For joining wood together, glue is a good choice, especially for sheet materials. You’ll want to make sure to press the pieces together tightly and use clamps to keep them that way until the glue has dried. You’ll also want to make sure to wipe off the glue that squeezes out along the edges. If you plan to paint or stain, this will be very important. One way to prevent glue absorption along the edges as it squeezes out is to mask off these areas before you clamp them together. Then you can just pull the tape and glue off when you have a chance. This also is a good way to keep your caulking mess to a minimum.


Q: I have noticed that the lid of the dishwasher detergent dispenser of my dishwasher doesn’t open all the time. Is there anything I can do to get it working again? – K.M.

A: Try using warm vinegar on the hinges and catch. If it’s working some of the time, then it’s probably clogged with old soap or mineral deposits. That should take care of the problem. Good luck.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: Our city has just passed out some new trash cans for us to use for trash pickups. They are really heavy duty and large. Unfortunately, I just bought new trash containers that I’ve been using only a short time. I decided to turn them into compost makers, and they are working quite well. The first thing I did was to drill holes along the sides of the cans. I fill them with grass clippings, leaves, veggie scraps and shredded newspapers. Every week, I lay the cans down and roll them to mix up the compost. The compost should be ready in a week or so. The cans are great and keep the area clean too. – D.P.


Dear Al: The old wallpaper in our bathroom came down pretty easily except for a couple of spots. To get it down, we mixed dishwashing liquid and hot water together and wiped it over the wallpaper spots that wouldn’t come loose. After only a short time, the paper started to bubble up and come loose. It was really easy then, and we textured and painted the walls. They look so much better with just paint on them. – J.S.


Dear Kelly: My husband and I replaced the steps on our deck as well as some of the other wood. It was hard to do, but I learned a lot and the deck looks really nice now. We put hinges on the steps and can now store things under the deck in this area. It’s great for some of the gardening tools and supplies, and I plan to add some storage containers there so I can put the cushion there during the off season. The garage gets too full of this stuff, and the added storage is great. – D.R.


Dear Carrells: The old mantle for our fireplace was very sturdy and very plain. Our decor is sort of woodsy, but I never could find a mantle that went with the style, so it’s just been bare for a while. Finally we got some rough timber that we wanted to use. We glued three pieces together to make it bulkier. To get the glue spread evenly over the large surface, I used a paint roller. It made the spreading easier over the rough surface and I got great coverage. It is up and looks magnificent. It really goes well with the rest of the rugged furnishings. – G.C.


If you plan to do drywall work, then you will have lots of sanding and dust in your future too! But with the Vacuu-Sponge, you can eliminate most of it. The Vacuu-Sponge is a sanding sponge with a vacuum hose attached. The hose attaches easily to most standard shop vacuums and is long enough to do so without getting in the way. It will cut your sanding time and cleanup time in half! Check it out at and watch the video.