TV Stand for Entertainment Center

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Project by Bill posted 01-01-2008 08:46 PM 8945 views 10 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My latest project was to build a TV stand to match a customer’s existing entertainment center (the two vertical cabinets in the first picture are the originals, mine is the middle section under the TV). The basic structure was simple, a cabinet that had 2 drawers in the middle, raised panel doors on each end, and a design that matched the existing cabinets. While it seemed simple enough, there were many challenges along the way. However, the end results were worth it.

First, the height and width of the stand was designed to support a 60” tv, so again no real problem. Just simply make a box big enough. But, I went about it a bit differently. I made the base out of poplar, with supports in the middle. Then I attached a piece of plywood on top to make the base of the cabinet. So far so good.

Next, I decided to add internal supports inside the cabinet, and cover the outside with plywood. These inside supports were simple squares, that I attached with screws to the base, and then attached together at the tops to form a box. This would allow me to attach the sides without screws showing, and add extra support for the top. Plus, the top would now have a nice support to attach to as well.

The sections with the doors needed to have sides added to match the existing cabinets. I attached these, again with no screws showing (screwed in from the back side of the plywood through the poplar supports). I elected to skip the back pieces, and proceed with the outside edges.

The next step was to add Red Oak trim around the edges of the sides and back to support the plywood. A little work on the router made this easy enough to complete. Still no major problems, ok, that is a good thing. As this was my first real cabinet job, I thought I was doing pretty well at this point. Ok, now I should know trouble is coming soon.

After the basic cabinet is complete, it is time to begin the front. Again, I use Red Oak to build the front frame. A few minor off measurements, nothing that does not happen to all of us. But, work is still proceeding well. To help move things along, I cut the raised panels for the doors, check for the basic sizes, and then lay the pieces aside (hmm, nothing so far or so I thought). I then continue with the frame, cutting and matching up each section. I build a middle frame to go between the drawers, glue it together and set it aside. Things are still looking good at this point.

I had previously finished the inside of the cabinet before assembly, since it would be difficult to reach. I also did not want to deal with the glue issues, so finish was a good idea. Since it was on the inside, I did not stain it, but simply applied the varnish. Then I notice the color is not the same as the existing cabinets. Ok, so it is inside so it does not really matter. But, the outside will be a problem. So, I head to the local big box store, and pick up some stain. I thought Mission Oak in a very light coat would do. I also have some traditional cherry and golden oak stains, so I should be able to use one of those to make the cabinets match. Hmm, tricky, but it should work. I also pick up the drawer slides and return to work. The rest of the hardware I had ordered online, and was already here.

I built the drawers out of 1/2” thick poplar, with dovetails to match the existing drawers. These came out well., so I proceed with the making the doors. I had cut the rails and stiles ahead of time, and left them a little big for later trimming. The raised panels had been glued up using my Festool Domino to join the boards together. The grains matched really well and I was feeling quite pleased with myself. I cut the raised panels on my table saw, again a nice look. I then start to stain the frame pieces and panels and call it a day.

When I returned, I decided to check the panels against the customer’s existing cabinets. Wow, the stain did not match! Their cabinets had a distinct yellow hue, while the Mission Oak was definitely brown even with the thin coat I applied. Ok, not to worry, I can sand the panels again and then re-stain them and the frame again. I take a small piece from the customer to use as a match, and head back to the shop. I sand all the pieces down again, and then take a scrap piece to dry various stains. None of them match, and mixing the stains is no help either. Finally, I head to the local paint store and have them mix up a special stain to allow this Red Oak to match their existing cabinets. A few hours later, I have a stain that looks like a yellow highlighter. But, they had stained the scrap piece I gave them and showed me it matched. So, back to the shop.

With my new stain in hand, I began on the frame pieces first. It was a bright yellow stain, but with just a light application and much rubbing, it was working. Once the pieces were stained, I proceeded with the cabinet. It was Red Oak plywood, and came out a bit more yellow than with the frame pieces. Some light sanding cured that, and I began applying the finish. Work on the doors stopped while the finish dried.

When I was able to return to the doors, I received another rude surprise. I had cut the panels the right size, but not the right way for the grain. To fit into the rails and stiles, the grain would be running sideways instead of up and down. Ok, so no problem, just make some more panels, recut them, and then finish them.

