Woodsmith #194 Media Center Part I

Back in October, I began a new woodworking project to build a media center for the living room.  Currently, my college entertainment center (designed for a 36″ CRT TV) serves as the only storage in the living room, and currently doesn’t do a great job.  It’s time for something better.  After looking around for plans, we finally picked this media center from Woodsmith #194:

Woodsmith #194

The next question…what kind of wood to use.  After seeing similar units in stores such as Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, the darker finishes really appealed to us.  Since I have a garage full of walnut, this was my first choice.  I quickly found that walnut plywood was too cost-prohibitive.  Instead, I settled on building this with maple, since I also have a lot of that as well.  I spent some time working on a dark finish:

Testing out various staining and glaze techniques.
Once I found a good dye/glaze combination that achieved the dark finish, it was time to make some sawdust.  I started making the center console.  The plans allowed for a 55″ TV, but knowing me, I wanted to be able to support an even larger TV.  By increasing the width of the center console, this unit should allow us to have a 65″ TV in this media center.
Center cabinet for the TV

Making the center cabinet went by really fast.  It features inset doors, which was a first for me.  It also feels two pull-out drawers for easy access to all of the electronics, and ample space for heat dissipation.   I plan to mount a high-grade power strip and gigabit ethernet switch for all of the components that require ethernet.  In the end, I will also be mounting some LED strip lighting inside the case as well, to make it easy to see inside the cabinet.

The inset doors were easier than I expected.  Mounting the doors with the euro-style hinges was also easier than I thought it would be.  It was also a first for me to use drawer slides for the two component trays.  That part was also easier than expected, and the slides work great.
Once the center unit was complete, I moved on to build the bridge unit that will sit above the center console.  The bridge unit was a fairly easy build.  Simple box construction, face frames, and a top that allows for a crown molding detail.
Bridge Cabinet

Here’s the Center and Bridge console together.

Bridge and Center cabinet together

In the next post, I’ll share some pictures of the two tower cabinets.  I have started to make some progress there as well, and I’m anxious to get both of the tower cabinets complete as well.  I can’t wait to bolt this unit together to see it all as one.

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