I've been very busy at work setting up new servers 12 hours/day, but I've gotten some work done over the past week. (also, I did watch the entire series of Dollhouse in the HT)
First thing I did was to finish stapling the top edge of the velvet along my curved header. That was uneventful and tightened up the edges very nicely. I then went ahead and leveled my projector because the curves and angled lines were bugging me.
Next, I built my side columns from 2by2's and wrapped them in velvet.
Here's the the first side without it (you can see the pipe still).
And here the column covers the pipe up nicely. I used a 1/2" shim for when the carpet is in place. I also added a backer to the other panel to rest on.
Next, I added the right column. Notice anything odd?
If you guessed that the column was bigger, you're right. It turns out, if you want a 7 inch width, your cross braces need to be 4" wide, not 7" wide. Which, you may notice, I got right on the left column. Stupid brain doesn't work so well at night sometimes. So, I pulled the staples on the end, unscrewed the long edge to remove it, cut the cross braces carefully with a jigsaw, and reattached the whole thing.
Now they match!
You can see above that I added my middle support after I had the crossbeam up. It's not elegant, but it works, and will be hidden behind solid wood, so it doesn't need to be painted. Also, you can see my mounting hardware for the screen.
So now, I took some 5/8" OSB and ripped it down to make my panels for the front. I chose to do this because it was A) easy B) very sturdy and C) did not need to be AT since the area is so small.
Here's a picture of the panels dry fitted.
Then I wrapped my panels in velvet like this.
I made the bottom and side panels, but ran out of velvet for the top panel! So, I had no choice but to...
Which means that I have all the panels done, EXCEPT for the very top one until I get my order. Oh well! Here are a couple pictures of the where I am now.
While I had my screen down, I took a picture of the back of it. It's not super pretty, but for a DIY job, it works!
That's it for now. I think my jobs will be some clean up, getting the rack setup, and getting started on my coffering boxes!
(btw, my kids love watching movies and shows downstairs. I have the 2.35 demo bluray from this board, and I bet they've watched the Rango demo 25 times)
EDIT: OH! One more thing. I wanted to mention that when I have my 2.35 mode active, the velvet on my header and below the screen eat 100% of the light. There is ZERO evidence the image is not being projected natively. It's a very cool effect in person. Also, when watching a 2.40 movie, I zoom in to fill the screen vertically, and the velvet eats the 1-2" of overspill on the sides very nicely. You'd only see it if you were looking for it. The angles I used on the frame really help with that, I think.
I'm putting my rack together this weekend. What are your thoughts on including a monitor as an auxiliary connection to the HTPC? It's nice for setup, but I don't think I'll need it later on since I don't think it'll get used much after setup. Extra space is always nice! Here's a picture of where the monitor would go.
I've gone back and forth and decided to leave the KVM out of the cabinet for now. I do have space for them, so I can add them later, but I wanted some extra room for some decorative items. After pouring through the "Show me" rack threads, I only saw a couple that had screens in them, and one of them was hidden 98% of the time (BIG's in-column rack). I did see several with vases and nice things, which looked sharp. So for me, on one shelf, I want to prop up a build book I'll make for the room so visitors can read through it. I can add other items, too.
Your comment about it not looking right surprised me, but after looking at it as objectively as I could, I think I agree. Besides, that screen is bright and getting multiple Video connections to a monitor is tricky when you have all your stuff going through HDMI. My PC doesn't like to share audio due to the HDMI. So, to switch to the monitor, I had to go into my Control Panel and switch the audio out from HDMI to the Optical Connection. It was a hassle. Anyway, rambling over - KVM out!
We have such great taste, don't we?
I had mentioned before that my center channel sounded boxy with the Sho-10's. After having watched around 100 hours more of content, I have not found any problems. Everything has sounded super clean and powerful; amazing. All of the items you listed above are features of my theater that really like. The Seymour screen is amazing. I have a Lunar HD SI screen here at work and it doesn't come close the performance of the Seymour screen. The brown ceiling is just so welcoming. I bought dark brown acoustic fabric for my panels to match the ceiling color from Fabric Mate Systems.
In other news, I'm ripping the 4by8's down for my coffered ceiling tonight and continuing my work on the cabinet. I'm about half way done on the cabinet.
