Measuring it Out
First step was to get the wood. I got 2 pieces of 3/4″ MDF 4×8′ which would be used mostly for the sides of the cabinet, the floorboards, and other parts that needed thicker support. MDF is “Medium Density Fiberboard” which is one grade higher than particle board. It’s better for this project because it is smoother, holds screws better, and can be routed without falling apart.
Having the TurboCad plans (From Jeff McClain’s Website, See the Design page) really helped speed up this phase. Since the design was already done, all I needed to do was measure out the dimensions on the board using a large metal drywall t-square.
Remember what you’re dad always told you.. Measure twice, cut once!!. Yeah, there was a little paranoia with making the cuts.. these MDF’s are NOT cheap.
Taking a moment to appreciate the rough cuts. WOW that really looks like..like… the SIDE OF AN ARCADE MACHINE.. Whooo hoo.
When deciding how to do the speaker holes, I had many options after seeing what others had done. But, in the end I thought that the speaker holes looked really authentic, so I went with them. To cut the holes, I first measured a 5″ circle to roughly measure where each speaker would go. I then marked 1/2″ parallel lines from top to bottom.
Then, to be sure the long ovals lined up and looked equal, I drew a few vertical lines to help me decide roughly where the ovals would begin and end… once again, roughly is the key word here. To cut the holes, I first used a 1/2″ drill bit to drill the ends of each oval. Then I used a reciprocating saw to cut the “straight” lines.
This is what it looks like after the cuts were made. It doesn’t have to be perfect, since you probably won’t be able to see the cuts that well after the black paint goes on anyway.
Yup, this is the aftermath!! I was picking sawdust boogers for days. (hehe) I can’t wait until my MOM see’s this picture of the Victorian couch she reupholstered for me as a gift.. Sorry MOM! Good news is that it cleaned up better than new. (whew)
For those who want to know: YES I am married, YES Sharon (My Wife) offered for me to use the living room to make the cabinet. At the time we were living in Phoenix, Arizona, and working outside in 120 degree weather was not really an option. Thank you Sharon, I love you! Well, you guessed it, it’s now CLEANING TIME! Ugh!
AND.. finally, after the first days work, I HAD to prop the wood up together to see what it was going to look like. If you’re wondering, YES, when nobody was looking I did stand in front of it and use an imaginary joystick and buttons and play a mean game of Space Invaders. :)
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