Audio Equipment Cabinet

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Project by ferstler posted 08-27-2011 02:55 AM 3784 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just completed a new equipment cabinet for my main audio system in the big den area. The old one, assembled many years ago, was cobbled together from vinyl-covered mdf boards derived from an old Sauder Woodworking printer stand. The fake-oak look was not to my taste, and I finally got around to replacing the thing.

The new cabinet is solid cedar wood, 1.5-inches thick on the top, bottom, and sides. I bought the rough-cut boards, 1.75-inches thick, planed them smooth, glued the initially cut pieces side by side (using Kreg pocket screws for reinforcement, along with Elmer’s carpenter glue) to make the wide boards, and routed the edges to give a rounded look. I used more Kreg screws to attach the shelving, with regular screws holding the bottom in place from below. I used PL construction adhesive to glue in the top, bottom and shelves, because it allows one to work slower than the Elmer’s glue does. The shelves are mdf, 0.75 inches thick, and fitted into routed dado grooves in the side panels. The cedar was not stained, but was given four coats of Minwax urethane (the first three brushed on; the fourth sprayed), with a satin finish. Cedar will shade down to a beautiful color without any staining. The shelves were given three coats of dark-walnut colored, spray-on enamel. The cabinet is rigid as hell, with 54 screws and the Elmer’s Carpenter glue and the PL construction adhesives to tie things together.

I started the thing back in the spring, but it got too hot to do much more than get the top, bottom, and side panels assembled. (I live in Florida, and my shop is small, so I do much of my work out on an adjacent work deck with tools on wheels.) Also, cedar can sometimes be wet inside, and this stuff was no exception, so I let the panels air out under the guest-bedroom bed for a couple of months. It is still hot outside, but, heck, I got tired of waiting.

Two photos are attached. One shows the just-completed unit out on the work deck before hauling the monster into the house. (It is only 30 inches tall, but it still took me and my neighbor to carry it; it is unliftable by an old guy like me.) The second shows it installed, with a DVD player (used exclusively as a CD player in that non-video room), a vintage, but good 7-channel Yamaha DSP-A1 integrated surround amp, and two multi-band equalizers. (All three front speakers, Allison Acoustics models, are equalized for ruler-flat response, and four smaller Allison models are mounted on the side walls as surround speakers.) There is also a small Hsu “optimizer” equalizer for one of the two subwoofers in the system, a big SVS job that I have modified. The other sub, a self-contained Hsu unit, has EQ built in.

A third photo shows the speakers on the front wall of the room that the equipment operates. Four surround speakers are mounted on the side walls. (The new cabinet is out of sight on the left wall of this room.) The left and right speakers are big Allison IC-20 units; the center speaker was built by me (the build project was described by me on this site some time back), using Allison components. You can see my back-yard workshop through the window.

Howard Ferstler

4 comments so far

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2975 days

#1 posted 08-27-2011 01:50 PM

A commanding looking unit with a solidity that enhances the black components. Even deep bass isn’t going to rattle this baby. I never saw cedar look so good, just don’t bang it with the vacuum and I hope you don’t have a cat. If I’m seeing correctly and the shelves are protruding, then that’s a very nice touch on the design.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View rogerw's profile


262 posts in 3167 days

#2 posted 08-27-2011 04:04 PM

very nice!

-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3997 days

#3 posted 08-27-2011 10:42 PM

Hi, vipond33. I had reservations about having the shelves protruding that way, because they are rounded over on the edges and that would not dovetail with the front cabinet edges properly. I solved the problem by only rounding them over to within an inch at the ends, keeping them flat at the points where they merge with the cabinet sides. Seems to have worked fine. I had toyed with making the shelves satin black, but then I spotted a can of dark-walnut spray and it seemed like a better idea than black.

We have a cat, but she is 19 and is utterly uninterested in scratching anything but her ears. I understand the vacuum issue, and the cabinet will not be bumped if I can help it. The unit is unbelievably rigid, as one would expect with the 54 screws and with every joint glued.

Howard Ferstler

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 3997 days

#4 posted 08-28-2011 11:28 PM

One footnote. In the text I said the thing was 30 inches high. It was going to be that tall at first, but after thinking about possible future components it might have to hold I made it 34 inches tall.

Howard Ferstler

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