Almost two weeks have passed and I have some progress, but no pictures yet (sorry).
I have completed putting all my gear into the cabinet and am working with the Logitech Harmony 900 remote. It's taking a lot of time to get things just right, but I'm making good progress! The biggest problem I've had so far is that my Monoprice HDMI matrix 4x2 is not passing bitstream to the receiver, so I've been working around that. Also, I've been creating custom buttons for all of the activities. For example, I have 16:9, 2.35, and 2.40 buttons on all activities that have 2.35 content. I also added a PJ "OK" and PJ "Menu" button so I can exit out of the "Do you want to adjust the screen" menu after the aspect ratio is changed.
On the building part, I've started my coferred ceiling. I have pictures, but I want to save them until I'm done. So far, I've ripped down 3 sheets of 1/2" birch veneered ply to size. Then I stained them dark walnut and put 3 coats of poly on them. They look sharp!
I've decided to put a small crown moulding in the inside corner of each box, which means that my 4 by 4 grid will have 4 pieces in each box. That nets out to 64 pieces of crown to cut! EEK! But it will a center piece of my room, so I enjoy the process.
Also, I have company for the next two week, so progress will be a little slower going. Did I mention we've put 100 hours on the projector in the last two weeks? Watched the Hunger Games last night in the room, and it was... (wiping a tear away) ... amazing.
EDIT: Oh, and I didn't put the monitor in the rack and don't regret that decision one bit.
Here are some progress shots on my ceiling cofering. I'm not done yet, but I wanted to put SOMETHING up!
Ripping the ceiling boards. I used HD's 1/2" birch veneered sheets of plywood.
Ripped the sides (all of the vertical pieces)
Stain applied to some of the boards
I was able to get all of the boards layed out for the three coats of poly I applied. I ended up doing a light sanding before the last coat.
Here's the poly I used
And the stain
Wrapping the brush in plastic wrap worked well to keep my brush wet between days/coats.
This is the finish after it dried.
I didn't need all eight feet of the board for these, so I only stained and poly'ed what I needed. After I cut off the ends, I still have a decent piece of scrap.
The boards mitred and stacked
I tested many crown pieces, but this standard crown look best, by far.
Here I've got the pieces cut for the inside crosses on the grid and ready for assembling
All I did was sandwich a couple of 2by3's inside of two of the boards. It was tricky getting them perfectly square, but after I used my orange square and flipped them back and forth, adjusting and readjusting, I put three 18ga brad nails on each end to secure them until the glue dried.
And here's the stack done. Three for each of the four rows.
Next, I'll assemble the boxes, stain and poly the crown, cut and install the crown, and then mount them to the ceiling. After that, I just need trim work that's flush with the rest of the ceiling, but I'll do that when I do the rest of the trim in the room.
I've had company for the last couple of weeks, and my brother got married this weekend, so I haven't had as much time to work as I'm used to.
So my new foray into woodworking continues. What's interesting to me is the process and how it differs from my IT work. Much like woodworking, much of my IT work is finding the right components and putting them together. What I've noticed in woodworking is that you really need to pay attention to minute details and make many adjustments. In IT, the pieces, once you've found them and know how they come together, pretty much snap together. Usually, there is no off by 1/16" in IT. You've got hardware, software development, infrastructure, networking that all either work or fail miserably. But if my plywood rip is a hair short here or there, that can have implications later, and I have to make some choices about tolerances and redoing the work. Anyway, I'm loving the new challenges!
To the progress-mobile!
I get started on putting the boxes together.
I have a spacer piece that I used for every block, then I made sure it was as square as it could be. Usually under 1/16".
I quickly learned I needed to make plumb, too!
I used 1.25" 18ga crown staples. They worked very well! I'm a chicken, so I angled all of my staples inward so I didn't pop one out of the finished side.
I cap on the end piece.
Here's the assembled item.
Now, I add the backing. You can see below the biggest mistake I've made on this project so far. I ripped the backing too narrowly. It's ok though because the crown molding will hide the gap.
Actually, having the gap there made it easier for me to find where to staple the backing onto the rest of the cabinet.
Testing out my new mug.
