WOOD Speaker Screen | How to Build Record Console Pt. 2

Saturday, February 16, 2019 -
How to update a custom wood record console and minibar with a patterned wood speaker screen.

*This post is sponsored by DAP Products. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product or payment in exchange. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

Like most of my DIY furniture builder friends, I started out building things we needed. Before long, I had friends and family members asking for custom pieces. Before long I was building full time, advertising on Craigslist and taking custom orders from strangers. Custom work it hard guys! My hat goes off to all of you guys who work with customers. I'm so glad there are talented people who love designing and building for clients.  Luckily, I never had any nightmare experiences, but constantly worrying and second guessing myself was super stressful. 

Another thing I discovered when I was taking orders was how hard it was to build the same thing twice. I love the learning and creativity of putting a piece of furniture together, but trying to duplicate the exact same thing is huge challenge. So admittedly, I've avoided going back to old projects, even just to update them. But, I want to be a better builder and that includes fixing my mistakes (or less than ideal design choices). For example...
Last summer I built a record console / minibar for our living room. Since we don't drink, only the turn table and built-in speakers have seen any action. Actually, it's one of my favorite pieces of furniture I've designed and we use it everyday. My only complaint has been the cloth wrapped frame that worked as a screen over the speakers and open upper shelf. It's hard to see in photos, but the color of the fabric was very slightly different than the paint on the doors and it always bugged me.

I decided to go back to the drawing board and came up with a design for a perforated wood screen.

I made a whole step-by-step video so you can follow the whole process. For a little more information, keep scrolling.

I built the original cabinet from 3/4" birch plywood. Wanting to match the wood type, I picked up a couple of 1 x 8  solid red birch boards. I needed a panel about 8-1/8" wide, so that meant I needed to join the two boards together and then rip them down to the proper width.

I've got a tip for gluing boards together when you're in a hurry. Apply your regular Carpenter's Glue to the adjoining faces, then add a few drops of DAP RapidFuse quick setting adhesive. The RapidFuse sets completely in 30 minutes, holding the boards together while the Carpenter's Glue fully dries. I've found it allows me to remove the clamps a couple hours early.

The board had a few nicks and defects, which were easily filled with some DAP Plastic Wood-X. It's hands-down my favorite wood filler. It has DryDex dry time indicator, which turns from pink to tan, letting you know when it's ready to cut or sand. It also sands like a dream.

I used a 3/8" forstner bit to drill all the holes. Even though there were a few hundred, it actually only took me about 2 hours to get them all bored.

The nice thing about a forstner bit is it leaves super clean holes all the way through the length of the hole. I used an orbital sander to smooth the faces and remove pencil marks and only had to do very minimal hand sanding (hooray!)

My last tip is a song of my undying love of wood toner. I've written blog posts about toner and even my very first YouTube video was about wood toner.

A wood toner is basically a translucent, tinted top coat which helps to blend natural wood or stain. Almost every commercially produced piece of furniture has a coat or more of toner on it. I give a little more detail in the video, so make sure to check it out.

Ready to see the final result? What do you think?

I think the patterned wood definitely gives off a more mid-century vibe, which is a plus in my book.

And if you're wondering how the sound is with the solid wood screen, it's still really good! I'll be honest, it's not quite as sharp as it was with the cloth cover, but its about 90% there - more than good enough for me!

The stained wood looks even better in person! Here's one last "before and after"

Like this idea? Make sure to head over to the original record console blog post for the free building plans and check out the YouTube project video to watch the process. 

Want to save the inspiration for later? Feel free to pin the image below! 

diy wood how to speaker screen grate partition cover walnut cherry

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