switch and receptacle
plates made in finishes and designs to match
other functional hardware items such as
door handles, cabinetware and bath fixtures.
Timers turn on lights and appliances at
specified intervals and times, making them a
useful security product. They are available
for outdoor or indoor applications and can
be electronic or mechanical. Spring-wound
timers for bath fans and spas have a manual
on-off switch.
Doorbell Equipment
If not battery operated, doorbells require
AC step-down transformers to reduce house-
hold voltage to the proper operating voltage.
Standard doorbells operate at 10V or 16V.
Some doorbells may require other voltages,
depending on the design. Step-down trans-
formers should be UL-listed. The doorbells
themselves are safe, low-voltage devices that
do not require UL inspection.
Single or multiple-stranded bell wire is
used between the doorbell, the transformer
and the push buttons.
Push buttons are easily installed and
replaced. Bulb life for lighted push buttons is
approximately three to five years, and
replacement bulbs are available. Push but-
tons are available in lighted or unlighted,
recessed or surface-mounted styles.
Non-electric chimes are also available.
Wireless doorbells are all on the same fre-
quency, although some offer adjustable fre-
quencies. For more information, click
(Installing Doorbells).
Plugs, Adapters and Taps
Plugs connect devices to the power sup-
ply through a receptacle. The typical plug
includes two blades or prongs, a molded
plastic body holding the two blades apart
and a blade/cord connection within the
plug body. When inserted into an outlet,
the blades become energized. Electricity
flows through the blades, through the
Toggle Switch Plate
Weatherproof Outlet Plate
Combination Wall Plate
Double Outlet Plate
blade/cord connection and through the
cord, thus energizing the appliance.
Plugs come in polarized and non-polar-
ized varieties. Polarization helps reduce
the potential for shock. With polarized
plugs, one blade is wider than the other.
Three-conductor plugs are automatically
polarized because they can only be insert-
ed one way. Two-prong plugs do not have
a grounding pin.
Older homes may not have polarized
receptacle outlets. If not, the receptacles
will not accept polarized plugs. A quali-
fied electrician should replace the old
receptacles and put in wiring consistent
with polarization.
Choose the plug based on the gauge of
wire on the appliance or tool. Male plugs
have prongs while female connectors
have slots.
There are plugs for different applica-
tions, such as exterior, interior and
marine. A twist lock prevents accidental
Attachment plugs fit on the ends of
cords of portable appliances and permit
them to be connected to wall receptacles
or extension cords. Plugs and connectors
are used to build extension cords or for
replacement on extension cords.
The arrangements of slots and blades
on connectors, receptacles and plugs must
match the configuration of the devices
with which they will be used. The number
of slots or prongs on these devices must
be the same as the number of wires in
associated cords.
Socket adapters screw into the socket,
while taps plug into the outlet.
Adapters are generally used for tempo-
rary application to provide two outlets
where a light socket is in use.
Taps are used to increase the number of
attachment plugs that can be used on a
single receptacle face.
Caution must be exercised when tap-
ping additional attachment plugs into the
same line. If the power rating of the cir-
cuit is exceeded, fuses will blow (if the cir-
cuit is properly fused).
Multiple taps plug into existing outlets
and can accommodate four to six plugs.
Some come with built-in surge protectors.
Other types of taps are table and cube.
Plug-in strips feature multiple outlets
placed at regular intervals. If used in a
workshop, it should have grounded out-
lets and be attached to a grounded circuit.
Quick-Clamp Devices
Quick-clamp devices do away with
screw terminals and the necessity of strip-
ping wire. If a plug needs replacing, insert
the cord into the clamping mechanism as
shown on the instructions. The clamp
forces the cord into the proper position
and onto sharp contact points that pierce
the insulation and make contact with the
Clamp devices include both attachment
plugs and cord connectors of various
styles. They are used with portable lamps
and small appliances. They cannot be
used on kitchen or large appliances
because of their low amperage rating.
Wire Nuts/ Connectors
Insulated wire nuts or connectors are
used to connect wire ends that have been
twisted together inside a lighting fixture
or box. The size of the wire nut or con-
nector must correspond to the size wire
being used. Connectors are used to con-
nect heat-generating, small household
appliances with heat-resistant neoprene-
type HPN cords.
The connectors are molded of strong,
heat-resistant materials and come in a
variety of styles, such as switchless,
armored (or heavily protected), side outlet
and monopull. All have spring cord pro-
tectors. An offset wing design on some
models provides increased torque with
reduced wear on fingers. A hex head
enables nut driver and automated use.
There are two standard sizes: 11/16"
and the miniature 1/2". Standard 11/16"
connectors generally fit on irons and
toasters. The 1/2" connectors are for cof-
fee makers, corn poppers, some electric
skillets and other similar appliances.
Consumers look at telephone purchases
much the same way as they look at other
home electronics purchases. They want a
quality product sold by a reputable retail-
er. Service backup is important because
telephone owners are responsible for their
own repairs, just as they are for any other
kind of equipment they own. If the tele-
phone breaks, they take it back to the
store that sold it.
Telephones contain microprocessors
and other electronic parts. New and more
sophisticated features are being added.
As telephones become more complicat-
ed, they require more sales attention.
Consumers need to be shown how to use
the additional features. If they will be
installing, replacing or rewiring, they may
need instruction in these areas, too. To
stock the telephones and accessories most
needed in your market, study the demo-
graphics of the area. Cordless phones may
work well in suburban and rural homes,
but are sometimes subject to interference
in urban areas.
Affluent areas may be a good market for
accessories such as telephone-answering
devices, while low-cost compact electronic
disposable phones may appeal more to
a middle-class market.
Beyond the basics, consumers can buy cord-
less phones, automatic redialing phones and
Straight plug Grounding adapter
6-outlet tap
C t N 4402
3-outlet tap
combination clock-radio phones.
Here are important points to keep in mind
when selling phones and accessories.
Telephone companies require con-
sumers to report their ringer equivalency
number (REN). This REN is published on
the instruction sheet or phone unit hous-
ing. Standard AT&T phones have REN rat-
ings of one. Compact, low-cost models may
have as low as .7 REN or as high as 1.3 REN.
If the REN on one line exceeds 4.0, the
phones will not ring.
There are two basic types of phones:
pushbutton tone and dial pulse. The dial-
pulse phone looks like a pushbutton tone,
but its pushbuttons technically dial the
phone. It doesn't process a call as fast as
the pushbutton tone.
Dial pulse gives the convenience of the
pushbutton-tone type of dialing without
higher monthly costs. It should be noted
too that pushbutton-tone phones are
required to access long-distance services.
Consumers should also be aware that
installing a pushbutton-tone phone
means they must also be receiving this
type of service from the phone company.
Cordless telephone systems incorporate
a base station connected to the telephone
line and a wireless handset. The distance
a cordless phone will work away from the
base station varies. It may be as little as
50' or phones with antennas may work as
far away as 1,000'.
Elevating the base station and placing it
away from other reception barriers can
improve cordless phone performance. One
word of warning: In most cordless
phones, ringers are located in the ear-
piece. The ring registers nearly 130 deci-
bels, and if the phone is picked up and
the switch not turned from standby to
talk position, a phone ring could dam-
age hearing.
Cordless phones are powered by
rechargeable nickel-cadmium or nickel-
metal hydride batteries. The length of
time required to recharge and the length
of time between rechargings will vary.
Therefore, it is necessary to read the
instructions with the individual product
to see how long to charge and how sensi-
tive the battery is to frequent rechargings.
Some nickel-cadmium batteries will
remember how much time elapsed
between chargings and if they are
recharged too often, will shorten the
length of time they hold a charge.
Eventually the batteries will have to be
replaced, but most phones will take sever-
al hundred chargings.
Accessories are available in either mod-
ular or conventional designs.
Installation of a conventional system
requires no more than a screwdriver.
Accessories are used in conjunction with
standard telephones, using standard four-
prong plug configuration, spade-tipped
wires or hard wiring.
All wiring in the phone base, handset
and wall receptacle can be replaced by
matching the colored wires. But it is
important that store employees know
enough to help d-i-yers with wiring infor-
mation and connection procedures on the
models you stock.
Plugs and jacks provide the connection
for standard telephone and extension
cord hook-ups. They may also be attached
to existing cords, adding versatility to
existing phones.
No tools are needed for modular con-
nections; the system was designed to
allow snap-fit connection of miniature
plugs with mating hardware. The follow-
ing connections are available using the
snap-fit modular concept:
Coil cordold cords can be removed by
depressing a clip and pulling the plug out of
the phones base and handset. The new cord
is then pushed into place until it locks.
Straight-line cordsplugs are clipped
into the base of the phone and the wall
Extension cordscords are equipped
with modular plugs that snap into a wall
receptacle while a modular jack accepts
the line cord from the existing telephone.
Modular adapterallows phones with
modular line cords to be plugged into a
four-pronged conventional plug that
matches the holes of conventional tele-
phone jacks.
Modular plug and conventional jack
allows connection of conventional four-
pronged plug extended line cords to mod-
ular jacks so that conventional phones
can be plugged into modular connections.
Modular couplerallows connection of
modular plug-ended cords to each other
to extend the phone system.
Duplex modular adapterallows two
modular extensions to be run off one
modular unit. For instance, allows you to
connect a telephone and telephone-
answering device to the same phone line.
Retrofit modular adapterallows con-
ventional telephones with spade-tipped
conductors to be connected to modular
jack assemblies without tools.
Surface wall-mount jack assembly
allows conversion of conventional termi-
nal blocks to a modular jack.
Portable wall-mount jack assembly
Many states are enacting legislation con-
cerning dry-cell and rechargeable batteries.
Current legislative topics include mercury in
batteries, batteries for cordless tools and
appliances and battery recycling.
Mercury will have to be eliminated from
batteries. This will probably reduce the per-
formance and increase the cost. Batteries
in cordless power tools and appliances will
have to be removable. And nickel-cadmium
batteries will have to be recycled through
battery retailers.
Be sure you know the laws regarding these
topics in your area.
AA (Penlight) . . . . . . . . . .1.2**, 1.4*, 1.5
AAA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.5
C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.2**
D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.2**, 1.4*, 1.5
N . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.5
*Mercury cell
**Nickel-cadmium cell
allows connection of modular plug-ended
line cords in any location to convert four-
hole jack to a modular design.
Flush wall-mount jack assemblyallows
flush-mounted connection of plug-ended
modular line cords for initial installation
or conversion from existing wall recepta-
cles. Can be connected in parallel when
more than one jack is required.
Wall-mount modular patio jackweath-
erproof assembly accepts plug-end modu-
lar line cords.
The kind of telephone answering
device you recommend will depend in
large part on the kind of use the cus-
tomer expects of it. Models vary by price
and optional features.
Basic digital units do not require a tape
recorder or tape to handle incoming mes-
sages. In most models, total answer time
is limited, but more sophisticated units
will allow for messages of varying lengths.
Features which differentiate models
Leaving messagessome units permit
the user to leave a digital or tape-recorded
Dictationsome units double as dictat-
ing machines with no time limit on
recording. A switch will stop and start the
answer tape.
Announce onlyfor messages that
require no response, such as announce-
ments of when the owner will return.
Ring-response adjustmentallows
machine to wait to answer call until
phone has rung up to 10 times. An advan-
tage since it eliminates connecting and
disconnecting unit each time owner
leaves and returns.
Remote pick-upallows owner to pick
up messages from a distance by telephon-
ing the answering unit.
Extended recordingallows user to
record a complete two-way conversation
without being cut off after allotted mes-
sage time.
Monitorallows user to listen, unde-
tected, to incoming messages as callers
leave them. Listener can pick up phone
and interrupt recording message, if
desired, or simply let it be recorded.
Some phone companies still require an
Authorized Protective Connection
Module, if the answering device could
produce excess voltage on the telephone
line. The APCM plugs directly into the
phone jack.
General-purpose and heavy-duty battery
systems serve a variety of functions.
General-purpose batteries provide 1.5V to
510V. They have good shelf life but
decreased efficiency at high-current
drains. They drop voltage gradually with
use and operate poorly in low tempera-
tures. They are available in a variety of
shapes from small pen cells to huge emer-
gency lighting batteries. Their uses range
from camera flashbulbs to radios and
General-purpose and heavy-duty batter-
ies are designed for light moderate to
ALTERNATING CURRENTAbbreviated AC. A current of electricity that alternates at a rate of
60 hertz (cycles per second). It flows first in one direction, then in the other. Only at very low fre-
quencies is this charge visible to the eye through the flickering of lamps.
AMPEREAbbreviated amp. A measure of the flow of electrical current through a wire.
BALLASTA form of transformer used in fluorescent lamp circuits to control current and keep it
within specific operating limits.
CANDLEPOWERA measure of the intensity of light produced by a source. One candlepower
corresponds approximately to the light produced in any one direction by an ordinary candle.
DIRECT CURRENTAbbreviated DC. A flow of electric current continues in one direction as
long as the circuit is closed.
FOOTCANDLEThe unit used to measure how much total light is reaching a surface, such as a
wall or table. One footcandle is the amount of illumination falling on a one-square-foot surface
from a standard candle located 1 foot away.
FUSEA replaceable safety device used to break the flow of current when a circuit becomes
GROUNDINGConnects the electrical system with the earth to prevent damage or shock.
Ground wires are usually bare.
HOT WIREA power-carrying wire (usually in red or black) as distinguished from the neutral
wire (usually white).
KILOWATT1,000 watts. From watt and Greek word kilo, meaning 1,000.
KILOWATT HOURSAbbreviated kwh. A 1,000-watt lamp burning one hour will use one kilo-
watt hour of electricity. If the rate were 3 cents per kwh, the cost would be 3 cents per hour to
LAMPTechnical word meaning light bulb or tubethe part that shines until it burns out. It
can also refer to a type of fixture, such as a desk lamp.
LUMENA unit that expresses the total quantity of light given off by a source regardless of
direction. A lumen is defined as the amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot, every
point of which is one foot away from a source of one candlepower.
NEUTRAL WIREA wire that runs from an appliance or device to make uninterrupted connec-
tion back to the power source. The opposite of a hot wire that carries power from the electri-
cal source to the appliance.
NOMINAL LAMP LIFEA rated average bulb life that is obtained through closely controlled
OHMA unit of electrical resistance. (Electrical resistance is the opposition by a material to the
flow of electrical current.)
TRANSFORMERSteps up or steps down amount of alternating current available from circuit to
that required by the appliance.
VOLTAmount of pressure needed to push electricity through a wire.
WATTThe unit of measurement of electrical power. Calculated by multiplying volts times
amperes. For instance, 746 watts equal one electrical horsepower.
heavy-current drain equipment. They, too,
are available in a variety of sizes and
shapes providing from 1.5V to 9V. They
have a good shelf life and maintain volt-
age better under load than general-purpose
batteries. They are used in flashlights, calcu-
lators, motor-driven toys, electronic games
and portable compact disc players.
Alkaline batteries are the longest-lasting
all-purpose batteries. They are designed
for high- and continuous-current drain
applications. Voltage ranges from 1.5V to
9V. The average cell holds 90 percent of
its energy for two to three years on the
shelf. Alkaline batteries are disposable and
operate well in low temperatures. Uses
include tape recorders, remote controls,
portable communications systems, radios,
television sets and shavers.
Lithium batteries are more expensive but
can hold their power for eight to 10 years,
unused. They are designed for cameras,
watches and other items that use a small
amount of current repeatedly over a long
period of time. They are available in 9V.
Heavy-duty batteries have a short life
compared to alkaline batteries and work
best for low-drain applications such as
remote controls and wall clocks.
Miniature zinc air batteries are designed
to provide power to miniature hearing aids.
They can be directly substituted for silver
oxide or mercuric oxide batteries in most
hearing aid applications. They are activated
by removing the covering from the air
access hole. They are available in common
hearing aid battery sizes.
Improved cell construction and advanced
use of titanium and lithium technology
have resulted in new premium batteries that
offer long-lasting performance for use in
high-drain devices.
Nearly 80 percent of all batteries sold
are in the AA and AAA sizes. Some batter-
ies come with a gauge-style tester so the
user knows how much power remains in
the battery.
Household batteries should be stored in
a dry place at room temperature. Make
sure not to mix battery types in the same
device and never mix new and old batter-
ies in the same device. Do not dispose of
any battery type in a large group since
they can come into contact with one
another. Always take precautions when
handling exposed battery chemicals.
Battery chemicals should not be placed
near the eyes or ingested by any means.
Mercury Batteries
Mercury (and silver) batteries are used to
power hearing aids, electronic watches, cal-
culators and other electronic equipment
where small size and long life are critical.
They maintain a constant voltage for the
entire life cycle.
Concern over the environment has led
manufacturers to design mercury-free batter-
ies for household use.
Rechargeable Batteries
Although nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) bat-
teries are most commonly used in
rechargeable applications, other kinds are
available, including alkaline and lead-
acid. The major drawback to rechargeable
alkaline batteries is fewer recharging
cycles. Nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) bat-
teries have emerged as a viable alternative
to Ni-Cd batteries since they outlast Ni-Cd
batteries by up to 40 percent.
Ni-MH cells are available in AA, AAA, C,
D and 9-volt sizes. Ni-MH batteries offer
superior performance for use with high-
drain applications such as flash cameras
(including digital) and camcorders.
Rechargeable batteries are not charged
before purchase and must be charged for
approximately eight to 12 hours before
using. Some rechargeable batteries are now
available with shorter charging times.
Rechargeable batteries will lose their charge
if not used for an extended period (30 to 60
days) and should be charged every month
for best performance. Some batteries can be
recharged 800 to 1,000 times and will last
up to four years.
They offer overcharge capability,
which means they can stay on house cur-
rent for long periods without damaging
the cell. Like mercury batteries, nickel-
cadmium cells maintain constant voltage
for their full life span.
Nickel-cadmium batteries are perma-
nently built into a number of cordless
tools and appliances. In addition to the
larger batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries
are available in D, C, AA, AAA and 9V
sizes with chargers.
Battery recharging systems include the
charger and charging module. The module
is available in four sizes to hold AA, C, D or
9V batteries. The charger should be used
only with batteries specifically designated as
rechargeable. These are sometimes known as
secondary batteries. Trying to charge non-
rechargeable batteries can cause leakage and
possible cell rupture.
Lead-acid batteries are built into tools.
These batteries, about the size of a D bat-
tery, wont leak, dont vent explosive gas or
corrosive fumes, offer lengthy shelf life and
cost about half as much as nickel-cadmium.
Life span is 200 to 500 cycles, but they will
lose power gradually with age and use.
A national program has been started to
recycle rechargeable batteries. Retailers can
participate at no cost. For more informa-
tion, contact the non-profit Rechargeable
Battery Recycling Corp. at (877) 723-1297 or
visit www.rbrc.org/diy.
Electric Motors
There are two basic motors found most
frequently in household applicationssplit
phase and universal.
The split-phase motor is the simplest. It
contains no brushes or commutator and
comes in one-third or less horsepower. At
full speed, the split-phase motor is able to
develop as much power as any other type,
but it is not capable of starting heavy loads
such as pumps or compressors. It functions
best when maximum load is applied at full
speed, such as in sanders, grinders and light
power tools.
Universal motors do not run at a constant
speed but slow as the load increases in some
instances from 15,000 rpm without a load
to 500 rpm under heavy load.
For this reason the motor is unsuitable for
many jobs. It is used only where the load is
reasonably constant and predetermined, such
as in sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, fans,
etc. It is the only type of motor that can be
controlled by a rheostat.
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
I Advances in tool design continue to
come in the area of ergonomics.
Some manufacturers have developed hand tools specially designed to
meet the needs of female and senior d-i-yers. Woodworkers and hob-
byists can be attracted to your store by offering a selection of special-
ty tools such as chisels, planes and cutting tools.
Quality remains an important consideration for most hand tool
purchasers, and d-i-yers are increasingly seeking out tools that
have professional-grade quality. Still, most customers are looking
for a project-specific tool and its up to salesfloor employees to
guide them to the right mix of price point and quality for the
scope of their project.
Many manufacturers are now designing more sophisticated
advertising and marketing campaigns that target the professional
tool user. In the past, many tool manufacturers relied on a prod-
ucts proven brand name to gain acceptance among pros.
While brand isnt the only consideration for pros, it remains an
important one when planning a tool purchase.
Its also important to note that hand tool purchasers are younger
than total homeowners in general. In fact, the 25- to 44-year-old age
group accounts for three of every four hand tool purchasers, accord-
ing to research from the Home Improvement Research Institute.
Training programs should stress the proper uses for hand tools.
Many tools, when used improperly, can pose a serious risk of injury
to the user, so it is vital that salesfloor employees be aware of the
potential hazards of improper tool use. Specific safety tips are
detailed in this section and more hand tool safety materials are
available from the Hand Tools Institute, (914) 332-0040.
Most common home-use hammers are
nail, rip, finishing, ball peen, tack, hand
drilling, sledge and soft face. Quality fea-
tures include:
o Forged steel heads for strength and dura-
o Heat-treated heads for strength, toughness
and wear resistanceshould be heat-treat-
ed differently on face (striking area), at eye
(where handle is inserted) and on claws.
o Finish-ground face with a crowned surface
that is canted slightly toward the handle
to center handle blows.
o The American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) recommends that the chamfer or
bevel on the striking face be approximate-
ly 10 percent of the diameter of the poll to
reduce chipping.
o Double-beveled nail slot to resist chip-out
when pulling large nails.
o Claw slot that narrows close to head to
grip and pull small nails.
o Well-formed claw points capable of getting
under embedded nail heads.
o Hickory, solid or tubular steel, fiberglass,
graphite or steel I-beam handle firmly
attached to head.
o Handle should be ergonomically shaped
and cushioned for secure grip and
o Fiberglass, graphite and steel I-beam
hammers should have a jacket of
materials such as polycarbonate to
provide overstrike protection.
o Warning and use message affixed to
the hammer.
Nail Hammers
The two basic nail hammers are
curved claw and straight claw. A curved
claw hammer is used most often in a
home for general carpentry and house-
hold chores. It should be used only
with non-hardened, common or finish-
ing nails. The curved claw offers lever-
age in removing nails and can also cra-
dle a 2x4.
A straight claw (ripping hammer) is
more likely to be used by professionals
to rip apart nailed wooden compo-
nents. It is a slightly heftier tool, used for
heavier carpentry, framing and ripping. It
should also be used only with non-hardened,
common or finishing nails.
Common head weights are 7 oz. for light-
duty driving; 10 oz. and 13 oz. for cabinet-
makers and householders; 16 oz. for general
usage and 20 oz. for heavy crating or fram-
ing. All sizes are available with curved claw,
while the straight claw comes in 10-, 12-, 16-
, 20-, 24-, 28- and 32-oz. weights.
Straight claw hammers are now available
with milled or checkered faces to grip the
nail head and reduce the effect of glancing
blows and flying nails.
Two innovations in the field of nailing
hammers are hammers with interchangeable
striking faces and hammers that hold nails.
The interchangeable striking faces allow one
hammer to be used for several different
applications. The striking face finishes
include milled and checkered. The hammer
with a nail-holding notch makes it safer and
easier to start a nail and also extends the
reach of the user.
Nail hammers may have handles made of
a number of materialswood, fiberglass,
graphite, solid steel or tubular steel. Each
offers a different combination of stiffness for
efficiently delivering the force of the blow to
the target and shock absorption to reduce
shock and stress on the user's hand, wrist
and arm. Wood flexes and offers some degree
of shock absorption. Stiffer materials such as
graphite or steel deliver the full force of the
blow but require cushioning in the jacketing
and grip to provide long-term user
comfort. Steel handles are the heavi-
est, while wood-handled hammers
are the lightest and least expensive.
Nail hammer handles are available
in a variety of lengths from 13" to 18".
Ball Peen Hammers
Ball peen (ball pein) hammers are
used with small shank, cold chisels
for cutting and chipping work,
rounding over rivet ends, forming
unhardened metal work and similar
jobs not involving nails.
The striking face diameter should
be approximately 3/8" larger than the
diameter of the head of the object
being struck.
The hammer is designed with a
regular striking face on one end and
a rounded or half ball or peen on the
other end taking the place of a claw.
Hammers are arguably the most abused, most misused of all
hand tools. Injuries can be caused by trying to strike too heavy a
blow with a lightweight hammer, by using a damaged hammer
and by using the wrong style of hammer for the task. Pass on the
following safety tips to customers:
Eye protection should be worn at all times when working
with striking tools. Bystanders should also wear eye protection.
Use the correct tool for the job. Injuries can be caused by
trying to strike too heavy a blow with a lightweight hammer
or by using the wrong style of hammer for the task.
Always strike the surface squarelyavoid glancing blows.
Do not use claw hammers (or hatchets) on concrete, stone
or hardened metal objects.
Never use a hammer with a chipped, battered or mush-
roomed face, a cracked claw or eye section or a loose or
cracked handle.
Remind customers not to hold the hammer too tightly.
They should grasp it lightly but firmly; gripping the bell end
of the handle for heavy hitting and the slight flare at mid-
handle for lighter blows.
Plain-Face Nail
Curved Claw
Octagon Nail
Hand Drilling
Ball Peen
The hammer face is heavier than the peen
end. Hammer sizes range from 2 oz. to 48 oz.
Twelve and 16 oz. are most popular.
Hand Drilling Hammers
Hand drilling hammers, weighing
between 2 lbs. and 4 lbs., are easy to handle
with a powerful punch. They have short
handles and are recommended for pound-
ing hardened nails into concrete or for
using with tools that drive nails and pins
into concrete or brick. They are the only
hammers to use with star drills, masonry
nails, steel chisels and nail pullers. A larger
striking surface, generous bevel and special
heat-treating minimize the chance of chip-
ping the striking face.
Sledgehammers are used for extremely
heavy jobs where great force is required.
They have long handles ranging from 14"
to 36" and heavy heads that weigh from 2
lbs. to 20 lbs. Sledges can be double- or
single-face. Many sledgehammers are now
available with lighter, balanced, rein-
forced plastic handles for easier use and
better weight distribution.
Mallets have rubber, plastic, wooden or
rawhide heads and are used to drive chisels
or hammer joints together. With the excep-
tion of wooden mallets, sizes are specified in
either head weight or diameter, such as 2-
1/4". Wooden mallets are specified by head
diameter only.
There are a variety of mallet shapes and
sizes for specific tasks. A carpentry mallet
with an angled head provides a natural strike
resulting in less wrist and arm fatigue. A
shop mallet with an octagonal head is used
for flat strikes, while a pestle-shaped mallet
with a round horizontal strike is generally
used with a chisel or other carving tools. A
rawhide mallet is used in furniture assembly,
shaping soft sheet metals or any task that
requires non-marring blows.
Specialty Hammers
Specialty hammers include riveting ham-
mers to set rivets; setting hammers to close
and open seams and dress edges in tin work;
straight and cross-peen hammers for riveting,
stretching and bending metal; scaling and
chipping hammers for general chipping in
welding and cleaning torch cuts; brick ham-
mers for cutting and setting brick and tile
hammers to set tile.
Others include soft-face hammers for
assembling furniture and wood projects and
setting dowels (won't mar the surface with
the blow); dead blow hammers that contain
lead shot for additional power and reduced
tendency to bounce (many feature non-mar-
ring and non-sparking striking faces); mag-
netic tack hammers for furniture upholster-
ing; drywall hammers that score, sheet and
set nails for drywall work and finishing ham-
mers for cabinet making, finishing and other
fine carpentry and light chores.
Pliers are designed to hold, turn and cut
objects. Pliers vary in length from 4" to 20".
Some pliers are available with factory-
applied, plastic-coated handles, providing
an attractive appearance and comfortable
grip. However, these pliers should not be
relied on for electrical work.
Pliers fall into two broad categories:
solid-joint and slip-joint, either of which
may have cutters.
Slip-joint pliers are of two designs: multi-
ple hole and tongue and groove. The slip or
adjustable joint enables the tool to adjust
to the size of the object being held.
Solid-joint pliers have a joint fixed with a
solid pin or rivet and are not adjustable.
Cutting pliers can be side, end or diago-
nal types. Side cutters have a cutting blade
on one side only and are available in long-,
curved- and short-nose types. End cutters
have cutting blades on the end and are
used to make sharp, clean cuts close to the
surface on wires, bolts and rivets. Diagonal
cutters have two cutting blades set diago-
nally to the joint and/or handles. Some
cutting pliers are made with a spring in the
handle to open them automatically after
each cut, providing ease and comfort for
the user.
Other pliers commonly found in home
improvement stores include:
Regular slip-joint pliersGeneral utility
pliers with two jaw-opening adjustments.
Some have a shear-type wire cutter.
Thin jaw slip-joint pliersLike slip-joint,
but made with a slim nose to reach into
tight places.
Multiple slip-joint or box-joint pliers
General utility tool with up to eight
adjustments, allowing for jaw openings up
to 4-1/2", either multiple hole or tongue
and groove. Straight and curved jaws are
available. Most common is 10" water
pump pliers.
Crimper stripper pliers Multi-purpose
electrician's pliers to crimp solderless con-
Slip-Joint Pliers
Needle-Nose Pliers
Thin-Nose Pliers
Wrench Pliers
Tongue and
Groove Pliers
Locking Pliers
Linemans Side
Cutting Pliers
Cutting Pliers
Duck-Bill Pliers
Plumbers Special Pliers
Slip-Joint Pliers
Crimper Stripper Pliers
Water Pump Pliers
Wire Stripper
nectors, strip most common gauge wire, cut
and hold or bend wire. They also have
sheaving holes that cut common sizes of
screws without deforming threads.
Needle-nose pliers Also called long-
nose pliers, they have a pointed nose for
reaching places with restricted clearance.
May have side cutters. A standard item for
most electrical and electronics work.
Thin-nose pliers Also called bent-nose
pliers, since the nose is bent at about an
80-degree angle for reaching around
Duck bill pliers have long, tapered, flat
noses for work in restricted areas. Used by
jewelers, telephone workers and weavers.
Wire strippers Feature adjustable stops
to cut insulation without damaging wire.
Midget pliers Include straight, chain,
round, end-cutting, diagonal-cutting and
flat-nose pliers in extra-small sizes.
End-cutting nippers Feature powerful
leverage for sharp, clean cuts close to the
surface on wires, bolts and rivets.
Lineman's or electrician's pliers Heavy-
duty, side-cutting pliers designed for all reg-
ular wire-cutting needs. Have gripping jaws
in addition to cutting edges. High-leverage
lineman's pliers have rivet placed closer to
the cutting edges to provide more leverage.
Fence pliers Pull and cut staples in
fencing. Feature two wire cutters and heavy
head for hammering.
Locking pliers Adjustable, vise-type
locking pliers can be locked on to a work-
piece, leaving both hands free. They are
versatile tools that can be used as pliers, a
pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire
cutters, a ratchet or a clamp. Locking pli-
ers are available in various sizes and
shapes: curved jaw with wire cutter,
straight jaw, long nose with wire cutter
and bent nose with wire cutter. The lock-
ing principle also applies to locking
clamps, which come in 4", 6", 11", 18"
and 24" sizes.
Some locking pliers use a mechanism that
allows one-handed release; others require
two hands to disengage. In addition, many
locking pliers provide a wire-cutting func-
tion, some from a full range, others from a
restricted range of jaw settings.
Screwdrivers are generally classified as slot-
ted, Phillips head or Robertson (square
recess) head, with all three types available
with round or square shanks.
Quality screwdrivers are judged by the
kind of metal in the blade, the finish and
amount of grinding on the tip. Material used
in the handle, and bar attachment to the
handle are other quality indicators.
If blade metal is poor quality, it will chip
and crumble under pressure. If the tip is
improperly ground and flares too much, it
will rise out of the screw slot. If the blade is
not attached firmly to the handle, it will
eventually loosen and slip in the handle.
Screwdriver Tips
A wide range of screwdriver tips are avail-
able: regular, cabinet, Phillips, Frearson,
Torx, clutch-head, hex and square-tipped.
Regular or slotted tips are used with
large, heavy screws. The tip is flared so it is
wider than the driver bar. Quality drivers
with regular tips should be accurately
ground for uniformity. Blades should not
taper too sharply from the tip because an
improperly tapered tip has a tendency to
rise out of the screw slot.
