A Look at the Factors to Consider When Making Student Desks

student desk

On average, students spend six hours a day at school. Most of this time is spent sitting behind a school desk. With design in mind, a majority of desks encourage a student to sit still. As a classroom staple, a desk tends to be a home away from home for these students. Below are the top factors to consider when making student desks.

Building Materials

When making school desks, it is paramount to take into consideration the kind of material to use. A good desk should be made of high durable material. Common materials that are used to make school desks are premium standard wood, plastic, and metal. The finishing should be smooth with no sharp edges that can cause injury to students.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is another critical factor to consider. Desk makers may think that all a student needs is a flat surface to put books on and write on. However, ergonomics and comfort should not be ignored given that the student will be using it for hours on end each day. Most desks have a height of 30 inches, which may be ideal for the average student, but not all students. A manufacturer should ensure that there is sufficient leg room and that the desk is of the correct height.

Right Size

It is important to make sure that a chair will fit under the desk in a way that the student will not sit at an awkward distance from the desk’s surface. This can be achieved by measuring the height and width of the chair up to the armrest in order to avoid surprises. In addition, monitor placement should be considered for students who use computers during classes. The ideal position of a monitor is about an arm’s length away. Thus, a student desk should not be deep, or it may lead to wasted space behind the monitor.

Desk Shape

The desk shape is also an important factor to put into consideration. Each desk layout has its own merits and demerits, whether it is an L-shaped desk, a corner desk, a traditional rectangular desk or a U-shaped desk. The best layout is one that fits a student’s work style and classroom space. It should also be adaptable in case it is moved to a different classroom. Straight desks are the most common since they are versatile for placement in the middle of a classroom or against the wall. Corner desks fit in different room layouts and usually save space. However, the student will be stuck facing the wall, usually with his or her back to the door.

Working and Storage Surface

The working and storage surface of a desk should also be put into consideration. Some student desks are not very functional. While they may have an appealing style, they may have poor organization and storage- or the other way around. A student desk having the flattest space possible for its size is recommended. A pullout surface is a notable surface as it essentially converts a rectangular desk into an L-shaped desk, temporarily. Also, built-in surfaces offer a lot of storage. However, when attached to the desk, these hutches limit where a student can place it, and he or she is stuck with the hutch.

Quality of Drawers

The quality of student drawers is of great importance. One way of gauging the quality of a desk is by checking its drawers. The drawers should slide with ease while the rollers should be sturdy. A desk’s warranty is another good indicator of the durability, life expectancy and quality of a certain desk.

Acquire wide range on Timber Supplies for your Building

If you are on a lookout for an excellent company to buy timber for your home or office to renovate your own home, you will need to locate an excellent timber supply company in order to get all the top quality material needed for the construction. You can make your home look chic with the help of the timber supplies as they are able to withstand all types of weather conditions and provide great amount of insulation and durability. Mentioned below are many factors that will help you in choosing your timber supply company:

hardware store workers

Reliability: This is an important factor which you should consider while looking for the timber supply company. This can be easily done by checking if the company is able to provide you with high quality products by which you can construct the products that you really want. You should be aware that timber is an expensive building material and you will be highly disappointed if the structures you build do not last long as anticipated. It becomes necessary for you to be choosy with the material you use and extra careful if you are constructing a structure for outdoors. This is why you will have to pay more for high quality materials but it is a better idea in the long run.

On time delivery: The Company from where you get your timber supplies should also be able to stick to all the schedules when you order products from them. You will undoubtedly come across problems if there is a delay in the items, and also if you are sent the wrong materials by mistake. It will also create financial impact if you have to pay a contractor for his time or even if you have to waste a lot of time waiting for the right materials to arrive. This is the reason why it becomes important for you to ensure that the company from where you purchase timber from has the requisite support to deliver the materials to you based on the schedule that has been jointly agreed upon.

Reputed company: You should deal with the popular timber supplies company since it will be this company that will offer you the widest possible range of timbers. Every wood has its own advantages and disadvantages, and this is why you might need to make your choice based upon the purpose that you are going to use the wood. The company chosen by you should be able to offer excellent customer service especially when you need help in choosing the appropriate timber from all the options that are available for you.

In order to locate the reliable timber supplies company, you can opt for these methods:

Internet: The Internet is an excellent way to search for timber merchants of great reputation; all you have to do is type on the net and select from the top ranking ones and also according to the reviews and testimonials written by other clients. On the internet you will find a lot of companies giving special offers or discounts. While checking you can also see whether you are getting a free delivery or you have to pay some charges for that.

