Plywood: The underrated material that shaped our modern world

From its humble beginnings, plywood has risen to become one of the design world's favorite materials. Patkau Architects used it to create these Winnipeg ice skating shelters in 2012.

London (CNN)Christopher Wilk, curator of a new exhibition dedicated to the eclectic history of plywood at the London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is singing the material’s praises.

“It really is strong and stable,” he says, stood under a plywood airplane that hangs from the ceiling.
He layers thin cross-grained veneers of wood with the palm of his hands: “Each layer of the sandwich is in a perpendicular direction. Wood splits along the grain. This can’t split.”
From curvy chairs to Victorian sideboards, and prewar planes to prefab houses, there seems to be no limit to plywood’s versatility, flexibility and strength. This exhibition, “Plywood: Material of the Modern World,” aims to bring the underrated material to prominence once and for all — and reverse some institutionalized snobbery at the same time.
Recycling never looked so good: Luxury-quality materials made from waste

Recycling never looked so good: Luxury-quality materials made from waste
While the plywood technique goes back millennia (fragments of layered board have been found in Egyptian tombs) it was the Victorians who shaped our perceptions of the material today. Mass manufacturing and new production techniques in the mid-19th century meant plywood was ubiquitous, especially in furniture manufacturing. But with plywood’s popularity came, as you would expect of the class-obsessed Victorians, a snooty disregard for it.
Read: Why wooden skyscrapers are springing up across the world
“Because it became cheaper to make because of the rotary veneer cutter — a lathe that essentially peels away timber in rings — it started to be used on cheap furniture,” says Wilk. “(The wood) would peel off and therefore got a bad reputation.”
Soon the term “veneer” became a condescending buzzword in parts of society far beyond furniture. Charles Dickens called the nouveau riche social climbers in his final novel, “Our Mutual Friend,” Mr. and Mrs. Veneering; and, according to Wilk, the most-used phrase in The Times in the 19th century was the “veneer of civilization.”
“I soon realized this is a rich story of cultural prejudice,” the curator says of his research.
"Plywood: Material of the Modern World" at London's Victoria and Albert Museum

The word plywood was first used around 1906 and, as the 20th century came to life, perceptions of the material slowly changed. A growing number of manufacturers began to rethink the possibilities of this light, inexpensive and easily moldable material, especially in aviation.
Geoffrey de Havilland created the Mosquito plane out of plywood in the early 1940s. It was one of the fastest, highest-flying aircrafts in the Second World War.
“It was a fraction of the weight of the Lancaster bomber and was faster than a Spitfire,” says Wilk.
Transportation has done well out of plywood ever since: everything from canoes to racing cars to surfboards to skateboards.
World's top designers reinvent the classic park bench

World’s top designers reinvent the classic park bench
Plywood’s ability to be shaped obligingly is also what enticed modern furniture designers, including Marcel Breuer, Robin Day, Sori Yanagi and Charles and Ray Eames, to experiment so enthusiastically with it in the inter- and postwar periods.
Read: Inside the V&A museum’s stunning $70M revamp
While plywood became successful in the furniture industry because of its superficial nature, its unique structural qualities now mean it is most popular in the construction industry. Mid-rises everywhere from Vancouver and London use cross-laminated timber instead of steel for support, and the number of both floors and buildings the material supports is growing as technology develops.
Despite this, some of those latent Victorian concerns remain.
I was walking past a furniture shop one day and there was a sign saying, ‘100% solid, 0% veneer!'” says Wilk. “I thought, wow, it’s still going on today!”
“Plywood: Material of the Modern World” is on at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from July 15 to Nov. 12, 2017.
 [Source”cnbc”]

6 do’s and don’ts for decorating a bathroom that won’t embarrass you in front of guests

Whether your bathroom is your own personal spa or a tiny space shared with three roommates, it should be a place of order, freshness and calm.

Take a good, hard look around, says designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors in Alexandria. “The perfect look and feel of a bathroom is one that meets the end users’ needs,” she says. “It’s different for everyone, but I think that a space that is functional and flexible is key. And your bathroom should be the cleanest room in your home.”

Cavin-Winfrey says she is amazed at how many things people leave scattered on bathroom vanities, shelves and floors. “I think a bathroom should always be uncluttered. The average human makes so many choices and scans so much information in a given day — your daily rituals at home should be easy to maintain and not require any extra work to find things you need.” She says always keeping the bathroom tidy has its benefits, including being ready for guests at all times. “That can help make entertaining stress-free,” she says.

