Kind of Crappy Entertainment Center

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Project by lumberjoe posted 05-22-2012 06:47 PM 3094 views 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As usual, hash criticism welcomed! First off, i will say this is my best project to date. I am kind of impressed it came together at all. This is made from ambrosia maple, and is solid ambrosia maple, except for the back, which is 1/2 maple ply. I had a very limited supply of wood, so mistakes were not an option – although there are quite a few.The wood is beautiful, but hidden under medium walnut danish oil thanks to my customer (wife). It is very figured in parts. The top has birdseye in it. There is also a lot of worm holes and what look like deep scratches from the beetles. Instead of trying to hide them I accented them and used the pieces in the trim under the top. Looks terrible in pictures but cool in person

What I don’t likeThe design. My design had a more substantial base that sort of resembled the top, and made the entire piece about 6” taller. My wife didn’t like it, therefore the overlap on the top and sides is way more than I would have liked

The color of finish. This wood was absolutely stunning. Now, not so much. I don’t like the color of the finish, but the quality of the finish came out really nice. 5 coats of danish oil, sanding inbetween and 3 coats of minwax fine finish wax

the mistakes The shelves aren’t perfectly flush with the face frame in parts. the molding on one side didn’t stay put when i glued it and is out from the side about 1/16”. It had already set by the time I noticed and I couldn’t fix it

What I do like
Well, it’s square, it’s flat, and it’s sturdy. It probably weighs about 60 lbs. I like the cove profile on the top with the ogee under it. Looks really nice in person. Every cut (except the profile on the top and the trim) was done on my new table saw. I didn’t use a miter or circular saw at all. Man, what a difference a decent table saw makes in speed and accuracy.

So here is another learning experience on showcase in my bedroom. hopefully one day when I am good at this, I can get a good chuckle out of it

Also don’t mind the floors in the picture. We just refinished our 3rd floor into a master bedroom. These hardwoods were under piles of crap. I bet the finish is from when the house was built in 1896.


23 comments so far

View Michael Wilson's profile

Michael Wilson

588 posts in 2688 days

#1 posted 05-22-2012 07:14 PM

I don’t know, I’d say you’re being too hard on yourself. Yes, I’ll concede the finish color wasn’t a marked improvement. But I’d be satisfied and crack open a cold one in celebration of having made that.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#2 posted 05-22-2012 08:32 PM

I wanted it to look like this:

That is natural danish oil (and only one coat for proof of concept)

There is a lot of different colors in this wood and it would have come out a lot nicer.


View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2446 days

#3 posted 05-22-2012 08:55 PM

If I can make a suggestion, building your face frame to include the shelf and support/divider. The you can pocket screw the shelf ( cut down to account for face frame depth) to the face frame and pin nail and glue the support/divider to the shelf and face frame.
This would ensure the front of the cabinet is flush. Doing it this way allows you to use veneered plywood for the shelves. It would be also much easier to add drawers or doors if you wanted.
Il like the finish and wood grain looks great.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#4 posted 05-22-2012 09:04 PM

If you can tell, MY design did call for two side-by-side drawers on the bottom. For some reason, my wife HATES drawers. The divider is in the face frame and I did use pocket screws to attach the shelves to the face frame. I did it upside down though and thought I got it right. When I flipped it over I realized it was off by a tiny amount in one corner, and it’s the opposite corner on each shelf. The pin nails would have been a huge help and I actually have a pin nailer! Oh well, next time. Thanks for the tip!

The face frame:


View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2682 days

#5 posted 05-22-2012 09:27 PM

The only thing I have to say is, next time don’t let your wife dictate the finish. That maple would’ve been beautiful were it not for the extra color messing it up.

If she objects, you can tell her that some guy on the Internet says she’s wrong.

-- Brian Timmons -

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#6 posted 05-22-2012 09:59 PM

Brian, trust me, I slept on the couch for a few nights. I even suggested using some plain old soft maple, but she insisted on this look. Slapping on that medium walnut watco was physically painful.


View wookie's profile


154 posts in 3281 days

#7 posted 05-22-2012 10:15 PM

Looks damn good to me!

-- Wookie=Wood Rookie

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3166 days

#8 posted 05-22-2012 11:32 PM

I wouldn’t call that crappy at all. I think you did a good job, you should be proud of your achievement. The omission of the base does give it a slightly unconventional look, but I only noticed that because you pointed it out. It doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb or detract from what is essentially a nice, well proportioned piece.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3120 days

#9 posted 05-22-2012 11:53 PM

We tend to be our own worst critics.
Start storing your shoes in the two drawer spaces and wifey will see the error of her ways(that or beat you up)
You gained valuable experience on this build and the next one will go better,that’s the way we learn.
Bottom line….is mommie satisfied? If she is, you have a family heirloom on you hands.

-- Life is good.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3774 days

#10 posted 05-22-2012 11:57 PM

You gave it your best shot and did pretty darn well in my opinion. Perfection is something to reach for but seldom achieved, at least in my projects. Your best to view this build and finishing as a learning experience as every project is.
You did what thousands of people don’t do you pressed forward and gave it a shot ,many others are out thinking about a project but have never got started.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View KevinWelp's profile


17 posts in 2498 days

#11 posted 05-23-2012 12:55 AM

Don’t be to hard on your self, it looks good to me, it’s square and made of wood, and will hold a tv just fine. I personally build a lot of ugly things, but they function, that’s what matters most to me. Best part is, you get to try again some day, it’s only wood!

-- Kevin - Rochester, MN

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#12 posted 05-23-2012 01:21 AM

I will say I am a little pleased with the way it came together. Joinery is starting to make a lot more sense to me. Also I followed my blueprints to a T and didn’t cut stuff short to hide or cope with mistakes. I am still really new to this (about 6 months) and I did cut every line, curve and profile myself, so I guess there is something to that. I am disappointed because my design was much nicer and I got overruled by my lovely wife with horrible taste :) I am also disappointed because I had to slop on medium walnut color over beautiful, VERY figured bridseye ambrosia maple. If you look at a close up of the front, it looks to have some tiger maple in it as well. It is solid, I will say that. I just had much higher hopes.


View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#13 posted 05-23-2012 01:38 AM

Jonathan, funny you should notice that as it is one of the mistakes. As I mentioned this is about 6” shorter than the design. I had to alter the face frame to accommodate. Since I was just about done when the boss changed my plans, I did’t have enough ambrosia left to do it right (as you described). That was originally the bottom and hidden by molding. I had to make it work, so I chopped it, flipped it, and reassembled it.


View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#14 posted 05-23-2012 02:02 AM

End grain is a dirty word for me. I did show it in the top, because I chopped it down a bit with a cove, and the spalting goes all the way through. I also sand it down to 600, working though all the grits, before finishing. I didn’t even realize I left end grain until I put finish on. There was an utterance of some very foul words at an excessive volume when the finish it it.

Another thing I like is the finish, while it is a sucky color and looks really uneven due to the figure in the ambrosia, is extremely smooth and even. I actually pre-finished every piece before assembly, taping off where glue meets wood, then sanding any finish that made it under the tape. I’m not sure if that is the standard or even desired practice, but that worked really well for me. No runs in the corners,no missed spots, no drips, even distribution, and most importantly, I am a sloppy gluer. The squeeze out doesn’t stick to finish, so clean up was easy.


View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8548 posts in 2526 days

#15 posted 05-23-2012 02:12 AM

I think you did a good job….

Don’t be so ard on yourself

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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