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Bank of America
Bank of America

California Redwood Association
California Redwood Association

Classic Metal Roofing Systems
Classic Metal Roofing Systems





Rebuilding Together
Rebuilding Together


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Prime problem-solving tips, in and around the house

When the sun comes out in the spring, it's a good time to put an end to those little annoyances around the house that have been bothering you all winter. Here are some of our tips:

Annoying door?

Do you have a stubborn door that just won't stay open? Swings shut before you're in? Hits your back on the way out?

All you need is a flat-blade screwdriver and a hammer to fix it.

Use the screwdriver to remove a hinge pin from the problem door—preferably the center one. Lay the pin on concrete and tap it up near the top, hard enough to slightly bend the hinge pin. Then tap the pin back into the hinge with a hammer.

The new bend will create a slight resistance—just enough to keep the door from swinging shut.

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Clog-free drains

If you've got problem sinks, showers and bathtubs with drains that are always backing up, there are easy ways to keep your drains clog-free.

First, boil two quarts of water, then measure out a half-cup each of baking soda, salt and white vinegar. Just before going to bed, dump the baking soda and salt down the drain, add the vinegar and let this concoction sit and foam for a few minutes. Then pour the boiling water in after it.

The next morning, you'll be amazed to find your drain running clear and free. Repeat every month or two.

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Freshen up the deck and protect it from sun and water

If your wood deck looks more like a pile of firewood than a setting for an afternoon barbecue, chances are it could use a little rejuvenating.

Start by washing the deck with a solution of one cup powdered laundry detergent in a gallon of hot water. Add a cup of liquid chlorine bleach if mildew is present.

Severely neglected decks will require a more potent commercial deck-bleaching product. Look for one that contains oxalic acid. Use this in combination with a power washer, which can be rented from your local tool-rental outlet or paint store.

Finish the job with a coat of high-quality oil-base deck stain or clear wood finish. A product that contains UV inhibitors will offer added protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

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Your weathered wooden fence

Have high winds and inclement weather taken their toll on your wooden fence? If it's no longer running down the straight and narrow, chances are you have a damaged or fractured post.

Replacing a post, and the concrete pier that anchors it, can be an expensive proposition. There is, however, a cost-effective, easy-to-install alternative—a fence-mender.

A fence-mender consists of a couple of elongated U-shaped metal brackets that are installed opposite one another at the location where the post is most vulnerable.

Remove the fence board that covers the post. Use a sledge hammer to drive the metal bracket between the post and concrete pier. Finish the job by attaching the top of the bracket with a couple of screws, and replace the adjacent fence board.

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Cleaning grease stains off concrete

If your concrete driveway, carport or garage floor looks like an Indy-500 pit stop, here's a cleaning recipe for you.

First, soak up the grease with some cat litter. Cover the area with a generous amount and grind it in with the soles of your shoes. Sweep it up and properly dispose of the soiled material.

Next, saturate the area with a cola beverage, working it into the concrete with a stiff bristle broom—but not allowing it to dry. Once the cola has stopped fizzing, flush the area with clean, fresh water.

Whiten the gray stain that remains with a solution of one cup of powdered laundry detergent and one cup of liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of very hot water. Finish the job with a final rinse.

OnTheHouse Product Review: Gorilla Wood Glue

Our field testing was pretty simple and straight forward. We cut six equal 4” blocks of 2x4. We then methodically applied all three types of wood glues to one surface and then clamped the three sets of two blocks each together.

The first thing we noticed was the major difference in applicator tip design. The Yellow wood glue had a fold-down type “spout” that opened easily – but was clogged with dried glue (from previous usage).  Gorilla Wood Glue tip uses a pull top that clears a ¼ “ wide plastic blade, which laid out a neat ¼” band of wood glue versus the rounded tooth-past type beads other dispensers leave.

After clamping, all three seemed to set-up within 20 to 30 minutes. However, with a bit of pressure and twisting, the white glue separated rather easily. While the yellow glue held well, the Gorilla Wood Glue seemed to offer the most holding power.

We also filled in a gouge with both the yellow and Gorilla Wood Glues. After 24-hours, while the yellow air-dried to an orange color, the Gorilla Wood Glue dried completely clear as a result of no dye additives. The Gorilla Wood Glue was also easy to sand and shape, leaving a readily paintable surface.

When fully dried, the Gorilla Wood Glue was water resistant. Manufacturer and independent testing rates it as ANSI/HPVA Type-II water resistant. It also resists solvents and mildew.

When it comes to wood glue, the new Gorilla Wood Glue upholds the near decade-long reputation of the original Gorilla Glue – as a superior adhesive and the best you can buy.

For professional and DIY woodworkers and carpenters alike – new Gorilla Wood Glue is another toolbox, workbench and adhesive drawer must-have product. Bet the ancient shipbuilders and Egyptian craftsmen wish they’d had it in theirs.

Quality and safety are watchwords for garbage disposal unit

One of the most popular kitchen appliances to come along in the last several decades is the garbage disposal. In remodeling nowadays, who would think of putting in a sink and not including a disposal?

With disposals you really do get what you pay for. They come in a multitude of product quality levels and the better the quality, the higher the cost. Although disposals are nothing more than grinders, there are cheap ones that won't last very long, and better ones that will last longer, operate more quietly and do a better job of macerating the stuff you need ground up and liquefied.

Note: Even the best, most powerful, most expensive garbage disposal is not meant to grind full heads of lettuce.

A disposal is best thought of as a device to convert small amounts of solid waste into particles that can more easily be swept down the drain and out to the public sewer system—small bits of orange peel or carrot skin, say, that are too small to throw in the trash or compost pile.

Keeping this in mind will add substantial life to your disposal.

Other points:

  • Cheap disposals are noisy partly because they lack sufficient insulation. And some of the vibration that can radiate annoying sound may result from pairing any disposal, even the best one, with a cheap sink.
  • Cheap knife blades in a cheap disposal will dull more quickly.
  • The grinding chamber will last longer if it is made from stainless steel.
  • The larger the motor, the more power the disposal will have and the better equipped it will be to grind up anything and everything. If we had a choice, among 1/3 horsepower, 1/2 horsepower or 1 horsepower we would always opt for the largest, the 1-horsepower unit.

Having chosen a good disposal, there are important installation facts to remember.

First, the National Electric Code requires that a disposal be on its own "dedicated" circuit. If you are sharing your disposal with other appliances you may overheat the circuit and even cause a fire. Although disposal circuits vary, a disposal circuit should be rated at 20 amps.

There are two dangers to using a disposal: Reaching in with your hand to clean it out without first unplugging it; and using the on/off switch with wet hands. Although you might intend to dry your hands before reaching for the control switch, it's all too easy to go for it drippy fingers and all.

We suggest—especially if you have children—that you consider the installation of an air switch. An air switch is a simple electric control device that is placed between the disposal receptacle and the disposal plug. Plug the device into the receptacle and plug the disposal into it.

The device switches on and off by way of an air tube and plunger. The plunger appears as a push button that can be mounted in the sink, or on the cabinet, counter or wall. No electricity is used for the plunger button, and the danger of wet hands and electricity is removed from the mix.

For more information, go to your favorite Web search engine and type in "Garbage Disposal Air Switch." Keep in mind that you will see some expensive commercial models, some over $300. The one we like sells for under $100.

KAREL’S KORNER: Beef is bad

1000 species become extinct every year. Cattle when grain fed, churn out greenhouse gases in the form of methane, their intestines generate more methane than any other source. The U.S department of Agriculture estimates cattle are responsible for nine times as much organic waste water pollution as the entire U.S population.

A lot of resources are needed  to produce 1 LB of meat. 250 gallons of water are needed  to produce 1LB of meat. It takes 12-15 Lbs of grain to produce 1LB of meat. Livestock consume 80% of the corn and 95% of the oats in this country. Another nutritional consideration with excess meat is B-6/methionine ratio.

Meat is low in B-6 which causes excess methionine, excess methionine produces homocystine which creates harmful amyloids and free radicals. This all produces more inflammation and leaves us open to hardening of the arteries. So make a difference take a stand and take control back in your life.

Stay young at heart, Karel.

For more fitness tips and to order a copy of my ‘Living Proof’ DVD, go to