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Project by Waldo88 posted 06-22-2016 03:14 PM 3203 views 28 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I designed and built this credenza for the TV room as an entertainment center and toy storage. This is the centerpiece of the room we spend the most time in. We have a preschooler and baby, so being kid safe and durable was a big design concern.

There are no sharp edges or doors to slam little fingers in (plus the doors in the tv stand this replaced were broken by “taking rides”). It is sized so that the TV is at optimum viewing height from the couch. The rule of thirds was used to get the proportions right, and the legs are placed at the halfway point of the outer quarters. The legs are angled 15 degrees on the long dimension and 7.5 degrees on the short dimension.

It is made of walnut, walnut plywood, maple, maple plywood, and birch plywood. I’m not sure what to call the casework construction technique, but I built it this way to have solid edges all around; edges tend to be the failure point for plywood casework, plus I really like the rounded look. To me rounded edges is a refinement you’ll only ever see in custom pieces, its just not commercially viable to build something that way.

It is finished with homemade Danish oil (1/3 BLO, 1/3 Poly, 1/3 MS) first and then a coat of lacquer.

The drawer pulls are a bit unusual, they were on an old built-in that was original to our house that previous owners had moved into the garage. They were well made and in great condition. Since this piece was made to look like and inspired by original midcentury pieces, it seemed fitting to use them; chrome is some old-school cool.

I have a little shop and don’t have a table saw, power planer, or jointer, but do love using handplanes. It seemed a bit daunting to build a large casepiece using mostly hand tools (incl powered), but once I figured out how to do everything it really was no big deal.

More construction pics:

This thing was too big for my shop, so it was built in the garage. All of the plywood cuts were made with a circular saw on 2×4’s against a fence (plywood makes a great fence).

Dadoes and rabbets were made using my router against some fences. The back (1/2” birch ply) is glued into rabbets all around. The two dividers are glued into dadoes.

I wanted the face frame/edge banding to be double thickness. I added an extra band of plywood all around to support it; it was also much easier to cut the t-track slots that way. The divider, while maple ply, has walnut edging. I wanted the inside light colored to make it easier to see things.

I used dowels to align the face frame/edge banding. It was cut piece by piece to really nail perfect miters.

The first step in finishing. I put the DO on before building the legs if for no other reason than to add a bit of durability.

I didn’t have enough walnut plywood to make the drawer fronts, so I made some myself using some walnut veneer I had. I was going to use some walnut boards I had, but it didn’t match the walnut ply well at all (steamed vs. unsteamed I think). A simple vacuum press makes veneering easy.

I had to make a prototype to get the legs right.

The legs are made from solid walnut. They were shaped using a spokeshave, angle grinder, rasp/files, and sanding. All solid wood stock prep (incl drawers) was done with handplanes; I don’t have a power planer or jointer.

The connections are doweled, but I also used a reinforcing block inside the joint, cut with the grain direction so that there is no end grain in a glue joint.

The legs are only attached to the case via 3 screws in each of the cross stretchers (that line up exactly with the internal dividers). There isn’t really a need for more, but attaching closer to the center was important to keep bow out of the visible stretchers.

Drawers are made from solid maple, with box joints all around. The drawers slide on a waxed pieces of maple on the inside of the case, on a dado cut into each side of the drawer. Smooth as butter.

I put walnut edging on the shelves as well. The shelf pin holes were drilled using a jig I made from a piece of scrap pine, the holes in the jig were made on the drill press.

14 comments so far

View gsimon's profile


1327 posts in 3397 days

#1 posted 06-22-2016 03:53 PM

this is a gorgeous piece
Thanks for sharing the process too – you are very talented

-- Greg Simon

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3882 days

#2 posted 06-22-2016 04:54 PM

Wow, that turned out really nice. Great job on this one.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1988 days

#3 posted 06-22-2016 05:24 PM

Beautiful result! Thanks for sharing your design process and the math/logic behind your design decisions. It’s nice to see the thought processes as well as the construction processes :) It’s also great to see such a spectacular result from a shop that isn’t outfitted with 1,000’s of dollars of machinery!


-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View Ben's profile


101 posts in 2521 days

#4 posted 06-22-2016 07:36 PM

Wow! That’s some truly impressive work – great job!!!

View Bernard58's profile


131 posts in 2128 days

#5 posted 06-22-2016 08:22 PM

Beautiful design, I love it! Especially the rounded edges and corners, and the angled legs. Proportions are perfect, and you made good choice for the wood. Reminds me of some beautiful designs from the sixties.

Thanks for sharing and for providing additional details on how you constructed this lovely piece of furniture!

-- Bernard Delaey, Belgium -

View builtinbkyn's profile


3031 posts in 2224 days

#6 posted 06-22-2016 09:20 PM

Classic Scandinavian styling and beautifully executed. Wonderful work!

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View metolius's profile


432 posts in 2014 days

#7 posted 06-22-2016 09:41 PM

Great grain matching!

-- derek / oregon

View Ivan's profile


17049 posts in 4151 days

#8 posted 06-23-2016 05:35 AM

Beautiful style and awesome design. Very useful photos of making it.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Alexandre Lussier's profile

Alexandre Lussier

93 posts in 2118 days

#9 posted 06-23-2016 11:32 AM

It’s beautiful. Really.

-- Alex, Bas Saint-Laurent

View WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4844 days

#10 posted 06-24-2016 04:22 AM

An excellent job. And no table saw! Hats off to you. I’m wrapping up one of these beasts in the next couple of days and will post—but I had a fully equipped shop. I’m amazed.

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Waldo88's profile


207 posts in 2580 days

#11 posted 06-24-2016 07:08 PM

An excellent job. And no table saw! Hats off to you. I m wrapping up one of these beasts in the next couple of days and will post—but I had a fully equipped shop. I m amazed.

- WhattheChuck

The meaning of “fully equipped” is debatable as it implies necessity. As long as each necessary operation can be performed with high quality results, nothing is lacking.

Now speed may vary depending on tools, but that is also true of well equipped home or custom shops vs. an industrial setting.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8580 posts in 3266 days

#12 posted 06-25-2016 03:00 AM

Always dig your style. Nice work.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View LoganN's profile


489 posts in 3184 days

#13 posted 06-26-2016 03:48 AM

Great job! The finish is great and I love the walnut at the corners! Congratulations!

View glen's profile


175 posts in 3836 days

#14 posted 06-26-2016 02:58 PM

This is a fantastic build… You nailed the dimensions and “weight” of the pieces bang-on. Thanks for sharing – make me want (need!) to up my game… I’m inspired.

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