Printmakers Media Cabinet – The Reveal

Its been six weekends of hard work, but we finally reached the final stretch of the printmakers media cabinet project.

This is where we left off. The cabinet was built and sanded and ready for finishing. If you missed it, check out part one, two, three, four, and five of the project.)

Cabinet built
Cabinet built and ready for stain & hardware

Next up we took all the drawers outside, and set up a staining station, and gave everything a coat of wood conditioner.

Wood Conditioner
The drawers & doors ready for wood conditioner
DIY Tip: Put your cabinet on scrap wood to make it easier to stain the bottoms of the legs
DIY Tip: Put your cabinet on scrap wood to make it easier to stain the bottoms of the legs

After letting the wood conditioner sit for half an hour, we set out to staining. We had done many a test on stain, and came across a cool technique we wanted to try on the cabinet. It involved wetting the wood, then putting on oil based stain on top of the water, then quickly wiping away. It left an almost zebra like effect. We knew it was going to be a risk, but decided to give it a try none the less. It involved several hours staining, many a swear word, lots of teamwork, and a whole lot of second guessing.

Cabinet stained
Cabinet stained

We took two days to stain everything, the first day we did the cabinet and all the drawer & door fronts. The next day we stained the interior of the cabinet and the drawer boxes. For the interior, we didn’t bother doing our stain technique, and instead just used the stain traditionally.

After the stain dried, we applied several coats of polyurethane, sanding with a 320 grit sandpaper in between coats. We put a total of 5 coats on the top of the cabinet, and three everywhere else.

We use Oil-Modified Polyurethane with a foam brush
We use Oil-Modified Polyurethane with a foam brush
Drawers & doors mid-polyurthaning
Drawers & Doors mid-poly

Once the poly had dried, we set to installing hardware. The screws that came with our cup pulls were too short for the double thick drawers, and too long for the single thickness doors. So we headed to the hardware store and picked up longer screws for the drawers, and El Granto cut down the screws with the dremel for the doors.

Ready for Hinges
Pulls attached to door fronts, and ready for hinge installation

After the handles were installed, we set to installing the hinges, stays and clasps for the doors.

Installing hinges on the doors
Installing hinges on the doors

This involved a whole load of finikity work, lots of tiny screws, and stubby little screw drivers to fit into the cabinet.

Attaching hinges to the cabinet
Attaching hinges to the cabinet
Attaching claps to keep the doors closed
Attaching claps to keep the doors closed

Next up, we needed to add the lid stays to make sure the doors dont open too far. We wanted them to stop at 90 degrees.

Installing lid stays
Installing lid stays

We used a square to hold the door at 90 degrees and attached the stays with small screws.

Now we could set to putting all our electronics into the cabinet. To keep things neat, we installed power bars to underneith the back of the shelves. This keeps the cords off the ground, and makes it so that the cabinet can sit flush with the wall.

The view of underneath the shelf in the cabinet showing the power bar.
The view of underneath the shelf in the cabinet showing the power bar.

We routed all the cables and electronics as best we could through the cabinet, and its so much more organized than our old media center!

The electronics all tucked into the cabinet
The electronics all tucked into the cabinet

Enough with the technical stuff, are you ready to see what it looks like all finished?


photo 3(6)

photo 5(2)


photo 1(4)

photo 2(3)

photo 5(4)

Now a little comparison between our cabinet and our inspiration: the Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet. (ours on top, the RH cabinet below)


What do you think?!


DIY Plans for an RH Inspired Printmakers Media Console – Design Confidential *(a BIG Thanks to Rayan @ Design Confidential! Her plans are awesome!)


