After browsing endless DIY articles out there and coming up wanting for a more contemporary design that incorporated the clean lines and functionality that I was after, I decided to build one that would incorporate everything that I want in the stand. Since this is a finished piece of furniture that will be displayed in my living room, it also has to be just that - a finished piece of furniture. And, of course, it should not break the bank.
Luckily, I have a home depot about a mile from my house - which is fortuitous since they have a nice panel cutting saw, and I drive a Mini Cooper - it will take 2"x4"x8's, but panel stock is limited to 2'x4'. This stand is built entirely of plywood - and make no mistake about it, it is overengineered. Plywood is much stronger than dimensional lumber - I built my first house, and let me tell you, if it had not been for microlam beams I would have had much smaller rooms than I did.
So, I sketched the design out on the back of a piece of scrap, unused Christmas wrapping paper and off to Home Dumpster I drove in the Mini. Purchase #1:
1 - 4'x8' oak plywood, 1 roll of red oak iron-on edge banding - total $58.00.
First, some formalities: I make no guarantees regarding the quality, construction, fit, finish, durability or sturdiness of this project if the right materials and construction techniques are not used; always follow manufacturer guidelines and safe operating instructions on your power tools.
I started the carcass off by cutting the 2 end panels and 2 interior partitions out of 2 pieces of 24"x46" oak ply. When you get your oak 4x8 ripped at HD, get 2 panels cut in 24"x46" and 2 panels cut in 24"x50". You need longer stock for the top and back. First cut 4 blanks - 2 @ 24"tx20"w, and 2 @24"tx19.25"w - the side panels will be rabbited to receive the back.
In the front edge of each of the 4 panels, a 2"tx3/4"d notch in needed at the top edge, and a 4"tx3/4"d notch at the bottom edge have to be cut out. This photo shows the layout.
After identical cutouts are made at the front edge of all 4 blanks, cut a 2"wx48"l strip from the ply, as well as a 4"wx48"l strip. Then, at the table saw, cut one of your 24"x50" panels down to 24"x47.25"w. Next, a rabbit must be milled on the inside back edge of the 2 end panels (slightly larger ones). This rabbit receives the back, and measures 3/8" deep by 3/4" wide. I set my table saw to 3/8 deep and make one pass at 3/4", then set it at 3/4 deep and make the second pass with the panel standing up to remove the material. I really have to get a dado blade set - lost the old one in moving. This picture shows the rabbit layout.
Make sure you have 2 opposite panel ends, and you cut the rabbit on the inside rear edge of ONLY the 2 larger outside panels.
Next, sand everything with 220 grit and a random orbital sander. It is much easier to sand the inside portions of the carcass before assembly than after. This pic shows all the carcass parts (shelves excluded) sanded and ready for assembly.
Now, some fun. I used a variety of sizes of drywall screws and yellow carpenters glue to assemble this phase of the stand. Be sure to wipe off excess glue with a wet paper towel before it sets - if you don't, the wood will not take stain evenly. Start with the outside panels - apply glue to the inside of the rabbit of one panel and slip the back blank into the rabbit. Secure with 2" drywall screws through the back. Repeat for the other outside panel.
Decide on a spacing for the center compartment. I am using mine for my two Fluvals, my external heater and a powerstrip, so mine is 16" wide. Decide on you spacing and attach the 2 interior partitions. I would keep them around this dimension as it provides maximal support. Once the partitions are in, attach the top and bottom strips with glue and screws. Keep the screw holes toward the top in the upper piece and toward the bottom in the lower one. These will get covered up by molding later, so don't sweat the screw holes.
At this stage I used a hole cutter to cut in the holes for my filter lines and an grounded plug head. Attach blocking as shown for the attachment of the top. I cut mine on a power miter saw at 45 degree angles. These are glued and screwed to the carcass about a 1/32" below the upper surface.
The top is your remaining blank. It should be cut to 21" wide and 50" long. If it is not exactly 50" long, no biggie, you overhangs will just be a bit shorter. Pre-sand this to 220 grit, and attach to the carcass through the corner blocking. The back of the top should be even with the back of the carcass, allowing a 1" overhang all the way around except for the back.
Up to this point, this project has taken approximately 3 hours (excluding writing this up), and cost a total of $58.00. Tune in tomorrow evening for parte dos.[/img]