False Back for a Large Media Center

      Ways to construct and attach a false back for a TV and stereo cabinet, for wiring convenience. February 17, 2006

I'm going to build a large media center that will hold a 56" flat screen TV. I want to put a false back on the main section so as to hide the mass of wires. I will be using ply for the back. I want the grain to be vertical. What's the best way to join two sheets? What material is best to use - 1/4 or 3/4? Also, what is the best way to attach the false back to the frame work? I had thought of Velcro to minimize vibration rattle, but wasn't sure if the sticky stuff on Velcro would last.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor V:
There are a lot of ways you can go on this. If you want strictly plywood to span the case interior, I would say 1/2" minimum thickness plywood would be required to get a decent joint with a spline or biscuits. Alternatively, you can fabricate a frame and panel back. As an option with frame and panel, you could have a center stile and eliminate the need to join two sections of plywood together and you could use 1/4" or thicker panels in the frame. As far as fastening the panel, there are, again, a multitude of ways to do it. Velcro would work and be long lived, but you will have to provide a means of grasping the false back to free the Velcro bond. Inserts and machine screws, brass or otherwise, also come to mind, as does wood screws into wooden cleats through the back.

From contributor F:
Some of this wiring has to come through the false back. How are you going to remove it with wiring going through?

From the original questioner:
I like the idea of a frame and panel. That would give a person something to grab. Maybe I'm approaching this wrong. Is there a better way to hide all the wires?

From contributor F:
As I see it, you can't see through the TV, so if there is a small space on both sides or maybe the top, worry only about that and leave the rest open. Hence, no panel needed.

From contributor V:
There are a lot of ways to deal with the wires. I have used a fixed vertical stile in the center of the back with removable backs to the left and right. The shelves have a 1.5" recess on the back edges to allow for ventilation and wiring from shelf to shelf. Wires exit through holes bored in the fixed center stile. I allow enough space behind the false back for power strips.

I have also used a fixed horizontal member underneath the removable backs for wire entrance and exit. For a truly user friendly installation, the removable backs are split vertically to fall between shelves so that with the shelves installed, and the components placed, a panel can be removed and taken out over the top of the components while pulling wire and plugging things in.

From contributor M:
We often use Keku fasteners (from Hafele) to hold similar kinds of false backs, to which we mount large plasma displays. Holes can be cut through the back for wiring access, ventilation and to provide pulls for removing the panel when the need arises. These holes are hidden by the mounted TV. We've done two of these this year and they worked a treat. The small retaining nib on the Keku male section can be sanded off on a disc sander to make removal of the panel a little easier (they're damned tough!). The only issue becomes protecting your finish as you put the back in. Slowly and gently (with a 0.5mm tolerance) does it. Had a look on your US Hafele and you can find them on p.497 of the catalogue .pdf.

From contributor R:
If you trim the TV, you won't need a false back with holes cut in it to hide the wall that you can't really see anyway. Hint, hint, hint.

From contributor R:
I build cabinets without backs all the time. If designed correctly, they're not weak at all. Hell, I've built ETs that slid in around the TV and equipment, which avoided any and all wiring issues. I've also used steel when the need arises. Think about it.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the idea about the Keku fasteners - they look like they will work nicely. And the vertical stile would make an easy way to hide the seam.

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