Hardware: ($130)
15 cup pulls – Lee Valley
6 inset hinges – Lee Valley
6 sets drawer slides – Lee Valley
3 lid stays – Lee Valley
3 cabinet clips – Lee Valley
8 1 1/2″ felt furniture pads – Dollarama

Lumber: ($100)
8 – 2x2x8 – Downtown Lumber
2 – 1x6x8 – Downtown Lumber
5 – 1x10x6 pine shelves – Home Depot
3 – 1x2x8 Downtown Lumber
6 – 1x4x8 – Downtown Lumber

Finishing/Misc: ($50)
Wood conditioner (already owned)
Stain – Varathane “Kona” – Home Depot
Polyurethane – Minwax Oil Modified in Satin
Minwax Stainable wood filler – Home Depot
Kreg Screws – Lee Valley & Home Depot
Foam brushes – Dollarama
Shop rags
Sand paper

Tools Used:
Kreg Jig
Mitre saw
Table saw
Palm sander
Wood clamps
Corner clamps
Short Kreg drill bit
Stubby screw drivers


Trips to lumber yard -4
Trips to hardware stores -10+
Coats of polyurethane – 5 on the top, 3 everywhere else
Stain samples made before deciding on one – 11
Time involved – 6 weekends, 70-80 hours total
Number of electronics in the cabinet – 11
Number of screw-ups – 3
Number of arguments – 2
Total pieces of wood – 119
Screws – about 300
Injuries – 0!
Swear words – more than I’m proud of

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

five out of five

Total Cost: $280

Printmakers Cabinet – Frame Supplies

It’s starting to get warmer out again. Do you know what that means? It’s finally warm enough to stand out in our unheated garage for more than 30 seconds, and be able to operate saws and equipment without mittens. Yep kids, that means it’s project time.

I have had my eye on a new media cabinet for the living room for a good long time. There’s nothing wrong with out current cabinet per see, it has just seen better days, and its not really our style. The little cabinet was a big box purchase of El Granto’s from his college days. It has done us well, but its not really big enough for all our electronics, and its center shelf is sagging a bit from the weight of our receiver.

So a new cabinet it is! As we love Restoration Hardware, I fell fast and hard for this fellow; the Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet.

Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet
Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet

The cabinet has three shallow drawers for remotes, magazines and the like. Three fold down doors to hide your electronics, and three deep drawers for dvd and other assorted storage. There are two sizes available. We liked the 55″ wide one, as it would hold our 46″ tv and not be too big for our small space. The only problem is that the cabinet has a price tag of almost $1000. Not really in our budget, especially when we want to add a new sofa to the living room sometime in the next decade.

So we did decided to take things into our own hands, and looked into building a similar cabinet. I checked my go to spot for furniture plans; The Design Confidential, and low and behold they had plans for a similar cabinet. Awesomesauce.

The Design Confidential's plans to build an RH inspired Media Cabinet
The Design Confidential’s plans to build an RH inspired Media Cabinet

We printed out the plans, looked at the vast lumber and cut lists, cried a little, and then decided to nut up and take on this project. I had helped my dad make drawer boxes in the past (and by helped, I mean watched) and the rest of the cabinet was held together by pocket screws, so I felt confident that we could bumble our way through it.

The first hurtle was deciding on wood. I loved the antique pine finish of the RH cabinet, so I decided pine was the way to go.

Last weekend we walked the dog and our Ikea cart to my favorite place on earth; our local lumber yard Downtown Lumber. I love this place. I have yet to find a wood product they don’t have, and they’re happy to rip things down for me on request, which is awesome since we don’t own a table saw. I called ahead and confirmed that they could cut me 2×2 pine boards that we needed for the first step of the project; the frame.

When we got to the lumber yard, paid for our order and went to the back to pick it up. We watched the yard worker pull beautiful solid straight as an arrow kiln dried pine 2×10’s down from the shelf, and rip them into our 2×2’s. Yep that’s right, they used 2×10’s to cut our 2×2’s. Now if you’re unfamiliar with wood, 2×2’s are like the lowest wood on the totem pole, and quality is usually crap. The 2×2’s are cut from the smallest pieces of wood, often young wood, and they are usually found twisted and turned like a corkscrew. That’s why a framing grade 2x2x8 will only cost you about $2 at the big box store. To have 2×2’s cut from 2×10’s is like making hamburgers with prime rib. Expensive, but amazing.

We watched in awe as they ripped down our lumber order and smiled like bank robbers as we carted it all home. (Yep, I say “carted” as we literally dragged it the 3.5km home on a cart. Hobo style.)

