Entertainment Center

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I'm working on building a simple entertainment center, and would like some advice. The sides and back are to be 1/2" red oak plywood, and there will be three shelves the width and depth of the entertainment center (minus the sides).
I plan on putting a large screen TV that's about 100-200 lbs on the second shelf, and was wondering if the 1/2" plywood sides would be sufficiently strong. The shelves themselves will be 1/2" plywood supported by a 1x2 poplar frame with 1x4 red oak as a border. The top shelf will carry some wonderfully heavy equipment, too. It'll be less than 200 lbs, I think.
Any suggestions on attaching the shelves to the plywood sides? 1/2" isn't very much material for a screw to grab in to from the inside, and if a screw was inserted from the outside it'd show.
On a related note, this project marks my first real venture into hardwoods. I had a good experience with the hardwood store, but learned that 10' long boards just won't fit in a Prius. Next time, I'll peruse the shorter boards /first/ and save myself a trip back in the truck.
Puckdropper
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Puckdropper wrote:

With hundreds of pounds on it, I'd probably go with something a bit thicker, unless you have solid legs.

I'd actually be worried about the shelves themselves as well. Not sure what you mean by a "1x2 poplar frame", but you might want to run it through the sagulator to see how much deflection to expect.

Biscuits and glue, nailed up from the bottom through the shelf into the side. (Down from the top for the top shelf.) You could use glue blocks or cleats for reinforcement if they're not going to be visible.

In my Matrix I fold the front seat forward and can handle 8' boards with the tailgate shut. For longer boards I open the rear glass window.
Chris
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I'll have to look for something thicker, then.

The shelf is a 1x4 red oak frame with mitered corners. The 1x2 poplar frame will go inside the 1x4s and support the plywood. There will be a center support to minimize the tendency of the shelf to sag. I'm fairly confident this will be plenty strong.

I don't have a biscuit joiner, but would dowels work to serve the same purpose?
With 3/4" plywood, I could actually attach the shelf directly to the plywood with screws.

8' boards aren't a problem. The 10' boards are a little long. Had I been going straight home, I could have let the boards hang out.

Puckdropper
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"Puckdropper" wrote:

High on your list of design requirements should be heat dissipation.
Putting electronic packages into an entertainment center with a closed back should be avoided if at all possible.
As far as board length is concerned, have never found any requirements for hardwood boards used for furniture much over 48"-54" long. YMMV
Have fun.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

King size bed frame. Generally at least 5-8 boards over 80" long.
Chris
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Only the TV and game systems will be fully enclosed. The other equipment will be on the top and completely open. Even so, the TV doesn't seem to put out much heat (I just checked), but will have plenty of free space around it.
I'm used to buying 8-10' material and cutting it down. Next time I go after hardwood, I'll buy shorter material. Other than habit, there was no reason to purchase any thing that long.
Puckdropper
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"Puckdropper" wrote:

Why not cut an opening in the back and cover it with a screen that maybe you build a little frame around.
Back in ancient times when vacuum tubes were used, decorative screens were a common way to get air flow and reduce heat in radio and TV equipment.
If you use 3/4" material, you could rest the shelves on those pins that fit in 1/4" holes on the sides to make shelves adjustable.
My bet is the E/C will out live the electronics by a bunch, but then I've been wrong before<grin>
Have fun.
Lew
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If I take the 2 1/8" hole saw (amazing how useful that thing's been), I could bore several holes near the bottom to run cables through. This would have the added benefit of allowing some additional air flow. (I might also add an access door so I can get to the connections without the "ring around the rosie" dance.)

They're very commonly used in speakers now. The E/C upstairs had a glass panel that was replaced with the included screen for the speakers.

That's a pretty good idea. Should this current TV die, it will undoutably be replaced by a LCD TV which doesn't have the extra 30" of height that this one does. An adjustable center shelf would make replacement easier.

You're right on that. Adding some doors and another shelf or two turns the entertainment center into a whole different piece of furniture. :-)

Thanks. I think I enjoy the design part just as much, if not more, than the actual building.

Puckdropper
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"Puckdropper" wrote:

My 20+ year old TV just crapped out.
LCD is a very nifty gadget and weighs a whole lot less.

