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Modifying A Bookcase For A Flat Screen TV

Built In Bookcase Modification:Modifying bookcase for

It seems these days folks are designing whole rooms around flat screen TVs.  The problem arises when you have an existing room and you try to incorporate the flat screen TV.   Modifying a bookcase for a flat screen TV seems to be in demand.

This was just the case for a client of mine.  They had a large built in place bookcase that they liked and wanted to modify to also hold a large flat screen TV.

The Modification Plan

After looking at how the bookcase was constructed and measuring the TV it was obvious that all we needed to do was remove the two center vertical partition and related shelving to accommodate the TV width.

For the height we did not need as much room so we decided to add on continuous shelf across the top.

It’s important to state that most 3/4″ shelves will not span that far before they deflect under the weight of whatever is placed on them.   To discourage deflection we added a 1-1/8″ edging along the shelves front edge and also a continuous cleat on the sides and back of the shelf.   doing this gives the shelf considerable strength and resistance to deflection.

Getting Started:

First order of business was to remove the shelves then try to remove and save the upper crown molding.   Once removed we took care to pull all of the finish nails through the back side of the molding so not to damage the front face.

Once the crown molding was removed we would then cut out the vertical partitions with a flush cutting  multi-tool blade.   These vertical partitions ran through the counter shelf and into the open bookcase  below.   

After we cut the vertical partitions we sanded the cuts  flush and covered this area with 1/4″ birch plywood then replaced the old face frame trim to cover the edge.

On the top of the bookcase we added a continuous top face frame trim and then replace the existing crown molding with a finish nailer and nailing in the same spots as the old nails.  We filled the nail holes with a putty stick.

Adding  Cable and Power:

Luckily for us there was already power, cable and speaker wire installed in the right side of the bookcase.  The homeowner is simply going to run a wire or two sideways to make their connections.

Matching The New Wood To Match Old:

In order for this bookcase to look normal again the new wood will need to be stained to match the older stained woodwork.

Staining is not always as straight forward and I highly suggest you practice on test pieces prior to applying any stain to the new bookcase woodwork.

Modifying A Bookcase For A Flat Screen TV can be easy and straight forward with a plan and a few tools.

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