I often have elaborate plans as to what I can accomplish, and I’m no fool to think I can do it on my own. Steve is too busy these days to rope into my crazy plans so I have to look elsewhere for help…enter my father. He’s the one that helped me last summer when I had the brilliant idea to build a large table in Idaho and transport it down on the top of my car. He shook his head the whole time he was helping me, but he helped me nonetheless! He’s as precise and accurate as they come and he’s willing to help me. The perfect partner.
We’ve had this large, lonely wall for far too long (yes we have 1990’s bunny ears…no I did not build them into the new unit!). We knew the minute we moved in and put our entertainment center on that wall that we would need something different. A large built-in is what we agreed on and we didn’t think about it again for two years. But it crossed my mind at Christmas time and once something starts swirling in that head of mine, it’s hard to let go. I convinced my dad to fly down to help me out(I was realistic in knowing that it would not fit on the top of my car).
He showed up last Tuesday and we didn’t waste time getting to work.
This how the first day went down. First off, we did some of this during the day and the rest from 8-midnight when the kids were in bed. My dad made a lot of the cuts while I held a baby in my arms. We prepped a lot of material. Routered. Screwed Jig holes. Screwed shelf guides. Cut material to size. We prepped a lot of stuff, which at the end of the day didn’t leave us a whole lot to show for, but it was a productive day.
My dad convinced me to router (dado) my joints for a more secure fit. Did it take more time – yes. Does it look really nice – yes. Did we have to be absolutely perfect in our measurements – YES.
We clamped a straight edge (metal level) to our board to run the router along as a guide. We routered complete 4×8 sheets of material so we didn’t have to clamp as much and it make us that much more accurate knowing the router lines will line up with exactness. (These pieces made up the sides of each cabinet)
Next, we cut material down to size. We were dealing with large sheet goods which made it difficult to rip down on our small table saw. So instead of risking our health and safety – we used the circular saw. Normally a circular saw is not looked at as an accurate method of cutting large boards, but it can be. We attached the saw to the Kreg Rip Cut (it can cut up to 24″) and I was amazed at the accuracy. We were able to set the guide and cut several pieces to the same exact size. It worked like a dream and we had to make a lot of cuts. Each and everyone was spot on We planned on attaching the face frame to the cabinet using pocket hole screws, so we prepped the side panels with screw holes. I also planned the built-in to have two side units with adjustable shelving. This meant we needed to drill a lot of holes in four different panels. I’ve seen a lot of methods of doing this – but this was by far the best option: a small shelving jig from Kreg. It kept our holes evenly spaced as well gave me the option of how far from the edge I wanted the holes. It ended up only taking 7 minutes per panel including set-up time. Steve came home from work and I’m sure it didn’t look like we had accomplished a lot, but we really had. We went back to work after the kids went to bed and started assembly on the two of the three cabinet carcasses; two 3ft x 8ft units. We put glue in the dado and inserted our shelf boards and used a pin nailer to hold it while the glue dried. Some shelves went in much easier than others and we did some hammering to get them to fit right and as square as we could.
I walked out of the garage on day one and had two pieces like this to show for it. Did I think I would get more done – of course, I’m a dreamer! But all-in-all, day one was a success
Here’s our step-by-step process:
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 6
DIY Entertainment Center – Day 7
DIY Entertainment Center – COMPLETE!