Cabinet tips are similar to regular tips, but
they have no flare. They are straight for use
with small screws and countersinking screws
where regular tips with a flare would mar the
wood or material on the side.
Phillips head drivers are used on cross-slot-
ted screw heads with modified, U-shaped
slots of uniform width. Sizes range from 0 to
4, with 0 being the smallest.
Frearson screw heads are similar to
Phillips. They have cross-slots, but they are
V-shaped slots with tapered sides. While a
cross-slotted driver will fit many sizes of the
type of screw for which it is intended, it is
best to use drivers of the proper sizes.

drive system provides six lobular

drive surfaces mated from lobes of the driv-
ing and driven elements. Drive surfaces have
vertical sides that permit the maximum
torque application to assure reliable clamp-
ing force.
Clutch-head tips have four points of con-
tact. They lock into the screw head when
turned counter-clockwise. The driver is
unlocked by turning it in the opposite direc-
tion. Because of the many contact points, the
tip will not damage the screw head.
Hex (hexagonal) tips are used in repair
work in the electronics field, particularly in
radio and television repair. They are used to
tighten socket set screws and usually come in
sets. Some sets are attached to and fold into a
metal carrying case. Other variations include
T-shaped hex tools with vinyl grips and L-
shaped keys for greater torque power.
Square-tipped (Robertson) screwdrivers
have become more common recently
because of increased do-it-yourself decking
projects. The screwdrivers have a square
head and range in sizes from 0 to 3 and
jumbo. The square head on the driver helps
grip the screw on all four sides to provide
maximum torque.
Multi-bit screwdrivers allow the user to
have a number of different types of tips in
one tool. Some products keep the inter-
changeable bits in a self-contained unit.
Offset screwdrivers are designed for
removing and inserting screws in places
where it is impossible to use a straight shank
screwdriver. They are available in many com-
binations of slotted and Phillips head tips
and with ratchet type mechanisms.
Some screwdrivers are designed with mag-
Clutch-head Hex

Regular Phillips
netized tips, convenient when guiding screws
to holes or otherwise inaccessible areas. They
also retrieve dropped screws and nuts. Others
have split-points that can be expanded in
width to fill the screw slot and hold screws
when guiding into inaccessible areas. A
spring clamp that fits over the screw head,
holding the bit in the slot, serves a similar
purpose. There are even screwdrivers that fea-
ture lights on the handles to allow the user
to work in dimly lit areas.
Screwdriver Handles
Handles are generally made of wood or
plastic. Some screwdrivers offer "dual
durometer" handles that combine two tex-
tures for a non-slip grip, even when hands
are wet. Top-quality wooden handles have
a bolster on the screwdriver bar that helps
hold the bar to the handle. The one-piece
bars in heavy-duty wooden handles
extend through the handle and are head-
ed over on the end with a metal cap.
Plastic handles should be made of fire- and
heat-resistant materials. If properly designed,
they give excellent grip. Rubber or vinyl is
often used as a non-slip or insulating cover
on plastic handles.
Specialty Screwdrivers
This group includes offset screwdrivers,
used in places impossible to reach with ordi-
nary drivers, screwdrivers with external
screw-gripper or screw-holder blades to start
screws in hard-to-reach spots, and offset
screwdrivers with ratchets.
Hex Nut Drivers
Hex nut drivers are similar to screwdrivers,
but have a hex opening more like wrench
sockets than screw tips. They are used to
drive or remove small hex nuts or bolts and
in confined areas such as electronic equip-
ment, car ignitions and plumbing jobs. They
come in several sizes and styles, with a fixed-
size or variable-size "socket" at the end.
Spiral-Ratchet Screwdrivers
A spiral-ratchet screwdriver uses a mecha-
nism similar to a push-pull drill. It has an
adjustable chuck to permit interchanging of
different tips and points. Ratchets drill and
remove screws. Pushing straight down on the
handle provides driving action.
High-Torque Ratchet
These screwdrivers feature a 360-degree
ball as a handle with a ratchet mechanism
that eliminates the need to grip and regrip
during the driving process. The wider grip-
ping surface generates more torque than con-
ventional screwdrivers. The amount of addi-
tional torque varies with the model. These
high-torque ratchet screwdrivers come with
interchangeable blades.
Braces guide auger bits and drills.
Attaching a screwdriver bit converts them
into powerful screwdrivers.
Drilling is done by turning the handle or
center section in a circular motion. Pressure
for drilling is given by bearing down on the
head of the bit brace with the heel and palm
of the hand. The head on the best bit braces
is mounted on ball bearings so that it will
turn freely from the rest of the brace.
Most braces incorporate a ratchet control
that permits the user to make half-circles
when there is no room for a full circle.
Push Drills
A push drill, similar in appearance to a
push-pull screwdriver, operates by a push-
pull movement using a spirally threaded
shaft and chuck to hold the bit. Push drills
are best for light jobs. Most have space in the
handle for storing extra drill points.
Hand Drills
Hand drills are limited to light work. They
feature adjustable drill chucks to permit easy
changes of drill points from 1/2" to 1/16".
Drilling action comes from turning a hand
crank on the side of a drill frame.
Bits (drill points) have a variety of uses
with braces and drills. Each bit and drill is
designed for a particular use and should be
used for its intended job.
Bit diameters are usually marked by a sin-
gle numberthe numerator of a fraction. For
example, an auger bit, which is marked by
16ths of an inch, with a number 8 would
stand for 8/16" or 1/2". Twist bits are usually
marked in the same manner by 64ths of an
inch. Thus a No. 8 bit would stand for 8/64"
or 1/8".
Countersink bits widen holes so flathead
screws may be flush mounted below the sur-
face for a finished appearance.
Expansion bits take the place of many
larger bits. They are adjusted by moving the
cutting blade in or out by a geared dial or
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
3/32 1/8 1/8 1/8 5/32 3/16 3/16 7/32 1/4 1/4
No. 0 No. 1 No. 2
10 12 14 16 18 20 24 7/16 1/2 9/16
5/16 3/8 3/8 3/8 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2
No. 3 No. 4
by a lockscrew to vary the size of the hole.
They are mounted below the surface for a
finished appearance.
Carbide-tipped bits are used for drilling
into masonry surfaces. They feature two
machined-in spiral threads, one for each
cutting edge, to provide passageways for all
dust and cuttings from the bottom of the
hole. Diameters of carbide tips are the same
as the full diameter of the body. A carbide-
tipped bit can be used in electric drills, drill
presses or hand drills for drilling holes in
brick, tile, cement, marble and other soft
masonry materials.
Twist-drill bits are used in both wood and
unhardened metals to make clearance holes
for bolts, screws, etc., and to make holes for
tapping. Only bits marked HS or HSS are suit-
able for drilling in metals. Common sizes run
from 1/16" to 1/2" diameter by 64ths.
Auger bits are most commonly used with
a brace for drilling holes in wood. Their
length varies from 7" to 10". Dowel bits are
short auger bits from 5" long. Long (ship)
auger bits range from 12" to 30".
Spade bits are used in electric drills and
drill presses for fast drilling of holes in wood.
Electricians use them for drilling clearance
holes for wire in floor beams. Bits have a
forged, flat paddle with a point and cutting
edges on one end and fit a 1/4" drill on the
other. Bits are heat treated and cutting angles
finish ground. Common sizes run from 3/8"
to 1-1/2" in diameter, in 1/16" progression,
and are about 6" long.
Power bore bits have a working end simi-
lar to auger bits and, like spade bits, are
used in conjunction with power drills.
Power bore bits produce a smoother hole
than spade bits and are used for fine work,
such as cabinet making.
Step bits have a graduated design so that
variously sized holes can be cut without
changing bits. Bits are designed for use with
power drills and have self-starting tips elimi-
nating the need for center punching. They
can be used on all materials, but are especial-
ly designed for use on metals.
Circle Cutters
Circle cutters cut circular holes in sheets
of metal, wood, plastic, hardboard, brass,
copper, mild steel, aluminum or composi-
tion materials.
The cutter features a regular center drill
with a cutting tool mounted on an
adjustable bar. Diameter of the circle is regu-
lated by a set-screw adjustment on the cut-
ting bar. Downward pressure is applied as
the regular bit pulls into the material and
forces the cutting tool down in a slowly
lowering circle.
Ground, hardened cutting tools assure
clean, even cutting in a variety of materials.
Cutting edges available on hole cutters
include high-speed steel bi-metal, carbide grit
and diamond grit. Each cutting edge is
designed to work best on specific materials.
Bi-metal for metal, wood, plastic, etc.; car-
bide for tile, brick, fiberglass and hard com-
posites; diamond for glass, ceramics and
other abrasive materials.
Due to the unbalanced load inherent in
the design of these tools, for safety's sake,
they must be used only in drill presses or
drill stands and never with a handheld drill.
Awls are used to make screw-starting holes
when lightly tapped by hand with hammer
or soft-face mallet. Awls are also used for
scribing along a straight edge to produce a
sawing or layout line on wood or soft metal.
Wrenches can be classified as general use
or plumbing wrenches (which are described
in the plumbing chapter).
Top-quality wrenches are forged from fine-
grade tool steel, machined to close toler-
ances, hardened and tempered for long serv-
ice life. Most types are sold individually and
in sets of various sizes.
Because most imported products are
made to metric specifications, a set of met-
ric wrenches has become a must in many
home workshops.
A wrench's main function is to hold and
turn nuts, bolts, caps, screws, plugs and vari-
ous threaded parts. Applying excessive
torque will strip or damage those threads, so
quality wrenches are designed to keep lever-
age and intended load in safe balance.
Users should not put "cheaters" on
wrenches to increase leverage. The proper
size wrench should be used. Too large a reach
will spread the jaws of an open-end wrench
or damage the points of a box or socket
wrench. When possible, a wrench should be
pulled, not pushed.
Open-end wrenches provide gripping
power on two sides of the head with another
side open so the wrench can be placed on a
nut, which might not be accessible to a
closed or box wrench. Open-end wrenches
have different size openings on each end and
should fit the nut exactly to prevent mutilat-
ing the nut edges.
Box (box-end) wrenches have enclosed
heads and provide more leverage by com-
pletely enclosing the nut. Some are offset to
provide knuckle room and clearance over
obstructions. They range in size from 4" to
16" long and are available with either 6- or
12-point rings.
Combination wrenches have a box and
an open end on opposite sides of the same
wrench. Both ends are usually the same
size. They are used for working on machin-
ery and are the most popular of all fixed-
end wrench styles. Also available is a
reversible ratcheting combination wrench
that allows the user to quickly tighten nuts
Box Wrench Open-end Wrench
Short Offset
Box Wrench
Adjustable Wrench
Combination Wrench
and bolts without lifting the wrench off and
repositioning it after each rotation.
Adjustable wrenches come in two styles:
locking and non-locking. Non-locking styles
feature an adjustable end opening with little
provision made for slippage. The locking
style also has an adjustablehead, but uses a
locking mechanism to secure jaws in desired
position, eliminating the need for constant
readjustment. When properly adjusted to a
nut or bolt, it will not slip.
Pipe (Stillson) wrenches screw pipes into
elbows or other threaded devices. Jaws actu-
ally bite into the surface to hold it for turn-
ing. They should never be used on plated
pipe installations because they will badly scar
the finish. Aluminum pipe wrenches are pop-
ular among professionals because of their
lighter weight, but they are more expensive.
(More information on pipe wrenches is avail-
able in the Plumbing Supplies chapter.)
Socket wrenches combine an offset handle
with a male drive piece that has a spring-
loaded bearing to lock on various size sock-
ets. They can be used at almost any angle
since handles may be attached to the head
by a jointed hinge device. Many socket
wrenches have a ratchet handle, making
reversing possible in confined spaces.
The most common type is the detachable
socket wrench, with square drive for hand
use. Common square drive sizes are 1/4",
3/8" and 1/2", and these are normally used
in conjunction with a ratchet wrench.
Sockets are available with 6-, 8- and 12-
point gripping ends, in a full range of inch
and metric sizes.
A socket wrench combined with a ratchet
wrench makes the job of tightening or loos-
ening nuts and bolts faster and easier than
conventional wrenches.
Flare net wrenches are flared to fit hex
Hex-key wrenches are short, L-shaped
tools designed to turn bolts or screws with
hexagonal heads. They also come in sets of
differentsized wrenches.
Ratchet wrenches are available in 1/4",
3/8" and 1/2" drive sizes and are used with
socket wrenches. They are available with a
round or teardrop-shaped head and contain
a reversing mechanism to facilitate tighten-
ing or loosening a fastener. Ratchet wrenches
are available in a variety of handle shapes
and lengths.
Accessories that can provide a drive means
to socket wrenches include flex handles,
speeder handles and T-handles. Extensions of
various lengths and universal joints can be
used with ratchet wrenches and socket
wrenches to work on fasteners in hard-to-
reach locations.
Locking wrenches are among the most ver-
satile hand tools found in the home or shop.
Through a locking action, jaws can be locked
in a holding position with pressure up to 1
ton. They can also be used as hand vises,
holding clamps, pipe wrenches and
handvise pliers. They are available with
both curved and straight jaws.
Torque wrenches are designed to permit
an operator to determine applied torque on
bolts, nuts and other fasteners. They measure
torque in ounce-inches, pound-inches and
pound-feet, as well as metric measure.
However, many manufacturers express
torque in foot-pounds (rather than pound-
feet) since this nomenclature is more familiar
to the average tool user.
Two basic hand torque wrenches are audi-
ble signal and visual display. The audible sig-
nal type signals applied torque by momen-
tarily releasing the wrench for a few degrees
of free travel. The release is usually accompa-
nied by a click sound, which gives the
wrench its popular names: click torque
wrenches or clickers. Torque value is set to a
micrometer scale on the handle or preset by
an adjusting screw in the handle cavity.
The visual display type indicates applied
torque on a dial or electronic display. Some
models have memory pointers that remain at
the maximum reading attained until manu-
ally reset.
For low-torque application, torque screw-
drivers are usually used. They are available in
either the release or indicating type. The
most widely used torque wrenches have
square drives to use standard detachable
sockets. Both ratcheting and non-ratcheting
types are available. Torque wrenches are used
in various operations where proper torquing
of nuts, bolts and other fasteners is critical,
for example, assembly and inspection of gear
trains and bearings, setting of clutches and
brakes, overhaul and experimental work.
Proper uses:
o Always work with clean threads free of
o Follow the product manufacturer's instruc-
tions for specific torque loadings, particu-
larly whether recommendations are for
dry, oiled or plated threads.
o Avoid overtightening a nut or bolt with a
conventional wrench before applying a
torque wrench.
o When not in use, set at lowest torque.
o Never use it as a hammer, pry or conven-
tional wrench.
o Avoid dropping. If dropped, check accura-
cy on a torque tester.
o When using adjustable wrenches, do not
over-torque by applying torque past the
release point. Learn the feel of the release
rather than relying on the sound.
o Read torque values on indicating torque
wrenches by looking at the dial at 90 to
its surface.
o When in frequent or continuous use, peri-
odically check calibration accuracy.
Metric measure torque wrenches are avail-
able in Newton meters (N.m), meter kilo-
grams (mkg) and centimeter kilograms
(cmkg) with N.m becoming the more univer-
sally accepted calibration. Many torque
wrenches are available with dual scales for
conventional and metric measurements.
Chisels are grouped according to the mate-
rial they cut, either wood, metal, stone or
brick. The two main types are wood and cold.
Quality wood chisels have large,
ergonomically shaped handles for a com-
fortable, sure grip and better control.
Blades should be of high-quality carbon,
heat-treated steel with precision-ground
cutting edge. In addition, woodworking
chisels should have crowned steel strike
caps to help center the blow.
One type of wood chiselthe butt chis-
el has a short blade that ranges from
about 2-1/2" to 3" long. It is used by pat-
tern makers, cabinetmakers, carpenters
and do-it-yourselfers for carving and par-
ing, particularly in tight spots. It can be
used with hard-faced hammers.
A firmer chisel is square-sided and has a
longer blade, usually from 3-1/2" to 6" and is
used mainly for cutting deeply into wood. It
should be used with soft-faced hammers.
Paring chisels are for light-duty, detailed
work such as trimming cabinets.
Cold chisels have several stylesflat (the
most widely used), cape, diamond-point and
round-nose. They should be used only for
cutting and chipping cold metal (unhard-
ened steel, cast and wrought iron, alu-
minum, brass, copper), never masonry.
Bricklayer's chisels should be used when cut-
ting masonry. Cold chisels should be struck
only with a hand drilling, ball peen or simi-
lar heavy hammer with a face diameter
approximately 3/8" larger than the struck
tool head.
Chisels have wood or plastic handles.
Wood handles are available in both tang (the
end of the blade or tang fits into the handle)
and socket type (a projection from the han-
dle fits into a socket in the blade). Plastic
handles fit only tang construction.
Like chisels and planes, gouges are used for
removing material from a block of wood,
plastic or metal. Gouges come in two pri-
mary types: inside and outside gouges.
All steel chisels and punches (not wood
chisels having wooden or plastic handles)
are subject to chipping that can cause
bodily injury much the same as steel
hammer faces. Therefore, applicable safety
standards require the warning "Wear
Safety Goggles" on each tool. Nearly all
domestic manufacturers comply by stamp-
ing those words into the shank.
Utility Knives
Utility knives are designed to cut heavy
materials such as carpet, flooring, roofing,
cardboard cartons, laminates and plastic.
Blades can be replaced by disassembling
the handle or ejecting them by depressing
a spring-release button on the handle.
Some knives swivel open to permit blade
Bolt Cutters
Heavy-duty cutters cut bolts, threaded
rods, cables and other metals from 1/16" to
5/8" thick. They are made from drop-forged
tool steel from 12" to 36" long. The longer
cutters have greater strength. Special leverage
joints allow great pressure to be applied with
minimum effort.
End-cut cutters operate similarly to end-
cut pliers, with special jaws available to cut
special metals.
Snips are designed for cutting sheet metal,
sheet brass, copper, plastic cloth and many
other materials. They are available in five
main types:
Straight or regularUsed for all straight
cutting jobs.
CombinationMore versatile than regular
snips; used for straight and moderately irreg-
ular cuts.
Duckbill or circularUsed for cutting cir-
cles or other curved designs.
Aviation or compound leverageCome
right-handed, left-handed or straight. Used
for cutting curves or straight. Cut easier
because of compound leverage.
Offset snipsHave offset handles to keep
hands above work. They are designed espe-
cially for long, inside cuts and are available
for right or left cutting.
Planes are used for trimming, beveling, fit-
ting and shaping wood, and smoothing
rough spots left by sawing and drilling.
Quality is determined by the steel used in the
cutter, cap iron, sole and body of the plane.
The cap iron should be of hard steel so
adjustment screws will not strip. Hard steel
cutters hold an edge longer.
Another factor in quality is precision man-
ufacturing. The sole of the plane should be
perfectly flat and the mouth opening narrow
and precisely ground for the plane to shave
wood flat without splitting the grain.
There are three broad groups of planes:
bench planes, block planes and specialty
Bench Planes
The main variable among bench planes is
length. They range from 7" smooth planes to
24" jointer planes.
Smooth planes are lightweight and used
for all-around work. Jack planes are longer
(12" to 15") and heavier than smooth planes,
have more cutting capacity and are used for
planing rough surfaces. Jointer (joiner)
planes, the longest and heaviest, are used to
shape edges of boards so two boards may be
joined together to make a close fitting joint.
Bench planes are adjustable; the best
have lateral, as well as fore and aft cutter
adjustment and a movable frog to vary
the mouth opening.
Block Planes
A block plane is the smallest, simplest
plane, used for light work, smoothing the
end grain of boards and shaping small pieces
of wood. It uses a single cutter blade, set at a
low angle in the frame to permit better cut-
ting. It is available in both adjustable and
non-adjustable models. Adjustable planes fea-
ture steel screws, usually on the end of the
plane, to vary the cutter height.
Some block planes have an adjustable
mouth to vary chip thickness. A very narrow
mouth is best for fine finishing, while a
wider mouth allows quick stock removal on
less critical work.
Specialty Planes
Rabbet planes, used widely by cabinet-
makers and do-it-yourselfers, cut rectangular
recesses out of the edge of boards and make
Jack Plane
Adjustable Throat
Block Plane
Bench Plane
grooves in flat surfaces.
Router planes are used to finish common
wood cuts such as dados or grooves in areas
inaccessible to a regular plane. Like other
planes, they have adjustments to control size
and depth of cut.
Circular planes are made with a flexible
steel bottom that can be adjusted to plane on
concave or convex surfaces.
Surface-Forming Planes (also called a file)
cut rapidly and smoothly on wood, alu-
minum, copper, etc. It will not clog because
shavings pass through holes in the body and
out the top. It is made of die-cast aluminum,
has high-quality steel cutting blades and is
available in circular and regular patterns.
Used to shape wood in carpentry or wood
sculpture, they also work well shaping plastic
auto body fillers. The blade design makes
them much safer than most cutting tools
and easier to use than a conventional plane.
Used to check and mark right angles,
squares are defined as steel or aluminum, try
and combination. Combination squares will
also measure 45-degree angles. If it has a
degree scale, it can determine any angle.
Framing squares, also known as carpen-
ters squares, are L-shaped and made from
one piece of material (steel or aluminum),
with the long end (body) usually 24" and the
short end (tongue) 16". Similar squares are
available in other sizes (8" x 12").
Squares may also have tables or scales, the
most common being rafter and Essex tables.
These provide information on how much
lumber will be needed on a job, as well as
information for roof framing.
A try square or tri square is an L-
shaped tool used as a guide for pencil
markings of cuts and to check the edges
and ends of boards to see if they are
square. It is also used to determine
whether a board is the same depth for its
entire length. Try squares have broad 6"
to 12" blades set at right angles, with
wood, plastic or metal handles.
A combination square combines the best
features of the
steel and try
squares. It has
a grooved
blade and head that can be adjusted to many
locations on the 12" blade to provide differ-
ent measurements. The head usually con-
tains one level vial and a scratch awl for
marking. One edge of the handle has a 45
angle for use as a miter square.
Some combination square sets are avail-
able with an attached protractor that is mov-
able throughout 180 for setting the blade at
any angle within that range. Combination
square heads (handles) are commonly plastic
or metal.
Miter squares measure 45 angles or bevels
on one side of the square and 135 angles
and bevels on the other side. Also available is
a try/miter square, which features a 45 cor-
ner edge.
Sliding bevel squares adjust to any angle
and are designed to match angles being cut
on the job site.
Centering squares are used to determine
the exact center of circles and other measur-
ing angles.
Pocket square is a small triangle with one
thick, wide edge. It has different angle meas-
urements marked on its surface and edges. It
also works well at guiding power saws along
Clarity and legibility of graduations is a
key factor in choosing any type of square.
Modern techniques enable manufacturers to
etch graduations into the blade and create
high-visibility markings that are durable as
Rafter tables, which appear on steel
squares, are used to figure lengths and cuts of
rafters. The table consists of six lines of fig-
ures, with each lines use indicated on the
left end of the square.
The Essex Board Measure table, which
also appears on steel squares, shows board
measures of almost all sizes of boards and
timbers. The table
consists of six lines
of figures, with
each line's use indi-
cated on the left
end of the square.
Tape Rules
For years tape rules have included two
main types: tape reels and retractable steel
tapes. In recent years, several types of
electronic measuring devices have been
Tape reels are typically 100' long and
designed to measure long distances. They are
contained in durable cases and rewound by a
crank on the side of the case, with a small
hook on the end for hooking onto objects to
be measured.
Retractable steel tapes or tape measures
range in size from 6' to 35', with 12' and 25'
the most common sizes. They vary in width
from 1/4" to 1-1/4"wider tapes are easier to
use and extend over longer distances.
Because the tape rule is flexible, it provides
an easy means for accurately measuring
curved surfaces. The concave cross section
allows it to be extended unsupported.
Contained in the housing of most models
are spring mechanisms that release or retract
the tape.
Some tape rules include a spring clip for
attachment to a belt and many have mark-
ings for laying out studs on 16" centers or
other specialized markings.
Since blades receive hard wear, replace-
ment blades or complete drop-in cartridge
assemblies are offered to fit some tape rules.
For easier reading of complicated measure-
ments, some tapes now include fractional
markings on the blades.
Electronic feature tape measures and elec-
tronic tape measures are recent additions to
this category. Electronic feature tapes are
conventional tape measures with electronic
features added. One such feature is digital
readouts to make measurement readings
more precise. Another electronic feature is a
voice recorder to make it easier to keep track
of multiple measurements. Electronic meas-
uring devices have no blades but instead
work on an ultrasonic or laser light principal.
Ultrasonic measuring devices have a
range of up to about 60'. The range on the
laser tape is up to about 300'. The accura-
cy rating on the laser tape is to within
1/8". These electronic tapes often include
built-in math functions, calculations and
memory to store measurements. One of
their advantages is the ability to easily
measure linear dimensions to compute a
rooms square footage, which is helpful
for estimating the right amount of wallpa-
per, paint or flooring needed.
A chalk line reel is a coiled string of 50' or
100' contained in a metal (usually alu-
minum) or plastic box along with powdered
chalk in various colors. It is used to mark
long, straight lines on floors, ceilings and
walls. Replacement chalk and string is avail-
able separately.
Folding Rules
Folding rules usually consist of 6" to 8"
hardwood lengths connected by spring
joints, but are available in steel and alu-
minum as well. Some have special plastic or
epoxy coverings to protect the blade and
printed numbers. Better models are painted
with clear protective coatings over sharp
multi-color printing and highlight common-
ly used markings for easy reading. Two basic
rule styles are inside-read and two-way.
An inside-read rule is marked on one
edge of the blade so that measurements
can be read from inside a window or door
frame. When the first section of the rule
is unfolded, it enables the user to make
accurate measurements without removing
it from the surface being measured. It is
also popular because it always lies flat on
the work surface.
The two-way, flat-reading rule is calibrated
so that it can be read from left to right at
either end of the rule, regardless of which
end is unfolded first. Folding rules are avail-
able for specialized uses such as engineering,
plumbing, masonry and mechanics. These
differ from general-use rules in the markings
on the rule face.
Extension rules are used to measure closed-
in areas such as doorways and window
frames where a regular folding rule will not
work. Extension rules feature a 6" sliding rule
in the first section that can be pulled out to
measure distances of less than 6" without
moving and marking.
Distance Measuring Wheels
Distance measuring wheels come with a
variety of features designed for the many dif-
ferent measuring applications. They are the
easiest way for one person to perform meas-
uring jobs that normally require two people.
Features include collapsible handles, gear-
driven counters, a variety of wheel sizes, dif-
ferent types of tread materials and optional
carrying cases.
The collapsible handle and optional carry-
ing case makes measuring wheels easy to
transport and store. The telescoping handles
are generally made of aluminum and have
either two or three sections. A folding hinge
handle provides the same convenience as the
telescoping handle.
The gear-driven counters come with
four digits for measuring up to 1,000 feet
or five digits for measuring up to 10,000
feet. A push button reset returns the
counter to zero.
Wheel diameter ranges from 4 to 25.
The smaller-wheeled units are suitable for the
do-it-yourselfer and while professionals gen-
erally use the large-wheeled units. Small
wheels are best suited for smooth surfaces,
while large wheels work best on rough ter-
rain. Some models also come with a paint
marking system.
Measuring wheels come with either one or
two wheels. The type of tread material
depends on the intended application as well.
Harder materials like polyvinyl are used on
most measuring wheels, while monoprene is
often used on larger professional units.
For point-to-point measurements, you can
read the distance straight from the counter.
For wall-to-point measurements, you have to
add the radius of the measuring wheel to the
meter reading. On wall-to-wall measure-
ments, you have to add the wheel diameter
to the meter reading.
Precision Measuring Tools
This group of tools contains such items as
calipers, dividers, micrometers, thread pitch
gauges and plumb lines. These items are used
primarily by professionals, but are gaining
popularity with hobbyists.
Calipers and dividers are used for transfer-
ring measurements from a model to a part
being produced. They can also be used to
measure the inside or outside of holes or
objects that cannot be reached easily with a
graduated measuring device.
Dial calipers and micrometers are used for
close tolerance work using drill presses and
lathes. These devices can make inside, outside
and depth measurements to within .001".
Thread pitch gauges are used to determine
the exact thread pitch needed for replacing
screws and nuts.
An ultrasonic measuring tool is available
that instantly measures room dimensions up
to 50' away. It features calculator functions
for compound measurements, area and vol-
ume calculations.
A plumb bob or plumb line is a small,
tapered, pointed weight suspended from
cord. It is used to measure true verticality or
depth. Chalk line reels can also be used as
plumb bobs, but are largely used to mark
long lines on floors, walls and ceilings.
Self-leveling laser plumb lines are available
that project a vertical laser line onto any sur-
face. The laser line is always visible because it
is not covered up with a pencil mark and it is
not affected by wind like a plumb bob.
A carpenters pencil is a wide, flat pencil
that contains soft lead. It is used for marking
measurements in construction projects. Its
flat design keeps it from rolling around the
job site.
Stud Finder
Stud finders/stud sensors are of two basic
types: magnetic and electronic. Stud finders
are devices that help locate wall studs,
enabling customers to hang pictures, mirrors
and shelves securely. Magnetic stud finders
do this by detecting the presence of nails or
steel studs. Electronic stud finders do the
same job, but they find the stud by measur-
ing the density around the stud. Some
advanced electronic stud finders will locate
wood and metal studs, pipe, conduit, electri-
cal wires and even reinforcing bar or rebar in
Levels measure true horizontal (level) and
true vertical (plumb) either with vials (spirit
levels) or sensors (electronic levels). These
vialtype mechanisms are incorporated into
rails of wood, plastic, aluminum or magne-
sium. The rail or body of the level may be
solid, I-beam or box-beam. High-quality lev-
els feature both top- and side-reading win-
dows and non-adjustable vials. Brass or alu-
minum edges are featured on high-quality
wood levels.
Level vials may be adjustable or non-
adjustable, straight or bent, replaceable or
permanent. Some vials are constructed of a
precision-machined block of solid acrylic and
are virtually unbreakable. Lasers have been
integrated into this tool, providing increased
capability, while still employing bubble vials
for leveling.
Electronic levels employ sensors rather
than vials. One model uses an audio signal
or colored lights to indicate level and plumb,
another includes a visual display. More
sophisticated models read angles as well as
level and plumb and offer a reset button so
the level can be recalibrated if dropped.
Laser technology is incorporated into
some models, providing the ability to quickly
and accurately locate level reference points
over long distances. This is accomplished by
projecting a beam of light up to 200'. Laser
levels feature either self-leveling or manual
leveling methods.
Rotary laser levels rotate 360 and project
a level reference point on all vertical surfaces
within range.
Pocket lasers are also available as a small,
lightweight, easy-to-use alternative.
New features for electronic levels include
having preset angles commonly used in
construction, a self-leveling feature, and
offering a graphical display that tells the
user the direction and extent to rotate
toward level or plumb.
Laser level accessories include a variety
of mounting devices such as clamps and
magnetic mounts that make setup and use
easier and more convenient. Specially
tinted glasses can extend the visible range
of the laser light.
Better wood levels come with brass edges.
These edges prevent chipping and help to
protect the frame from distortion due to
warping. Better aluminum levels come with
top-reading windows, non-adjustable vials
and protective end plates.
Levels are available in lengths up to 10'.
Magnetic edges are also available to free the
user's hands when used around ferrous met-
als. Some levels use graduated vials to help
determine very shallow slope.
Line levels are used where no flat sur-
face is available. For instance, a line level
can be attached to a string stretched
between two points, allowing the user to
make an accurate comparison of heights
between the two points. Chalk lines and
plumb bobs are also used to mark the dis-
tance or compare heights.
When it comes to calculating angles or
dealing with sloped surfaces, some electronic
levels can read roof pitches, stair slope and
drainage angles, and show them on an LCD
display in degrees, percent slope or inches
per feet (rise/run).
A torpedo level, usually 9" long, is used for
obtaining readings in close quarters.
Magnetized models and models incorporat-
ing a battery-operated light for working with
metal pipes and in dark areas are also avail-
able. Because of their compact size, mechan-
ics, plumbers, electricians, hobbyists and
homeowners often choose torpedo levels.
