How To: Building an A-Frame Entertainment Center

Building an elegant A-frame entertainment center can be as easy as fitting notched lumber together like puzzle pieces. The result is a rustic yet dramatic focal point of any room.


Materials and Tools:

planks of 1-7/8 inch laminated veneer lumber (LVL), dimensions below
table saw
circular saw
rubber mallet
orbital sander



1. Cut five planks of LVL in the following sizes: Two boards 12 x 85-1/2 inches for the sides, one 12 x 39-7/8 inch for the top shelf, one 14 x 53-inches for middle shelf and one 18 x 82-9/16 for the bottom shelf.

2. On the two side pieces, cut a mitered angle on the bottom at 22.5 degrees and at the top at 15 degrees. These cuts can be made with a circular saw adjusted on its horizontal axis to the proper angle. Both cuts on each side piece should be made to the inside of the piece, so that the length from long point to long point remains 85-1/2 inches on the outside of both side pieces.

3. The bottom measurement for the lowest shelf should be made from the inside of the side pieces. Measure 19-7/16 inches from the inside of that bottom 22.5-degree angle and this will be the bottom edge of the lowest shelf. From that point, draw a line that is parallel to the 22.5-degree angle on the bottom of the piece.

4. Determine and mark measurements for the top edge of the shelf by placing a piece of the LVL along the bottom shelf line and tracing the width of the shelf on the side pieces. The bottom of the middle shelf is 36-1/2 inches from the top of the lowest shelf. The bottom of the highest shelf is 15-1/2 inches from the top of the middle shelf.

5. The shelves will be set into the sides with a cross lap joint. Using a circular saw adjusted to the same angle as the bottom, notch out half the width of the LVL, 6-inches into the side pieces.

6. The circular saw cannot cut around square edges, so complete the cuts squarely with a jigsaw adjusted to the same angle. The back edge of the notch will be rough, so carefully clean it up with a chisel.


7. To cut the other half of the cross lap into the shelving, lay the unit flat on the ground and place the shelves into the notches. Be sure they're centered and facing the way they will ultimately end up.

8. Trace the contour of the notch onto the back of the shelving and use these lines to cut out the 6-inch notches on the shelves. The sides and shelves will fit together like a puzzle, with a flush back that's parallel to the bottom. To keep the shelves level, be sure to cut these notches so that the angles match precisely.

9. Assembly is easy once all of the notches are cut. Place the sides on their backs onto the ground and simply fit the cross laps into their respective partners. If the fit is tight, which it should be, use a rubber mallet to secure them into place.

10. Sand down the unit to smooth all surfaces.

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