It's suppossed to be that way.
BTW, SFWIW, consider box joints rather than miters.
A whole lot stronger and a simple table saw joint to fabricate.
Have fun.
Lew
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The miters are actually there more for the aesthetics than strength. I was just going to use standard butt joints on inner frame, but might try box joints if I have enough material.
Puckdropper
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"Puckdropper" wrote:

Personally I like the aesthetics of a good box joint over a miter.
Even with a good sled, miters are a PITA to get and keep aligned without biscuits, IMHO, but to each his own.
BTW, a half lap for the inner frame might be nice.
Have fun.
Lew
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I'll have to try some of the joinery with some pineywood and see how it works out. I'll probably stick to miters on the outside corner as I'm trying to keep a fairly simple look.
Puckdropper
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"Puckdropper" wrote:

Take a look at item 213 on the NYW web site to see an entertainment center Norm built.
Along with it are some E/C built by other people which are very interesting.
Might give you some design ideas.
Have fun.
Lew
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"Puckdropper" <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in message news:006ce55c$0$30039

You may want to recheck that. After my 46" Sharp LCD TV has been on for ten minutes or so, I can feel a substantial amount of heat emanating from the screen when I hold my hand within 6" of it. Newer models of LCD TVs may be an improvement in the heat dissipation field, but my TV is about 18 months old and was a current model when I bought it.
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This is an old Toshiba projection TV. We bought it used, and it's probably 10 years old by now. My quick check indicates no significant heat output.
A new LCD TV might have some heat issues, but probably will have a gap around it on three sides. If that's not enough, a PC style cooling fan could be rigged up to provide quiet active cooling. (I have a computer next to the TV; power wouldn't be a problem.)
Puckdropper
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"Puckdropper" <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in message

On the plus side, most of the heat emanated from the LCD screen, so it would face forwards out front. While there was some heat behind my LCD TV, it wasn't nearly as much as in the front.
I retrofitted my most of my entertainment centre this past winter going from a CRT TV to the current LCD TV. I'm currently in the throes of figuring out what to do with the heat coming from the massive Yamaha RXV3800 surround sound receiver I added. I've got to do something because the shelving around it is jammed with electronics and heat will be an issue. I'm considering some type of fan with 6" tubing to remove heat, but I've been warned about static buildup, so I'll have to jury rig something around that. I've posted an image of my unit it ABPW.
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The EC upstairs is very similar. The surround sound reciever does put out a bunch of heat, and has about 4" of head room above it. The cabinet still gets quite warm, though.
Puckdropper
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Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote:

I don't think that will be enough. Ive built a few Flat Screen Tv Cabinets and I have always used 3/4" ply and built the platform holding the TV with 1x2/1x3 poplar stringers with supports in the middle to. Used 3/4" ply on top and 1/4 ply on bottom. Then using a trim piece in the front. If you want to look at 2 different ones click on my website below and follow the link to Built Ins or TV Cabinets.
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Puckdropper wrote:

1. Your life would have been much easier with 3/4" ply. The finished project would have been stronger and more rigid too.
2. The 1/2 ply sides will be sufficiently strong.
3. The 1/2 ply for shelf and top will be OK too depending...
(a) on how they are attached to the case
(b) on how the weight is distributed; NP with TV, weight isn't centered.
(c) fore and aft "stringers" will greatly increase shelf strength
4. You mentioned a 1x4 oak border. Is that 4" horizontally or vertically? If horizontally, I have to ask, "Why?". Since you also mentioned 1x2 poplar for the shelf support I suppose the 4" oak is vertical in which case I still have to ask, "Why?".
In both cases it seems like work that basically accomplishes nothing. In both cases there is no reason to not just attach the ply to the oak and do away with the poplar. In the case of horizontal 4" oak, all you are doing is banding the ply so why not 2"...or 1"...or 1/16"? In the case of the 4" oak being vertical, it bands and will also add tons of strength but I think it will look way off scale unless (and probably even if) you are building a gargantuan case.
5. To attach the shelves to sides, you have two options: fixed and moveable...
(a) for moveable, I would drill holes for KV clips
(b) for fixed, you have two options...
(1) cleats glued to the sides, shelf glued or screwed to the cleats. The shelf would need a vertical strip on at least the front edge to hide the cleats. I'd probably screw the cleats to the sides too...if from the outside, fill shallow countersinks with face grain plugs; if from inside, using screws short enough to not penetrate outside of the sides.
(2) dados in the sides, shelf glued into dados. I don't like dados for this purpose less than 3/8" deep; since the ply is only 1/2" thick, I wouldn't make continuous dados...I'd make 2-3 stopped dados so that there are pillars of full 1/2" remaining. Naturally, the shelf ends would have to have tongues matching the dados. PITA, doubt I'd do it. You could use dowels too, even bigger PITA, *know* I wouldn't do it. Someone might say, "Biscuits"; I wouldn;t trust them for this.
dadiOH
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Going with 3/4" plywood would be better to hold with any sort of racking that might go on from moving it.

Agreed. That's the idea.

Let me attempt to explain the shelf again: The shelves will be 1/2" red oak plywood on top, with a 1x4 border of red oak surrounding it. There will be a frame under the plywood to support it made of poplar, and attaching to the border of oak. All supports will be oriented so the long side is on edge with respect to the plywood.

I'll probably use the KV clips on the middle shelf. Thanks.
Puckdropper
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