Laying carpet is something we would most certainly recommend is left to the professionals. Carpets are expensive and a mistake can cost a lot of money as well as leaving a room looking very untidy.

However we know that DIY’ers the world over will want to have a go so we have listed the basic points to remember and, hopefully, help you.

Carpet Fitting Tools You Will Need

You should hire or buy a carpet knee kicker (or carpet stretcher) from a tool hire shop. It will stretch the carpet into position and stop any “bubbles” spoiling the job.

You will also need to hire a carpet bolster which is a 3 inch bolster (the same as an electricians bolster) but with a very blunt, rounded edge. You should also wear some knee pads as you will be on your knees a lot!

You will also need a decent stanley or hobby knife and at least 5 brand new blades. We state at least 5 new blades as they blunt quite quickly and trying to cut carpet with a blunt blade will only make it frey and wreck it.

If you take a look at many other DIY Projects on this web site, e.g. plastering, you will see that we recommend practice before the final operation.

Your carpet supplier will give you a couple of off cuts and you can practice cutting a carpet into a corner or round a doorframe.

  • Carpet knee kicker
  • Carpet bolster
  • Knee pads
  • Stanley or hobby knife with 5 blades
  • Some scrap carpet to practice with
  • Enough old newspapers to cover the floor area
  • Double sided tape
Knee pads for saving wear and tear on trousers and knees

Knee pads for saving wear and tear on trousers and knees – Available from our online store

Carpet Underlay

Carpets are either supplied with a foam or rubber back which serves as the underlay or they need to be laid on a separate underlay.

There are quite a few different types of carpet underlay available today made froma range of different materialseach with positives and negatives. One of the most commonly used these days is PU Foam underlay and this has quite a few benefits such as excellent durability, acoustic and thermal properties and is also pretty eco friendly but it does tend to be quite expensive.

Different types of underlay available:

  • Rubber Crumb Underlay: Fantastic durability and suitable for non-domestic properties but lacking in thermal and acoustic insulation and rather expensive
  • PU Foam Underlay: Modern with excellent thermal and acoustic properties and very compfy underfoot but quite expensive
  • Felt Wool Underlay: This underlay type is the best in terms of being environmentally friendly as it is made from 100% recycled materials. This underlay type also has great durability and thermal and acoustic insulation making it one of the best choices
  • Felt and Rubber Combined Underlay: This type takes the best from 2 other types in that it features a recycled rubber base and recycled felt top. Again, has excellent thermal and acoustic properties and is also very durable
  • Rubber Underlay: Constructed from rubber and sponge and one of the most popular over the years, very durable and nice to walk on with good acoustic properties but lacking in thermal insulation and not very eco-friendly

How to Lay a Carpet

Roll out the Carpet

First roll out your carpet in the empty room and cut it so it has an extra 200mm (8 inches) all round the room. Make sure any pattern in the carpet is square to the walls and that you cut enough overlap through any doorways.

Now roll it up again and put to one side.

Lay Down Newspaper or Paper Sheets

The first rule when laying carpet is to use some double sided tape to hold down sheets of paper to the floor.

This can be newspaper or parcel paper, it does not matter. Should you ever have cause to remove the carpet you will find that the paper will stop the underlay or foam backing sticking to the floor.

Carpet gripper for the perimeter of the room

Carpet gripper for the perimeter of the room

Fix Carpet Gripper

Next, lay the gripper round the perimeter of the room. Wherever there will be a carpet edge, there should be gripper.

Gripper comes with nails pre-installed and is laid about 12mm or half an inch away from the room boundaries, i.e. skirtings etc. The masonry nails in the gripper will usually be tough enough to hammer into floor screed.

The sharp points on the gripper rods should always point towards the walls. These points grip the carpet as it is stretched over them and keeps it tightly in place.

Fix Jointing Strip in Doorways

Lay the gripper all round the room using a jointing strip (below) in the doorways. The jointing strip will have the same sharp points to grip the carpet.

Carpet threshold strip for joining carpets in doorways

Carpet threshold strip for joining carpets in doorways

Lay the Underlay

The underlay should now be laid inside the gripper. Use double sided tape on all joins underneath the underlay.

Roll out the Carpet

Roll out the carpet on the underlay making sure it is square to the walls if patterns are involved. Push the carpet into one corner so the overlap you have allowed folds down onto the carpet leaving a crease where the carpet meets the skirting board.

Using a stanley knife to cut carpet into edges of room

Using a stanley knife to cut carpet into edges of room – Available in our online store

Use the back edge of a Stanley knife blade to push this crease well into the joint where the carpet meets the floor.

Cut Carpet into Corner

You should be concentrating on a length of about 600mm from the corner of the room at the moment. Turn the blade round and cut the 600mm along the crease until you have reached the corner.

Then cut vertically upwards to leave the 600mm edge sitting on the gripper and push it down so it bites on the gripper nails (if you don’t have a decent sharp knife and would like to find out which knives are the best, check out our utility knife tool review and also our review of the various types of blades available).

Repeat this process 600mm along the remaining edge of the same corner. You now have one corner tight up to the skirting and fixed by the gripper rods.

Fit Carpet up to Skirting

Using the knee kicker, with teeth set so they just bite into the carpet, work along one edge of the carpet, cutting into the skirting board as you go. Always use the back of the blade to push the carpet down into the gap between gripper and skirting before you cut.

When one edge is complete go back to the starting corner and work along the other wall. Then back again to the starting point and use the kicker to stretch diagonally across the room.

Knee kicker or carpet stretcher for getting the carpet tight

Knee kicker or carpet stretcher for getting the carpet tight – Available from our superstore

Tighten the Carpet

When all the carpet is cut into position, use the kicker once more to make sure the carpet is tight to all skirting boards or threshold strips.

Finish the Edges

Now use the carpet bolster to bang down the carpet between the back edge of the gripper rods and the skirting boards. This gives a lovely neat finish and a job you can be proud of.


Important Tips for Throwing a Surprise Party

Throwing a surprise party can be a daunting task! Getting everyone organized, making sure the birthday person is really surprised and isn’t faking it, lots of things to do and remember at the same time! This page is full of important tips for throwing a surprise party, don’t miss out on any of them!

