|Project by BrockF||posted 02-23-2015 04:21 PM||1063 views||1 time favorited||1 comment|
Greetings friends. A brutally cold February here in Chicago-land, but perfect for a an easy indoor project. I have a 32 inch LCD flatscreen TV that sat on it’s base in one room of my house. That spot was wired for power and internet. We decided to switch rooms around and make the family room a dining room and the dining room into the family room. Unfortunately this meant finding a way to wall mount the tv and run power and internet to it as well. I imagine this project is very common but it can be frustrating.
First of all, the tv weighs 25 pounds so it has to be very securely mounted to the wall. I have kids and while they are plenty old enough to know not to touch the television, it is best to make things accident proof.
Secondly, flat screen mounts can become very expensive, and even when they are not they can be difficult to install. The hardware is often on the skimpy side and there is nothing worse than driving in a lag bolt or screw and having it strip out half way in to a 55 year old 2×4.
Third, you really need to anchor these things in wall studs. I wound never dream of using mollies in dry wall even though the kit comes with them.
Fourth, the size of the mount is frequently smaller than stud spacing of 16 inches, for reasons I do not understand or comprehend. What are you going to do with 9 inches?? The instructions call for the two included sub standard lags to go into one stud, but if that stud is not even close to on center with where the TV needs to be positioned on the wall, you are out of luck.
Finally, it turns out they built these ranch homes often with interior walls that used smaller dimensional lumber than 2×4s which are 3 1/2 inches thick. Maybe 3 inches at most. That of course makes for all kinds of fun times.
So I did some online shopping and ended up going to Menards which has a decent selection of mounts for reasonable prices, all be it with the above referenced limitations. I did seriously consider making a mount just out of wood, but for reasons beyond the scope of this discussion time was an issue. It is also really stinking cold outside and the shop is mostly in hibernation right now. So I improvised.
The mount was $22 and offers a fair degree of adjustibility and even tilt up and down, along with easy mounting and unmounting of the TV itself. I picked up a 4 foot poplar board and a couple of spax power lags, along with nuts and bolts. I had already figured out where the studs were (I drilled a bunch of small holes in the wall) and marked everything up for center and level. Next I endured a few minutes of cold to cut the board down to 40 inches. This would allow it to cross three studs as well as providing a firm place to anchor wall mounted speakers just to each side of the TV. Then I clamped on the mount to serve as a template and marked all the holes to be drilled.
Next, I drilled the through holes on the front side. On the reverse, I used my forstner bits to counterbore the back of the holes deep enough for washers and the bolt heads. My plan was to basically embed the bolts in small recesses with the board flush against the wall, and the protruding threaded ends sticking out for the mount to go on. That finished, I bolted on the steel mount, and then carefully attached the whole thing to the wall. Each end of the board got two power lags all the way through into a stud, and I placed another all the way through the mount and wood into the stud in the center. I am sure I could climb on it and it would not budge. Some might say over kill, but I say the notion of flimsy stuff on my walls around kids is a total no go.
After that, putting the TV itself on was a 10 seconds and highly anti climatic. Except that then I had to take it off to mark and cut the location for all the wiring and cables now that the mount was in place. Frustratingly, that took several hours over the next three days and was neither fun nor easy…but I did learn the value of how to fish cables the right way.
So I suppose this is a hybrid project that some might consider short on actual woodworking, but I would disagree. There was sawdust and marking and drilling, and a simple board made it possible to not only save money but achieve fast, functional results. And I love watching TV where I can now sit and watch out the window and be nosy at the same time. To me this is easy, practical woodworking at its best.