Building a mid-century tv stand

tv stand in roomIn the previous post I described the design idea for a mid-century inspired tv stand. Here’s how I went about building it…

The body of the stand is essentially three boards of 12” wide oak (laminated from 6” planks) that form a U shape. They were cut to length (4’ for the top and base, 3’ for the side), the ends sawn square and hand planed flat with a jointer plane. Square and flat are essential because the top and base were then dovetailed to the side. I’ve been slack with stock preparation before dovetailing in the past and it was turned out to be trouble in the long run (anyone interested in learning how to cut dovetails by hand might like to watch this brilliant video of Robby Pedersen). The dovetails are not all identical: for each set there is a 2″ central tail, with two 1″ and three 1/2″ tails either side of it.

The central shelf had three pins cut into one end that slot into through mortises in the side. A shallow dado was cut in the side for the shelf to nest neatly into it. The open side is supported by a narrow strip of oak with dovetails that mate with the top, base and shelf. After a dry fitting to make sure everything worked, I marked round corners on the top, base and shelf at the open end with a plastic food container lid. The curves were cut with a jigsaw and neatened up with a block plane.

All the edges of the piece were softened with a spokeshave. I also tapered the thickness of the boards at the open end corners to lighten the feel of the boards and make it look less clunky.

I heavily planed the center of the base board underside to form a hollow – this ensures the board touches the floor around its edge rather than wobble from the middle.

All the surfaces were given a once over with a card scraper before the final glue-up. The piece was finished with three coats of dark stain over three evenings, and then one coat of Danish oil to give a final sheen.

I enjoyed the simplicity of this project, and making loads of dovetails. So much so that I might make another in the future – maybe a smaller version that can be used as an end table like Herman Miller suggested.


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