Western New York's Largest Supplier of Reclaimed & Surplus Building Material

The waterfront story continues…

As the summer ends and winter approaches, we finished the final touches on the waterfront food kiosk “Clinton’s Dish.”  We boarded her up for the season, installing beautiful storm shutters that were made in the Rusted Grain woodshop at Action HQ!  Like the siding, our materials for the storms were locally sourced: yellow pine flooring that was salvaged by the Green Demo Team during a green demolition project taking place in South Buffalo.  The aged boards were refaced and stained, becoming an awesome addition to the local flavor of Buffalo’s newest waterfront building.  Speaking of flavor…can’t wait ’til they come … Read more

Alternatives to Toxic Pressure-Treated Wood

I heard an analogy recently that “Pressure treatment is to wood what embalming is to humans.” If that analogy is accurate (and I think it is), it’s all we need to know to understand the dangers of using pressure treated (PT) wood.  Pumping toxic chemicals into wood–or into bodies–to extend the preservation lifetime has negative effects on the environment those chemicals will eventually come in contact with, not to mention health effects associated with workers handling such toxic chemicals.

But . . .  you have a porch to build.  And now you don’t want to use PT lumber?  Luckily there are many alternatives.  Below is not a 100% complete list, but only a quick and dirty list of what’s available these days . . .

Pressure-treated minus toxic chemicals


The kebonization process soaks wood in a specific alcohol that is a waste byproduct from sugar cane and the alcohol functions as a resin that guards the cell structure of the wood. Unlike PT lumber, there are no precautions beyond normal to work with this wood or to handle clean up.


Very similar to Kebony, but instead of using a byproduct of cane sugar, acetic acid is used.  The process of acetylization transforms the cell structure of the wood so that it is does not shrink or expand a lot and is thus minimally affected by changes in moisture levels.  The company argues that this feature makes Accoya more dimensionally stable than conventionally pressure-treated wood.

Glass fortified lumber

Lumber infused with sodium silicate (liquid glass) and heated up so it forms a glass-like cell structure, protecting the wood from fire, rot and insect damage.  The process increases the strength and hardness of the wood and is good for ground contact applications.

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“My version of energy efficiency is to conserve my own energy”

“Nowadays people are talking about net-zero houses . . . My feeling is there’s a lot of overkill in a net-zero house. My version of energy efficiency is to conserve my own energy. It seems to me they are designing for the three coldest days of the year. Designing a house so it will keep you warm without any heat at minus 40 might be overkill. I say, design for 345 days of the year, and the other 20 days just burn some junk mail in the woodstove. I still have my farm out west, and these days I try … Read more

Snack Shack Update

The snack shack ReUse Action is building for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. is nearly finished. Opening is planned for July 1. The snack shack is the primary structure on the Canal Harbor’s expansion toward the DL&W terminal, along the river. Judging by the crowds we see every day, it should be a hit from day one. All that’s left on the outside is to trim the roof edge. All the mechanicals and the food service equipment is ready to go inside. The landscapers have been busy rolling out sod where there was rubble only a few weeks ago. … Read more

The “Snack” Shack

As part of the push for waterfront development, ECHDC has committed to a very ambitious schedule for building and connecting waterfront pathways this summer.  ReUse Action has landed the job of building the “snack shack” along the boardwalk, a food kiosk where walkers, joggers and cyclists can all stop for a cold beverage and some tasty treats!  Yes, we’re excited about the food, but we’re more excited because the building incorporates a lot of green building and material reuse components! Green Building Components:  The building is held together by blood, sweat and . . . SISs/SIPs! SIS stands for Structural … Read more

reuse at Livestrong Foundation

Not only is the Livestrong Foundation fighting to improve the lives of people across the nation and the world living with cancer, their National Headquarters in East Austin, Texas, is an amazing example of reuse in action.  Previously a paper plant built in the 1950’s, this LEED Gold Project now models the tremendous artistic and aesthetic potential of incorporating existing elements and reclaimed materials into design and rehabilitation. In this second photo, you can see how the old manufacturing building was modified and fashioned with a new sawtooth roof.  To accomplish this new design modification, which greatly increases natural lighting … Read more

Super Insulate Your Home…

It’s amazing to me that it is still acceptable in the building code to insulate homes with fiberglass batt insulation in colder climates.  With cold temperatures for close to half the year and steadily increasing energy costs, there is certainly a need to be more creative about how we design, build, and insulate our living and working spaces. ReUse Action just finished a project on the lower west side using reclaimed rigid foam insulation.  We were hired to insulate the attic space in a standard Buffalo double.  The attic space will be utilized in the future, so we chose to … Read more

reclaiming the queen city: chapter 1

So a big part of our work at ReUse Action will focus on designing and creating spaces that feature and incorporate both existing components and reclaimed materials.  This is the first chapter in a series of projects that will feature the creative use of reclaimed materials.  Some will be the featured projects of ReUse Action, others the design and invention of other reclaimed folks here in the Queen City, and some will be featured projects from far away lands.  We hope you will find these projects interesting.  Maybe you’ll learn something that you can incorporate into one of your own … Read more