Make sure to also check out our MAIN Surprise party page for loads of more information on throwing a surprise birthday party.

Read all the following Surprise party tips to ensure you create the coolest and most secretive Surprise party!

  • When throwing a Surprise party it’s always important to appoint a time much earlier, so that even if someone is late twenty minutes, it won’t ruin the surprise.  Make sure you are very clear about it being a Surprise, and tell everyone a few times what time they need to be at the surprise area! If someone is really late to the party and you feel that it could totally ruin the surprise – call them or send them a text message saying they should stay in the car for a few minutes until the surprise is over, then call them when it’s already safe for them to arrive.
  • Make sure that no clues (obvious and less obvious) are left lying around that the Surprisee may find out about. For example if you send e-mails to people about the surprise party, and there’s a chance the Surprisee might see them, ERASE them! Or if you went to a cake shop to have a special cake made for the Surprisee with information written on the cake that make it obvious for whom it’s for; and who knows, the Surprisee happened to walk by this cake shop… that could ruin the surprise! (True story by the way…). You have to be on guard and make sure no clues are left around.
  • You might want to think of a dress code. Think about what the Surprisee will be wearing. For example if he or she just came back from the pool or beach, tell everyone not to dress too formal, keep it casual. If it’s possible, tell your guests to dress accordingly; that way, you won’t make the Surprisee feel strange. OR a much easier solution is to have some of the Surprisee’s clothes on hand with you or other clothes they can borrow (for example if your throwing a Surprise party Hawaiian-style, give the Surprisee clothes that fit the theme).
  • Sometimes children don’t know how to hold a secret. It’s best not to tell the little ones weeks before (you might want tell them on the day itself or a few hours beforehand).
  • It really pays to plan ahead of time. Of course you can throw a surprise party in a week, but this means you are a very organized person who is able to improvise well. Just in case, try planning a few weeks to even a few months beforehand to lower the chances things will get messed up.
  • This goes for the day of the surprise party. If you are decorating the party area with lights, flashes, bombastic decorations, etc., make sure they aren’t visible from outside the party area (you don’t want to ruin the surprise a few minutes earlier when the Surprisee might become suspicious about the strange decorations in front of their house for example).
  • Don’t forget to film and photograph the surprise moments!! A cool idea is to buy lots of disposable cameras and disperse them around. Give them to as many guests as possible so that when the surprise moment comes along, they can all take a picture from their point of view. That way you have the surprise moment photographed from all kinds of directions and point of views!
  • This may seem obvious, but it’s best to invite people the Surprisee likes. Don’t invite EVERYONE the Surprisee knows just to make it a huge party; it’s best to invite all the people the Surprisee is fond of.
  • You never really know how people will react to a surprise. Does the Surprisee have health problems? If you feel like there may be a chance the Surprisee might faint or anything else, why not have a doctor or nurse on hand, or at-least someone who knows how to deal with these situations (I don’t want to frighten you… just want you to be aware of as many things as possible beforehand and to take it into consideration).
  • Of course a surprise party needs to be hidden, but this doesn’t mean you hide the fact that the Surprisee has a birthday. From trying to hide the idea of a surprise party, it might seem that everyone has forgotten the Surprisee’s birthday, and it’s important not to let them feel this; a ‘forgotten birthday’ can disappoint and hurt them (a surprise party may not compensate their disappointment). So talk about the subject of their birthday easily and calmly… possibly plan a small overt birthday party with them or take them on a small outing before the Surprise party to show them how much you appreciate the special occasion. The best way to be low key about a surprise party is to live life just the way you live it, make it seem like everything is at it’s usual and regular pace.


Surprise Party To-Do List

Here is a simple list you can go by so that you know where to start when throwing a surprise party:

1) Choose a date and time for the surprise after finding out (secretly!) whether the Surprisee will be available that day and time. You might want to consider holding the surprise party before or after the real birthday date, so as to lower suspicion.

2) Decide where you want the surprise to take place (also think about what the Surprisee may prefer or most like), will it be indoors, outdoors, your house, the Surprisee’s house, a park, a hotel, a mall, a concert, a show, a swimming pool, the beach, a campfire, etc.

3) After thinking of the place the surprise may take place, think about a theme you might want to base the surprise party on. Will it be a kidnapping theme, a western theme, a colorful theme? (etc.). Of course your surprise can be just a “Surprise theme” or a party with no theme at all, whatever you choose most suitable.

4) Once you figure out the date, time, place, and theme, think about what help you will need to pull off the surprise. Contact all the people you will need help from and let them know your plans (it’s best to get help from people who are good in keeping a secret and keeping a straight face).

5) Make a list of all the people you want to attend the surprise party itself. Write up invitations or call each one and let them know the date, place, and time. It’s very important to stress being secret about your plans, make it as clear as you can by saying it’s a “SURPRISE” a few times.

  • It might be best to tell the plans verbally face to face or via phone and not to write the information via e-mail (so that the Surprisee doesn’t read it by accident). But if you do send out invitations, make it VERY clear it’s a Surprise party.
  • Invite everyone at-least a half-hour before the surprise, so that even if someone is a bit late, it won’t ruin the surprise.
  • Tell everyone to park their cars out of sight (especially if there are people who have very specific, unique, easily-recognizable cars and license plates). You might want to encourage people to carpool, so that the least amount of cars need to park in the area.
  • If you know there will be people who have a hard time keeping a secret, encourage them not to be in contact too much with the Surprisee a few days before the party.


Beginner Tips for Rails on A Snowboard

If you’re starting to develop a good skill set on the snowboard and keen to push yourself even further, then learning how to ride rails without getting worked might just be the challenge you’ve been looking for!

Let me start by saying this:

You can learn to ride rails/boxes without getting worked!

Just take your time when practicing the basics and you will soon learn when to commit or when to bail out and try again.

There is a sweet spot on the rail with your snowboard and when you start to get good, you know if you’re locked in or if it’s time to bail….

It all just comes from time on the Rail/Box and a good balanced stance.

Trust me when I say, if you think you can just go and hit a rail without visualising it first, you will get smacked!

Today we are going to talk about our stance on the rail, our approach and exit when stepping it up to becoming a park Rat.

By the end of this post you will know how to:

  • 50-50 a box
  • Board slide a box
  • Nose press a box

Let’s start by talking about our stance!

