This is my first instructable...but since there are fewer instructions than there are suggestions...perhaps this is more of a Suggestible. In the spirit of Earth Day, my suggestion is to 'Make it with Muscle'. Use muscle energy instead of power tools when working on some of your projects. Power tools are nice, but you don't always need them. You can do wonderous things with your own two hands (and some hand tools).
My girlfriend and I found a small shelf/cabinet on the curb and decided to give it a new home. After a few days of standing in a corner blocking our shower door from opening all the way, we figured it would make better sense to shorten it a bit. This instructable documents the cabinet's conversion from 'wide' to 'less wide', using only hand tools and a little elbow grease.
Step 1: Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle
Here, we're going to give someone else's trash a new lease on life. I suppose this can also be considered 'Reuse'.
The cabinet was made from particle board (chip board) and screws. I removed (by hand) and later reused all the screws... and even had some left over for other projects.
Disclaimer: No new hardware or materials were harmed during the modding of this cabinet.
I don't think this is what they mean by Reduce...but I want to shrink the cabinet from 3ft wide to 2ft wide.
Two R's out of three isn't bad right?
Step 2: Tools
Step 3: Disassembly
The cabinet was held together by a little glue and a few wood screws. For your projects, instead of using a power drill/driver, try using a regular screwdriver. You'll probably be amazed at how little you use those arm muscles pampering yourself with electric screwdrivers. After removing about a dozen or so screws...you might just have to switch hands.
I had to use a hammer to loosen each piece, due to there being glue and paint in the joints.
Step 4: Measure Twice, Cut Once
The top, middle and bottom shelves needed to be shortened from three to two feet. Once you know what and where to cut...double check. Once you're sure...then cut.
Instead of using a circular saw, table saw, or jigsaw...try using a good-ole fashioned hand saw.
The handle on many hand saws give an excellent way to mark 90 and 45 degree angles.
Step 5: Reassembly
Not much left to do, other than reassemble the pieces.
Since the wood in this cabinet is particle board (chip board), putting screws in by hand was real easy. If it were harder wood, then pilot holes might have been needed. If I did need to drill any holes...this can still be done without power tools. You might be surprised to find out that not all drills are electric. You can find hand drills at many hardware stores.
Putting this thing back together was a breeze. In about 30-45 minutes, the cabinet was disassembled, cut, and reassembled. All it needs now is a fresh coat of paint.
Step 6: Outro
So like I said in the Intro...there aren't many instructions to this Instructable.
My suggestion was to not use power tools from time to time. If it can be done by hand...then why wouldn't you.
You can save electricity...keep more CO2 out of the air...and take pride in something you made (or modded) by hand.
Step 7: Other Suggestibles
Some other 'Green' suggestions:
Many people already know this...but you can put a brick in your toilet's tank to displace a bit of water (a real brick...not your #2). Each time you flush, it'll use less water...equal in volume to the brick. You could also use soda bottles, bags of rocks, or other things. Bricks are nice because they are heavy and won't move or get under any moving parts.
You can also re-route your toilet's tank's plumbing to save even more water. Each flush, the tank's water gets passed to the bowl and once empty, the tank begins to refill. There's a bit of tubing that lets some of the refill water pass into the bowl through the overflow tube, washing the sides and filling the bowl to its usual level. If you remove this tubing from the overflow tube and direct its water into the tank, then the tank will refill faster and it'll use less water. The one side-effect of this is that the bowl will not be as full as before (this is where you save water). This probably won't have any effect however on the 'quality' of your flushings since the liquid wastes that you put into the bowl when using it add up.
Given that you might have a different toilet, water pressure, bathroom habits, etc., you might have to fiddle a bit with the above suggestions to make sure your toilet still flushes completely the first time. Having to flush a water saving toilet twice is often worse than flushing a regular toilet once.
When asked whether you'd prefer paper or plastic...say "Neither". That's because you've got your own reuseable grocery bags. You can get reuseable bags anywhere from $0 to more than $100. I suggest you go for the cheaper ones. In LA and probably a lot of other places, some grocery stores will give you a $0.05 refund for each reuseable bag you use. The bags pay for themselves after a few visits.