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Custom Media Cabinet: Complete Wrap Up

Posted by on November 24th, 2013

The TV stand is finally done.  During the week I wrapped the bottom of the cabinet with some baseboard molding using the same procedure we used on our first built-in.  The only thing I may still do to the cabinet is re-coat the top and shelves with some cabinet grade enamel paint.  The latex paint doesn’t seem to be holding up quite as well as it does on the built-in.  Latex paint isn’t designed for cabinets and it lifted up somewhat after I rested my camera tripod on it.  No biggie.  Here’s what it looks like now.

white tv stand

The baseboard molding seems to give the cabinet a fuller look.  Big fan.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the features…

The baseboard trim ties into the wall and the seam where the cabinet meets the wall has a thin bead of painters caulk to make the cabinet look fully “built-in.”  It only sticks out from the wall about 18″ to match the depth of the other piece in the room.


From the front you can see the open center section is just wide enough for our PS3 and a DVD player.  I measured some of the electronics in our family room to make sure that they would all fit.  All three sections feature a plethora of shelf pins for adjusting the shelf height.  The cabinet hides all the outlets on the wall as planned.


Lisa is thrilled to have some more toy storage.  She moved the shelf on the left side up to accommodate a larger plastic bin she bought from Target.

inside tv stand

Here’s a little trick I learned from Norm Abram back when he was on New Yankee Workshop: the bottom plywood shelf sits a little higher than the face frame.  It acts as a door stop.  The cabinet has a door stop device on the top, but this beats adding a second.

cabinet door stop

So let’s do a quick recap.

build a tv stand

1.  Design the overall look of the cabinet and rough dimensions
2.  Design the face frames
3.  Design the cabinet box
4.  Draw our cut sheets
5.  Buy our lumber and plywood
6.  Face frame construction
7.  Cut the plywood
8.  Add dados
9.  Build our shaker doors
10.  Assemble our cabinets
11. Cabinet Installation

I hope this post inspires you to not only build something from scratch, but to build something that meets the needs of the space.

*** UPDATE:  Forgot to mention the cost.  The total for the cabinet was around $155.  Not too shabby.***

So what’s up next?  Well, these two cabinets may be done, but the sitting room isn’t even close.  We picked out some paint and lighting and we’ll be dressing this space up later this week.  Stick around.


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Custom Media Cabinet Part 11: Cabinet Installed

Posted by on November 18th, 2013

So I was going to make another video of the cabinet installation, since we were already at that point.  Then I realized, I’d be showing a 30 second long clip of me screwing the cabinet to the wall.  (I just secured the cabinet to the wall with a couple of 2″ drywall screws.  The screws went into the backstrap that runs along the back of the cabinet and into a stud in the wall.)  I don’t think you need to see that.

Let’s go ahead and skip that video and get right to the good stuff.. the pictures.

Here’s what our TV wall in the sitting room looked like just a couple of hours ago..

tv on wall

And here’s how it looked with the new cabinet installed…

diy cabinet 2

Much better…

Looks pretty close to that concept drawing we made a few weeks ago.

50 inch side view

Here’s a front view…

diy cabinet

And that front view concept drawing…

50 inch finished

So that’s it for this tutorial series.  The only thing we have left to do is wrap the bottom of the cabinet in some baseboard trim to tie it into the wall and do a bit of caulking and touch up paint.  If you’re interested in learning how to apply molding to cabinets*, you can check out the tutorial we did when we built the bigger unit.  It’s the exact same process.

Next time you see this cabinet, it will be completely finished… and the walls may be painted too.  We’ll see.

*Lisa actually really liked the look of the cabinet without the baseboard molding and was reluctant to add it.  Then she saw the baseboard molding on the cabinet and thinks it looks even better.

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Custom Media Cabinet Part 10: Cabinet Assembly

Posted by on November 13th, 2013

This is part 10 in our series on building a custom TV stand. There won’t be a part 12, I promise. Maybe a wrap up post, but that’s it. We’re almost, almost done. The cabinet is pretty much all built. I just have to attach the doors and install it. In today’s video I show you the cabinet assembly including shelf pins, sanding and painting.


There’s a lot of info in this post and video so I’ll give you the highlights in case you miss any of them…

Shelf pins: I use a Rockler jig that makes it super easy to add holes for shelf pins. It’s much easier to add these holes before the cabinet is assembled. The drill bit tends to split the wood somewhat so adding them to a cabinet that’s already been painted may require some touch ups.

Sanding: I use a random orbital sander from Porter Cable. I start with a 100 grit sandpaper and then finish with a 220 grit. I intentionally avoid hitting the edge of the doors and face frame with the sander and instead give them a quick swipe with a piece of sandpaper over a block of wood.