You really should know what our basic stance is by now, if you don’t go and check out this post……………..

For the sake of the demo’s we will only be hitting the boxes with these progressions, as you become more confident you can step it up to the rails.

APPROACH INTO ANY RAIL on your Snowboard

Before you hit any jump or rail you should always do a scope run first (Ride through the park without hitting anything), we do this to see if any changes have been made to the takeoff or landings from the previous night’s grooming.

I recommend you do this any time you enter the terrain park for the first run of the day, it’s extremely easy to get injured if you don’t know what you’re doing!

So, once you have scoped out the rail run, and everything looks good, we will now talk about how to approach a rail.

Speed is your friend when hitting boxes or rails for the first time, as long as your not doing anything too crazy, good speed will help you get on and off the rail quickly and safely.

Wait for someone to come by and watch how fast they are going.

If it’s your first time hitting a box, I would recommend pointing your snowboard straight at the box from about 15ft (5 meters).

This should be a good amount of speed to carry you and off the box without getting stuck or going to slow.



Depending what trick you are doing on the rail, your upper body might be isolated from your lower body but there are some guiding principles that remain the same.

1) Always have a Flat base

2) Always Visualize yourself doing the trick before you do it

3) Always have bent knees…Try not to stand up tall unless you know what you are doing.

4) Always have good speed, going to slow can turn ugly quickly.

5) Once on the Box/Rail make sure you are looking to the end of it, don’t look down.


rails on a snowboard

How to do a 50-50:

50-50 is where you ride straight onto the box/rail and your snowboard (Nose/tail) is going in the same direction as the feature.

Start by having a good basic stance, everything should be aligned with a relaxed light attitude.

The goal here is to ride on the box/rail, along the rail and off again.

Start from about 15ft/5m away and point your snowboard straight at the box, you should ever so slightly be on your toe edge while coming up to the box.

Right before your snowboard hits the box, go to a flat base on your board and ride the box like this.

Bent knees, straight back and looking towards the end of the rail!

At the other end, absorb the landing ride away.



How to do a Nose Press:


Start in the same position as the 50-50 but this time we are going to shift our weight forward over the nose of the snowboard while we are on the rail.

Before we go and implement this trick, I think it would be fair to mention that you really shouldfeel comfortable doing this on flat ground before taking it onto the rails.

Practice shifting your weight forward over your nose and lifting your back foot up and holding the pressure over your nose.

( Before you try this on the box, you should be able to snowboard and go straight into a nose press on the snow.)

To do this on a box, the setup is the same, strong basic stance and relaxed, this time when you hit the box, slowly shift your weight forward and hold the press!

Make sure your upper body is in alignment with your lower body otherwise your press will want to turn on you.

Think about trying to grab the nose of your snowboard when performing the trick.

As you get better, you will be able to go from the snow straight into a nose press on the rail.

Pop off the other end, done!


How to Board slide:

To learn the board slide, we start in the 50-50 position and then towards the end of the box/rail we start to twist our upper body to turn our snowboard 90 degrees to the rail/box, maintaining a flat base the whole time.

Same setup as 50-50, but this time when you are half way along the box, I now want you to turn your upper body 90 Degrees and maintain the same balance and position.

It is vital you have even weight on both feet and flexed in the knees. Too many people stand up too tall and this is where they lose balance and slip out.

– Keep flexed and relaxed

– Slow small movements

– Even weight on both feet.

As you get better, start turning your snowboard across the rail/Box earlier, slowly work your way back up the box until you board slide straight on to it.

Keep centered and have even weight on both feet


You Will Need

  • Pressure-treated timber (5cm x 5cm), in lengths: 9 x 1m, 7 x 60cm, 23 x 40cm, 1 x 45cm
  • Gravel board (15cm x 1cm, 3.45m length)
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 3mm wood drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Try square
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Zinc-plated screws (75 x 7.5cm and 20 x 5cm)

Step 1

Mark and cut all the pieces of timber to the correct lengths, cutting the ends as squarely as possible for a smooth finish. Using a 3mm drill bit, make a hole around 2.5cm from the end of every length to stop the wood splitting when you put in the screws.


Step 2

Lay out two 100cm, 60cm and 40cm lengths to form the frame. Butt one end of each length up to the next with the drilled holes on the side. Check the angles with the try square before fitting a screwdriver attachment and fixing the frame together with 7.5cm screws.


Step 3

Cut treated gravel board to the appropriate lengths for the planter bottom. Place the bottom boards on the frame. Don’t worry if there are gaps up to 5cm wide between the boards as the planter will be lined. Pre-drill the bottom boards, check the frame is square again, then attach the boards to the frame using 5cm screws.


Step 4

Flip the frame over onto the other side so the bottom boards sit on the ground. Lay the next course and alternate the corner joins. Check all ends are flush and fix with 7.5cm screws.


Step 5

Build up four layers in this way. Instead of a final 60cm piece, lay a 100cm length across the gap to support the raised square.


Step 6

For the perfect fit, measure the cross-bar piece when it’s in position across the frame and cut it in situ.


Step 7

Attach one end of the length with a 7.5cm screw from above, as shown. Fix the other by screwing into it from the outside of the frame.


Step 8

Lay the 45cm length across the other gap, lining it up with the adjacent side to make a rectangle (see picture). Check the angles and screw it into place.


Step 9

Finish this layer by placing two 40cm lengths at right angles to the 45cm piece, then cut the final length to fit the remaining gap. Continue adding courses of 40cm lengths of timber, with alternating joints, until the raised section of the planter is four layers deep.



The Ten Commandments for a correct dive – Anyone can do it!

Many dream of knowing how to dive into a pool in an elegant and correct way. A correct dive means proper entry into the water and giving momentum to the swimming that follows. Anyone without fear of water can make the dive and there is no need to be professional swimmers. In this article we list the steps for a correct dive with simple explanations that anyone can perform.

Firstly, it is important to note that the goal of a dive is to avoid damage to the neck and lower back and not to land on the abdomen. In addition, we want to avoid hitting the pool bottom or losing our goggles. To prevent these things from happening, the initial and basic state of a dive is the arrow hand stretch – the head is under the hands, the back of the right hand touches the palm of the left hand (or vice versa) and the thumb of the left hand covers the right hand.


