With the rising popularity of outdoor entertaining, watching TV solely in the living room has become a thing of the past. You can relocate your television outside to enhance the backyard entertainment experience by building a simple cabinet. Add a few weatherproofing extras to maintain the integrity of your electronic devices.
Have a Plan
Design your cabinet around your TV and the extras that go with it. Your cabinet will need shelves for your cable or satellite box, along with your DVD player and video game consoles. You can add shelves for your sound system and DVD and CD libraries, if you like. As you design your cabinet, make sure enough depth and space is provided for the devices to dissipate the heat they may produce. Allow one to two inches of free space on each side, and allow at least 16 inches of depth.
Measure the width, height, and length of each device. Use the dimensions of the largest device and add four inches to the width. Add eight inches to the length, and eight inches to the height. The extra inches will provide enough space for access and ventilation. The largest shelf space will be for the TV and should be located at the top; placing the other smaller shelf spaces below will prevent the cabinet from being top-heavy.
Weatherproof your wood before you start cutting. Acrylic latex is good for all-purpose exposure to moisture, and is resistant to chipping and peeling. If you prefer a natural look, you can stain your wood with clear or colored stain sealed with a coat of varnish. Cover the area you will be painting in with a drop cloth. Lean both pieces of wood against a stable structure or lie them on the ground. Use either a roller or brush, and paint evenly. Apply two to three coats on each side. Save left-over paint or stain to coat edges after cutting wood. Allow each coat to dry for at least four hours.
Cut all of the pieces you need for the project and label each piece. Place the panel to be cut on the saw horses or table. Hold the saw in one hand, and place your non-moving hand on the panel for stability away from cutting line (C-clamps can be added to prevent slipping). Cut each measured piece, starting at the scribed point furthest from you. If you are using an electric circular saw, start cutting at the point closest to you.
Assemble all of the pieces and attach weather stripping to the border of the inside edges of the cabinet. For example: "A", piece will have the gasket on its inside surface. You will mate "A" surface against the non-gasket, inside surface of piece "B". This will prevent water and wind from penetrating in the seams. Note: some weather stripping products come with adhesive already applied concealed beneath protective paper. For those products without adhesive, either squeeze out a small line or use a small piece of cardboard to smear the adhesive to its contact area. Allow up to four hours for adhesive to dry.
Bore a hole at the rear center of each shelf with a 1- to 2-inch core drill-bit. These holes will serve as entry and exit portals for the outlet cords of each device. Bore a 2- to 3-inch hole in the rear panel of your cabinet, centered approximately four inches below bottom shelf. Apply adhesive or cement to one side of one 4-by- 4 square and place over the hole. Grasp the utility knife in a firm grip and slice rubber down center of hole. On rear of panel, take the other rubber square and apply adhesive to three sides in shape of "U", then place over the hole so that electrical cords can be fitted through slice on opposite side. These squares act as a weather barrier for the electrical cords.
Mate and attach each piece with wood screws. Drill screw holes where needed to prevent wood from splintering. Use the carpenter's square to verify squared angles; all your pieces should be squared to build a uniform geometric box. Apply adhesive to the bottom of the surge strip. Mount the surge strip on the rear of the bottom shelf. Each shelf should be supported by three screws on each side. Drill the outer holes 1 to 2 inches from the outside edge, then drill the third hole between the outside holes. For every eight inches of wood added to length or width, another screw support should be added.
Drill holes that match those in the exterior pieces on any shelves. Place the shelf board to its matching exterior piece, and mark your next set of drill holes. Remove board and drill holes. Assemble pieces using wood screws; holes should match perfectly.
Screw hinges to the inside of your cabinet, 2 to 3 inches from outside edges. Apply gasket to inside edge of door on all four sides. Center door so that it completely covers the opening. Screw the door to hinges. With assistance, turn your cabinet on its side. Screw wheel caster 1 to 2 inches from each corners at the base of the cabinet. Return cabinet to its upright position.
Test shelves for load capacity before placing media devices on them. Push down gently on the shelves to make sure they can bear weight. Make sure the wheels move freely on the desired surface, to prevent tipping.