Wow, it was a huge push getting this project finished off. It went all the way into Christmas day and then some. Well anyway, it's all done and running now and I'm really happy with the result! This will be I think my final post to this build log...
To get a nice smooth hole for the fan holes in each door, I went for the router and made up a template to make the cuts. Here is the template getting measured out:
Fitted up a base plate to the router to make the hole using a straight bit:
The template ready to go:
The door will get a rough cut using the jigsaw, and then this 1/2" trim bit will make the final cut in the door:
Before making the rough cut in door, I made guide lines on both the template and door to be able to line up the template to the door:
Rough cut in door:
Lining up the template to the door:
And here is the final cut in the door. Nice and clean!
Next, to fit the fans into the cut, one of the ears needed to be removed:
And the fan hole also needed four notches for those larger triangular ears on the fan:
With all the notches cut, here is the fan test fit into the door:
Here are the drawers I made up for the cabinet:
And then it was onto cutting out the pieces for the four shelves:
Gluing the shelves up:
I wanted to be able to roll the cabinet out from the wall in order to maintain all the wiring, etc. at the rear. So I picked up eight of these small casters to mount on the bottom. To hide them, plus add some feet to the look of the cabinet, I added 1" pieces of birch stock to the bottom edge:
After that was done, the cabinet was ready for a final sanding and prep for stain and finishing. The stain I picked out is Minwax PolyShades "Espresso" satin:
For sanding, I first cleaned up all the glue at the joints, and then I went over the entire cabinet with an orbital sander. I started with 80, then 120, and then finally 220 grit sandpaper. After a few hours of that (and I'm sure many calories burned!), the cabinet was ready for stain:
This was my first time using a "1 step" finishing product (I'm used to regular stain, then sanding sealer, and then lacquer). Per the instructions, I initially used a high quality paint brush to apply the stain, but found the stain was much thicker than I realized which made it very difficult (if not impossible) to get an even coat. Plus I applied the first coat in the middle of the night (actually 1-4 AM Christmas Eve!), so I was too tired to try and fix it. The next morning after it dried, I was thoroughly NOT happy with the results which were very splotchy. So what I did was remove the extra stain with Turpentine only on the most visible surfaces, rubbed everything down with #0 (pretty course) steel wool which really helped to further even everything out, and then reapply two additional coats this time with a lint-free cloth (rubbing down between each coat with fine #0000 steel wool). As it turns out, the cloth was the MUCH better way to apply this stain because you have much better control of getting an even coat, plus the fine #0000 steel wool helped to even out any darker spots. In the end, I'm pretty happy with the results and will definitely use this product again...
You can see how uneven the first coat was on the insides of the cabinet walls:
I didn't bother with trying to fix the coat at the back of the cabinet as it will never been seen:
Next task was to assemble the drawers and prep the shelves:
The holes for the drawer handles provided a way to perfectly line up the drawer fronts.
The bottom shelf will carry the URC MSC-400 controller and is on glides to be able to get to the IR pots on the top of the unit (plus get the plugs at the back since the unit is rather shallow):
Fitting up the doors:
I cut two pieces of egg-crate foam for the wire slot, but after finally assembly, I don't think they're really needed afterall:
Cut, nailed, and stained 1/4" plywood for each of the drawer openings at the back:
And the final assembly step... wheels!:
Alright! Everything fits! Next step was to get it all wired up. Definitely couldn't wait to hear this thing at this point...
The space at the back of the cabinet behind the center speaker turned out to be a perfect place for the bricks, power strip, line conditioner, etc. to sit/hide:
Here are the fans being tested. I'm using two Cooler Guys fan controllers, one for each fan (http://www.coolerguys.com/840556098690.html):
And here is the system all set up and running!
Some notes on the sound of the subs... I'm running a Pioneer SC-1522-K receiver that has the mic used to calibrate the speakers (MCACC). That night we watched Star Trek Into Darkness, but I didn't have a chance to re-run MCACC. The subs definitely put out more "punch" than with just one, but they seemed to be a lot more "muffled" than before compared to just one sub without the cabinet. So I was pretty concerned the cabinet was seriously restricting the subs performance! Oh NO! But then, the next day I re-ran MCACC with the cross-over switch to "Out" on each sub. The difference was dramatic! Most if not all of the nice, deep base sound came back, plus there is now definitely more bass that you can "feel". Music sounds absolutely fantastic too, so I'm very happy with the results.
A couple of things left to do are: order 200mm fan grills (I had to improvise some with wire mesh laying around), and make up some proper speaker wires with banana plugs. Other than that, that about raps up this project!