When You Re-string a Shade – Use Solid Braid Lift Cord

Be sure to specify the use of a solid braid cord whether you are restringing an old honeycomb shade or shopping for a new one. The solid braid cording is more durable and longer wearing.

frayed-lift-cord-cell shade

Frayed Cell Shade Cord

Can you use a stronger string?

That's a question I hear a lot. I often have customers say that the lift cord in their blind or shade did not hold up very well to normal usage. They want to know if I can use a replacement cord that will be stronger and more durable.

In most cases, it's not possible to use a heavier or larger cord because it just won't fit through the cord guides or the cord lock. Many cell shades are designed to use a cord that is only 0.9 mm in diameter (that's smaller than the thickness of a dime) and there's not enough clearance for anything bigger.

It's all about the type of braid


Most, if not all, modern day shade cords are made of nylon or polyester. Cording made from these materials are very strong even in small diameters such as what is used in blinds and shades.

One thing that makes a big difference in how well the cording holds up to normal wear and tear is the way the strands of the cord are braided. The photo on the right shows the difference between "solid braid" (top) and "diamond braid" (bottom).

Strength is equal but surface characteristics are very different

As the photo shows, the surface of the solid braid cord is tighter and smoother. Inside the mechanism of a blind or shade the tighter, smoother braid means less friction and less friction means increased durability.

The solid braid cord is slightly more expensive than diamond braid due to higher manufacturing (braiding) costs but compared to the price of a new blind or shade it's no big deal and the improvement in durability it provides makes it worth it.

So, the next time you replace your window blind cord (or are shopping for a new blind or shade), be sure to specify solid braid shade cord. I wouldn't use anything else.

Curtains, Rods and Pole Sets

You can improve the look of any room with decorative side panels that are tied back during the day and drawn for privacy at night. A large selection of popular brands is available on eBay at very competitive prices.

Tie Back Curtains
Tie Back Curtains

Is that old blind or shade looking a little rough?

Even if new blinds aren't in the budget this spring, you can still freshen up the look of your windows without breaking the bank. Here are some sweet deals on good quality curtains, curtain rods and pole sets on eBay.


Pottery Barn Kids Green Polka Dot Drapes (2 panels) 44
Pottery Barn Kids Green Polka Dot Drapes (2 panels) 44" x 84" - Lined Curtains
Time Remaining: 41m
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Kids Pottery Barn Pink Striped Curtains drapes Pair 44x84 each
Kids Pottery Barn Pink Striped Curtains drapes Pair 44x84 each
Time Remaining: 58m
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 2 Pottery Barn Kids Red & White Gingham Window Valances Curtains 18
2 Pottery Barn Kids Red & White Gingham Window Valances Curtains 18" x 50"
Time Remaining: 2h 41m
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Pottery Barn Cameron Drapes Curtains Panels Straw Tie Top 84
Pottery Barn Cameron Drapes Curtains Panels Straw Tie Top 84" S/ 2 #43
Time Remaining: 2h 45m
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Pottery Barn Classic Voile Drapes Curtains Panels Ivory 50 x 108
Pottery Barn Classic Voile Drapes Curtains Panels Ivory 50 x 108" S/2 #218
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Pottery Barn Velvet 50x84 drapes Flagstone GRAY two PANELS curtains
Pottery Barn Velvet 50x84 drapes Flagstone GRAY two PANELS curtains
Time Remaining: 3h 24m
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Bestselling Curtain Hardware Sets

The Blinds Installer vs The Watchdog

The ever-vigilant watchdog.

One day last week I was scheduled to install some woven wood shades in a cabin in the Tahoe City area of Lake Tahoe.

I was told that a key would be left under the mat by the front door and I was to let myself in, install the shades, and then lock up again leaving the key under the mat where I had found it.

The neighborhood is an older area where some of the houses are identified by the lot numbers that were used before house numbers were assigned, some have the newer house numbers, and - just to keep things interesting - some have both. The numbers can jump around following no apparent pattern. It is quite possible to get confused and end up at the wrong house.

On this particular day everything seemed to go without a hitch. I was able to drive directly to a house that had the right number showing. The house was located on a corner lot as expected. Then I noticed the front door had no mat. Instead it had one of those metal grates that are often built into the porches in this area for the purpose of allowing people to easily clean the snow from their boots in the winter. There was a small piece of red fabric sticking out of the corner of the grate, and when I pulled on it up popped a key. I was in!

That's when I heard the dog.

Right on the other side of the front door was a very unhappy sounding dog. When I walked back off the porch to double check the house number the barking stopped, but every time I approached the door the dog would start in again letting me know that he really wanted to have me for lunch.

I tried to call the woman who sold the job in order to verify the details about the location of the house but all I got was her voicemail. I knocked on the door - nobody answered - except the dog.

Almost everything about the house seemed to fit the description I had been given. The number was right. It was a corner lot. There was no door mat, but there was a key. The house was supposed to be unoccupied, but there wasn't supposed to be a dog. Now what?

That's when I heard the neighbor laughing at me.

It turns out that a bear had recently broken into this house searching for food and in the process had caused quite a lot of damage. The owners, who are absent most of the time, had invested in an electronic watchdog that is triggered by anyone (or anything) approaching the front door.

I quickly unlocked the front door and stepped inside, mostly to escape the undisguised glee of the neighbor. There on the floor was a small speaker that continued to threaten me with dismemberment until I yanked it's power cord. The rest of the job was uneventful and the "dog" didn't bark at me again until I plugged it back in just as I was preparing to leave.

I don't know how well that gadget would work on a hungry bear, but it sure fooled me.