The ten exercises for diving correctly

10 steps to learn a swimming dive and protect the neck & the lower back in WEST swimming technique.

Each exercise must be performed 3 times and after falling or jumping into the water it is recommended to swim 50-100 meters in freestyle to release the neck and body and to continue to the following exercises.


  1. Diving in a pool step 1-Sitting by the pool, feet on the wall, falling into the water.

Place your feet on the wall, your buttocks on the pool edge and your hands are raised above your head in the shape of an arrow. Slowly move the hands in the arrow position, from their position above the head, toward the water. Only when the arrow touches the water and the breastbone reaches the knee area, straighten your feet and stay in the arrow in the water for 3 to 5 seconds.


Sitting position, feet at the edge of the pool, buttocks towards the heels and falling into the water in an arrow position.

Sit on the edge of the pool with your feet resting on the lip and your toes holding the edge of the pool and touching the water slightly. The buttocks touch the heels or bent to the edge of your ability without putting pressure on the back or knees. Balance is a little difficult in this exercise, so before jumping into the water it is advisable to stabilize the feet (for children the posture is very easy). Make an arrow with your hands and slowly straighten your hands toward the water. When the hands touch the water, straighten the legs.


  1. Diving in a pool step 3- Standing in a 90 degree angle, hands in an arrow and falling into the water (similar to crouching).

In this exercise do as in Exercise 2, but the angle between the knees and buttocks will be 90 degrees. Usually, this step is easier in terms of flexibility of the knees. It is important to note that when you direct your hands toward the water and lose your balance, do not raise your head above your hands, but stay in the arrow position so as not to fall on your stomach.


  1. Diving in a pool step 4-Arrow-shaped hands are directed at a 45-degree angle towards the water, and the angle between the hip and the knee will be over 90 degrees.

The exercise is performed like exercise number 3, but in this exercise the body is directed towards the water. The arrow will directed toward the pool bottom, a meter away from the wall. For the most part, the distance seems too close and therefore people tend to raise their palms upward. As a result, they fall on the stomach instead of penetrating the water in an elegant way.

  1. Diving in a pool step 5-After the jump, as soon as you lose balance – the legs are straightened.

Repeat exercise 4, but this time you don’t have to wait for the palms to touch the water to straighten your legs. In this exercise, as in the previous exercise, the angle of preparation for the jump will be 120 degrees between the knees and thigh, the arrow is directed toward the pool bottom a meter away from the wall. When you begin to lose balance, leap lightly and stretch your body in the water for 3-5 seconds, like the previous exercises.


  1. Diving in a pool step 6- Jumping without falling – hands in an arrow, the angle between the knee and thigh is about 120 degrees.

In this exercise, you do not wait to lose balance but jump when your body is ready. The emphasis is not to jump too hard and not to open the arrow as a result of the scare that the water is approaching quickly.


  1. Diving in a pool step 7- Standing with your legs spread at 25 centimeters, with your toes at the edge of the pool – on the “Jump” call, straighten your hands in an arrow and jump into the water.

For this exercise you need a friend, a lifeguard, or a person who is around. In the preparation stage create a comfortable spread, that is, find your proper posture without causing pressure in the lower back or neck. In the exercise, you close your eyes, concentrate on entering the water, and tell the other person to start us with a “jump” call. As a result of closing our eyes, the senses become sharper and we can get a more accurate dive. In addition, we practice out-lashing power for the dives that will come later in our learning. Open your eyes only as soon as your hands enter the water.


  1. Diving in a pool step 8- Diving into a hoop at a distance of one and a half meters to two meters from the water.

One of the important things about diving is knowing how to adjust the distance of the dive and then also directing the entrance to the water while stretching your hands upwards. Diving into a hoop requires controlling the exact position in which you land in the water and teaches you how to stretch your hands upwards immediately after entering the water so as not to collide with the bottom.


  1. Diving in a pool step 9-Diving in a dolphin motion and continuing to swim with 3 strokes.

Stand up as in exercise # 7, where your toes are on the edge of the pool, the body is bent slightly, and gently bend the legs to the area that your flexibility allows. Hands are placed on the edge of the pool and head down. On the “jump” call, the hands form the arrow and the legs straighten as the body enters the water. After the body is stretched in the water, perform 2 to 4 dolphin motions, stop 30 cm from the water line and make the first stroke. Afterwards, three such strokes are performed without breathing. During the whole exercise swimming, keep your head toward the floor.

The aim of swimming after the dive is to maintain the momentum of the dive. There are many swimmers who stop the dive before they use its momentum to the end. Raising the head and breathing while we are in motion causes the stopping of the momentum.


  1. Diving in a pool step 10-Exercises 4-9 from a Starting Block.

The tendency when you are on a diving board is to jump too far. In the early stages of the dive, the strength of the jump is not important, but the exact penetration at the correct angle when entering the water. Swimmers who make all the former steps will also jump easily from the diving board.



Finally, in order to train and make a precise dive, correct and fast, you don’t have to climb to a high diving board. If you feel that the jump is comfortable and easy, try diving when one leg is in front and one leg back, just like runners before a race.


The following list of tools are really all essential to ensure that your job goes smoothly and the finished article is top notch:

  • A Hand Saw – Choose a fine or medium toothed saw with a stiff blade to ensure a straight cut
  • Mitre box (also called a mitre block) or you can use a mitre saw or a coving mitre template as a cutting guide such as a Wonder Mitre (see below)
  • Adhesives – You can use any coving adhesive, either ready-mixed or powder adhesive which you mix yourself. You can also use a silicon based adhesive and sealant gun
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level or chalk line – for marking out the walls
  • Hammer and panel pins – to support the coving while the adhesive sets
  • Sponge or cloth and water – for cleaning up excess adhesive
  • Filling knife
  • Trimming knife – also known as a utility knife or generically as a Stanley knife
  • Paintbrush – for blending sealant into joints

How to Mitre Cut Coving

If you would like additional information on fitting coving in the form of a Word Document you can print, click here.

Additionally, if you scroll down the page a bit there are further images and diagrams walking through the process of cutting coving.

TIP: Cutting coving is a skill that requires practice, so the very first rule about coving for the novice is: Please buy an extra length to practice on!

