12 Piece Entertainment Center
Designed and Built by:
The 12 piece entertainment center can keep things organized and out of the way while still easily accessible. It takes a bit of an investment of both time and money but serves a great purpose. A few of the shelves can be removed giving your space a taller feel yet it sits less than one foot from the wall. I haven't tested how much weight each shelf can hold, but strength and natural color will depend more on the materials you choose for your project.
Not every step of this Instructable is required and if you decide to pass on a few options, you can build the entire entertainment center like a puzzle without a single screw or bolt. Each of the 6 steps are covered below but be sure to check out the guide and video for additional tips and details.
Step 2: Mark Cuts
Marking your cuts is very important. Using the size guide on the left and the dimensions in the upper right image will give you a good place to start for each cut but feel free to be flexible on the distance between cuts according to what you plan to keep on each shelf.
Once finished, each piece of the center will “lock” into another piece so you must be very careful when marking the cuts.
Step 3: Cut
The image on the left is a geat example of a bad cut. Make sure each side of the board is even and smooth. Otherwise, you will have a very difficult time locking the pieces together. The cut shown is actually on the shelf that holds the TV and gives the power/cables etc, a place to nest without causing a gap between the center and the wall. The image on the right serves a similar purpose but on the ground.
Making the cuts is as important as marking the cuts but more dangerous. It’s not a bad idea to have a few extra pieces of wood on hand before you get going in case you miss the line once or twice.
How to cut wood:http://www.wikihow.com/Cut-Wood-Using-Various-Power-Tools
Step 4: Sand
The sanding stage is also very important. Every step of the process is very important. You want to make sure that each board is smooth when you run your hand down it lengthwise. Fray pieces, splinters, etc, may not affect the function of the center but it won’t look as nice. Use sandpaper to get into the tight corners and remember, each piece has to lock together when finished so the smoother the better.
You may want to create a template piece you can use to test each cut.
How to sand wood:http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/rules_for_sanding_wood
Step 5: Stain and Seal
The staining and sealing process is where you will have to practice patience. You don’t have to do these steps but they will keep your center standing stronger longer. The color of the stain is up to you. If you buy yourself some nice wood, you may not want to stain. If you do stain, I recommend staining each piece 1-2 times depending on the end color you are going for. I recommend at least 2 coats of sealant so your center will last longer and have a more finished appearance. Make sure you give the wood plenty of time to dry between each coat. 1 day at least!
TIP – The color you choose is permanent. You can try to go a bit darker but it's not good to mix colors and you can never go a shade lighter once stained.
Step 6: Assemble
To assemble the center, start by having a few friends hold the 4 vertical pillars in place while you and another friend carefully slide each shelf into place starting with the bottom then top shelves, then the middle shelves, then the smaller shelves.
You should be able to assemble all pieces with nothing more than a few love taps. If you have to bust out the hammer, you might never get the center apart and will probably damage the wood or your walls.
Step 7: Optional Assembly Steps
Use the power drill to pre-drill 6 holes in the wall under the center shelf. Use “L” brackets as guides. Insert the drywall anchors. Pre-drill holes in the center shelf then use the nuts and bolts to attach each bracket to the center shelf. Then attach each “L” bracket to the wall. Doing this will pull the entertainment center tightly against the wall adding stability. Do all of this before you place anything on the shelf. Make sure the brackets are firmly in place, especially if you plan to place something heavy on there.
If you are placing a TV in the middle of the center, it may be best to mount the TV to the wall. Most TVs these days have a place for you to attach support on the back. There are a lot of earthquakes where I live so I attached rock climbing rope and a few hooks to the back of my TV, then attached that to the wall with an anchor. No guarantees, but much better than nothing.