Whether you have a dedicated powder room for guests or everyone must share the one bathroom in your home, these dos and don’ts might help you clean up your act.

Don’t put a rug in your bathroom. A bathroom is not a place for wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs. These cannot be properly cleaned in this environment. Think of the germs on a bathroom floor and how a damp rug or mat could be a magnet for mold. ­Cavin-Winfrey suggests providing a machine-washable bath mat (with or without rubber backing) for use right after a shower or bath. Then let this dry on the side of the tub or shower when not in use. She uses the no-slip CB2 lateral teak bath mat ($40, cb2.com).

Do stock both bar and liquid soap. In a powder room, Cavin-Winfrey prefers a pump bottle so there is no gooey soap bar left in a pool of water by a previous guest. She would choose ElizabethW’s Vetiver hand wash ($22, elizabethw.com). If you have a guest staying the night, it’s a nice welcoming gesture to leave a fresh bar of soap atop a stack of clean towels on the bed. She likes Crabtree & Evelyn goat milk soap ($8, crabtree-evelyn.com).

Don’t think of toilet paper as an accessory. Stacking a Costco-size tower of toilet paper rolls next to the toilet is not necessary or attractive. Why not reduce clutter and store your roll stockpile in a linen closet or in the garage? If you like to keep a roll or two nearby, use a small holder that fits nicely on the tank or discreetly on the floor. So many of her clients needed an attractive TP organizer, Cavin-Winfrey now sells this Matahari woven rattan two-roll model ($72.50, scwinteriors.com). Also, it’s thoughtful to have a box of tissues around so guests won’t have to rip off a piece of toilet paper to blow their nose or adjust makeup. Extra points for a tissue box cover, such as the one in white lacquer from the Container Store ($13, containerstore.com)

Do minimize products. Your shower, bathtub ledges and countertops should not look like you are a tester for a shampoo or beauty company. Eliminate the excess and store items not used daily elsewhere. “I myself am a product junkie but find unique ways to contain clutter with small trays around the tub or the vanity,” Cavin-Winfrey says. “If your shower doesn’t have an integrated niche, consider wire baskets to mount on the tile.” She prefers the WEBI 12½ -inch rectangular stainless-steel wire caddy ($29, amazon.com), which should be fixed to the wall. As for prescription drugs, medications or personal-hygiene products, tuck them inside a cabinet or drawer.

Don’t use plastic bags to line bathroom trash cans. Do you want to take your style tips from motels? Hopefully not, so don’t use your Target bag as a trash liner, Cavin-Winfrey says, or buy rolls of mini trash-can liners. It seems wrong for the planet to be buying small plastic bags to corral trash in your teeny-tiny wastebasket, she says. Instead, buy good-looking metal or recycled plastic wastebaskets that can be easily and frequently wiped out and sanitized. This hammered-nickel wastebasket ($39, potterybarn.com) fits the bill.

Do use hooks for bath towels, not bars. How many people neatly fold their large towels when they hang them up over a bar? Do you really expect guests to do that? Hanging towels on an oversize hook makes them dry faster and looks less messy, Cavin-Winfrey says. She often uses the large Restoration Hardware Spritz hook ($39, restorationhardware.com) in her projects. Using a bar is fine for hand towels, though.

[Source”indianexpress”]

Sears just opened a store that only sells mattresses and appliances

A handout photo inside the Sears Appliances and Mattress store in Pharr, Texas.

Source: Sears Holdings
A handout photo inside the Sears Appliances and Mattress store in Pharr, Texas.

Sears is trying something new.

The department store chain announced on Thursday it opened its first Sears-branded appliance and mattress store in Pharr, Texas.

Word of the new store comes the same day reports surfaced that Sears is planning to close an additional 20 Sears and Kmart locations across the U.S. That’s on top of the more than 200 stores it’s already slated to close this year.

This first-of-its-kind store for Sears showcases appliance brand Kenmore, and mattresses from Tempur-Pedic, Beautyrest, Sealy and Serta, among other well-known labels, the retailer said.

Plans are also underway to open additional freestanding Sears stores dedicated to these two categories — what Sears is calling “two of its strongest.” Dating back to the department store chain’s early days, appliances have always been a part of Sears’ so-called bread and butter.

