The evolution of a project

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Blog entry by Greg Wurst posted 01-07-2008 01:25 AM 1757 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the first things I did here after finding this site was to post a project I had designed in Sketchup for a new TV stand to match my entertainment center. You can find the original forum post here:

I thought it might be interesting if I detailed the evolution of this project to show how listening to good advice can drastically change the way you have something originally designed. We had a large 65” TV we were going to replace with a newer 65” DLP set which would not have the large base the old set had. As such, I needed to create a matching TV stand with DVD storage to put the new TV on. Here is a picture of the old setup:

I drew-up a plan in Sketchup and created a render and liked the way it looked:

My original plan was to base the structure around a 2×4 skeleton with 3/4” oak play for the top and sides and 3/4” oak for the face frame and false fronts:

It was suggested that I was putting way more effort than needed into creating the base structure, and that the 3/4” Ply would be more than sufficient to support the structure with a center support. I then redesigned the project in Sketchup to reflect my new thinking:

Since I planned to leave the top and back off until the last part of construction a valid concern about racking of the cabinet was made. That, combined with the fact that the base would be open and the carpet potentially viewable with the drawers open led to yet another redesign with modified corner blocks, back braces, and floor boards. I also put-in the sticks in the rear to catch the back of the drawer slides:

Reasonably comfortable with the design, I moved-on to trying to match the drawer construction on the original unit:

I posted another thread asking about finding a router bit set that would match this profile. It was suggested that it was probably made using stacked bits on a shaper, so I decided I’d try to replicate it using several router bits and created a test piece:

At this point I exploded the drawings and used the dimensioning tools to get the exact measurements for the wood needed and created a material list in Excel. The, I used Sketchup to create cutting diagrams for the boards and sheet goods:

After gathering the needed material it was on to construction. Total construction time was about 40 hours over the week before Christmas. Pretty-much everything on the cabinet itself was assembled with pocket holes and glue, which made the entire project very easy. I even mounted the trim piece on the top with pocket holes before attaching it to the base. You can see the basic construction in the following photos:

The top was sufficiently sturdy enough that I did not use the top corner braces I had originally designed. It was more than capable of supporting my weight, much less an 85lb TV.

The doors had to be individually adjusted and are designed to only fit in one location. To attach the false fronts I turned the cabinet on its back and inserted the MDF drawers. I then lined-up the fronts and drilled the center hole for the knobs into the drawers. I then attached the knobs and turned the cabinet right-side up and drilled two more holes in the upper corners to hold the fronts in the correct positions:

Overall the project turned-out very well. The main towers aren’t currently perfectly square (I didn’t feel like unloading them to move them slightly), so the cabinet is a little tight at the back. The cabinet also doesn’t sink into the carpet as much as the towers, so the front trim isn’t flush. Otherwise, I think it matches very well:

The advice garnered here was invaluable in getting this project done in an efficient manner while still looking good and being structurally sound. I didn’t necessarily follow every piece of advice; since I stuck with the MDF drawers instead of going with a plywood or better material. If the MDF became a problem i could always redo the drawers later. However, by being open to new ideas I was able to save myself a lot of time and effort and still produce a nice product. I’d like to thank this community for its help and support.

As one final note, I wasn’t satisfied with the color match of the cabinet so I’m in the process of stripping it down and refinishing it again as we speak. I was in a hurry to get it done and in use, but now I’m going to be taking even more time to get it done correctly. Just a bit of advice that it’s always easier to do something right the first time then it is to do it again!

Greg Wurst

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3786 days

#1 posted 01-07-2008 03:02 AM


This is absolutely gorgeous (both the entertainment center and the tv, as well). I admire your attention to detail throughout the project. Your Sketch-up skills are pretty impressive too. I have requests for two of these units for large screen tvs from my wife and son (of course everyone in the family thinks I should be able to build things with the same quality and as quickly as Norm does. All I hear is why can’t you build that?). I hope you don’t mind providing some constructive advice when (or is it if) I get around to putting them on my to-to list.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#2 posted 01-07-2008 03:21 AM

Great looking cabinet. The colors match pretty good. it might just be aging that has caused the differences in the color tone.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3763 days

#3 posted 01-07-2008 03:53 AM

I think that it looks great.. And had clear function. Nice job.

-- making sawdust....

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3838 days

#4 posted 01-07-2008 04:27 AM

My hat is off to you. That is a nice piece. I wish I could get a handle on SketchUp.

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3782 days

#5 posted 01-07-2008 05:06 AM

Before you put effort into stripping such a nice job, consider that oak will melllow to a more golden color over time. It may reach the same color as the existing cabinets. Then you can say that you had planned this all along.

-- Thuan

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

794 posts in 3796 days

#6 posted 01-07-2008 05:38 AM

The photo makes it look a lot closer than it is. The cabinets have a lot of red but the base I built was a very light golden oak (sanding sealer does a great job of stopping stain absorption). I’ve found the correct color (as close as I could get it) and should have it done in a few days.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 3777 days

#7 posted 01-07-2008 02:41 PM


-- Jiri

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#8 posted 01-07-2008 03:13 PM

Boy talk about building a plan and sticking to it!
This is a good example of many for us that start with a sketch and end up in cabinet hell.
The finishing looks very good too.
Good on you for doing the right way.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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