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Television Cabinet


Television Cabinet

Hide the electronics behind ingenious double-hinged doors

by Dave Munkittrick


I love my new 36-in. TV but my wife hates what the glass and plastic monolith does to the look and feel of our family room. To avoid marital strife we went looking for something to house the behemoth. No luck. Sounds like a job for the family woodworker! I love it when I get a chance to justify my sometimes-controversial investment in the shop.

A cabinet large enough to accommodate a 36-in. TV could look like an oversized shipping crate. But I used a design with angled corners to ease the big-box look.

Note: There are a few extra-deep 36-in. TVs that may require you to cut a hole in the back for the TV to poke through. You could make a deeper cabinet but you’d have to buy an additional sheet of plywood. Play it safe; buy your TV first, then adjust the depth if necessary.

The double-hinged doors fold flat against the sides to open up the cabinet for unobstructed viewing. Plus, they’re a whole lot cheaper and easier to install than pocket doors. The adjustable, no- mortise, partial-wrap hinges (see Sources, below) make these doors a snap to hang.

Cost and Material

I chose pine for its rustic feel. Plus, I love the smell of fresh-cut pine in my shop.

Pine plywood is a special-order item and comes with either knotty or clear veneers (see Sources, page 92). You can expect to pay about $600 in materials for this project.

Ventilation and Wire Management

Big TVs kick out a lot of heat, so adequate ventilation is a must. The cabinet is designed to let the heat escape through a series of vent holes (Fig. A).

Holes at the bottom of the upper crosspiece and at the back of the TV shelf allow both wires and heat to pass through. All the wires funnel out of an 8-in.-dia. hole in the back (Fig. A). The removable back allows easy access to the snake’s den of wires behind the TV and its components.

You’ll Need a Well-Equipped Shop

To build this project you’ll need a tablesaw, a stacking dado set, bandsaw, biscuit joiner, screw gun, router table, router, pneumatic brad and finish nailer, planer, miter saw and at least six 6-ft. pipe clamps.

Check your router bit collection for a 1/2-in. Roman ogee, a 1/2-in. cove, a 1/2-in. round over, a flush trim (top or bottom bearing), and a chamfer bit. If you want to make your own bun feet, you’ll also need a 1-in. round-over bit (see Sources, below).

Build some knee-high sawhorses to support an oversized assembly table

All set? Let’s start building.

Build the Cabinet

1. Cut the 3/4-in. plywood parts A through J (see Cutting List and Cutting Diagram, below).

2. Cut the shelf blanks (B, C and D) to size. Lay out the angled corners on one shelf blank by making marks 4-in. from the corner along the side and front edges. Connect the marks and rough-cut the corner on the bandsaw.

3. Clamp a straightedge along your layout line and use a flush-trim bit to finish the corners. Use the finished shelf as a template for making the other shelves (Photo 1).

4. Glue up the double-thick TV shelf (C) and the center divider (F). A couple of brad nails will keep the halves from shifting under clamp pressure.

5. Add the 1/4-in. edging (QQ and RR) to all the angled corners (Photo 2). Then add the front edging pieces (NN and RR) to all but the bottom shelf (it’ll be added later).

6. Cut the semicircular hole in the back of the TV shelf. Add 1/4-in. edging to the drawer opening dividers (J) and the center divider. Cut the notch at the top of the drawer opening dividers (Fig. A).

7. Cut through 1/4-in. deep dadoes and rabbets on the sides (A) according to Fig. D. Glue on the solid-wood edging (PP) and sand flush.

Glue Up

Gluing up this cabinet is a big job. Dry clamp the cabinet as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. Measure the exact distance between the TV shelf and the component shelf and cut the center divider (F) to fit. Screw the TV and component shelves to the center divider and disassemble.

1. Assemble the cabinet with glue (Photo 3). Make sure it’s square!

2. Cut the upper (G) and lower (H) crosspieces to width. Cut the wire and vent arches in the upper crosspiece. Add the screw flanges (GG) to both.