And we're done with the cabinet! While I work, I plug my cell phone into the PC speakers you can see there. I run Pandora on my phone (one of the few apps the Blackberry can actually run).
So, I cleaned off the table and started in on my crown! Before...
...and voila! It's stained and polyed.
I thought I'd run through the process I used to create each of the crown segments. Feel free to tune out! Here I make my first cut. The saw is set to the crown setting (I think it's 33.9 or something) on both axis. Then I cut!
Now I flip my piece 180degrees and move the base of the saw to the opposite side. I line the piece up to the tape I placed, which is a touch longer than the average I would need. Then I cut again.
Now I test fit the piece. If it's long by a touch, I pull my saw blade all the way down, place my piece flush with the blade, and then I cut. Because my teeth are just a tiny bit wider than the surface of the blade, this shaves off a tiny bit. It almost always worked!
Once I have the piece fit, I take a small brush and apply stain to the edges. This helps hide gaps and tiny mis-alignments.
Then I put my brads in. One on each each side on the bottom. I didn't need to put them at the top.
My first finished box, only 61 more pieces to cut, fit, stain the edges, and nail in.
And we're done! Each of the 4 boxes took me an hour and half just for the crown and about an hour for the first part where I assemble them.
Here's where they are going.
Here's a picture of one of the worst joints I made. Not too bad, but sometimes the boxes were just a hair off of being square.
Here's one of the best joints. Most of them were closer to this one than the bad one above. You can see the brad nail holes I have to fill.
So, I have to fill the holes, mount the boxes to the ceiling, stain and poly the trim that goes onto the ceiling and runs across the grid there, and then I cut and install that. Then I'm done, but I wanted to share my progress so far. (I'm pleased with it so far)
Thanks guys. Yeah, they are bit beefy, but maybe not as much as they look. I figure each one is about 25-30 pounds. I can easily lift them into place by myself and attach clamps. (of course, this is the first thing I did with the first one done to see how it looked) I did ask my friend Tod to help me during install though. Trying to get all four leveled and lined up will go much more smoothly with two people!
Shortly after my last post, I mounted the coffered boxes into the ceiling (pictures below). The mounting process was not too bad. I spanned the area with a 2by4 and then pushed the boxes into their slots. It took some adjustments and a little light hammering to get them into place. My biggest recommendation to anyone trying this is to leave a good 1/4 to 1/2" on each side. Those floor joists vary by as much as a 1/2" (maybe even a bit more).
I haven't put the trim up yet. I tried a couple different kinds, but I didn't like them. So I went to HD and grabbed some 4" wide 1/4" pine lattice molding and will rip that down to size. Those will go on the inside, while I have a slightly nicer raised molding for the outside edge.
I've been taking a month off because of family issues, so I haven't gotten much done! BUT, I am starting back up this week.
I'm back on track and working to get things done. I've finally finished the coffered ceiling for the front part of my room. I'm very pleased with how they turned out! Here are some pictures.
From the light switch/bottom of the staircase
As you're sitting on the couch.
This picture was taken laying down, looking up at the ceiling.
Next up: The columns. I've chewed on the design for a long time now. Below, you'll see a rough picture of the design I landed on. Most columns will be empty, but the middle right one will have the light switched and right speaker, and the left middle column will have my AV ports and an outlet. The other 4 column, I suppose, I will fill with loose insulation, but will still have the black cloth look to the middle of the front (like in the picture).
Thanks! Not a bit of difference that I could tell. The one thing I would say though is that the ceiling in that spot has never been flat. So, even before I put the coffering in, it was just joists. There may be more of a difference if it had been flat.
For whatever reason, the birch veneered plywood I am using takes the stain richly and evenly. The trim I used is pine and the two come together really well. For my stain, I applied it with a rag, let it sit about 2 minutes, and wiped it off - pretty vigorously. They used a brush for the poly. I did sand the plywood lightly before the stain, and I also did a knock down sanding between the coats of poly (three coats/two sandings in between). For the trim, I did no sanding and only two coats of poly. It was much smoother to begin with.
As to wrapping the joists, as with many things I've done, it wasn't my idea, but MAN, I loved stealing it! :) When you look in the room, you really would never think there are joists in there.
Oh, and no vibrations during bass scenes that I've heard yet. All of the pieces are pretty tightly nailed in or wedged between joists.
