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Old 03-19-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
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What type of wood should I use?

I am drawing up some plans for an entertainment center that will have drawers and some cabinets built in to it with towers on both sides. It will take up approx. 10' wide by 8' tall. I am planning on staining it as well. What type of wood do you all recommend? Should I do a mix of hardwood and a nicer plywood for things like the sides or areas that won't get much attention? This is not really the first wood project I have done but it will certainly be the biggest project. We just got a nice table saw and I plan on borrowing a nice planer/joiner.

Thanks for the advice in advanced.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #2
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Cherry for all of it in my opinion.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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You may want to go with a premium plywood such as Oak or Birch for your secondary surfaces and a compatible hardwood for you top and trim. A nice hardwood that has a routered edge looks nice.
I love Cherry as well, but for something that size, you are talking mega-bucks.
If you have any lumber mills near you, check out their inventory, you may find something you like once you see it in person.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #4
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You an oak man Jimmy?
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 186000mps View Post
You may want to go with a premium plywood such as Oak or Birch for your secondary surfaces and a compatible hardwood for you top and trim. A nice hardwood that has a routered edge looks nice.
I love Cherry as well, but for something that size, you are talking mega-bucks.
If you have any lumber mills near you, check out their inventory, you may find something you like once you see it in person.
Thanks. I was considering going the Oak route. Cherry is very nice stuff but would definitely be way out of my price range. How easy(or hard) is Oak to work with?
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:44 AM   #6
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I built my entertainment center in 3 pieces. 2 bookshelves and a center piece. I used birch plywood for a majority of it, bead board for the backing, and red oak pieces for the face. Everything I stained natural, I did try using a diluted cherry stain on the red oak which stood out very well on another piece. Good luck on whichever path you decide.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mntbiker2008 View Post
Thanks. I was considering going the Oak route. Cherry is very nice stuff but would definitely be way out of my price range. How easy(or hard) is Oak to work with?
For building cabinets or an entertainment center, Oak is just like any other hardwood. Good sharp blades on your saws will be helpful. It sands nicely, produces nice corners and will take a stain.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:10 AM   #8
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You might want to PM macgyver. He's made some really nice looking finished woodwork! He might have a couple pointers for you.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:24 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. Any tips help. I will pm macgyver and see if he has some tips as well.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:36 AM   #10
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Seconded on the oak. I have built most of own furniture from oak using plywood w/ oak veneer for the larger surfaces and hardwood for trim and cheaper but smooth plywood for the drawer boxes and so on. My bed is all hardwood oak though and just finished helping my dad build a bed for my parents made of cherry (beautiful but pricey wood).

As others said sharp blades, I've found that oak sometimes has a lot of stress in the wood with a tendency to sometimes pinch the blade. Also in my opinion oak also smells awful when being cut, especially when it getting saw burnt.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:29 AM   #11
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Geez that thing is going to weigh a ton! I'm hoping that's going to be a permanent built-in right?

When I think of entertainment center, I think of a piece of furniture.

As for the type of wood, I would stick with either oak, maple, or cherry plywood for the carcass and solid oak, maple, or cherry for the face frames if you're staining. Keep in mind this will substantially increase the cost. Go find a local hardwood & exotic lumber supplier and they should have different types of ply. To save money you could do 1/2" ply for your vertical pieces and 3/4" for shelves and tops & bottoms for strength.

If you opt to paint (which I typically prefer for large pieces like entertainment centers), birch plywood or MDF and poplar, soft maple, or MDF for face frames would be fine. I built a bookcase in my office area almost entirely out of MDF except the plywood beadboard panels, it paints up great. Cost me about $350 total in materials.

Build it modular for sure (In sections)

Here's some pics of the built in bookcase to give you some ideas. I made it in two pieces (upper & lower) and used trim to fill the gaps and make it look like one big piece.
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What type of wood should I use?-bookcase0.jpg   What type of wood should I use?-bookcase1.jpg   What type of wood should I use?-bookcase2.jpg   What type of wood should I use?-bookcase4.jpg   What type of wood should I use?-bookcase10.jpg  

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Old 03-20-2012, 10:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
Geez that thing is going to weigh a ton! I'm hoping that's going to be a permanent built-in right?

When I think of entertainment center, I think of a piece of furniture.

As for the type of wood, I would stick with either oak, maple, or cherry plywood for the carcass and solid oak, maple, or cherry for the face frames if you're staining. Keep in mind this will substantially increase the cost. Go find a local hardwood & exotic lumber supplier and they should have different types of ply. To save money you could do 1/2" ply for your vertical pieces and 3/4" for shelves and tops & bottoms for strength.

