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TV Stand Routing Project

TV Stand Routing Project
  A beautifully crafted robust TV stand that has been constructed using a variety of routing techniques.

The aim for this project was to produce a timber Television Stand that was robust without looking bulky, and would compliment the television that would be placed on it.

I had some 19mm Oak Veneered MDF left over from a previous project and decided to use this for the main surfaces of the top and bottom of the stand. This sheet material would ideally of been thicker for this project, so to achieve the required thickness, I laminated some 12mm plywood to the undersides, which is unseen.

Sapele timber was used for the edging, which seemed to contrast well with the oak, and solid oak was used for the baluster style supports.

Working with man-made boards has some advantages. Using it for the main surfaces of the stand avoided the need to join pieces of solid timber to reach the required width, which can sometimes cup and twist. Therefore fitting the edging material to the veneered MDF would require minimal finishing to smooth the surfaces together.

1. With a design of the proposed television stand sketched, I made a scale drawing of the plan view, which helped me to establish that the proportions looked correct and make any adjustments.
     
Design and Material Choice
  2. Templates were made of the stand’s curved front and inner curve joint. These templates enabled me to copy their patterns into the work-piece material. The timber was cut down, leaving a slight overhang, then trimmed flush with the template using a bearing guided cutter.

To make the curved templates, a router was attached to a large circle-cutting jig so that a big enough radius could be created for the outer edge curve. (Trend ref: ELLIPSEJ/A). A suitably long beam trammel would also do the job.

Design and Material Choice
  3. I used 6mm MDF for the template material and made the templates slightly over-length to allow the bearing guided cutter to have a smooth run up when trimming the work-piece.

The large circle-cutting jig was set to the same radius as the television stand’s outer curve profile. I clamped the pivot plate of the jig at one end of the workbench and an arc was routed into the template material, which was clamped at the other end of the workbench.
Although the size of the router bit was not critical for making the 6mm MDF templates, I used a 4mm diameter straight fluted cutter (Trend Ref: 3/01X1/4TC or C002X1/4TC) to minimize the dust created when machining this type of material, taking light passes and cutting at a steady feed-rate.

Design and Material Choice
  4. Next, I reduced the jig’s radius to that of the front edging inner curve and routed another arc, forming the front edging template.

To make the inner profile curve, I increased the jig’s radius by the diameter of the router cutter being used. It was also necessary to move the pivot point of the jig backwards to allow clearance from the previous cut made, and another arc was routed.
This curve would then mate perfectly with the previous one when offered together after being cut out of the template material sheet, allowing the joint to be replicated in the work-piece.

Design and Material Choice
  5. The 19mm Veneered MDF for the main surfaces was marked out, checking that the best veneer sides faced upwards.
The template for the front curve was used to assist with marking. The areas that were to be cut across the grain were scored with a sharp utility knife to avoid the grain tearing out when being cut. It was not necessary to score the undersides of the veneered boards for this project, since they would be covered by the plywood.
The main surfaces were cut out 1-2mm oversize to allow for trimming.

     
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Cutting out the Main Surfaces

Cutting out the Main Surfaces
  6. The sides and back of the main surfaces were then trimmed back to the score lines by running the router base edge along a guide bar acting as a fence. The inner front curve template was fixed in place using double-sided tape. For best adhesion, the surfaces were wiped clean and pressed lightly with a cramp to avoid the template from slipping during routing.
The curved front was trimmed back flush with the template using a bearing guided router cutter.

Cutting out the Main Surfaces
  7. 12mm plywood was glued to the underside of the Veneered MDF and clamped together. Packing pieces of material were used to protect the veneered surface from clamp damage, although clamps with soft-jaw pads would be ideal if available.
Cutting out the Main Surfaces
  8. When the glue had dried, the plywood was cut and trimmed flush using a bearing guided cutter.
Cutting out the Main Surfaces
  9. The edging material was sawn and planed to the thickness of the main surface material. The Sapele timber I used had a wavy grain pattern so care was taken to feed the timber into the machine with the grain to avoid it from ripping up.
Cutting out the Main Surfaces
  10. A wider piece of the Sapele was needed for the front curve edging, to enable me to cut it out in one piece. The outer curved template was fixed to it, again with double-sided tape, and the inner curve cut with a slight overhang to allow for trimming with a router.
     

