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Wood Glue, Clamp Can Crack Case of Desk


Q: On one side of our wood desk, there's a split that's developed between two pieces. Can this be easily fixed?


Laguna Hills


A: It's not too difficult, says Mark Bausman of Bausman & Father Furniture Refinishing.

The trick is to properly clamp it. This can happen with older furniture, since over time, the old glue dries out and lets the wood break apart.

Separate the crack a little and insert wood glue with a thin putty knife or an artist's pallet knife. Clamp it very tight with bar clamps (available at some rental yards).

You could also try putting the desk on its side and weighting it down so the two pieces fit tightly together.

With a wet cloth, wipe off any excess glue (if it's left to dry it can ruin the finish).


Q: In our den we have a dimmer switch for the light fixture, and while we don't watch much television, we do listen to the radio. When the dimmer is lowered, we get a lot of radio static. Is there a way to correct this?


San Juan Capistrano


A: It sounds like you may have an old dimmer switch, says Mike McCoy at Current Supply in Westminster.

Newer, better quality dimmers have what's called an RFI or radio frequency interrupter. This prevents it from interfering with a radio or television.

You may want to replace it with a newer model, but before buying a new one, make sure it says it has that feature on the box.

Another alternative is if your radio is part of a stereo system to move the tuner to another room and connect it to the speakers in the den.


Q: Last month I noticed water on the floor below the toilet tank in the upstairs bathroom.

The floor was wet and so was part of the tank. I cleaned it up and flushed it a few times but couldn't see any more water coming from the toilet.

Then last week, I found the same puddle and again couldn't find a reason. Any ideas?


Garden Grove


A: There are a few tests you can do, says Rich Haagsma of Faucets 'n Fixtures in Orange.

If the mysterious puddles are showing up at night, it may be a problem with a fitting. At night, your water pressure can rise as high as 10 pounds per square inch because water usage in the neighborhood is generally light. This could make a fitting that doesn't leak during the day leak after dark.

If that's not the case, it could be a problem with a "sweating" tank. This is where the cold water entering a warm house creates condensation on the outside of the tank that drips to the floor, but that's not too common in Southern California.

You might want to put red dye in the tank and not use that toilet for a few days. Check to see if red water is on the floor and look on the underside of the tank to see if the dye has outlined a crack.

If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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