custom entertainment center

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Project by Mike Shea posted 03-05-2008 07:48 PM 1928 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first big job. i finished it last week. since i have had several requests for custom comissions. now i spend time in my shop just as i did before except i am making money while i have fun. it is truly a dream come true.
this is a cherry entertainment center with raised panel doors. it is still unfinished. i was saposed to do the finish until i found out what it was that he wanted. a dark dark red/brown fake looking finish with a thick layer of glass like laquer. he should have just done it in a maple or something a little less expensive but some costumers just dont understand the naturaul beauty of the wood. anyways i told him i was uncomfortable aplying the finish he was after. i am by no means a proffesional finisher and i could use allot of help in that field. i found him someone else to do the finish. i got home and emediatly sighned up for a finishing class. i start that next month and i hope i can learn from it.

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

12 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3957 days

#1 posted 03-05-2008 08:06 PM

Very nice looking. You did a great job on the trim.

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

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4020 days

#2 posted 03-05-2008 08:15 PM

Nice work and have fun in the finishig class.

-- Hope Never fails

View Bill Butler's profile

Bill Butler

74 posts in 3732 days

#3 posted 03-05-2008 08:47 PM

I really like the workmanship.

An interesting comment about the finish. I have just procured a ton of cherry (literally #1900) to build among other things new office furniture for a space my wife and I will share.

I have always enjoyed that reddish finish that seems to be popular with commercially produced cherry products, and was planning the same for my projects. I would agree that the agressive lacquer layer might turn it into a hideous beast and would lean toward a more satin oriented finish such as something hand-rubbed or a satin-poly.

Is this a can of worms I am opening up or am I misspoken, if I were to suggest that some people might revel in the grain pattern of particular woods as opposed to its coloration?

In what I have done so far I found that I prefer to keep highly figured woods like oak close to if not in their natural color. Cherry seems to be more subtle in my mind and benefits from a darker stain that could possibly bring out/emphasize more character in the wood.


View Mike Shea's profile

Mike Shea

152 posts in 3963 days

#4 posted 03-05-2008 08:49 PM

oh im looking foward to the class alright. ;-) its unbelievable how much crap is involved with finishing. but all that crap will benifit my carreer. if it was up to me i would finish everything with tung oil, linseed oil, shellac and wax.

-- i can do all things through christ who strengthens me

View gbear's profile


512 posts in 4068 days

#5 posted 03-05-2008 09:12 PM

Very nice work Mike…I’m with you regarding finishing!!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View woodentiger's profile


14 posts in 3710 days

#6 posted 03-05-2008 09:54 PM

very nice job mike its a great feeling when you finish and it turns out looking good doesent it?

-- Terry,SARTEL,MN

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4187 days

#7 posted 03-05-2008 10:50 PM

Great job, Mike.

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3791 days

#8 posted 03-05-2008 11:42 PM


This is a very nice piece of furniture. The molding and raised panels are nice details to the piece. I agree with you about the finish. Cherry looks bests, at least in my opinion, with an oil base and a varnish top coat. Let it achieve its own patina. At times we work too hard to imitate nature. If we just use patience with cherry it will develop a gorgeous color all on its own.

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

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3743 days

#9 posted 03-06-2008 12:21 AM

Hi Mike

Great job on the cabinet. A finish can either make or break a cabinet job. Good for you in wanting to take a class, but time will be your best teacher. I used to laugh when the big boss from DeMoines would come for a visit. He could not under stand why the oak boards in most of our furniture did not look the same color. Most of our furniture was lightly stained or natural. Your talking 1000 of pieces in one production run. Then he would ask my finish forman what we could do. The finish forman would say “Paint them black”. Wrong answer!
Keep up the good work.


-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Critterman's profile


599 posts in 3779 days

#10 posted 03-10-2008 02:24 PM

Hey Mike,

I really, really like this design. Sunk into the wall like this is a great way to save floor space. Can you provide more details on the construction? Like sizes, pull out shelves, how do they get to the equipment, etc. I’m very interested. It looks fantastic.

Finish, the best advice I’ve found is to use scraps from the project and do test pieces. Taunton’s book by Jeff Jewett is the best book I’ve found for explaining the process of finishing. You might try that. And I agree, it would be a shame to block it out with a really dark finish, but you’ve got to give them what they want. Not sure if you can get to this but Andy Rae has a really nice formula for cherry . If you can’t get to it let me know (send me your e-mail address) and I’ll try to e-mail it to you. Hope it helps.

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3903 days

#11 posted 03-11-2008 02:21 AM

That’s a great built-in! I wouldn’t have wanted to cover it up with anything too heavy, either. But the customer is always right, I guess, as long as they’re paying the bill!

-- Robb

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3844 days

#12 posted 03-11-2008 10:36 AM

Nicely done. I don’t get some people’s ideas on finish, either. I want to see the grain of the wood.

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