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Fixing cabinet veneer that’s beginning to lift

By Peter Hotton
Peter Hotton
Peter Hotton has been the handyman expert for the Boston Globe for more than 30 years.

Q: Our kitchen cabinets (about 6 or 7 years old) are solid wood, as are all the internal structures. But the end panels are veneered, and on the front edges the veneer is lifting from the solid wood base. The lift goes back from a half-inch to an inch. They could be clamped by removing the adjacent cabinet door. What do you suggest?

A: For a veneer to lift after six or seven years indicates that a lot of water was used during repeated cleaning. Call the installer to see if he can make repairs.

You can reglue the panels by lifting the veneer and inserting carpenter’s glue, then clamping. It might be tricky to clamp, but I suggest you put a narrow board on each side of the veneer for C-clamps to press evenly. Be sure to put waxed paper between the veneer and the boards to prevent any seeping glue from holding things together where it shouldn’t.

Q: I’m writing to you with the hope that you can help me figure out, specifically, how to separate the two knobs of a number of locks in my house. I’m in the process of painting the interior of my house and I want to remove the knobs to clean them up (they’ve been painted around several times) and make painting easier. To date, no one (two locksmith shops, four locksmiths, and a hardware store) has been able to figure it out.

A: It’s rare to find seven or more professionals to be stumped by an old lock set or latch set. I have several that attach by screws through the bell of the knob, but no middle shaft. I think your best bet is to call the EZ Set company to see if they are in business and know what to tell you. Also, since you already took one of the sets out of the door, why not clean them as they are? But be careful; I think the brass has a coating on it that keeps it to a high polish.

Q: I live on a third-floor condo. It takes several minutes for hot water to reach the taps in my unit. Is there any way to speed that up?

A: Call your plumber to see if he can install a water-saving device or get in touch with the manufacturer, ACT, Inc. Metlund Systems.

Q: My new addition, which is well insulated top, bottom, and sides, and has many windows, was very cold this winter. How can I make it comfortable?

A: If you have gas in the house, and it is inadequate, install a gas-fired fireplace. It will heat that addition well. It might also be wise to remove some of those heat-sink windows.

photton@globe.com
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