Can I plane or sand back hardwood to gain 1/8"?
Barnhart Gallery
February 28, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I'm working with a vintage console that I'm retrofitting for media components, and everything fits into its shelves and cubbies perfectly except that I need an extra lateral 1/8 - 3/16" off the sides of one section of shelf for the woofer to slide in.

It's a hardwood, probably walnut, and my carpenters are both dubious about neatly carving or sanding out enough wiggle room for this last component, afraid that they'll ruin the piece by trying to gouge out a smidge of extra wiggle room.

Woodworkers -- would you attempt it?
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Ironwood Builders
Barnhartgallery, it's only out of respect for your other posts that I'm not in all caps right now! Listen to the carpenters. They work with wood and tools all the time. Would you plane an 1/8" off your subwoofer? How about tearing the side off the speaker and replacing it with thinner material?
2 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Barnhart Gallery
Thanks Ironwood -- I was hoping you'd answer, and that's what I was afraid you were going to say. I'll make it work on the floor, and use the shelf for storage!
0 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Ironwood Builders
Sorry for the tough love...we all need it time to time.
5 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 10:07PM
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kitasei
We have a similar problem with fitting a 13" deep Bose speaker into an 11" shelf in a wall of bookcases. The carpenter refused to make a shelf that projects further, which would ruin the line, but is more than happy to make room in the wall! I.e., by digging into the sheetrock and insulation! What's your thought on THAT, Ironwood??
1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 2:23AM
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Ironwood Builders
kitasei, these are two totally different things, the classic apples to oranges metaphor. barnhartgallery is working with an existing vintage walnut console. Your carpenter was building from scratch. Do I approve of his recalcitrance in refusing to build a deeper shelf? No. Do I approve of his creativity in solving the problem ex post facto? Yes, as long as the finished product was well detailed and looked "finished" as opposed to a raw hole in the wall. You were/are doing a custom piece...did the carpenter/cabinetmaker know the dimensions of your speaker prior to design and construction? If not, that sort of a big wrench in the works...if so the guy is a stick in the mud and you need(ed) to find a more flexible artisan. I've been that stick in the mud...I refused to cut the back out of an 18th century painted Swedish wardrobe for an entertainment center. The homeowner had her gardener do it. Two years later, flat screens became affordable and a piece of history was destroyed for a television. The customer is not always right.
1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 7:35AM
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Ironwood Builders
kitasei and barnhartgalleries, there are sub woofers of different dimensions available, would an equipment change work?
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 7:37AM
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R J Hoppe Inc
I might atempt it, but not without seeing it :) Can you take a few snap shots and post them?
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 7:50AM
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R J Hoppe Inc
Hi ironwood. I've also walked away from projects. I've actually told one person "You can't do that" and had an argument with them about detroying a great piece of furniture. It seems we live in an Ikea world nowadays.
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Barnhart Gallery
Thanks for your knowledgeable input folks! The frustration is that there are so many components already fit inside -- three gaming systems, blue ray, stereo receiver, etc, and they all made it in there, except for the sound system's woofer being 1/8" too wide. The cubby area is even beveled at the front edge, which I hoped would make an interior adjustment sort of invisible as the woofer would be pulled up to the front of the opening just inside the door. My media guys took pains to install and program all of the remotes to a repeater that you don't see on one of the speakers, so that the top would be clear of everything but this. And this is the husband's sound system of choice -- no changes there!

This console is more function than form -- not a family heirloom or investment piece, yet everything else has already been retrofitted in, so this is it. It's actually a Henredon I picked up for $200 at Habitat's ReStore.

I'm not opposed to using the spot for extra game and video storage and have plenty of ideas for how to disguise the woofer should it need to stay on the floor. It's just that it's so darn close to sliding in and looking completely custom, I can't help wanting to force the thing in there!
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 1:39PM
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parsleycarrots
Have the carpenter build a different box for the subwoofer. or build one yourself from furniture grade plywood. Audio geeks do this all the time . . . not that I would know anything about it. :-)
1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 1:48PM
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kitasei
Can't you cut a hole the size of the woofer on the floor of the console so the woofer sits on the actual floor and no one is the wiser?? You've done such a great job creating a streamlined media cabinet (rare!) that you've got to figure this out!
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 2:27PM
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R J Hoppe Inc
Just trying to trouble shot. Is the inside dimension of the cubby the same when measured from the top and the bottom? Will placing the sub woofer into this space cause the doors to rattle when turned on? Is there a chance that the side of the cubby either left or right, be moved over rather when cut down?
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 3:03PM
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Barnhart Gallery
There's plenty of room top to bottom and front to back -- just a hair shy on the sides -- really sanding back a sixteenth of an inch on both sides would work -- if you can sand away at a hardwood and get anywhere at all.

And that's five symetrical doors, hard to tell as the one for the woofer is open, but that wouldn't allow for a lateral move of the upright support inside.
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 4:23PM
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R J Hoppe Inc
Hi Barnhart. Ok Not being there to phyisically see the peice it's difficult to say.

First: From what I gather the piece, while well made, is not an antique or vinatage piece of furniture that has a value greater then what you paid for it. If so please please don't touch it.

I have one sugestion that may work if you truely only need 1/16" more lateral space. Cut some heavy stock pieces of lumber 2' X 4" should be fine. Cut two pieces about 1/8" longer then the width of the sub. Try to slowly wedge the pieces one top one btm into the sides of the cabinet and spring them apart. There may be enough give in the sides for this to work but maybe not. WARNING this may mess up your door alignment!!! Be prepaired to leave the pices inside the cabinet if this works. If the doors no longer close they may be able to be plained down, easier then, planning down the interior sides of the cabinet.

Having said all this, and it may or may not work, it's alot of work!. I can't see your carpenters charging less to make this "fix" then what it might cost you for a new smaller Sub woffer???

Hope this helps :)
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 5:40AM
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Barnhart Gallery
Well, thanks so much for your time on this one, people. I'll run the ideas by my talented assistant, and I'm reluctantly prepared to go the plan B route. I rather figured I'd need to.
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Barnhart Gallery
RJ that Keynote desk of yours is magnificent!
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Madeline
Hi, What is the woofer made of? Can you plane or sand down the sides of the woofer? Just asking?
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 10:09AM
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R J Hoppe Inc
Thanks Barnhart.
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Barnhart Gallery
Sorry Madeline, the Woofer is not wood.
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 2:52PM
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Madeline
Too bad. (My husband did tell me ahead of time that the woofer is probably vinyl wrapped particle board and hence not something that could be sanded.) He also said the subwoofer should be isolated away from your other components and ideally placed on the floor in a corner not far from the rest of the system. The sub-woofer vibrates and placing it inside this cabinet could effect the integrity of the other components. The door would also have to remain open when the system is used. Seems like placing it on the floor where it is now in the photo is proper even if you were able somehow to get it squeezed into your credenza. Good luck with what you and your husband decide.
0 Likes   March 2, 2013 at 10:14PM
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