The Texas store’s manager, Albert Silva, told CNBC his store is about 20,000 square feet with 22 employees so far, and he plans to hire more. At Thursday’s ribbon cutting, Silva said he saw a supportive showing from the local community, with many people excited about the brand’s return to Pharr.

Back in 2015, Sears closed a full-line store a few miles down the road. Many shoppers had grown to rely on Sears for household items, so the chain’s return — now in a slightly different format — is promising, Silva added.

Pharr is also situated about three miles from Mexico, so international “border business” should really help Sears’ new store thrive, the manager said.

Notably, even though this store is branded as only selling mattresses and appliances, Sears said, shoppers can order any item from the company’s website and pick it up at the new Texas store without paying any shipping fees.

“Our members tell us they want an integrated and seamless shopping experience,” the company said in a statement. “They want to shop on their own terms — which means sometimes shopping online, sometimes visiting a store and sometimes a combination of both.”

Last year, Sears introduced a similar new store concept in Fort Collins, Colorado, selling only appliances. This latest launch in Texas is a bid to replicate the success Sears has seen in Colorado, the retailer said, adding the Colorado store has “surpassed projections since its opening.”

Silva said he’s only been working at Sears for three months but is excited about the growth potential of the new store concept. “We are trailblazers of what the future is.”

It’s a rare spot of optimism for the troubled retailer, which warned earlier this year that there were doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern.

In order to fend off a possible bankruptcy, Sears has been closing hundreds of underperforming locations, conserving cash as its sales shrink.

While this smaller-format store may be a less expensive way to continue to keep the Sears brand in front of consumers, it will be difficult to expand this strategy widely given the retailer’s heavy debt load.

“In some ways [this store] makes sense,” GlobalData Retail’s Managing Director Neil Saunders told CNBC. “Sears is best known for appliances and mattresses, and that’s where its strengths still lie. A stand-alone store in the right location is more likely to attract customers. … The format looks good and incorporates technologies and services that customers will value.”

The biggest issue, though, is that this is a “drop in the ocean” compared to the wider problems at Sears, Saunders said.

The landscape remains competitive, and more and more home-improvement companies want a share of the appliance category, he added. “Sears has its work cut out to compete.

[Source”pcworld”]

SOHO by Ronda Design – The Sideboard That Hides Your TV

soho-ronda-design-4

Stylish and extremely practical, the hidden TV system solves various problems tied to unsightly wiring and cables, freeing up space and making the scenic impact of the screen less invasive in your home. Also available with Bluetooth audio system, the concealed TV compartment supports a maximum screen size of 42 ’’ but it can be customized for larger screens upon request. Also, the sideboard is also available in the version with a back-lit system.

The sophisticated clean look of steel
Modern interiors for Soho represented by three compartments with glass shelves and the possibility of adding small drawers. The doors are made of stainless steel with a Scotch-Brite finish (with a slight horizontal satin finish) and anti-fingerprint treatment. The impeccable color combination of the sideboard with steel doors and black lacquered wood TV unit, along with the game of volumes created makes for a piece of furniture with a strong personality that retains clean-cut silhouettes.

 

[Source:- Interiorzine]

Natural Allure: 25 Home Offices that Celebrate the Charm of Live-Edge Décor

Stunning live edge office desk for the exceptional contemporary home office Natural Allure: 25 Home Offices that Celebrate the Charm of Live Edge Décor

It is always hard to match the beauty and textural uniqueness of natural materials and when it comes to home design and décor, wood definitely is makes a big difference. Natural wooden surfaces bring along with them a raw, rustic charm and magnetism that is simply unrivaled. Despite all the glitz and glamour of polished stone and glass, the industrial appeal of concrete and the timeless charm of brick, wood holds its own both in in terms of style and practicality. And live-edge décor take this a step further as they seem even more natural and untamed!

 

 

 

[Source:- Decoist]

Flymo 1200R review: The robot that mows the lawn for you

Flymo’s 1200R is the most affordable robot lawnmower yet — and it’s pretty good at cutting grass, too

It’s easy to see why robot lawnmowers haven’t yet hit the mainstream – they’re expensive. Early models cost up to £3,000, which is around ten times the cost of a traditional petrol-powered lawnmower. Flymo’s 1200R, however, is looking to buck the trend. Priced at a much more affordable £650, this lawn-based robot is hoping to encourage more of us to make the switch.

