Author Topic: Advice please on AV unit materials and construction  (Read 2386 times)

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Offline cliffp

  • Posts: 514
Advice please on AV unit materials and construction
« on: December 01, 2012, 10:45 AM »
I am planning to make an AV unit. It will be 6' wide, 2' deep and 18" high. I am planning to have two vertical partitions to create 3 bays and 2 shelves within each bay. The idea is to place one item of hifi or av equipment in each slot. I wasn't planning to have any doors.  I was thinking of using white oak as its relatively cheap. My question is, would I be advised to use veneered mdf with a solid face frame, in which case would it be better to mitre the top, bottom and sides (I have a domino so I could do this quite easily) or should I use an edging strip and butt joint the top onto the sides and the sides onto the bottom. I am afraid that edging strip might look a bit cheap. Maybe it would be better to glue a wider piece of solid oak onto the ends of the top and bottom rather than use edging strip?

Alternatively, I am not completely against the idea of using solid oak for the whole thing if it would look much better. I just don't have the experience to know how much better solid wood looks than veneered mdf.

Finally, I can't decide what edge treatment, if any, to use on the face frame (or front edge if using solid wood). The style of the room is contemporary.

Any advice would be gratefully received!
T15+3 set, CXS set, Centrotec set (2011), TS55REBQ, TS75EQ, 1400 rail, 1900 rail, 1400 LR32 rail, LR32 set, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, Guide rail adapter, edging plate, angle arm, chip catcher, small bore base, MFS400, MFS1000 profiles, RO90DX, RO150, ETS150/3, Domino DF500, Domino assortment systainer, CTL Midi, compact cleaning set, CMS GE, TS75 Module, OF Module, VL and VB extensions, LA Stopper, Sliding table, Carvex 420 Li 18 GG, core maker set, EHL65EQ, Syslite.

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Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3486
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Advice please on AV unit materials and construction
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 01:35 PM »
Finally, I can't decide what edge treatment, if any, to use on the face frame (or front edge if using solid wood). The style of the room is contemporary.

Since you have a lot of decisions to make, I would suggest you nail down the design first. I find that living with a piece is the best way to know what you really want, so I suggest creating a mock up that you can look at and change before you start on your final build. Before Sketchup, cardboard was my friend because I could easily mockup a structure and understand the overall mass and proportions of an object in the space much better than a drawing.

Alternatively buying some cheap plywood or MDF and creating a rough real size mockup and putting your components in them accomplishes a couple objectives: 1) you can actually have something to put your stuff on while making the final unit. 2) almost everything is better the second time around. 3) you can fine tune the proportions, width of shelves, supports etc. add features you over looked before cutting up some expensive wood/veneer. 4) allows you to create a workflow that captures all the steps you need to build your final unit without too many errors.

I was thinking of using white oak as its relatively cheap.

Your budget will define your choice of materials but seriously the time you will spend building and living with this will be far more significant. Think about what you want to achieve - design and finish rather than the cheapest. White oak is nice but there are many choices. For example you may want a very clean but glossy contemporary cabinet look. In that case you could use plain MDF some paint and lots of time buffing a high gloss shine.

My question is, would I be advised to use veneered mdf with a solid face frame, in which case would it be better to mitre the top, bottom and sides (I have a domino so I could do this quite easily) or should I use an edging strip and butt joint the top onto the sides and the sides onto the bottom. I am afraid that edging strip might look a bit cheap. Maybe it would be better to glue a wider piece of solid oak onto the ends of the top and bottom rather than use edging strip?

Edging strip can look good if they are properly applied. Edging strip does not have to look cheap. In a production shop it is often used to save the step of gluing on a solid edge. As a hobbyist, you may or may not have the time/budget constraint that a production shop does so solid edge banding maybe a good alternative.

Alternatively, I am not completely against the idea of using solid oak for the whole thing if it would look much better. I just don't have the experience to know how much better solid wood looks than veneered mdf.
Personally, if I can work with veneered stock and achieve the same look and feel then I will go that route. I think it's much easier to keep a veneered panel flat, requires less machining and allows for much more flexibility in (contemporary) design than solid stock. Because solid wood moves - expands and contracts, and large panels more so it will dictate construction techniques and design decisions. If you just don't like the idea of building with veneered anything then go with solid stock.
Tim

Offline cliffp

  • Posts: 514
Re: Advice please on AV unit materials and construction
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 01:52 PM »
Tim, Thanks for such a comprehensive answer! You have provided me with some excellent food for thought and not only provided me with the answers to everything I asked (or the guidance to find them) but pointed out things I hadn't even thought of. I am going to make a mock up and consider the rest of your suggestions.

Cliff
T15+3 set, CXS set, Centrotec set (2011), TS55REBQ, TS75EQ, 1400 rail, 1900 rail, 1400 LR32 rail, LR32 set, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, Guide rail adapter, edging plate, angle arm, chip catcher, small bore base, MFS400, MFS1000 profiles, RO90DX, RO150, ETS150/3, Domino DF500, Domino assortment systainer, CTL Midi, compact cleaning set, CMS GE, TS75 Module, OF Module, VL and VB extensions, LA Stopper, Sliding table, Carvex 420 Li 18 GG, core maker set, EHL65EQ, Syslite.