As mentioned in the last post, some serious water stain damage had affected how the stain penetrated and discoloured the wood, resulting in an inconsistent finish on the front panel. My first plan was to just revive and refinish the exterior to its original state, but the damaged section was too noticeable to ignore. I wasn't too pleased with the idea of going through another round of sanding, re-staining and resealing the front panel with hardly a guarantee it would come out any better than the first time around.
Of course any project should have a backup contingency plan, and I indeed had one to cover up the mess. I always remembered liking Inhabit's Shangri La wall flats, and they seemed like a perfect fit, almost literally. A box of 10 wall flats arrived today, and after some grueling, don't-cut-off-your-fingers-nitwit moments with an X-acto blade, straight edge and a cutting mat, I was able to trim the molded bamboo paper pulp pieces into nearly perfectly sized tiles for the front. I wish I could have had these machine cut for the straightest of finishes, but with a little sanding with a fine grit sandpaper, the lines came out pretty darn straight, if I do say so myself.
So what's left to do? Plenty. I'm still trying to figure out how to fit and incorporate the 23" LCD inside the cabinet or whether I even need it, since I'm connecting the Apple TV to an HDMI switcher that connects to the LCD TV (but I love the idea of a stand alone digital media jukebox). The next step is installing a couple sets of wire/cable guides I purchased from the 99 Cents Only Store, since in no time, the cabinet will be packed with plenty of electronic components and will need some wire management.
If you remember at the beginning of this project, I dismantled all the original audio hardware inside, but I left the top wood panel where the knobs and dials once sat. That gave me the idea of copying the ContactBoxen peripheral charging station, since the dial holes are perfect to snake USB, Firewire and power cables through. I'm also using the leftover Inhabit wall flats to line the interior side and rear walls, and installing a surge protector inside for all the hardware that will one day call the cabinet home (Apple TV, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Apple Airport Extreme Base Station and an NAS drive). A couple quiet PC fans installed in the back should keep air flow steady and temperatures within a safe range.
The project can be tagged as unofficially done, both because of budget and planning constraints. Any future updates will continue over at our Unplggd site, since from this point on, the project will take a much more tech-oriented nature.
My girlfriend didn't get the additional bookshelves she wanted, nor did our cats end up with the cat condo they seemed to meow about. But all in all, it has been a lot of fun working on bringing something back to life that would have likely ended up in landfill. It was a great way to start off 2008.
The whole project recap: