Entertainment center back panel question

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Blog entry by Ellen posted 02-04-2007 02:54 AM 3221 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My husband and I are building an entertainment center for our large screen TV. We built the center cabinet out of Mahogony that is just beautiful. Now we are working on the 2 side cabinets. The wood that we purchased for this project was thick, 4 quarters. So instead of planing it all away into sawdust, we resawed it and now have enough of that wood to use as a back panel in the cabinets, we hope.

Once we plane it and sand it, it will be about 1/4 inch thick. I am thinking of just edge glueing it and using it as a backer instead of 1/4 inch plywood. Here is the issue: My husband thinks we need to glue this quarter inch mahogony to 1/4 plywood for stability. I know if we glue it to the plywood, we will also have to glue something to the back of the plywood so it will stabalize it and not curl.

Does anyone have an opinion on what is best? The 2 side panels are 6.75 feet tall and about 20 inches deep with a 22 inch span, or width across the back. The center backer behind the TV is 54 inches.

You know, when you go look at these pieces of furniture at the stores, some of them just have something a little better than pressed cardboard! We all can do better than that!

I appreciate your opinions on this.

-- Ellen --

5 comments so far

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4260 days

#1 posted 02-04-2007 03:19 AM

I used i/4” Mahogany plywood on the front panels of my Pulpit and if you’re going to use Mahogany plywood you’d be better off using the 1/4” Mahogany for another project.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4350 days

#2 posted 02-04-2007 04:46 AM

I’d be leery of only edge glueing 1/4… more leery of what any wood movement in the mahogany later on would do if glued down to the plywood. prob not thick enough to bow, but it could split or seperate.

If you can keep them a little thicker you could try a ship lapped back. But if it isn’t going to be seen – ply. If it is, mahogany ply.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#3 posted 02-04-2007 05:06 AM

Maybe if you place your 1/4 inch stock in a frame and let it float I think you would be ok. Especially if you broke the back into smaller 18” to 24” frames. You might also look at the router bits they build cedar canoes with. These are a concave and a convex 1/4” round bit. Give you more glue area.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4200 days

#4 posted 02-04-2007 05:34 AM

Quote Dennis: ”Maybe if you place your 1/4 inch stock in a frame and let it float I think you would be OK.”

I agree with this approach. It’s the traditional way for panel treatment.

Ellen, do you need to allow for cabling?

It might be advisable to construct the panels so that they can be easily removed from the back to gain access to the DVD, etc. In the entertainment unit that I built recently, I made sure that the back could be removed, and installed large grommet holes through the shelving down into a compartment cover by two doors and out through the back panel. When installed with all of the cabling hooked up, none of this can be seen from the front.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View LeeM's profile


5 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 02-04-2007 06:17 PM

Gluing solid 1/4” to plywood could cause problems. Another consideration besides cable access is airflow to allow electronics to keep cool, especially if there a door. One option is to have 6” wide (or so) openings in the back and then place panels an inch or two in front of these openings, sized to conceal the opening but still allow cables to be run and air to flow.

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