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Building a Small Entertainment Center

Building a Curved Cabinet

 Interior dividers added

I added the two center particians to divide the interior into three sections. These were prebored for adjustable shelf pins. I also made a scrap board with the same hole locations, so I could add holes in the center of the back panel, as well as on the side of the curved compartments. The particians were glued and screwed from the top, bottom, and back.


Since this unit will be placed against a wall, the back will receive just enough attention to make it appear finished. I can't get myself to leave it raw, as the bendy board is quite rough looking. Instead of veneering the back with wood veneer, I used a plastic laminate backer material, which is almost the same thickness as the veneer. It is a light tan color, so it looks just fine. I did wrap the wood veneer around a portion of the back on both sides, which coincides with the shape of the top. Having a finished back will allow for the unit to be placed away from a wall, where the back will be visable.

The laminate backer is adhered using water based contact cement. Notice the tape used to keep glue off of surrounding area.

  Gluing backer board for the back of the cabinet  Gluing the cabinet back 

Once the contact cement was dry, the laminate was laid into place, and using a roller, applied pressure to it to get 100% adhesion. I used a laminate trimmer with a flush cutting bit to trim off the overhanging material. Next was taping the edge of the laminate to prevent a mess while applying yellow glue for the wood veneer. With both the cabinet back and the figured satinwood veneer glued and completely dry, I taped the edge with blue painters tape, pulling it tight to the plastic laminate for a good joint. When I was happy with the seam, I ironed the veneer into place. This process can be somewhat tricky, as it is possible to stretch the veneer, causing it to split later. Working at a nice even pace, with a household iron, I worked my way over the entire piece, using a small piece of maple, with the edges slightly rounded over as a squeegee, ensuring no air was being trapped and I was getting good adhesion.

  Blue taping the joint between the backer and veneer   Finished Glue up

 As mentioned, tapping on the veneer will reveal areas that aren't tight, just by listening for hollow sounds. If you do happen to miss an area, it will show when you apply a finish, as a bubble. This can be fixed, using the iron, if too much time hasn't passed, as there is a time limit on this ironing method. If that's no longer an option, using two hypodermic needles, one to inject super glue, the other to suck out the air. After some glue has entered the second needle, the area is full, and can be pressed until the glue dries. After completing the ironing process, which seemed to take forever, I trimmed to excess with the laminate trimer.

 Now I started concentrating on the face frame. The two outer face frames were dadoed so they would "cap" the edge of the bendy board, and leave a reveal on the outside of the cabinet, showing the ebony veneer. With the bendy board capped in this fashion, the sides of the cabinet are held perfectly straight. It also makes for a neater fitting look. I applied the ebony veneer on the edges, while the pieces were not installed on the cabinet. The face piece of veneer was installed after the frame parts were glued and screwed on. Done in this order conceals the screws. (Notice my two helpers. They're making sure nobody interrupts me, from any direction!). The rest of the face frame parts are done the same way.

Parts to veneer face frames  Face frame screwed on  Closer view of face frame

Face frame veneer glued on   Wire cutouts in center shelves  Cut outs for wires

After completing the frames, I cut the shelves, two per compartment, and laminated them with a differenf laminate backer. This one is vertical grade laminate, in a dark brown, which is perfect for the interior of this cabinet. It too, is adhered with water based contact cement. The center compartment of this cabinet will house the accessory components for the T.V. so the shelves are cut to allow wires to be routed easily. The full width area between the wire cut outs permit a shelf pin to be used. This will prevent the weight of the components from warping the shelves. Holes will be drilled in the bottom of the cabinet, between the back panel and the base to allow for air circulation. If needed I can add a small cooling fan, like those used in a computer.

Back To pg. #1  Back To pg. #2  Continued pg. # 4

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