When my wife and I first got married, she had an old dresser that she no longer wanted. It seemed like a shame to throw it away, so we decided to make it into an entertainment center. This was my first real attempt at making any kind of furniture, so even though it was a while ago I thought it would be good to start the blog with.
To start the project, I took the back off of the dresser and pulled all of the shelves out to see what I was working with. I was not sure how it had been made, but the bones of the dresser were sturdy.
Next, I removed the pieces of wood that had been used to support the drawers. My goal was to put shelves in the entertainment center, so I didn’t need the drawers or the supports. I kept all of the unused pieces, and although I haven’t had much use for them yet, I am planning on using at least a couple of the drawers to finish a project I am working on right now.
After removing the drawer supports I cut some 1/2″ plywood to fit inside of the dresser. I notched it out in the front to fit around the vertical support post. There was a similar vertical post in the back of the dresser and I removed it temporarily to slide the shelves in from the back. I did not try to make the shelves go all the way to the inside walls of the dresser, because I wanted to leave a gap on either end to run cords through for electronics.
After fitting the shelf boards I glued the front of the boards to the frame and screwed the back down. I cut scrap lumber and put it between the shelf areas to hold the glue firmly while it dried (I didn’t have clamps back then).
My next stop after the glue dried was to paint the whole entertainment center. I used a plain white paint and the outside of the frame took two coats. The shelves took at least three coats since they were fresh wood and I had to spot check a few places beyond that. In hindsight, I should have probably put the doors on the entertainment center before I painted, but my idea was to build the parts separately and then install them afterward.
Next I built the doors. I used pieces of composite wood molding with the ends cut at 45 degrees to create a rectangle that reached from the middle of the outside frame to the middle of the center post. I discovered that it is important to measure each angle before cutting them. The way I did it was by measuring the first few angles with a protractor (never thought I’d have to use that) and then I used those cut pieces as a template to mark and cut the rest. When I put the pieces together the ones I measured fit together well but the ones I traced from a template were not as snug of a fit and I had to file down some areas to make the fit better. I also used a staple gun to fasten the corners on the back side of the doors. I designed the doors so that the doors would swing open from the middle outward.
After building the frames for the doors I put plexiglass windows on them. Plexiglass is a little easier to work with than real glass. I tried a couple different ways to install them but the brackets I tried first were too big to allow the doors to close all the way. I ended up drilling pilot holes for the plexiglass and then putting screws into the frame. I found that I needed to measure the thickness of the molding where the screw was going to go in so that I could make sure to not accidentally screw all the way through and out of the other side.
I painted and installed the doors next. It was hard to get them lined up exactly. I used a small level to make sure the side and top of the doors were aligned. I used brushed bronze hardware on both doors. Lastly I opened and closed both doors to make sure they swung freely. I had to adjust one hinge that was bent in the package and I hadn’t noticed it before.
This project was a lot of fun to work on and it is what gave me the bug for doing more projects with wood. I hope you enjoyed seeing the process. If you have any questions or comments about the project please let me know.
If you’d like to see my non-wood shop work, including my music and upcoming performances, visit www.samadamsmusic.org
Thanks for reading!