Referrals: Taking help from referrals is also a good idea where you consult with your neighbors, friends and family for recommendations which will help you find the best timber company in your locality.

When you have a wide selection, it will help you to make the right choice for the purpose that you have in mind. So the next time when you go about looking for timber supplies, there are many professional and also reputed timber supplies companies you can contact so that you are able to get the best products at great prices.

Above Mentioned factors are that will help you in choosing your timber supply company. If you would like to know more than Visit our Timber page.

Earthlodge: The Original Sod Home

earth lodgeI read an interesting article on the “earthlodges” of Native Americans in the Dakotas the other day. I’d learned early in my life when the family moved from New York to “Indian Territory” – Oklahoma – that not all Native Americans lived in those portable teepee tents so prevalent on the plains. I knew the ‘civilized’ tribes of the southeastern United States were able constructors of log cabins for their permanent villages, and of course knew about those spectacular adobe pueblos in the southwest. And while I learned in junior high Oklahoma history about the sod-roofed shanties built by white settlers (and for which Oklahoma was famous), I’d never heard of earthlodges.

Earthlodges are large round structures from 20 to 50 feet in diameter which are built to be much more permanent than the yurts that basically amount to a Mongolian version of teepee for migratory people. Lots of people these days have deck-mounted yurts that are popular as camp cabins or gazebos, but they’re not really something stable or well-insulated enough to live in full time.

In contrast, the earthlodge is dug into the ground and framed with logs, covered with woven willow mats and then covered completely (except for a smoke hole in the middle of the roof) with mud and sod. Your basic hobbit house, but as its own hill rather than dug into a pre-existing hill. Of course, there are some modern earthlodge designs that combine aspects of natural landscaping and lodge building, which are actually quite nice if you don’t care much about windows. It would be quite easy to engineer one of these with skylights, so interior darkness can be alleviated.

earth lodgeThe original earthlodges were built communally, often housing between 15 and 25 people. They provided solid, very well-insulated shelter for harsh Dakota winters, and stayed naturally cool in hot Dakota summers. They lasted only as long as the palisade poles and main support logs lasted in the ground, about 7 to 10 years before they’d rotted enough to need replacing. Since it took only about a week for a group to construct an earthlodge from scratch, the old one would simply be torn down and a new one erected in its place. The old logs recycled into firewood made this village system quite efficient given that the Dakotas do not enjoy the thick, lush forests of the American southeast.

For a new homesteader looking for cheap, eco-friendly housing on a tract of raw land, it’s not difficult to see how the problem of ground-rot could be simply eliminated by seating the anchor and palisade logs in concrete. The thermal mass of palisade logs plus dirt/sod can be nearly warm in winter and cool in summer as 3-foot thick adobe walls. More modern – and fully waterproof – coverings take the place of those woven willow mats, and fewer palisade poles would allow for regular insulated walls or an opportunity to place windows and/or exits to porticos, or to build storage rooms or closets off the main structure. For a truly permanent structure, some research on new under-sod waterproof roofing material would probably be a good idea.

The niftiest thing about this kind of permanent shelter is that if your land is raw enough to need some clearing, the logs and poles can be taken as part of your clearing plans. These will have to be de-barked and dried above the ground, there are many good Do It Yourself books and plans out there for site-built log homes that have clear instructions on how to do this. If you’re planning to grow crops, the sod shouldn’t be hard to come by. Rather than a big central fire pit and large hole in the roof, a central wood stove with just a pipe running up through the roof will protect from the elements much better than the wicker baskets the Mandan people used to cover their smoke holes when it rained.

It also strikes me that the side walls could be constructed of straw bales and covered with mesh and stucco or adobe instead of mud and sod and still be as easy to heat and cool. Some may consider rock as well, if the land has an overabundance of those that need removing before crops can be grown. Any of these alternatives for some or all of the side walls would make for a very handsome home. The sod roof does have great appeal, I’ve always envisioned a hobbit house with wildflowers instead of just more grass to have to mow.

The interior, once you’ve got the central roof supports and planned your walls, can of course be framed and subdivided as you please for cooking sleeping and living areas, bathrooms and utility as you wish. The Dream Green link above also offers a plan for a ‘multi-lodge’ made up of several octagonal earthlodges connected to a front portico area. This idea offers the possibility for future expansion as the family grows.