Mitre joints are formed in the corner of rooms or where the coving is going to finish part-way along a wall, and the end needs to be finished off with a piece of coving that returns towards the wall to give a neat finish (see image below).

External Mitre Joint

External mitre joint

Internal and External Mitre Joints

External mitre joints are formed around protrusions into a room, such as chimney breasts. Internal mitre joints are formed in the corners of the room (see below).

Fitting internal and external coving mitre joints

Fitting an Internal Mitre Joint – There is an external mitre joint visible on the chimney breast on the right

When measuring coving for a cut, make sure you measure along the edge that will be placed against the wall.

TIP: To help you keep track of which is the wall edge scribble along that edge in pencil or write the word wall at various intervals along that edge on the back of the coving.

When cutting the coving place the length of coving upside down in the mitre box, in other words with the wall edge pointing up. See the images below for an illustration.

Cutting coving external corners

Illustration of cutting external left and right corners

Cutting coving internal corners

Illustration of cutting internal left and right corners

As you can see, from the images above, this means that when you take the coving out of the mitre box you will turn it the other way up before placing it on the wall.

Angles are peculiar things, and we know it can be tricky to get it right. We get hundreds of questions on our forum about how to cut coving. One tip we can give you is that cutting coving is made considerably easier by using the right tools and taking your time to measure carefully: Then measure again.

If you do this carefully you will be amazed at how easy it is to add a beautiful feature to the room.

Cutting Coving Using a Mitre Box or Mitre Block

Coving mitre block

Mitre Block for cutting coving mitre joints – Available here from our online store

The first thing you will need is an accurate cutting guide. The traditional way of cutting an angle for a corner is to use a coving mitre block, also known as a mitre box. These are made especially for coving and will come in a variety of sizes.

Some mitre boxes have an adjustable gauge to secure the material while it is being cut. We use a 125mm box which will accommodate the largest standard size of coving, and then we use a wooden batten fitted inside to secure smaller coving.

TIP: Make sure you secure the coving in the mitre box. The material needs to be held tightly in place to get a good professional finish.

If your coving does not fit snugly into your mitre box, you run the risk of it moving when you saw. Even a small movement can throw the mitre join out and make it very difficult to get a neat job.

As you can see, mitre boxes come with a straight, or butt joint slot for the saw, and two 45 degree slots for making internal and external corners. The slots have numbers on them as you can see. This is to avoid confusion when cutting, and believe me it is easy to get confused!

More about how to use this numbering to make the joints you need in the “How To Plan Your Room for Coving” guide below.

Finding Angles in Your Room

Putting up coving in a square room is a relatively easy job. Where you have chimney breasts or other features to work round you will need to cut more mitre joints.

If you are lucky, your rooms will be square, or nearly square. Unfortunately many rooms do not have walls at 90° to each other when you check the angles, and some areas might be far from square. When cutting coving odd angles will affect the mitre joints you need to cut for the corners.

For rooms that have odd shaped corners you can buy an “angle finder” like the one below – also available from good DIY stores and builders’ merchants.

Angle finder

Angle finder to help you cut mitres for odd-shaped corners

Place the angle finder in the corner of the room and find its angle by pushing it into the corner, with the arms against the walls. Read the angle from the indicator.

Divide that angle by two and mark this on the mitre box. Cut a groove at that angle into the mitre box working gently with the saw and you will have the template for making this corner neat as well.

Use the same groove for cutting both sides of the mitre, but where you are using coving with an asymmetrical coving just turn the material over when you make the second cut; i.e. you will have the top edge facing towards you on one mitre cut and the bottom edge facing towards you on the other.

Fitting coving is not difficult. It is a question of taking your time and getting things set out as you would like them. Be prepared to sacrifice a length of coving as a practice piece to understand how the tools work, and use it to get the mitres right. It will save you money in the long run.

How to Plan your Room for Coving

The mitre box is numbered in the way that if you are facing any wall, the right hand mitre is number 1 if it is an internal angle or number 3 if it is to an external angle and the left hand mitre is number 2 or 4 respectively.

Do not be put off by any of this. Use your practice piece and all will become clear. Number the walls as described above and shown in these pictures below:

Coving cutting plan for room with numbered corners

Number the walls according to the numbers on the mitre block

You need to make sure that you carefully plan the cuts you need, to avoid spoiling and wasting material.

Measuring Up and Marking Out

Measure each section of the wall and write it onto your room plan, you can also write it directly onto the wall.

Take a small “template” piece of coving and place it flush against the wall and ceiling, mark the wall and ceiling along the top and bottom edge of the template at various intervals around the room (about a metre apart, depending on the length of your spirit level).

Make sure that the piece of coving is sitting in the correct position in relation to the walls and ceiling. That is making sure the coving is equally spaced between the the wall and ceiling, with the edges sitting flush on the wall and the ceiling, not skewed or angled.

Marking out for fixing coving

Measuring for Coving and Marking Walls for Coving

Using these lines as a guide, mark along the wall and ceiling using a spirit level to make sure your line is level and straight. Alternatively you could use a chalk line held between two panel pins at either end of the wall). These lines are what you will work to when it comes to sticking coving later.

You may want to offer up a full length of coving, to make sure it looks right by eye too. This is particularly important where you know that your walls and ceiling have odd angles, are not straight, or not at right-angles to each other. Don’t try to fit the coving to any imperfections, just make sure it is sitting straight. You can always fill gaps between the coving and the wall or ceiling later.

Make sure you remove any flaking paint or plaster and any wallpaper from the wall and ceiling between the lines.

Use a Multi sensor and mark the position of any pipes or cables in pencil below the line you have drawn on the wall.

TIP: If you are sticking coving to fresh plaster, paint dilute PVA onto the wall using a brush and allow to dry before you try to stick your coving up. This prevents the dry plaster sucking the moisture out of the adhesive to quickly, and gives you time to work with the adhesive before it goes off.

TIP: If you are working onto a painted surface, use a Stanley knife to score the area nearest your pencil marks to provide a key for the adhesive to grip to.

Start with the longest section first. Check the width of the wall you wish to start on.

TIP: It is always a good idea to work into all the internal sections first otherwise you may find yourself “boxed in”.

