Revised Media Cabinet

Revised media cabinet design (TV image is of woodworker Marc Spagnuolo).
Revised media cabinet design (TV image is of woodworker Marc Spagnuolo).

When I said the design for my large media cabinet was mostly set, I realized a major change was needed. First, let’s take a look at the previous design.

Large Media Console Gray 2

I got a lot of positive feedback on this design when posting images of it on Facebook. I actually had one inquiry from a friend asking if I could build it for his son. That may happen because I like this design a lot.

These days, a media cabinet should feature a place to store a center channel speaker. I have a basic home theater audio system and locating the center channel speaker either above or below the TV is a must. Hence the need for a re-design.

New three bay layout.
New three bay layout.

The changes to the SketchUp model were extensive. The look you see above is not too different from my daughter’s window seat bookcase – a larger center area flanked by two slightly more slender ones.

Note the large side panel and all the handsome maple.
Note the large side panel and all the handsome maple.

The design for the sides is basically the same thing I did for my daughter’s washer/dryer table. The only difference is the thick legs which are built up from multiple pieces of 1x stock. This cabinet is an example of how design elements from past projects can be pulled and used in new ways for a different look.

The arrangement of drawers and shelf space could be easily altered to fit the needs of the homeowner. Want more drawers? That’s easy to do as well as fewer drawers and more display space.

As designed, the cabinet box components are joined using dados, but pocket screws could also be used. Because the basic cabinet is painted, mixed materials can be used like plywood and pine. The figured tiger maple adds an element of higher craftsmanship and really serves to warm up the look of the piece.

Now, I think the design is set. I have already been toying with the look of the woodworking plan and I am thinking about a more graphic intensive look. Should be a fun plan to make. :)

Washer/Dryer Table Critique

Small kitchen means a tight fit.
The washer/dryer table.

With my daughter’s washer/dryer table finished, I have turned my thoughts towards Christmas and the fact that I am woefully behind in my Christmas shopping. This week is all about my day job, Christmas shopping and Christmas parties. I also need to do a post project critique on the washer/dryer table.

Why a critique?
I have not made much mention about one aspect of the W/D table design. There is no back. As designed, with input from the clients, my wife and daughter, the table was meant to slide in place. Moving the washer and dryer out-of-the-way in order to properly position a table with a back was going to be a bodacious undertaking; a task which no one wanted to attempt. Originally, I had included a back, but it was eliminated from the final design.

The table with no back.
The table with no back.
Ortho view showing very little structure.
Ortho view showing very little structure.

All tables need something to keep them rigid so as to eradicate the ability for left to right movement. My daughter’s washer/dryer table only has L-brackets to keep the table rigid and these brackets are somewhat successful. But the table wiggles.

The future plan is to easily add both an upper apron and a lower stretcher as shown below.

A better and more rigid design.
A better and more rigid design.
A front apron would be a good addition as well.
A front apron would be a good addition as well.

Adding these elements to the back with pocket screws and glue would greatly stiffen the table. If space allowed, I would have liked to add a front apron as well.

For now, this table works as constructed. But I wanted to go on record as advising some manner of a back be added to this design. I’ll add one as soon as it is practical to do so.

Getting a good fit
The photo at the top of the page shows a table which hugs the washer and dryer. I built this table in my home workshop and delivered it to my daughter’s apartment about 15 miles away.

This is challenging to pull off when a tight fit is needed. It is one thing to build something in my basement workshop to fit upstairs in my home. It is very different to build for a remote installation with tight tolerances. I know of two past instances where building things for family which did not fit, requiring additional fitting back at my workshop.

To ensure I got as good a fit as possible, I took some initial measurements and then made two templates from scrap lumber: one template for the sides and one for the top. This meant two separate trips to my daughter’s apartment, but this extra effort was critical for what ended up being a perfect fit.

I literally said a prayer as I drove to my daughter’s apartment hoping that everything fit correctly and it did.

What is next
This weekend, I’ll be back in my workshop as I begin to fabricate parts for the back of my daughter’s window seat bookcase. The back is another multi-part phase of construction where I expect some fussy fitting of the back panels. I plan an update for the weekend of the 12/20.

ONE OF MY BUDDIES on Google+ made the comment that children of woodworkers get all the good furniture. This is certainly true with my daughter. I can’t resist the “Daddy can you make me a…”

New Washer/Dryer Table Completed

The goal for this update: complete the table top.
The goal for this update: complete the table top.

