A TV lift cabinet is a pretty cool concept to me.  Making this TV cabinet was a fun experience for sure.  It’s mostly solid wood construction aside from the drawer bottoms, back & door panels.  The main wood is cherry, and the secondary wood is aspen.  I used mortise and tenon joinery for the face frame and sub-top; using tongue and groove joinery for the doors and the breadboard ends on the top.  I also used over travel ball bearing drawer extensions.  The TV lift was provided by TVLiftCabinet.com.  Like I mentioned, I think it is pretty cool to be able to have a stand alone piece of furniture in a room, and be able to have a TV at the ready when an impromptu “movie night” presents itself.  It seems as though traditional TV watching isn’t the same as it was 10 or 15 years ago.  Mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers offer so many ways to view content that having a TV always out and collecting dust may not be a great option for everyone.  Not to mention a TV that pops out of nowhere really appeals to my inner feeling to be James Bond.  Being I don’t have a “Q” in my life, I had to build it myself.  Without further ado, I give you my TV lift cabinet.


Below is what I am calling a “showcase” video.  Just an overview and highlight of the completed project.

I began the process with picking out my material and laying out the rough sizes to my parts on some aspen and cherry.



Then they could be cut to rough length on my miter saw.



I brought them down to final thickness on my surface planer.  I ended up settling on 3/4″ thickness for all parts except for the top.  That I left closer to 15/16 of an inch.


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I cut my top, side pieces and bottom shelf to final width and added some biscuit slots to aid on alignment during glue up.



Adding some glue and biscuits all while keeping an eye on the grain to keep a nice consistent look.

Once everything was clamped together, I cleaned up most of the glue squeeze out with a damp cloth.




I flattened and smoothed out the top using the hand plane I restored.



A quick pass through the table saw brings everything to finished width.



The pieces could then be squared up and cut to final length.  I built my table saw sled big enough to make sure cutting panels like these were no problem.


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The sub-top was made from aspen.  Mortise and tenon joinery was used to join these pieces.  The only purpose to the sub-top was to keep the cabinet square and rigid while allowing for the main top to hinge out of the way for the TV.


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I also cut the bottom shelf to size and made dados in the sides to accept the bottom shelf.  Rabbets were also cut into the sides along the top edge to accept the sub-top later.



No matter how many times I cut through a dowel or biscuit, I seem to want to admire the freshly discovered cross section.


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Cabinet carcass glue-up was fairly uneventful.  Adding glue to the dado and clamping the bottom shelf in place.  At this point make certain the sides are nice and square to the shelf.



My initial plan was to glue up and clamp the sub-top in place at the same time as the shelf.  Being I was doing all of this in a LIVE YouTube show, I ended up doing a lot more talking than clamping.  Nothing that couldn’t be taken care of the next morning.


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I began work on the cherry face frame.  Cutting the rails and stiles to length and width.



The face frame joinery was going to be mortise and tenon.  I always like to take a little extra time to make sure everything is laid out properly.  Double checking all mortise and tenon locations now really saves on making mistakes.


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My hollow chisel mortiser makes quick work on the mortises.



I use my tenoning jig for most of the cuts on the tenons.


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The face frame is a fairly ambitious glue-up to do in one clamping.  You may want to use some slower setting glue or do it in two stages.  I made sure to work quickly, and I managed to do it in one shot.


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Then it’s just a matter of applying some glue to the cabinet itself and clamping the face frame in place.  I was going for an eighth inch overhang on both sides so I made sure to center the frame on the cabinet.  Even if you are going to be making the face frame flush to the sides later, it is still good practice to keep everything centered.




I sanded everything to 220 grit and cleaned up any inside corners with a cabinet scraper.


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A satin wipe-on polyurethane was my finish of choice.  I really like using it for it’s ease of use.  Pretty much wipe it on and done.  Also, spraying a finish is almost impossible in the colder months for me.  I have to heat the shop and keep everything closed.  Check out my finishing technique video for wipe-on poly.



I had to make room for the TV lift in the bottom shelf.  My jigsaw made quick work of cutting out this portion.



I added a piece of aspen to the bottom of the sub-top to stiffen it up and and now it acts as a bit of an I-beam.  I could then attach the upper mounting bracket for the lift mechanism.



With the upper bracket installed I could mark for the lower cross member.  Then using some hand chisels, I could create some sockets for it to reside in.


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The freshly chiseled sockets were a nice snug fit for the bottom stretcher.



I then created the 4 drawers for the cabinet.  I covered start to finish drawer construction in this article here.


Here is the video on making the drawers.



I used over-extension ball bearing drawer slides.  Ball bearing slides are nice and smooth and the over-extension is nice so you can get to the back of the drawers.


MOst of the time drawer slides go to the back of the cabinet and can mount there.  In this case I will have a TV in the back so I made a couple braces and cleats to attach the drawer slides.



Here all the drawers and slides have been installed.



Then I selected and cut all the drawer fronts from some cherry.



The backs of the drawer fronts made a nice place for me to put my signature stamp.  I added it in a few other nondescript locations as well.


TV-Lift-Cabinet-49After the finish was dried, I counterbored for handle hardware and drilled some through holes as well.



Here are the drawer handles.  I picked them out all by myself.  Normally not my department, but I was told I did good.



Adding some double sided tape helps in getting the drawer fronts installed.



