- Basic hand tools
- Table saw or track saw
- 1-1/2" screws for stop blocks (T)
- 100-grit sandpaper
- 1x4 x 14' pine
- 1x4 x 6' pine
- 2" trim screws
- 3" screws
- 3/4" x 4' x 8' plywood
- 50' Edge banding
- Johnson Hardware 100PD 72" track kit
- Joint compound
This cabinet began as basic, utilitarian protection for a garage TV but became much more.It has space for other electronics like speakers and gaming equipment, and the finished product is attractive enough for any home theater. "Looks too good for a garage!" is the reaction I hear again and again.
This is a huge cabinet but an easy project. If you can accurately slice up plywood parts and screw them together, you can do it. All the parts dimensions are in the Cutting List, and Figure A shows how they fit together. Sized for a 75-in. TV, the design can be altered to suit other sizes. Plywood makes up most of the cabinet and most of the cost. Depending on the plywood you choose, your materials bill might be $100 less than mine, which was $600.
Project step-by-step (10)
Assemble the cabinet
I tacked the parts together with brad nails just to hold them in place, then added trim screws for strength. Don’t forget to position the parts so that the best-looking veneer faces outside or up where it’s most visible.
Build the valance
Assemble the plywood parts of the valance, then wrap the front and sides with 1x4. I couldn’t get long enough stock at a home center, but I found nice pine 1x4s at a traditional lumberyard.
Fill the edges
Ordinary joint compound—normally used on drywall—is great for smoothing out edges of plywood that will be painted. Just smear it on, let it dry and sand with 100-grit sandpaper. I used it to fill screw holes too. It shrinks as it dries, so you might need two coats.
Edge-band the doors
Since the doors got a clear coat rather than paint, I covered the edges with iron-on banding. For complete how-to, go to familyhandyman.com and search for “edge banding.” Tip: Pick up an old iron at a garage sale. Getting glue and sawdust on the household iron causes marital strife.
Hang the cabinet
Getting the cabinet perfectly positioned required some fuss: It had to be square, level and precisely centered between the windows. To make this easier, I first marked all the stud locations and screwed a temporary 1x4 ledger to the wall, perfectly level and at the right height. With the ledger as a support, I was able to drive and remove screws as I adjusted and readjusted the position of the cabinet.
Add the valance
The valance is heavy. You’ll need a helper to set it on the cabinet. Then just center it and screw it into place through the cabinet top.
Install the track
The doors glide on standard hardware, the kind typically used for closet doors. Screw the rollers to the doors and mount the tracks inside the valance. The two sections of track meet at the center of the valance, leaving a gap at the outer ends.
Hang the doors
Slip the rollers into the track and check the fit of the doors. Adjusting the doors is a trial-and-error process. Unlike with a typical closet, the valance doesn’t allow access to the adjustment nuts. So you’ll have to remove the door, make adjustments—and repeat. Don’t forget to add the stop blocks or the doors will roll off the tracks (see Figure A).
Add lighting to set the mood
I inset the top of the valance to create a shallow recess for strip lighting. The light strips are powerful enough to brighten the room, but their real purpose is mood lighting. Using an app on your phone, you can dim them or select colors (purple lighting shown above!). I used Philips Hue Lightstrips and a Hue Bridge controller ($150 total).
Door plywood: wild grain, half price
The doors are prominent on this project, so the two sheets of plywood you choose should match and look great. It’s worth digging through the stack at a home center and selecting a perfect pair of sheets. I went to a lumberyard that caters to cabinet shops and found matching cherry “rejects.” The tiny knots and dark stripes were flaws in the eyes of cabinetmakers, but they gave my doors a unique look. And I got them for half price.