Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.
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These wood working plans include:
The following drawings:
The List of Materials include materials for all the parts required to complete the project including: the gables, top and bottom, face frame, drawers, slides, pulls, glass doors and fasteners.
The Instructions include the following topics:
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Cut the cherry plywood to the sizes in the following cutting list.
Cabinet plywood is considered G2S (good 2 sides), but one side is usually a bit better than the other. Always rip the best side up on a table saw and the best side down with a circular saw. Use a sharp blade with the highest number of teeth for finishing work. We want to rabbet the back edge of the gables for the 1/4" back panel. The dados and rabbets are cut in 1/4" deep the full thickness of the panel, that's 1/4" deep x 1/4" for the back and 1/4" deep x 3/4" for the gables, shelves,top and bottom intersections. Either use a dado blade with the table saw (preferred) or use a router and jig.
Refer to the Cutting List, these are exact sizes, the more accurate you are here the better the cabinet will turn out. The cutting list allows for the pieces to be dadoed together, as shown on the Face Frame drawing. Assemble the pieces with glue and nails. Turn the unit on its face and install the 1/4" plywood back, this will keep it square.
The Face Frame drawing shows which piece overlaps and which piece comes to the other. The hatched line shows the gables behind the stiles. The face frame is made up of vertical pieces called stiles and horizontal pieces called rails. These are ripped, from the solid lumber stock, according to the sizes shown in the face frame drawing and cut to length by holding the piece against the frame and marking in place. These should be face nailed to the box and glued. Set the nails with a nail set just below the surface if not using an air nailer.
Notice on the Face Frame drawing that the stiles on each side of the area behind the glass doors are flush with gables on the door sides. This is so you can purchase regular gable mount euro hinges, as listed in the List of Materials and shown in the Euro Hinge and Plate drawing.
On the gables layout the position of the drawer slides. The slides come in matched pairs, with one for the drawer and one for the gable. They are marked LH and RH for left and right hand. The drawer mounts install on the bottom of the drawer with the roller at the back. We'll get to the drawers later.
The gable mount slide is shown in this drawing. The end with the roller goes to the front and is flush with the outside of the face frame and resting on top of the rail. Screw these in position using #6 x 5/8" screws, 3 per slide. Make sure they are installed square across the gable. Since the gables are not flush with the stiles, pack out the gable with a 3/4" ripping to bring it out flush and install the drawer slide onto the strip. Put the cabinets aside for now, while we make up the drawers.
The drawer boxes are made of 1/2" plywood. Make the small drawers with 1/4" bottoms and the single large drawer with a 1/2" bottom. The sides are rabbeted to receive the front and backs, which are the same size. The outside width of the drawer must be 1" less than the opening between the stiles to allow for the drawer slides. You'll notice that one slide mounted on the drawer is flat on top and the other side has a rounded top which grabs the roller. There is a bit of adjustment with this design, better to be a bit too wide on the 1/2" gap rather than too tight. I'm talking a maximum of 1/16". At 1/2" on each side the drawer will slide nicely. The bottom is simply nailed and glued to the sides, back and front since the slide supports the bottom anyway. With plywood, glue and nails work well. Don't fasten the drawer front onto the drawer box yet, wait for this step later. The height of the drawer, with the bottom, is about 3/4" less than the vertical opening, to allow for clearance to get the drawer in place.
Rip the 1x4 stock for the stiles and rails for the glass doors at 2" wide. Cut their lengths as shown on the cutting list, allow for the overlap when cutting the length of the rails. An easy way to figure this length is to place the two stiles together, edge to edge. Put your tape measure on the right side edge at the measurement wanted, say 12 31/32 and read off on the opposite edge what the measurement will be, as shown on the drawing.
These four pieces of the door frame should be glued and assembled with biscuits. If a biscuit cutter isn't on your tool list, dado the edge of each matching piece and insert a spline made from 1/4" hardwood, use the rippings you have left over. Make the spline about 3/4" wide x 1/4" thick. The dados should be a loose, but firm fit, to allow for glue and run right out the end of the frame. The splines are trimmed off after the glue dries. Clamp the doors overnight for the glue to dry. Pony clamps work best for this. If not on the tool list, nail a temporary frame on a piece of plywood, close to the size of the door frame and use feather wedges to tighten up the door frame. Weigh the doors down to prevent warpage.