Do I really need one?

If your first question is whether you really need a robot to do your lawn for you, then the answer depends on how much you value your free time. Or indeed how much you love doing the mowing. I’ve been testing the 1200R over the past month on my reasonably sized lawn (it’s around 330m2, give or take a few square metres), and let’s just say that I, for one, welcome our new robotic lawnmower overlords.

In short, the 1200R fulfils its billing; it keeps your lawn neatly trimmed with the minimum of fuss, giving you the chance to spend time doing more enjoyable things. If you’re the kind of person who spends more time looking out the window thinking about mowing the lawn than actually doing it, it’s likely to prove something of a revelation.

Setup is relatively straightforward, but can be a little fiddly. It involves pegging out the supplied “loop” wire (it comes with a 150m roll, which is more than enough for most gardens) around the perimeter of the area you want mowed. This process took about an hour and a half in my garden, but this only needs to be done once – and if you set the mower on charge  while you do this, you’re all set to go as soon as you’re done.

Word to the wise, though: it’s worth making sure the loop wire is pegged down securely, or buried. If it’s not, the mower blades can potentially cut the loop wire. Although this isn’t dangerous, it’s a bit of a pain to re-joint.

This loop of wire connects back to the “base station” – the docking port where the mower recharges itself, which is in turn connected to the mains. The mower returns to this docking station automatically when it needs to charge up its 18V/1.6Ah lithium-ion battery.

The mower itself doesn’t require any assembly whatsoever. Once its battery reaches full charge, it’s just a case of setting the cutting height, which is easily done by twisting a large rotary knob on the top of the unit (the adjustment allows for a grass height range of 2cm to 5cm), and setting the mower on its way by closing the control panel.

You can decide when, and how often, you want the 1200R to mow your lawn using its simple-to-use interface and menu system. This allows the owner to programme different mowing times or days using the large selection panel and LCD display above. Once set, the mower simply wakes itself up and gets to work at the appointed time.

And just like that, the little 1200R (or “Bob”, as our three-year-old named him) sets off about its single task, quietly and unobtrusively zigzagging across the garden. It travels at a slow walking pace, in straight lines, and comes to a stop every time its sensors detect the perimeter loop wire. At this point, it performs a graceful-looking three-point turn before setting off again in a new direction. And as the 1200R always mows the lawn in a random pattern, it doesn’t leave any unsightly wheel marks.

The mower doesn’t collect the grass clippings – because the intention is that it cuts your lawn little and often, it instead “mulches” them, cutting them into tiny pieces that disappear back into the soil and act as a natural fertiliser.

It’s worth mentioning that the 1200R isn’t a completely fit-and-forget purchase, though. The strip of grass between the perimeter “loop” wire and the boundary of the garden won’t be cut by the robot lawnmower, so depending on your garden layout – for instance, whether it’s cutting alongside borders or fences – you may need to tidy up certain areas manually. The 1200R does the lion’s share, but I wouldn’t sell your regular mower, or your strimmer, quite yet.

Is it safe?

Flymo has given a lot of consideration to safety issues for its robot lawnmower. First, it has lift and tilt sensors that stop the blades from spinning when the mower is lifted up, or if it reaches a tilt angle that could expose the blades. There’s also a large space between the housing and blades to ensure that errant fingers and toes are kept out of harm’s way. A large, easy-to-access stop button on the top of the mower allows it to be stopped at any time.

And the Robotic 1200R also has collision sensors built in. The marketing blurb says that these are to help the robot mower to avoid collisions, but this isn’t actually the case. In fact the mower doesn’t avoid obstacles at all – it trundles right into any objects left in its path, and once it has gently bumped into them, it pauses, reverses a few centimetres, changes direction, and sets off again. This only adds to its bumbling robotic charm.

The only exception to that rule is if you have a garden covered in kids’ toys, or tend to leave the garden hose out – the Robotic 1200R mower doesn’t detect “shallow” objects, so will run right over them. If you don’t want to risk your hose getting slashed, or end up shelling out for recently obliterated toys, then it’s worth making sure your grass is kept largely obstacle free.

The 1200R has one further benefit that may be of interest to the apiculture-inclined. As I have a couple of beehives in my garden, mowing around them with a traditional mower normally involves the faff of donning a beekeeping suit. The Robotic 1200R has no such concerns: it happily mows right up to them and navigates around them, and keeps the grass around them perfectly trimmed.

Verdict

The Flymo Robotic 1200R delivers all the benefits of a robotic lawnmower for (relatively) sensible money. It’s well built, can be used in all weathers, and is reassuringly packed with safety features. Most importantly of all, though, it performs its task without fuss, and leaves the lawn looking healthy and well maintained with minimal effort on your part.

Price-wise, it’s still a very expensive purchase compared to its traditional counterparts, but if you detest cutting the lawn – or simply don’t have the time – then £650 may not seem like such a hefty investment after all.

[Source:- expertreviews]

Leather Tiles That Wraps Gently the Bedroom

dream-leather-tiles-covering-4

Precious, fine and sensual, Dream is a leather tiles covering that wraps gently the bedroom creating a unique and luxurious mood. The leather composition behind the bed becomes a refined decorative insert. On the floor, leather tiles across the parquet drawing a soft natural carpet, beautiful and functional. The leather tiles “warm up” the room, make it more personal, intimate.

One of the elements that mostly differentiates Lapèlle Design leather tiles from other leather coverings is the laying system, exclusive patent of  Scamosceria Astico. The installation of leather tiles, the same whether it’s for floor or wall, it’s easy, very intuitive, it does not require the intervention of specialized staff and allows you to remove and replace each leather tile endless times. First of all the application of a self-adhesive layer on the surface which has to be covered,  second, the application of the tiles, which, thanks to hook and loop straps, are fixed to the surface, yet removable for any occasion such as substitution, maintenance, and change.

 

 

[Source: Interiorzine]

 

26 Ingenious Products That Will Literally Light Up Your Life

1. A light show you can attach to the wheels of your bike.

A light show you can attach to the wheels of your bike.

amzn.to

The color LED lights are waterproof, can display over 42 themes, last for up to 20 hours (on 3 AA batteries), and can be mounted to the spokes of almost any bike.

Price: $56.99

2. Customizable banner-style lights for people who love to play Scrabble.

Customizable banner-style lights for people who love to play Scrabble.

amzn.to

Each set comes with 10 tile-shaped lights and 60 reusable stickers (so you can change up the wording as frequently as you like).

Price: $21.40

3. A light that displays pixelated artwork whenever you get a notification on your phone.

amzn.to

amzn.to

Sync DOTTI with your smartphone, place it on your desk, and wait for the notifications (for calls, text messages, emails, tweets, etc.) to roll in. Using the accompanying app, you can design your own animations (or icons) to display on the light’s screen. If you want to get ~really crazy~ you can buy four separate devices, stack ‘em up, and control them as one enormous DOTTI.

Price: $69.99

4. A BB-8 (lamp) of your very own!

26 Ingenious Products That Will Literally Light Up Your Life
thinkgeek.com

Just tap his head to turn him on or off.

Price: $49.99

5. Glowing nightlight balls that scared kids can carry right into bed with them.

amzn.to

amzn.to

If you’re *not* a scared kid, the balls and their stand will simply look cool and futuristic sitting on your nightstand.

Price: $34.99

6. A teeny tiny lamp powered by your phone’s flashlight.

A teeny tiny lamp powered by your phone's flashlight.

designboom.com

An on-the-go nightlight.

Price: $9

7. A nightlight that doubles as a valentine.

A nightlight that doubles as a valentine.

etsy.com

Price: $24

8. A cork that turns empty bottles into light sources.

amzn.to

amzn.to

Much less of a fire hazard (and less messy) than sticking a candle in a bottle.

Price: $9.99

9. A lighthouse to guide you to your bed.

A lighthouse to guide you to your bed.

etsy.com

You probably don’t *need* any help finding your way into bed, but it’s still a nice nautical touch.

Price: $75.78

10. A smart light that’s basically an electronic butler.

amzn.to

amzn.to

Once you replace the existing light bulb in the lamp by your front door) with Zmodo, you’ll be able to do SO MANY THINGS. You can set the light to go on and off at certain times, monitor what’s going on outside your door using the built-in camera, turn on a motion detection device, set it up so you get a phone call whenever someone rings the bell (so you can talk to visitors even when you’re not home), and more.

