Chopping Down an Entertainment Center

I’m taking a break from my usual geek content for a woodworking project. Granted, it’s a woodworking project to contain geek stuff, though.

We purchased a nice solid oak entertainment center many years ago. But it’s worthless now in an age of widescreen TVs. I tried to sell it, and then later give it away, with no takers. It had been taking up way too much room in the garage for more than a year.

Before: The original entertainment center.
Before: the original entertainment center.

So rather than turn it into a pile of lumber, I decided to chop it down and make it useful again. I had to remove the trim, cut off the sides, lower the top, and put it back together. Then I added a drawer on the right to hold DVDs, drilled shelf bracket holes in the closed cabinet to move the big shelf down, and added new hardware to freshen the look. I also had to disassemble the large door, learn to cut glass, then put that back together into a smaller door.

Making the drawer front was probably the hardest part. A friend let me borrow his raised panel bit for my shaper. That huge bit turning at 10,000 rpm was one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen. 🙂

Here’s the finished results loaded up with geeky stuff.

After: Modified entertainment center.
After: Modified entertainment center.

18 thoughts on “Chopping Down an Entertainment Center”

  1. WOW! Looks great – that’s what we need to do with our big thing. Tho for now it is holding our TV – no widescreen yet – and all the dc’s etc on the side pull out door.
    Interesting – and very creative. Great job Doug!! Now that you know how to do this you may have a new career coming up.

  2. Show off!
    Don’t tell Summer about it or I’ll have yet another project on the list of things I should do but don’t.

  3. This is just what I was looking for we have the same entertainment center that I want my husband to cut down, know I wont get the drawer though. Thank you so much for putting this on the computer for others to see!!!!

  4. Great job modifying that cabinet.
    I would also like to modify my cabinet that is similar to yours. How was the top and molding fastened to your cabinet. I am afraid to start wacking on the top to remove it because I am unsure what I am going to run into. Any comments would help.

    1. Everything appeared to have been nailed together with a nail gun. I pried the trim off easily, starting from the back so it wouldn’t leave any marks that might show. There wasn’t even any glue. Then I tapped under the top with a rubber mallet (and a rag to protect the wood more) and it too lifted off easily. I was careful so I only had to fill a few nail holes when I reassembled it.

  5. How did you go with the leadlight glass? Did you have to reassemble the leadlighting? We have a similar cabinet and the glass is one issue for us – would like to reuse it, but the leadlighting needs to be cut down.

    1. I started by carefully taking apart the metal frame and glass panes that I didn’t need, which required unsoldering some of the frame. Then I cut the frame parts to size with a Dremel tool. After practicing on some scrap glass, I cut the glass parts to fit in the frame. It wasn’t too hard because the cuts were all just across the bottom straight part. Then it was a matter of assembling the parts and soldering the metal frame back together.

  6. I have a very nice cherry entertainment center that I paid a lot for. Would like to hire someone to cut it down but don’t know who to call. Any talented carpenter could make big bucks doing just this.

  7. Would it also have been possible to cut this down so there would be less depth. Ours is too deep and I am trying to figure out how to cut off a portion of the depth. We could cut all the way around top bottom and sides, but there is also a support that runs vertical up up the center and can’t figure out how to get the part cut too. Any tips? Thanks.

    1. Just about anything is possible with a little creativity. If I wanted less depth, I would cut from the back side so any imperfections are less likely to show. You would have to look things over and decide how much you have to take apart to cut down the pieces. It may be possible to cut most of it while still assembled with a circular saw then use a hand saw for the harder to reach spots, for example.

      1. Thanks for the reply. We were going to try to circular saw from the back while assembled. My husband is just a little puzzled about the center support piece. I will tell him your recommendation. Thanks again!

  8. When you cut off the sides, did you lay the the back of the entertainment center on the floor or did you leave it upright?

    1. I left it upright. I may have clamped on a guide board to help with the cuts. Once the unit was smaller I had someone help me lift it up onto saw horses for easier work on the rest.

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