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Friday, February 15, 2013

Building a credenza

A credenza is a sort of low cabinet that was popular in the 1950s. I am not entirely sure what it's main purpose was, but I remember my grandparents had one in which they stored records. They must have used it for something else too, but I was very little and I just recall the LPs.




Mid-century Modern

My grandparents would have been amused by is the fact that "Mid-century Modern" furniture is quite popular now and very expensive. I have seen ads online for a company that specializes in '50s style furniture and a new credenza (not an antique) sells for upwards of $7000.



I love the look of furniture from this period. It was experimental, yet practical. It seemed to look forward to the space-age, yet was grounded in simple, Shaker lines.

When I was researching my design, I was struck by the heavy squareness of these pieces and the unadorned, spindly legs that almost look too delicate to hold the weight of the cabinet.





A credenza for 2013: Early 21st Century Retro-Modern

I think one of the reasons these cabinets are popular today is that they are the perfect height for televisions, which should be viewed at eye-level from where you are sitting. Not to mention credenzas come equipped with storage perfect for stereo and home-theater components. Plus, there is just something cool about setting a large LCD TV on such a retro-looking piece of furniture.

I made mine with two doors and an open section. The doors can slide to any position, always leaving one third of the case visible. On the back I've included large cut-outs for electrical cords and such. I used two sheets of 3/4" cherry plywood and a half sheet of 1/4" plywood. The trim and legs are made with solid cherry. If you wanted to save money, you could use pine plywood and you can buy 6" legs very inexpensively if you haven't a lathe.

Building Plans:




17 comments:

  1. You should really be careful about recommending people use a hot iron! They could burn themselves, or cause the wood to burst into flames! Hahah, just kidding. Great project!

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  2. I hope no one plugs the iron into a power strip. Their house might burn down! Nice project Steve!

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  3. Someone need a haircut (I mean dude in a green t-shirt) :)

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  4. Well, I like it better than your last tv stand, that's for sure! Nice work! That style is a little bit tacky in Poland, where I come from, because it reminds furniture from "People's Republic of Poland" - a "special" time in history of my country when we were under influence of Soviet Union - http://www.polskaprl.rejtravel.pl/meble/1.jpg <- here you can see a thing called "furniture wall" (or mebloĊ›cianka in polish) - almost every family had one back in that day ;)

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  5. Steve - Awesome project! How many hours do you think it took you?

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  6. Nice video, and nice credenza. I enjoyed the music and you showed just the right amount of detail. Thanks for the information and the laughs.

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  7. Hi over here in the UK, credenza's are better known has Sideboards. I love your site and woodwork projects. I'm a woodcarver, I don't really build furniture, other than things I need in my workshop. However your site really as me thinking about having a go! Thank you well done, keep them coming, take care.
    Clive

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  8. That design is not my style, but great job. With todays TV style this low and long design would work great. I have been in the process of building myself an entertainment center. I made mine out of pine and I will distress it next week. I really enjoy your videos besides being entertaining they are simple, practical and fun looking projects.

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  9. Steve, you have a couple of embedded links in the video, one at the beginning, something about your TV, and one at the end going to your website. Anyway, when I move the mouse to click on them a black bar comes down and covers them and I can't click on them. Just thought you might want to locate them closer to the middle of the "screen" in the future.

    Any chance your grandparents credenza with the albums was actually a stereo itself? I seem to remember stereos that looked like that. I definitely remember the TV we had when I was about six was built into a wooden cabinet on legs. It had a remote with four rocker switches that activated electric motors behind the knobs. When you changed channels it went "ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk....". Those were the days!

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    1. I have one of those 70's cabinet style stereo systems as my TV stand. It has a record player (which no longer works) and 8-track built in, but you have to open the top to get to them. I even have the TV sound running through the AUX input on it and it sounds geat.

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  10. I dig the soundtrack, period music to go along with the retro tv stand!

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  11. My dream is for Steve to one day shoot a woodworking show with a live band playing out on the driveway as he builds his project.

    Full Symphonic Orchestra?

    Or Kazoos and Bucket Drummers?


    I'm just struggling to figure out which would be more appropriate.

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  12. Nice, Woodworking at it's finest.!! Your tutorials are so much fun to watch!!

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  13. The designer wood furniture is the finest and classic furniture item. I liked this design for the dressing table and wardrobe.

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  14. Thanks for sharing the final results of your entertainment cabinet. I'm in the process of building one myself just not the style of yours. I wanted to ask if you had installed any type of cooling fan behind your receiver? For some reason my current situation my receiver goes into protect mode if I don't have a fan blowing towards it. This time I'm going to install a fan, so if you had done so, what kind did you use and if you didn't do you know what to recommend? I also wish to wire the fan so when the receiver is turned on, the fan would come on too. I was guessing maybe using a receptacle like used with a shop vac and power tool? Thanks much..Tom Pritchard

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  15. Hi Steve. "Big Tiny" from Lumberjocks here.
    A credenza was originally an office piece, used for general storage and with the top used for display and support for printers and such. Often placed under a window adjacent to or near to the desk. Usually had a plant on top, something like a rubber plant or other low maintenance item.

    Paul

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  16. My grandparents had one of those credenzas as well. It was a retirement gift for my grandfather in the mid-sixties. It had a TV, a Radio & record player with LP storage built in. It was so big that they had to have their front windows removed to get it in their house!

    Thanks for all the great videos. They've helped me out a lot with my own projects.

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