A woodworking miracle has happened! I completed the construction of this table project in just two weeks.

This washer/dryer table has been a project which helped me prove a point: I can make something quickly. I suspect that by the time my daughter’s window seat bookcase is finished, the better part of a year will have passed. And I am catching a slight amount of grief over this, so I wanted to really crank out this table quickly. Mission accomplished; but this project has been a lot of work. Especially over the last five days, almost every second of free time was spent in my workshop; and emergency runs to the home center for supplies and there was a football game to watch.

Here is a play-by-play recap of the week in my workshop…

CREATING THE TABLE TOP
In my last post on this project, I had completed the sides and work had begun on the top. The sides went together with super easy glue and pocket screws, and the molding clad panel for the sides was added with glue and brads. Nothing complicated here.

The top is only slightly complex, but still basic construction techniques were employed. I am using a hollow core door for the table top. Note in the illustration at the top of the post that the top has to span almost 60″ without any support. I eliminated birch plywood because I felt the need to use two layers of plywood to get the stiffness I wanted. This meant I would use the better part of a whole sheet of plywood, which is too heavy for the minimal structure of this table. The hollow core door is basically a light weight, wide box beam. And the structure within the door is minimal.

Turning a door into a table top.
Turning a door into a table top.

I cut the door down to size using my table saw and circular saw. I then cut strips to wood to fill in between the door faces.

A lot of thought went into my paint choice.
A lot of thought went into my paint choice.

Note in the photo above the addition of pine boards along the lower edge of the table top. This adds structure to the table top and gives me something to screw into when attaching the sides.

I was originally going to add a layer of counter top laminate to achieve a very durable work surface. But after shopping at two different home center stores, the $50.00 cost of laminate was a budget buster, especially when I would have a lot of it left over. So, I decided to simply paint the table top. I am good friends with the owner of my local Benjamin Moore paint dealer. After considering my options, I selected an exterior grade latex paint – pure white.

Adding oak banding to dress up the table top.
Adding oak banding to dress up the table top.

I then added strips of oak to the table edges to cover the layers of wood which make up the table top. The oak also will be a durable material for the table edges.

The completed table top.
The completed table top.

With the oak added and a little upright piece at the back, it was the opinion of my paint dealer that I could cover the whole surface with a couple of coats of water based polyurethane. And the result looks good.

JOINING THE TOP TO THE SIDES
The only remaining task was to paint the sides white and add the L-brackets which attach the sides to the top. I wanted to create a recess in the sides and top for the brackets and screws to fit into. I used my router and a template to accomplish this.

Template routing for L-brackets.
Template routing for L-brackets.
Transferring bracket locations to the top..
Transferring bracket locations to the top.

In the photo above, you can easily see the pine structure I added to the hollow core door. Again, the pine boards give me something to screw the L-brackets into.

THE RESULT
The washer/dryer table assembled and set up in my daughter’s apartment…

Small kitchen means a tight fit.
Small kitchen means a tight fit.
The red oak looks great.
The red oak looks great.
I am pleased with the frame and panel sides.
I am pleased with the frame and panel sides.

Over the last five days, I worked hard on this project, especially yesterday and today (I did take time off to see Alabama win the SEC Championship game last night :) ). The paint and polyurethane were just dry enough to handle and THE TABLE FIT! I was so worried that it wouldn’t. The washer and dryer hook-ups on the adjacent wall meant that the washer and dryer needed to sit deep into this corner of the kitchen with very little wiggle room.

This was a fun project and while parts of it were simple, there was a significant amount of engineering which went into it. I’ll have a follow-up post with some thoughts on the design and steps taken to ensure the fit was right. For now, I am going to take a few days off and get some Christmas shopping done.

A Large Media Cabinet in SketchUp

Large Media Console Gray

Large Media Console Gray 2

Large Media Console Gray3

This media cabinet will likely be the subject of my next woodworking plan. Over the past week I have been playing around with the design. Simple construction is the goal with painted surfaces for most of the components which will allow mixing materials like MDF with tiger maple. The basic cabinet which forms the structure of the piece will be made from home center birch plywood, the applied face frame and legs can be made from a variety of easy to find lumber, the back is 1/2″ MDF and a I thought a little figured wood would be cool.

I have some slight alterations planned, and I have a question for anyone reading this: is there a need for six compartments for A/V equipment? We only need four in our house. Your thoughts are appreciated by leaving a comment.

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