Sunday, May 13, 2012

TV cabinet

How our tv cabinet went...

from this... to that...

This cabinet (like many other things in our house!) came from one of our grandparents (specifically Grandma Millie!). It has been with us for at least 5 or 6 years. It is something from about 40 years ago? I don't know.

It is a great size and pretty solid piece of furniture. But... the top is veneered and the center quatrefoil panels are plastic. The back is masonite board. In other words, it isn't an exceptional piece of woodworking. So no guilty wood-empathetic feelings, please!

We always intended to replace this piece with a new TV console. I've looked around a little bit but have not really seen anything I loved. The main problem with this piece is that all our components are stashed in the cabinets, but with the doors closed we couldn't use the remote. Whenever we watched tv, the cabinet was open and stuff was spilling out onto the floor. I know there are ways to add a remote control "eye" or whatever, but then realized I can re-purpose this cabinet to be a little more multitasking and leave room for future devices and future technology. Also, as much as I love quatrefoil, I was growing weary of the 3 solid panels.

So we detached the side doors and popped the center panel right out of the frame... 

I searched high and low for some kind of metal mesh the insert into the empty space. There are many places that sell beautiful decorative metal mesh and will even cut it to size... for a price. I highly recommend this website if you want someone else to take care of this part for you. But, just warning you - it is not cheap and you can probably find a new cabinet for the price of two small mesh panels...

So I took a trip to Lowes for some brainstorming. Brainstorming at Lowes means I walk up and down every aisle looking for something to repurpose. I found rolls and rolls of soft mesh for window screens, which really would not work well.

But in one area I found this:

A "Screen and Storm Door Grill" - It's a hard mesh inside a metal frame. People use it to prevent toddlers and dogs from tearing through their screen doors. I bought two panels for $20 each.

The next issue was - how do we cut this thing to size? First I tried our mini power saw with a metal-cutting blade. 

"Hahahahaha" the universe said as I struggled to even put a dent in the edge of the frame.

Next trip to Lowes we bought a bolt-cutter. It cut through the mesh like butter.

BUT! You can only make one or two cuts before the thing gets in the way of itself. Kind of like a metaphor for DIY!

I almost gave up but remembered these wire cutters:

I was able to trim 2 pieces to size and pop them into the cabinet door frames. I didn't take pictures of this stage, but I glued the edges down with wood glue and it stuck...

Next came the paint - "Wrought Iron" Benjamin Moore Aura in Satin finish, which I already had left over from this project.

Everything was painted - both inside and outside the cabinet. The hardware was sprayed with a fresh coat of Rustoleum "Oil Rubbed Bronze." Then we put everything back together.

Next we re-wired everything. I'm not kidding when I say it took about 3 hours to sort through this mess: 

We zip-tied most of the excess wires into loops and even stashed some things inside a bin in the cabinet. The surge protector was screwed onto the back of the cabinet and everything went in and out of that. All the wires are now off the floor and the only wire going from the cabinet to the wall is the power strip plug and the cable cord... If you are interested, I think this website has some good tips on basic wire organization.

So this is the final result. It's much much more usable than before and looks updated too.

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