Carpenter's levels are made of wood or
metal (aluminum or magnesium) They
employ bubble and spirit vials positioned in
the center and both ends to check vertical
and horizontal surfaces. Lasers have been
integrated into this tool to provide increased
capability, although bubble vials are still
employed for leveling. Carpenter's levels are
typically 24" to 48" long.
Of the two basic axe stylessingle and
double bitsingle-bit axes are most popu-
lar. Single-bit axes are used to fell, trim or
prune trees, to split or cut wood or to
drive wooden stakes.
Single-bit axes are the easiest and safest for
an inexperienced woodcutter to use because
they have only one cutting edge. The other
end of the head forms a hammer for driving
wooden stakes. It should never be used to
strike splitting wedges, steel posts, stone or
any hard object. Single-bit axes should never
be struck by another striking tool.
Double-bit axes, with two cutting edges,
perform the same functions as the single-bit
versions. Professional lumbermen use these.
Axe handles are made of hickory and
range from 20" to 36" long. The most com-
mon is 36". Handles for single-bit axes are
curved to help increase leverage. Double-bit
axes have straight handles because the han-
dle must be symmetrical with the double-
edge head.
Axe Patterns
Axe pattern refers to the shape and type of
cutting edge. Standard patterns for double-bit
axes are Western, Michigan, Swamping and
Reversible. Those for single-bit axes are
Michigan, Dayton, Kentucky, Connecticut
and New Jersey.
There are few cutting differences among
head patterns. Customers have particular
The American National Standards Institute
Inc. (ANSI) requires that replacement han-
dles for striking tools must be equivalent
to the original in size and quality. It is
important that the eye of a replacement
handle should never be smaller that the
eye of the tool head. A handle eye that
does not fit can produce a loose assemble
that can present hazards.
Kentucky Swamping
Double Edge
Jersey Western
Single Edge
preferences by style and historic acceptance
in their localities.
Belt Axes
Belt axes have light, camp or utility use.
These single-bit models are equipped with a
sheath for wearing on a belt. The Boy Scout
axe is the most familiar belt axe.
Log-Splitting Axes
Log-splitting axes can split most wood
types in one stroke. Rotating levers in the
head convert each downward stroke into a
direct outward force, preventing the blade
from sticking in the log. Some models feature
handles of high-impact plastic molded
around a fiberglass shaft, making them virtu-
ally unbreakable.
Hatchets are a combination tool, part
hammer and part axe. Some hatchets, such
as half hatchets or carpenters hatchets, are
for general use; others, such as flooring, lath
and shingling hatchets, are used for special
tasks like laying hardwood floors and
installing drywall or gypsum board.
The striking face is intended for pounding
on nothing harder than common nails. It
should never be struck with another hatchet
or a hammer.
The grade of steel in the head, material
in the handle and how it is attached and
type of tempering and sharpening deter-
mine quality.
Splitting Mauls and Wedges
Wedges are made of steel, aluminum and
plastic. Steel wedges are forged from a solid
piece of high-carbon steel and may be heat-
treated. Aluminum and plastic wedges are
designed primarily for use with chain saws
and crosscut saws to hold the kerf apart to
prevent binding.
A woodchoppers maul is similar to a
sledgehammer, but one end of the head is
wedge-shaped. That end is used to make a
starting notch. A wedge is inserted and struck
with the hammer end of the maul head.
An axe can also be used to make a start-
ing notch and a maul used to drive the
wedge. Wedges should be struck with a
sledge or woodchoppers maul having a
larger striking face than the head of the
wedge. Never strike the steel wedge with
the cutting edge of the maul.
Safety goggles should be worn when
using these tools. In addition to possible
chipping of the tool, if it is misused, fly-
ing wood chips could strike the eye of the
user or someone nearby.
Hand Saws
Handsaws have 14" to 26" blades. Fineness
of cut depends on the number of cutting
teeth (points) per inch and tooth shape. The
higher the number of points, the finer the
cutting. A coarse crosscut saw with seven or
eight teeth per inch is best for fast, rough
work or for use on green wood. A fine-tooth
crosscut saw with 10 or 11 teeth per inch is
best for smooth, accurate cutting on dry, sea-
soned wood.
Some handsaws are available with special
aggressive design teeththree cutting
edges instead of the conventional two. They
cut on both the forward and backward
stroke, thereby cutting several times faster
than saws with traditional teeth. They may
also have the teeth induction-hardened to
help keep them sharp longer.
Saws also come with a wide range of han-
dle styles, but the three most common are
pistol grip, closed handle and straight han-
dle. Pistol grip handles are used primarily on
smaller saws that have thinner blades. Closed
handles are incorporated more often on larg-
er saws and help to add support to the larger
blades. Drywall saws and other small-bladed
saws often use straight handles that are in
line with the saws blade.
Most saws require minimal maintenance
other than oiling of the blades to prevent
rust. They should be hung up by their blade
or handle since blades have a tendency to
bend when stored flat.
Quality features in saws include:
o Tempered alloy blades. Lower-grade
steel quickly loses its sharp edge but is
easy to sharpen.
Drywall Saw
Dovetail Saw
Bow Saw
Standard Hand Saw
Keyhole Saw
Compass Saw
Back Saw
Miter Box
Coping Saw
Close-Quarter Hacksaw
Rigid-Frame Hacksaw
Pull Saw
Miter Box
o Rust-resistant or Teflon-coated blade
finish. Teflon-coated hand saws
reduce many binding and residue
buildup problems inherent to wood
cutting. Reduced friction or drag makes
for smoother, easier cutting.
o Hardwood or sturdy plastic handle. Special
aluminum or plated steel nuts and bolts to
fasten blade to handle.
o Taper-ground blades, thicker at the cutting
edge, to prevent binding in the cut.
o Bevel-filed teeth evenly set in two alter-
nate rows, one row to the right of center,
one row to the left; produces a groove or
kerf slightly wider than the thickest part of
the blade; prevents or reduces binding
while sawing.
Rip Saws
A rip saw has large, chisel-shaped teeth,
usually 5-1/2 teeth per inch, and is made to
cut with the wood grain. Blade lengths meas-
ure from 24" to 28". Teeth are cross-filed to
ensure that the chisel point is set square to
the direction of cutting for best performance.
This saw is best held at a 60 angle to the
surface of the board being cut. The ripping
action of the saw produces a coarse, ragged
cut that makes the saw unsatisfactory for fin-
ish work.
Crosscut Saws
Most commonly used crosscut saws are 10-
to 12-point for fine work and 7- or 8-point
for faster cutting. Ten teeth per inch is con-
sidered general purpose. Teeth are shaped
like knife points to crumble out wood
between cuts. Best cutting angle for this saw
is about 45. Blade lengths range from 20" to
28", with 26" the most popular.
Hacksaws are fine-toothed saws designed
to cut metal or plastic. The saws consist of a
blade held in a steel frame with relatively
high tension.
High-tension models (with tension to
32,000 p.s.i.) are also available. High tension
holds the blade more rigidly straight, which
enables the user to make fast, straight cuts.
Blade life is also increased. Look for a quick-
release blade change mechanism, tension
guide and rugged frame on these models.
Blades come in several designs, such as
coarse-, medium-, fine- and very fine-
toothed. Regular or standard blades are
used for general-purpose cutting; high-
speed or bi-metal blades for cutting hard,
extra-tough steel.
The medium blade has 18 teeth per inch
and is good for cutting tool steel, iron pipe
and light angle iron.
A fine blade, which has 24 teeth per inch,
cuts drill rod, thin tubing and medium-
weight materials.
The very fine blade, with 32 teeth per
inch, is used for extra thin materials, light
angle irons, channels, wire rope and cable. As
a guide to selecting the right blade, find out
what material will be cut; then suggest a
blade that will have at least three teeth in
contact with the material.
Frames vary in style and price. Most
can be adjusted to hold various blade
lengths. Some have both horizontal and
vertical positions for blades. Others pro-
vide blade storage.
A close-quarter (or utility) hacksaw holds
and positions a hacksaw blade so it can be
used effectively in narrow spaces and slots.
Compass or Keyhole Saws
Compass saws cut curved or straight-sided
holes. Saw blades are narrow, tapered nearly
to a point to fit into most spaces. Blades
come in three or four styles that can be
changed to fit the job. Some models have
induction-hardened teeth for longer life
without sharpening.
Keyhole saws are small compass saws with
finer teeth that can cut metal. Turret head
keyhole blades can be rotated and locked in
several positions for easier cutting in tight,
awkward spots.
Coping Saws
Coping saws cut irregular shapes, curves
and intricate decorative patterns. They con-
sist of a thin blade and a C-shaped steel ten-
sion frame. The removable blade is typically
6-1/2" long.
A backsaw is a thick-bladed saw with a
stiff, reinforced back to provide the rigidity
necessary in precision cutting. It varies in
length from 10" to 30" and is found in tooth
counts from seven to 14 teeth per inch. They
are used with miter boxes to cut miters.
Bow Saws
Bow (buck) saws consist of a tubular steel
frame and a saw blade for fast cutting of all
woods. The bow saw's frame is important,
since the thin blade, usually 3/4" wide, must
be held under high tension for fast cutting.
Advantages of this general-purpose saw are
its all-around utility and light weight.
In 21", 24" and 30" lengths, bow saws
normally have teeth placed in groups.
Within each group, distance between teeth
varies, ensuring a smooth, vibrationless cut.
Wide gullies provide ample space for saw-
dust to accumulate without binding the
saw. In the 36", 42" and 48" lengths, the
Six basic rules apply to redressing chisels and other tools with a cutting edge:
1. Always wear safety goggles.
2. Tool must be returned to its original shape.
3. Discard any tool with cracks or chipping.
4. Temperature must be kept low.
5. A medium- or fine-grit whetstone file should be used.
6. Wheel direction should always be from the cutting edge toward the body of the tool.
This directs heat away from the cutting edge.
Cold chisels are generally hardened about 1-1/2" back from the cutting edge and about 3/4"
back from the head. Redressing should be kept within these limits. The correct cutting edge
bevel may vary from 55 through 90. For all around use, 70 is a good compromise. Soft metal
bevel may be as low as 55 and hard steel bevel as high as 90.
most popular toothing pattern provides for
two cutter teeth to each raker tooth. This
combination of teeth ensures maximum
cutting ability in these longer lengths,
regardless of wood hardness.
Some bow saws are designed to hold hack-
saw blades as well as standard bow saw
blades. These multi-purpose saws can be used
to cut wood, metal or plastic.
Specialty Saws
Wallboard or drywall saws resemble a
kitchen knife in design. They will cut plaster-
board in the same fashion as a keyhole saw
and are used for sawing holes for electric out-
lets and switchplates. The saw is self-starting
with a sharp point for plunge cuts. It may
also have induction teeth for longer life
without sharpening.
Veneer saws are specially designed for saw-
ing thin materials such as wood paneling.
The blade is curved downward at the end,
with cutting teeth on the curved part of the
back to saw slots or grooves in the panel
with minimum damage. Standard saw
lengths are 12"-13", with 14 teeth per inch.
Rod saws are a form of hacksaw-type
blade, used in regular hacksaw frames and
capable of cutting through most hard materi-
alsspring and stainless steel, chain, brick,
glass and tile. The blade consists of a perma-
nently bonded tungsten carbide surface on a
steel rod. Because the blade is round, it can
cut in any direction.
Pull saws are similar to most traditional
saws except the teeth are designed to cut
with a pulling motion. Pull saws cut wood
faster and with less effort because of the
thinner and more flexible blade. The saws
feature teeth diamond- ground on three cut-
ting edges. Because of the flexibility of the
blade and the minimal set to the teeth, the
saws are excellent for flush cutting. Mini pull
saws that cut sharply on the pull stroke are
used for precision carpentry.
Retractable and folding saws come in a
variety of designs and are engineered for the
blades to either retract or fold back into a
plastic or wooden handle.
Flooring saws are designed to precision-
cut floorboards and baseboards. These
short, crosscut saws feature a curved cut-
ting edge on the bottom.
Information on saws used for outdoor pur-
poses such as pruning can be found in the
Lawn & Garden section.
Miter Boxes
Miter boxes are used to help cut exact
angles for wood trim and rafters. Better mod-
els provide a mechanism for a backsaw. They
are made of plastic, hardwood or aluminum.
Quality boxes provide more accuracy for
deep cuts and have exact adjustments and
calibrations. They have length gauges to aid
in duplicating pieces and stock guides to
allow for proper cuts on intricate moulding.
Other features to look for are roller bearings
in the saw guide and grips that hold the saw
above work so both hands can be used to
position the piece.
Some boxes feature magnetic mount
guides. The magnets grasp and hold the saw
to the miter box saw guide or hold the saw
blade to the plane of the saw guide. This
helps assure an accurate miter cut without
impairing the saw stroke.
Saw Sets
Most saws become dull with use and need
periodic filing and resetting. A saw set is used
to reset or bend teeth
back to their original
position so teeth will
make a cut wider
than the blade to
avoid binding in the
cut or kerf.
Most sets are
made with a pistol grip and designed so the
saw teeth are visible during setting. A good
saw set should have enough calibrations to
ensure an even set to each tooth. Saw sets
can be used on back, hand and small circular
saws with 4-16 points.
Clamps are used in a number of different
applications to hold items in place or secure
items. Most clamps are constructed from
wood, steel, cast iron, high-impact plastic or
glass-reinforced nylon, and some have rubber
or nylon straps.
The most significant innovation to come
about recently in the area of clamps is the
development of one-handed bar clamps.
These clamps work with a pistol grip and
allow the user to tighten or loosen the clamp
by using just one hand on a trigger switch.
They are available in jaw openings from 6" to
50" and a variety of sizes.
C-clampsthe most common type of
clampconsist of a C-shaped frame, made of
either forged steel or cast iron, into which an
adjustable screw is assembled to change the
jaw opening. The size of a C-clamp is meas-
ured by its capacitythe dimension of the
largest object the frame can accommodate
with the screw fully extended. Also impor-
tant is depth of throat, the distance from the
center line of the screw to the inside edge of
the frame. C-clamps range from 1" to 12".
Bar clamps have a clamping device
built on a flat bar (usually steel). The
Bar Clamp
Pipe Clamp Fixture
Web or Band Clamp
Hand Screw Clamp Spring Clamp
C Clamp
length of the bar determines the capacity
of the clamp, which is the dimension of
the largest object that can be accommo-
dated between its clamping jaws. "Reach"
is the distance from the edge of the bar to
the end of the clamping jaws. Screw pres-
sure applies the final clamping load. Bar
clamps are used for clamping large
objects, making them popular with wood-
workers and hobbyists.
Pipe clamps can be mounted to stan-
dard threaded or unthreaded pipe.
Clamping can be performed from one end
or both, and jaws can be positioned at the
ends or anywhere along the pipe. Pipe
clamps can also be quickly converted
from a clamp to a spreader.
Threadless pipe clamp fixtures are
designed so ends of pipe don't need threads.
A hardened steel set screw holds the head
firmly on the pipe, but is easily loosened.
The 3/4" size has a crank handle, and depth
from screw center to pipe is 11/16". The 1/2"
size has a crosspin handle, with depth from
screw center to pipe of 7/8".
A handscrew clamp consists of two
hardwood clamping jaws adjusted to the
work by two steel screw spindles assem-
bled into the jaws. The jaws adjust to a
variety of angles and come in a wide
range of sizes. They are used for clamping
wood, metal, plastic and fabrics.
Handscrew adaptors can be used to con-
vert handscrews into miter clamps. Also
available are handscrew kits so woodwork-
ers can make their own jaws.
Corner clamps are designed to hold miter
or butt joints at a 90 angle. They can be
used for gluing picture frames, cabinets,
moulding and trim.
A spring clamp consists of two metal jaws
to which clamping pressure is applied by use
of a steel spring. They are designed for use
with thin materials. Spring clamps are versa-
tile enough for home, hobby or professional
use indoors or outdoors, holding round or
odd-shaped objects. They typically come
with 1", 2" or 3" jaw openings.
Web clamps (also called band clamps)
apply even clamping pressures around irregu-
lar shapes or large objects and hold tight by
means of a spring-loaded locking fixture.
A hold-down clamp is the screw portion of
a "C" clamp, designed to be secured onto any
surface, with the screw used to apply clamp-
ing pressure.
Edging clamps are used for installing
moulding and trim on furniture and counter-
tops, holding work at right angles, and for
welding or soldering. They are designed to
hold edging strips, moulding and trim firmly
when fastening to the edge or side of work,
leaving hands free.
Welding clamps are a unique type of
bar clamp ideal for quick tacking and
other welding jobs. Available in 6" and
18" jaw openings.
Heavy-duty press screws can be used
for deep-reach surface clamping. Available
in three different lengths, they can be
useful for gluing, welding or other assem-
bly applications.
The Hand Tool Institute (HTI), Tarrytown, N.Y., has a wide array of training materials available that
are designed to promote hand tool safety. HTI offers a video, "Hand Tool Safety in the Workplace," ref-
erence charts for hand tools and automotive tools, a book titled "Guide to Hand Tools" that covers
selection, proper use and safety tips for hand tools, and a set of 12 posters that illustrate safety tips for
specific tools. For more information on hand tool safety, contact HTI at (914) 332-0040.
Here are some hand tool safety tips to pass on to customers:
Dont use torque wrenches to pry apart components.
Dont use leverage extension on a wrench handle.
Never pull on a loosely adjusted wrench. Be certain the wrench fits the nut tightly.
Dont hammer on a wrench. Wrenches are to be used with muscle power only.
Pipe wrenches are for turning and holding. Dont use them for lifting or bending.
Never expose pliers to excessive heat.
Dont hammer with pliers.
Never cock or tilt an open-end wrench.
Dont bend stiff wire with your plier tip.
Dont bend heavy bars on light-duty vises.
Dont use pliers on round shanks or handles of screwdrivers for adding turning power.
Dont use sheet-metal cutting snips to cut heavy wire. There are tools for this purpose.
Dont use screwdrivers to pry anything apart.
Dont use a tool box, chest or cabinet as an anvil or for a similar purpose.
Dont use a screwdriver as a punch or chisel.
Dont use a screwdriver to test for current.
Never use a striking tool or struck tool with a loose or damaged handle. Replace or
secure properly.
Never use any struck tool with a mushroomed, chipped or damaged head.
Never strike chisels or other hard objects with a nail hammer as the hammer may chip and
cause eye or other bodily injury.
Never strike one hammer with another or with a hatchet.
Never use a hot chisel for cutting stone, concrete or cold metal.
Never strike a metal object with the striking face of an axe. The axe striking face should only be
used to drive soft objects, such as wood or plastic stakes.
Never use a bricklayers hammer to strike metal or other tools.
Dont use brick chisels on metal. They are strictly for masonry.
Never drive one maul by striking with another maul, sledge or other striking tool.
Never use a drift pin as a punch.
The size of a vise is measured by both the
jaw width of the vise and the capacity of the
vise when the jaws are fully open.
Bench vises are designed for light work in
the home, garage and farm. They come in
stationary and swivel models, milled and
ground jaws, machined to ensure proper
Woodworking vises feature jaws made of
wood from 6" to 10" wide. Some woodwork-
ing vises have a fast-acting screw arrange-
ment for the rapid positioning of the mov-
able jaw prior to clamping. Smaller vises
have continuous screws and are light and
easy to clamp on a workbench or sawhorse.
A hinged pipe vise is used to hold pipe in
position for threading and cutting.
Home workshop or utility vises have
jaws ranging from 3" to 6". Better models
feature swivel bases so the vise may be
turned to the best angle for each particu-
lar job. Some utility vises either have cast-
in pipe jaws or permit special curved-face
pipe jaws to be inserted between the regu-
lar jaws to add versatility.
An angle vise can be adjusted to a flat
position and used as a regular vise.
Marked adjustments permit the user to
obtain any desired angle. The vise can
also be locked into any position with a
thumb screw, and bolts can be tightened
for permanent positioning.
A clamp vise is a combination fixed and
portable vise, featuring a bottom clamp for
easy attachment to workbenches, sawhorses
or tables.
Glue Guns
Electrically operated glue guns consist of a
heating element, nozzle and glue chamber.
Glue or caulking sticks are put in the cham-
ber, where they are melted by heat and
released through the nozzle. The adhesive
cures by cooling. Subjecting the adhesive to
heat again can break the bond.
Cordless models are also available. Some
models require the operator to maintain
pressure on the glue stick with his thumb.
Others are self-feeding. The trigger mecha-
nism on some models closes the nozzle to
prevent dripping.
There are a variety of glues availableboth
with a gun and in replacement packages
including heavy-duty type for wood joints
requiring about 60 seconds drying time and
lightweight for paper, etc., with shorter dry-
ing time.
Caulking/sealer sticks provide waterproof
protection for cracks and joints.
Rivet Tools
Rivets can be used in place of screws, nails
and other fasteners in many applications.
Rivet tools use "blind" rivets, so-called
because they can be set from one side with-
out "bucking" at the back.
They are usually purchased in sets contain-
ing one or two interchangeable nosepieces
that set 1/8" steel or aluminum rivets or
3/16" aluminum rivets. Sets with fixed nose-
pieces are capable of setting only 1/8" steel or
aluminum rivets.
Many rivet tools feature self-storage of
the extra nosepieces. Other features
include sliding latches to lock handles
closed for storage, spring opening handles
to make constant usage easy and epoxy
finishes to protect the tool.
Stapling Tools
There are four types of hand stapling
machines: desk stapler, pliers-type hand sta-
pler, staple gun and hammer tacker.
Desk staplers and pliers-type staplers are
both anvil-in-base units. The pliers-type
machines are used in heavy-duty work,
although lightweight units are on the market.
Unlike anvil-in-base staplers, staple guns
shoot staples with a one-hand lever opera-
tion. Some guns now shoot nails as well as
staples. One new design features a handle
that is squeezed toward the front instead of
the rear, making it easier to use and control.
Staple guns are good for jobs requiring mate-
rial to be held with one hand and fastened
with the other.
Guns of several weights are available and
used for lining closets, installing insulation,
tacking ceiling tile or fastening roofing paper.
Specially designed guns are made for fas-
tening low-voltage wire. Other guns fasten
wire and cable. Some guns shoot flared sta-
ples without an external anvil to staple insu-
lation around pipes and ducts.
Staple guns are useful for jobs such as
attaching new window shade material to
an old spring roller, recovering furniture,
installing new webbing on chairs, making
a garden trellis, attaching weather strip-
ping and tacking chicken wire to a fence
stake. A staple gun can be fitted with a
variety of staple sizes and attachments for
specialized applications.
Electric and cordless staple guns are also
available. They have the same uses as the
hand-operated guns but the staples are eject-
ed automatically with the pull of a trigger.
Some guns are built with a flush front and
extended nose for accurate staple placement
into hard-to-reach areas. They come with
trigger locks to prevent accidents.
Automatic hammer tackers look like a
hammer, with the stapling mechanism in the
SOLDERINGProcess similar to brazing but with lower temperature filler material.
Temperature is generally below 800 F (mostly between 400 and 600 F). A soldered joint is
not as strong as a brazed joint.
BRAZINGJoining two metal parts, not necessarily the same metal, using a different mate-
rial to make the bond., An alloying action takes place between the base metals and the braz-
ing filler metal. This provides a very strong joint, fully as strong as the brazing material itself.
Nearly all brazing is done at temperatures above 1,000 F (usually at about 1,400 F).
WELDINGJoining two pieces of similar metal by heating both parts to their melting point
and making them flow together. A tricky, complicated task, generally requiring the use of a
combustible gas with pure oxygen or an electric arc. In welding steel with an oxygen/gas
torch, it is hard to make a strong weld without removing the carbon from the steel and
making it more brittle.
FLUXIn both soldering and brazing, the joint must be clean in order to secure a proper bond.
Therefore, both parts should be cleaned with emery paper or steel wool or ground clean before
making the joint. Flux is used in soldering or brazing to complete the cleaning process and seal
out air. This prevents the base metals from oxidizing and makes a good bond.
head and the staples stored in the handle.
The unit is used like a hammer and automat-
ically drives a staple with each blow. Quality
features include shatterproof handles,
retractable striking edges, magnetized striking
portions and double-magazine capacity for
quicker reloading. Newer models have been
designed to be lighter in weight and easier to
handle, improving on older models that were
front-heavy in weight.
Similar to a stapler is a nail gun that
drives and countersinks nails into panel-
ing, carpeting, moulding and insulation
with a single stroke. It looks like a heavy-
duty stapler but will not scratch, mar or
dent work surfaces. Nails are 11/32" in
length and come in woodtone colors to
match paneling. The nail gun usually
comes packaged with a supply of nails
and complete instructions for the do-it-
Although there is a wide variety of staple
types and sizes, each staple gun will only
accept a certain range of sizes and styles.
In choosing the proper staple-leg length
for the job, consider two things: the thick-
ness of the material to be stapled and its
hardness. Staple leg lengths range from 3/16"
to 9/16". In hardwood, 3/16" to 1/4" penetra-
tion is sufficient. Softwood requires up to
3/8" penetration. However, if the staple
stands away from the work, it is too long for
the gun being used. Some staple guns handle
round-crown as well as regular staples, while
electric staple guns can handle brads for
moulding and trim work.
Concrete Fastening Tools
Concrete fastening tools allow pins and
studs to be set in concrete and cement block
with only a few hammer strokes. The tool
itself consists of a plastic or polypropylene
handle with a tempered steel rod protruding
from the top and running almost through
the tool. On the bottom of the tool is a hole
into which specially tempered pins and studs
are inserted head first.
On each pin and stud there is a washer,
about a third to a quarter of the way up from
the point. After the head of the pin or stud
has been inserted into the fastening tool, a
few hammer blows on the protruding steel
rod will set it in position. Pins and studs can
also be driven through 1/8" steel and still set
in concrete. When properly set, fasteners can
hold up to 100 lbs.
A heavy hammer with a head weight of 3
lbs. or more is needed to use this tool.
Steel toolboxes are most popular. Their
prices vary according to gauge of steel
used, number of trays and whether the
box is reinforced in the corners.
Some precision tool users use hardwood
chests because the wood absorbs rust-produc-
ing condensation. Carpenters' toolboxes are
specially designed so carpenters can carry
hand saws and framing squares in the same
box with other tools. The word "carpenter"
differentiates this box from a regular toolbox
because of the extra tools it will carry.
Plastic toolboxes are available in a number
of styles. Some are suited for light-duty use,
while others are comparable to steel in quali-
ty. The highest quality plastic boxes are con-
structed of polypropylene, and some models
can hold up to 75 lbs. of tools. The high-
quality plastic boxes feature interlocking
pinned hinges, tongue-in-groove closure and
positive locking latches, as well as padlock
eyes and lift-out trays.
Tool Chests
Utility chests store parts, screws, nuts,
bolts and other small pieces. These chests are
made of either plastic or steel with remov-
able plastic dividers.
Tool Caddies
Plastic revolving tool caddies hold tools
and items such as nails, bolts, screws, glue
and wire in tiers of circular trays.
The caddies are made of a high-impact
plastic and feature a ball bearing base plate,
allowing the unit to revolve easily.
Modular Workshops
Modular, mobile workshops are increasing
in popularity, as users like their adaptability
and functionality. Some models feature
adjustable leveling feet, adjustable height,
detachable casters, latching doors, drawers,
hooks for hanging tools, dust collection
ports, quick-change tool set-up, lock-down
hardware and corner tops. They can hold
large and small tools, and can be designed to
serve as a shop bench, router station or
clamping station.
Steel Sawhorse Bracket Kits
Sawhorse kits convert five pieces of square-
cut lumber into a sturdy sawhorse; the
assembly is secured with nails or wing nuts.
Those that require wing nuts allow disassem-
bly with no damage to the wood. The other
type provides flanged nail holes for easy nail
removal with a claw hammer.
Selling features include ease of assembly
since miter cuts are not necessary and sturdi-
ness and convenient storage since most
brackets allow legs to fold together.
Medium-duty brackets are not as long as
heavy duty. Most require nails to give added
strength and rigidity. Light-duty brackets are
similar to medium, only shorter.
Sawhorse legs are made of wood, tubu-
lar material or fabricated steel. Most
require that a nonmetal cross-rail be
added (with metal cross-rail there is dan-
ger of ruining saw teeth).
Workbench Leg Kits
Workbench kits contain four upright legs,
four crosspieces, braces, nuts, bolts and wash-
ers. Some include a tool-bench rack to organ-
ize small tools. The kit includes plans for
building the bench, using a 4' x 8' sheet of
3/4" plywood cut into eight parts.
Specialty Workbenches
There are two types of specialty work-
benches. One is a stationary woodworking
bench with a variety of holes, pegs and vises
to hold the work firmly. These are expensive
and seldom seen in hardware stores and
home centers.
The second type is a portable specialty
bench that comes as a tabletop or folding
bench. The folding benches offer easy storage
and a firm, broad base. The tabletop benches
clamp securely to table or shelf and are ideal
for apartment dwellers.
The bench is designed to hold irregular
pieces securely. It will hold a round piece of
wood, a bicycle, a door, a window casing,
etc., so it can be worked on with hand or
power tools.
Ripping Bars
Ripping bars, also known as crowbars or
wrecking bars, are used in construction,
demolition and where pulling nails, ripping
wood and similar tasks are done. Those with
curved ends are also known as gooseneck
bars. Because of their length, usually 24" or
30", they have more leverage than hammers,
enabling them to pull much larger and
longer nails.
Pry bars are smaller and flatter than rip-
ping bars and are not designed for heavy-
duty prying. They are useful for removing
nails with exposed heads and for prying
open paneling or moulding without marring
the surface. One bar features an extra curve,
which makes it useful for lifting and holding
such things as drywall panels in place. They
feature beveled notches in each chisel-like
end and range in size from 6" to 21".
Quality winches or come-alongs feature
baked enamel finishes with plated ratchet
locks and high carbon steel pinion gears.
Winches are rated by weight capacity,
ranging from about 900 to 2,000 pounds
capacity. Gear ratios from 3-to-1 up to 5-
to-1 are common.
Propane, MAPP Gas and
Oxygen Torches
Torches are defined by the uses for which
they are designed and by the fuels they use
compressed oxygen, solid oxygen tablets,
propane, MAPP gas or butane, for example.
Propane torches light instantly and burn
with a clean blue flame. They require no
pumping, priming or pre-heating. They con-
sist of a disposable propane fuel tank with a
burner assembly that screws on top. The
burner has a built-in valve that turns the
torch on or off and regulates the size of the
flame. They will operate in a variety of posi-
tions, but care should be taken when turning
the torch upside down as the liquid fuel can
get into the valve assembly, creating a poten-
tially dangerous situation.
Propane torches are used for heavy-duty
soldering operations and for burning off
old paint on exterior siding. For this task,
a flame-spreading tip or heavy-duty burn-
er is required.
When equipped with a pointed or chisel-
edged cutting tip, these torches can also be
used for removing old putty around win-
dows, for installing asphalt tile or for brand-
ing designs on wood.
Torches with built-in pressure regulators
operate much better in cold weather, for
thawing pipes or in the upside-down position.
Brazing torches for the non-professional
use propane or high-temperature fuels. High-
temperature fuels include MAPP, CleanBurn
and propylene.
Welding torches available for the d-i-y
market include compressed oxygen,
propane or MAPP fuel. Oxygen, propane
and MAPP torches generate temperatures
in excess of 5,000.
The oxygen/propane, or MAPP, tank-type
torches are a convenient project-specific tool
to use for light metal repair and cutting and
bending on metals.
Oxygen/propane torches are portable and
weigh approximately 6 lbs.
Make sure you stress safety tips when
selling torches to do-it-yourselfers. For
example, do not use a torch to remove
paint from the exterior siding of a house.
The flames can ignite combustible materi-
als underneath the siding.
Soldering Tools
Soldering g uns are used for a variety
of chores: hobbies, minor electrical
repairs, plumbing and other do-it-your-
self home repairs.
They offer advantages over convention-
al ironsthey heat and cool rapidly, are
easy to handle and may have several heat
levels. Some feature built-in lights to illu-
minate work. Guns are turned on and off
by a trigger switch.
Maintenance is easy and inexpensive
because gun tips are relatively low-priced and
easily replaced. Complete kits contain guns,
extra tips, solder and accessories. Cordless
models are available for added mobility.
