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Old 08-10-2015, 01:41 PM   #1
Dusty Britches
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Cameron & College Station
Default First 1st Woodworking project

I've had a piece of river rock/ slab left over from when our house was built. Half of it was used as the mantel over the fireplace and the other half has been in the way outside.

We got a big (by our standards) flat screen tv in December and I've been trying to figure out how to make it work in the living room. The old entertainment center wasn't nearly big enough for the tv and to be honest, I've had it better than 20 years. See? Yucky, old system:

So, I got an idea to build a cabinet that would hold the heavy tv and use the leftover slab of rock. I don't know much about cabinet or fine carpentry work, so I asked my dad to help. True to form, Dad did most of the work, but at least I got to learn some really neat things about this type of wood working.

We sat down on a Saturday and drew up the plans then figured out what we would need. The project was going to be done on the weekends when Dad was home and when I wasn't competing.

We built the frame and then added the back, bottom, and sides. The majority of the time was letting the glue dry. (Note to self and people wanting to learn - if you are going to stain the project, stain it before gluing the pieces on. You can't wipe off excess glue fast enough to prevent the wood from sealing and future stain won't work.)

Here's the first picture we took:

We struggled a bunch with putting doors on it and finally decided to trim out the shelves and leave them open. I'm glad we went this route. Here's the pre-stain almost done part.

Then I brought it home and it sat in my archery shop for a couple of months. I suddenly got the wild hair to finish it and in one weekend I stained it and put 2 coats of polyurethane on it.

I learned some more about polyurethane - first, make sure you use a high quality, new brush. You've come too far to ruin your project by getting a cheap brush. Also, don't wipe the brush on the sides of the can when applying. Doing so will dry out the brush too much and the poly will be too thin. It will create bubble and ripples. Instead, gently tap the brush to shake off excess and move it quickly to the project to prevent dripping. If you think your brush is dirty or drying out, you can dip it in paint thinner to clean and shake it off, without trying to dry the thinner off of the brush. It keeps the bristles from drying out and keeps the poly from drying on the bristles. (thank you "This Old House")

After the project dries, use a high grit (220 + ) sandpaper to lightly sand. I think using a power sander will take too much off, so I went with a sanding block and hand sanding. When you are finished sanding, blow it clean with an air compressor, if possible, and wipe down with a damp rag, rinsing often. Any particles left behind will create bubbles and rough spots. Then you will have to sand it over again. While applying the second coat, realize that your first brush might have picked up some dust, sawdust, fuzz, etc and you may have to use a second new brush.

Here's my project after 2 coats of polyurethane.

And here it is set up in my living room with the rock slab.

And the final picture with the tv on it. We anchored the tv to the wall with cable and eye hooks to prevent it from falling on my grandchildren or dogs.

I realize highly experienced woodworkers and builders will see a lot of errors on this, but I don't care. It has character and I really like it. Next - bookshelves!
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Old 08-10-2015, 02:51 PM   #2
Eight Point
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nice job, always good to draw from old timers when possible
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Old 08-10-2015, 04:04 PM   #3
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Nice work
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:08 PM   #4
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Only thing that doesn't suit my personal preferences is the feet/legs, but that is purely a matter of personal preference, so that is not a criticism. And, the finishing process--I'd make a lot more "stuff" in the shop if I didn't have to finish it. Anything involving a paint brush is not on my favorites list. Maybe I need to get an HVLP sprayer to simplify things? Oh yeah, then I'd have to have a paint room!

Good job on your setup.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:45 AM   #5
Dusty Britches
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Actually, I know that most people would not like the legs. In fact one of the first comments someone made was the legs meant that I would have to sweep under there. That's exactly why I put them on - to minimize the dust collection and make it easier to clean behind it. I have stained concrete floors throughout and I am allergic to dust.

So being able to clean behind the unit is a plus to me. When we took the old unit out, there was 1/4" of dust and tons of cobwebs.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:18 PM   #6
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Wow, that turned out really nice. I like it with out doors as well.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:33 AM   #7
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Looks good.
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