Monday, October 16, 2017

Custom Wood TV Stand

My next project is to make a custom TV stand for my new friend Mike.

Mike's TV (pictured above) sits on an older stand that is just a little too tall for Mike's comfort.  That stand is currently 11 inches tall.  Under the stand is a cable box and speaker, which stacked is 6.25" tall.  He also wanted to make sure that the stand will be quite sable, and not flimsy.

Mike also provided this image above asking that the stand have this look and dimensions, with a top and bottom shelf, but only be 7.25 inches tall.  With the height of the cable box and speaker being 6.25" and the thickness of the boards used (.75" thick), I had some figuring out to do.  

I finally came up with this design.  The bottom shelf will have a cut out, allowing the space for the cable box and speaker and also having the stability of a solid bottom.

The plywood I'll use will also be .5 inches thick.

One other thing I need to do is make this so it can be disassembled and easily reassembled.  Mike lives in New York, and I'll be building this at home in Arizona.

With my plans complete and with Mike's blessings, I started working.  I first worked on the legs, since I had dowels on hand.  I cut 4 equal-length pieces using a stop block on my miter saw table.

Next I used my disc sander to chamfer the edges of the dowels.

Next I drilled a hole on both ends of the dowels.  This will prevent the wood from possibly splitting when screws are driven in later.

Then I sanded the dowels smooth by hand.

With that done, I then went to the store and bought the rest of the material needed.

Instead of one 4-foot by 2-foot sheet of plywood, I opted to buy two 2-foot by 2-foot sheets.  I also picked up some edge banding and stain.

I got started by cutting the 2 pieces of plywood to the correct width.

Then I used my combination square to mark the locations of each leg on the top.

Next I clamped the top and bottom together...

...and used a center punch at each leg location.

Then I predrilled through both boards...

...and drove some screws.

With the top and bottom temporarily attached to each other I drew the curve of the front with the help of some thumb tacks and a flexible metal ruler.

Then I cut out the shape with my jigsaw...

...and smoothed the cut with my orbital sander.

With that done I was able to remove the screws and separate the 2 pieces.  Now it was time to cut out the middle of the bottom piece.  I marked where the cut will be once again with the combination square.

I didn't feel like using the jig saw for this one and opted to use the table saw to remove the middle.  First I cut the 2 sides.

I put a mark on the saw fence to let me know how far to push the wood.

Then I slowly plunged the back against the fence...

...and finished cutting out the middle.

At this point I decided to show some progress pictures to Mike.  I connected the top and bottom to the legs.

So far it's looking good.

I measured the whole thing and realized I made several mistakes.  For starters the overall height was 3/4" too tall.  This was due to the fact that I bought 3/4" thick plywood instead of the .5" thick plywood I originally planned.

So I reduced the size of each leg by 3/4".  This should still bring the overall height back down, plus keep the necessary space needed on the bottom.

Next I needed to fix the cuts on the bottom caused by the round table saw blade.  

I knew this would happen when I opted to use the table saw, and it is easily fixed by gluing thin strips of wood into each space.

While the first set of sticks were drying...

...I began working on the top.  I sanded it...

...added some countersinks to the top holes...

...and used a fostner bit to drill shallow circle at each leg location.

These holes are for the legs to sit in.

Then I sanded the bottom side of the top.

The plywood has a few imperfections, like this crack, and some knot holes.

I used some wood filler to fill those in, and then I let it dry.

While that dried I trimmed the wood pieces on the bottom board and added countersinks as well.

I also drilled those shallow holes for the legs...

...and added some wood filler.

When everything was dry, I sanded again.

Next I started taping on the edge banding.

Once it was all in place I used my iron to adhere the banding in place.

I did the bottom first since it was a little more involved.

Once the top and bottom had the banding on it, I trimmed it flush using a plane.

Then I gave both a good sanding.

Next it was time to assemble it again.

At this point the overall height was 7"...

...with the inside height being about 6 3/8"

That sounds like it's just slightly too short, but this stand will have some felt pads under it...

...making the overall height just over 7 1/4" and the inside height 6 3/4".


I shared the news with Mike and he was pleased.

So I disassembled it once more, and cleaned each piece.  Then I prepped for staining.

This particular stain was a little bothersome.  It didn't penetrate the wood as well as I would have liked, resulting in me having to apply several coats of stain after the previous coat dried.

After a while of this, I got the color Mike wanted.

Once the stain was dry I sprayed a little bit of flat black spray paint on the edges.

The paint helps masks some minor imperfections, plus adds a nice, slightly weathered or worn look.

Once the black paint was dry I began applying some glossy clear coat.

I let the sprayed sides dry for several hours before flipping over each piece and spraying again.

After several more hours of drying, I then gave all the pieces a light sanding using a sanding sponge.  

Then I used a damp rag to clean up each piece and prepped for polyurethane.  I also took the liberty of changing the tarp underneath for better photography.

I applied many coats of polyurethane.  After each thin coat dried, I sanded again with the sanding sponge and then cleaned up the dust with a damp cloth.  Then another coat of poly.

To better spray the legs, I made a simple jig that holds each piece upright (sorry about the blurry picture).

For the legs I thought it would be easier to continue using glossy clear coat spray.

I also want to paint all the screws to be black, so another simple jig was made.

Even though the screw heads won't really be seen (except on the top), I wanted to make sure they blended in well with the rest of the stand.

It took me about a day to apply all the layers of polyurethane and I let it fully dry overnight.  The next morning I gave it its final sanding and cleaned up all the pieces.  Then I assembled it.

This stand is done!

And it came out nicer than I expected.

I hope Mike likes it.

Previously I assembled the stand using my power driver, but this time I did it using a screw driver to make sure it was easily to assemble.  I also did not attach the felt pads, figuring Mike might want to cover up the screws on the bottom.

I also made instructions for him to assemble the whole thing.  It's pretty self explanatory, but I figure it wouldn't hurt.

After a few days I disassembled it, packed it up and shipped it to Mike.  Once he got it, he sent me this:

He said that he couldn't fit the cable box and speaker under the stand, but was able to rearrange things to make it work.  The height of the stand is on point, and he liked it.  Woohoo!

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