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I'm buying a new TV, which will be my first flat-screen TV for the home theater. I currently have an old RPTV, and our center channel speaker rests on a stand that supports it on top of the TV. Since that obviously won't work, with a new flat-screen, I plan to place the speaker in front of the new TV instead.

The problem is that most center channel speakers (mine included) are at least 5" tall, and the stands that come with most TVs these days only prop up the bottom edge of the screen by a few inches at most.

The model I purchased (that hasn't yet arrived) has a stand in the center, instead of the style that places one smaller piece at either end, so I figured I could cobble together a board to raise it up as high as I need to.

I plan to cut the boards to the size necessary (roughly 9" deep, 28" wide), stacked as high as I need (about 4"). I will glue them together with wood glue, and also fasten with some countersunk screws, and then paint the finished product to match our A/V stand (a shade of white).

First, does that sounds like a reasonable construction for such a platform?

Second, what type of lumber should I buy? Looking at Home Depot's site, I wasn't sure whether to choose from their Framing Lumber and Studs section, or the "Appearance Boards" section. I liked that the framing lumber would come in nominal 2" thicknesses, which means I might be able to get away with fewer laminated layers. But the "appearance boards" seemed like they were more intended for interior use, and the "edge glued" varieties are supposed to stay flat better.

Since I'll be painting it, the grain characteristics don't matter so much. But it's very important it not warp, and that it can support the 55 lbs the TV weighs.

Update

Allow me to add some more info to address the comments and answers.

We're not considering wall-mounting the TV or speaker in this room for aesthetic reasons. The stand of the TV is 8.5" deep and around 27" wide. Also, I'm planning on rounding over at least the front top edge of the stand with my router for a more finished look (and I might do all four top edges).

I hadn't considered stability, though a 55 lbs TV should hopefully weigh down a flat piece of wood enough that it won't slide. Should I consider any special coating on the bottom surface? A non-skid pad would probably make it at least a little wobbly.

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    Have you thought about wall mounting the TV above the existing stand at whatever height suits? – bib Apr 6 '17 at 16:11
  • Buy an 8 foot 2x10, cut 3 pieces the length of the TV stand base. Screw them together. This will give you a height of 4.5" and a depth of 9.5". Don't worry about stability. This is what hand-built roof trusses are made from. Roofs are very heavy. Paint it if you like. It will be ugly, but it should be hidden by the speaker anyway. If you are really bothered by aesthetics, skim coat it with bondo. Sand with 120 or 180. Paint 2-3 coats, sanding in-between to eliminate grain reveal. Easy and done. – Jason Apr 8 at 2:22
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I'm not sure of the size of the stand, but you want to make sure your platform is bigger than the stand by enough on each side so that it is stable. 9" wide seems a bit small, given the size of the two TV stands I have, but yours may be different. You may consider securing the platform to your AV center, as well as secure the TV stand to the platform, to reduce the risk of the TV tipping over.

Framing lumber

As for the wood to use, framing lumber and studs are thicker, yes, but the quality is generally lower - they're typically covered up by drywall or tile, after all. They are also almost always pine, a softwood. Since you're going to paint it, looks may not make a difference, but that lumber also tends to have more knots and it can warp more. Additionally, and perhaps most crucially, 2x lumber comes with rounded edges. You'd probably want to square up the edges before gluing to eliminate that rounded edge.

Appearance boards

"Appearance boards" are 1x wood, typically some sort of hardwood (poplar, oak, or aspen), although they do sell pine as well. They're obviously thinner than the 2x wood (half as thick), but will stand up to use better and will generally be flatter and less warped. The edges are also square, so there's no annoying rounded corner to deal with. With some screws, you'll likely be able to get a decently flat glue up, especially if you pick out flat wood to begin with.

With both of those options, though, you're looking at buying 10" wide wood (actual 9 1/4"), which can be quite expensive. Alternatively, you can glue two thinner boards together, but that would require jointing the two edges. If you've got a jointer, router, or table saw, you can do it, but I'm guessing you don't.

Plywood

A third option, which you may have overlooked, is to use (furniture grade) plywood. It comes in 3/4" thickness (other thicknesses available as well), so you would need 5 or 6 layers to get your 4". However, it comes in 4'x8' sheets (both the blue and orange stores carry them for about $45 per sheet; other sizes available, too, as I don't think you'd need a whole 4x8 sheet), so the width is not a problem. Plywood is extremely flat, so the layering is not a problem. The edges have a banded look, but when painted they may not look much different than the rest.

  • Thanks a lot for the thorough answer. I do actually have a router, though I don't think I have any joining bits for it yet. I was planning on routing the top edges of it for a nicer look. That would probably rule out the plywood. – Dov Apr 6 '17 at 18:34
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    @Dov all you need to joint edges on a router is a straight bit and a split fence. You essentially create a jointer on its side; search youtube or ask another question here or at woodworking.stackexchange.com for more details. You can put a decorative edge on plywood with a router, especially since you're going to paint. Nothing wrong with that. – mmathis Apr 6 '17 at 18:41
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The main goal is to get the center speaker to not block any portion of the TV screen. Before building a custom platform for your new TV, have you considered some other options first that might be as good as or better than a stack of wood. Those would include:

  1. Mounting the TV on the wall. There are good wall mount accessories for the modern flat screen TVs.
  2. Mounting the speaker on the wall, either directly to the wall or on a shelf. Speakers do not weigh a lot and any reasonable shelf or mounting system will hold it easily.
  3. Placing the speaker behind the TV. If there are a few inches under the TV, that could easily be enough to not block the sound. I understand that the center support for the TV is not ideal for this solution. However, it might be worth trying (maybe slightly off center) and if it doesn't work as well as you prefer, then move on to buying or building a platform.
  4. Purchase a small stand, riser, or turntable. These will look nicer than most of the platforms you or I can build and not much different in price. If the solution works, you can paint the purchased stand any color you wish. Examples are: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G9XGVSC/ref=twister_B01M1SGQ7V?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1, https://www.amazon.com/5-25-High-Stand-Wide-BLACK/dp/B002WOUPHK/ref=sr_1_81?s=furniture&ie=UTF8&qid=1491500119&sr=1-81 A little bit more searching could come up with many possible choices to buy.

If the custom platform is still the choice, then nmathis has a good thorough answer.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. Basically, though, my wife doesn't want the speaker or TV mounted to the wall. I hadn't considered buying a platform though, so I'll investigate those options. I guess I figured it would be cheap/easy enough, and something I'd enjoy doing (and have the tools to accomplish). – Dov Apr 6 '17 at 18:37
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    Given the desire to build it, those big box stores often have nicer plywood in half sheets, so the costs might not be too bad. Also if you are handy with the tools, you could build a box instead of laminating sheets together. It would require less wood. A table saw with a blade for plywood would be most helpful. An extra support underneath in the center would make sure it supports the weight. If you like the challenge of a joint with minimal edges showing, take a look at: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/47820/… – JerryD Apr 6 '17 at 19:17
  • I almost bought a glass riser from Monoprice, but I would have needed to get two and join the legs together to get the height I wanted (doable, because of how they're threaded). However, I ended up convincing my wife to wall mount it. Thanks for reminding me about that possibility! – Dov Apr 10 '17 at 14:28

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