If you opt to paint (which I typically prefer for large pieces like entertainment centers), birch plywood or MDF and poplar, soft maple, or MDF for face frames would be fine. I built a bookcase in my office area almost entirely out of MDF except the plywood beadboard panels, it paints up great. Cost me about $350 total in materials.

Build it modular for sure (In sections)

Here's some pics of the built in bookcase to give you some ideas. I made it in two pieces (upper & lower) and used trim to fill the gaps and make it look like one big piece.
That looks fantastic! I saw the finished picture in another thread and wondered about it. Great job!
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
Geez that thing is going to weigh a ton! I'm hoping that's going to be a permanent built-in right?

When I think of entertainment center, I think of a piece of furniture.

As for the type of wood, I would stick with either oak, maple, or cherry plywood for the carcass and solid oak, maple, or cherry for the face frames if you're staining. Keep in mind this will substantially increase the cost. Go find a local hardwood & exotic lumber supplier and they should have different types of ply. To save money you could do 1/2" ply for your vertical pieces and 3/4" for shelves and tops & bottoms for strength.

If you opt to paint (which I typically prefer for large pieces like entertainment centers), birch plywood or MDF and poplar, soft maple, or MDF for face frames would be fine. I built a bookcase in my office area almost entirely out of MDF except the plywood beadboard panels, it paints up great. Cost me about $350 total in materials.

Build it modular for sure (In sections)

Here's some pics of the built in bookcase to give you some ideas. I made it in two pieces (upper & lower) and used trim to fill the gaps and make it look like one big piece.
Thanks! It will definitely be a permanent piece for sure and I plan to make it in 3 sections (2 towers and the center). That bookcase looks awesome!! I am going to consider doing MDF and see how that looks especially if that is a little less expensive. I have a feeling looking at all the costs of just the wood itself will at least double or possibly triple what you spent on the bookshelf.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #15
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Birch plywood with maple face frames. Works well and stains nicely. Paint grade you could use mdf core birch and maple face frames also. Personally I never liked building cabinets out of mdf. But it wasn't my company so it wasn't my decision. Don't forget the robertson screws to hold it all together. (Your Welcome OZ)
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ngotoma View Post
I built my entertainment center in 3 pieces. 2 bookshelves and a center piece. I used birch plywood for a majority of it, bead board for the backing, and red oak pieces for the face. Everything I stained natural, I did try using a diluted cherry stain on the red oak which stood out very well on another piece. Good luck on whichever path you decide.
That unit looks nice, however that window has to suck while watching TV during daylight hours, no?
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:08 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by t4daddy View Post
That unit looks nice, however that window has to suck while watching TV during daylight hours, no?

It is mostly covered now and the LCD is now larger and lifted about 8 inches higher with the center speaker under it. The significant other was trying to figure out what kind of curtains she wanted at the time.

Btw, macgyver some very nice work you have there.
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mntbiker2008 View Post
I am drawing up some plans for an entertainment center that will have drawers and some cabinets built in to it with towers on both sides. It will take up approx. 10' wide by 8' tall. I am planning on staining it as well. What type of wood do you all recommend? Should I do a mix of hardwood and a nicer plywood for things like the sides or areas that won't get much attention? This is not really the first wood project I have done but it will certainly be the biggest project. We just got a nice table saw and I plan on borrowing a nice planer/joiner.

Thanks for the advice in advanced.
Poplar, reasonably priced - nicely grained and receives stain well to look like higher grade woods like Cherry and Walnut...
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:06 PM   #19
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picked up a few pieces of sample wood today. Got a red oak, plain oak, and poplar. Picked up a red oak Minwax stain. The red oak looks awesome and love the grain on it. The poplar is pretty dark but is looking better as it continues to dry.
here they are: from left to right, Plain Oak, Poplar, Red Oak





I think the closer grains will look good on the trim pieces but I am not sure if there will be too much going on with the larger surface areas like the sides? I am not too sure how good it will look either if I use red oak for the trim and plain oak for the larger areas.

I am also going to pick up the Kreg Jig Master System. There were a few contractors in the store I went to today that came up when I was checking one out and said they highly recommend it over using a biscuit joiner (which is what I was going to use). They all said they have one and the biscuit joiner sits in the corner of their shop unused.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:36 AM   #20
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Kreg Jig Master System
I love it, works great.
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