Cartin it up
Cartin it up

After we got the wood home, we set to making our cuts. I soon noticed that our 2×2’s looked a bit bigger than I was expecting. The big box stores 2×2’s usually measure in at 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ . Our fancy schmancy lumber yard boards were 1 3/4″ x 1 3/4″.

The lumber safely arriving at home
The lumber safely arriving at home

That was great news for us (who doesn’t like bigger wood, eh eh?) however it threw the plans a monkey wrench. After some quick math we opted to lengthen the frame by an 1″ to compensate (as to not skew the drawer sizes). However we didn’t want to futz with the height, as it was already quite high, and we didn’t want the TV to be any taller, and harder to see.

El Granto measured the cuts, I cut them on our new miter saw; Martha. (It’s named Martha because the saw is a Mastercraft brand, and Martha Stewart is the master crafter…see it makes perfect sense, right?)

Martha the compound miter saw
Martha the compound miter saw
The wood cut waiting for pocket holes
The wood cuts waiting for pocket holes

DIY TIP! We keep all the cuts for one project in a milk crate. This keeps your offcuts from mixing with your good pieces, and ensures you don’t forget anything.

Then El Granto started drilling the pocket holes for assembling the frame. OMG there are a bucketload of pocketholes. We cut all the frame & supports, and drilled all our pocket holes. I counted them up and El Granto made a total of 104 pocket holes. This isn’t even counting the holes we’ll need for attaching the shelves, sides, back and top. Holy hell batman.

El Granto Drilling Pocket Holes
El Granto Drilling Pocket Holes

Here’s a video of El Granto drilling some pocket holes. He attaches the Kreg Jig with a regular clamp directly to his small work table. This makes the whole thing steady, and keeps the clamp from digging into the wood. Yep, that’s Green Day playing in the background. El Granto has his garage stereo hooked up to his phone so he can blast inspiration woodworking music, like punk rock or heavy metal.

We brought the wood in, and let it warm back up, and I laid out how the front of the frame is to be assembled.

Wood cut, pocket holes drilled, ready to be assembled
Wood cut, pocket holes drilled, ready to be assembled
Frame laid out
Frame laid out

That was enough work for one day! The frame assembly will have to wait for next weekend.

What did you get up to last weekend? Any big woodworking projects you’re taking on this spring?

The Chair Hunt

Two years ago, El Granto & I were walking through the Junction headed for an Americano @ Crema, when we spotted a great worn black bankers chair outside the front of a reclaimed architectural salvage shop. The chair was great. It was worn in all the right places, had fabulous old castors, and was a steal for $25. Problem was, we were still living in the loft, had no place for it, and were walking about 3km from home. We decided to pass for now. El Granto sat brooding over the chair for the next day, and decided to go back to see if it was still there. Alas of course it was gone. Someone else had the same vision we did. Since that day, we have regretted that decision, and have been on a hunt for another bankers chair. Skip ahead to last spring. We were at my favourite place on earth; The Aberfoyle Antique Market when we spotted a guy selling not one, not two but THREE bankers chairs. He had stripped and refinished them all with an (ugh) honey oak finish, but they were in excellent condition. We could either live with the colour, or refinish them to something darker. Problem was, we were at Aberfoyle with El Granto’s Mum, and were driving a small car. The chair was not going to fit in the car. We visited Aberfoyle a month or so later, and (of course) all of the bankers chairs were long sold.

Now that the office is progressing, we really really need a chair. Do you think I can find one? Not a chance.

I could buy gorgeous one new at Restoration Hardware for $495. Uhhh no, that’s out of the question.

Restoration Hardware 1940′ Banker’s Chair Weathered Oak Drifted

How about Pottery Barn’s Swivel Desk Chair? Oh wait, $533? HA.

Pottery Barn Swivel Desk Chair

So I will continue to haunt Craigslist & Kijiji in hopes of finding one in my price range (aka free – $40). I know, wish me luck.

Our other temporary option, is buying a $35 Ikea Ivar chair, and giving it a paint job. Then finding another use for it once we finally find a bankers chair.

Ikea Ivar Chair

Why is it that every project always has one sticking point? One missing piece of the puzzle?! *sigh