Mark the measurement you have taken from the wall onto the wall edge of the first length of coving.

Cutting the Coving

TIP: It is always best to start with the longest lengths first to avoid waste.

If you have a wall that is longer than a length of coving you can join two lengths with a butt joint (a straight joint) or, to make a neater finish and a stronger joint, you can use a mitre join at a 45° angle using the mitre block as a guide. (You will need to cut one internal mitre and one external mitre to join two lengths together in a straight line.)

Cutting a butt joint with a coving mitre saw

A butt joint is formed by making a straight cut

TIP: Choose a fine-toothed saw to cut smoothly through the plaster and avoid making the backing paper ragged as you cut.

Let’s start with the back wall in our illustration and work around clockwise.

Start with an internal left hand mitre: The coving will fit into the mitre box from right to left, with the wall edge facing up – so the material you are using is the left hand piece of coving and the waste material is on the right.

Make the first cut in the groove marked 2 on your block. This will fit into the left hand corner of your wall.

Mark the length you need for the wall onto the coving. (Remember to measure along the wall edge of the coving). Slide the coving through the mitre box from right to left. Make your second cut in the slot marked 1 on your mitre block. This will fit into the right hand corner of your room.

Offer up the length you have just cut to make sure the coving will fit. Make any adjustments you need to then sand the ends with fine sandpaper for a neat finish.

Now for the left hand internal mitre to fit into the right hand corner of our illustrated room. Check the measurement of the wall, mark the length you need onto the coving, slide it into the box from right to left and cut one mitre using the groove marked 3 on the box to create the left half of the external corner.

The next joint in this example is a right hand external mitre on the chimney breast so you need to cut the piece to length using the groove marked 4 on the box.

Cutting coving with a mitre block for an accurate corner

Secure the Coving in the Mitre Block for an Accurate Mitre Cut. Note the sliding metal pins that are holding the coving in place

Once each piece is cut, put it in place without any adhesive at first to check it will fit and the joint is correct. Adjust each cut if necessary then sand down the end for a smooth finish.

Continue to work your way around the room in this way until all the coving is cut.

You can stick each piece of coving in place as you go if you prefer.

See Fixing Coving Using Adhesive below – after we look at a couple of alternatives for cutting coving.

Using a “Wonder Mitre” to Cut Coving

If you don’t want to use a mitre block to cut coving, then you could try a coving mitre tool called a Wonder Mitre which is a simple guide that sits on the inside of the cove and has shaped notches that grip the plaster, holding it securely while you cut. It is suitable for all sizes of coving up to 125mm.

The manufacturers have worked out the angles so providing you place it securely inside the coving it will give you a good accurate angle cut for your corner, and providing your walls are square you will find it creates a neat job with little finishing required. They are available in a metal trade model, and a DIY plastic version.

Metal guide for cutting coving mitre joints

Wondermitre Trade cornice mitre cutting guide – Available here in our online store

Cutting Coving with a Mitre Saw

A coving mitre saw works in a similar way to a mitre block, but after the coving is secured in place the blade guide is adjusted to the correct position for sawing an accurate cut at the correct angle.

The back guide of the mitre saw is marked ‘wall’ and has stops to rest the edge of the coving against. The base of the saw is marked with the standard sizes of coving, so you can easily position the length of coving correctly into the mitre saw.

Using a mitre saw to cut an accurate angle in coving

Cutting coving using a mitre saw

Fixing Coving Using Adhesive

Mix up the adhesive to a thick paste, following the guidelines on the packet, or use a ready mixed coving adhesive.

Spread adhesive evenly along both long edges using a filling knife, like the one below – you will find a selection of filling knives and spreaders in the decorating section of our tool store.

A filling knife for spreading coving adhesive

Filling knife with a flexible blade makes spreading coving adhesive easier – Available in our online store here

Alternatively you can use a tube of silicone-based adhesive and a sealant gun to apply adhesive.

Whichever method you use to apply adhesive, there is no need to add adhesive to the centre of the back of the cove – this does not make contact with the wall or ceiling, so you would just be wasting it.

TIP: Don’t be frightened of putting on too much adhesive, you will be able to scrape it off easily using the filling knife and a wet cloth or sponge to clean the wall. You want it to just be squeezing out from the edges as you press the coving into position.

Line up the coving with the lines you marked on the wall and ceiling. Make sure the left end is just a couple of mm from the left hand wall.

Press firmly into place along the whole length of the coving.

For the second and subsequent pieces of coving you will also need to apply adhesive to the mitre joint you are forming.

Use your filling knife to press adhesive into any gaps, pushing adhesive into any joints that do not quite meet and any undulations in the surface of the wall. You might find it useful to use a plasterer’s “small tool” to do this. You will find a selection of Small Tools in our online toolstore

Plasterer's small tool can be used for coving

Small Tools come in various shapes and sizes

Scrape off any excess adhesive from the walls and ceilings, then clean off with a damp cloth, or sponge.

If you are concerned that a long length of coving will not stay up on the strength of the adhesive alone, tack in some small nails or panel pins underneath it to support it in place until the adhesive is hard. The nail holes can be filled later.

TIP: Always check for cables and/or pipes before nailing into the wall. Use a scanner to avoid costly and dangerous holes in pipes or electicals.

Fitting Coving Step-by-Step in Images

Marking out the wall and ceilings

Marking out walls and ceilings for coving

Marking Out a Right Hand External Mitre

Measuring Coving for a Right Hand External Mitre

Measuring coving for a left hand external mitre

Measuring coving for a left hand external mitre

Measuring coving for a left hand external mitre

On the back of the coving mark the wall edge

Marking a right hand internal mitre on coving

Marking a right hand internal mitre on coving

Marking a right hand internal mitre

Marking a right hand internal mitre

Cutting an external corner for the right wall with a mitre saw

Cutting an external corner for the right wall with a mitre saw

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Sticking up coving

Line Up The coving with the guide lines on the walls and ceiling

Sticking up coving

Line Up The coving with the guide lines on the walls and ceiling

Remove excess adhesive from the edge of the coving

Remove excess adhesive from the edge of the coving

Make sure joints and gaps are filled

Mitre joints and gaps between coving should be filled

Apply decorators caulk to the edges of the coving

Apply decorators caulk to the edges of the coving

Apply decorators caulk to the mitre joints

Apply decorators caulk to the mitre joints

Allow adhesive to dry then decorate the coving

Allow adhesive to dry then decorate the coving

Finished internal corner in coving

Finished internal corner in coving


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Don’t Do Anything Dramatic (at First) 

Eyebrow grooming for dude-aligned people doesn’t necessarily mean removing a lot of hair, shaping them like an Instagram model, or creating high or dramatic arches. Some people just want to keep that classic masculine look, just a little cleaned up. A basic tune-up can make them look better. Sometimes, all it takes is trimming your brows, or taking out a couple of hairs occasionally. There are no rules, but the best way to keep them looking classic, is to keep them looking natural.

