Introduction: Old Fireplace, New Record Storage Console!

About: I've been a tinker my whole life, so I quit my day job when I graduated from business school and now I run a flat-packed furniture company out of Baltimore, MD.

I built this record player/media console to turn our non-working fireplace into a more functional home! In our tiny 400 sf apartment, my girlfriend and I really struggle to fit all of our belongings into such a small space. This media console has given us a place to store our records, shoes, books, plants and other trinkets easily. Follow along with my steps to create your own :)

  • Tools
    • ⅛” or ¼” spiral upcut bit
    • CNC Router
    • Fusion 360 or similar modeling program
    • Orbital sander
    • Edge banding iron (optional)
    • Hammerdrill and drill bit
    • Orbital Sander
    • If you’re not using a CNC…
      • Jigsaw + Blades
      • Cardboard, Markers and utility knife
      • Circular Saw/ Miter Saw / Table saw
  • Materials
    • 4’ x 8’ plywood
    • Edgebanding (optional)
    • Rags
    • Wipe on Polyurethane
    • 120, 240 grit sandpaper
    • 2” concrete anchor screws

Step 1: Measure Fireplace Opening

Measure your empty fireplace to find multiple dimensions, including but not limited to height and width of the opening and back to find any changes in dimension and angle. Be sure to check for any molding or any other problems that could interfere with your built in cabinet.

Step 2: Model/Sketch

Create a digital model of your fireplace and media storage unit using Fusion 360 or Sketchup, be sure to check the tutorials section of Instructables for basics on Fusion 360. If you are uncomfortable using modeling software, you can surely sketch your design using pen and paper!

Here is the link to my design, feel free to download for use in Fusion 360 or Sketchup to make adjustments of your own.

Step 3: CNC Cut Your Pieces

For this build I used a 4’ x 8’ CNC that was located in a local makerspace, search for a makerspace in your area to get started with classes on how to operate the machinery. Also, look into the online classes located on Instructables site!
If your dimensions are very similar, feel free to use my file and rout using the flat DXF component. Otherwise, check out my Fusion file to get started or adjust the dimensions to your liking.

Step 4: (Build Without Using CNC) Sketch Shapes on Cardboard

If you’re not using a CNC router, Sketch your shapes you intend to cut out onto cardboard and cut out using a utility knife. Test fit each cardboard piece in your fireplace to ensure everything will fit snugly.

Step 5: (without CNC) Cut Out Your Pieces

Once finished, lay out your shapes on the plywood trace using a marker. Cut out each shape using a combination of your jigsaw for curved pieces, miter saw for angles and circular saw/table saw for straight cuts.

Step 6: Pre-sand Components

Using your orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper, sand all faces of your assembly and make sure to sand the edge of any joint where your wood will intersect to ensure the wood will slide smoothly together.

Step 7: Test Fit

Assemble your pieces together and test fit into the fireplace, making sure that everything is fitting nice and snugly. If your CNC’d pieces don’t fit together smoothly, keep sanding over the joint with 120 grit until pieces fit together easily. If parts are too loose, make sure you can secure the final assembly with screws or pocket screws and wood glue in the small amount of space in between your shelves.

Step 8: (optional) Edgeband Plywood

If you bought a high quality plywood and want to class up the edges, purchase edge banding in the same species of wood as your plywood. Apply your edge banding using an iron and trim off the excess using a chisel or trimming tool. If you are new to edge banding, please watch in-depth technique videos to ensure a good bond between your edge banding and plywood!

Step 9: Finish Your Plywood

Finish sand your pieces with 220 grit sandpaper and your orbital sander. Be careful not to tear through the ply faces or the edgebanding! Once you’re finished sanding, wipe off the dust off of the faces and apply a finish of your choice. I went with a wipe on Oil/wax by OSMO, but feel free to use the finish of your choice.

Step 10: Install Your Console

Using a hammer drill, pre-drill a hole through your plywood securing the unit in place in multiple locations. Make sure each location is structural and not just a loose brick, as your unit will likely topple over. Secure with your concrete anchor screws. Now decorate and enjoy the space saving in your home!

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