Depending on your tools available, rabbet around the inside, back side of the door frame to accept the glass, either before or after assembly. I have my router installed on a table with the bit sticking through the face of the table. I use a 1x2 for a fence, screwed to the table top and make a rabbet with the router. When routering on the inside of the frame a fence won't work, just use a rabetting bit with guide roller. The rabbet should be just the thickness of the glass and about 3/8" wide. Just enough for the glass to lay in the rabbet and be flush with the back of the door. Square the corners with a chisel. The glass is held in place by small turnstiles, as shown. Don't install the glass or turnstiles yet, stain or finish the doors first.
An alternative to using turnstiles to hold in the glass is to cut the rabbet in the doors deeper - 1/2" deep by 3/8 wide and make a molding to act as a glass stop which is nailed in with brads, no glue.
Drill out the door for the hinges, as shown on the right, using a 35mm (1 3/8") forstner bit. These bits will drill a flat bottom hole. Use a drill press or portable drill with stop to drill the holes. Practice a bit on scrap to get the correct depth. The matching plate for the hinge installs on the edge of the face frame, as shown on the left.
At this point we will fasten the 2" molding profiles around the top, as shown on the elevation drawing. Cut them to the approximate length adding extra for the miters. The profile is best done with the router under mounted to a table.
Rip the 3 1/2" base for the bottom unit and router a profile on the top of it. The two front joints are again mitered. Fasten in place with glue and face nails. The toe kick is 2", rounded out in the front, as shown on the drawing.
Cut the drawer fronts out of the 3/4" plywood. The edge grain can be covered with cherry wood edging tape or rip a profile out of the solid cherry stock. If going to router a profile on the drawer fronts be careful where you place your nails. We don't want to hit them with the router, since it is easier to router the edge after it is fastened to the front. Allow for the profiles when cutting the front size. When routering a profile on a solid piece of material attached to the end grain of plywood, such as in this case, I prefer to tape the glued piece on rather than nailing it. I use masking tape across the strip taped to the face and back of the plywood.
Unless you have a small TV set, the area behind the glass doors will be too small. The larger TVs can be placed on top of the unit. Cut this shelf for a slip fit after the assembly of the unit. The shelf should have wood edging tape ironed on to finish the front edge. The shelf is supported by metal shelf brackets which fit into 1/4" holes drilled in the gable at 4 positions, near the corners. Determine the location required for the height of this shelf depending on the media player/s chosen. Remove the shelf for sanding and finishing.
Time to sand and apply the finish to your project. Fill all nail holes with a putty pre-stained to your liking. Plywood and lumber has a mill glaze on its surfaces when purchased. This has to come off before applying a stain or clear finish. Use about a 100 grit sandpaper for the first pass. It doesn't take too much to remove this. Don't sand any finer than 150 grit before the application of stain. I've had people wonder why stain won't grab the wood when they sand with 400 or 600 paper. They sealed it off by trying to do a perfect sanding job. Don't sand too much of the veneer off the plywood, it is very thin. Remove any saw or router marks on the edges of the solid lumber. Remember to sand the drawer fronts and set them aside for the finishing process before installing them on the drawers.
For a choice of finish, I prefer a satin or semi-gloss clear Polyurethane product. Varathane is such a product. I use the Varathane Professional Clear Finish, which can accept a number of coats in a day, yet is oil based. If stain is your choice, it goes on before the final finish. I prefer a gelled stain applied with a lint free rag. Rub it on and wipe it off. Allow the stain to dry overnight before applying the finish. In my opinion, stay away from the stain and finish applications in one step. If the stain is not to your liking, after it dries, that's it. By pre-staining you have the option to sand it lightly to lighten the color or add a bit more to darken it. Apply at least two coats of the clear finish.
With the drawer fronts, line them up with the doors below. Insert the drawer box into the slides by tipping the drawer down to engage the roller and lift up again and slide the box in. Start by drilling 3/16" holes through the front of the drawer box about 1" in from the corners. Clamp the drawer front into place with the drawer open with the use of spring clamps or C-clamps. Don't mar the surface. From the inside of the box, screw through the 4 holes into the front. Careful with the length of screws, you don't want to go through the face of the front. Remove the clamps and slide the door in. When happy with the position, install the pulls by drilling with the same bit through the face of the front as well as the box front to match the spacing of the holes in the pulls. Most times the pulls come with a 3/4" machine screw as well as a longer one. You may have to cut off the screw to fit the length of going through the two pieces or buy a longer screw to fit.
Tip: When cutting a machine screw to length, thread on a proper size nut first, cut the screw and back off the nut which cleans the threads in the process.
Tip: When drilling through a finished frame, as when installing drawer pulls, hold a scrap block of plywood on the inside to prevent the drill from chipping the wood as it penetrates the frame.
Enjoy your entertainment center.
Dave(Ask Dave) (About Dave)