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Minimal Trimming 

Sometimes all that the brows need is some trimming, and no hair has to be removed from the follicle. Trimming helps keep brows in place, and makes them look lighter and more groomed. When trimming, follow along and sharpen the natural lines your eyebrows make—use eyebrow scissors, like the ones from Tweezerman.

Often, people end up taking out hair they don’t need to, when it’s the excess bulk that really needs to go. Trim first before you decide to remove any other hair, and then maintenance trim every three to four weeks.

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More Serious Cleanup 

If you have hair in the middle between your brows, you might want to trim this out. How much you take out is a personal choice, but the typical choice is to clean that area up and avoid anything close to a unibrow look. The most valuable thing to know when trimming eyebrow hair is where to stop. 

You don’t have to take away all of the hair. You can tweeze out single hairs from the middle by taking random thicker hairs, leaving the finer ones. This will thin out the area and make the hair look less noticeable, but prevent it from being so stark to be noticeable.

If you’re removing hair on the bottom part of the brow, make straight or slightly curved lines. Stick to just taking hair only outside the main shape.

Good tweezers make the job a lot easier and quicker because they grasp hair and don’t let it slide off. Tweezers with a slanted end work the best. To keep a lid on pain, tweeze right when you come out of the shower when your follicle is nice and relaxed. The hair will slide out easier.

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Eyebrow Shaping 

Eyebrow shaping for male-aligned people is usually different than it is for women-aligned people, and you need to be careful with making the middle (between brows) hairless. If you want it bare, here’s how to find where the absolute farthest in they should start: Use something straight (like a pencil) to form a line from the outer sides of the tip of your nose to your inner brows. Remember, this should be the farthest you go between the brows. You can choose to leave more hair than this.

Start slowly. You can always take more hair. If you take too much, you’ll have to wait for it to grow back or use a brow pencil. 

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Eyebrow waxing is quicker than tweezing, and it’s a better choice if you want a little definition, because waxing can get the very fine hairs that tweezing often misses. It’s not a good idea to wax your own brows if you’re new to grooming them, so tweeze first to get the feel. Go to a professional who is licensed and also is experienced in masculine-focused eyebrow waxing. Explain exactly what you want, before they begin waxing. Other professional options are threading, in which a string is used to remove hair, and sugaring, which is less painful than waxing and more gentle to the skin.

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Male eyebrows can be thick and still looked groomed, because men, in general, have large brows. The amount of thickness they end up with is there for a reason; it balances other facial features, like large eyes and lips, or an angular face shape.


Tired of your super yacht drifting off into the open seas? Here’s how to stop that…

Stop short of where you want to moor with your boat straight and in deep water. Move forward very slowly, pointing the front of the boat towards the bank, then use reverse to stop the boat just before the front hits the bank. Put the engine into neutral.

On rivers, you should always moor with the front of your boat facing upstream or into a very strong wind. So, if you’re heading downstream, you’ll need to pass the mooring and turn your boat around. Allow for the fact that the water level may rise or fall by several feet. If it’s a tidal river, you should always moor facing the tide – and avoid mooring to the bank overnight.

Your crew should step ashore – not jump. They can either carry the ropes with them – making sure there’s plenty of slack and that one end is fixed to the boat – or you can pass them the ropes once they’re on land.

Tying up

To keep your boat secure, you need to tie it to the bank with a rope from both the front and the back. On rivers, you should fix your upstream rope first.

Many mooring sites have bollards or rings to tie up to – choose ones a short distance beyond the front and the back of your boat. Run your ropes at about 45º from your boat, loop them back onto the boat and tie securely, but not too tightly.

To stop your boat moving backwards and forwards in flowing water, you can use ‘springs’ – see example below right. If there aren’t any bollards or rings, use your mooring stakes, but check the stability of the bank and watch out for signs of underground pipes or cables before you start hammering. Knock them in to about three-quarters their length and make sure they’re firm. Mark them with a piece of light-coloured cloth or a white carrier bag so that other towpath users can see them clearly, and don’t tie your ropes across the towpath.

Leave a little slack in your ropes – that’s especially important on tidal waterways or rivers. If the ropes are too tight and the water level drops, your boat could be left hanging from the bank.

Remember that your anchor should be used if you need added security or extra help in a strong stream or tide – and you should still use mooring ropes.

Can I moor here?

Use signposted visitor moorings wherever possible, and always moor to the towpath if you can. Check that you’re not a hazard to other boats or to people using the bank. Leave room for other boats to tie up too. Use authorised sites on rivers. Many riverbanks and the non towpath side of canals are private property.

Don’t moor:

  • In lock approaches or in lock flights
  • Near swing or lift bridges
  • Near weirs
  • Near sharp bends
  • By blind spots
  • In or opposite turning points
  • At junctions
  • To the bank on a tidal river – you might find yourself hanging from the ropes when the tide goes out!
  • In stretches marked out for an angling match
  • And try to stay 50 feet (15m) away from established angling spots


Why replace a wiper blade?

It goes without saying that drivers need to be able to clearly see the road ahead to remain safe on the road. For a car to be in roadworthy condition, and pass its annual MOT test (if more than three-years old) it must have windscreen wipers, which should be correctly secured and in good working condition.

Given that the UK and rain go together like the Queen and Buckingham Palace, Britain’s drivers rely on their cars’ windscreen wipers. On average, the UK has 131 days a year with rainfall of 1mm or more. However, in parts of Wales, that rises to 160 days, and in Scotland it can be as high as 220 days a year.