Solder with an acid core flux is used in
plumbing and general-use applications.
Solder with plastic rosin core flux is used on
electrical work to prevent leakage.
Soldering irons come in four basic groups:
line voltage, low-voltage pencils, tempera-
ture-controlled and soldering coppers.
They heat and cool slower than guns,
and electrically heated irons are rated by
watts. The watt rating tells how much
heat of a given temperature can be deliv-
ered rather than the temperature itself.
The tip temperature and the heat recovery
capability of the tip being used can also
measure an iron's capability.
Line voltage soldering irons and pencils
have built-in electrical heating elements and
are used for hobbies, electronics, model-mak-
ing and small household repairs. Larger irons
are used for home and shop repairs, sheet-
metal work and general soldering.
Low-voltage pencils operate from batteries
Straignt Razor
(About 10)
Pocket Knife
(About 15)
Carving Knife
(About 15)
Kitchen Knife
(About 30)
Wood Chisel
(About 25)
(About 45)
in cars, trucks, boats and aircraft and are used
for field servicing of wiring and electronic
gear by servicemen and hobbyists.
Temperature-controlled units operate
either from special power supplies or line
voltage and are primarily used by servicemen
or hobbyists. Soldering coppers are irons that
must be heated in a flame or by hot coals.
Usually quite heavy and bulky, they are used
mainly by sheet metal shops and occasional-
ly by plumbers.
Cordless soldering tools feature a
butane-fueled catalytic converter that gen-
erates powerful, yet safe, flameless heat.
Lightweight and portable, they are ideal
for field electronics service jobs where
electricity may not be available.
Sharpening Stones
Abrasive stones make good add-on sales
when a customer purchases a pocket or carv-
ing knife, axe, chisel, lawn mower or grass
cutter. Most tools need to be sharpened
shortly after purchase because manufacturers
generally provide only a medium edge (to
prevent shipping damage). Since there are
many specialized stones, study manufacturer
literature to recommend proper stones for
different types of blades.
Blades or tools that cut with a slicing
action should be sharpened against the
edge. Tools such as scissors or reel-type
lawn mowers should be sharpened on the
bevel, not on the side of the blade. Never
attempt to sharpen a serrated edgeit
requires special equipment.
Files are grouped by length, type and
shape. Lasting performance and cutting abili-
ty determine quality.
Length is measured from the point
(square end of file) to the shoulder (where
the blade sets onto the tang). Length indi-
cates coarseness, stroke distance and rate
of stock removal.
File types are determined by shape: square,
round, half-round or flat.
Two other indicators of file shape are
taper and blunt. As their names imply,
Soldering small fittings or connections x
Soldering jewelry or very tiny wires x
Soldering electrical connections x
Soldering flat surfaces x
Soldering over large areas x
Soldering gutters x
Starting threaded pipe joints x
Thawing pipes x x
Sealing soil pipes x
Removing paint x x
Removing putty x
Bending metal x x*
Metal sculpturing x
Laying asphalt tile x x
Thawing frozen locks x
Loosening screews, nuts, bolts x
Lighting charcoal x x
Auto body leading x
Removing brake linings x x
Separating exdhaust pipes, Auto body springs
Plywood sculpturing x
Glass working x x
Antiquing wood x x
taper files taper from shoulder to point
while blunt files are the same width for
the entire length.
Coarseness and character of teeth deter-
mine file cut. Four basic cuts are single,
double, rasp and curved-tooth.
Single cut denotes a single row of chis-
el-cut teeth. These files are used on saw
teeth and metals where a good finish is
Double cut, used primarily on metals
where rapid stock removal is necessary
and a rough cut is permissible, has two
rows of chisel-cut teeth.
Rasps are used on wood and for rough
shaping jobs. Rasp-cut files have individu-
ally punched teeth that are entirely sepa-
rate from each other.
Curved-tooth cut features teeth that are
milled in an arc. This cut is used on flat
surfaces of soft metals for rapid stock
removal and a fairly good finish.
File teeth are further divided into four
groups: coarse, bastard, second and
smooth. Coarse and bastard cuts are used
on heavy work, while second and smooth
cuts are used for finishing or more exact-
ing work.
Chain saw files are made for both round-
hooded and square-hooded chain saw teeth.
For the former, the file must be held level
against the bevel of the cutting surface of
the tooth at an angle of 25 to 45 with the
saw blade. File direction is off the cutting
edge, pressing back and slightly up during
the stroke. Some chain saw files feature a
molded-in filing angle indicator to make
uniform sharpening easier.
Nail Sets
Nail sets are used to countersink nails.
Nail holes can then be filled with putty,
plastic, wood or other filling materials for
a smooth surface.
Nail sets are sized by 1/32" and range
from 1/32" to 5/32". It is important that
the correct size set be used for each size
nail to prevent enlarging of a small nail
hole by too large a set. The pointed end
of the nail set should be cupped or hol-
lowed out to avoid splitting the nail head.
Self-centering nail sets are available.
Punches are used with ball peen ham-
mers to remove pins, align holes and
mark locations of holes to be drilled. They
are available in a wide range of sizes in
both high carbon and alloy steels. They
are similar to nail sets in appearance, but
do not have a cupped or hollowed end.
Hand punches are considered general-
purpose tools for driving out pins and
bushings and lining up bolt and rivet
holes. They have a relatively blunt taper,
with the size of the punch being marked
by the diameter of the flat point.
Pin and center punches are similar to
hand punches and are used for the same
purposes. They differ only in the shape of
their points. Safety goggles must be worn
when these are used.
Automatic center punches are held in
one hand and not struck by a hammer.
They have a spring-actuated internal drive
that pushes the attached punch point into
the material to be center punched. These
punches are available in different sizes
and with replaceable screw-on points.
Taps and Dies
Dies are used to thread the outside of a
rod or pipe to screw it into a threaded
hole. They are available in two types:
solid and adjustable with either round or
hex heads.
Dies with hex heads are used with
wrenches or sockets instead of die stocks
for close, hard-to-reach jobs and for
repairing bruised or damaged threads.
Taps are used to cut screw threads
inside holes and to renew worn or
stripped threads.
Taps come in three basic styles: taper,
plug and bottoming. Tapered taps cut full
threads at the entrance and gradually less
thread toward the bottom. Plug taps cut
full threads to within three or four turns
of the bottom. Bottoming taps cut full
threads to the bottom of the hole.
Quality dies and taps offer close toler-
ances, are made of the finest high-carbon
tool steel, are carefully heat-treated and
will cut clean, accurate threads.
Two numbers indicate tap and die size.
The first number represents the diameter
of the screw or bolt; the second number is
the distance between the threads.
A variety of metric tap and die sizes are
available, particularly useful to those who
work on automobiles and motorcycles.
Sizes are expressed in millimeters (mm)
and decimals. For example: 10 mm x 2.50
tap or die has threads 2-1/2 mm apart and
an outside diameter of 10 mm.
Taps and dies are stamped with two or
three letters indicating thread series, such
as NC, NF or NPT. Special tools needed to
work with dies and taps include die stocks
and tap and reamer wrenches.
Die stocks are adjustable tools that hold
and turn dies. They are made with two
handles so cutting can be done evenly
and smoothly.
Tap and reamer wrenches are similar to
die stocks. They are adjusted by twisting
one of the wrench handles to change the
opening of the jaws. Jaws on these tools
must be hardened to prevent mutilation
when using hardened taps.
Tap wrenches feature adjustable chucks
and come with sliding T-handles.
Screw Extractors
Screw or bolt extractors remove bolts or
screws when they cannot be removed nor-
mally. To use most extractors you must
first drill the correct size hole in the cen-
ter of the bolt or screw, then insert the
extractor. The threads, which are reversed,
bite down into the screw and turn it out.
Some extractors feature a built-in drill bit
that allows you to drill and extract the
screw in one process.
Plasterers, concrete finishers, bricklayers
and masons use trowels to handle small
amounts of mortar and plaster. They
should be lightweight and well-balanced.
Brick trowels are used to pick up mortar
and spread it for the next course of brick,
concrete block or stone. The blade (which
carries the mortar), post (which joins tang
to blade) and tang (where the handle is
inserted) are forged in one piece, with a
handle driven into the tang. Width at the
heel (back end of the trowel) is between
5" and 5-1/2". The most popular brick
trowel length is 11".
Two shapes of brick trowels have
become almost standard: the Philadelphia
pattern with a square heel and the London
pattern, which has a rounded heel so the
mortar is carried a little farther forward on
the blade. Both patterns can be used for lay-
ing brick, but the Philadelphia pattern is
most popular for blocklaying. It is wider at
the heel so it holds more mortar.
Pointing trowels are used by bricklayers
for pointing up their work. Pointing and
margin trowels are used for patch work
and for cleaning other tools. High-quality
pointing and margin trowels are forged in
one piece and made about the same as a
brick trowel. The length of pointing trow-
els may be from 4-1/2" to 7". Best sellers
are the 5" and 6" lengths. Size 5" x 2" is
the most popular margin trowel.
Concrete trowels or cement trowels are
used to finish the surface of the concrete to
the required smoothness. Troweling action
helps compact the surface and adds to the
quality and durability of the job. Concrete
trowels are narrower and longer than plas-
tering trowels. The blade is slightly convex.
Blades range in width from 3"-5" and in
length from 12"-20". Most popular sizes are
14" x 4" and 16" x 4".
Plastering trowels are used to carry
plaster to the wall or ceiling from a hawk
when two or three coats are applied. They
have a lightweight flexible blade with an
average size of 11" x 4-1/2". They are
available with a choice of two handles,
either straight or curved (called the
California style).
Floats are made of aluminum, magne-
sium, wood, cork or rubber. The most popu-
lar with concrete finishers are wood and
magnesium. The best-selling sizes in wood
are 12" x 5" and 16" x 3-1/2" while the pop-
ular magnesium float is 16" x 3-1/8".
Bull floats are used by concrete finishers to
float large areas of concrete. The most popular
sizes are between 42" and 48" long and are 8"
wide. Handle sections either 5' or 6' long can
be joined together so that a finisher can reach
out 15' to 20' over a slab.
Brick jointers ( strikers) are used to
strike joints of brick walls for finished
appearance. Because it receives hard wear,
the tool is heat-treated. Each end is a dif-
ferent sizemost popular combinations
are 1/2" x 5/8" and 3/4" x 7/8".
Corner trowels are used to form inside
and outside corners; the most requested
sizes are square and 1/2" radius.
Concrete edgers produce a radius at the
edge of a concrete slab to minimize chipping,
while concrete groovers are used for cutting
joints in concrete to control cracking.
Tuck pointers (joint fillers) apply new
mortar between old bricks. They are usu-
ally 6-3/4" long by 1/4"-1" wide. The best
models are constructed of one piece.
Hawks hold plaster before application.
They are usually made of lightweight alu-
minum or magnesium in 13" or 13-1/2"
square sizes.
Drywall Tools
Drywall trowels have a slight concave
bow in the blade that helps to feather
mud and make perfect drywall joints. The
tempered, flexible steel blade is securely
attached to a lightweight aluminum
mounting. A smoothly turned basswood
handle ensures a comfortable feel. There
are several sizes availablethe most popu-
lar is 11" x 4-1/2".
Drywall corner trowels are used in
applying compound to both sides of a
corner at one time. A flexible one-piece
blade of stainless steel eliminates tape
snagging and rusting. The blade angle is
set at a 103 angle, thus giving perfect 90
corners when flexed in use.
Drywall pole sanders are used for sand-
ing drywall joints, especially ceilings and
side walls from the floor.
Drywall T-squares feature an arm that
measures 16" for locating studs. The blade
measures 47 7/8" and the head is notched
which enable cutting a 48" board in one
stroke. The 2" wide blade enables the user
to cut both sides of an outlet box without
moving the blade.
Drywall taping knives are also used for
taping drywall joints. The tempered blue
steel or stainless steel blade bows just
right for feathering, but will not take a
set. It can be used in covering over nail
spots and other indentations in the board.
Bull Float Wood Float
Curved Drywall Trowel Taping Knife Drywall Corner Trowel Tuck Pointer
Pointing Trowel Finishing Trowel Jointing Tool
Groover Edger
Brick Trowel
Hand Float
A rustproof coating is available for
protecting hand tools, in or out of
storage. The product is wax-based,
with a heavy-duty rust inhibitor
blended in its formulation. Once
applied to a clean, dry surface, the
material dries within 30 seconds to a
waxy finish. When the blade is ready
to be used it must be cleaned off
with a solvent (i.e. paint solvent) to
remove the wax finish.
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
I While many products in the hard-
ware department have been around
for years, there have been advance-
ments made in certain areas. Old-
fashioned eight-penny nails are now
sold alongside modern power-driven screws coated with the latest
weatherproofing resins. Keyless entry systems can be found next
to traditional entry locksets.
Many hardware products start with function, but consumers also
care about how these products look. Make sure you stay current with
the latest decorative trends in door, cabinet and drapery hardware.
The basics may seem simple, but using the wrong fastener can
mean the difference between your customer successfully complet-
ing a d-i-y project and failing. There are many specialty fasteners
developed for working with decks, siding, guttering, roofing and
wire closet systems, to name a few examples.
This section also provides a foundation for understanding impor-
tant, life-saving products such as smoke alarms, fire extinguishers
and carbon monoxide detectors. Rely on manufacturer literature
to learn the specifics of the products you sell.
Equally important is your customers safety. Remind customers to
wear safety glasses whenever there is a chance of injury. Train
employees to suggest the right tool for the fastener. As a last warn-
ing, advise customers to check local building codes whenever they
are tackling structural projects.
Only a small percentage of the total retail
lock business is from locksmiths. Instead, lock
installation is a common d-i-y project, and a
large percentage of these consumers shop
retail stores for locks. As a result, packaging is
an important factor in selling locks, and man-
ufacturers are providing d-i-yers with easy-to-
follow instructions.
Lock Mechanisms
The five mechanical types of key-operated
locks are pin tumbler, lever tumbler, disc tum-
bler, warded and combination locks.
Pin tumbler locks with five or more pins
offer greater resistance to picking. Depending
on the number of pins, this lock offers many
key changes. These locks can be made with as
few as three pins, but better locks have five or
more. Pin tumbler mechanisms are used in
padlocks, deadbolts, cabinet locks, locksets
and more.
Lever tumbler locks are slightly less expen-
sive than pin tumbler locks, offer good securi-
ty and many key changes. Lever tumbler key
blanks are rarely stocked. These locks are usu-
ally found on doors of older homes.
Disc tumbler locks are medium-priced
locks offering minimal security and many
key changes.
Warded locks feature low cost but superior
weather resistance because of simple construc-
tion and lack of rotating internal parts.
However, they provide only token security.
Combination locks offer good security and a
wide price range to appeal to homeowners
and commercial users. Uses vary from bicycles
to bank vaults.
Basic locks are an integral part of a house or
building. Auxiliary locks are devices like night
latches and door chains used as back-up secu-
rity for basic locks.
Bored Locksets
Bored locksets are part of the basic door
hardware, with the locking mechanism
built into the doorknob and latch. They
are classified as entry locksets
(front/back), passage locksets (hall/ closet)
and privacy locksets (bath/bedroom).
Entry locksets are locked or unlocked from
the inside by turning or depressing a small
button on the inside knob. A key is required to
unlock the pin tumbler mechanism from the
outside. Sets requiring a key on both the inside
and outside are available for added security.
A deadlatch is a positive locking latchbolt
used on most quality locks for entry doors.
The latch bolt, which is similar to a common
springlatch, has a small auxiliary bolt along its
side that when depressed, blocks the main
bolt from being forced. Because a regular latch
is angled to the outside of the door, an intrud-
er can depress it by sliding a piece of stiff
material between the door and the frame. The
deadlatch actuator is generally located in the
rear of the regular latch and prevents the bolt
from being depressed in this manner (when
installed properly).
Passage locksets are primarily used for hall-
ways or closets between rooms where privacy
is not important. These non-locking locksets
merely latch the door in the closed position.
Bathroom and bedroom privacy locksets are
designed for privacy rather than security and
are equipped with a locking button on the
inside but no key device on the outside. In an
emergency, the lock can be opened from the
outside by inserting a narrow object through
the small hole in the outside knob and either
depressing or turning the locking mechanism
inside, depending on the type of lock.
A panic-proof lockset that automatically
CASEMENT WINDOW Window with sash hinged at the side.
CLEVIS Metal link for attaching a chain to a padlock.
CYLINDER (LOCK) Housing that contains the tumbler mechanism and keyway; can be actu-
ated only by the correct key.
DEADBOLT (LOCK) Lock bolt having no spring action. Operated by key from outside or a
turn knob from inside.
DEADLOCK Lock having a deadbolt only.
DOUBLE-CYLINDER DEADBOLT Same as single cylinder, but has keyed cylinder on inside
and outside of lock.
DOUBLE-THROW BOLT Bolt that can be projected beyond its normal position, giving
added security.
ESCUTCHEON (KEY PLATE) Plate containing an opening for a key only.
FIRE-EXIT BOLT Device designed to grant instant exit by pushing a cross bar (panic bar)
that releases a locking bolt or latch.
FRICTION HINGE Hinge designed to swing a door and hold it at any desired position by
means of friction control incorporated in the knuckle of the hinge.
KEYLOCK LOCKSET Cylindrical lockset that provides panic-proof security on the inside
(turning the knob to release the locking mechanism).
NIGHTLATCH Auxiliary lock having a spring latch bolt and functioning independently of,
and providing additional security to, the regular lock of the door.
PASSAGE LOCKSET Cylindrical lockset used primarily on doors where no locking mecha-
nism is necessary (closets, etc.).
PATIO LOCK A lock designed with a push-button or a turn-locking inside knob. When so
locked, there is no entrance by key from the outside.
PRIVACY LOCKSET Cylindrical lock commonly used on bathroom doors, when privacy is
the main concern. Lock from the inside by a push-button or turn-button and may be opened
on the outside with a special tool.
SHUTTER OPERATOR (SHUTTER WORKER) Device incorporating a hinge and a method
of opening or closing a shutter by means of a crank or turn inside without opening the win-
dow sash.
SINGLE CYLINDER DEADBOLT Back-up for a keylock, for additional security; usually has
deadbolt latch containing one or two steel pins to prevent wrenching. Keyed cylinder permits
locking and unlocking on outside and a thumb turn on the inside.
STRIKE Metal-pierced or recessed plate on the door frame that receives the bolt or latch.
Sometimes called a keeper.
unlocks when the inside knob is turned is
good for the homeowner who wants to be
able to make a quick emergency exit or who
doesnt want to lock himself out of the house
or one of the rooms. In some cases this might
not be a desirable feature, but if both types are
available, the difference should be pointed out
to the customer.
Keyless Entry Systems
Remote keyless entry systems provide
advanced home security and convenience.
Audio and visual indicators confirm the lock-
set has been activated. Anti-theft rolling code
feature ensures the same code is never used
twice. Keyless entry systems are compatible
with some brands of overhead garage door
openers so only one remote is needed.
Deadbolt Locks
A deadbolt lock backs up a lockset on entry
doors to provide maximum security. The word
dead refers to the fact that there are no
springs to operate the bolt. It is locked or
unlocked manually by a key or thumb turn
from the inside.
There are a number of configurations for
deadbolts, including those incorporating
deadbolts into conventional key-in-the-
knob locksets. Better units have a stainless
steel bolt with a roller insert to resist sawing
and cutting. The industry standard require-
ments are 1 for bolt throw (length extend-
ed from lock housing).
The bolt locks the door to the frame, and
the extra long bolt gives deeper penetration
into the doorframe and helps the door from
being pried open. Deadbolts with throws 1" or
longer give greater security. Mounting a 1" or
longer throw deadbolt with 3" screws to secure
the strike plate to the wall stud increases the
security. The housing should also resist ham-
mering or wrenching.
A single-cylinder deadbolt is key operat-
ed from the outside and a turn of a but-
ton on the inside. It is fine for solid metal
or wood doors.
Doors with glass in or around them require
a double-cylinder deadbolt with key operation
both inside and out. This prevents someone
from breaking the glass, reaching in and
unlocking the door.
Anyone purchasing a double-cylinder dead-
bolt should be cautioned to always keep the
inside key in the lock when they are home. In
case of fire or other emergency, the danger of
a double-cylinder lock is that the key will be
missing. (Double-cylinder deadbolts are not
permitted in some areas of the country
because they may delay escape from the
house during an emergency.)
Locks are designed to fit specific size holes
and backsets. Backset refers to the distance
between the edge of the door and the center
of the handle. For more information, click
(Designing a Home Security System)
or (Making Your Home Secure).
Mortise Cylinder Locks
Mortise cylinder locks have a pin tumbler
locking mechanism in a cylinder. The latch
can be operated from either side except when
the outside knob is locked. A deadbolt is also
used and operates by a turn of the inside
knob. A key from the outside can operate
both deadbolt and latchbolt.
Mortise cylinder locksets are used in new
installations and as replacements; they are
mortised into the frame of the door. They can
be used on many types of doors, from heavy
entrance doors to apartment buildings to resi-
dential doors. Some of these locksets can be
used on vestibule doors; in this case they have
a latch and deadbolt or latch only.
Jimmy-Proof Locks
Jimmy-proof locks use an interlocking bolt
mechanism to give maximum security.
Additional security comes from two inter-
Disc Tumbler Padlock Warded Padlock Pin Tumbler Padlock
Top Pins
Locking Disc
Gun Lock Tubular
Trailer Lock
Chain Lock
Cable Lock
locking vertical bits that engage the strike
when the lock is closed. This means the door
cannot be pried open because there is no
room between the jamb and the door for a
pry bar.
There are two styles of jimmy-resistant
locks: single and double cylinder.
Some jimmy-proof locks come with a guard
that prevents the lock from being opened
with a screwdriver from the outside. This
guard is a steel plate that is drawn back on a
spring when the lock is installed. If the cylin-
der is pulled out from the outside of the door,
the guard springs across the opening.
It is also a good idea to suggest one-way,
tamper-proof screws be used with double-
cylinder jimmy-proof locks.
Hasps consist of a metal hinge and an
anchoring bolt (loop), so locks can be secured
to gates, sheds and garages. High-security
hasps will have anchored eyebolts, pinless
hinges, hardened steel anchoring loops and
hidden screws. A padlock is inserted through
the bolt and locked to secure the hasp. Some
haspscalled hasplockshave padlocks
attached to them. This makes it impossible to
lose the locks when gates or doors are opened.
To unlock the hasplock, the padlock portion is
operated by a key and turned a quarter turn.
Night Latches
Night latches have an automatic locking
feature. The lock bolt is made on a 45 angle
and retracts inside the case when hitting the
keeper, thus locking the latch automatically.
Barrel Bolts
Barrel bolts are a sliding lock mechanism to
provide security for average weight doors.
They can also be used on windows and are
available in decorative finishes and with sur-
face or universal strikes. Some have spring
action to hold bolt in place, and some bolts
are lockable.
Keyed Sash Lock
A keyed sash lock mounts like a regular
sash lock, but with one-way screws to discour-
age removal. The lock can be released only by
the key. If the window is broken, the sash still
cannot be opened. They can be supplied with
master key arrangement.
Ventilating Locks
These locks are used on windows and
designed to allow a slight opening for ventila-
tion. They are easily installed.
Electronic Locks
Hotels use electronic locks with credit card-
sized paper replacing keys. Look for them to
move into the home market.
Reinforcement Hardware
Reinforcement hardware are U-shaped
metal channels designed to give additional
strength to door, deadbolt and key-in-knob
locks. The plates are installed around existing
locks. The plates are designed to prevent
forced entries by making critical stress areas
around the door and framing more secure.
Strikes are the metal plate the latch slides
into on the door jamb or frame. The plate is
applied over a recess in the jamb, into which
the bolt or latch slides.
Even though all new locksets come with
strikes, there is a need for additional high-
security strikes and also replacement and
repair strikes due to damage of the mounting
area in the frame. There are many one-piece,
heavy-gauge steel strikes available with long,
hardened screws to secure the strike to the
frame stud. Adjustable strikes are also available
that provide 1/4 adjustment to allow for
door and frame warpage.
Latch Guards
Latch guards for in-opening doors help
reinforce the door and frame and prevent
spreading of the frame. A standard 7" latch
guard fits all backsets, deadbolts and key-in
knob locks. A 12" latch guard for in-opening
doors also fits all double locks, mortise locks
and access control locks.
Latch guards for out-opening doors protect
the latch or bolt. Several sizes and types are
available, ranging from a 6" model designed to
fit all backsets, deadbolts and key-in knob
locks; up to a 12" latch guard for out-opening
narrow stile doors.
Padlocks provide portable security for mov-
able objectsbicycles, motorcycles, boats
etc.and in locations such as storage sheds
and gates where locksets are not practical.
Although weatherproof construction is
important, high security is more impor-
tant to the consumer who wants to pro-
tect expensive equipment.
Laminated, pin tumbler padlocks pro-
vide maximum security for valuables.
Laminated (layered steel) padlocks are vir-
tually indestructible.
Hardened solid steel and steel alloys make
better locks and shackles; solid extruded brass
padlocks are more resistant to rust than steel,
but can be damaged because brass is softer
than steel.
Pin-tumbler locking mechanisms make pad-
locks harder for thieves to pick. Four-pin-tum-
bler mechanisms provide substantial security
for most applications; and padlocks with five
or more pin tumblers offer increased security
against picking and are probably more secure
than combination locks.
Rekeyable padlocks are generally used for
commercial and industrial security needs.
Tubular cylinder padlocks offer many key
changes by replacing the cylinder. Although
most often used in electronic security systems,
owners of motorcycles and expensive bicycles
also use tubular cylinder padlocks.
Cable, chain and long shackle padlocks are
commonly used as bicycle locks but may not
provide adequate protection for expensive
bikes. A cable or chain with a separate lock
could be recommended for greater protection.
Padlocks with chain or cable permanently
attached to the shackle are versatile locks, but
cable or chain and shackle must be matched
in strength and diameter to the lock.
U-bar locks provide maximum protection
for bikes.
Gunlocks fit over the trigger housing of
guns to prevent firing of the weapon. They are
more for safety than security. Some models
have a sound alarm to warn that the gun is
being tampered with. Some have tamper-evi-
dent devices to alert owners that the gun has
been disturbed. Some are designed to lock up
several guns with one lock.
For maximum protection, the gun lock
o Completely cover the trigger guard and
immobilize the trigger.
o Contain a quality, pin-tumbler locking
o Be made of metal and cushioned to protect
the finish of the gun.
o Be adaptable to fit a wide range of shot-
guns, rifles and handguns.
It will be advantageous to stock keyed-alike
gunlocks to offer the convenience of a com-
mon key for several gunlocks.
Trailer locks are used to secure standing
trailers by rendering the towing device inoper-
ative. The lock covers or fills the coupler sock-
et so that it cannot be mounted on a ball.
People buy safes to protect documents and
valuables from fire and theft. When you sell a
home safe, find out what the customer wants
to protect. Although some fire safes offer suffi-
cient security for valuables, not all maximum-
security safes have maximum fire protection.
According to Underwriters Laboratories
standards, a fire safe should retain an inside
temperature below 350F (the temperature at
which paper chars) or an outside temperature
of from 1550to 1700for an hour or more.
This rating also includes requirements that the
safe be resistant to rupture or explosion at
these temperatures. The fire rating must
appear on the safe. The National Fire
Prevention Association has found that a fire-
rated safe performs four times better than a
non-rated safe in a fire.
Security of a safe, beyond its fire protection,
comes from a combination of retractable and
stationary bolts that prevent the safe door
from being removed by knocking off or
removing the hinges.
Besides fire-rated safes, there are also fire-
rated security chests and files in a variety of
sizes with key locks and interior organization-
al features.
There are several locking mechanisms for
safes, the most common being a dial combi-
nation of three or four digits with a handle or
latch for retracting the bolts.
Additional security can be provided if the
safe also has a built-in key lock that functions
independently of the dial combination. This
kind of safe also permits key only access
when necessary and provides double-lock
security at other times.
Another form of locking mechanism is an
electronic digital lock in which the dial com-
bination is replaced by a four-digit, change-
able, push-button combination. The advan-
tage is faster and easier access to the contents
without sacrificing overall security.
In addition to freestanding safes, there are
safes that can be mounted in walls or sunk
into concrete floors. There are also vault doors
that can be installed inside existing closet
doors to turn a standard closet into a vault.
However, it should be noted that these safes
are not fire rated.
Intrusion Alarms
Alarms used with electronic security sys-
tems range from a simple buzzer to systems
connected directly to monitoring stations
that will contact the police. Because of the
high number of false alarms, however, some
police departments refuse to respond to
home alarms.
Types of alarms depend on what the cus-
tomer wants. Some feel that a loud alarm at
the point of entry will scare off an intruder.
Others prefer a remote alarm located in a
bedroom so that homeowners can be
warned without alerting the intruder that
he has been detected. Others prefer an out-
side alarm so that the intruder knows
neighbors are aware of his presence and are
likely to call the police.
Simple alarms may consist of no more than
a door-locking device with a buzzer attached.
When the device is tampered with or the door
opened when the alarm has been set, it
sounds. Such a device may be adequate for a
second-story apartment with one entry door.
However, most home intrusion alarms are
more elaborate. There are two basic compo-
nents. One, called a perimeter alarm, detects
intrusion at points of entry-doors and win-
dows. The other, an area alarm, detects
motion inside a room.
Some alarms offer special features such as a
medical alert alarm that can be worn or car-
ried. Others include heat sensors and smoke
alarms. Systems like these can sometimes
qualify consumers for a homeowner insurance
discount. For more information, click
(Making Your Home Secure).
Perimeter Alarms
Some perimeter alarms employ low-voltage
wire, similar to stereo speaker wire, to connect
magnetic window and door sensors to a con-
trol panel. Others use individual radio trans-
mitters at each door and window sensor to
trigger an alarm at the control panel. When a
door or window is opened, the switch is acti-
vated and the alarm sounds.
Since perimeter systems designed for d-i-y
installation are frequently battery-powered,
ease in testing the batteries can be an impor-
tant factor. A dead battery renders the alarm
useless; so frequent testing is vital. Some sys-
tems sound a warning when batteries begin to
lose their charge.
In the case of a wired system, pushing a
control panel button checks the entire sys-
tem. In a wireless system, each transmitter
has its own battery and must be individual-
ly checked, and all batteries must be
replaced periodically.
Some battery-powered units are combined
with smoke, gas and medical emergency
alarms to provide complete protection from
one control unit.
Area Alarms
Area alarms generally plug into standard
115-volt electrical outlets, so they are simple
to install. Most use either ultrasonic (inaudi-
ble sound) waves or microwaves to detect
motion. Others use passive infrared sensors
or a combination of detection technologies.
When motion in the area triggers the detec-
tor, the unit sounds a loud horn or siren.
Area alarms are usually more expensive
than other systems.
Ultrasonic detector waves go only as far as
the walls of a room, while microwaves will
penetrate walls and windows. This can be an
advantage if detector coverage of several
rooms is desired. However, this same spillover
effect greatly increases the chances of false
alarms in small living areas, such as apart-
ments where people may be moving in adja-
cent quarters or hallways.
Some types of ultrasonic area alarms utilize
a narrow sonic beam that must be bounced
off a hard wall surface, perpendicular to the
beam. An intruder has to break that narrow
beam before the alarm sounds.
Other ultrasonic units use a wide beam that
virtually fills the area and detects motion any-
where in the trap zone. This design is easier to
set up and is free from accidental misalign-
ment if bumped or moved slightly, since aim-
ing of the beam is not critical.
Most area alarm systems require some
adjustment after they have been placed in a
room to achieve the right strength of signal to
protect that area. Better systems are self-adjust-
ing to assure reliable detection and forestall
false alarms due to poor setting by the owner.
Perhaps the most important consideration
in an area alarm is avoiding false alarms.
These can be caused by air conditioners, drap-
ery moving above a hot air register or even a
telephone ringing. Better, newer systems have
circuitry built in that discriminates against
these spurious signals to safeguard against
false alarms.
