How to Build an Environmentally-Friendly Entertainment Center
Carter Oosterhouse shows how to use an environmentally friendly lumber to build an entertainment center.
Before beginning construction, a cabinet that fits the size and needs of the space must be designed. Our application provided an alcove that measures 45" deep, 89-1/2" wide and 83-1/2" tall. The cabinet will be only 23-7/8" deep, 85-1/2" wide x 82-1/4". The space left around the cabinet will be covered with molding in the final installation. Measuring the equipment that will be housed by the cabinet -- and designing the cabinet accordingly -- is essential.
With the finished design, the next step is to cut the 4x8 sheets of plywood to the depth of the cabinet. In our case, that dimension is 23-7/8". Each sheet will yield two panels 8" long.
Using a circular saw, cut the panels to the required lengths. This includes: Side panels (two measuring 45" long, 2 at 32" long); center vertical panels (one 45" and one 32"); top, center and bottom panels measuring 85-1/2", and seven shelves measuring 30".
To create holes for the adjustable shelves, clamp a piece of pegboard to the inside of each side panel housing the adjustable shelves. By drilling through the pegboard (which features holes predrilled 1" apart), at every other hole, the shelves will have perfectly spaced holes 2" apart.
Sand all the exposed surfaces with 220-grit sandpaper using a circular motion.
Begin the assembly by drilling countersunk pilot holes for each of the screws. Set the countersink so that the bit drills through the panel and the countersink bores a hole just deep enough for the head of the screw.
The holes should be drilled through each of the side panels 3/8" from each end of the panel and be spaced approximately 10" apart.
When the holes are drilled, organize the parts and begin assembly by adding glue to the end of each 85-1/2" shelf. Align the panels and drive the 2-1/4" deck screws into each predrilled hole.
To raise the unit off the floor and make room for the base molding, a 4" tall base is attached to the under side of the cabinet. This base is a rectangular frame equal to the dimension of the bottom shelf and should be built with 1" solid wood.
Next, stain the entertainment center. Do this using a soft rag and rub the stain into the wood following the direction of the grain. Allow 6 to 12 hours for the stain to dry completely before handling the wood.
While the stain dries, cut the face molding to length. The face molding covers the front edge of all the shelves and vertical panels. This hides the plywood edge and adds strength to the shelves. Attach the face molding with 1" finish nails and patch with wood fill.
The back panel is fashioned from 1/4" stain-grade plywood. Cut the 4x8 sheets to the size of the base unit (32"x 85-1/2"). Stain and nail on with 1" finish nails
The back panel for the upper portion is made by cutting three panels 30" wide by 45" tall. Stain.
A sliding track for the back panels on the upper portion is made by cutting two -- 1" x 2" to 85-1/2" long. A groove is cut into the 1" edge using a table saw. Depth of the groove in the top slide rack should be 1/2" and 3/4" in the bottom track.
Attach the sliding tracks to the back, top and bottom of the upper unit using 2-1/4" deck screws. Insert the back panel into the top groove first and then into the bottom groove. Slide the cabinet into position.
Move the base unit into place leaving an equal distance on either side for the molding. Place the upper portion on top and screw the halves together using 1" screws.
Measure for the colonial and base molding, and cut both to length. Attach with 1" finish nails and patch all the nail holes with paintable caulk.
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