The drawer fronts then get attached permanently with screws from the back.  Don’t use too long of screws.  Additional holes in the drawer fronts do not help the overall look of the piece no matter how many times you think it does.



Here is a shot of all the drawer fronts in place.


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In the top drawer I added a charging station receptacle.  It has 3 outlets as well as 2 USB charging ports; perfect for phones and tablets.  Or even better, game controllers that need charging that you want to be tucked away and out of sight.



It also has a built in secret compartment for whatever you want to keep prying eyes off of.


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Cutting some tongues and grooves into some cherry will make up the rails and stiles for the panel doors.


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I opted to use dual sided cherry veneer for the door panels.


TV-Lift-Cabinet-64Here is one of the doors after glue-up and finish.


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When starting to mock-up up everything the top seemed to be missing something.  I made a late design change and added breadboard ends to the top.



Making sure to only glue the center 1/4 to 1/3 portion to allow the top to expand and contract.



I routed a mortise in the back edge of the top to accept a piano hinge.  This would allow the TV to pop up though the top.




I cleaned up the corners of the mortise with a chisel.



I added a middle panel to attach the TV lift controller.


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I also added other electronics to the middle panel, including a power strip/surge protector.  I have a good tip video showing an easy way to mount these.  You can find that here.


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Probably my favorite part to the whole TV lift system is the receiver and emitters.  The receiver mounts to the front of the cabinet and is routed to a junction block.  The emitters come out from that block and are mounted in front of whatever device you want to control.  That way you can use whatever remote came with your device and the signal can make it through to whatever you need to control.  Also the TV lift has current sensing in it.  So when you turn on your TV it raises the lift automatically.  And when you turn it off, it lowers it.  It’s pretty cool.




I made sure to route all the wires neatly so they wouldn’t interfere with any of the drawers or other moving parts.



At this point I installed a mid panel to not only protect the TV from damage but to also keep light from leaking through to the front of the cabinet.  I ended up cutting some vents into this panel to keep electronic heat build up to a minimum.



I also made a gasket for the mid panel to keep light spill to a minimum and to clean up the overall look of the wire holes.


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I made some clips to secure the front top to the cabinet.  They sit in biscuit slots I cut earlier.  If you don’t want to make these, metal clips can be purchased as well.


TV-Lift-Cabinet-83TV-Lift-Cabinet-84 TV-Lift-Cabinet-85I made some simple cove moulding on the router table to dress up the top a bit.  I glued it to only the front face frame to still allow the top to expand and contract with seasonal changes.


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With the top and bottom brackets in place, I could install the TV lift mechanism.  There is an alignment pin on the bottom bracket and just a couple thumb screws to secure it in place.



Once the TV was set in place and secured, I installed the last drawer and screwed on a back panel.


TV Lift CabinetALL DONE!  I would love to know what you guys think in the comments section below.  Or if you have any questions, let me know.  Thanks for checking it out!


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20 Responses

  1. tmsbmx

    Nick it was well worth the wait you did such a amazing job. I know how much of a long haul this was for you ( i.e. the podcast) but like I said the job you did is amazing. I love the amount of joinery you did. Thanks for sharing, Thom Spillane

    • Nick

      thank you Thom – it has been a long time in the making but totally worth it – thank you for your kind words!!

  2. Cat

    That is something I dream about! Awesome job! I’d be so proud too! How cool to not have the tv sitting out! Congratulations!!!

  3. Dave (KSFWG)

    Wonderful, wonderful piece of furniture, Nick. A truly beautiful piece right down to the last detail. The video editing was every bit as nice as the cabinet itself. It must have seemed over whelming at times. The bread board ends, the knobs, and the drawer pulls really sets it off. You did GOOD, bud !! Well worth the wait. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Nick

      thanks as always Dave – yeah it went a bit longer than I would have like it to take but so worth it!

    • Nick

      thanks man – took long enough to do with all these pictures but I think it came out good too – thanks again!

  4. JC

    Sweet job Nick,
    Your skill and talent shines through and I really liked all the smart features, hidden compartment, detailed and helpful explanations.
    Just wondering how much time it took you and total expense of project?
    You’ve definitely got me thinking perhaps I can do something like this too.
    Thanks a bunch. JC

    • Nick

      hard to say on both time and money – I had an unusual amount of personal things come up during the build so it would be hard to say how much time I really had into it – cost of wood I would guess to be around $150-200

  5. Ray D

    I thought this set-up was so beautiful and along with smooth operating lift mechanism I showed my little guy and wife. I should have thought that through a bit better and preempted the possible wants. Wife thinks it would be great in the bedroom and my little guy wants it for his gaming area. My little guy would be the cool kid and my wife will be happy. Decisions!?!? HA!

    • Nick

      yeah showing projects to others is a great way to create work for yourself, lol – glad you liked it!

  6. Jeff

    Nick can you tell me what sort of saw you used to cut the notches in the back part of the cabinet, you were using a chisel first

    • Nick

      it was a flush cut saw – http://amzn.to/25wqQS6 – not really the proper tool for the job but it does the trick – won’t cut very deep because there is no set to the teeth but that’s what I like about it – nice clean cut line

  7. JD

    Wish the lift units weren’t $500.00 + so doing something like this would be more doable. Hopefully down the road, prices will come down a bit on these kinds of lifts.


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