Mitring the Edging Material

Mitring the Edging Material
  11. The inner curve of the edging was trimmed back flush. Care was taken to rout with the grain to prevent it from tearing out. After routing to the approximate halfway mark with a top mounted bearing guided cutter (router table set-up), the work-piece was turned upside down so that the template faced on the table surface. A shank mounted bearing guided cutter would then run along the template underneath the work-piece, allowing the remaining half to also be trimmed with the grain.
Trend Ref: 46/212X1/2TC & 46/09X1/2TC or C199X1/2TC
Mitring the Edging Material
  12. It was then time to mitre the corners of the edging material. I started with the ones at the rear of the stand. A chop saw fitted with a cross-cutting fine finish blade was ideal for cutting these mitres. Since the angle gradient marks on some chop-saws are not always very reliable, using a digital angle rule to set the angle of the blade in relation to the back-fence allowed speedy set-up. Trend Ref: DAR/200
Safety Note: Machine must be disconnected from power whilst operator is in direct contact with the blade.
Mitring the Edging Material
  13. By measuring the overall angle of the work-piece corner being mitred with the digital angle rule and dividing the measurement in half, the angle of the mitre for machining was determined and the edging material cut.
Mitring the Edging Material
  14. It was slightly more challenging to find the bisected angle of the front corners due to the front edge being curved. Using the edging material template made earlier resolved this. With the side edging pieces offered in place, the front template was laid over the top.
This allowed the inner and out points of the mitre to be marked.
Then a line was scored between the two marks and cut to the line.

Mitring the Edging Material
  15. The curved front edging was then lined up with the mating curve, but underneath the main and side pieces. This allowed the front curve angles to be marked across the mitred side pieces.
     
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Joining the Edging and Gluing up

Joining the Edging and Gluing up
  16. Due to their shallow angle I trimmed these mitres on the band-saw and sanded them to the line with a bench mounted disc sander, although it would have been possible to cut them on the chop-saw if a support fence was fitted to the back and side of the saw bed.
Joining the Edging and Gluing up
  17. With the edging pieces cut to size, I slotted the inside edges with a bearing guided slotting cutter to receive a loose tongue, which would increase the strength of the joint to the main surface material. (Trend Ref: 34/20 & 33/60 & B260 or C145AX8MMTC). The loose tongue strips were made from some of the spare 6mm MDF template material, enabling a curved tongue for the front joint to easily be made. The edging material was pushed faced down across the router table so that any discrepancy in thickness with the edging material would be on the underside.
Joining the Edging and Gluing up
  18. Leaving the cutter set in the table, the main surfaces were slotted, again pushing through faced down. The curved tongue for the front joint was made with assistance of the circle-cutting jig. The strips were cut slightly under-width, to allow for glue and expansion.
Joining the Edging and Gluing up
  19. After checking all the parts fit together in a dry run, they were glued together. Angled packing pieces were put in place to enable successful clamping of the splayed sides.
Joining the Edging and Gluing up
  20. The outer curve template was then double-sided in position and the work-piece cut to leave a small over-hang for trimming.
     
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Preparing the Side Supports

Preparing the Side Supports
  21. The front curve was trimmed flush with the template. Again, care was taken to rout with the grain to prevent it from pulling up. This time the work piece was routed from mid-point to the end of the material with a top-mounted bearing-guided cutter. The workpiece was then turned upside down so that the template was faced down on the router table, allowing a shank mounted bearing guided cutter to trim the remaining half with the grain. (Trend Ref:46/212X1/2TC & 46/09X1/2TC or C199X1/2TC)
Preparing the Side Supports
  22. The oak side supports were cut to length, allowing extra for mortising into the top and bottom of the main surfaces. It may be advisable to cut them down in height gradually and balance the components in place to check that the height of the stand looks visually pleasing.
Preparing the Side Supports
  23. Using a 45 degree cutter, a small chamfer was routed along the edges of the side supports.
(Trend Ref: 46/37x1/4TC or C049X1/4TC).
Preparing the Side Supports
  24. The router table was set up for tenoning the side support ends. The fence was set squarely with a mitre fence. A false fence was fitted to bridge between the router fence cheeks and avoid the cutter grabbing the timber.
Preparing the Side Supports
  25. A spelch block was fitted to the mitre fence to prevent the timber breaking out whilst tenoning. Using a large diameter router cutter, all the ends were tenoned, clamping the timber to the mitre fence to prevent chattering, as each side was pushed through.
     
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Fitting the Side Supports and Finishing

Fitting the Side Supports and Finishing
  26. A jig was made for mortising the uprights into the top and bottom of the stand. The long edge of the jig was used as a reference point so that it lined up with the edge of the work-piece and an end-stop location was marked on the jig to allow it to be flipped over and used each side.
Fitting the Side Supports and Finishing
  27. By measuring the tenon thickness and adding the off-set measurement between the cutter and the guide bush being used for the jig, the jig apertures were calculated.
I used a small diameter cutter to get into the corners of the mortise without having to square them up with a chisel afterwards.

Fitting the Side Supports and Finishing
  28. Feet were made with some leftover Sapelli. I turned these on a lathe for quickness, although it is possible to route them out with the help of a jig.
Fitting the Side Supports and Finishing
  29. The side pieces were glued in place, checking the grain orientation was consistant. All components were rubbed with fine sandpaper and the sharp edges removed. A couple of coats of polyurothene satin varnish were applied, finely sanding between each coat.

Beeswax was applied to the stand with fine wire wool to enhance the finish and buffed with some polishing cloth.

Fitting the Side Supports and Finishing
  30. The stand in place with television mounted.

Written by Derek Greig - Technical advisor at Trend Machinery & Cutting Tools Ltd.
     
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