Price: $199.50

11. Colorful lights to build a tower with.

Colorful lights to build a tower with.

fab.com

These Tangeez “physical pixels” change color when you stack them.

Price: $69

12. Miniature moons to “orbit” your bedroom.

firebox.com

amzn.to

Waxing and waning at the flick of a switch.

Price: $21.59 (the lamp) and $7.54 (the nightlight)

13. A very a-peel-ing glowing banana.

A very a-peel-ing glowing banana.

firebox.com

It may not provide you with any potassium, but it’ll help you read a book before bed.

Price: $18.69

14. A cheery lantern and a cheeky light-up wall switch.

amzn.to

amzn.to

Use them as backup light sources (in case of a power outage).

Price: $14 (lantern) and $8.50 (wall switch)

15. A pint-sized luminescent cottage.

A pint-sized luminescent cottage.

etsy.com

They’re available in mint, chartreuse, and pale pink. Choose one or collect a whole village!

Price: $48.50

16. A clamp-on light with bunny ears and a fancy-ass lamp that looks like an actual rabbit.

landofnod.com

What’s your budget when it comes to rabbit-related lighting?

Price: $39.00 (for the clamp lamp) and $398 (for the golden hare)

17. A neon sign with a valid suggestion.

A neon sign with a valid suggestion.

fab.com

Weird’s the way to be.

Price: $194.99

18. A DIY lampshade shaped like a cat or a fox.

etsy.com

etsy.com

They’ll mail you the kit and then you start to fold. The shades can also be used as masks!

Price: $39.22 (the cat) and $39.22 (the fox)

19. A campfire that won’t make your hair smell like smoke.

A campfire that won't make your hair smell like smoke.

landofnod.com

No, you can’t use it to make a s’more… but there’s always the microwave (in a pinch).

Price: $59

20. A lightbulb that changes colors *and* acts as a speaker.

fab.com

fab.com

“It’s a light bulb on steroids: you can manage the color and music of the room directly from your mobile device.” = SWEET.

Price: $79.99

21. A lamp to set the mood for movie night.

A lamp to set the mood for movie night.

landofnod.com

Will this popcorn gentleman get sad when he sees you eating his kinfolk? Maybe it’s best to position him so he isn’t looking directly at the couch.

Price: $15.87

22. A solar sunflower to bring on your next camping trip.

momastore.org

momastore.org

Charge it in the sun for five hours during the day to get three hours of bright light (plus several more hours of lower light) for night.

Price: $30

23. Removable wall decals that glow in the dark.

Removable wall decals that glow in the dark.

fab.com

Bulb bunting!

Price: $48

24. A lamp that turns on and off as you raise and lower it.

fancy.com

fancy.com

About as minimalist as you can get (when it comes to lighting): no cords *or* switches!

Price: $169

25. Twinkle lights that you can hang pictures from.

Twinkle lights that you can hang pictures from.

urbanoutfitters.com

…because they’re also clothespins!

Price: $24

26. Energy efficient light bulbs you can turn on and off using your voice.

fab.com

fab.com

They’re controlled using Siri.

Price: $74.99

[Source:- Buzzfeed]

Gtech AirRam K9 review – the cordless that thinks it’s an upright

AirRam K9 intro

The original AirRam first came out in 2013 when cordless vacuum cleaners weren’t as fully established as they are today. It was lightweight, compact and, in many ways, a big improvement over more conventional cleaners. However, unlike Dyson’s popular handheld cleaners, for instance, the AirRam kept things simple with its traditional upright design.

The new Gtech AirRam K9 is an upgraded version of that original model. On the surface, it looks practically identical, but inside it’s been decked out with more durable metal components. There are also built-in fragrance inserts to banish bad smells, plus a redesigned brush to better handle pet hair. Gtech reckons its pretty tough and gives it a two-year warranty to support that claim.

Design

The AirRam is very simple to use. There’s one button halfway down the device for on-and-off and that’s pretty much it. However, I do wish there were a few more controls to make it more practical. For instance, there aren’t any additional power settings to help conserve battery life or reduce the amount of noise it makes.

Former NSA Director Thinks Apple Backdoor would Endanger National Security

The latter would have been particularly useful, as the K9 is pretty noisy. It doesn’t make the shrill whistle that some cordless designs make, but the throaty, slightly mechanical roar definitely isn’t very subtle. In terms of battery life, you’ll get around 40 minutes of cleaning out of it, but it then takes four hours to fully recharge the battery, equating to roughly an hour for each 10 minutes of use.

