Vintage TV Cabinet Redux





Introduction: Vintage TV Cabinet Redux

About: "Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."

In this instructable I will describe the steps I took to gut the inner workings (or non-workings) of a vintage TV, that was destined for the dump, and converted into a useable cabinet.

Step 1: Gut the Cabinet.

Remove all the ancient electronics from this cabinet.

Some of the pieces you remove may be useful. Keep what you think you will need for this project, or another future project.

I saved the wooden piece that separates the TV from the Speaker enclosure. You'll see what I used it for later.

Step 2: Build the Inside Cabinetry.

This particular cabinet had 4 corner pieces that were held together by 1/4" plywood veneer facing. I chose 3/4" thickness of plywood because this happened to be the depth of the recesses between the cabinet corners.

This project took almost an entire sheet of plywood.

1) From the images in step 1 you can tell that the cabinet does not have a back. I measured the inside opening and cut a piece to fit (I will leave all the mwasurements off this instructable since all TV cabinets have different dimensions).

2) I nailed the new back piece to the two rear verticals.

3) The removal of the front speaker area revealed that I would need to raise the new cabinet "floor" a bit. I used some scrap lumber and made two pieces after I measured the depth and length between the front and rear verticals.

Step 3: Build the Cabinet Floor.

Simple enough. Measure length and width inside the cabinet.

1) I cut this square shape out and notched the two front corners so I could snugly fit it beteen the verticals.

2) Nail the floor sides and front straight down into the base of cabinet. The rear will have to me nailed from the back.

Step 4: Make the Sides

Measure the height and depth of each side. No matter how perfectly "square" you think things from the factory might be it does not hurt to double check.

1) Cut the 2 sides, mark the face that will not be visible so you know which is the better side.

2) I used a shelf system that would allow me to move the shelves to wherever I need them. Cut grooves for this system using a Router or a table saw with Dado blades. If you will not be moving the shelves once installed, than just use two pieces of wood strips as shoulders and nail them to the cabinet sides.

3) I opted to paint the cabinet interior with a satin black. I suggest painting the cabinet sides before installing the shelf system. I also painted the already installed the cabinet back and floor at this time.

Step 5: Install Cabinet Sides

After the paint dries install the cabinet sides. You can apply wood glue to the backs of the cabinet sides before installing. I suggest using Gorilla Glue. This stuff foams up when activated by water and squeezes into every crevasse and making better contact to everything in the vicinity.

I slipped the cabinet sides into their respective sides. I dry fitted them earlier and marked each side with the corresponding L and R, as well as T and B (top and bottom). I then nailed the sides to all four uprights. I positioned the nails diagonally and recessed them.

At this point you can touch up any scrapes and scratches to the paint.

Step 6: Make the Shelves

This was a no brainer. I measured the new depth and width of the cabinet. I then cut sanded and painted 3 shelves. This happened so quickly I didn't have time to take photos.

Step 7: That's It! We're Done.

Figure out where you want the shelves. Install the clips and slide the shelves into the cabinet.

I had some serious ideas for this cabinet. I wanted to turn it into a laptop desk/cell phone charging station/ filing cabinet/etc., etc. But since this was something I made for my mother for Mothers Day I turned it into something she wanted/needed - a simple paperwork hidey-hole to keep all her documents.

For a little but of unintended irony, Mom sits her 32" TV on the top of the cabinet. Maybe I'll put a lazy suzan on the top of this thing so she can position her TV with ease.



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    15 Discussions

    Back in the day (psychedelics) I built and played light shows for bands, I took a console TV and basically did what you did. I took a sheet of plastic prism plastic and cut and glued it together. I replaced the entire front of the console with it. About three inches behind that, I drilled holes in a piece of ply for three strands of Christmas lights, one each in red, yellow and blue. I purchased and built a light organ and had the three circuits hooked up to speaker wiring. Red for high frequency, yellow for mid-range and blue for bass, It really looked wild when I played Inna Gadda Davida.

    1 reply

    I would have gutted it, then put a modern color tube into it, and mount all the button in a panel

    I was thinking about finding the worst of the splits and applying a thin coat of epoxy to them, one of those 5 minute epoxy syringes should do it, i had a picture of it somewhere.(the cabinet i mean)

    I found an old RCA floor radio cabinate and took the guts out and gave the parts to a HAM radio guy i know.Was going to put an aquarium in the top and you would look through the large brass circle the radio dial used to fit in.Sadly i bought it in Kansas when i was in the ARMY at Fort Riley. When i got to idaho the verneer (spelling?) split all over the thing, to dry here in idaho.I haven't tried to mess with that type of thing since, no time. I'll have to keep a look out for one here in Idaho.

    1 reply

    Youy can always apply new veneer on things, although I dont know if it is worth the time, effort and money. You're just going to have to weigh the point of diminishing returns vs. the cool factor.

    Very nice , I redid a old RCA "blond" wood I think it was called stereo years ago for my bother-in-law for his carving tools. (after carving lessons ,maybe one day he will return the tools he borrowed .) Good advice to meddler , try a few projects take your time , think first measure and then measure a few more times and your work will get better

    1 reply

    Once I get my garage/workshop set up the way I want it I will put up a whiteboard with the names of the tools that have been borrowed, along with the date and the name of the borrower. This way there's a not-so-subtle reminder to them that I know they've got stuff I own. Either that or I have to learn to sa NO!

    Nice, iv'e been wanting to do this for a long time but i'm not skilled with wood working so i have been kind of intimidated. I don't have a table saw either.You did a really good job

    2 replies

    you can do it just try, I would have failed 7th grade woodshop but I got a passing grade when I sharpened a plane for a classmate and the teacher said get them all done and I will pass you 125 planes later I got a B

    Thank you. Believe it or not, you can do everything I did with a router, a circular saw, a straight edge (long, straight piece of wood) and a couple of C-clamps. Don't let woodworking intimidate you. Once you get into it it's great fun, and very satisfying to proudly showcase things you've built to your friends and family. Be careful, however, of getting too good as it tends to get you on this "Hey, you're pretty handy. Can you......." trend amongst the people in your life. (This Instructable is a great example of that) Remember, measure twice, cut once.

    Nice job. I found one of those older tv's (larger screen: 27", didn't have doors) with the cabinet and gutted it and placed my 28" in it. The screen frame came out making more room, so I screwed in some boards to frame around it and attached wood contact paper to blend in. I also cut out a section near the bottom to allow access to the controls and placed an old metal speaker cover over it with a hinge.