Among the options available in some
advanced area alarm systems are wireless
repeater alarms or satellites. Satellites can be
plugged in anywhere in the home to generate
additional noise and to relay the warning to
remote bedrooms. They can even be placed in
a neighbors home for added protection dur-
ing absences. The instant the area alarm
detects an intruder, a signal is transmitted via
regular household wiring to sound the alarm.
Some area systems can also be connected
to door and window sensors to provide
perimeter protection as well as area cover-
age. Outdoor sirens are also available to
alert the whole neighborhood in the event
of an intrusion.
Gas, smoke and fire detectors are common
residential safety products. Many municipal
building codes require smoke or fire detectors
in multi-family dwellings, in new construc-
tion and, in some cases, in existing single-
family homes. Homeowners should be urged
to replace detectors older than 10 years old.
There are three types of detectors: ioniza-
tion, photoelectronic and thermal. Ionization
detectors, the most popular, respond to gas
particles and smoke from a flaming fire.
Photoelectronic detectors respond to smoke
from a smoldering fire. Thermal detectors are
activated by heat. You can also find dual-sen-
sor detectors with both photoelectronic and
ionization technology, which only come in
battery-powered models. This combination
unit provides the best detection system. Also
available are natural gas detectors, which warn
residents if dangerous levels of gas build up
from leaks in water heaters, furnaces and
clothes dryers. They come in hard-wired and
battery-powered models.
Heres how each of the three kinds of detec-
tors works:
Ionization: Measures the changes in elec-
tric current caused by invisible particles ion-
ized in the heat of combustion. They use a
radioactive source to transform the air
inside them into a conductor of electric cur-
rent. A small current passes through this
ionized air. When smoke particles enter
the detector, they impede the flow of cur-
rent. An alarm is programmed to sound
when the current gets too low.
Ionization detectors respond particularly
well to the smoke caused by a flaming fire.
Since they require little power, they are effec-
tively powered by household batteries and can
be placed almost anywhere in a house, and
will work even during a power failure. Rooms
that contain combustible materials such as
cooking fat/grease, flammable liquids, paint
and cleaning solutions, etc., should contain
an ionization detector.
These detectors are somewhat slower to
respond to smoke from a smoldering fire. In
addition, battery-powered models must have
their batteries replaced at periodic intervals.
Detectors are required to emit a low warning
when the batteries are weakened.
Photoelectronic: Involves a small lamp
adjusted to direct a narrow light beam
across the detection chamber. Next to this
light source, but hidden from direct expo-
sure to the beam, is a light-sensitive photo-
cell. Smoke entering the detection chamber
scatters the light beam, reflecting it in all
directions. Some of this reflected light is
picked up by the photocell, which triggers
the alarm at a pre-set level.
A typical photoelectronic detector is slightly
more sensitive to smoke from a slow, smolder-
ing fire, but reacts less quickly to flaming fires-
almost opposite of the ionization model. They
are less prone to nuisance alarms in the
kitchen area.
Photoelectronic models are available in
both battery-operated and plug-in versions.
Thermal: These detectors, used primarily by
large commercial or industrial firms, sound
only when the temperature rises to a certain
level. Most are also triggered by a quick rise in
temperature even if an extreme temperature is
not reached. They are not nearly as safe as the
ionization and photoelectronic types in that
the fire must usually be more intense before
the thermal unit will sound.
Detectors can be hard-wired or battery-oper-
ated. Hard-wired detectors, which can also fea-
ture battery backup, can be interconnected to
sound an alarm together. Battery-powered
units are easier to install since they can be
placed anywhere on the ceiling. However,
they can only function if the batteries are
replaced regularly (once a year is recommend-
ed). Remind customers to regularly test and
clean their smoke alarms. Research indicates
that one-third of all smoke alarms are not
operating because of dead or missing batteries.
Some safety organizations recommend
detectors in every room in the house. If the
consumer is not receptive to this idea, the
simplest rule for locating a basic smoke
detector is to mount it between the bed-
rooms and the rest of the house, but closer
to the bedrooms. It is better, however, to
install multiple detectors and put one near
each sleeping area. In multi-level homes,
install one on each level. These alarms
should be interconnected so that any one
unit will sound the alarm throughout the
house. The basement ceiling, near the steps,
is a good location for extra protection.
Detectors have additional features to help
in warning the family of fire danger and to
help them escape from the house. Some are
equipped with lights and are suggested for
halls, stairways and any location leading to
doors or windows. The idea is to light the
escape route. Others have loud sirens to awak-
en sleeping persons or extra loud horns or
strobe lights for use in homes where there are
persons with hearing impairment. Industry
standards specify that detectors sound an
alarm with a minimum of 85 decibels.
Install each detector on the ceiling or on
walls 6" and 12" below the ceiling. Do not put
it within 6" of where the wall and ceiling meet
on either surface; this is dead air space with
little circulation. Do not mount a detector in
front of an air supply, return duct, garages,
near ceiling fans, peaks of A-frame ceilings,
dusty areas, locations that will be outside the
40to 100temperature range, in humid areas
or near fluorescent lighting.
Any alarm located in the kitchen area
would benefit from having a silent button.
This feature allows the detector to be tem-
porarily silenced if there is an alarm from
cooking smoke. Some recommendations sug-
gest that alarms not be located within 20' of
the kitchen.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless,
odorless, deadly gas that poses a potentially
deadly health risk to people. Gas or oil fur-
naces, dryers, refrigerators, water and space
heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves and gas
ranges can emit carbon monoxide. In fact,
88 percent of all homes have something
that poses a CO threat. Some municipalities
now require that CO detectors be installed
in all new or existing homes constructed
with gas or oil furnaces.
CO poisoning is difficult to diagnose
because the symptomsheadaches, nausea,
fatigue, dizzy spellsare similar to ailments
such as the flu.
CO detectors measure the amount of car-
bon monoxide over time and sound an alarm
before people would experience symptoms.
They operate on batteries or household cur-
rent, and some AC-operated models also con-
tain battery back-up. Some models provide a
running digital readout of CO levels. Hard-
wired or plug-in models typically use some
type of solid-state sensor, which purges itself
and resamples the air periodically. This cycling
is the reason for increased power demands.
Battery-powered CO detectors typically use
a passive sensor. They provide early warning
of carbon monoxide and will operate even in
case of a power failure.
The newest development is a combination
CO and smoke detector. It is important that
the product sound a different alarm for each
hazard so consumers know how to respond.
CO detectors should be placed in the hall-
way near the sleeping area. Additional detec-
tors on every level of the home provide extra
protection. Follow manufacturers advice on
installation locations. Advising homeowners
to maintain regularly their home heating sys-
tem is still the best way to reduce the risk of
CO poisoning. Older homes are susceptible
because of malfunctioning appliances and
faulty ventilation. However, todays tightly
sealed homes may be even more at risk.
Make sure the CO detectors you sell are list-
ed to UL 2034 or CAN/CGA 6.19 by
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which guaran-
tees the product has passed performance, safe-
ty and accuracy tests. UL revised its standards
for CO detectors in 1998.
Radon Detectors
Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive
gas that is formed wherever there is urani-
uman element present throughout the crust
of the earth. Since it is a gas, radon is mobile
and poses little health risk if it makes its way
to open air. It dissipates quickly in open areas,
but if radon seeps into a house, it can collect
in hazardous concentrations. Radon is a lead-
ing cause of lung cancer, according to the
Surgeon General.
Inhaling radon or its decay products intro-
duces radioactivity into the body posing seri-
ous health hazards. There is no way to predict
radons presence or concentration through
geological studies. One house can have low
radon levels; while another located next to it
may have high concentrations.
In many homes, radon measurements are
made in the basement, since radon enters
from the earth beneath the foundation.
Radon detectors should always be placed in
the lowest lived-in part of the home, but
never the kitchen or bathroom.
There are several types of detectors capable
of conducting radon tests.
Alpha-track devices consist of a small
sheet of plastic. Alpha particles that strike
the plastic cause microscopic pockmarks.
After an exposure period, users mail the
detector to a lab. The labs count of the
pockmarks gives a direct measure of the
mean radon concentration.
Activated-charcoal detectors are containers
of activated-charcoal granules, which trap
radon gas. After a short exposure time, the
container is resealed and shipped back to a lab
for analysis.
Other types includeelectretion chamber,
continuous monitor and charcoal liquid scintil-
lation. A short-term test will take from two to
90 days, depending on the detection device
chosen. Longer tests-usually with electret or
alpha track detectors will give a more accurate
reading of average radon exposure.
Be sure the radon kits you sell meet the
Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA)
requirements or are state certified. The kit
packaging will tell you if it is EPA-certified.
It is important to inform customers that
radon levels can change greatly, and a number
of factors, such as frequency of opening and
closing windows, can affect radon measure-
ments. In addition, determining if radon is a
health threat depends upon factors such as
measurable radon levels and the number of
hours a day a home is occupied.
Often, short-term tests can be used as a pre-
liminary indication of a problem. If the short-
term test is positive, then a long-term test
might be called for as a follow-up.
Customers can be reassured that simple
measures-such as improving basement ventila-
tion usually eliminate a radon problem. Other
solutions used in combination with the above
methods include sealing cracks and holes in
the foundation and concrete floors using a fan
to keep the house pressurized and installing a
heat recovery ventilator.
When selling fire extinguishers, you should
find out where the extinguisher is likely to be
used and what kind of fire may be involved
Class A, B or C fire.
Class A firesthe most common types,
they involve ordinary combustibles such as
wood, paper, cloth, rubber and many plastics.
Class B firesinvolve flammable liquids,
gases and greases.
Class C firesinvolve electrical equipment
or wiring where the electric nonconductivity
of the extinguishing agent is important.
However, when the equipment or wiring is
de-energized, remaining combustion is Class A
or B, and extinguishers for those fires may be
safely used.
A:B:C extinguishers are for multi-purpose
use with most home fires.
Extinguisher Ratings
The most reliable guide to the fire-killing
ability of an extinguisher is the rating
assigned it by UL, which appears on the
equipment nameplate.
Size alone is not a satisfactory measure of
extinguisher effectiveness. Each rating con-
sists of one or more numbers and letters.
The letter tells the class of fire the extin-
guishing agent is designed for; the number
indicates approximate relative extinguishing
potential. For example, an extinguisher
rated 4A is capable of putting out twice as
much burning material as an extinguisher
rated 2A. (The A means Class A.)
The number used for Class B extinguishers
also shows the square footage of a deep-layer
flammable liquid fire that a trained operator
can put out. Class C extinguishers have no
C commercial rating.
The UL ratings also detail how long the
extinguisher can spray. A longer spray time
means the extinguisher will be bulkier and
harder to store.
Types of Extinguishers
Customer education in the use of extin-
guishers is imperative when recommending
a fire extinguisher. Although the extinguish-
er will have stipulations on its use (class of
fire), be sure the customer understands its
limitations. Point out that the variety of
sizes allow an extinguisher to be placed in
any strategic location.
Carbon dioxide extinguisherClass B and
C fires. Has limited range and is affected by
draft and wind.
Dry-chemical extinguisherClass B and C
fires. Includes sodium and potassium bicar-
bonate base agents. Dry-chemical extinguish-
ers marked general-purpose or multi-purpose
can be used on Class A, B and C fires.
Foam extinguisherClass A and B fires.
They are not effective on flammable liquids
and gases escaping under pressure.
The EPA is phasing out halon extinguishers
because halon destroys the ozone layer.
A number of extinguishers are labeled all
purpose or multi-purpose. They use a
fine powder of ammonium phosphate that
is effective against all types of fire. They are
a logical choice, but not as efficient at
extinguishing as the rated units can be for
specific types of fires.
Extinguishers feature a dial-type gauge or a
pressure-check pin to show if the unit has suf-
ficient pressure to operate.
Extinguisher Placement
One fire extinguisher is not enough protec-
tion for a home. Some manufacturers recom-
mend having one extinguisher for every 600
square feet of living space. In addition, home-
owners should also have one for their car,
garage and boat.
It is recommended that multi-purpose, dry-
chemical fire extinguisher units be used
throughout a house as protection against all
types of fires.
Advise customers not to mount a fire extin-
guisher too close to a place fire might occur.
For example: In the kitchen, do not mount it
close to the stove. In the basement, the best
place is at the top of the stairs unless circum-
stances demand that it be near a workshop
area. The user should not risk reaching into a
fire or going into a burning area to get a fire
Also, caution customers to fight only
minor fires. In case of a serious blaze, all per-
sons should immediately leave the house.
Notify the fire department from a neighbors
home or an alarm box.
Remind consumers to check the gauge
every month to make sure the fire extinguish-
er is ready for use in case of fire.
Fire Safety Ladders
Fire escape ladders are used to escape from
an upper story window. These come in vary-
ing lengths, but most are sold for second-story
rooms. Features include tangle-free designs,
compactness and strength ratings of the lines
and footsteps.
Door Closers
A door closer differs from an ordinary
spring or spring hinge in that it closes the
door at a controlled speed. Common resi-
dential types are pneumatic or hydraulic
piston closers that pull storm and screen
doors closed.
Most operate with a spring and piston.
When the door is pulled open, the spring
inside the cylinder is depressed, thus exert-
ing pressure to pull the door closed auto-
matically. The piston controls the speed
with which the spring returns to its original
position. An adjusting screw allows the
speed of closing to be changed and com-
pensates for normal wear. Better grades
incorporate a speed-up in the last few
inches of travel to close the door tightly.
A closer made for the disabled has an auto-
matic hold-open feature that engages when
the door is opened about 90. A wheelchair
occupant can tap the door again in the open-
ing direction to close it automatically.
More expensive are interior door closers,
with a canister-like apparatus mounted on
the door and a knuckle-joint arm to push
the door closed. They range from light-
weight residential models through expen-
sive commercial types.
A spring-loaded closer can be installed on
existing door hinges by removing the hinge
pin and inserting the closer. A spring pushes
the door closed. An adjusting nut can control
the closing speed. No hardware is exposed
other than two small arms extending from the
new hinge pin. The spring is contained in a
metal casing that replaces the hinge pin tip.
Closer reinforcements are available that
are attached to the frame to provide a
stronger anchor.
Other Door Hardware
Kick, push and pull plates protect the bot-
tom of doors from scuffing, while adding a
decorative touch. Push and pull plates are also
available in a variety of materials, including
brass, stainless steel and anodized aluminum.
Doorstops prevent doors from being
opened too wide and damaging walls and
woodwork. They are available in several styles.
A threshold is a strip fastened to the floor
beneath a door, usually required to cover the
joint where two types of floor material meet.
An astragal is a molding or strip; its purpose is
to cover or close the gap between the edges of
a pair of doors. Some types overlap, others
meet at the centerline of the gap.
Screen and Storm Door Hardware
A variety of latches, strikes and pulls are
available as original or replacement hardware
for screen and storm doors. Most are designed
for easy installation and are weather-resistant.
Some latches have keyed locks. Product speci-
fications should be checked, as most are
designed for specific types of doors (wood vs.
aluminum or both) and door thicknesses.
Barn Door Hardware
Special door hardware made of zinc or gal-
vanized, heavy-gauge steel is sold for barns
and outbuildings where rough, heavy-duty
use is required.
It consists of a hanger similar to a four-
wheel trolley with a box-shaped track that acts
as a guide.
Hangers have either roll or ball bearings,
with the latter considered superior. The door
and track hangers are capable of supporting
loads from 100 lbs. to 3,000 lbs.
Barn door track is usually mounted to the
building by brackets, although some track
requires no brackets and is mounted directly
to the building with screws.
In addition to the track and brackets, other
items such as flush pulls, bow handles, stay
rollers, bottom guides, bumper shoes and end
stops are also required.
Flush pulls are used on the wall side
and are set flush in wood doors. Bow han-
dles are located on the front side of the
door. A stay roller guides the door in the
track when it opens and closes. Bumper
shoes protect the door from damage when
it reaches the end stops.
Door Hinges
The hinge required for any job depends
on the design of the door and frame, the
size and weight of the door, and the
amount of traffic expected to use the
door. A standard house door between 60"
and 90" requires three hinges. Sizes range
from about 3" high for a narrow, hollow
core door to 5" for a solid core door
2" thick by 36" wide. The specific type
hinge used depends on the construction of
the door and frame and the general appear-
ance desired by the customer.
Parts of a hinge are the leaves, knuckles,
pin, tips and bearings. The leaves are the flat
components with screw holes to fasten hinge
to the door and jamb. The knuckle is the
cylinder that holds the leaves and the pin. A
hinge can have two to five knuckles depend-
ing on the size of the door. The pin fits into
the knuckle and is the pivot of the hinge.
These three components make up the basic
hinge assembly.
Tips project from the top and bottom of the
pin and their primary purpose is to keep the
pin from falling out of the knuckle. Bearings
are important in heavy-duty hinges because
they lubricate and reduce friction on knuckles.
Plain bearings should be used only on light-
weight and infrequently used doors.
Frictionless, ball and oil-impregnated bearings
are used in heavier applications and need lit-
tle, if any, maintenance.
Brass, bronze and stainless steel hinges are
recommended for both interior and exterior
use; steel hinges should not be used in outside
applications because they may rust.
The four basic types of hinges are full-
mortise, half-mortise, full-surface and
half-surface. Leaves of mortise hinges are
cut into the door and jamb so that the
door and jamb butt together.
A full-mortise hinge is cut into both sides; a
half-mortise hinge is cut into the door; the
other leaf is surface-mounted.
Leaves of a full-surface hinge are
mounted on the surface of both door and
jamb so that the entire hinge is exposed
when the door is closed.
A half-surface hinge mounts with one leaf
on the surface of the door and the other leaf
into a cutout in the jamb.
Specific kinds of hinges commonly used in
homes include:
o Pivot hingesMount at the top and bot-
tom of the door leaving a small wafer of
metal exposed. They are commonly used
on furniture doors or where doors are
intended to be inconspicuous.
o Butt hingesFit between the butt of the
door and the frame with only the hinge pin
exposed on the inside of the door.
o Spring hingesClose the door automatical-
ly; double acting types are commonly used
on cafe doors that swing in both directions.
o Strap hinges-Are specifically for surface
applications and provide greater support for
wide doors.
o Continuous hingesAre also called piano
hinges. Range up to 72" long and fit along
the entire length of the door. Provide pro-
tection against warping and are frequently
used on chest lids and cabinets. For more
information, click (Installing Hinges).
Sliding and Folding
Door Hardware
Sliding doors are used in many applica-
Butt Hinge
Full-mortise with
swage (top view)
Strap Hinge
Continuous Hinge
Butt Hinge
Type of Pivot Hinge
Double Acting
Spring Hinge
Single Acting
Spring Hinge
tions, particularly in situations where swing-
ing doors would take up too much space.
The three basic types are single, two bypass-
ing doors and three bypassing doors. A single
door slides into a pocket built into a wall. Two
bypassing doors require a double track to pro-
vide passage for the doors when they are in
the same position. Three bypassing doors
require a passage equivalent to the width of
two of the door sections.
Folding and bifold doors also slide on a
track and require hinges to connect the
Most manufacturers package sets with all
necessary hardware. To sell the proper pack-
age, you need to know the size of the open-
ing, thickness and type of door.
For light installations above counters,
between kitchens and dining areas, sliding
panel track can be used.
Special locks are designed for sliding doors.
Some of these offer a system that allows the
doors to be opened slightly for ventilation,
while the door remains locked.
Window Hardware
Window hardware includes such items as
casement operators and locks, sash locks, lifts
and pulls and casement fasteners.
A casement operator is a mechanism to
limit and control the swing of an unlatched
casement and consists of a lever and a handle
crank. One cranks the handle to open the
window and certain models allow the case-
ment to be opened outward without remov-
ing the screen.
Security sash locks come in two types:
crescent and cam action. Both prevent
opening the sash from the outside. All of
this hardware is available in a variety of
metals including wrought or cast brass,
bronze, aluminum and steel, depending
on the item and manufacturer.
Automatic Garage Door
Automatic garage door operators consist of
a motor unit that, through proper hardware
and linkage, raises and lowers overhead doors
upon command of a control unit.
There are three types of drive mechanisms:
bicycle-type chain and sprocket, plastic strip
and worm-screw drive.
No design has been judged inherently
superior and all work well.
The control unit may be either key or wire-
less operated. If key operated, the driver must
leave the car to unlock the door.
Wireless control, however, is operated from
inside the auto by pushing buttons on a trans-
mitter set on a specific radio frequency. The
driver need not leave the car to open or close
the door. The transmitter starts the opener
motor that lifts the door. An additional con-
trol switch located inside the garage or home
is wired to the unit.
Better units offer a variety of personal secu-
rity codes for improved security, making it
unlikely that another control unit will acci-
dentally open the door.
Quality units also offer safety features such
as overhead lights that automatically switch
on when the door is activated and off after
the person enters the house. Economical mod-
els feature a 1/4-hp motor and heavy-duty
units have a 1/3- or 1/2-hp motor.
Another safety feature is a device that auto-
matically reverses the descent of the door
when it encounters resistance when closing.
All residential garage door openers must incor-
porate an optical sensor and/or door edge sen-
sor as a standard feature. They must also
incorporate sensor failure detection capability
and welded relay detection capability. For
more information, click (Installing Garage
Door Opener).
Cabinet hardware consists of hinges, pulls,
knobs, catches, drawer slides, rotating shelves,
tracks and glides for sliding panels and shelf
rests, and standards and brackets. Cabinet
hardware is manufactured to the American
National Standard Institute standards for
product performance.
Primary differences are style, finish and
type of metal processing, such as casting or
stamping. For example, polished brass knobs
can add a more formal look to a kitchen.
Quality finishes offer greater durability
and are usually electrostatic and baked
lacquer, not air-dried.
Thinly applied finishes may wear or chip,
exposing the plated finish to air and subse-
quent oxidation. Quality knobs and pulls are
cast for finer detail. Stampings are lighter con-
struction and have less detail since stamping
is not as exacting as casting.
Decorative hardware has a continuing mar-
ket for new as well as replacement items.
High-quality decorative items encounter less
price-resistance and offer higher margins.
Cabinet Hinges
There are four basic cabinet door designs
that determine the type of hinge required:
flush-mounted, lipped/inset, flush-overlay or
reverse bevel.
Flush-mounted doors can use full-mortise
butt or full-surface hinges, ornamental strap
hinges and concealed hinges.
Lipped doors are partially recessed into the
opening, with a lip extending around the out-
side of the frame. In this case, the hinge must
Cam Action
Surface Mortise Rim
be inset to accommodate the lip. Semi-con-
cealed cabinet hinges are designed so that the
leaf attached to the cabinet frame is exposed
and the leaf attached to the door is concealed.
This means that the hinge must be inset into
the closing side by the thickness that is
recessed into the cabinet.
A surface hinge for a lipped door must be
offset to the outside of the door. Here the off-
set must match the thickness and shape of the
portion of the door that extends outside the
cabinet opening.
Most lipped cabinet doors have a 3/8" inset,
but the customer should measure to be sure
he is buying the right hinge.
Flush-overlay doors (doors that completely
overlay the cabinet frame) can be mounted
with pivot hinges mortised into the top and
bottom of the door. Butt hinges or semi-con-
cealed hinges can also be used.
Reverse bevel doors (finger pull doors)
require a hinge that features a slant on the
door wing that is compatible with the profile
of the cabinet door.
A self-closing feature can be built into sever-
al kinds of hinges. These close the door auto-
matically from about a 10opening. Most
work on a spring-loaded cam principle. They
are made from heavier gauge steel than stan-
dard surface-mounted hinges. Self-closing
hinges are offered in many styles and are
available as direct replacements for standard
hinges. The mounting hole patterns should be
checked to ensure they fit.
Quality features include better materials,
construction and finishes. Five knuckle joints
provide better load distribution and smoother
action. Riveted joint pins and nylon washers
between wings of pivot hinges are other quali-
ty signs. Also, see if the material is heavy
enough to prevent sagging and is resistant to
normal kitchen moisture.
Knobs and Pulls
Knobs and pulls are used on cabinet doors
and drawers as handles. The basic considera-
tion to the customer is usually style, but quali-
ty and design can be important.
Backplates are available for both knobs and
pulls. In addition to being decorative, they
provide additional support for hollow core
doors and drawers.
If the hardware is for replacement, consider-
ation must be given either to using the exist-
ing screw holes or to ensuring that the new
hardware will cover the old holes. A two-screw
cabinet handle, for instance, cannot be
replaced with a single-screw knob, unless a
backplate is included and is large enough to
cover the second hole.
Most cabinet knobs and pulls use #8 screws
for mounting. Pulls are generally on 3"
mounting centers; however this should be
checked before purchasing replacements.
Cabinet Catches
Normal wear and settling can cause almost
any cabinet door to sag. If self-closing hinges
are not used and this happens, the doors will
hang open unless cabinet catches are installed.
Catches come in six types: friction, roller
spring, magnetic, elbow, bullet and touch
(push) catches.
Friction catches hold by pressure of the
catch on the strike. The catch is mounted on a
doorframe, jamb or underside of a shelf. The
strike is mounted on the door so that upon
closing, it is inserted into the catch.
Two common friction catches are alligator
and lever spring-action, which feature two
floating jaws and are self-aligning to compen-
sate for swelling and shrinking of doors.
Roller spring catches are available in single
and double roller types. They feature quiet
operation, easy installation, long life and easy
adaptability to many door and frame designs.
Magnetic catches range in pull from
8 lbs.-40 lbs. The holding power is greatly
reduced if only part of the magnet makes con-
tact with the strike. Therefore, they must be
installed carefully to properly align catch and
strike. Quality magnetic catches feature a
floating or self-adjusting action to ensure
proper alignment and contact.
Elbow catches are mounted on the door
with the strike installed on the frame or on a
shelf. These catches can only be released from
the inside of the cabinet and thus are used on
one side of a pair of doors.
Bullet catches are used primarily on
furniture and smaller cabinet doors
where it is desirable to hide the catch as
much as possible.
Steeple Tip
Flat Tip
Buton Tip
Finial Tip
Bullet Tip
Turret Tip
Friction Catch
Roller Spring Catch
Clear Picture
Magnetic Catch
Elbow Catch
Touch (push) catches are mounted inside
the cabinet and have no knobs or pulls. By
simply pushing on the door, the catch releases
and the door springs open.
Drawer Slides
Two basic types of drawer slides are mono-
rail and side mounting with various models
available in each type.
Monorail features a single track under the
center of the drawer with drawer rollers on
the left and right side. This type is easy to
install because it requires minimum measur-
ing and templates. It is low in cost and fits
both new and old installations.
A side-mounting version consists of four
tracksone attached to each side or bottom
of the drawer and one on both the left and
right sides of the cabinet. Each track has
rollers on which the drawer rides. Some of
these are available as self-closing slides. These
close when the drawer comes within 4" to 5"
of the back, regardless of the load or its posi-
tion in the drawer.
Quality slides permit little side move-
ment, prevent accidental drawer pullout,
have high quality rollers and are precision-
made to close tolerances.
Drapery hardware used to be strictly func-
tional in purpose, and so it was typically kept
out of sight in the home. Todays drapery
hardware is an integral part of a rooms decor,
and manufacturers have responded by intro-
ducing finials, poles, rings, rods and accent
pieces in a wide variety of styles.
Drapery hardware styles tend to follow
trends in wallcoverings and room decor.
Speckled white along with metallic finishes
such as black wrought iron, pewter and brass
are among the popular styles.
Caf Rods
Caf rods are used to hang curtains over
both upper and lower window sashes.
Generally, the curtain is suspended from rings
encircling the rods. Rods and rings are decora-
tive and come in a variety of finishes.
Sizes, varying as to use, range from 3/8" to
1" in diameter, and 28" to 120" long.
Traverse Rods
Traverse rods allow opening and closing of
drapes with a downward pull on a cord.
Explaining the benefits makes selling traverse
rods easy.
Although generally used with heavy
drapes, they can also traverse lightweight
curtains. They can be wall-mounted or
attached to the ceiling. In most traverse
applications, draperies close from each side
of the window to meet in the center. One-
way draw rods, drawing the drape fully to
the left or fully to the right, are used with
patio doors or corner windows.
Traverse rods are made of two telescoping
track sections, adjustable to desired length.
Six sizes cover windows up to 312" wide in
the following ranges: 28" to 48", 48" to 84",
66" to 120", 84" to 156", 156" to 216" and
216" to 312".
Traverse rod variations and accessory kits
allow special action and effects. Some are used
as follows:
o To draw drapes completely clear of the win-
dow at the sides, giving the effect of a wider
o To hold a curtain rod in front of the tra-
verse rod and support a full-width valence.
o To hold a sheer curtain behind the travers-
ing draperies.
o To permit two traverse rods to be mounted
in tandem, for double drapery or for a com-
bination of drapes.
Decorative traverse rods combine func-
tions of the cord-operated traverse rod with
the decorative beauty of a caf rod. Sizes
range from 3/4" to 1-1/2" in diameter and
28" to 312" long. They are available in a
number of metallic finishes, as well as
painted and unfinished wood.
Curtain Hardware
Curtain rods support curtains or draperies
in a fixed position. Curtain rods, which used
to be concealed by the curtains or drapes, are
now designed to be exposed. They can be
mounted on the casing or wall above any
window. Curtain rods are the highest volume
sellers in drapery hardware.
Single or double rods are available in
lengths of 18" to 120" with rod extenders in
lengths of 28" to 156". When rod extenders
are sold, additional curtain rod supports
should be recommended. Supports should be
placed at least every 48". Special rods include
bay window rods, double curtain rods, curved
curtain rods and swinging drapery cranes.
Clear rods are made from extruded plastic and
are used for ultra-sheer and lace curtains.
The swinging drapery crane is a versatile
curtain rod. Adjusting positions permit it to
swing and project outward to keep curtains
clear of Venetian blinds; to push close to wall;
to lengthen or shorten to suit drapery width;
and to tilt out to allow easy window or trim
washing. The drapery crane is excellent for
French doors or windows.
Other special rods are spring pressure
and sash rods. Strong springs hold the
adjustable tension rods in place when they
must be mounted inside the window casing
or when screws cannot be used to hold
brackets. Sash rods are generally used to
hold the top and bottom of curtains station-
ary and close to the window.
Traverse Rods
Curtain Rod
Caf Rods
Slpi-on Hook Pin-on Hook
Pleater Hook
Wood pole rods are generally available in
7/8", 1-3/8" and 2" diameters. These have a
painted, stained or natural finish. They are
used with rings for pleated draperies and with
high headers.
Extra-wide rods are available in 4-1/2" and
2-1/2" sizes and are inserted into fabric head-
ings of 5" or 3", providing a stationary look.
They can be used for valances or a combina-
tion of valance and side panels and are often
used in combination with two or three rods to
give a cornice look.
Drapery hardware accessories add sales vol-
ume. They include rings, hooks, tiebacks,
holdbacks, chains, pleater tape and weights.
Rings must be 1/4" larger in diameter than
the rod for free movement. Some have eyelets
for insertion of a drapery hook. Ring clips are
oval or round. When pressed on the sides,
prongs open; when pressure is released the
prongs grasp the top of the drapery.
Hooks have three basic patterns. (See
Drapery Hooks sidebar.)
One side of a slip-on hook fits over a rod or
into an eyelet on the rod. The drapery head-
ing fits between the two close-facing shanks
on the opposite side of the hook.
The pin-on works the same way except that
the drapery heading is hooked into the sharp
pin, which is opposite to the side that hangs
on the rod.
The pleater hook is used with pleater tape
sewn to the drapery heading. Three or four
prongs, or shanks, form pleats when the head-
ing is placed onto the shanks.
Appropriate fasteners for these items
include hollow wall screw anchors, toggles,
and plastic and lead anchors. These work well
in drywall, plaster walls, concrete block and
other masonry materials.
Swagholders are used to make decorative
window treatments with ordinary fabric by
draping and forming poufs, rosettes, bishops
sleeves and festoons.
Two factors are important in selecting the
proper mailbox. First, will the box be placed
in an area fully exposed to the elements?
Second, will the style complement the house?
If the box is to be exposed to weather, it
must be made of rust-resistant material such
as aluminum or galvanized steel. It must also
protect the mail from rain and snow.
If the box is to be mounted on a brick
or masonry wall, suggest lead wood screw
anchors, single expansion shields, lag
screw anchors or nylon and aluminum
drive pin anchors.
