How to Build a Media Shelving Unit

A simple shelving unit is made to fit underneath a wall-mounted TV.

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Firehouse-TV-Cabinet This shelving unit was made to fit in between the two tall cabinets then a panel was added on top as a surface to mount the TV.

Tools and Materials:
one 4’ x 8’ sheet of 1/4” hickory panel plywood
eight 4’ x 8’ sheets of 3/4” paint-grade plywood
one gallon primer
two gallons semi-gloss paint
one gallon of stain
table saw
chop saw
tape measure
wood glue
Brad nailer and 1-1/4” Brad nails
finish nailer and 1” finish nails
sander
wood putty

Steps:

Bottom Base Unit
1. Using the table saw, cut two sheets of 3/4” paint-grade plywood to make four pieces measuring 18” x 96” for the top, bottom and horizontal shelf dividers.

2. To make the side pieces, cut 3/4” paint-grade plywood to two pieces measuring 18” x 26-1/2”.

3. To make vertical shelf dividers, cut 3/4” paint-grade plywood into six pieces measuring 8-1/4” x 18”.

4. Attach one piece of the side section (18” x 26-1/2”) to the bottom piece (18” x 96”) using wood glue and 1-1/4” Brad nails. Make sure the smaller piece is sitting on the edge of the longer piece so you maintain the 96-inch length.

Firehouse-TV-Cabinet

5. Repeat step 4 on the other side of the bottom piece. Slide the middle shelf in place and secure with Brad nails.

6. On the bottom piece, measure in 32 inches from each side to mark where the vertical shelf dividers will stand. Each row of shelving will have two dividers. Each shelf will be 32 inches wide and 9 inches high.

7. Using wood glue and 1-1/4” Brad nails, secure two pieces of 8-1/4” x 18” boards to each of the marks.

8. Place a horizontal row divider piece (18” x 96”) on top of the first two dividers, making it flush with the sides. Secure it to the sides and the dividers with wood glue and 1-1/4” Brad nails.

9. Repeat step 6 and 7 for the next row of vertical shelf dividers.

10. Repeat step 8 for the next shelf, then again repeat steps 6 and 7 for the top horizontal dividers.

11. Place the last piece of 18” x 96” plywood on top of the unit and secure it to the sides and the shelf dividers below using wood glue and 1-1/4” brad nails.

12. To make the face frame for the shelves, cut 3/4” paint-grade plywood into four 1-1/2” strips.

13. Using a chop saw, cut two pieces of the 1-1/2” strips 96 inches long and four pieces 25 inches long.

Firehouse-TV-Cabinet

14. Attach the strips of 96” lengths to the top and bottom shelves of the unit using wood glue and 1-1/4” Brad nails. Make sure that top piece is flush to the top surface, and the bottom piece is flush to the bottom surface. This should leave a 3/4” overhang into the unit on the top and bottom.

15. Attach the two side pieces of the face frame to the unit using wood glue and 1-1/4” Brad nails. Both pieces should be flush to the outer sides of the unit, causing a 3/4” overhang into the middle of the unit.

16. Attach the two interior vertical pieces to the unit using wood glue and 1-1/4” brad nails. Make sure that these pieces are centered on the unit, causing a 3/8” overhang on either side of the vertical divide.

17. Measure the distance between all the vertical pieces to get the necessary measurement for your horizontal cross pieces for the face frame.

18. Using a chop saw, cut more 1-1/2” strips to the necessary size. Attach these pieces in the same manner you did the others.

19. Fill in any visible nail holes with wood putty.

20. Sand down the entire unit for a smooth finish. Then prime and paint.

Top Back-Plate
1. Stain the full sheet of hickory plywood.

2. Mark the studs in your wall. Measure up 28 inches above the floor or where the top of your shelving unit sits.

3. Attach the panel to the studs with 1-1/4” Brad nails, nail along the edges of the plywood.

4. Cut one sheet of 3/4” paint-grade plywood down to four 2” strips.

5. Using a chop saw, cut the strips down to the following lengths: two at 96 inches and two at 44 inches.

6. Prime and paint the four strips of 3/4” plywood the same color as the base unit.

7. Attach one 96” strip to the panel at the top, making sure it’s flush to the edges. This process should cover up any nail holes left behind from hanging the plywood. Use 1” finish nails to attach.

8. Attach the strip at the bottom of the panel.

9. Attach the two 44” strips to the sides of the panel, making sure it’s flush to the each edge.

10. Touch up nail holes.

11. Slide the base unit underneath, it should be a nice, tight fit.

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