Show Notes: More Than Meets The Eye – On the House

Show Notes: More Than Meets The Eye

By on April 20, 2019
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What do plywood, vinegar, landscape lighting, dollar store finds have in common?

They all have more to offer you than meets the eye!

Read on or listen to the show again to learn some great things about common objects.


 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Plywood

  1. It’s essentially “a layer cake of lumber and glue”.

Or so said Popular Science back in 1948. This layering process is what makes plywood unusually strong and durable.

  1. It comes from the word “to fold”.

The word “ply” comes from the French word plier, meaning “to fold,” a reference to the many layers that make up plywood.

  1. It’s not the same as MDF.

Don’t get plywood confused with particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF): these inexpensive materials are made of wood scraps and are not as high-quality or strong as plywood.

  1. You can use it on cabinets, on the ceiling, or as trim.

Over the years, some of our favorite projects have used plywood in inventive ways, from tabletops to kitchen cabinets, open-shelf bathroom storage to interior cladding—even as backsplashes and stairwells.

5.  It’s a design darling (and shows up in places you might not expect).

Plywood  has long been a favorite material of designers and artists. About an exhibit (called “Plywood”) of Donald Judd’s work with the material, NYC-based Paula Cooper Gallery writes: “Judd favored industrial materials like aluminum, steel, plexiglas and plywood among others in part because of their ‘blankness’: they carried no artistic connotations, no particular ‘meaning’ in the history of art. They were also plain, easily assembled and could be used with precision.” Add to that plywood’s strength and ability to bend, and it makes it the perfect material for all kinds of uses, from skate parks to aircraft.

  1. It’s not one-size-fits-all.

Plywood tends to get lumped under one umbrella. But there are many different kinds, suitable for different sorts of projects, from exterior plywood to hardwood plywood, tropical plywood to marine-grade plywood.

  1. And, it can be two-faced.

Ever wonder what the letters on plywood refer to? That’s the grade, or quality, of the wood. A-grade, as you might guess, is premium quality, while the much lower D-grade will have marks and imperfections. If the plywood has two letters, it means the material is one grade on one side and a different grade on the other. A code of “FSC” means the plywood comes from responsibly managed forests.

  1. It’s a genius idea for budget flooring.

It’s inexpensive, durable, and can be painted, sealed, or left plain.

  1. Take care when using it.

For all of its perks, plywood is treated, which can add health concerns that plain lumber doesn’t have.

  1. Choose your plywood like you’d choose a slab of marble: in person.


Soft, Fluffy Towels Without Fabric Softener

Because sometimes it’s the little things…

In this edition of First World Problems, we present rough and wimpy towels. Because hey, if we are going to have the luxury of indoor plumbing and a hot shower, few things are better than following it with a heavenly cloud of a towel.

Given the popularity of fabric softeners, I know I am not alone in this preference. Unfortunately, fabric softeners are spiked with synthetic fragrance and other ingredients that have no business being in our laundry. But here’s the secret; you don’t need commercial fabric softeners.



The Washington Post recommends washing towels in light laundry loads dedicated just to towels.

Lighten the load

Stuffing too many towels in the wash also invites problems – a fact that, in my quest to be efficient, I never seem to learn. But crowded towels don’t have room to move around, meaning that the heat can’t reach the tangled creases; the damp pockets become stiff and scratchy when they dry outside of the dryer.

Skip the fabric softener!

Fabric softeners coat a towel’s exterior and often contain oils and petroleum-based ingredients that hinder its absorbency. This filmy coating may mean more frequent washing, which breaks down the towel.

Use almighty vinegar instead

Vinegar is a laundry workhorse superstar! Use 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener compartment of your machine – it softens towels and helps removes bacteria, a much better option than coating said towels with synthetic chemicals.

Ban the bleach

I don’t like having bleach in my home at all; and for towels, it’s not even good anyway since it flattens the loops that make a towel fluffy and absorbent in the first place. Vinegar will help brighten, but if you need to bring out the big guns, you can use a bleach alternative like OxyClean.

Resist over-soaping

Another counter-intuitive one, but too much detergent can affect all laundry, not just towels. It can make clothing dingy; for towels, it can make them crunchy. Try using half the recommended amount. Carolyn Childers, chief home officer of Handy, tells Real Simple, “If you must use extra detergent for very soiled towels, make sure to change the washer settings, so it’ll have an extra long rinse cycle.”

Don’t cook them

Towels seem like the perfect candidate for the hottest wash, rinse, and dry. Heat is probably the worst thing you can do to a towel in the laundry. Cotton itself is a very soft, cellulose material, and if you burn it or cook it, it’s going to flatten out and it will never get soft again.” Washing and drying at medium heat is the happy place where towels get clean without battering the fiber.

Respect the loops

Since towels made of terrycloth are woven with long loops to absorb the water, maintaining the integrity of those loops is vital for a well-functioning, good-feeling towel. Leaving a damp towel on the floor can not only attract mildew, but the loops can be crushed if left like that for too long. Towels can be damp before laundering, but they should be completely dry upon removing them from the dryer. That said, over-drying them can be hard on the loops as well, so don’t err on the side of too long in the heat.