So chalk this up as yet another eco-friendly green construction to think about if you’re new to homesteading or are planning to build more structures on your homestead than you’ve already got. A far less modern (more true to origin) version of earthlodge would make a very serviceable combo barn, root/wine cellar and tool/vehicle storage shed. For as long as you can keep the livestock from eating the walls and roof, that is.

Links:

Indians 101: The Earthlodge
Dream Green Homes Earth Lodge
Blue Ridge Yurts

Fire on the Mountain …Again

 smoky haze
The slight smoky haze that first alerted us to the fire.

I kind of knew that three whole springs without a forest fire along the Norfolk-Southern’s grade over the continental divide was pushing things. Hoped maybe their relatively new-found practice of carefully checking their brake connections BEFORE heading uphill into the ‘loops’ might become a habit. It’s been raining pretty steady, and yesterday it snowed. Not more than an inch, though, and that was melted by noon.

Fire_on_the_Mountain2It’s that period of early spring when the wind has been blowing and the greenery hasn’t made its appearance yet but the sap is running, when molten-hot metal from what passes for brake pads on train cars can find some handy tinder and quickly set the dry leaves ablaze. It can actually be good for the forest – the older, established trees can take a bit of bark-char, and the ashes help balance out the acidity of red clay soil. Trick is to not let them get out of hand. Back when they were clear-cutting these mountains and carrying out the logs by steam trains, the fires got so hot they sterilized the soil to more than a foot underground. As abundant as these mountains are, it took decades to recover.

Fire_on_the_Mountain3Grandson noticed the smoky haze in the late afternoon, shortly before the spotter plane arrived to circle overhead and let us know the fire was just over the tracks along the back side of the property. We hiked on around the ridge to see what was what, found Old Fort’s Finest [VFD] already on the tracks and in the woods, on the job. In years past they’ve staged from our place, since we have direct access to the forest, and I always like them parking that nifty tanker truck right next to the cabin for the duration. Heck, I’ll make coffee for them all night long if they make sure my house doesn’t burn! But this one didn’t start on our side of the tracks or jump them, so we were in no serious danger and they used the scout camp access road instead.

The first bladder-chopper showed up about 6 pm, the second about half an hour later. Our fat white ducks Gladys and Amelia definitely didn’t like these fat, yellow, low-flying and incredibly noisy things one little bit. They quickly stashed themselves underneath the back deck to be invisible to these very strange raptors, and complained incessantly every time we got buzzed on their way from the lake at Camp Greer to the fire line. It was on the private hunting land immediately north of us and encompassing some acres of state game land just to the west, but didn’t get as far as the National Forest boundary on the other side of the northwestern cove. It was moving steadily east along the cove ridge, toward the railroad wall.

fire-on-the-roadsideOf course I sent hub out to take pictures, being as he is a professional photographer and all. This one – which I particularly like – was taken with the camera resting on the rail as the wall heads into the ridge cut. Our property is on the left side of those tracks, so we do have some appreciation for the sheer height and width of the rock rail bed that forms the wall. It takes a darned hot fire and a really stiff wind to jump that firebreak!

As darkness began to fall the 50 or so firefighters on the line sent out for coffee and take-out dinners, catered by the railroad watchers in their nifty track-truck. The fire was halfway up to the top of the ridge by the time the spotter and helicopters had to shut down for the night, so they didn’t bring the fire train usually kept in the rail yard in town. Nice multi-hose pumper contraption on a flat car between two tankers – one with water, the other with chemical retardant. The scheduler was getting antsy by the time the truck made it back to the line with food and drinks, kept calling to find out when they could start moving trains again. It was kind of humorous, since the fire by then had crept back down the mountainside and caused the firefighters to have to scramble straight up the loose rocks of the wall to get out of its way. Below is a shot of that bit of temporary excitement, from the 5th ‘hole’ of our disc golf course, called “High Springs” because 1) it’s a high point on the property, and 2) someone many years before us left a metal bedspring up there that a tree now nearly 3 feet in circumference grew in the middle of.

Fire_on_the_Mountain

It definitely looks exciting, but as usual it was mostly leaf and deadfall that burned. This morning there wasn’t even any smoke left, and by this time next month the forest floor will be even more thickly covered with greenery than it was before. Minus a few of the smaller saplings, which need to be thinned occasionally anyway, and maybe now that the leaves are ash we won’t get any further fires that close this year. We’re hoping, at any rate!