AirRam K9 battery

It charges from a compact plug-socket charger. The cable isn’t terribly long, but you can always remove the battery from the bottom of the vacuum and charge it separately if you prefer. This is a nice touch, as it means you carry on vacuuming with a spare battery, which costs around £40.

The design means it stands up unassisted like a regular upright, and you put your foot on the top and pull the ergonomic handle back to move it into the right position for vacuuming the floor. However, vacuuming floors is about the only thing you can really use the AirRam for, as Gtech doesn’t make or supply any additional accessories.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is strange when most cordless devices are designed for spot-cleaning and flexibility. To be fair, it does a pretty good job of getting into the edges of your floor, but there’s no attachment to get into nooks and crannies, no way of vacuuming upholstery or curtains, and you definitely can’t use it in the car to give it a quick spring clean.

Performance

If you’re only looking for good carpet cleaner, though, the AirRam K9 does a pretty good job. I gave it a serious test both at home and in our labs, and it picked up hair and fluff without a problem, rarely requiring more than a single sweep. If this covers your vacuuming needs, then you’ll be more than pleased with the K9, but it’s worth noting that it did have a horrible tendency to belch out dust as it began reaching full capacity. In a way, it’s a useful indicator of when you need to empty the K9, but it’s still rather alarming all the same.

However, the K9’s lack of flexibility showed up in our more demanding tests. These involve fine powder and cat litter to really put a vacuum through its paces. On a hard surface, the AirRam K9 tended to push the powder around as much as it sucked it up. It’s not an easy test, but other cordless devices we’ve seen have coped better than this.

AirRam K9 tile test before

^ Before (above) our hard surface powder test, and after (below)

AirRam K9 tile test after

The cat litter test was equally taxing for the K9. This test takes place on a carpeted floor, and while most of the litter went in – after quite a bit of effort on my part, mind – some was kicked out the back of the vacuum while I was moving it. Then, more fell out when I put the K9 away, which isn’t great.

Due to the design of the vacuum, I wasn’t able to perform our usual suction test, which measures the level of suction when the vacuum is full and empty. However, it was clear that the K9 had plenty of power during our tests, and this didn’t seem to diminish as it filled up.

Handling

At just 3.8kg, the AirRam K9 is a lightweight compared to other upright-replacements, which are often 5kg or more, but it’s still considerably heavier than a typical Dyson cordless, which are usually nearer 2.2kg depending on the model.

In terms of handling, the K9 was a bit of a mixed bag. It’s very light and there aren’t any cords to contend with, but I found it really likes to glide and shoot forward, with the powerful brush gently pulling it along as you go. Likewise, when you try and move it back and forth over a tricky spot, it can often feeling like there’s too much resistance. It’s not a big deal, but it just felt a bit unpredictable at times.

The base part of the vacuum is around 100mm high, so it won’t fit under anything lower than that, but its flexible handle, which almost tilts right back down to floor level, means you should be able to get the K9 under most sofas. To lie it completely flat, you’ll need to twist the handle to one side, but this makes using the K9 much more awkward than it needs to be.

Emptying

The AirRam is very easy to empty. Lift off the top panel and you’ll immediately see the dust tray underneath. You then simply take that tray out, tip it in the bin, and put it back again. There aren’t any clips or catches either, as everything just pushes firmly into place. The capacity isn’t huge, so you might find yourself emptying it a lot if your carpets are very fluffy, but the same could be said about many smaller cordless devices.

AirRam K9 filters

The filters sit in the top panel, and these can be removed and washed when needed. The vacuum also comes equipped with a fragranced filter, that can be topped up with scented refills, which are also supplied in the box. It’s a nice touch for those who like a bit of air freshener, but personally I wasn’t that keen.

Conclusion

Like the original AirRam, the K9 is a rather specialised device. It works just like a regular upright, but it’s much lighter and it’s great at cleaning carpets. It’s also easy to empty as well. Many people will consider it a huge upgrade over their ageing, socket-bound upright, but it doesn’t provide the same flexibility you’ll find on a handheld cordless. Other devices are better on hard floors and with grittier substances, and we’re also not entirely convinced by its handling either. It will no doubt be good for some, it simply isn’t a good all-rounder.

 

[Source:- Karndean]