3. Turn the cabinet on its side and reach in from the back to screw in the upper and lower crosspieces (Figs. C and D).

Apply the Cabinet Trim

The cabinet trim is applied to nailer boards fastened to the subtop and the component and bottom shelves.

Before you cut your trim stock, select the best-looking, straight-grained pine for the column doors (N), column bases (P), door frames (R, S and T) and drawer front (Q).

1. Rip the nailer stock (DD). Cut and fit nailer boards under the component shelf (Photo 4 and Fig. F). The tops of these boards create the ledge under the doors, so use defect-free stock.

Note: Before you add the nailer to the front of the component shelf, slip the two drawer opening dividers into the opening. You won’t be able to get them in once the nailer is in place. Don’t screw them in place just yet.

2. Double up the nailer board along the front edge of the component shelf. The nailer board at the angled corners is set back to accommodate the column base (Photo 5 and Fig. F).

3. Cut, glue and nail the column bases in place.

4. Attach the drawer opening dividers (Photo 6 and Figs. A and C).

5. Add shelf edging (MM) and nailers to the bottom shelf (see Fig. F).

6. Machine the ogee (KK) and round over moldings (LL). Glue them together to make a single molding. Note: Remove the bearing from the round-over bit to create the double fillet (Fig. D).Cut and fit the two bands of molding around the lower portion of the cabinet (Photo 7).

7. Add nailers to the top of the cabinet (Photo 8 and Fig. E).

8. The angled corners of the top (E) are cut in the same way as the template shelf except you measure back 4-3/4 in. from the corners instead of 4 in. Glue on the top edging (HH). Then rout the ogee edge (Photo 9).

9. Attach the top, keeping about a 1-in. margin on the front and sides. Apply the cove molding (Photo 10).

Doors and Drawer

The double-hinged doors may look like a nightmare to hang, but they’re really a snap. Adjustable, partial-wrap, no-mortise hinges are the key.

Be careful when screwing the hinges onto the beveled edge of the column door (N). The hinges come with 1/2-in. and 5/8-in.-long screws. Play it safe and nip 1/16-in. off the ends of the 1/2-in. screws with a side cutter so they won’t poke through.

1. Make the column trim (AA) (Fig. A, Detail 1). Glue and clamp it flush to the outside edges of the columns (no nails, please). Then cut the beveled edges (Photo 11).

2. Attach hinges to the cabinet side of the columns. The point of the beveled edge should butt right up against the barrel of the hinge. Attach the columns on the cabinet (Photo 12).

3. Assemble the door frames with biscuits. Remove the column doors and attach them to the door frames (Photo 13). Put the door assemblies back on the cabinet. Apply the astragal (Y) to the right-hand door.

4. Drill 1/2-in. holes in the edging of the subtop and component shelf for the four rare earth magnet cups (see Sources, page 92) that keep the doors closed (Fig. A). Remove the door assemblies and hinges for sanding and finishing.

5. Make the panel trim (Z) (Fig. A, Detail 1) and add the panels (L) (Photo 14). Make the door trim (X) (Photo 15) and fasten with glue and nails inside the door frame opening (Fig. A).

6. Build the drawer box (Fig. C), add the full extension drawer slides and install the drawer in the cabinet. Attach the pine drawer front (Q) (Photo 16). Add the iron pulls (see Sources, below).

The Bun Feet

1. Make the four 7-in. blanks (BB). Run diagonal marks from corner to corner to establish a center point and drill a 1/16-in. hole at the center of each blank.

2. Cut the bun foot blanks into 6-in. dia. circles (Photo 17). Round over the edges to finish the bun feet (Photo 18).(For ready-made feet, see Sources, below.

3. Machine the foot support blocks (CC) so they compensate for any sag in your floor (Photo 19). Screw them to the bottom of the cabinet. Screw the bun feet to the foot blocks (Photo 20).