Painting: My all time favorite cabinet painting method is two coats of a sprayed on primer followed by two coats of a finish spray paint. For a more custom yet clean brushed on look, brush on the last two coats of a cabinet grade paint like Satin Impervo from Benjamin Moore instead of spraying them. For this cabinet, since I wanted to tie it into our existing trim, I rolled on regular semi-gloss latex paint. The doors, countertop and the face frame, however, did get two coats of spray paint first though. Rolling or brushing on 3-4 coats of regular paint store latex paint tends to get less than ideal results with more prominent brush marks and a goopy texture. That sort of approach is fine for inside the cabinet, but for outside parts that get handled a lot, use the better paints.

Assembly: The advantage of using grooves and dado’s totally pays off when it’s time to assemble the cabinet. I used minimal brad nails since I don’t want to do much touching up and I’d like the cabinet construction not to be extremely obvious. Pocket screws were also used strategically with the goal of keeping them out of sight.

I hope the video is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Custom Media Cabinet Part 9: DIY Cabinet Doors

Posted by on November 7th, 2013

So our Custom Media Cabinet is nearly complete.  I’m hoping to get it painted and then assembled this weekend.  Instead of putting it together and then painting it, I’m going to try painting most of it first and then gluing it up.  It was a major PIA to paint our built-in once it was finished.  Especially the interior of the cabinet.  Hoping to avoid that aggravation.  Anyway, in today’s post, I’m going to show you how to DIY cabinet doors.

diy cabinet doors

Back when we made our built-in, I threw together a video on YouTube showing our readers how to build inset shaker style cabinet doors.  That video was up on YouTube for a couple months and got over 12,000 views!  I took it down to make some changes and re-uploaded it a few weeks ago.  There’s really no sense in making another video on shaker style inset cabinet doors, obviously, so I’m just going to re-share the original video.

Shaker style doors are fairly straight forward to make.  Making them inset instead of overlay just screams custom and in the video I show you how I go about getting that result.

Oh, and head’s up… Sherwin Williams is having a 40% off sale this weekend, so you can be sure we’ll be heading over there.

If you don’t see the video, click here for the link to the YouTube page.

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Custom Media Cabinet Part 8: How to Make Dado Cuts

Posted by on October 30th, 2013

Two videos in one week.  I’m starting to feel like Steven Spielberg, sans the ability and talent.  Although let’s be honest, my scripts are WAY better than the Star Wars prequels.  Am I right?

If you’ve been following this build along, so far you’ve seen us come up with the concept design and do the dimension work.  Next we made our cut sheets and bought the wood.  We started the construction process by building the face frame with pocket screws.  In our last post and video, I demonstrated how to use a table saw and hand held circular saw to cut out the plywood pieces.  Now it’s time to prep our plywood box for assembly.  In today’s video, I’m demonstrating how to make dado cuts.

Whenever I build cabinets, I almost always use grooves and dados for the box portion of the build.  I do use pocket screws, but I save those for things like the face frame and attaching the countertop to the cabinet.  Why don’t I use pocket screws for the cabinet box instead?  Well, I actually think it would be HARDER to use pocket screws for the box.  Pocket screws are great when you’re joining the edge of one board to the edge of another, which is why I love them for face frames.  All you have to do is make sure the edges are flush together and you’re set.  Now think about using pocket screws to attach one piece of plywood to the middle of another.  How do you guarantee the pieces will be where they need to be when they come together?  Well, you could draw a line on the one piece and line up the second piece over it as you join them.  Doesn’t mean they won’t slip or move while you’re doing that though.  What if they’re big pieces too?  How will you support the weight of the pieces while you join them.  Since the answers to these questions seemed to be a bit more work than they’re worth, I skip pocket screws for cabinet boxes.

Instead, I’m using dados and grooves.  (I explain what the difference is between a dado and a groove in the video.  They are essentially the same thing.)  A dado does two things for me.  It provides a means of alignment and it serves as a glue joint.  If you put a 3/4″ wide groove into a piece of plywood 5″ from the bottom, the plywood piece that gets inserted into it isn’t going anywhere.  What I mean by that is it won’t slip down to 4.5″ or up to 6″.  It is literally stuck in a groove.  If I use wood glue in those joints and throw in a couple of brad nails, I have a pretty strong joint that’s much easier to work with than a pocket screw.

Hope that makes sense.  Let me know if you have any questions.  In the video, I use a router and a 3/4″ cutting bit.  Routers are versatile additions to the workshop and you can pick up a quality model for around $100 new.    Dado blades come in kits that start around $90.  Dado kits are totally worth it if you’re even building one cabinet.  You just have to make sure your table saw can handle them.

Happy watching!


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