Thursday, April 12, 2012

Media Center

Ana White and I talked about doing this project back in December and I finally got to do it.  This is not a project for the mediocre of skill or heart.  It is actually not terribly complicated skill wise, but it is a massive project.  It took me about 7 weeks to finish it including two out of town trips, being 6 months pregnant, two little kids, one of which decided he was ready to potty train and being sick at least once.  Along with all the other normal business of life. 

This project is a copy cat almost exactly after Pottery Barn's Leighton Media Suite.  There were a few things I changed because of opinion and necessity so mine isn't an exact copy, but if you head on over to Ana's site to see the plans they will have all the things I left off. 

As stated before, this is a massive project.  The finished product is 8 and a half feet long and 6 and a half feet tall- at least.  It looks amazingly impressive when put together if you have the room.  It also is a ton of storage.  I had to steal every accessory in my house to "stage" for pictures.  The good news though, is that this is actually 6 individual pieces so you can customize it how you like and for what you need. 





SIDE HUTCH (only 8 inches deep)



We purposely designed this to be a narrow piece of furniture.  It would look great with a flat screen tv or it works well as just a buffet if you need a little extra storage in a dining room or something. 

The plan is not designed with shelves for the cupboards underneath.  If you want to cut wood for those shelves you will need to purchase an extra 1x12x10ft board. 

Doors:  These doors are built as a frame out of solid wood and then have a 1/4" plywood piece set into the frame so that they are flush in the back.  You can accomplish this in a few different ways.  You cut your boards and connect them with a butt joint ( No additional tools are needed to build a frame this way)/ a halved joint (you need a router or dado blade in your table saw to be able to accomplish this) which gives the same look as a butt joint but is stronger/ or a miter joint (this is how picture frames are done).  Then you are dealt with cutting a little grove into the backs of the pieces to be assembled.  You can either use a router with a rabbet tip and cut all along the inside of your already assembled door frame.  You would then need to use a chisel to make the corners of the rabbet cut square.  I would have chosen this option because the face frame is stronger and looks cleaner.  My router however, has been unreliable in the last couple of months so I chose a different option.  I measured and cut my boards using a miter cut.  BEFORE  I assembled each door frame I ran the inside edges of each piece along my table saw set with a 3/8" dado blade to cut at a depth of 1/4" so that when I assembled each frame the space for my insert was already there. 

Lessons Learned:
     - I pre-painted the pieces of a project a little while ago before assembling, and it worked out great.  This time I pre-painted as well but I think it was almost a waste.  There were so many pieces to put together on this that I had to do a lot of filling and sanding after I had assembled it.  Each box has a face frame, and my saw didn't cut my molding very nicely so I had to go back and repaint almost the whole thing after all that. 
     - I did however choose paint with primer already in it.  AWESOME.  If you had the time you could theoretically paint the whole thing with only one brush cleaning after. 
      -Always check for square.  Something in the way I built both my side base units had them both end up not being square.  Big problem if you would like to add doors that you want to actually shut.  ALWAYS CHECK FOR SQUARE  :)

Little tips and tricks:
     - When assembling door or face frames:  Line up your boards where they will be screwed and glued together, then use a piece of wood clamped on top of both pieces as you screw them together.  this will keep the front of your joint perfectly flush.  This works really well when using a Kreg jig because self tapping screws give such a nice tight finish


Crystal @ 29 Rue House said...

So nice Becky! And that is a great tip at the end that I'll definitely be using!

daveheitz said...

Hi, I don't know if anyone is still checking this, but I was wondering what type of wood and plywood you used. On Ana White's site, I think you said it cost you about $300 for the whole thing. But looking for hardwood ply and poplar boards, I'm coming up with over $500.

I may be missing something but adding up all the wood for all the parts, I come up with 4 sheets each of 3/4 and 1/4 ply, 128 linear feet 1x2's, 56 lf 1x3's, and 16 lf 1x4's. That alone, without moulding or fasteners or accessories, comes out to about $500 at Home Depot or Lowes.

Did you use a cheaper plywood?

Becky said...

Dave: I used pine everything. I actually used furring strips for all of it. They are super cheap and since I knew that I was painting I wasn't too worried. If you are going to stain then you will have to pick the wood with the grain that you want. I have build several things out of pine boards and plywood. I have never had any problems with stability. True the chest I have built out of oak seems solid as a rock, but this media center is used all the time and is holding its own. I already had the hardware that I used for this.

Cavandrea Rogers said...

I love this! My husband and i built this as our first wood working project. It was fun. We chose to create the top faux drawer drop down. Since we are new to woodworking, we aren't sure the best hinges to use. Any ideas?

Becky said...

Kudos to such an ambitious first project. That is amazing. I don't have a lot of first hand experience with hinges. I have only done small projects and have never used the euro hinges which I know everyone swears by.

Cami Brinkerhoff said...

I would love to know what color gray is on your wall? We have been trying so hard to find the perfect gray paint with no luck but I love yours!!

Craig & Amber said...

What color paint did you use on the entertainment console? I love the color and we are planning to build in a couple weeks.