The Finish

I have to confess, even after 20 years of professional woodworking experience, my knees shake when it comes to finishing pine. Blotching is so hard to control if you want to add any color. For this project, I kept the blotch monster at bay by spraying the whole piece with a shellac sealer (see Sources, page 92). Then I sprayed a color layer of toned shellac. I made the toned shellac by adding 1/2 tsp. of Trans Tint Golden Brown Dye (see Sources, below) to 1 qt. of shellac sealer. I topped it all off with a couple coats of satin, waterborne poly.


(Source information may have changed since the original publication date.)

Lee Valley & Veritas,, 800-871-8158, Two Iron Pendant Pulls, 01A60.30, $6 ea.; Two Iron Oval Pulls, 01A60.40, $7 ea.; Twelve Part Wrap Iron Hinges with Minaret Tips, 01H31.50, $4 ea.; One 18" Black Full-Extension Drawer Slide, 02K11.18, $16 ea.; Four 3/8" x 1/10" Rare Earth Magnets, 99K32.03, $0.50 ea.;
Four 3/8" Cup for Magnets, 99K32.52, $0.50 ea.; Four 3/8" Washers,99K3262, $0.40 ea.; One 1/2"-high Roman Ogee Bit, 16J33.51 (16J33.01 for 1/4" shank), $27;
One 1/2" radius Cove Bit, 16J29.58 (16J29.08 for 1/4" shank), $29; One 1/2" radius round-over bit, 16J27.58 (16J27.08 for 1/4" shank), $28; One 1" radius round-over bit, 16J27.66, $57; One 1/2" flush-trimming bit, 16J09.58, $12; One 45-deg. chamfer bit, 16J30-58 (16J3008 for 1/4" shank), $21.

Public Lumber Company,, 313-891-7125, Two 3/4" birch plywood, $50 ea.; Two 3/4" clear or knotty pine plywood, $70 ea.; One 1/4" clear or knotty pine plywood, $40 ea.; 50 bd. ft. pine, $4 per bd. ft.

Adams Wood Products,, 423-587-2942,
Four 5" Maple Bun Feet, A0554-DS, $8 ea.

Woodworker's Supply,, 800-645-9292, One pint Titebond wood molding glue, 921-971, $7; One gal. sealcoat (shellac), 119-459, $23.

Woodcraft,, 800-225-1153, One Trans Tint Golden Brown Dye, 128482, $17.

Cutting List

Fig. A: Exploded View

Fig. A, Detail 1

Fig. B: Circle-Cutting Jig

Fig. C: Horizontal Cross Section Through Drawer

Fig. D: Verticle Cross Section and Dado Placement

Fig. E: Top Nailer

Fig. F: Angled Corner Construction

Fig. G: Clamping Jig

Fig. H: Plywood Cutting Diagram

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker July 2003, issue #101.

July 2003, issue #101

Purchase this back issue.

Click on any image to see a larger version.

Double-hinged doors fold flat against the sides, leaving the screen wide open for optimal viewing. Because the doors are double jointed, they can be operated with as little as 14 in. of side clearance.

A conveniently located drawer with full-extension slides allows easy access to a treasure trove of movies.

1. Make all the shelves identical by using one shelf as a template. Cut the angled corners on the other shelves a bit oversize. Clamp the rough-cut shelves to the template, and trim flush with a router.

2. Glue edging to the cabinet parts. The angled corner edging on the shelves is done first. Use a notched block to apply clamping pressure. Let the edging overhang along the front. Then trim it flush to the plywood on the tablesaw.

3. Assemble the cabinet with cauls and shims. The shims help put pressure in the center of the cabinet sides. Fasten the center divider to the two center shelves before assembly. Use screws for the bottom shelf; molding will cover them later.

4. Create a ledge below the doors with solid wood fastened to the underside of the component shelf. Use a 7/8-in. spacer block to keep an even reveal.