My second set of raised panels was assembled like the first, with dominos and glue for a set of nicely matched panels. When I cut them to size and the make the raised panels, parts of the domino’s show through. Arrgh, I had not allowed enough space from the ends to the dominos to account for the beveled edge. Ok, so I make a third set of panels, and use biscuits instead. However, I make the same mistake again! The biscuits show through the bevel. On to a fourth set of panels, with biscuits that are places well away from the edges. Finally, the panels come out ok. I stain and finish them, and then assemble the doors. Finally, the cabinet was finished.

Ok, so this was a bit of a long winded story to say I built my first cabinet, matched stain and finish to an existing cabinet set, and then delivered the cabinet a month later than planed. Despite all the challenges, the results were worth it. I am actually looking forward to building more cabinets in the future, just not in quite the same way.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

19 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#1 posted 01-01-2008 09:04 PM

Great job, Bill! Thanks for taking the time to give us all the details.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 3990 days

#2 posted 01-01-2008 09:21 PM

Wow, Bill, that is a beautiful job! Sounds like it was a real learning experiece for you. Glad it all worked out.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 01-01-2008 11:09 PM

Bet you’re glad it’s finally done. Hi-Lighter yellow?! Man, that sounds scary. Glad to see it didn’t really come out so bright.

Another feature I’ve seen that I like, is to drop the bridge down between the cabinets. Gives it a more built-in look as if the cabinet was built for the TV, and eliminates that useless void above the TV set. I cannot figure out also why the original designers would put lights in this bridge. I’ve seen this many times. Who wants to turn on the lights and show off the top of their TV set? Something that would maybe help finish this would be to build another bridge 1” above the TV set (so now you have two bridges) and use the top lights to hi-lite artwork, etc.

Feel like going back? LOL!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3870 days

#4 posted 01-01-2008 11:11 PM

Thanks for the detailed account of the build. It really looks great!

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4157 days

#5 posted 01-01-2008 11:16 PM

Well Dadoo, when I looked at the color I was scared too. But, then I vaguely remember something about the primary colors of red and yellow making brown, so I was less worried. It still took some careful work on my part, but the results came out pretty well. I would have liked to see it about one shade darker on the brown, but no way was I going to mess with that when I saw how close it came out.

Thank you all for the comments.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 01-01-2008 11:16 PM

That came out great, Bill. Great info. I’m in the middle of planning an entertainment centre build for the basement. I’m looking at this one for some ideas.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4157 days

#7 posted 01-01-2008 11:18 PM

Just remember the dimensions of your hallways and doors when building it. Nothing like getting it complete and finding out it will not fit out of your basement.

Good luck and let us know how it goes Tom.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4026 days

#8 posted 01-01-2008 11:35 PM

Nice work Bill,

Matching existing work is difficult, as you have to take into account the effects of the sun and what it will look like in 2 to 3 years time, when the new work has mellowed.

It will get better with experience, pricing and timing are very difficult to get right at the beginning (I know from experience!!!), and the important thing is you got the project done to the customer’s satisfaction. Now get them to tell their friends about you specialist work.

Maybe see you in January? – Tony

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Grumpy's profile


23916 posts in 3847 days

#9 posted 01-01-2008 11:48 PM

Great job Bill

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4088 days

#10 posted 01-02-2008 04:50 AM

Just terrific Bill. I applaud the leap you took from your usual pieces to the scope of something this size… and then pulled it off wonderfully. Great stuff. When you finish something like this I imagine the feeling is that you could do just about anything.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4090 days

#11 posted 01-02-2008 05:10 AM

Great project experience and write-up, Bill.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3873 days

#12 posted 01-02-2008 05:38 AM

Nice looking work Bill.

I meet many buyer, sellers and Realtors in my work and will send them your way. I am asked many times do I know someone who can do this or that.

-- Ron Central, CA

View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 4019 days

#13 posted 01-02-2008 07:10 AM

Great work Bill. The end product speaks for it self.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4062 days

#14 posted 01-02-2008 09:25 AM

Great post and job Bill. Like Mot I am considering building a similar ent. center myself, as well as trying some raised panel doors. Your thorough details as to the mistakes you made will certainly save many of us from repeating them. Good Work.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3984 days

#15 posted 01-02-2008 10:42 AM

That’s awsome! I’m gonna have to make me one.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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