There are many modern "mid-century" TV stands out there, but where I live they are usually either too big or too small for my needs. So I had to make one myself.
Step 1: What You'll Need
I had bought some 20 meters of plain-sawn birch boards, more or less warped, so I decided to use those and build the TV stand from scratch. This project could be finished using only hand tools, but power tools make working faster.
- Enough wood of choice to fit your measurements
- Feel free to make everything from scratch or use premade boards and/or parts
- Note: dry and straight boards are easier to work with than warped boards
Tools I used:
- Thickness planer
- Table saw
- Drill press
- Drill (cordless or power)
- Biscuit jointer
- Band saw
- And some common tools like measuring tape, square, caliper, clamps, etc.
Step 2: Preparing Boards
This step is about cutting and assembling the boards for the TV stand.
If you are using premade boards that are cut to correct dimensions you can skip to step 3.
Locate usable parts
First, try to find the best (usually branchless and straight) parts to use on frame boards. My goal was to get branchless surface without using finger joints so this part was a bit challenging. You will need
Top and Bottom (146 x 45 cm)
4 Side Panels (28 x 45 cm)
X amount of Shelves (46 x 45 cm)
You will also need some parts for leg frame and legs (see step 4).
For side panels and shelves, try to find areas that will comfortably fit at least two panels (longer pieces are easier and safer to handle). After finding the usable parts, cut the plain-sawn boards closer to the desired length (roughly 150 cm and 60 cm, if you're using my measurements).
Tip: You can trace end grain direction with a pencil at this point so it's easier to see a bit later.
Straighten board and cut to strips
Use jointer and thickness planer to make plain-sawn boards straight and angles right. Cut the straightened boards lenghtwise to strips with a table saw. Depending on how thick boards you are making, leave some room for bending and movement during gluing—my goal was 18–20 mm thick board so my strips were cut to 24 mm at this point.
Arrange strips and glue together
Arrange the strips so that end grain direction alternates (end grain tracing may help here, see image) to avoid warping. Note that glued panels may still warp if the wood isn't completely dry and/or they are not stored properly.
There are several techniques for gluing boards together. After arranging and marking the strips, I flipped them on one side in the same order (one of the short planed surface facing up) and spread glue evenly on every strip, except the furthest edge. After that I flipped them back to original position one by one and clamped the strips together. Clean excess glue and let it dry. Repeat for other panels.
Plane and cut
After the glue has dried, plane the glued boards to desired thickness. Make sure everything is straight and cut the boards to final dimensions.
Step 3: Frame
Before the frame is assembled, make any holes or cuts for shelf supports. I used metal pegs and needed to drill some holes for them. At this point it is also recommended to make any holes or cuts to inner panels, if needed for wires. It is a lot easier when the boards are still separate (trust me, I forgot to cut the holes).
Assembling the frame
Use biscuit jointer to make slots for biscuits. Dry fit everything before gluing to make sure everything is aligned and there aren't any gaps. The frame should be glued at one go and clamped straight. You may need someone to help with this step. Check cross-measure and adjust if needed before leaving the frame to dry.
Step 4: Legs
There are many designs for mid-century furniture legs. Some prefer easier methods or buy the legs from a store. I decided to make a separate frame for legs that would be attached to the cabinet frame.
I designed the legs in a traditional fashion where legs are tapered down and spread outwards.
Legs should be thick enough to support the frame and about 20 cm high. Most of the plain-sawn boards were roughly 4 cm thick after sraightening so I decided to use that as the leg's top measurement. Because I needed the leg to taper down and spread outwards, I glued some 2 cm extra piece to make a 6x6x20 cm block.
Draw and cut
Draw the leg's outlines on two sides of the wood block. Use a band saw to cut near the lines. Remember to keep the sides that will attach to the leg frame straight. Use a sander to finish. If you made the boards yourself, you may have some extra wood strips left that you can use in the frame. If not, cut some strips. Mine were 100 cm and 28 cm long.
Drill some holes to legs for dowels and trace and drill the holes to the frame strips. Dry fit the frame and legs after drilling to see that everything is straight. Glue and clamp.
The leg frame can be attached by gluing or using screws. I decided to use four screws. The screws should be long enough to go through the leg frame and into the cabinet frame. You can use even longer screws if you align the screw positions with inner side panels as I did.
Step 5: Shelves
Again, shelves can be made easily from premade boards. The shelf boards can be thinner than frame.
I made one 10 mm shelf, which seems to work nicely under a blu-ray player.
The middle section's shelf is for surround system's center speaker only, so I went with another design (see image)
I also used some scrap pieces to make a small shelf/stopper for the third section. With that there can be two rows of dvd's and they won't go too far to the back.
Step 6: Sanding and Finishing
Sanding can be tedious work. You can easily save time by sanding at least some parts before the final assembly. If you plan getting a glossy surface, sanding is important as glossy finish shows surface's irregularities easily.
Choose what finishing method suits your needs and go with that. I decided to use stained furniture lacquer for finishing.
And that's it. If you have any questions or comments, I'd be happy to hear them.