Rural mailboxes are medium or large size,
generally made of heavy galvanized or painted
steel or aluminum.
All rural mailboxes must be made of a non-
corrosive material. If the box is made of steel,
it is always galvanized. A painted steel box has
galvanized steel as the base metal.
Style is also important in choice of a rural
box. Many are finished in automotive enamel
paint for a colorful, durable finish.
After selling a rural mailbox, always ask the
customer if they need a mounting post.
Wrought iron posts offer an attractive appear-
ance and long life. Wooden posts should be
chemically treated for long life.
Two more add-on items to suggest are
enamel plates and stick-on letters for street
name and numbers.
Large 4" high house numbers, coated with
the same reflective material used on traffic
signs, may be suggested as an add-on sale for
the house or mailbox. These make identifica-
tion easy at night.
Plastic mailboxes, some with plastic poles,
are also available.
Furniture Glides
Glides, which allow furniture to move more
easily, are available in four basic types: three-
prong, cushion, glides and pads.
The three-prong glide is hammered into
the legs of light furniture. It is easy to install
and easy to remove.
The cushion glide, which is for heavier use,
is mounted by hammering a nail portion
deeply into the furniture leg. A cushion glide
for caster holes is the best type for heavy fur-
niture. The socket above the glide replaces
normal stem-type casters.
Some glides have a tilting stem with a 40
range of movement. These glides are made for
furniture with angled legs so that the base of
the glide sits flat on the floor.
Rubber leg tips and heavy-duty, self-adhe-
sive nylon or felt pads offer softer protection
for walls and floors. Pads can be pre-cut into
small or large discs, pre-cut into mini-discs for
use in kitchen cabinet doors and drawers, pre-
cut into narrow strips for rocking chairs or cut
according to need.
Casters are used to provide mobility for
heavy furniture. The addition of casters or dol-
lies to refrigerators and other heavy appliances
make it possible to move appliances to clean
under or behind them.
Casters can be suggested for other uses such
as tool chests, beds, planter dollies, work-
benches and shelving units for mobility and
The type of caster to be used depends
on the weight of the item, floor surface
and the method by which it is attached to
the furniture.
You should recommend the largest size
caster consistent with furniture style. Large
casters are stronger and provide movement
that is more efficient. If the casters are to be
used on furniture, such as chairs or sofas, con-
sider occupied weight rather than weight of
the furniture piece alone.
If a caster is being purchased as replacement
item, upgrade the quality. Most furniture is
originally equipped with less than top-quality
casters. Also, consider the amount of use. If
STYRENE Non-resilient, smooth-faced plas-
tic. Harmless to floor coverings. Used on hard
surface or carpet. Light-duty application.
PHENOLIC Hard-surface thermoplastic.
Used on carpeted floors. Suitable for heavy
furniture, office chairs, etc.
SOFT-RUBBER Soft rubber tread bonded to
a hard composition core. Recommended for
hard surface floors and vinyl coverings.
APPLICATION Can be used on any floor
DIE-CAST METALFor use on carpeted floors.
item is to be moved often, heavier-duty equip-
ment is necessary.
Caster Types
The three types of casters are stem, plate
and insert. The terminology refers to the way
the caster is attached to the furniture.
Stem casters use a socket adapter, which is
inserted into a hole in the furniture. The stem
of the caster then slides into the socket. The
top end of the socket snaps into a small ridge
in the stem.
Plate casters are designed to be attached to
the furniture with screws or bolts.
The primary benefit of molded plastic
inserts (sockets) is their flexibility. Sockets,
which are available in diameters between 1/2"
and 1", adapt to inside diameters of furniture
legs. While most are made of polyethylene,
sockets are also available in steel.
Caster Wheels
Caster wheels come in a variety of diame-
ters and materials with a multitude of uses. To
select the proper wheel, consideration must be
given to load requirements, type of flooring
and amount of floor protection needed.
Caster wheels are made of soft rubber,
plastic or metal. Soft rubber wheels are rec-
ommended for asphalt tile, hardwood
floors, etc. Non-marking plastic wheels are
recommended for rugs and carpeted floors.
Metal wheels are desirable where casters
will carry heavy loads or where protection
of the flooring is not important.
Furniture Legs
Steady interest in repairing and refin-
ishing old furniture or in making furni-
ture in a home workshop makes furniture
legs important items. They are available
in two main types: splayed (for slanted
usage) and straight.
They come in materials such as wrought
iron, unfinished wood and tubular steel in a
large assortment of styles such as Early
American, plain, square, round, tapered, etc.,
and in lengths ranging from 4" to 28".
Legs are also available for a variety of
tablesgame, picnic, folding, pedestal, etc.
Add-on items include paints, stains, brush-
es, tools and other accessories.
Household Lubricants
With so many household tools, appliances,
locks and other mechanical equipment
around a home, knowledge of proper use of
household lubricants is important.
In advising a customer about a lubricant,
find out how and where it will be used. For
example, if the problem is a sticking dresser
drawer, where clothing might be present,
suggest a product that will not stain cloth-
ing or warn the customer of the possibility
of staining.
The following list will help you select the
right specialty lubricant for your customers:
Stainless stick lubricantApply to exposed
surfaces of metal, rubber, wood, glass and plas-
tic. It will not stain fabrics and is applied like a
crayon to sticking doors, windows, drawers
and zippers.
Lock fluidProtects locks against sticking,
rusting and freezing. Contains graphite in a
fluid that penetrates to every part of the lock.
May be used on other intricate mechanisms
such as guns and machinery. When locks are
frozen, use a lock de-icer. Locks should always
be lubricated after using a lock de-icer because
it leaves metal parts dry.
All-purpose oilPetroleum-based liquid
protects against rust, penetrating to loosen
rust, and then lubricating. Available in cans
and aerosol sprays.
Dripless oilPerforms the same functions
as all-purpose oil but does not drip after appli-
cation because liquid carrier evaporates and
leaves a full-bodied film. Excellent for hinges
and typewriters.
Silicone lubricantWeatherproof lubricant
works on many materials. Comes in aerosol or
grease form.
Dielectric siliconeCompound is formulat-
ed with a specially selected silicone-based fluid
and is resistant to oxidation, thermal degrada-
tion and a broad range of chemicals. It can be
used to lubricate and insulate electrical con-
nectors and ignition components, and pro-
vides moisture seal for joining extension cords
for outdoor holiday decorations. Also, use on
base of outdoor floodlights to prevent mois-
ture, corrosion and sticking in the base.
Graphite-Black powder that is one of the
most effective lubricants available for surface
application. Usually comes in small plastic
puffer-gun tubes. Graphite lubricant is unaf-
fected by heat or cold and can be used on
wood, metal, rubber, plastic or leather. Care
must be taken in the application of graphite
since it can be messy.
Closet Hardware
Closet hardware includes such products as:
pole sockets for mounting wooden clothes
poles; combination brackets that support both
a closet shelf and clothes pole; brackets specif-
ically designed to hold clothes poles up to 1"
in diameter; spring tension rods; adjustable
clothes bars with mounting hardware; and
special hooks for hanging hats, light clothing,
towels, etc. For more information, click
(Designing a Closet Organizer).
Shelf Hardware
With household storage space at a premium
in many homes, shelf hardware is becoming
increasingly important. One of the most pop-
ular types is adjustable shelving consisting of
standards and brackets.
Standards are pre-slotted metal strips
attached to the wall, preferably into wall
studs. However, they can also be attached
with toggle bolts or similar fasteners, approxi-
mately 16" apart. If the standards must be fur-
ther than 16" apart, the shelves may not sup-
port heavy loads. A newer variation on the
wall standard includes a mounting rail that is
fastened across the studs. The standard then
clips directly into the rail or an adapter may
be required. A fastener is usually required at
the bottom of the standard for stability. This
system requires fewer fasteners and can be
placed almost anywhere.
Brackets fit into the slots on the standards
and serve as supports for the shelves. A flexi-
ble storage system can be built with standards
and brackets that are easily removed and repo-
sitioned by pushing up and lifting out.
So-called invisible shelving systems offer
fashionable ways to put shelving into living
areas. These systems mount brackets directly
on the walls to support wood or glass shelv-
ing. They are not suggested for heavy sup-
port jobs.
Standards can also be mounted in cabinets,
closets or bookcases. In these locations, short
clips are substituted for regular brackets in a
system called pilasters and clips. They are
adjustable on 1/2" centers rather than the
standard 1" centers. Another form of shelf
support is a Z bracket, so named because of its
configuration. It is frequently used for utility
shelving in basements or garages because of
the support it offers and because of its cost-
estimated at about one-third that of a wall
standard and bracket system.
Floor-to-ceiling standards can be used
to create room dividers. These pieces are
double-slotted and come in lengths rang-
ing from 76"-12'.
In selling standards and brackets, do
not overlook the extra sales from prefin-
ished shelving available with most lines
of hardware.
Finishes include anodizing, simulated wood
grain and vivid decorator colors on both alu-
minum and steel. Brackets designed with
curves are another suggestion for more deco-
rative uses.
Suggest hollow wall screw anchors and tog-
gles to fasten standards to drywall and hollow
block walls; lead screw anchors for brick, stone
and masonry walls. For more information, click
(Building Shelves).
Picture Hangers
Nail hangers consist of a piece of metal
with a hook on the lower end of a twist and
loop that forms a hole through which the nail
is driven. Depending on the size, this type will
hold from 10 lbs.-100 lbs.
Adhesive hanger is an aluminum hook
built into the lower end of an adhesive strip.
The strip will stick to any clean, flat surface
like glass, wood or metal. Hanger is designed
for light-duty use only.
Adjustable hanger is a piece of flat metal
with cuts or serrations along either edge
that attaches to the back of a picture frame.
Serrations allow picture to be adjusted on a
nail or screw for balanced hanging. They are
for light-duty use only.
Utility hanger is a hook that has an eye
drilled into the flat upper piece for nailing or
screwing to wall. Light to medium use.
A hook anchor for light to medium use
is made of polypropylene and can be used
in hollow or solid walls. It will hold mir-
rors and pictures.
Hardwall hanger is a plastic hook with case-
hardened pins that can drive into brick or
concrete walls to hold light- and medium-
weight mirrors and pictures.
Flush mount hanger has two pieces of
formed metal. One piece mounts to the pic-
ture and the other to the wall. These pieces
interlock to create a high-load system.
Cable Ties
Nylon cable ties (also called wire tying
straps or tie straps) are one-piece bands with
self-locking catches or heads on one end.
Cable ties are available in different widths and
lengths to accommodate various bundle diam-
eter sizes. They can be used on just about any-
thing that needs to be tied up, tied down or
held in placefrom cables, hoses, tubes and
repair equipment to hanging plants, staking
trees and rose bushes or vines. Natural, col-
ored and fluorescent ties are used indoors
while UV (sunlight resistant) black ties are
used outdoors.
Releasable ties are designed for temporary
fastening jobs.
Mounting bases can be used with stan-
dard cable ties to fix wire bundles to sup-
port structures or other surfaces.
Mounting bases are adhesive-backed for
quick anchoring and contain molded
knockout screw holes for extra power.
Cable tie tools make the use of cable ties
easier and more convenient. These tensioning
tools pull the cable ties tight and snap off the
excess length.
Support Hardware
Another group of products includes metal
plates and braces specifically designed to be
used as reinforcement in a variety of applica-
tions. Available in an assortment of sizes,
shapes and finishes, they include t-plates, cor-
ner braces, mending plates, triple corner
braces and chair leg braces. They are packaged
with or without mounting hardware.
Welded Chain
Welded chain means the individual link is
welded to form a continuous loop. It is manu-
factured in these basic grades: proof coil, high-
test, transport and alloy.
Proof coil is the type most commonly
found in hardware stores and home cen-
ters. As an all-purpose chain, it is general-
ly used for log chains, tow chains,
guardrail chains, tailgate chains and
switch chains. It is not intended for use as
a sling or overhead lifting chain.
Chain is rated according to working load in
pounds. The most common styles of welded
chain are straight link machine or coil, pass-
ing link and twist link machine or coil.
Welded straight link coil chain is available
in many gauges and link sizes. It is popular for
general use because it has good strength.
Twist link coil chain links are twisted at uni-
form angles. The slight twist in the links tends
to make the chain more flexible and prevents
the entire chain from twisting and knotting in
use. Machine chain has a shorter link but is
otherwise similar in appearance to coil chain.
Passing link is made with links sufficiently
wide to permit the links to pass each other
easily, keeping kinking and tangling to a mini-
mum. It is used extensively on farm machin-
ery, for swing chain and for animal tie-out.
Weldless Chain
Weldless chain is formed by bending, twist-
ing or knotting the metal to form individual
links. It is recommended for light work only,
and is usually stocked as flat chain, double
loop coil and single loop coil chain.
Weldless flat chain, which is commonly
Single Jack Chain
Sash Chain
Twist Link Coil Chain
Double Loop
Coil Chain
Double Jack Chain
Passing Link Chain
Straight Link
Coil Chain
Lock Link Chain
Safety Chain
called sash chain, is made by stamping or
shaping a flat strip from metal. These strips
are then formed into links and attached to
each other. Sash chain is especially suited for
use over pulleys or where chain must lie flat.
Double loop wire chain is made of
light- gauge wire with the links formed by
knotting or tying the wire to the desired
link size. It is one of the most popular
chains because of its versatility. It is com-
monly used for dog runners, swing sets,
playground uses and padlocks.
Safety or plumbers chain is a stamped, flat
link chain used to attach plumbing fixtures
and for general utility purposes.
Decorator chain, which can hold up to 50
pounds, is available in several finishes and can
be used for such things as hanging lamps,
flower baskets and chandeliers. The links can
be easily opened with household pliers.
Cordage products, with minor variations,
come in three basic constructions: braided
cords and ropes, twisted ropes and plied
twines. All of these constructions may be
done with a variety of natural and synthetic
fibers. Each type of construction and fiber has
some basic feature that makes it better for cer-
tain applications.
Braided Cords and Ropes
Braiding is a variation of weaving that inter-
locks the fibers making cords and ropes that
will not unravel. They will not turn under a
load, making them less likely to kink than
twisted or cabled cords and ropes.
Braided cords may be made with or with-
out a center filler that will give additional
diameter or strength. Braiding may be done
in small diameters, matching the sizes of
cable cords, such as #18 and #21. In larger
diameters, from 1/16" and up, cords may be
sized by fractions of an inch, or a number
representing the number of 32nds of an
inch. A #4 braided cord, then, is 4/32" or
1/8". A #8 is 8/32" or 1/4".
Three general categories of braids are avail-
able: diamond braid with a core, diamond
braid without a core (hollow braid) and solid
braid. The easiest to manufacture is diamond
braid, also known as maypole braid, because
its over and under weave is similar in appear-
ance to the way the maypole dance is per-
formed. Diamond braid is frequently used for
drapery cord or Venetian blind cord or as low-
cost clothesline. The best feature of hollow
braid is the fact it splices easily.
Solid braid is firm, round and tightly
woven so it will not unravel when cut or torn.
Solid braided rope works well over pulleys and
has the best abrasion resistance. When the
rope and the core are braided, it is known as
double braid construction, the strongest
and most expensive type of rope.
Twisted Ropes
Twisted ropes are formed by coiling three
strands together in the same direction. The
fibers within each of the three strands must
twist in the opposite direction as the strands
to produce a balanced rope (one that resists
kinking and hangs straight). It must be fused
and taped on each end to prevent unraveling.
Twisted ropes are used where larger diameters
are required for major loads.
Sisal twisted rope can be used where it is
likely to be discarded after each use and
strength is unimportant. It should not be
used where personal safety or valuable prop-
erty is involved. Sisal has good resistance to
sunlight and stretches little. Polypropylene
has largely displaced sisal in low-cost usage.
Sisal is used in gardening, bundling and
shipping applications.
Manila is the most frequently used natu-
ral fiber in twisted rope today. While it
must be handled with care to prevent rot
and mildew, it has excellent resistance to
surface heat. It will burn before it melts, so
heavy loading on capstans and pulleys will
not fuse the strands together. It stretches lit-
tle and holds knots firmly.
Polypropylene twisted rope is less expen-
sive than other rope fibers, making it a pop-
ular all-purpose rope. Polypropylene floats
and is easy to produce in colors; it can be
used as safety rope, marker rope in the
water or other uses where high visibility is
required. It has a relatively low melting
point, so is not the best product to use on
heavily loaded pulleys, where friction may
fuse the outer jacket. It is resistant to rot
and mildew and no precautions are needed
to dry before storage. Polypropylene is not
as strong as polyester or nylon, but is two to
three times stronger than manila.
Nylon twisted rope is the most versatile of
all because of its strength. A 1/2" nylon rope is
stronger than a 5/8" polypropylene rope.
Additionally, nylon has very good shock
resistance, which means sudden jerks are less
likely to damage the rope or cause failure.
Nylon has excellent resistance to abrasion,
which makes it more durable than other fibers
in applications where rubbing is likely to
occur. Nylons extra durability and strength
it lasts four to five times longer than natural
fibersoften justify its extra cost. Like
polypropylene, nylon has good resistance to
most chemicals and will not rot or mold
when wet.
When stretched, nylon has a tendency to
return to its original length, making it excel-
lent for lifting or towing. However, nylons
stretch makes it inappropriate for some appli-
cations, and it can snap back. It should not be
used on winches or bits, nor attached to
hooks or chain.
Clevis Hook Eye Hook
Cold Shut
Repair Link (Top and Side View) Ratchet Load Binder Lever Load Binder
Polyester twisted rope has strength similar
to nylon. It will stretch less than nylon, but at
the expense of poorer shock load capacity.
However, it has a good resistance to abrasion
and sunlight. Polyester is the top choice for
general-purpose boating applications.
Twine is made by plying (twisting) yarns
together to make a single, continuous strand.
The basic benefit of twine is price. It is the
simplest cordage product to make, so it nor-
mally costs less. Because it is twisted just once,
it is prone to unravel with use. For that rea-
son, it is not recommended for reuse; suggest-
ed uses include wrapping a roast, tying pack-
ages or establishing a line in the garden.
Twine may be any number of plies. The
more plies of the same yarn, the stronger the
twine. A 16-ply #8 thread cotton twine is
twice as strong as an 8-ply #8 thread twine.
Twine is available in several fibers. Sisal was
once popular because it was extremely low in
cost. That low-cost advantage has been
replaced by polypropylene, which is stronger
and lasts longer. Jute twine is soft and inex-
pensive, making it useful where large amounts
are needed.
Sisal is still available and sold primarily
in rural areas. It is used when the ability
to rot away is important, such as tying a
bale of hay left for fodder in the field. For
general applications, polypropylene
twines are more economical.
Cotton and cotton-blend twines are
particularly useful when softness and
average strength is important. Softness
means the twine wont readily cut the
item being wrapped, such as a roast of
beef or a garden plant. It also is kinder to
the hands of the user. Cotton holds knots
well, and it will burn before it melts, mak-
ing it best for tying meats.
Jute twine is soft and inexpensive, making
it useful where large amounts are needed,
such as in the garden and around plants. Jute
will rot away in a single season, so it wont
accumulate in garden beds.
Cable cords can be thought of as twist-
ing three twines together. This additional
twisting produces a product that is both
stronger and more durable than a single-
stage twine. It is usually sized by the total
number of #8 cotton threads.
Because it is three strands, the size number
will always be divisible by 3, such as #18, #21,
etc. Nylon twine is a cable-cord construction
and is sized to match the equivalent diameter
of cotton.
Cable cords are used when reuse or contin-
uous use is likely. Masons lines, used to estab-
lish a level line for a course of brick, and chalk
lines are two key applications. Cotton cable
cords are particularly suited for chalk lines;
cotton does not have to be rechalked as often.
Nylon cable cord, usually called nylon
seine twine or nylon masons line, is far
stronger than cotton. In feet per dollar, it
is cheaper. Nylon wont rot, and with-
stands abrasion well. It has an elasticity
that allows it to accept sudden jerks with-
out breaking as easily as cotton.
Select best rope for specific job. The wrong
size and quality of rope is extravagant and
unsafe. As rope becomes worn, its safe work-
ing load decreases.
Uncoil rope properly. Lay coil flat with inside end
of rope nearest the deck. Loosen lashings and cov-
ering. Reach down through center of coil and pull
rope up through from inside the coil.
Dry rope before storing. Manila ropes mildew
and decay if stored wet; a cool, dry room with
free air circulation provides the best storage.
Reverse rope ends regularly, particularly when
used in tackle. This permits even wearing and
assures longer useful life. Should a short sec-
tion become badly worn, cut it out and splice
with a long or short splice as appropriate.
Keep rope clean. Dont drag rope over ground
or other rough gritty surfaces. This allows abra-
sive particles to work into the rope and damages
fibers. If rope becomes dirty, wash it and dry it
thoroughly before storing.
Prevent kinks which cause permanent damage
and weakening of the rope. If rope is continual-
ly twisted in one direction, as over a winch,
counteract it by throwing in twist in opposite
Protect rope from chemicals such as acids, alkalis, oils,
paints and other agents not chemically neutral.
Avoid sudden strains. Jerking may cause failure of a
rope normally strong enough to handle the load.
When using tackle or slings, apply a steady, even
pull to get full strength from rope.
Strength Ratings
All cordage products are rated as to expect-
ed strength, with standards set by the Cordage
Institute. Tensile or breaking strength is the
load that will break a brand new, never-knot-
ted cord or rope. Since all ropes age, and are
weakened somewhat by winding on a reel,
running over pulleys or tying, only a small
fraction of the breaking strength should be
considered for safe loading use.
Many manufacturers suggest a range of
working loads that may be 10 to 30 percent of
breaking strength. The lower number should
not be exceeded if rope failure might result in
injury or loss of property. The higher number
can be used if rope failure will only be an
inconvenience. Knots reduce the breaking
strength of rope as much as 40 percent.
Because of this, splicing is preferred to knot-
ting. Sharp bends also greatly reduce the
strength of a rope.
In any case, all ropes and cords eventually
fail. They should be examined frequently for
cuts, worn spots and discoloration that would
indicate chemical deterioration. At the first
sign of wear, they should be replaced.
Twisted ropes require a little extra effort
when cutting to prevent unraveling. The
three strands need to be secured in some
way or they will unwind, creating needless
loss of product.
Taping the location of the cut with plastic
electrical tape before cutting works well. Just
make certain the tape extends about twice the
diameter on either side of the cut.
Synthetic ropes may be cut-actually melted
through-with a hot knife that is simply a
modified tip for soldering guns. This melting
not only cuts the rope, but also fuses the
strands together, making taping unnecessary.
The tips are usually available from a synthetic
rope manufacturer.
Chain And Cordage Accessories
The most commonly used chain accessories
are clevis hooks, either grab or slip styles.
Clevis hooks attach directly to welded
chain, eliminating the requirement for an
additional attachment or fitting.
Load binders provide more control in bind-
ing and releasing without extra tools.
Eye hooks, both slip and grab, use a mid-
link or similar product to connect directly to
the chain and are still widely used.
Cold shuts can be used as temporary repair
links. Use one size larger than the proof coil
chain with which it is to be used. Cold shuts
can also be used to couple light attachments.
They are not to be used on chains used for
securing loads.
Repair links are temporary repair links used
to couple light attachments. They also should
not be used for securing loads.
Pulleys and circular metal wheels with
grooved edges are also common cordage
Most screening is aluminum or fiberglass,
with galvanized steel and bronze also avail-
able. Standard widths range from 24" to 48",
with 54", 60" and 72" available as special
orders. Aluminum and fiberglass are rustproof
and will last longer than galvanized screening
under normal usage.
Aluminum screening is resilient, rustproof,
fire resistant and melt-proof (at temperature of
a match). Aluminum comes in three standard
finishes: bright aluminum, charcoal and black.
The standard replacement screen for windows
with aluminum screens is the bright finish,
but many manufacturers also offer windows
with charcoal and black aluminum.
Black finish offers the best outward visi-
bility and is recommended for decks,
patios, porches or other applications
where visibility is of utmost importance.
Aluminum screening is generally available
as a standard 18 x 16 mesh (number of
strands per square inch), which is small
enough to screen out most insects.
Fiberglass screening is rustproof, corrosion
proof and flame retardant. Fiberglass screening
is also available in a variety of meshes and col-
ors. An extra heavy-duty fiberglass screen is
designed to withstand the abuse of pets.
Like aluminum, standard meshes are 18 x
16 and the two most popular colors are silver
gray and charcoal. Fiberglass screening is also
available in a fine-woven 20 x 20 mesh used
primarily in coastal areas where very tiny fly-
ing insects are a problem. For large areas such
as pool enclosures, a strong 18 x 14 mesh is
also available. Some meshes and colors of
fiberglass are also available on special order in
78" and 84" widths.
Bronze screening offers a nostalgic look for
accenting old homes. Made of 90 percent cop-
per and 10 percent zinc, the screen weathers
to a dark bronze finish.
For years, the standard packaging for insect
screening was rolls of 100 lineal feet. Retailers
cut off whatever length was required by a cus-
tomer. While many retailers still carry both
aluminum and fiberglass in 100' rolls, more
are offering screening in pre-cut and individu-
ally packaged rolls.
Pre-cut rolls come in a variety of sizes,
but those 84" in length provide enough to
repair most windows and doors. Most man-
ufacturers also offer pre-cut and packaged
rolls in 25' lengths.
Racks are available for measuring and cut-
ting required amounts of screening material
off large 100' rolls. These racks are available
with counters that measure the screen as
you pull it across a roller wheel and with a
cutting table to conveniently cut the screen
once it is measured.
A screening tool is a handy device when
tackling door or window screening installation
jobs. The small tool features a cylindrical han-
dle (typically wooden) and bladed wheels on
each end. One wheel is tapered at the edge to
help push the screening into the proper slot of
the frame. For more information, click
(Working with Screens).
Solar Screening
Solar screening is available as a louvered
aluminum material or a fiberglass ribbed-
weave mesh. These products are used in place
of regular insect screening and block out most
of the suns heat and light while still serving
as an insect barrier. In addition to offering
energy savings, solar screen reduces glare and
fading and offers daytime privacy.
Aluminum screening can reduce incoming
heat by as much as 87 percent, fiberglass solar
screening by as much as 70 percent.
Solar screening is generally available in the
same widths and colors as regular screening. It
is available in bulk rolls of 50 or 100 linear
feet. In addition, several manufacturers offer
solar screening in pre-cut d-i-y packaging.
Hardware Cloth
Hardware cloth has numerous uses, includ-
ing attic ventilation, foundation vents, securi-
ty screens, and protective panels for screen
doors, tree guards and straining applications.
It is available in galvanized steel or aluminum
and may be found in the following meshes:
2 x 2, 3 x 3, 4 x 4 and 8 x 8 (number of
squares per linear inch). Common widths are
from 24"-48" in 100-foot rolls.
Plastic hardware cloth is also available, with
meshes from 1/8" x 1/8"-1" x 1". Plastic hard-
ware cloth will not rust, rot or corrode and
has no sharp edges. Plastic hardware cloth is
available in dark green and crystal colors.
Lawn Fencing
Lawn or utility fencing offers homeowners
inexpensive protection for shrubs, trees and
flowerbeds as well as sturdy backing for split
rail fences. It comes in several forms.
One form is galvanized or vinyl-coated 14-
gauge wire in 2" x 4" mesh. Another form is a
bright-finished 2" x 2" woven wire 14- or 16-
gauge fence with a smooth knot.
Vinyl-coated fence withstands harsh weath-
er and does not need painting or other main-
tenance. It is available in green or white rather
than the metallic finish of galvanized fencing.
Plastic lawn fence is available in a 2" square
mesh design and a 1" diamond mesh. Both
are available in white and green colors. It will
not rust, rot or corrode and has no sharp
edges to harm pets or children.
Lawn fencing is also available in single-loop
and double-loop construction. Single-loop has
strands about 6" apart. Double-loop is the same
from center to top; but from center to bottom,
a second loop provides twice as many strands.
Lawn fencing stands 36" to 48" high.
For more information, click (Building
Wood Fences).
Wire Fencing
The primary advantage of welded wire fab-
ric is that it can be taken down, rerolled and
reused. It is stronger than woven fencing.
Homeowners find it serves well for fencing off
childrens play areas, for protecting shrubs and
young trees and for storing leaves for mulch.
It is galvanized or vinyl-coated in heavy 14-
gauge 2" x 1" or 12-1/2-gauge 4" x 2" mesh. It
is typically sold in 50' rolls, 36" or 48" high.
Garden Fencing
A welded, galvanized fencing designed to
keep small predatory animals out of the gar-
den has a large 4" square mesh at the top and
a small (about 1") mesh extending 12" up
from ground level. This fine mesh can be
buried several inches below ground to keep
burrowing animals out of the garden. The
fencing is available in heights from 24"-50"
and sold in 50' rolls.
Other specialty fencing is designed to be
used as tomato cages. It has large mesh that
allows easy access to the plant. Vertical stays
are 12- and 14-gauge for strength. Horizontal
wires are 14-gauge for easy cutting. The weld-
ed, galvanized fencing material comes in rolls.
Plastic tomato mesh encircles the tomato
plant to allow easy access while providing
support to the plant. It has 2" square mesh
openings and is available in white.
Plastic seedling protection fence provides a
strong barrier against small animals while let-
ting sun, air and water nourish seedlings. It
has 1/4" holes to provide light.
Plastic flower trellis makes an attractive trel-
lis when enclosed in a wood frame. It comes
in rolls of 24" with a 2" square mesh.
Diamond Weave Fencing
Diamond weave or diamond mesh fencing
is used where extra strong fencing with
extremely close spacing is required. It is fre-
quently used in public areas because it is more
expensive than ordinary fencing but lasts
much longer. Its appearance is similar to chain
link fencing.
Diamond weave fencing can be vinyl-coat-
ed or galvanized and comes in 50' rolls 36" or
48" high.
Farm Fencing
Farm fencing, which is used primarily for
livestock control, ranges from 26"- 72" high.
Horizontal wires are called bars and vertical
wires are called stays. Most types are made
with a hinged pattern, with bars ranging from
6"-12" apart. Plastic farm fence-used for tem-
porary corrals as well as safety fencing and
lawn and garden fence-has a 2" x 1" rectangu-
lar mesh pattern, with smooth edges to pro-
tect livestock. Heights range from 48"- 72".
Poultry Netting
Poultry netting consists of a hexagon weave
with a continuous twist. Its mesh ranges from
1" to 2". Netting is available in heights ranging
from 12" to 72". Although since confining
poultry is no longer a major use, netting is the
lowest-priced wire mesh available and has
many other uses.
Horse Fencing
Horse fencing is 2" to 4" woven wire fence
with a smooth knot to prevent damage to
horses. Sometimes referred to as non-climb
fence, it comes in 11- and 12-gauge in heights
from 36" to 72". It can also be used in kennels
and as lawn and garden fencing.
Barbed Wire
Barbed wire consists of two strands of twist-
ed wire, normally 12-1/2 to 15-1/2 gauge, with
sharp barbs placed at 5"-6" intervals. Barbs are
available in 2- and 4-point sizes. Used most
often for livestock control, barbed wire is also
used as a security measure on tops and bot-
toms of fences to prevent or hinder fence
climbing by intruders.
Chain Link
Chain link is a durable, trouble-free type of
fencing that offers safety and security. The
interlocking wire mesh of the chain link is
well known, but installation requires some
expertise. How-to booklets are available from
manufacturers. The following information
answers general questions a customer may ask
about installation.
Gate and corner posts are usually set 2"
inside the property line, and line posts 2-1/4"
inside the line. Fence fabric (mesh) should be
fastened to posts on the side away from the
customers property.
Line posts are generally set 24" into the
ground, with an 8" diameter at the top, flaring
out to 10" at the bottom.
Gate and corner posts are set 30" into the
ground, with 10" diameter at top and 12" at
bottom. Posts should be set in concrete.
Space posts evenly but not more than 10'
apart. Tie wires, holding the fabric to the top
rail, are spaced 24" apart. Wires, which hold
the fencing to the vertical line posts, are
spaced 12" to 18" apart. Tension bands hold
fence fabric to end posts.
If the customer intends to install the fence
himself, he will need a fence stretcher for best
results. This is a good rental item to suggest.
