I am currently facing pretty much the exact same probelms and decisions to be made as buns! I like the Arca furniture but it isn't quite right/too expensive etc. so intend to attempt to build my own cabinet to house equipment below my Plasma.
I have settled on using pre-veneered mdf and getting hold of it isn't a problem (there are several places a mile down the road from me that stock it , at least according to their websites!)
The tricky bit is the finished edge. I don't want to use iron on strip for all the reasons discussed above which leaves solid wood lipping.
However I'm not really sure of the best way to attch it.
Should I add the lipping to each panel before the panels are assemebled into the cabinet or should I build the cabinet and then attach what will basically look a picture-frame of lipping to the front of it? And how do I attach the lipping? Just glue? Glue and nails (leaves nail heads which is a bit ugly)?
How thick should the lipping be? Will it look odd from the side as it will never totally match the veneered panel?
Finally, when joining all the veneered mdf panels together the chances are that there are going to be some screw heads visible. How can I cover these? Can you get just the veneer to make little screw caps? Maybe I can just cut the veneer off some mdf scraps to make them!
Do these questions make sense? I can knock up some pictures if you've no idea what I'm talking about!
## = Veneered mdf panel
! = Cut edge of mdf panel theat needs to be finished
D = Door that will cover the cut edge when closed but will allow it to be seen when open
I really just want something that is flat. I could just use the iron-on stuff or even paint it as it won't be seen that often but I I'm sure there must be a better, more professional way!
As for the dowel vs screws; I was planning on both! Are dowels really going to be that much stronger than screws? I would like these joints to be pretty strong and am already concerned that they won't be strong enough (see my query to viper_va in the MDF A/V rack thread in the DIY forum). I like the idea of doing a basic lap joint (if that's the correct name) for some added strength. Not sure how well lap joints and dowels work together though!
Here is a plan of what I want someone to build for me out of reasonable good quality wood that I can finish to my own cherry spec
I havent yet decided on the depth of the unit, probably something near 24 inches. I think the internal partitions will be a little less so that there is room for cables. The thickness of the wood I had intended to be 3/4 inch.
The idea was to have hidden hinges, a bit like those we have on our mfi kitchen cabinets. Of course that and anything else may well change once i find someone to construct if for me....... Im pretty much used to doing out plans and let someone else decide on the final smaller details. Last step...... get a cabinet maker! Fortunately I have the week off so will g around and get a few quotes
Buns, are you some kind of psycho who is stalking me and stealing my plans; that cabinet looks very similar to the one I'm planning
My plans are currently in Excel (I know it's not exactly a conventional design tool but it works for me!) so it makes them a bit tricky to post here. If you want to see them I can send the file to you.
My plan looks just like yours except that the center cabinet is just a void where the subwoofer will go with a dummy door clipped over the front to make it look like one big cabinet. Plus I'm going for adjustable shelving inside.
Also my plans are in mm so Taz will be happy
Hopefully I'll get the chance to pop down to the 2 timber merchants just down the road from me tomorrow to check out what they have in the way of veneered mdf and matching solid timber to make the doors.
As for speaker cloth, Google brings up several places with websites that sell it (search for "Speaker Cloth"). Or just go to Maplins as mentioned above.
That is superb, I'm another one who is thinking of getting a cabinet built along the same lines, there is got to be a fairly large market for this sort of thing, I know Arca make some nice stuff but 900 quid is out of my range. Mine needs to kind of match the 'Amber' Ducal furniture in the lounge and unfortunately Ducal have stopped making this kind of furniture. Taz you could make some money for 'consultancy and producing the plans', now shall I give up the day job and start up a new business....oh I wish I could.