LumberJocks

Help w/ Design of built in for Newbie. Really, pleae help!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by elroyy posted 09-06-2010 05:54 AM 1038 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View elroyy's profile

elroyy

37 posts in 1476 days


09-06-2010 05:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: built in beginner plywood mdf

Hi, I’m new to lumberjocks membership, though I did research the site thoroughly when my wife bought me a new Ridgid Granite top table saw for Christmas. I have to say that purplelev’s tutorial on assembly was a life saver.

Well, I’ve gone through the summer and have nearly completed all my outdoor projects. I helped a “start at noon” contractor tear off 24 squares of 30 year old masonite siding and replace it with James Hardie Cement Fiber board (pre finished, 7” reveal). The three week job turned into seven weeks and I really learned a lot. Now, I’m trying to focus on getting some indoor projects done. I’m absolutely a novice at this.

My plan is to construct a bookcase/entertainment center across one wall in our living room. The room is 181” wide. My plan is to build a low bookcase (2 shelves) no more than 30” high with a center “console” for lack of a better term, to house audio equipment.

Currently, we have a 50” plasma TV mounted to the wall 80” (to the center of the TV) from the left side of the room. This is based on our furniture layout and movement to the next room. My initial design was to “center” the unit, mounting the TV 90 +/- inches, from the left wall. However, in order to do this, we’d feel the need to move the couch 10” to the left and disrupt the traffic pattern. I remind myself that I’m not only building this for me and my wife, but also for any prospective buyer of the home in the future.

What are your thoughts?

Also, I’m planning on using furniture grade plywood or MDF. Could I get away w/ 1/2” plywood for the box construction? I think if I used MDF I’d have to use 3/4 for rigidity and load bearing for the shelves. Lastly, any suggestions on where to get the best value on furniture grade birch plywood in MO?

Thanks!

-- "Without lethality, it's just a parade."


15 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1853 posts in 2217 days


#1 posted 09-06-2010 03:12 PM

It’s kind of hard to answer all of your questions without a drawing of what you’re trying to achieve. But, with that disclaimer:

I would not use 1/2” for this because it’s too thin to make opposing dadoes.

IMHO MDF cheapens the look, so I wouldn’t use it. In the big picture you don’t really save that much money considering all the time you will spend building and finishing the project.

I’d use plywood with use a solid wood face frame, and Edge the shelves with solid wood. If you make the edging 1 inch wide it gives the illusion that the shelves are 1 inch thick, plus makes them super strong so they won’t sag if heavily loaded.

I’d go to a small lumberyard and ask them if they would special order your stuff. There is a top notch purveyor of hardwoods in Branson called UTC Harwoods. Don’t know if they sell plywood, but you could call them and see if they know who to call.

-- Joe

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2875 days


#2 posted 09-06-2010 03:37 PM

Definitely center the unit to the wall. Moving furniture to suit your TV placement, or just living with the TV being slightly off-center to your furniture arrangement is a much better alternative. Placing the TV area off-center on the wall will just not look right, IMO. Radically off center might be okay, but 10” off center will look like an accident.

I agree with Joe… stick to 3/4” ply.

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

View elroyy's profile

elroyy

37 posts in 1476 days


#3 posted 09-06-2010 07:47 PM

Photobucket

Photobucket

Thanks very much guys. The wife agrees, after some convincing, that “centered” in the room is best. I’ve got a pic of the room as it is now, and a bitmap of a “graphit” initial sketch of what I’ve got in mind. The book case portions, left and right, will be 3’2” wide and 26” tall (conting the base/kickplate) and the center portion (audio center) will be 24” wide and about 26” deep. I’m not sure whether to put a false back in the bookshelves so that it’s flush on the front all the way across or to have the center portion stand out from the bookshelves. Ideas”

Again, thanks for the feedback!

-- "Without lethality, it's just a parade."

View elroyy's profile

elroyy

37 posts in 1476 days


#4 posted 09-06-2010 07:51 PM

OK, I’m not smart enough to get the whole pic. Will try again…

-- "Without lethality, it's just a parade."

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4524 posts in 1731 days


#5 posted 09-06-2010 11:17 PM

I’ll second everything Joe & Charley said and add this.

You did not say how you are going to finish this. If you are going to paint it, you can get by with plywood that is just smooth and sanded on one side and you can use just about any solid lumber for framing. Personally, I would not use pine – but that’s just me.

If you want it to have a wood look, you can buy hardwood plywood in oak and a few other woods and buy the solid lumber to match. Then you can finish with any stain and finish you like. FYI – hardwood plywood (like oak) is structurally the same, but it has a thin veneer of oak on each side. Do not sand it very much, if any. You can sand through that veneer very quickly.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2875 days


#6 posted 09-07-2010 01:24 AM

I would let the center stand out from the bookcases.. that’s pretty standard. I think your idea about bringing the book shelves out flush with the front of the TV section would look perfectly fine…. it’s just that you’d be needlessly sacrificing square footage from your room, IMO.