Solar Landscape Lighting

Harnessing the sun’s rays to illuminate your landscape is a more viable option than ever, thanks to advances in solar landscape lighting technologies.


Solar landscape lighting basics

To make batteries last longer into the evening, solar landscape lighting is designed to shine less brightly than conventional models. Thus, most units won’t match the output of traditional low-voltage lights. But solar landscape lighting earns high marks for energy conservation. As long as the sun comes up in the morning, the lights will shine at night without raising your electric bill. However, the strength of the lights depends on how much sunlight you receive. So on winter or overcast days, the cells will generate less power for the batteries to store.


Long-lasting and energy-efficient LEDs are the most common solar landscape lightbulb, and their relatively low light output is still enough to light a path or steps outside. Solar landscape lighting that is fluorescent or halogen will drain batteries more quickly.


How Much Maintenance Do Solar Landscape Lights Require?

New batteries hold a charge better and last for more charge-and-discharge cycles, so you’ll have brighter light longer into the night. Besides occasionally cleaning the solar panel, replacing the battery (about every two years) will likely be your only maintenance for solar landscape lighting. Newer models have smaller solar cells with more ray-collecting power, giving manufacturers more design flexibility without sacrificing performance.


Do Solar Landscape Lights Operate on a Switch?

Many solar landscape lighting types come equipped with a sensor that switches on at nighttime. Other models come with a manual switch, giving the user more control over the lighting. Motion-sensor lights have an additional switch that turns the light on with a movement-detecting electronic eye.


Where Should I Put Solar Landscape Lights?

Solar garden lights and solar path lights are perhaps the two most popular types of solar landscape lighting. Some solar light fixtures are suitable for in-ground walkways, floating in pools, affixing to fence posts, or placing inside decorative accents. Others have a weatherproof solar panel that can be mounted outside to collect the sun’s rays; that panel can power a fluorescent light inside a building, making them perfect lighting options for outdoor rooms like a dimly lit shed, closet, or barn.


Handy Hints To Keep Your Workshop Ship Shape

It’s a lot easier (and more fun!) to do projects in a space that’s neat and tidy, and these clever tips will help you achieve just that in your home workshop.


Use a Garden Hose Reel in Your Workshop 

Here’s a neat way to store air hoses or extension cords without the fuss of knots and kinks. Use a garden hose reel. It stores 200 ft. of hose or cord, and it’s easy to transport in the back of a truck or trailer.

Safe Blade Disposal 

I was recently removing a lot of old caulking on my boat with a utility knife. To safely dispose of the used blades and eliminate the risk of cutting through a trash bag and injuring someone, I put the used blades in a soda can and pushed the pop top back over the opening to contain the blades.

Skateboard Helper 

A skateboard isn’t just useful for rolling through the park, it also makes a handy hauler on the fly. Just load it up with your heavy items such as tires or large sheets of plywood, and easily tote them from one area of your shop to another. If you don’t have a skateboard handy, keep an eye out for one at garage sales or at thrift stores. Even if you don’t ride it, it’s worth a few bucks to buy one exclusively to haul stuff around your workshop!

Quick Check Extension Cords

“Extension cords are workshop necessity, but they can also be a messy pain. When in a rush, I grew tired of not easily being able to tell the length of each extension cord. There’s no need to haul out and unreel a 100 ft. when a 50 ft. will do! So, I simply marked both ends of the cord with a permanent marker indicating their length. Now I know exactly which cord to grab for the need of each job!

Dustpan Caddy 

Keep a dustpan handy with an “unbreakable” wall file folder ($8) from an office supply store. Attach the file folder to the garbage can with 8-32 x 3/4-in. machine bolts and nuts. Position the screw heads inside the garbage can so the bag doesn’t snag on the end of the bolt

Reciprocating Saw Blade Binder 

I used to keep all my reciprocating saw blades inside my saw’s case, but they were a mess and it was hard to find just the right one. So I found a binder ring at an office supply store to keep the blades together.

Six-Pack Hangers 

Save those plastic six-pack rings to hang cords, ropes and air compressor hoses. Fold over the plastic holder to make a three-ring strip, then slide one end through the other—around the cord or hose—and hang it on a nail or peg.


Caller Questions

Don asked how to put his pocket door back on and the Carey Brothers had the answer! First, take the stops off. Then, put line the rollers up with the track on the frame. If your missing parts check out

Peggy has a pane in her *glass* 😉 She has moisture between her double pane windows. The Carey Brothers suggest replacing the window. If there’s moisture between the double panes, it’s no longer airtight and not doing its job.

Mentioned Links

~ Thank you~ 

A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming! 

Thank you to our Technical Support: 

  • Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer 
  • Carol Carey – Executive Producer 
  • Sam Reed – Associate Producer 

Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired 20 April 2019.

Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show.

It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here. 

#solar #solarlighting #landscapelighting #plywood #morethanmeetstheeye #whitevinegar #forthewin #softwarmtowels #tidyworkshop #diyorganization #careybros @careybros #onthehousewiththecareybros

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