Introduction: Plywood Entertainment Center

About: Well, around 2015 I decided to stop drinking and needed some hobbies to fill my time. The result is what you see here, some DIY furniture and remodeling projects and honing my simple cooking skills.

This was a random design I got stuck in my head that I just had to get out. Most people tend to cover up the layered edges of plywood and I really wanted to build something that incorporated the layers into the design. Most specifically, so that I didn't have to spend a lot of time covering it up or painting the unit. The result is this custom entertainment center.

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Step 1: Cut Necessary Pieces

The attached cut list includes most of what you would need. I ended up needing a few more 1 inch strips, so I might account for 80+ pieces as opposed to just 60 (I used cheaper scrap plywood to fill in some of the blanks). Also, this cut list doesn't include the pieces I ended up using as legs (also using scrap, cheaper plywood).

Step 2: Arrange Strips in Pattern

To do this, I used a piece of plastic over the top piece (the piece cut to 56 x 24). I arranged them two at a time, using wood glue and a brad nailer to build the top. Clamps were used to hold each piece in place before I was able to nail it. You have to do your best to limit the gaps and try to keep the top as flush as possible.

Step 3: Mount Design Top to Solid Top

I used 1 1/2 or slightly larger inch screws (not listed in the materials) to screw the top to the design. This was to make sure I went through the 3/4 inch top and then got a good bite into the plywood layers. Then I used a circular saw to cut off any excess design.

Then the sanding and routing starts. I spent a good deal of time sanding down the top to get it as level as possible (I don't own a planer, let alone have the finances to buy one 24 inches wide). I also routed the top and cleaned it up with the sander. Be careful of blow outs on the layered plywood. I had a few and just did my best to sand them away and clean it up. The middle where it is the weakest was my biggest issue.

Once done, I flipped the unit over and routed three small channels into the bottom of the top for use in aligning the side walls and middle support of the cabinet. To do this I used a 3/4 inch router bit and aligned my channels for the wall placement as they relate to the shelves.

Step 4: Build the Remaining Entertainment Center

Before attaching and building the box for the unit a Kreg Shelf Pin Jig was used to drill out multiple holes for flexible shelving on the insides of the outer walls and on both sides of the middle support. This allows me to adjust the shelving if my needs change in the future, so I added a lot of options.

Then, using the pocket hole jig, I drilled holes in the side and middle supports so that it can be attached to the top and the bottom of the unit.

I also took the time to route the front of the shelves just to make it a little softer on the front.

One other thing I added late was some triangular supports in the rear corners of the unit. They helped to keep the unit stable given the somewhat weakness in pocket hole screws without any other method of support.

I really didn't have a plan for the legs when I first started. So, near the end of the build I decided to make three legs that spanned the width/depth of the cabinet because I knew it would be holding a lot of weight (large TV and DVD/VHS items).
I literally just glued a few pieces of plywood together (I may have added a screw or two) and cut a nice angle (I forget which degree) and glued them to the bottom of the unit.

Step 5: Quick Sand, Stain, Clear Coat

I did a quick sand on the unit as a whole to make sure all the high points and potential splinters were knocked down.

Then it's just a matter of picking the stain and a sheen of polyurethane or other clear coat of your choice. I did some of the cabinet with spray based polyurethane (primarily) and the top with a roll on polyurethane to help fill in any small gaps.

Step 6: Enjoy

Plywood Challenge

Participated in the
Plywood Challenge