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

View MOJOE's profile

MOJOE

547 posts in 1925 days


#7 posted 09-11-2010 04:52 AM

I would go the the ply also, unless you plan is to paint to match your trim….in this case, MDF will work, but you may have to take stability into account a little more. I would also center your TV, as a 10” offset would make things look unbalances. As far as lumber, a smaller supplier would probably be the best bet, but you may also take a quite look at a homecenter…...here in KC, some of our homecenters get some of their lumber through one of our local hardwood dealers, and it is pretty nice.

-- Measuring twice and cutting once only works if you read the tape correctly!

View elroyy's profile

elroyy

37 posts in 1476 days


#8 posted 09-15-2010 03:40 AM

Guys, Thanks so much for your input. I actually found a local supplier who’ll sell me cabinet grade birch ply for $38/sheet. I thought that was pretty good, considering the blue store just raised the price to $48. I did notice that Rockler has it on sale for $29, but it’s 100 miles away, I only need 3 sheets, and I really like this guy. He’s also going to mill my poplar face frames for me. It’s amazing the wood he has! He told me he’d make me a really good deal on 8/4 black walnut, as it’s in his way, but I’ve got no use for 12ft black walnut, or any length for that matter. Again, thanks and I’ll put up some pics when I get started.

Jeff

-- "Without lethality, it's just a parade."

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

1715 posts in 1765 days


#9 posted 09-15-2010 03:50 AM

Use extreme caution for birch ply at that price, that price just ain’t right. Do some more looking. My experience with that is, I was happy I screwed it to 2-by-4s, because anything else would have warped, as well. I had to clamp it to the boards to get the screws in, since I had it in the garage for a week before I started.

View Claymation's profile

Claymation

165 posts in 1472 days


#10 posted 09-15-2010 04:19 AM

Since you are a self described “novice at this,” make it a painted cabinet. If you start with an unpainted unit, the lessons you learn will be a lot more expensive! MDF for shelves is a bad idea; no load bearing capacity unless you frame the shelf with a solid wood lip. Even 3/4 ply may need to be doubled up if the shelf run is long. Use 3/4 birch for the sides; 1/2 birch for the back. I would recommend not putting your shelving in all lined up horizontally, as you have drawn; it’s too plain and makes it look “flat.”

Download and install Google SketchUp v8 and then apply the “Cut List” plug in. It’s one of the BEST free tools around. Perfect for what you’re getting ready to do. Then spend a week or two drawing it up in SU.

If you’re going to put in adjustable shelves, make and use this jig: http://www.woodworking.org/WC/GArchive99/4_23holejig.html
I built this jig a year or so ago and have use the hell out of it. Holes align perfectly EVERY time.

Good luck! Post your progress.

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

1715 posts in 1765 days


#11 posted 09-15-2010 04:31 AM

After seeing Claymation’s input, I recall that birch plywood in this price range is paint grade…paint it is, in my recommendation, as well.

View elroyy's profile

elroyy

37 posts in 1476 days


#12 posted 09-15-2010 05:16 AM

Thanks very much for the input. I am going to stick w/ the $38/sheet birch ply that’s local and yes, I am going to paint it. That’s been my intent from the start, apologies for not making it more clear. Semi gloss white and, for a first project, putty is my buddy! :)

-- "Without lethality, it's just a parade."

View elroyy's profile

elroyy

37 posts in 1476 days


#13 posted 09-15-2010 05:18 AM

And…. thanks claymation. However, I’m going to go with fixed shelves, dadoed into the sides, and will use 3/4 ply w/ 3/4 or 1” poplar face frames. Shelf runs will not be more than 30” so I think I’m ok, with face frames, in regard to sag.

I’m learning guys, thanks for helping me find my way!

-- "Without lethality, it's just a parade."

View Rick's profile

Rick

6454 posts in 1689 days


#14 posted 09-15-2010 11:08 AM

Hey Elroy:

Just another quick little tip regarding your Pictures. The Living Room Picture is in your PhotBucket Album at 1024×576 pixels. That will OVERFILL my entire Computer Screen. The drawing Pic is 961×721 pixels that will fill a 15” Computer Screen.

So you can either UPLOAD them INTO PhotoBucket at a smaller size by choosing “other options” just before loading them from Your Computer and selecting “Large”, from their choices which is 640×450 pixels (Size I use for here) ......OR You can Resize the ones you have in there through “Edit” and downsize them to that size, before loading them into here.

Rick

-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

View Claymation's profile

Claymation

165 posts in 1472 days


#15 posted 09-15-2010 09:08 PM

FWIW, I was searching through the online SketchUp drawings (all free) and ran across this. Not what you’re wanting, but this is the type of thing SU can do for you and there’s prob already unit close to what you need that can be mod’ed:

Photobucket

-- Clay (Master Kindler) ~ Central VA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase