Speaker Cloth in Cabinet Doors

Ways to attach speaker cloth in place of a floating wood panel in entertainment center doors so that infrared remote control devices will work through the door. August 14, 2009

I am thinking of using speaker cloth in stile and rail cabinet doors to allow the remotes to work in behind the doors. Has anyone done this? Any tips and tricks would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
I did one last year where I made the center panel frame from 3/4" x 1/2" strips and covered it with the speaker cloth. This way it was removable for cleaning or replacement. I also did one with the sensor that transmits the r/f signal from a device outside the cabinet directly to the component. Despite being a little pricey (aprox $250), it worked fine without having to use the cloth-covered doors.

From contributor B:
I just did one of these. I built the door and rabbeted the back like I would for glass, and then chiseled the corners square. I made some little cleats, stretched the fabric over the opening, brad nailed in the cleats, and trimmed the excess. There is probably a better way, but this worked and looked pretty good.

From contributor C:
Similar to what Contributor B said, I stretched and stapled the speaker cloth over 1/4" ply. I cut 4 rectangular holes (with rounded corners) in the ply and spray painted it black first. The remotes do work as long as the IR receiver has a clear line of sight through the speaker cloth. If it was me, I'd get the IR repeater hub. They've gotten a lot cheaper than they used to be.

From contributor B:
To Contributor C: Can you explain the plywood process to me a little bit more? I was thinking about trying that but I couldn't figure out how to make the back side of the plywood decent, and that is why I used the cleats. Did you staple on the front face where it will be concealed by the rabbet, or the edges, or fold it all the way around to the back face? When I was thinking of doing it that way, I almost figured I needed the wrap the front and staple to the back and then wrap the back and staple to the front where it would be hidden in the rabbet. Please explain a little more.

From contributor C:
I've done it both ways. It works better if you can wrap the cloth around the back of the panel and staple it, but then you can see the staples, unless you cover them with something.

From contributor D:
I've made 1/2" baltic birch panels, then cut out the center so you're left with just a frame about 1/2" wide. Stretch your speaker cloth around and staple or hotmelt. You can then install that in your door.

From contributor E:
I used wood lattice from National products. It looks much better then speaker cloth.