...cupboard doors into desks, IBM Thinclients into music boxes and all politicians everywhere into dead politicians. I'm all for it, and I did my part for the doors and the music player. (And just for the bloody record, let's get rid of all the governments, too. Yay for Anarchy! I'm in a bad mood today, as you can surely tell.)
First the story about the doors. Late last year (November) I built four Shoji-style doors for the cupboards in my office and my bedroom. Why?
Because I grew to dislike these old sliding doors very very much: warped tracks, bad bearings, the handles break off if you mistakenly slide both doors at the same time and access to the things in the middle is lousy.
I chose the Shoji style because it makes for very light doors: just a bit of frame and paper. I went for hinged doors instead of sliding ones, because... see above.
True to form, I built everything from scratch, and did pretty solid blind mortise-and-tenon joints everywhere: frame and lattices. Lots of work, which meant I needed a plunge router (but that was cheap). Gaining experience with it was dirty but fun, and with some quick jigs it wasn't too hard to get accurate cuts.
All in all I made 56 mortise+tenons and 16 half-lap joints. And then I started putting things together.
This was the fun part. Because then I realised that I'd been too precise in my measurements and that the frames would likely be slightly too large for the door openings. Not having a powered planer (and not trusting my ability to keep the edges straight with the hand plane), I used the router to trim off about 5mm everywhere. This kind of operation is endemic in my family. The result is, too: the reduced frames fit very well vertically, but horizontally the gap is now about 3-4mm too wide. sigh
Then I had to prepare the door openings, because the old doors had bulkheads hiding the tracks. And then the kind of work I dislike most: sanding and lacquering. Three coats, because It Must Be Perfect to make me happy. Few pictures of that of course, because I was too busy cursing. Doing the hinges was a minor chore in comparison, altough I had trouble getting the right sized drill for the hinge cups: the matching drill would have cost way too much for a one-off use, so I did the recesses free-hand with the router. Bit tricky but it worked fine.
And finally, the paper gluing. I didn't want to pay shitloads of money for True Ancient-Style Original Guaranteed Real Replica Shoji Paper but instead bought some rough drafting paper, which is a bit thicker than rice paper and a bit more beige. Unfortunately I didn't visit Ikea first, because their cheap "MÅLA" paper roll would have been better dimension-wise. Anyway, a lot of gluing later, I've got very satisfying doors in my office and the bedroom. The photos were taken immediately after putting the water-based glue aside, so all the wrinkles still show; they're gone now. Not following Japanese customs, I will replace the paper at some point but certainly not every new year.
And the old doors? These I dismantled and recycled. I spent a full afternoon working off some aggression: hand-planing the glue off the wooden frame pieces was tedious but somehow relaxing. The hardboard covers got cut down, and the first thing that I built from these leftovers was a small exercise bench. The second item was a return for my office desk, which (quel surprise!) uses a complete door ($28 or so) instead of a costly table top ($150+ for the size I wanted)...
The music box story is short: I got me an IBM Netvista N2200 for $47 off ebäh. Netvistas are Thinclients, like an Xterminal but meant for displaying remotely running Windows applications.
But the Netvista runs Linux natively (off an internal CF card), has a 200MhZ Geode/Pentium2-equivalent, ethernet, sound and USB on board, very low power consumption and no fans. Additionally I got me a $16 USB-Wireless-Lan adapter (my bedroom has no ether yet), an $15 USB-to-Serial converter and a $zero Palm III. The Netvista uses a $zero 4GB microdrive to boot a stock Debian (plus some noatime/disk-access-reducer mods and a few kernel patches), nfs-mounts my music collection (openvpn over Wlan) and uses MPD to play mp3s...connected to the Sanyo receiver in the picture. The Palm runs an MPD client application that I wrote myself and remote-controls the MPD to start/stop/ffw etc. Cheap, Cool, Simple: pick all three!
The MPD client for the Palm will be made available as soon as I finish tidying it up.