5. Add a row of nailers below the ledge to create a surface to nail moldings to. The nailer is flush with the ledge in front but is recessed at the angled corner where the column base fits. Determine the setback for the recessed nailer by holding the column base in place and tracing the back edge onto the ledge above.

6. Screw dividers into the case to create the drawer opening. A 33-1/2 in. long spacer board keeps the dividers parallel as they are screwed into position. Tip: Mount the drawer slides to the dividers before they’re fastened to the cabinet.

7. Attach the moldings with nails and glue. We used special molding glue instead of traditional yellow glue. The thick-bodied molding glue won’t drip or run while positioning the molding.

8. Fasten nailer boards on top of the cabinet. These nailer boards create an overhang above the doors and provide a surface for applying the cove molding. Start with the angled corner nailer. Use a 1-1/4-in. spacer block to set the overhang. Attach the remaining nailers and screw them down securely.

9. Rout the ogee edge on the top. Just glue on the edging, sand flush and rout. Then screw the finished top onto the cabinet.

10. Apply cove molding under the top and against the edge of the nailers. Hold the molding in place with spring clamps as you go. Fasten the molding with glue and pin nails.

11. Rip the 45-degree bevels on the columns. To avoid kickback, make sure the blade tilts away from the fence. That’s easy on a left-tilt saw; on a right-tilt, move the fence to the left side of the blade.

12. Hang the column on the cabinet. First, fasten the hinges to the column. Then use shims to position the column door on the cabinet. The half-wrap, no-mortise hinges wrap around the inside surface of the cabinet; all you have to do is screw them in place. Remove the columns after you’re satisfied with the fit.

13. Attach the door to the column. Make sure the column and door frame are even at the top by butting both pieces against a board clamped to your bench. Put some short 2x4s under the hinged joint so you can get to the screw holes.

14. Nail panel molding to the back of the door frame to hold the 1/4-in. panel in place. Miter the corners of the molding to give your door a finished look inside and out.

15. Cut the door trim on the bandsaw. Tilt the table to 20 degrees and secure a guide fence. Use a sharp, high-tooth-count blade (6 to 8 teeth per inch) for a cleaner cut that won’t require a lot of sanding.

16. Nail the drawer front to the drawer box. Shim the drawer front so the gaps will be even. A piece of duct tape stuck to the inside of the drawer acts as a temporary pull. Open the drawer and screw on the drawer front from inside the box. The holes left by brad nails are tiny and easy to disguise with filler.

17. Cut the bun feet on a bandsaw using a circle-cutting jig. Set the blank onto the pivot point of the jig. Then slide the jig onto the bandsaw and cut halfway through the blank. Clamp the jig in place and spin the blank to cut the bun foot.

18. Shape the bun foot on a router table with a 1-in. round-over bit. With the subfences wide open, set the fence over the bit so the blank just makes contact with the bearing and the subfences are just shy of the blank. This will minimize bit exposure.

19. Measure how much your floor dips away from the wall. This cabinet must be level so the doors will stay open. Simply subtract an amount equal to the dip in your floor from the thickness of the foot blocks for the back feet. Now there’ll be no unsightly shims under the feet after your cabinet’s installed.

20. Screw the bun feet to the foot blocks. The thinner foot block in back allows the cabinet to sit level on a sagging floor.

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Madisen77 wrote re: Television Cabinet
on 06-29-2010 5:21 AM

I would like to read more of your blogs and to share my thoughts with you

Madisen77 wrote re: Television Cabinet
on 06-29-2010 5:24 AM

I admire what you have done here.

Madisen77 wrote re: Television Cabinet
on 06-29-2010 5:24 AM

I admire what you have done here.

Madisen77 wrote re: Television Cabinet
on 06-29-2010 5:30 AM

I subscribed to your blog when is the next post

Ian Stewart wrote re: Television Cabinet
on 07-18-2010 8:55 AM

Nice job, Dave.

Ian Stewart wrote re: Television Cabinet
on 07-18-2010 9:10 AM

Very nice job, Dave.