I know folks have converted these old cabinets into many different things -- storage cabinets, aquariums, sterio cabinets, and such, but I wanted it to still function as a television. I figured it would be neat to watch old movies on a vintage looking tv, so I decided to gut this cabinet and place a more modern television inside. This turned out to be a fairly simple project, and was completed in one afternoon.
The supplies I used included:
- 3 feet of 2x6 lumber
- 1 small older tv that I already had
- an RF modulator (so I could hook a dvd player to the tv)
- miscellanous pieces of scrap wood
- hot glue
- wood screws
- cleaners & disinfectants
- various scratch removers
Tools required were:
- electric drill & bit
- skill saw
- hot glue gun
Step 1: Disassemble the Beast
Removing the chassis was easy. I took off the remaining knob (it was missing all the others), removed the back, removed four bolts from underneath the cabinet, unplugged the speaker, and slid this 50 pound beast out onto the floor (photo 1). I cleaned out about a pound of rat droppings from the case, then cleaned the inside with disinfectant.
With the chassis removed, I now had basically a hollow box (photo 2).
I then removed the four screws holding the speaker and the four screws holding the front lens and began attacking the outside of the case with cleaners and scratch removers. The top and sides of the case were made from some sort of printed masonite, so a full refinish was not an option. Before working on the scratches, of course, I first had to remove the dog (photo 3)....
Step 2: Reassembling the Case
Step 3: Upgrading the Electronics
In the same room that this old tv would eventually go in, I already had a small television. I measured the television for overall size AND measured the screen, and found that the television would fit inside AND the television's screen was the perfect size to cover the lens in this old tv. Now I had a better plan!
After some careful measurements, I saw that I would need to raise the television exactly 1.75 inches from the bottom of the cabinet. I used some scrap 2x6 boards and screwed them to the bottom of cabinet on the inside (photo 1). A 2 inch thick piece of planed lumber just happens to be 1.75 inches thick.
Next, I placed the television inside the cabinet, and carefully adjusted it to align it with the lens on the old tv cabinet (photo 2). Once perfectly aligned, I hot glued some scrap pieces of wood in place to prevent the tv from slipping from its position (photos 3 & 4).
Step 4: Updating an Old Tv Inside an Old Tv Cabinet
I used my "universal mounting system" (hot glue) to secure the RF modulator to the floor of the cabinet.
Step 5: Done!
Using a tv inside this old cabinet kept things pretty simple, particularly from a controls standpoint. I didn't have to worry about re-routing any of the tv's controls, because everything can be done through the tv's existing remote. The infrared signal is picked up through the tv's original lens,so I didn't have to add a window over the IR sensor.
Dummy knobs were fabricated from some wood turnings and wooden discs, and were glued to the front to hide the holes where the original knobs were located.
I hooked up a dvd player to the RF modulator and hid the dvd player under the skirt of this table, and the dvd remote seems to work fine through the fabric. Since this television will only be used for dvd movies, I probably won't hook this tv up to my cable system, but I did add the old rabbit ears at the top (bought for $1 at an estate sale). To me they sort of complete the look.
This was a fun little project, and because I just happened to have a television that fit inside the old cabinet, it was completed in an afternoon.