A couple of friends requested I build them an entertainment system that closely mirrors one that they were looking at. My friends planned to use the shelve for their reptile tanks and the originals were not deep or tall enough for the tanks. So that was my task.
First I designed the shelves in Solidworks using the dimensions of the tanks and showed it to my friends/clients to see if it was what they were looking for. I also measured the space the shelves were suppose to go to ensure it wasn’t too big. Below are the pictures of the Solidworks diagram. I also had to consider the size of the television and consulted them to compromise a decent size.
Next I started creating the shelves. I cut the 3/4 inch plywood with my neighbors old circular saw and it did not cut very well and I needed to fill in some gaps between the plywood and the border supports. Later on I picked up a new circular saw and noticed a significant difference in the cuts to the point where I didn’t need the putty. Goes to show that quality tools provide quality results. I still appreciate my neighbor lending me his circular saw.
Each shelf had a gap on all four corners. To fix this I just the the pieces and glued them in. If you decide to do something similar, make sure you have the grain facing the same direction. One thing I would do differently is cut the dado’s for the border supports a little deeper, because the corners weren’t as flush as I wanted them to be.
The biggest hurdle in this project was making sure the shelves were level. Angled slots were cut into the supports. This was my first time exercising nearly all these techniques and cutting the dado’s into the supports for the shelves to sit was probably the most complicated. Hence why I put it off until the end. My solution to this was to cut a piece of wood on the miter saw to the angle I needed. (Finding the angle in Solidworks wasn’t a difficult task.) I then fastened the piece of wood to a sled and carefully cut the dado’s. For the most part all the shelves fit perfectly. There were a few that were too big, but all I had to do was trim them to fit.
These shelves were pretty big and I wanted them to transport or store easy in case the clients moved or wanted to work on space management. I installed threads into the shelves and found some nice flat hex key bolts to fasten them together. The gaps in the the corners caused some problems but a little epoxy helped hold the threaded inserts in place.
Finally began staining the entire thing. This part actually took several days to do and two cans of black satin stain. Getting everything stained was a long and tedious process. Having a spot for everything to dry in my tiny one car garage was the biggest hurdle. In then everything turned out well. My friends were thrilled to get the shelves and have a spot for all their tanks.
The TV stand is still being built. The entire build roughly cost around $300 for the wood, parts and stain.
Hope this project gives you some ideas. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments section.