Plastic chain link fencing is also available in
a variety of colors, including white, orange
and green.
Electric Fence Controls
Electric fence controls are used mainly for
temporary fencing requirements. Wide areas
are enclosed with insulated single or double
strands of wire. Electrical current is fed
through the wire from the fence control to
produce a mild shock when livestock touch
the wire. The shock will not harm the ani-
mals, but does keep them within the wired
area without installing permanent fencing.
The controls are operated by battery or line
current and must be enclosed in a weather-
proof box. Higher-priced units are transistor-
ized and contain no moving parts. They
incorporate integral lightning arrestors to pre-
vent damage from electrical storms.
These units also provide either interrupted
(current goes on and off at extremely short
intervals) or uninterrupted power.
Fence Stretchers
Fence stretchers are required to properly
install many types of fencing. Although they
are available in various types for use on single
strand or woven wire, most work on a ratchet
principle and can be operated by one person.
Some of the better units have a capacity of up
to 5,000 lbs.
Although farmers or ranchers and construc-
tion or commercial firms will purchase fence
stretchers, homeowners have only infrequent
use for such tools.
Gate Hardware
Latches, pulls, hinges and locking bolts are
designed specifically for use on gates. Some
latches are primarily ornamental, while others
are built with a padlock eye to provide mini-
mal security. Sliding bolt locks and thumb
action latches are other types of latching/lock-
ing mechanisms for gates.
Hinges are usually reversible for use on left-
or right-swinging gates and come in tee, strap
and hook-and-strap configurations. Special
latches are available for attaching a gate to a
masonry wall.
Other gate hardware includes springs for
controlling gate swing with tension adjust-
ments and anti-sag kits with all items neces-
sary to eliminate gate sag.
Top gate hardware is constructed of
heavy-gauge steel. Ornamental pieces are
often finished in black while other pieces
may be zinc-coated.
Screws and bolts provide great holding
power and can be reused. Several factors
should be considered when selecting a screw
for a particular job: finish, length, diameter,
head style and slot style.
All threaded fasteners are externally thread-
ed to fit into holes in assembled parts. The dif-
ference is in method of tightening. Screws are
tightened by turning the head and letting the
threads tighten into the material. Bolts require
a nut that is turned to tighten the fastener.
A bolt or screw is made up of some or all of
these elements: head, driving recess, shoulder
or neck, unthreaded shank, threaded shank
and a point. For more information, click
(Selecting & Using Screws & Nails).
Screw and bolt heads can be divided into
two general groups. The most familiar are
those with a driving recessslotted and
Phillips being the most common. Others are
designed to be driven or held by a tool grip-
ping the outside of the head, such as the
square and hex types.
In addition to the standard slotted head for
conventional screwdrivers, other recessed
heads are designed for use with special screw-
drivers, bits or keys.
The profile of the head differs depending
upon the application. In many cases, final
appearance dictates choice. Flat countersunk
screws, for instance, can be driven flush with
or even below the surface of the material.
With an oval head, only part of the head is
The type of head has a bearing on the
measurement of a bolt or screw. Generally,
the length does not include the head.
However, when the head extends into the
material, it is included in the length. Hence,
the length of a flat-head countersunk screw
would include the head. The oval-head,
where only part extends into the material,
would be measured up to and including the
part that countersinks.
Generally, threaded fasteners are measured
from the largest diameter of the bearing sur-
face to the extreme end of the fastener.
Diameters are measured on screws smaller
than 1/4 in numbers from 0-10. Screws
larger than 1/4 are measured in increments
of 1/16 up to 1/2, then 1/8 increments
up to 2 long, and finally 1/4 increments
up to 3 long. Beyond that, special order
sizes are required.
Shoulders or Necks
Some threaded fasteners have shoulders to
perform a function such as preventing the
turning of a bolt during tightening. These
may be square, ribbed, fin neck, round or
oval. They are often referred to by the neck as
round-head, square-neck carriage bolt or oval-
neck connector bolt.
Headed fasteners often have an unthreaded
portion called the shank. When enlarged, this
is referred to as the shoulder or neck.
Others have a full-diameter shank, equal to
the major diameter of thread. This is charac-
teristic of machine bolts and cap screws. Still
others, such as machine screws, have under-
sized shanks equal to the pitch diameter of
the thread.
Thread Forms
Thread standardization is a continuing
process. Different systems of screw threads
have developed: the Unified and American
Standard Form, the British Whitworth Form
and the European Metric Form. These forms
differ in several details such as included angle,
form and pitch.
The Unified Screw Thread System for com-
mercial bolts, nuts and screws sets the stan-
dards in the United States, Canada and the
United Kingdom.
Classes of thread are distinguished from
each other by the amount of tolerances and
allowance specified. External threads or bolts
are designated with the suffix A; internal or
female nut threads with B.
Classes 1A and 1B: For work of rough com-
mercial quality where a loose fit spin-on-
assembly is desirable.
Classes 2A and 2B: The recognized standard
for normal production of most commercial
bolts, nuts and screws.
Classes 3A and 3B: Used where a closer fit
between mating parts for high-quality work is
Class 5: For a wrench fit. Used principally
for studs and their mating tapped holes. A
forced fit requiring the application of high
torque for semi-permanent assembly.
Coarse threads are used more than fine
threads because they are easier to assem-
ble. They are recommended for threading
into materials of a lower tensile strength,
and for certain applications. They are con-
sidered stronger than fine threads in sizes
1 and larger.
Fine-threaded fasteners are generally used
in automotive and aircraft work. They are also
used where wall thickness of the internally
threaded part requires the thread.
Point Styles
A variety of point styles are used, especially
with set screws. Among them are flat, oval,
cup, dog, half-dog, machine, gimlet and nail.
Each is designed for a special purpose.
Threaded Fastener Materials
Low and medium carbon steels are the
most common materials used to make thread-
ed fasteners. These are covered in specification
documents published by SAE (Society of
Automotive Engineers) and ASTM (American
Society for Testing of Materials) and include:
SAE 1010: used for machine screws, car-
riage bolts, etc. where strength require-
ments are not critical.
SAE 1018, 1020, 1021: for bright cap screws
and special fasteners.
SAE 1038: for high-strength bolts and
cap screws.
SAE 1100: generally used for nuts.
Several types of stainless steels are used
for fasteners, either for nonmagnetic or
corrosion-resistance requirements.
Aluminum, copper, bronze, brass and
plastics are also used. Special alloys can be
used to meet specific requirements. A
common and often inexpensive way of
protecting fasteners from corrosion, or for
improving their appearance, is to apply a
coating. Zinc, cadmium, tin, nickel and
chromium are common coatings used.
Steel may also be oxidized, blued, brass or
bronze plated or simply lacquered or color
matched. Another recently developed fin-
ish is a bi-metal fluorocarbon, primarily
for use with pressure-treated lumber and
other exterior applications where high
corrosion resistance is necessary.
Sheet Metal Screws
Sheet metal screws fasten thin metal to
thin metal. Threaded the entire
length, they have flat, oval,
round or binding heads, usually
in lengths from 1/8"-2". Starting
holes, either drilled or punched,
should be slightly smaller than
the screw diameter.
Head Flat
Hexagon Head
Square Head
Truss Head
Sq. Shoulder
(Std. in Carriage Bolts)
Round Head
Oval Head
Truss Head
Plain or Slotted
Fillister Head
Flat Head
Phillips Recessed
Square Head
(Cap Screw for
Allen Keys)
Flat Head
Chamfer meansbeveled corners.
Length Length
Machine Screws
Machine screws come with four head styles:
round, oval, flat and fillister. Round is most
commonly used; flat head is used when the
top must be flush with the surface.
Oval is used in a countersunk hole so that
only a slight extension appears above the
work surface. A fillister head, which is used in
counter-bored holes, is cylindrical with a
semi-elliptical top.
Set Screws
Set screws prevent bolts from loosening
due to vibration. Four types are thumb
screws, tightened by hand; headless set
screws, tightened with a screwdriver;
square-head set screws, tightened with a
wrench; and socket set screws, tightened
with a hex wrench.
Tapping Screws
Partial tapping screws are used where
thread cutting is necessary. They can be used
in deep holes. Self-tapping screws can be used
in thicker materials.
One-Way Screws
Can be tightened but not removed. They
are used to install security devices.
Dowel Screws
Dowel screws are threaded on both ends to
provide end-to-end connections.
Wood Screws
Common wood screws are made of
unhardened steel, stainless steel, alu-
minum or brass. Threads run from the
point along three-fourths of the length
and heads are slotted. Steel screws come
in a choice of several coatings: bright-fin-
ished, blued, or zinc-, cadmium- or
Deck/ Drywall Screws
These are coated for use with decks and
wood fences. They prevent rust when drywall
compound is applied.
Lag Screws
Lag screws (or bolts) are similar to wood
screws but slightly stronger. They are useful
when ordinary screws are too short or too
lightweight and when increased gripping
power is needed. They are used for wrenching
into wood surfaces or for inserting into lag
shields in masonry.
Cap Screws
Cap screws are used where strong holding
power is essential, such as in machine tools,
engines, pumps, etc. Cap screws have three
types of heads: hex, flat and button.
Screw Hooks
Screw hooks are used for specific purposes.
A cup hook is fitted with a stop cap for uni-
form extension when the hooks are used in
rows. An ordinary screw hook is used to hang
tools and utensils. It has a sharp point for self-
starting and can be driven to the depth
required. Eye and ring combinations take snap
hooks of the type used on leashes. A screw eye
is formed from a single piece. A square bend
screw hook is commonly used for curtain rods
and hanging kitchen utensils.
Screw Washers
Screw washers are small metal circles that
provide a hard surface against which you
tighten a screw. They match the size of the
screw they are being used with, and come in
flat, countersunk or flush shapes.
Power-Driven Fasteners
There have been a number of fasteners
designed to be installed with power equip-
ment. Several characteristics are common to
fasteners that have been designed for them.
Drive StylesThe old-fashioned slotted
screw is simply inadequate. Under power, a
slotted driver blade will never maintain a con-
sistent grip. It frequently slips; causing dam-
age to the screw head and the surface of the
material that is being fastened. Although there
are many others, the most common styles are
Phillips and hex.
Engineered ThreadsIn most cases, fasten-
ers designed for power drivers are self-drilling
and tapping.
Special Purpose DesignsEach category
has a unique combination of design character-
istics that makes it suited to specific applica-
tions, such as deck screws, particleboard
screws, self-drilling screws, cabinet screws,
wood trim screws, masonry screws and dry-
wall screws.
With the popularity of metal studs growing,
new fasteners have been developed specifically
for securing them to lightweight materials,
such as foamboard sheathing and housewrap.
Other evolving features of power-driven fas-
teners include nibs that provide a neat, flush
finish. Newer ceramic deck screws have sharp
points that eliminate wandering.
Deck screws cannot be given a hot-dipped
finish, since it would clog the treads.
Manufacturers coat galvanized screws with
waterproofing resins. Sometimes the coating is
colored, but some manufacturers use a clear
coating. Look on the box for words such as
special weather-resistant coating.
AccessoriesThe basic attachment needed
for installing fasteners with power drivers
includes common sizes of Phillips, hex head
and slotted tips, a spring-loaded bit holder
and a portable friction clutch. These are avail-
able as single items or in kits.
Bolts are designed to fasten metal to metal.
Most bolts can only be turned with a wrench.
Unlike screws and nails, their ends are blunt-
ed, not pointed. Their machine threads
require a nut to tighten against a surface. The
diameter of a bolt is listed in inches.
Carriage Bolts
Carriage bolts have a square shoulder under
the head that pulls into soft materials such as
wood and prevents the bolt from turning while
the nut is being tightened. They have coarse,
partial threads and a smooth, rounded head.
Phillips Reed & Prince Pozidriv Bristol Torque Set Torx
Slab Hex Socket Scrulox
Clutch Head
(new style, type A
Clutch head
(old style, type G)
Machine Bolts
Machine bolts come in regular, square, hex,
button or countersunk heads. Square heads
fasten joints and materials where bolt require-
ments are not too severe; button heads work
best where smooth surfaces are necessary; and
countersunk heads are recommended for flush
surfaces. Countersunk and button heads can
be tightened only by wrenching the nut.
Special Bolts
Continuous threaded rods are available in
different diameters and lengths and are used
for jobs where extra long bolts are required.
They can be cut to any length and can be
bent to make U-bolts, Eye bolts and J-bolts.
Stove bolts hold light metals or wood.
Heads can be flat, oval or round and slotted
for a screwdriver.
Expansion bolts are used to hold heavy,
hanging objects and are good in masonry.
Turnbuckles are used for tightening wire,
such as clotheslines or bracing doors.
Hanger bolts feature large screw threads on
one end and bolt threads on the other. They
are used to mount fixtures in the ceiling.
Nuts screw onto bolts to help tighten the
bolt against whatever surface it is being fas-
tened. Most common are hex and square
nuts, which are also called full nuts. Wing and
knurled nuts are used where frequent adjust-
ment or disassembly is necessary. Locknuts
have a self-locking feature that allows them to
be locked into position without additional
lock washers, cotter pins or locking wire.
Cotter Pins
A widely used, versatile fastening device,
cotter pins are made of ferrous and nonferrous
wire in various diameters and lengths ranging
from 1/32" x 1/2" to 1/4" x 18". When inserted
into a hole in a bolt, shaft or similar part, an
eye on one end prevents the pin from going
through, while prongs at the other end are
bent back to lock the pin in place.
Hitch Pin Clips
A variation of cotter pins; hitch pin clips
are formed from oil-tempered spring wire and
act as a quick fastening device. Internal hitch
pin clips are inserted through a hole in a
shaft, while external hitch pin clips snap into
grooves on a shaft. Sizes range from 1/8"-1/4"
shaft diameter.
Wire Hardware
Wire hardware includes eyebolts, U-bolts,
cup hooks and various threaded wire configu-
rations. Two such important products are lag
thread and machine thread eyebolts. Lag
thread eyebolts are similar to lag bolts but are
used to support or suspend objects from wood
surfaces. Nut eyebolts are used to hang, sup-
port or anchor objects. The machine threads
allow flexibility in attaching to practically all
Deck Clips
These L-shaped fasteners are first nailed to
the side of the decking, and then nailed to the
joist. They are particularly secure, and elimi-
nate nails or screws on the surface of the deck
so there are no hammer dents. They also pre-
vent water puddling on nail heads and surface
rust stains. By providing an unbroken deck
surface, they make sanding and resurfacing
the deck easier.
Rivets are a reliable way to securely fasten
something that can be reached from just
one side. Multi-grip rivets expand to fill
oversized and irregular holes and self-adjust
for misaligned holes. Multi-grip rivets can
be used in metal, plastic and composite
materials and are ideal for projects such as
installing gutters and drop ceilings or repair-
ing large appliances, lawn mowers and
boats. They are available in 1/8", 3/32",
3/16" and 1/4" body diameters and dome,
countersunk and large flange head styles.
Hollow Wall Fasteners
Toggle bolts and screw anchors are used
where the back of the wall is inaccessible,
such as drywall and hollow concrete block.
The toggle fastener works on a spring prin-
ciple. The holding arms open after the screw
and holder are inserted into the hole, gripping
the wall as the screw is tightened. The bolts
are selected according to the thickness of the
When replacing damaged or lost fasten-
ers, always use nuts and bolts of the same
size and strength as the originals. Bolt
heads are marked to indicate their tensile
strength. Never use hardware bolts on
automobiles or machinery.
FLAT HEADHas flat top and conical bearing surface. For use where flush
surface finish is required. Standard manufacture with 82 countersink.
Available with both slotted and recessed drives.
ROUND HEADGeneral purpose head for standard fasteners, available for
slotted or recessed drives.
OVAL HEADSame dimensions as flat head except top surface round-
ed. For other than flush surface application. Available for slotted or
recessed drives.
PAN HEADMost popular head style with flat bearing surface. Large diam-
eter with straight sides and low silhouette. Standard in machine and tap-
ping screws for slotted and recessed drives.
diameters from 1/8"-1/2". Fixture to be mount-
ed must be assembled with screw and holder
before inserting it into wall.
Another form of anchor, molly bolts, con-
sists of a screw in a
metal sleeve. When
the sleeve is inserted
into a pre-drilled
hole and the screw is
turned, the sleeve
spreads. The screw can be removed and insert-
ed in the fixture to be mounted and replaced.
Plastic screw anchors can be used with
wood or sheet metal screws. The anchors
are inserted into a pre-drilled hole and the
screw is driven through the anchor into the
wall. Anchors range from 3/4" to 1-3/8"
long. Another kind of plastic anchor func-
tions like a toggle fastener with sizes from
3/4" to 3-1/2" depending on the thickness of
door or wall material.
Other forms of screw and bolt anchors snap
into place. These screw anchors, suitable for
hollow and solid walls, 1/8" and greater thick-
nesses, pop open and lock into place before
the screw is inserted. One anchor accepts size
#6-#14 screws, but only uses a 5/16" drill size.
The screw can be removed and replaced.
The bolt, hollow wall anchor is installed
separately from the fixture, permitting the fix-
ture to be removed without dislodging the
anchor. The anchor is adjustable for wall
thicknesses up to 2-1/4" with bolt diameters
from 3/16"-1/2".
Another fastening system used for hollow
surfaces is the wall rivet. The tip of the wall
rivet retracts as the screw tightens, forcing out
the two grippers and facilitating a firm grip
against the inner surface.
Special-purpose anchors include those
designed to fasten perfboard, shelves and
wire racks to the wall. These anchors incor-
porate spacers to hold material away from
the wall with a configuration tailored to
shelves and racks.
Masonry Anchors
With the wide use of masonry in construc-
tion, the need for masonry anchors is impor-
tant. Almost all homes have a garage, base-
ment, patio or porch that requires some kind
of masonry anchor.
The holding power of masonry anchors is
determined by laboratory tests. Where the stat-
ic load or shock load is excessive or where the
customer does not know the actual load, you
should recommend using extra fasteners for
secure anchorage.
Concrete anchors are hardened steel
screws that are designed to cut threads in
pre-drilled holes. The holes can be drilled
right through the item to be fastened with-
out moving the fixture.
Concrete screws come in flat head, Phillips
drive or hex-washer head styles. They work
equally well in poured concrete, concrete block
or masonry. The pull-out resistance of concrete
screws is much greater than in plastic screw
anchors as they bite directly into the concrete.
Drop-in type anchors are expandable con-
crete anchors that are set in pre-drilled holes.
They accept standard course thread bolts or
threaded rod. Drop-in style anchors do not
require patching after sinking. They come in
sizes to fit bolt diameter 1/4"-3/4".
Impact-expansion concrete anchors range in
diameters from 1/4"-3/4" and lengths from 1-
3/4"-6". The drill size is the same as the anchor
diameter. Impact-expansion concrete anchors
are stud-type anchors. Setting requires driving
the center pin down to the top of the anchor,
which expands the sides of the anchor against
the walls of the hole. The hole can be drilled
through the item to be fastened without mov-
ing the fixture. Impact-expansion concrete
anchors come in plated hardened steel or
stainless steel. For more information, click
(Installing Masonry Anchors).
Plastic and Nylon Anchors
Plastic and nylon anchors are accepted as
all-purpose fasteners because they can be used
in both hollow and solid walls and in almost
all kinds of construction materials.
There are five basic types. Plastic anchors
are used for mounting items such as pictures
and shelf brackets. Nylon expansion anchors
expand as the screw is tightened. Nylon drive
anchors expand as the nail is driven.
Neoprene sleeves are used for mounting win-
dow fans, hi-fi speakers and other high-vibra-
tion items. Vibration-proof polypropylene
screw anchors grip the wall and expand as the
screw is tightened.
All plastic and nylon anchors are installed
by placing them into drilled holes sized
according to the anchors type and length.
Specialty Anchors
Hinge-lock hollow wall anchors consist of a
stud bolt with a hinged locking device
attached to the end. The hinged locking
device is slightly longer on one side of the
hinge than the other. When inserted through
the wall, the longer end causes the locking
device to turn parallel to the wall, locking it in
place. Because of the design of this product,
the hole can be drilled right through the item
to be fastened without moving the fixture.
This type of anchor comes in sizes 1/4" x
1-3/4" through 3/8" x 4-1/2".
A rust-resistant toilet bowl anchor replaces
the conventional nut, washer and finish cover
that frequently can be removed only with the
use of a hacksaw. The cap nut is high-strength
polypropylene with self-locking threads. The
stud bolt is 1/4" x 1/4", which when used with
the cap nut, allows enough grip range to
anchor most toilet bowls without sawing off
the stud.
Lag Screw Shields
Lag shields are used inside drilled holes to
Nylon Drive Anchor
Nylon Expansion
Screw Anchor
Toggle Bolt
provide anchors in the hole for lag bolts as
they are wrenched into the shield. As the
screw enters the
shield, the
shield expands
and grips the
interior. Horizontal fins prevent the shield
from turning in the hole while tapered ribs
ease insertion and ensure against slips.
Self-Drilling Anchors
A self-drilling expandable anchor, also
known as a serrated sleeve, has teeth to gouge
out its own hole in masonry when driven by
an air or electric hammer or a special hand
driver. It comes in bolt sizes from 1/4"-7/8",
sets flush with the masonry surface and gener-
ally requires no patching after sinking.
Expansion Shields
Expansion or lead shields are used with lag
and machine bolts. As the bolt is tightened,
the cone draws up through a slotted sleeve
and expands against the interior of the drilled
hole with great force. Since these fasteners
require no caulking, they are excellent
anchors for heavy holding of problem mate-
rial, such as cement, cinder blocks, hollow
tile and other concrete mixes. They require
large holes, so a power drill and masonry bit
must be used.
Shorter lengths are recommended for
anchorage in good-grade concrete or where
thickness limits the length. Long lengths are
better for poorer-grade concrete where extra
anchorage is required.
Drive Anchors
Drive anchors or split nails
or bolts are made of high-
strength spring steel or of alu-
minum with a stainless steel
pin for use in hard materials.
As they are driven into a hole,
they are compressed and
forced against the walls of the
hole. They come in three
head styles: round, counter-
sunk and stud. The stud type
provides temporary attach-
ment of items that must later
be removed.
Wood, Sheet Metal and Lag
Screw Anchors
Securing fixtures of light and medium
weight to solid and hollow masonry and brick
walls is best accomplished with lead sleeve
anchors and lag shields made of zinc alloy.
Lag anchors hold best when expanded in the
mortar joint with anchor sides pressing
against the brick.
Lead Machine Screw Anchors
These anchors secure medium-weight fix-
tures to solid concrete by tamping a lead
sleeve over a zinc alloy cone that is internally
threaded to
receive a machine
screw or bolt.
Once tamped in
place with a special setting tool, the anchor is
ready to receive the screw or bolt used in
securing the fixture.
Wedge-Style Studbolt Anchors
These anchors range in size from 1/4" diam-
eter x 1-3/4" length through 1-1/4" diameter x
12". Drill size is anchor size. Hole can be
drilled right through the item to be fastened
without moving the fixture. Used for general
construction, heavy construction and industri-
al maintenance.
There are as many kinds of nails as there
are projects. Although steel nails are the most
commonly used, nails are also made of alu-
minum, stainless steel, copper, brass, bronze
and plastic.
Aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, stain-
less steel and plastic nails are rustproof.
Bright steel nails will rust so they should
not be used where rusting would cause dis-
coloration or staining.
Plastic nails are lightweight and paintable,
but their tensile strength is much greater than
their shear strength so they are not suitable
for framing jobs. They must be installed with
a nail gun instead of a hammer. For more
information, click(Selecting & Using
Screws & Nails).
Nail Sizes
Thickness of the materials to be nailed
determines the length of the nail required, but
the amount of stress or weight the materials
will bear should also be considered. For exam-
ple, if a 1"-thick board, which is to bear no
weight or stress, will be nailed to another 1"-
thick board, use a nail approximately 1-1/2"
long. But if the 1" board is to bear weight and
is to be nailed to a much thicker board, use a
nail that is 2-1/2 times the thickness of the
material to be fastened. If a threaded nail is
used, its length need be only 1-3/4 to 2 times
the thickness of the material.
Nails are typically sold by length, indicated
by the symbol d. A 2d nail is 1" long; a 3d
nail is 1-1/4" long, etc.
Recommendations include using a 16d for
general framing, 8d and 10d for toenailing
and 8d and 6d for subfloor.
The penny-weight system is still used,
with a 10d nail referred to as a 10-penny nail.
Kinds Of Nails
Selection of the correct nail head depends
upon the hardness of the wood, the chance of
the head working through and the type of
work to be done. A finishing nail, for exam-
ple, must have good holding power yet be
Holding power is determined by the nails
length, diameter and the shape of the shank
round, grooved, square or threaded.
Smooth shank nails give the least hold-
ing power.
Barbed nails, which have horizontal or her-
Lag Screw Shield
Hinge-lock style hollow wall anchor
No rust toilet
bowl anchor
type anchor
ringbone indentations in the shank, hold bet-
ter than a smooth nail of the same size, but
far less than a threaded nail of equal size.
Nails with twisted or fluted shanks
equal or exceed the barbed nail in holding
power, but provide less hold than nails
with rolled-on threads.
Threaded nailsannular, spiral and
knurledprovide the best holding power and
performance. The annular and spiral thread
nails can be distinguished from a knurled nail
by the smooth shank between the head and
the beginning of the thread.
Annular threaded nails (sometimes called
ring shank nails) offer maximum holding
power in a number of specific applications.
They are best used with softwoods, such as
plywood or underlayment, but have many
other applications as well, such as studding,
siding, drywall, etc. When driven, the threads
separate the wood fibers, which then lock into
the rings, thus resisting removal.
Spiral threaded nails (called screw or drive
nails) turn when they are driven, much like
wood screws, and actually form a thread in
the wood fibers. They offer good holding
power. Spiral threaded nails are specifically
designed for use with hardwoods and dense
materials. Flooring, siding and truss rafters are
typical applications; spiral thread nails are also
used extensively in the construction of wood-
en pallets.
Knurled threaded nails have a vertical
thread for driving into cinder block, mortar
joints or other relatively soft masonry. They
cut the masonry to minimize cracking and
provide high holding power.
Common Names of Nails
The names of nails commonly used describe
the function of the nail. Here is a list of com-
mon nail names and functions of each nail:
CommonUsed in general carpentry and
wood framing. Available in most sizes and fin-
ishes. Should be used with harder woods.
Typical applications are house foundation,
floor joists, rafters and internal studding.
BoxLighter and smaller than common
nails with larger head. Used for framing and
applications where shifting is minimal such as
nailing subfloor to floor joists and attaching
roof base to rafters.
FinishingUsed around windows, finishing
areas, trim and paneling where nail cannot
show. Small head size allows nail to be driven
into the wood so the hole can be filled and fin-
ished. Both are used in similar applications, but
casing nails are heavier than finishing nails.
CasingLooks similar to a finishing nail,
but is thicker and features a flat head. Used to
secure case moulding.
Cut flooringHave a blunt tip to pre-
vent splitting of flooring. Used to attach
wood to concrete.
DrywallRing-shanked nails for attaching
sheets of drywall gypsum board to interior
wood wall studs. Flat, slightly countersunk
heads permit driving just below the surface,
forming a depression for spackling.
FlooringQuench-hardened, screw-
shanked nails for laying tongue-and-grooved
hardwood flooring.
Masonry/ ConcreteMade of hardened and
tempered steel. Shank comes round, flat, flut-
ed or square. They are often used to fasten
framing parts such as sills, furring strips, win-
dow and door trim to masonry and concrete.
PlasterbaseBlued, smooth nails with flat
heads and long diamond points for fastening
plasterboard to interior wood wall studs.
RoofingHave large heads and diamond
point and are galvanized to resist corrosion.
Shank is barbed for greater holding power.
Nails for new roof are typically 7/8" long with
7/16" head, but you should carefully size to
the thickness of the roofing. Sealing roofing
nails have a plastic or rubber washer under
the nail head for watertight seal.
SidingGalvanized nails or some other non-
staining nail for applying residential wood lap
siding to plywood or fiberboard sheathing.
UnderlayBright-finished, ring-shanked
nails for laying plywood or composition
subflooring over existing wood floors or
floor joists.
Upholstery nailshave ornamental or col-
ored heads. Used to fasten upholstery where
nail will show.
StaplesGalvanized, U-shaped wire fasten-
ers for securing wire fencing or poultry netting
to wood posts or frames.
Wire brads and tacksused for household
jobs requiring small fasteners.
Barbed dowel pinused in furniture con-
struction jobs.
Corrugated fastenersused for light-duty
miter joints.
Nail Finishes
Hot-dipped, zinc-coated nails have a high-
quality zinc coating with good rust protection.
This method is considered the best way to
coat nails uniformly, because they are sub-
merged in hot, molten zinc. Nails can be dou-
ble-dipped for heavier plating.
Galvanized nails are coated through a tum-
bling process. The coating is applied by sprin-
kling zinc chips on steel nails in a barrel and
rotating the barrel in a furnace to melt the
zinc and coat the nails. While the nails may
look the same as hot-dipped, they may not be
evenly coated and threads may fill up.
Electroplated nails have the coating applied
with high-voltage electric current.
Mechanical plating involves rotating cold
nails in a barrel with zinc dust. Glass pellets in
the barrel hammer the zinc dust onto the
nails. The nails are then immersed in a chro-
mate rinse that gives them a gold or green
color. This process leaves the threads relatively
clean but the coating can be thin.
Electroplating occurs when nails are
immersed in an electrolytic solution that
deposits a thick film of zinc on the nails
when an electric current is run through
the solution. Although the finish is shiny,
it is also prone to rust because the thin
plating oxidizes away. These nails are best
used in interior applications.
A temporary finishcement coatingis a
resin coating that makes the nail hold better
Annular Threaded
for a short time. These nails are recommended
for box and crate construction.
Blued nails have good temporary rust resist-
ance but should not be used outdoors. They
are sterilized by heat until an oxidation layer
is formed.
Aluminum nails have the advantage of
being rustproof, but must be made thicker
than galvanized steel nails to prevent bend-
ing. This thicker diameter could cause wood
to split. They are suitable for exterior uses and
can be used with a wide variety of materials
including wood or asbestos siding and shin-
gles, roofing, aluminum and vinyl siding and
trim, plastic panels, gutters and downspouts,
porches, decks and outdoor furniture.
Bright-finished nails have a bright, uncoat-
ed steel finish for use where corrosion resist-
ance is not required. They are slightly shorter
than the same d size common nail.
Quench-hardened nails are heated,
quenched and tempered to increase their
resistance to bending when driven into hard-
wood or masonry.
Colored decorator nails need special treat-
ment and a plastic cap should cover the head
of the hammer when driving them. These
nails have small heads and are specifically
designed for use in the application of prefin-
ished hardboard and hardwood paneling.
Nail Heads
Many head styles are available and each
offers advantages for certain applications.
Flat headGeneral-purpose head that is
the most popular and the most economi-
Flat countersunk headThis one leaves
a smooth surface; it levels out with the
top of the surface driven into.
Set headWorks down into the wood
surface as it is driven in. Often called a
finishing nail. After driving, the hole is
filled with putty to give a smooth surface.
Checkered headThis head serves no
useful purpose. There is a misconception
that the checkered pattern will help pre-
vent the hammer head from sliding off
during driving.
Oval headProvides a surface over
which objects can slide. Has a half-ball
bearing effect.
Duplex headUsed in construction
where the nail will be removed after serv-
ing its purpose. The second heads pur-
pose is to stop the nail during driving for
easy removal.
Umbrella headUsed for zinc and alu-
minum roofing applications. Hammer hits
tip on nails head.
Headless ( dowel) Used as a finishing
nail when the hole is to be filled with
putty for a smooth surface.
Tie dated headHas the date stamped
on it for use where one needs to know
when the nail was installed.
Hook headUsed in barrels and kegs.
Cupped headUsed with drywall and
permits recessing so that drywall com-
pound can be applied.
Nail Point Types
Nails come in many point types. Each
point has certain advantages for certain
Diamond point is a general-purpose point
for wood use. It is the most common, least
expensive and is easy to start.
Needle point has the sharpest point. This is
the easiest nail to start. Used for box making
and to apply plasterboard.
Blunt diamond point helps eliminate wood
splitting since it cuts and pushes its way
through the wood. Used on soft pines and
firs. For more information, click
(Tips for Making Home Repairs).
Pointless nails give the greatest protection
against wood splitting during driving. The
blunt end will cut through the fibers rather
than follow the grain of the wood.
Side point is used for clinching (when the
protruding pointed end of the driven nail will
be bent over after driving).
Chisel point is used on large nails
(spikes up to 12' long) to facilitate driving
into heavy timbers.
3d1 1/4
4d1 1/2
5d1 3/4
7d2 1/4
8d2 1/2
9d2 3/4
12d3 1/4
16d3 1/2
30d4 1/2
50d5 1/2
Checkered Tie Dated Duplex
Flat Flat
Set Headless Oval
Headless Umbrella
Blunt Chisel Diamond
Needle Side Pointless
Copyright 1992, 1995, 2004 National Retail Hardware Association
I When it comes heating and
cooling products, energy effi-
ciency is the most important
issue. Consumers are interested
in saving energy, as well as sav-
ing on the cost of heating and
cooling their homes.
Your employees will need to understand the energy-efficient rat-
ings of the heating and cooling products, such as fireplaces,
heaters and air conditioners, and be able to explain this informa-
tion to customers. In addition to being knowledgeable about
whatever models they sell, retailers should stress safety factors and
tips no matter what the customer chooses. They should also be
aware of any local, state or federal regulations for products such as
wood stoves and kerosene heaters.
One category trend is in gas log systems both vented and
vent-free models. Both are popular because of their convenience
and energy efficiency. However, the debate continues on whether
vented or vent-free styles are the best choice. Know the pros and
cons on each side so you can help satisfy the needs of customers.
Another emerging trend is the interest in home environment
products such as air cleaners, air purifiers and related products
such as aroma-therapy diffusers. Make sure your store stocks high-
quality, reputable brands and that customers know what these
products can and cant do.
Finally, consumers are looking to make their homes more com-
fortable and are increasingly turning to products such as ceiling
fans, humidifiers and high-end filters. Since they are looking to bal-
ance comfort with cost, retailers must be prepared with informa-
tion to help them make informed buying decisions.
Though the goal remains the same, the
heat-generating source often differs between
coal, wood, electricity, gas and propane.
When generated, the heat must then be trans-
ferred to the objects or areas to be heated.
Heat is transferred by conduction, convection,
radiation or a combination of these sources.
Conduction heat moves from warmer to
cooler areas through another material, such as
glass or metal. Convection heat moves as part
of another substance, such as air or water.
Radiation energy is collected and emitted as
heat from one surface to be absorbed by
another, such as from a hot stove surface to a
human being.
Cooling a home involves drawing warm air
outside and dissipating it.
Depending on climate and energy costs
for the central system, many homeowners
have found that alternate heating methods
provide substantial savings on their energy
costs. Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves
are common alternate heat sources, but
while aesthetically pleasing, their energy
efficiency must be considered.
Energy efficiency is defined as the per-
centage of energy the heat source generates
that is converted to usable heat. More
recent developments in fireplace construc-
tion are improving energy efficiency ratings.
In addition, heat recovery items such as
heat extractors, heat exchangers and glass
enclosures aid energy efficiency.
For more informatin, click (Conserving
Wood-burning stoves are a practical
source of supplemental and/or zone heat-
ing. Their energy efficiency rating is 40-65
percent of available usable heat. By compar-
ison, most furnaces operate at about 70 per-
cent efficiency.
About 70 percent of a stoves usable heat
comes from radiation; therefore, it is impor-
tant that it be made of a highly conducting
metal, be a color that aids heat radiation and
have a surface that maximizes heat radiation.
It should be airtight to aid combustion and
lined to retain heat longer. The efficiency of a
stove can be improved by periodic cleaning to
reduce creosote, burning hardwoods and plac-
ing the stove near a masonry wall.
Cast iron and steel stoves conduct heat
almost identically. However, the Insurance
Information Institute recommends cast iron.
As a general rule, the thicker the metal, the
longer the stove will last.
A flat black finish is best, radiating 90-
98 percent of usable heat. Paints and
enamels radiate 70-90 percent, while
shiny metallic finishes offer efficiencies of
less than 60 percent.
The three general types of wood stoves
are: box (radiating), airtight (circulating)
and pellet-fed.
A box stove draws air for combustion
through the door; is not tightly sealed, has no
damper control and releases a considerable
amount of unburned gases up the chimney. It
radiates warmth through the firebox to the
surrounding air. A box stove should never be
left unattended.
An airtight stove will have a sealed fire-
box and tight-fitting door. It will have a
manually operated or thermostatically
controlled air intake damper to allow air
to circulate around the firebox and to
control the rate of fuel consumption. It
provides slow-burning heat for a long
period with relatively little attention.
However, because
the airtight stove is
slow burning, it can
cause heavy creosote
buildup in the chim-
ney and pipes.
Chimney brushes or
soot removers solve
this problem.
Pellet-fed stoves are
a relative newcomer
on the wood stove
scene. They use a
processed wood pellet
that is fed to the
stove's combustion
chamber electronically. Pellet stoves have the
advantage of having a steady and easily con-
trolled fuel source. The only downside is that
their electronic controls wont work if the
power is out.
Safety Factors
Wood stoves present potential safety haz-
ards including:
o excess heat radiating from the stove,
stovepipe or chimney;
o sparks or hot coals flying outside the stove;
o flames shooting out of chimney cracks;
o heat conducted from the chimney to a
combustible material;
o flames or hot ashes spurting out of the
Most fire dangers can be avoided with prop-
er installation. Stove manufacturers include
detailed safety instructions with each product.
In addition, Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
tests and lists stoves that meet standards
developed in cooperation with the Hearth
Products Association and the National Fire
Protection Association. Here are some addi-
tional safety suggestions:
o Read the instructions provided by the man-
ufacturer for proper installation and follow
them exactly.
o Allow a clearance of at least 36" on all sides
of the stove to prevent scorching or possi-
ble fire. Installing approved radiation
shields can reduce this distance. Such
shields should be placed under the stove on
all surfaces except concrete.
o Retain heat by keeping as much of the pipe
These recommendations are provided by the National Fire Protection
Association. If manufacturers specifications differ from these, the con-
sumer should follow the manufacturers recommendations.
Clearances are for back and side wall. Front side and loading side
clearances should be 36"-48". Distances can be reduced if a protective
shield with 1" spacers is installed.
Radiant stoves or room heaters
Circulating stoves or room heaters
Cooking Stoves
Vent connections, stove pipe (all types)
12" to 24"
36" (18" on non-fired side)
as possible inside the house. The pipe
should be well insulated where it passes
through a wall or roof. The Wood Heating
Alliance recommends using stove pipenot
galvanized steel ductsto vent the stove to
a chimney.
o When venting a stove into a chimney, the
chimney should be clean, in good repair
and made of a large and heavy enough
material to handle the pipe. Furnace chim-
neys may not be heavy enough, but fire-
place chimneys usually are. If a fireplace
chimney is used, remember to seal it off
below the stove pipe to prevent a draft into
the house when the stove is not in use or
gases coming back into the house.
o The chimney should extend about 3' above
the highest point of the roof and should
always be kept clean and in good repair (as
should the stove pipe).
o A stove designed to burn wood should be
used for just that. Consumers should not
try to burn coal unless they have a special
grate for coal. Some kinds of coal produce
far more intense heat than wood and can
damage a standard grate and perhaps even
the inside of the firebox.
o Be sure to study supplier literature on the
product lines your store carries and urge
customers to follow the manufacturer's rec-
Accessory items for wood-and coal-burning
stoves include stovepipe, paint and insulation.
Stovepipe should not be confused with
a chimney. Stovepipe is used to connect
the stove with the chimney and should
never be used instead of a chimney.
Stovepipe should have a gauge of 24 or
thicker (smaller number indicates thicker
metal). The stovepipe should be as short
as possible and turns and bends kept to a
minimum. Stovepipe should be inspected
regularly and will probably need replace-
ment every two or three years.
Stove paint is used to touch up or com-
pletely refinish a stove that has become dingy.
The consumer should use paint specifically
designed for wood- or coal-burning stoves.
These paints can withstand temperatures as
high as 1,200F.
Stove paint is available in aerosol as
well as liquid. Commonly available colors
include green, brown, blue, maroon and
black. Regular and metallic finishes are
also available.
The consumer should never begin painting
the stove until it and its contents have cooled
completely and then only in a well-ventilated
room. Most stove owners will also need to
purchase insulating material to protect the
floor and/or walls near the stove. There are
minimum clearances the consumer must fol-
low when installing a stove. Do-it-yourselfers
should follow manufacturer recommendations
for insulation.
Retailers should remind customers that
floor protection should extend 18" in front of
the stove to protect against hot ashes or
falling coals.
WoodBurning Fireplaces
Conventional masonry fireplaces and older
prefabricated fireplaces are about 10 percent
energy efficient. They can even cause a net
heat loss in the home if not operated properly.
Newer, prefabricated fireplaces are designed to
be more energy efficient.
A fire needs oxygen to burn. Older fire-
places are less efficient because they have no
way of controlling oxygen intake. As the fire
burns, it pulls air from the room to replace
that, which goes up the chimney.
Newer fireplace construction has partly
solved the problem of heat loss. Fireboxes are
made of material that will hold some of the
heat from the flue gases. More heat is radiated
back into the room.
A homes greatest heat loss comes when the
fire burns down and the firebox cools. Unless
the damper is closed, the chimney will contin-
ue to draw warm air out of the room.
However, closing the damper before the fire is
completely out will drive smoke back into the
room. Glass enclosures provide a good
method of sealing the fireplace opening
against heat loss and allowing the damper to
remain open until the last coal has died.
Outside temperature also affects fireplace
efficiency. Most experts recommend that fire-
places only be used in the spring and fall.
Some have said they should not be used if the
outside temperature is below 20. If it is colder
than that, the fireplace will draw in more cold
outside air through cracks and openings than
it can replace with warm air.
A prefabricated, heat-circulating fireplace
has a separate air space behind the firebox.
Cool air from the room enters this air space,
flows around the heated walls of the firebox
and re-enters the room as warmed air.
According to some manufacturers, these fire-
places will put out as much heat as is lost up
the chimney when the outside temperature
goes as low as 0F.
Although newer fireplace designs can add
to the units energy efficiency, most customers
enjoy the ambiance an open fire provides.
Retailers should advise customers that open
fireplaces, while pleasant, are not efficient
heating devices.
Gas Fireplaces
Conventional gas fireplaces require a vent-
ing system and a "smoke dome" or chimney,
which is installed on the roof. Newer gas fire-
places can be vented through the wall using a
power vent. They use natural or LP gas with
range settings from 30,000 to 42,500 BTUs.
Some have automatic on/off controls.
Gas fireplaces are relatively easy to install.
The built-in variety does not require special
flooring or hearth front. However, it might be
wise to suggest a hearth in case the customer
should decide at a later time to convert the
gas fireplace to wood burning (which is possi-
ble). Freestanding units require no heavy
masonry or foundations for installation.
Electric Fireplaces
Electric fireplaces do not need a venting
system and provide auxiliary heat without
some of the problems of wood-burning
fireplaces. They plug into a wall outlet. A
unit with a heater and fan with a rating
of 1,500 watts may be operated safely on
a 120V circuit, but larger units must oper-
ate on a 240V line.
Specific features of all types of fire-
placeswood-burning as well as gas and
electricvary with each line. Be sure to
check manufacturer literature for details.
Chimney Cleaners
Creosote is formed when the smoke and
gas from burning solid fuels condense on
a chimney, creating a black, crusty build-
up. It creates a potential fire hazard and
reduces the efficiency of the stove or fire-
place. Chimneys should be cleaned at
least once a year and checked twice a
month. A clean metal chimney will "ping"
when struck with a metal object; a dull
thud indicates it is dirty.
Computerized creosote monitors
improve fire prevention. Monitors use
lighted digital temperature readouts to
help owners control stove output and cal-
culate creosote build-up.
There are two basic types of chemical
chimney cleaners. Soot destroyers are used
in coal- or oil-burning fireplaces; creosote
removers crystallize creosote in wood-burn-
ing stoves or fireplaces. Both cleaners are
available in powder form and are easily
applied. Remind customers that soot
destroyers are to be sprinkled only on hot
fires and creosote powders on cool fires.
Chemical cleaners are to be used primarily
for periodic cleaning in between annual brush
cleanings. Supplementary chemical products
include soot stain removers to wipe away
stone and brick grime, stove polishes and glass
enclosure door cleaners.
Round wire brushes are used in wood-burn-
ing, airtight stove and fireplace chimneys.
They remove crystallized creosote with their
stiff, cutting action.
If burning coal or oil, a poly (synthetic)
brush can be used to wipe out soot. Poly
brushes are advisable in situations where
metal-to-metal contactwire brush to
metal structureis undesirable. Fiberglass
or plastic brushes are better for prefabri-
cated metal chimneys.
In the past, brush cleanings had to be
done from outside. Brushes are now avail-
able for cleaning chimneys from inside.
Brush accessories include extension rods
(steel for straight flues and fiberglass for
non-straight flues), poly rope for brush
attachment, smaller brushes for cleaning
in closer areas and connecting hardware,
such as loops, adapters and couplings.
It is estimated that 90 percent of the heat of
the conventional masonry fireplace goes up
the chimney. Accessory items are available
that make fireplaces more energy efficient.
Heat Recovery Systems
One type of heat recovery system looks like
a glass fireplace enclosure but actually gener-
ates heat through convection. A mini-radiator
in the hood of the enclosure and a heat
exchanger behind and above the fire can gen-
erate 10,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of
heat every hour.
Furthermore, heat transferred through the
units double-paned glass doors and frame
adds another 5,000 BTUs per hour. It is an
easy do-it-yourself installation.
Another type of recovery system com-
bines a grate and heat exchanger to recir-
culate fireplace heat back into the room.
It can be adjusted to fit standard-size fire-
place openings. These units can be used
with glass enclosures.
Tube Grates
Tube grates are made of a series of U-
shaped tubes fastened together; they
replace conventional grates and andirons
(metal supports for holding wood in the
fireplace). The fire is built on the lower
curve of the tube grate, just as it would be
built in a standard grate or on andirons.
The purpose of the tube grate is to pull
room air into the bottom tube opening, move
it around and over the firewarming the air
as it goesand shoot it back into the room.
This is accomplished through gravity or with
an electric motor to force the warm air back
into the room. The tube grate should keep the
rooms air from being drawn up the chimney
and is quite effective when combined with
glass doors.
Heat Extractors
Heat extractors are made for both fireplaces
and wood-burning stoves, and both operate
on the same basic principle. Their purpose is
to extract additional heat from flue gases
beyond what normally comes from the
stovepipe or chimney.
Some heat extractors operate naturally
using radiation or convection; others have an
electric blower to force out more heat.
Since it must be mounted on the stovepipe
or chimney, installing a heat extractor on a
fireplace can be a major undertaking, unless
the fireplace has an exposed chimney.
A heat extractor can pull a tremendous
amount of heat from a fireplace chimney, but
as it does so, it cools the flue gases and
reduces the drafts effectiveness. Since this
could cause a fireplace to smoke, it is wise to
put a good heat extractor on a chimney with
more capacity than is necessary for the size of
the fireplace.
Because heat extractors cool the flue gases,
they may work against the efficiency of a
good wood-burning stove. As the flue gases
cool, combustion is reduced and the stove
gives off less heat.
Ease of cleaning a heat extractor is
another factor. It collects deposits from
wood smoke which affects the units effi-
ciency. Some extractors have a removable
plate that allows easy access for cleaning
the tubes; others require partial disassem-
Keep drapes and shades open in sunny
windows; close them at night.
An automatic garage door operator
encourages you to shut the door quickly,
thereby saving fuelin unheated
garagesby preventing cold from reach-
ing the inside walls.
Installing electric heat tapes on water pipes
that run through unheated areas prevents
heat loss from cooling or freezing.
Use a humidifier. Cooler indoor temper-
atures are more comfortable with the
proper amount of humidityabout 40-
50 percent.
Change furnace filters regularly. A dirty
filter impedes airflow and makes your
furnace work longer and harder. Check
the filter at least once a month.
Be sure to keep the damper closed on your
fireplace when it is not in use. Consider
installing a glass-door fireplace to keep
heat from escaping up the chimney.
Use portable electric heaters for seldom-
used rooms or to warm up part of a
large, cold room.
bly, which can be inconvenient
and messy.
Fireplace Inserts
Fireplace inserts are airtight fire-
boxes that can be inserted into fire-
places and mimic some of the
effects of a wood-burning stove.
Most draw air from the room, circu-
late it around the insert and return
warmed air to the room. Some
units have blowers to help distrib-
ute the heat.
Some fireplace inserts have a UL
listing for use in factory-built fire-
places. These zero-clearance inserts
can extend to the fireplace facing.
These units are only intended for
use with individual manufacturer
models. Check manufacturer litera-
ture for correct use.
Glass Enclosures
Glass enclosures improve fireplace perform-
ance. They control air intake, making the
wood burn more slowly and retaining more
heat in the firebox; at the same time, the fire-
place pulls less warm air from the house.
The fire can be left unattended with glass
enclosures. With doors shut, the fire safely
burns itself out. The glass doors also allow a
clear view of the fire while keeping smoke and
sparks out of the room.
Most enclosures have a built-in draft at the
base that directs air to the bottom of the fire-
place opening so homeowners can easily start
and control the fire.
Glass enclosures mount securely against the
face of the fireplace and overlap the opening.
Usually, the enclosure comes fully assembled
and installs in minutes.
Other features available on some models
o safety locks to ensure that the doors will
not open accidentally from the impact of a
falling log or gusty down draft;
o removable doors for easy cleaning;
o permanently attached curtain screen;
o outside side-pull handles to eliminate
reaching into the heat of the fire to close
the doors;
o special inserts to adapt the enclosure to an
arched fireplace; and
o base risers to elevate the enclosure to fit
non-standard fireplaces.
In addition to items that help the energy
efficiency of fireplaces, certain products are
necessary to its operation or that add to its
decorative value. Fire screens, andirons, grates,
fire tools and gas logs fall into this category.
With the exception of gas logs, there are
several factors that are common to fireplace
furnishings. Primarily; quality metals, such as
solid brass, that will withstand heat.
Many finishes are available, but fire-
place items should be coated with special
lacquers to preserve their luster and pro-
tect against heat damage. Advise the cus-
tomer to use a soft cloth to clean fireplace
items rather than a polish that could
remove the protective coating.
Chain-mesh screens can be flush-mounted
inside the fireplace opening, face-mounted on
the outside or freestanding to protect from
scattering sparks and ash. Folding panel
screens are freestanding and must be set aside
to add wood.
These screens protect from scattering
sparks and ash, but do littleif any-
thingto reduce the draw of
room air up the chimney.
Andirons and grates hold burn-
ing logs off the hearth. Andirons
are a pair of metal bars (usually cast
iron) with decorative front shafts
that hold the logs. Grates not only
hold logs, they also prevent logs
from rolling forward.
Using andirons and grates allows
air to circulate and feed the fire,
while ashes fall away from burning
logs. Keep the ash deposit cleaned
out; if ashes fill the space under the
grate, the retained heat of the fire
could melt the grate.
Fire tool sets contain a shovel,
brush and poker in a wall rack or
floor stand. Some sets have flexible,
three-pronged tongs instead of a
poker to move large logs and perform many
of the pokers jobs. Tongs are available sepa-
rately in the same styles as the sets. They
stand independently on tripod-like prongs.
Other non-essential fireplace accessories
o bellows to pump oxygen into a flickering
o hearth brooms to sweep ashes and other
debris from the hearth (ranging from 2' to
4' long);
o fire lighters to ignite logs without kin-
dling or paper (small pots with a porous
stone torch that steeps in kerosene
until lighted or small blocks of wax-
impregnated compressed fiber that are
placed on the logs and lighted);
o artificial logs, made from wood particles,
which light easily and burn for several
hours, often with scented or colored flame;
o log rollers, which roll old newspapers into
log shapes easily used as fireplace logs;
o log carriers to haul wood from the wood
pile to the fireplace, made of sturdy canvas
in a variety of colors and patterns;
o wood holders or metal log baskets to store
extra logs near the fireplace; and
o hood accessories deflect heat away from
the mantel shelf.
Gas Logs
Gas log heaters are either vented or unvent-
(A) Interior RoomLittle or no outside exposure.
(B) Room with average door and window areawell insulated.
(C) Isolated Roomscabins, watch housesno insulation.
*Because of varying climate, building and insulation conditions, this chart
is intended only as a guide to heating requirements.
50 7 10 36 300 43 60 204
100 14 20 69 350 50 70 241
150 22 30 103 400 57 80 275
200 29 40 138 450 65 90 310
250 36 50 172 500 72 100 344
ed and operate on either natural gas or LP (liq-
uid propane) gas. Gas logs require no electrici-
ty to operate and provide emergency standby
heating in the event of a power outage.
Gas logs fit into fireplaces with a gas
hookup and can be installed into any UL-list-
ed, solid fuel burning fireplace or in an
American Gas Association (AGA) design-certi-
fied, vent-free firebox listed for use.
Decorative gas logs may be placed directly
on the fire grate or laid on a flame pan cov-
ered with a bed of volcanic granules for a
more realistic looking fire.
The logs are made of high-temperature,
heat-resistant ceramic or cement in a variety
of finishes. Gas logs come in sets containing
logs, burner, grate and/or flame pan.
Vented Gas Logs
Vented gas logs are less fuel efficient than
vent-free gas logs. Vented logs operate at a
range of 60,000 to 90,000 BTUs and lose heat
because they require the chimney damper to
remain open.
Vented gas fireplaces require a venting sys-
tem and a "smoke dome" or chimney, which
is installed on the roof. Vented fireplaces use
natural or LP gas with range settings from
30,000 to 42,500 BTUs. Some have automatic
on/off controls.
Gas fireplaces are relatively easy to
install. However, installation by a quali-
fied professional is always recommended
for all gas appliances. The built-in variety
does not require special flooring or a
hearth front. However, it might be wise
for retailers to suggest a hearth in case the
customer should decide later to convert
the gas fireplace to a wood-burning one.
Freestanding units require no heavy
masonry or foundations for installation.
Vent-Free Gas Logs
Vent-free gas logs provide homeowners
more heat at less cost because they operate
with the damper closed to prevent heat loss
and they use less energy. Typical vent-free gas
logs have adjustable inputs with a maximum
of 40,000 BTUs.
Since 1980, all vent-free systems
include an oxygen depletion sensor
(ODS). The ODS shuts off the heater and
the flow of gas to the burner if the oxy-
gen level in a room becomes inadequate.
In addition, all vent-free heating appli-
ances come with an automatic shut-off
valve to shut off the gas flow if the pilot
extinguishes or the gas flow is interrupted
in any way.
A study commissioned in 1995 by the Vent-
Free Gas Products Alliance of the Gas
Appliance Manufacturers Association found
that vent-free gas heating products meet or
exceed the most current and applicable
nationally recognized standards for indoor air
quality. However, some states still prohibit res-
idential use of vent-free systems. Be sure to
check local codes.
Vent-free gas fireplace inserts are installed
within existing masonry or factory-built fire-
places. Most inserts also contain a blower for
better heat distribution.
Since vent-free fireplace logs require no
venting, gas log fireplaces can be installed
wherever there is access to a gas lineagainst
or recessed into any interior or exterior wall or
freestanding in the middle of a room.
Setback devices for furnaces and central air
conditioning evolved as a way of conserving
home energy usage with no loss in comfort.
Unlike modern setback devices, early flame-
control systems monitored heating levels by
taking the temperature of the ducts next to the
furnace. Today, all of the units operate on the
principle of a timer that turns the heat up or
down automatically at pre-determined times.
Timers allow the user to turn the heat
down 10 degrees shortly after bedtime and
back up to normal shortly before waking up.
Units that are more expensive offer a double
cycle or four settings, which is especially use-
ful when the home is empty during the day.
It is generally accepted that cutting back
more than 10on heating or air conditioning
is not an effective energy savings. However,
with 10setbacks, the homeowner can expect
5 percent to 30 percent savings on annual
energy bills, depending on location.
A replacement thermostat contains a timer
with either single-or dual-cycle capabilities.
Each setting allows users to set a reduction of
1to 10. This type of setback device can con-
trol both heating and cooling. The thermostat
is automatically regulated from the established
"normal" setting at specified times.
Energy-saving setback devices can be elec-
tronic or electromechanical. Electronic ther-
mostats allow consumers to program multiple
settings for a given day or week. Some auto-
matically switch between heating and cooling.
Electromechanical devices are easier to pro-
gram, but allow the consumer to program
only two setback periods, each with a maxi-
mum and minimum temperature range.
Supplemental space heaters are gaining
popularity with consumers wanting to reduce
heating costs. Space heaters lend themselves
well to zone heating. Zone heating means
turning the homes central heating unit to a
minimum setting and then using space
heaters only in rooms that are in use.
Portable heaters are excellent in emergen-
cies when a furnace breaks down or there is
an interruption in gas or electrical service.
For best results, place heater under a win-
dow to warm cold air as it enters the room,
whether through an ill-fitting window frame
or just off the cold glass.
Electric Heaters
Electric space heaters should be plugged
directly into the wall outlet; if an extension
cord is necessary, it must be heavy duty (14-
gauge wire).
Heating elements are either "black heat,"
with the heating wire wound around porce-
lain insulators or the more popular "instant
heat" that utilizes a ribbon element.
Heating capacity is rated in BTUs. Wattage
ratings of heaters can be converted to BTUs
consumed per hour by multiplying the num-
ber of watts by 3.413 (the number of BTUs
equaling one watt).
Better electric heaters generally feature a tip-
over safety switch, which automatically shuts
the heater off if knocked over.
Some models have a thermostat, and some
have small fans to
force heated air into
the open room.
Radiant Heaters
Unlike traditional
convection heating
systems that warm
the air in a room,
radiant heaters bom-
bard objects directly
with infrared heat.
Quartz heaters and
infrared heaters work
according to this
All radiant
heaters direct heat
to the objects or
people to be
warmed. For short
periods of time
(two to three
hours), these
heaters are more
than convection
These heaters usu-
ally have a wattage
rating of 1,500. The
heating element,
encased in quartz or
a metal sheath, has a
reflector panel behind it to direct the heat
toward the objects. Some models will cycle
off and on, but none have a thermostat.
These heaters should have a tip-over device
to automatically shut the heater off if
tipped over.
The quartz rods will need to be periodically
replaced, which can be done easily by snap-
ping in a replacement rod.
Convection Heaters
A circular heater with no reflector warms the
air, which rises and is distributed around the
room (convection). A natural convection heater
with no fan is one of the safest to use around
small children because elements are almost
completely enclosed; however, it does not give
off as much heat as other supplemental heaters.
Convection heaters typically come in three
types: baseboard, ceramic or fan-forced air.
Baseboard heaters will warm a room well
and have the added advantage of occupying
unused space. Some have a fan. Most radi-
ant baseboard heaters incorporate a thermo-
stat. Convection heaters and models with-
out a thermostat usually have two or three
settings. Protective grills are removable for
easy cleaning. Grills should have a close
mesh, particularly if they are to be used
around small children who may be able to
push small objects or their fingers through
large-meshed grill work.
Ceramic heaters are small portable electric
heaters that use a ceramic disk heating ele-
ment. The heaters are ideal for spot heating
because they are lightweight and easy to carry.
These ceramic heaters
are safer than other
alternative heating
sources because they
operate at temperatures
below the combustion
point of paper. Ceramic
heaters also include a
washable filter to reduce
air pollutants.
Portable fan-forced air
heaters come in models
that operate on fuel oil,
kerosene or propane gas,
and can supply from
35,000 to 600,000 BTUs.
They are used in work
areas, such as garages
and barns, and open
areas such as construc-
tion sites.
Portable forced-air
heaters use fuel and
electricity to circulate
hot air around the
area to be heated.
Their fans blow a gust
of warm air that is
able to heat an area
that would normally
be too open or drafty
to heat with another
type of heater. Models
are equipped with air
and fuel filters to block contaminants.
Safety features include automatic ignition
systems and a flameout safety sensor, which
turns the heater off in case of loss of combus-
tion or lack of fuel.
Gas Heaters
The popularity of natural and LP gas
space heaters continues to grow as con-
sumers seek ways to trim their heating bills.
Gas heaters are highly efficient and have
low operating costs compared to similar
electric and propane heaters. Gas heaters are
available in vented or vent-free as well as
radiant, circulating and catalytic models.
Vented Gas Heaters
The traditional gas heaters for supplemental
Portable kerosene room heaters are equipped with many safety features. As with any heat-
ing appliance, proper precautions should be taken to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Following is a checklist for consumers:
1. Buy only K-1 kerosene. Never use gasoline, white gas, campstove or other fuels.
They are extremely dangerous if used in kerosene heaters.
2. Kerosene should be water-clear. Yellow or colored kerosene will smoke, smell and
interfere with wick operation.
3. Store kerosene in an approved container, clearly marked KEROSENE, away from
living quarters.
4. Refill heater away from living quarters when heater is cool, using a siphon pump
to prevent spillage.
5. Place the heater more than 3 away from curtains, furniture, papers, clothes and
other combustible materials.
6. Some heater surfaces become hot. Keep children away and instruct them not to
touch the controls. Perhaps provide a barrier around the heater to prevent them
from touching it.
7. Provide adequate ventilation, normally furnished by opening a door to an adjacent
room. In totally closed rooms, a window should be opened slightly. Avoid drafts.
8. Read and follow the manufacturers directions for correct operation and mainte-
nance of the heater. Keep the instruction booklet available for reference.
9. Clean and maintain your heater according to manufacturers instructions. Keep
base tray free of dust, dirt or any obstruction.
10. When turning the heater off, make sure the flame is completely extinguished.
Always turn off the heater before sleeping and never leave it unattended.
11. Because heaters have an open flame, do not use flammable solvents, aerosol
sprays, lacquers or gasoline in the same room.
12. Use only manufacturer-authorized wicks, check length and diameter for proper
burning. Fiberglass and cotton wicks are not interchangeable.
heat require outside vents. Most of these are
available in medium- or high-output models
that range from 25,000 to 65,000 BTUs/hr.
Most of these also include enclosed "radiating
circulator" units with tempered glass in front
of a series of radiants. Generally, a thermostat
controls gas-vented heaters.
These heaters are designed to take up mini-
mum space.
Vent-Free Gas Heaters
Vent-free or unvented gas heaters are sup-
plementary heat sources, since they require no
vent. Like all gas appliances, the space should
be properly sized for the unit.
All vent-free gas heaters are equipped with
an ODS. The ODS shuts off the heater and the
flow of gas to the burner if the oxygen level in
the room becomes inadequate. The ODS is
mandatory equipment for unvented heating
equipment as specified by federal and volun-
tary standards.
Retailers must advise customers to strictly
adhere to the manufacturers safety instruc-
tions and to have the unit installed by a quali-
fied professional. In addition, retailers should
be sure all the vent-free products they carry
meet or exceed indoor air quality standards or
Infrared-radiant and convection are two
types of vent-free gas heaters. The infrared-
radiant units transfer most of their heat
through direct infrared radiation from the
heater to people and objects in the room.
Most models feature ceramic radiants or pan-
els that are positioned above the gas burner.
Many of these units are open. The ignited gas
gives off a bright orange glow that heats the
occupants of the room. A screen-like guard
protects the radiant plaques. However, the
radiant plaques are not enclosed in the cabi-
net or behind glass.
Some vent-free radiant heaters have ther-
mostats to efficiently maintain room tem-
perature. Because the output from the vent-
free heater is directed into the room rather
than outdoors, these heaters are nearly 100
percent efficient.
Like infrared-radiant heaters, unvented or
circulating convection heaters can be free-
standing or mounted in a wall. This type of
gas heater has burners enclosed within a
painted or enamel-coated sheet metal housing
that has air openings on the top, front and
possibly the sides. Infrared-radiant heaters cir-
culate heated air, making them suitable for
heating larger areas to uniform temperatures.
Convection heaters work like a mini central
heating system. Convection heaters first warm
the air, which then warms the objects.
Natural gas and LP heaters are es