Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

Built-in Fitted Bookcase and Media Centre

Built-in Fitted Bookcase and Media Centre

Built-in Fitted Bookcase and Media Centre, Godalming, Surrey

This job was a real pleasure to do.

The customer had nearly finished the build of the house, which used to be a bungalow,  now transformed into a superb, modern open-plan dwelling, and this MDF and softwood floor-to-ceiling Audio/TV cabinet was one of the last items to be completed before the family moved in.

As you can see in the picture to the left, the cabinet has a multitude of compartments, all measured and designed by the customer to fit around the objects and equipment they were intending to place in it… can you guess where the quite substantial TV will be going?!

Other than the TV, the media centre will accommodate an array of equipment including speakers, amps, sub-woofer, DVD or blue ray player, and perhaps some books and a nice lamp on one of the curved shelves at the end :)

Batons are fixed to the wall

Batons are fixed to the wall

The curved base goes down

The curved base goes down

The curved base goes down

The curved base goes down

After marking out on the wall where all the shelves will go, the batons that will hold them in place are fixed to the wall.

One of the customers requirements for this job was that no batons were to be seen, because they wanted the shelving to appear as if it was floating. This was achieved by using 25mm baton, and 50mm thick shelving, into which 25mm grooves were centrally cut along the relevant edges, allowing the shelf to be slotted over the baton, therefore concealing it.

Once the batons were on the wall, the next thing was to lay the base of the unit onto the floor, carefully working out the radius of the curved end of the unit, which was to be projected upwards to the ceiling and plumb up perfectly with all the other curves of that end of the built-in media centre.

The top of the unit is fixed to the ceiling

The top of the unit is fixed to the ceiling

Bottom and top fixed in place

Bottom and top fixed in place

Bottom and top fixed in place with laser accuracy

Bottom and top fixed in place with laser accuracy

Next, the top of the unit was fixed to the ceiling, using a laser level to achieve plumb accurately.

Building the shelving up from the base

Building the shelving up from the base

Shelving grooved over the concealed batons

Shelving grooved over the concealed batons

Shelving fixed to the wall with concealed baton

Shelving fixed to the wall with concealed baton

The Media Centre starts to take shape

The Media Centre starts to take shape

All the curved ends are now cut and fitted

All the curved ends are now cut and fitted

Shelving now completed, and softwood lipping is attached

Shelving now completed, and softwood lipping is attached

With the top and base of the Media Centre now in place, it was time to start filling in between with the shelving.

This was fairly laborious, as each shelf and each upright was formed of 25mm MDF laminated together to make 50mm thick pieces, which then had to be individually scribed to the wall. Once each piece was scribed, it then needed to be rebated to slot over the batons that would support it.

In addition to this, a further four pieces would need the curve cut from the end of the shelf, which needed to be absolutely plumb with the floor and ceiling curves.

Once this was all done, the next stage was to begin fixing on the softwood lipping to the front edges of the unit. This would conceal the unattractive MDF edge, and create a better surface to be decorated. This is when the Media Centre really started to look impressive!

Softwood lipping being attached

Softwood lipping being attached

Lipping slotted to allow softwood to curve

Lipping slotted to allow softwood to curve

Lipping complete, Media Centre ready to go!

Lipping complete, Media Centre ready to go!

Getting the solid pine lipping to flex around the curves of the unit was achieved by cutting slots into the back of the lipping, leaving 3mm uncut on the face side. This allowed the timber to flex easily, and the slots would be filled prior to decoration.

Floor to ceiling Media Centre

Floor to ceiling Media Centre

Built-in Media Centre, end view

Built-in Media Centre, end view

Something that is really pleasing about this job is that because it will be used for TV, movies and music, it will quite often be the centre of attention, and I really think it looks the part! :)

Built-in Fitted Bookcase and Media Centre, Godalming, Surrey

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Bespoke pine HiFi Unit

Finished Bespoke pine Hi Fi Unit

This bespoke pine Hi Fi A/V cabinet was for a friend of mine, James.

It started when he and his wife came over for dinner one evening, and they commented on a piece of furniture we have at home that is quite distressed and has a very rustic finish.

He also showed me some photos from a magazine of coffee table that had some unusual joinery characteristics, which he said he’d like matched on the Hi Fi cabinet he wanted me to make, these were where on the corners of the unit, you could see the mortice and tenon joints that connect the components of the cabinet together. These being on show, proves that the unit is of good quality, and made of solid wood, rather than veneered chipboard or mdf.

Mortice & Tenon close-up

Mortice & Tenon close-up

The timber was supplied by a local merchant to the sizes I required, and i was then able to begin gluing all the panels together for the sides and top, as well as the doors, and while they were drying, all the mortices, tenons, grooves and rebates could be applied to the various other components like the ring beam, bottom rails and legs.

Seeing as James was quite clear about what he wanted, I advised that when it came to all the ironmongery, the best thing would be to source it himself, as that way he’d be able to get exactly what he wanted for the price he wanted. I think he used the supplier Ironmongery Direct. They were able to deliver the hinges and handles etc to me directly, and once they arrived, i was able to fit them to the cabinet.

Assembling the cabinet components

Assembling the cabinet components

Testing stains and waxes

Testing stains and waxes

Assembled HiFi Cabinet before stain or wax

Assembled Hi Fi Cabinet before stain or wax

Before assembling the cabinet, i spent around 2 hours wire brushing the pine components to achieve the same rustic aesthetic as the piece of furniture James first saw at my house. This basically removes the softer part of the wood grain and creates a more coarse feel to the timber and once the finish has been applied, a more rustic effect is achieved. After this, I spent more time testing a lot of different stains and waxes to achieve the right colour.

Below are a few pictures which are a kind of  “The Making Of…”

Glued Panels Drying

Glued Panels Drying

Grooved, morticed & rebated legs

Grooved, morticed & rebated legs

Full length rear bottom rail

Full length rear bottom rail will eventually support the backing

Rebating the panels

Rebating the panels

Funky random ventilation holes

Funky random ventilation holes

Finished and delivered

Finished and delivered

The final touch to this cabinet was the 10mm thick toughened glass shelves for the Hi Fi separates to sit on. On the inside of the left and right pedestals, we used the Tonk adjustable shelving system, which allows you to adjust the height of your shelves in increments of about 20mm.

I only installed the toughened glass when i actually delivered the cabinet to James, and it was a fantastic finale to this piece. The chunky glass complimented the style and proportions of the rest of the cabinet really well.

I’m also very glad the glass fitted, which it did perfectly, phew!

I really enjoyed doing this cabinet, and would love to do something similar again. If you are interested in having your very own Hi Fi cabinet, or any other cabinet for that matter, made to your unique design in a style and size that matches your home’s interior perfectly, drop me a line!

Please feel free to leave a comment as well!

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