TV Stand DIY Project Part 4: Finished Product

I actually finished this project back in whenever it was I posted the previous post. Just FYI. But I keep getting all this traffic on those posts, so I figure I owe it to humanity to talk about the finished product here.

Here, I think, is how this wrapped up.

So next up was getting the two shelves glued together. I couldn't find good boards anywhere, so I just bought what they had at Lowe's. I know, that kills the romance and all the advice about choosing good wood. FWIW, the shelves aren't nearly as visible as the top or even the legs necessarily (but probably), so... yeah. Glued the shelves in the same manner as the top, except that I cut the shelves 1.5 inches shorter than the top in order for them not to stick out past the legs on either side of the TV stand (and for some reason I thought it would be cool if they *did* stick out past the front of the stand).

As per usual, left these two shelves to dry overnight.

Which then brought me to using my new second-favorite tool, my belt sander. Louder than heck and my neighbors ended up complaining to the homeowners' association over it, but still: this tool really does its job.

belt sander for entertainment center table top

Clamping the top down to the TV stand frame itself was a little ghetto, but this was the one case where using my truck's tailgate as a workbench just didn't work out. Per something I read somewhere, I did the heavy sanding against the grain, then the finer sanding *with* the grain. While this seemed to sand out the rough spots faster, getting the cross-hatches smoothed back out of the boards seemed way harder than it should have. Advice: just go with the grain.

And FWIW, the sawdust spray out of this thing was terrific.

After finishing with the belt sander, I then took the orbital sander to the surface and smoothed it all up. Then it was time to cut notches into the shelves in order for them to fit over the legs. I turned the frame upside down in order to draw exact-as-possible guide marks for where these cut-outs were to go, then measured the marks for the sake of a sanity check, then got out my old favorite power tool, which has now fallen to #3 in the rankings through no fault of its own, namely my jigsaw saw, and did this:

shelf of tv stand showing cut

I love using my jigsaw, its so easy to use and Tool Helpful's article helped me decide which model to buy. Had to do that on all four corners of both shelves. It was awkward keeping these cuts straight and in retrospect, short of buying a table-saw, I probably should've made these cuts with the compound miter saw prior to ever gluing the boards together. Ah, bittersweet hindsight. From this point, I used some fine grain paper to sand the corners smooth, then wrestled with the entire frame, shelves, and table-top in order to make sure they'd fit together.

Then it was time to paint.

tv stand frame with paint

I used the same paint scheme that I had with my earlier writing table -- high gloss black (only one coat to allow for an almost-see-through-but-not-quite quality) on the legs and red oak stain for the shelves. The staining went well -- rather than use the brush, I applied the stain with an available rag, which seemed to cut down on the bubbling. And if you've never stained before, the most crucial part is ensuring that, after the requisite waiting period (15 minutes? can't remember -- it's on the can), you wipe off all the remaining stain in its entirety, as much as you can possibly wipe off of there. That's sort of what makes it stain rather than paint.

Once everything was painted and dried, I dragged all the parts from the garage, across the parking lot, and into my domicile for final assembly. The bottom shelf rests on the "skirt" that was originally built into the frame, so that sent down no big deal. For the middle shelf, though, I opted for brass angle brackets to hold it up.

tv stand shelf and bracket

As you can see, I got pretty lazy with the stain and only did one side of each shelf component. Trust me, I haven't looked up at the bottom of these shelves since installing the TV stand in my living room. If you look closely, you can also see where using the hand-held jigsaw wasn't the best way to go (the one cut on this corner went a little too far -- and this wasn't the worst of these corners).

And with that, I put the top on. Truth be told, the top is not fastened to the rest of the TV stand -- it just rests on top of the frame. This seems to be working out fine (once the TV got put on top of the TV stand, there wasn't much likelihood of the top sliding around). So here's the final:

Finished do-it-yourself TV Stand

Which, after loading it down with my gear, leaves me with a living room that looks *almost* like this:


My Current Entertainment Center


TV Stand in Living Room with TV On and Components Installed

Things I'd do differently? Aside from the jigsaw thing -- and I really like my jigsaw, so I feel bad about calling it the wrong tool for the job (even though it was), after living with the finished product for a couple months -- I probably should've placed the middle shelf another inch or so higher -- my center channel has way too much clearance. I'm thinking about creating a Corner Entertainment Center for my other living room and make it slightly bigger than needed so that I can organise everything better and have extra space! Also, it might've been good to have made the entire thing another two inches wider -- the components on the bottom shelf are partially obscured by the legs of the frame, which doesn't really hurt anything, but just seems a little off ideal.

So that's it. Good luck to us all.