Thanks for the feedback, too!
I have a question about my columns, if anyone cares to share their opinion. They will be 15" by 6" by 78". I will be putting black cloth with trim around it on the face and filling the columns with loose insulation. Should I cut a hole in the face behind the close for sound to come in, or leave it closed? As it stands, I was going to leave it closed because I don't the amount of sound absorption would be that great and it's less work. But I'm open to ideas.
In other news, I'm edge binding my plywood for the columns. That's a fun process. I'll post some pictures later on.
Here's a picture of my cabinet as it is now and will stay until I get new computer that's quiter/smaller/less heat.
That's my sony 3500ES receiver, XBox, Roku 2, Comcast router, wifi router/switch, DirecTV router, Monoprice 4x2 HDMI Switch (not really using at the moment because I can't get lossless audio to work), DirecTV Receiver, Panny blu-ray (with dual hdmi out), and PC. (that's left to right, top to bottom)
You can see the cold air return I added above the cabinet.
Sometime in the future, I would like to add a rack on the right side. The width of the cabinet would support that.
Now that I've started on my columns, I've had to learn about edge banding - the magical process in which mere plywood is transformed into Ikea furniture boards. I wanted to share my methods with you, if you're interested, of course. Before we begin, I'd like to restate that I am IT person, with little (but growing) woodworking skills. So, this is new to me, and I'm probably doing some of this wrong. :)
Here's a sheet of plywood with an unfinished edge, resting on a stack of finished edges. This is what they in the biz refer to as the "before" shot, eh?
The tools I used in the process.
Set your iron to Cotton and warm it up.
First, I take my board and lay it between the two cans, so it's held up.
Pull a strip of edge banding (3/4" birch in this case) to length and cut it with a scissors.
I use painters tape to keep the roll from unraveling. It does a nice job not wrecking the wood.
Starting at one edge, heat the edge of the strip, leaving a little over the edge. Then, work your way down while guiding the strip to be centered with your free hand. This pass was about getting the strip mostly attached. There's no need to overwork it.
Come back the other way very slowly, about an inch per second. Trail the iron with a block and apply a lot of pressure to make sure the strip is nicely set onto the sheet of plywood. Usually, one pass is enough.
I always looked under the edge to see if there were any gaps before I moved to the next step.
Flip the board over, place a chisel at a sharp angle on the exact corner, and strike the chisel with a hammer to remove the surplus at the end. The harder you hit it, the further it goes. My record was about 11'.
Set the board down on the table, and clamp one end of it. This way, it won't slide around during the next steps. Where do you think you're going, board?
Using a sharp chisel, like the 1" I just bought, guide it along the board and shave off the excess. On the side that's not showing, I ran it pretty close. On the showing side, I was more cautious and left at least some to shear off at the next pass.
Here you see there's not much on this board that needs to be cleaned up.
This was my favorite part. The second and third passes were almost therapeutic. MMMmmmm, chisel-ly...with your little curly fries looking pieces of wood that curl up and the smooth finish, shaving shaving... mmm. What was I saying? Oh right...
Here's the nice cleaned edge.
Finally, I gave it a little sanding. If you have roughness or the edges are a little bit off, this is where you could sand away your problems.
On the showing side, you can see there's more left over after my initial pass with the chisel.
b'aaawwwww, look at that perty edge.
As promised, we're ready to build our Ikea bookshelves! Errrr, I mean, my columns. The this is the "after" shot, I guess
Each board took about 45 minutes to complete. I have to admit that I have a new found desire to buy an edge banding machine, if I did this more than just occasionally.
Here are a few bonus shots of my garage. I just cleaned it up!
I had a bunch of wood on pallets, so that van couldn't pull in. I just stacked them between the two garage door rails. There's not a lot of horizontal pressure there, and it works very well to get to different pieces of wood.
I put all of my tools on hooks! They were all over the house, mostly in the HT, so gathered them all up, grouped them, and hung them up. Man, it's so much nicer to know where everything is!
Until I build a work bench, I'm just using these two sawhorses. I spanned the bottom level for a shelf, where I put my hand power tools.
And you can see where my dog sleeps when we're gone during the day. :)
That's it! I hope you liked the pics.