DIY TV stand overview: Benefits, tools and materials
Looking at TV stands, I felt like Goldilocks: Some models were too expensive, some were too flimsy, and others were too modern for a traditional home. None of them were just right. So I designed and built this one. It accommodates a flat screen up to 55 in. and has plenty of space for components.
For speed and simplicity, I assembled this TV stand with pocket screws. It took just one day to build and another to finish. The materials for our oak stand cost about $125 at the home center. If you choose cherry, birch or maple, expect to spend about $100 more. You’ll find a complete Materials List in "Additional Information" below.
What it takes in a nutshell:
Time: One weekend
Skill level: Intermediate
Tools: Table saw, drill, jigsaw, pocket screw jig, sander. Though not essential, a brad nailer is helpful.
Just-Right DIY TV Stand
This handsome TV stand will organize all your electronic clutter and DVDs. It's an ideal project for a DIYer, and you can complete in just one weekend.
Get a Pocket Screw Jig for the DIY TV Stand
If you're an aspiring woodworker and don't yet have a pocket screw jig, buy one now. Once you have it, you’ll find yourself reaching for it nearly every time you assemble a project. There are a lot of models available, ranging from about $30 up to $200. Kregtool.com is a good place to start browsing. With pocket screw joinery you don’t need an arsenal of expensive clamps.
Step 1: Cut out the pieces and glue up the legs
Cut out the pieces to the dimensions given in the Cutting List that you’ll find in "Additional Information" below. I built a deluxe table saw sled to cut the tapered legs (Photo 1), but any jig that slides along the table saw fence on one side and holds the board at the correct angle on the other side will do the job. To find the angle, just measure and mark 3 in. in at the top and 5 in. in at the bottom of your 23-in.- long 1x6 blank. Align these marks with the saw kerf in the jig and tack your cleats to the jig. With this setup, you can cut exact repeats all day long.
To add a bit of extra rigidity to the front frame, the lower rail has curved braces at the bottom. To make this bracket shape, just cut blocks from scrap and glue them to the ends of the lower rail. Once the glue is dry, sand the joint smooth and trace the curve. The exact shape isn’t a must; I used a flexible steel ruler and bent it to make a smooth curve along the block from bottom to top. Next cut the shape (Photo 2) and smooth it with a drum sander or a sanding block.
Figure A: DIY TV Stand Details
TV Stand Overall Dimensions: 54" wide x 23-3/4" high x 16-1/2" deep
You can download and enlarge Figure A in "Additional Information" below.
Step 2: Assemble the face frame and back
Drill the pocket holes in the back side of the rail ends and the edges of the plywood back (Photo 3). Assemble the face frame (Photo 4) with the legs tapering to the outside. The back is constructed in virtually the same manner as the face frame. But instead of having an upper and a lower rail like the front frame, the back frame has a solid panel fastened between the outer legs.
Step 3: Assemble the cabinet
Cut the sides and the three shelves from 3/4-in. plywood following the Cutting List in "Additional Information" below. Drill all pocket holes into the shelf, the subtop and the base (E). The subtop and the base have the same drilling pattern. For the shelf, don’t drill holes in the lengthwise edges, only on the ends. Also drill pocket holes in the sides to attach the face frame and back later (see Photo 6). Position the subtop and the base against the sides. Make sure the top of the base (E) is 4-1/2 in. from the lower edge of the sides. Screw the subtop, the base and the shelf to the sides (Photo 5).
Set the cabinet on 1/2-in. spacers and drive pocket screws into the legs (Photo 6). Next attach the front face frame in the same manner, then align and screw the subtop to the face frame. Then carefully flip the assembly upside down and attach the base to the front and back frames as well. Alignment is critical at the base, so measure to prevent any sagging.
Step 4: Install the shelf and dividers
With the cabinet upside down, cut 9-1/2-in. spacers and install the shelf (Photo 7). Then add the dividers, nailing them into place through the base and on the underside through the shelf. Be sure the dividers are evenly spaced in the opening. Glue and nail the shelf face (J) and the divider faces (K2) in place. Cut the plywood top (H) and glue and nail the edging to the top. With the cabinet still inverted, position the top under the assembly, and screw it to the subtop with 1-1/4- in. screws.
Step 5: Build and mount the drawers
The drawers are just simple boxes made from 1/2-in. plywood with 1/4-in. plywood bottoms. To size the drawer width, measure the openings between the divider faces. Subtract 1 in. from this width to determine the drawer widths (1/2-in. clearance for each drawer slide). Make sure the drawer height is at least 3/4 in. shorter than the opening height.
In order to fasten the drawer slides to the cabinet, you’ll need to add 1-1/2-in. x 1-in. x 13-1/2-in. cleats onto the base (E) between the front and back legs. You’ll also need to cut 1/8-in. x 1-1/2-in. x 13-1/2-in. spacers and glue them to the sides of the dividers (K1). These cleats and spacers will allow the drawer glides to align with the faces of the shelves and the legs.
Fasten the drawer slides to the drawer bottoms (Photo 8) and to the cabinet. Position the front of the slide so the drawer sits back 3/4 in. from the face of the cabinet. To finish the drawers, measure the opening of each drawer, subtract 1/4 in. from the height and width and cut the plywood drawer faces to that dimension. Attach iron-on edge banding to the drawer front and trim and sand the edges. For a detailed instructions, read Edge Banding With Iron on Veneer Edging.
With the drawers placed in the cabinet, apply double-stick tape to the front of the drawer assembly. Carefully align the drawer face to the drawer with 1/8-in. spacers resting between the faces and the lower rail. Press the drawer fronts (M) into place and then screw them from inside the drawer box. Check the fit and then drill the holes for the drawer pulls.
Step 6: Finishing
Sand the project with 150-grit sandpaper. Be sure to blend the edge banding and ease any sharp edges. Vacuum the project and then wipe it down with a clean cloth moistened with mineral spirits to remove any residue. I finished the stand with stain, plus three coats of Minwax Wipe-On Poly, and let it cure for a full week before installing components. I then positioned the components, planned the cable routes and drilled generous 2-in. holes in the back of the stand for wiring.
Meet the Author
David Radtke is a Field Editor from Minneapolis. A professional remodeler and cabinetmaker, he also restores vehicles on the side.