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April 19, 2005

A tremulous fervour for used building supplies

If you're planning a few spring DIY projects, here's a tour of the inventory at one Habitat for Humanity ReStore, where you can find an amazing array of upgrades, fixtures and spare parts.  What's not to love?

A_truck_full_of_windows Tons of windows, many made by top manufacturers like Pella.   Some have been carefully removed from existing buildings, others are brand new.  Whether you're looking for casement windows, double-hung windows, all-wood or aluminum, there's something that'll catch your eye.  Most are double-glazed, well-insulated and ready to go for about half what you'd pay in a hardware store or home centre.

Older_windows_with_huge_character If you're in the mood for older, single-glazed windows with infinite character, ReStore stocks 'em

These classics can be stripped down the naked wood and made into mirrors, or just hung as-is on a garden wall to add a little mystery.   Prices range from $10 - $40 depending on size and condition.   

If you're looking for a specific size and style of window, you can leave your name at the desk and they'll put your name, number and item description on the ReStore wishlist. 


Bathroom remodels - put the 'aw' into clawfoot. 

It's hard to find a good old-fashioned clawfoot tub.  Habitat stocks many sizes and styles, so if you're renovating an older home, why not go retro with your bathroom remodel? 

If retro's not your thing, the ReStore also stocks Jacuzzi whirpools and oval tubs. 

A_bevy_of_sinks A bevy of sinks.

There are a lot of cool sinks in the world.  Here are a few of them.  Get rid of the ancient, stained, chipped, cheesy, leaky unit and upgrade to one of these babies.

I didn't even mention the toilets.  There are lots of them.  Even low-flush, high-end European models. 

Maple_kitchen_2399 Slash your kitchen remodel costs with a huge maple kitchen, including Maytag oven.

Normally you'd pay through the nose for classy, solid maple cabinet faces.  At the ReStore, you can pick up this entire set of upper and lower cabinets, including a high-end oven, for only $2399 (Canadian). 

Revenue from ReStores more than covers the administrative costs of running the Toronto Habitat for Humanity, so extra revenue is channeled straight into land acquisition and building more houses for families in need.   

Romance_by_the_fire Fire your imagination.

Need a little character in your living room?  Install an inexpensive electric fireplace and add a gorgeous antique surroud from the ReStore, complete with brass firescreen. 


Gorgeous old doors. 

Gorgeous_old_door_hardware Gorgeous old door hardware.

The_sweetest_french_doors_in_englishspea The sweetest French doors in Canada.


Lots of light fixtures.

And more kitchens to choose from.Lovely_kitchen_for_under_1400Hot_entry_door

And even a fancy entry door, brand new. 

You can find your nearest Habitat ReStore by looking in the Yellow Pages under Building Supplies - Used.(even though some of them aren't used at all)


Pat Lee

Hi Mag:
I enjoy reading you very much and used to enjoy your tv
show very much. Do you have a newsletter. If so, I would like to subscribe to it. Would you please respond to me.
Thanking you in advance.


Hi Pat,
Thanks for your note. I'm curious about what you'd like to see in a newsletter. You can sign up for the ToolGirl newsletter in the red box, right margin, top of this page. Thanks for asking.


I too would be interested in a newsletter containing anything you make on the TV show "Anything I can do." I watch it every Saturday morning :)


Do you have a used porcelain deep double sink. We need to put it in our outside washroom. If so, how much and where are you located? I hope fairly near San Bernardino, California.

Frank Smith


Possibly you can help us.
We very recently purchased a oak dining room table from Ikea. When we set it up in out house on a barrier island in NJ the table finish was perfect. Within a matter of weeks we found black stains on the table even where a table cloth was covering it. We did nothing to cause the stains. The stains are in several individual sweeping strokes. The stains are on the left side of the table and none are on the right side of the table with two individual leaves. The stains are clearly in the wood and under the finish.

Could the stains be a result of improper finishing?

Is there a cure?




Hi Frank,

It's difficult to figure out what has caused the condition of your table without seeing it in person but I’m guessing that there are flaws in the finish. Oak tends to go black when exposed to water and the high summer humidity on an island could easily penetrate an incomplete finish and turn the wood black. The sweeping pattern of the blackness would most likely indicate a wiped on finish that was applied too thin. I would suggest that you exchange it for a new one at IKEA. They’re extremely good about that sort of thing. Trying to fix it yourself would involve lots of sanding and if the table is veneered rather than solid oak, you'll find that pastime frustrating since it's so easy to break through the thin veneer into the particle board underneath and then it really looks bad! It sounds like it truly is a defective finish, so I'd take the matter to customer service at IKEA.
Hope that helps.

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    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

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