Over time and use, the effectiveness of wiper blades deteriorates. This can lead to a smearing effect of water, which obscures the view through the windscreen. That can cause a car to fail its MOT.

Even if drivers don’t live in a rainy climate, a car’s wiper blades should be replaced roughly every 12 months because the rubber gradually perishes when it’s exposed to sunlight or cold temperatures and its wiping performance worsens.

New wipers are easy to fit, relatively affordable and ensure good visibility in bad weather, so they’re a wise investment.

This task requires no experience and only basic tools, and can be completed in a matter of minutes.

How will I know when to replace wiper blades?

The first and most obvious sign that windscreen wipers need replacing is when they begin to smear or leave streaks of water across the glass. Other telltales signs during operation include a juddering effect as they pass over the glass, or unusual noises — as they should be silent.

Every month, give the wiper blades a clean (see below) and then run your fingertips along the edge of the rubber blade, feeling for any tears or cuts. It’s important to remember to check the operation and condition of the rear wiper blade too.

Cost of new wiper blades and which does my car need?

Wiper blades can be bought from most car care stores, garages or ordered online. It’s often cheaper to buy them online, using sites such as, Prices start from roughly £5 for a single wiper, and £14 for a pair.

These sites make it easy to choose the correct fitment wipers for their car, by using a vehicle registration search tool. However, before buying the wipers, take a moment to go to your car and remove an existing wiper blade.

This should be simple to do – see basic guide below – but as all cars are different, you can also check the vehicle handbook or look up instructions for your specific car at There may even be a video tutorial.

Tips for caring for wiper blades

Some drivers reports that even brand new wiper blades can leave smears, or judder across glass. A suggested cure for this, from, is to wipe the rubber blade with paper towel or cloth damped using malt vinegar, or neat windscreen washer fluid.

Over time, it’s a good idea to clean your wiper blades when washing your car. Lift them proud of the windscreen, then wash the rubber blades with a wet sponge or microfibre mitt or towel. This will remove the dirt that accumulates around the base of the rubber blade.

Alternatively, at a petrol station take some paper towels and wet them, before wiping them along the rubber blade. This is also an ideal location to top-up the windscreen washer fluid, taking care to use the appropriate dilution of washer fluid and water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

When returning to the car after rain has stopped, before starting the car make sure the wipers are switched off, or else they will drag across the dry windscreen, which is abrasive to the rubber. In freezing conditions make sure the wipers aren’t stuck to the windshield or rear screen before use, as this could tear the rubber blade or cause damage to the wiper motor unit.

How to change a windscreen wiper blade

Work time

  • Around 5 mins

Tools required (optional)

  • Flat-head screwdriver

Parts that you may need

  • Replacement wiper blades

Changing a wiper blade: step-by-step

  1. For wiper arms with a retaining clip: lift the arm from the glass, swing the blade so it is at a right angle to the arm and press the central lever within the fastening mechanism to release the wiper blade from the arm. In some instances, a screwdriver may help to release the fastening clip.
  2. For wiper arms without a retaining clip: lift the arm from the glass, swing the blade so it is at a right angle to the arm and simply pull the blade free from the arm.
  3. Replace with the new wiper blade, and check they are fastened securely.


As Bobby George says “trebles for show and doubles for dough!” Finishing games are what it all about! It’s great when you can score high but if you can’t finish you are not going to win! 

Many people when first starting to play find it difficult to remember combination checkouts. Some combinations are better than others purely because if you miss the first shot you may still be in line for an easy single then double to finish. But knowing how and why can make the difference of winning or losing. This again can depend on what is the best three dart finish or two dart finish! Scholars of the board may give different opinions and their preferred combination route. 

To get you started here is an example showing a couple of options facing a dart-thrower.


To win you need 77 and must finish on a double! 77 can be finished by hitting treble 15, double 16, one of the nicest doubles on the board. But what if you hit a single 15? This leaves you with 62, – Single 12 Bull? , Treble 10 double 16? Both are not easy to hit. But what if you decided to go for 77 a different way? Treble 19, double 10? And you missed treble 19 but hit the single? Then this still leaves you a shot at single 18 then double 20. This seems a better route and there are many shots similar to this. There are also a number of ways to finish and below just give you one way, but not necessarily the best when you have three darts for a two-dart finish.

Darts Checkout Chart

The checkout sheet I have produced will help new players and players that find it hard to remember out shots. The checkout sheet is FREE to download and use. So why not place one up near your board in your club so it helps you or others improve their game!

Many games are still scored using marker pen and paper or marker pen and whiteboard or even chalk and a chalkboard. Professional matches are still scored this way. The only current exception is the TV/ Stage stages of BDO events when they now opt to use a computerised scoring system.

Now That’s the way to do it!

The Darts-UK checkout chart is in PDF and designed to fit A4 paper. Download it here: 


Darts-UK Checkout Chart 

The dart average gives an indication of a dart thrower’s darting ability. The higher the average normally indicates the better player. It is quite easy to calculate dart averages; basically, you just divide the score hit by the number of darts thrown. Over a match that has several legs, the average is calculated over the entire match, not by a single leg. I have shown a printable example of how to calculate a single leg of 501 but if you lose the game what is your average? This is easy to work out just divide the total score obtained by the darts thrown e.g. 400 scored in 15 darts = 26.67 per dart or 80.01 per throw.  If you are calculating a match that is over several legs then the calculation is the same. Just total the number of points scored by the number of darts thrown. 


An example of  a three-leg match, each leg 501

Leg One: Player ‘A’ wins in 18 darts, Player ‘B’ scores 401 with 15 darts. Leg Two: Player’ A ‘loses, scores 469 with 21 darts, player ‘B’ wins in 22 darts Leg Three: Player ‘A’ wins in 17 darts, player ‘B’ scores 424 in 16 darts. 

Match Averages

Player ‘A’ scored a total of 1,471 with 56 darts their average per dart = 26.27. This is usually expressed in TV darts as a three dart throw, therefore, 78.81.

Player ‘B’ scored a total of 1,326 with 53 darts their average per dart = 25.02 their three-dart average would be 75.06.

Also, some TV events (BD0) will show the first 9 dart average as well as the overall average.This is to show how good or bad the scoring power of a player may be. Shots at double are sometimes shown as an average statistic and this is worked out in the same way.