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 Building the big enclosure

Hi folks. I bought an entertainment center. Not being much of a tool user, I find myself wondering ... well, all kinds of things! Like where do I start?

I know I’m going to have to cut pass-throughs and such, between compartments, and for the pool, or for plumbing the pool -- not quite sure how to approach this. And there’s a very thin backing over some of it, but a very large opening where the main compartment is, so I think I have to get plywood for the back. Can anyone give me some suggestions about how heavy the plywood needs to be? I plan on building a fake rock wall using styrofoam and grout all over the back. I know the styrofoam doesn’t weigh much, but I don’t know about the grout, or how much I’ll need, or very much of anything about this whole process. For instance, how to get lights inside with the cords and plugs outside... Is that just a matter of a hole large enough to pass the plug through everywhere there’s a light? Do I then need to protect those holes against invasion by flying insects or whatever?

And hey, if you have any other suggestions, like what’s my first step, second step, etc., I’d surely be appreciative!

I don’t mean to sound like a complete idiot, but I’ve really never built anything before. I’ve looked at so many pictures in the large enclosure post, but I’m not seeing how the magic comes together. Any advice?


05/19/12  09:28pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2266914

 Building the big enclosure

Ok , where to start...
Remove the panels / compartments you don’t want.
Replace the back with 1 sheet of 7/16ths OSB (home depot 7.99) for a 4x8 sheet.

Get 2 or 3 10 oz tubes of clear ALEX PLUS latex caulk with silicone 2.29 ea (water clean up) easy to use.
get the 4.99 caulk gun that fits the 10 oz tubes.
Alex Plus
Caulking gun
Seal all the seams where 2 planes of wood meet. Corners / shelves etc. Use you fingers if you have too and wipe clean any major excess with a damp cloth...allow to dry overnight. As you build you can always apply more to new seams/ corners etc.

Get a few cans of "Great Stuff" , where else, The Home Depot... that’s what they call the spray on insulation foam. You may need more...but it’s a start
great stuff

Start your background and design as you go ...allow to dry ..carve as needed with razor knife.

You will do well to buy 1 bag of sanded grout and 1 bag of non sanded grout. Mix it with water only in small batches until you get used to it and realize that you need more powder and less water. Depending on how you want to build up or just paint on use more or less water. Plastic , cheap putty knives and mixing tools are great to have. Use the amount you make and let dry ...never make a whole bag at can always continue applying and layering later.

The non sanded grout will be smoother and flow easier into small crevices and makes a great final coat for smooth surfaces. If you want texture use the sanded over the non sanded ... Or change it up and have some of both in different areas.

You will seal the whole rockscape with a spray on POLYCRYLIC(water based)by Min Wax...they also have brush on water based in a can. Same stuff ...just brush it on ....I like satin as opposed to gloss.


See this web site for instructions and videos...Lizard scapes...fantastic site.!!
Landscapes / reptile

After that we can talk plumbing and water falls and pools...somewhere in the beginning of your construction you need to plan the water fall if you want one. The pump and hose is available at ...THE HOME DEPOT

Let me know

05/19/12  11:59pm


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2266943

 Building the big enclosure

Thank you so much, CP! Am I correct in thinking that the panels between the sections of the entertainment center are structural and that I should cut out pass-throughs? Or can they be safely removed without sacrificing the solidity of the structure?

I know... Get a photo! I’m on it!

05/20/12  09:47pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2267043

 Building the big enclosure

Yes ...a photo would help, you can buy an inexpensive jig saw and drill, you drill a hole large enough to get the Jig saw blade started (1/2") and make a very nice abstract opening...or go for the traditional square. Raw edges of wood / particle board need to be sealed with multiple coats of the polycrylic.

A few more ideas.. as you seal the background with can sprinkle sand for texture....add eco earth / coconut bark/ husk by throwing/ sprinkling it on.

As soon as I see a photo I will direct you as to how to make a sunken pond or false floor for a kitty liter pan.

Did you see the pond / water fall Rexaroo made ....very nice !!

05/20/12  11:38pm


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2267063

 Building the big enclosure

Here’s the entertainment center, with all doors open. I know that the first thing I have to do is remove all the hardware and doors.

I did see the waterfall rexaroo built. Very cool indeed! I told my daughter about it and she produced a nice sized styrofoam container they get some kind of cheese in at the restaurant where she works. She told me they get one every week so I can have as many as I want.

Besides the styrofoam containers I can get from her, I have 3 or 4 sheets of styrofoam from Home Depot.

05/21/12  10:49pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2267206

 Building the big enclosure

Nice unit ...the 3 compartments on the bottom will house a 5 gallon bucket?? a pump for water fall and a reservoir for the pond filtration system and drainage

I suggest keeping the lower 1/3.

Can you remove the the parts that would enclose the TV the 2 vertical upper separators ?
And can you remove the small box that shields the light?

This unit it real wood , or papered on wood grain. The paper wood grain material is prone to peeling off unless you seal and cover all exposed parts. Once the paper wood grain is compromised the particle board begins to swell.

05/22/12  11:39am


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2267250

 Building the big enclosure

It’s solid oak. What little back there is appears to be very thin and I know I have to replace that. The rest of it is nice, solid wood.

I don’t know if I can remove the uprights that would enclose the TV. I mean, should I? Are they structural or aesthetic? I don’t know how to tell, and I have that question about every upright in this thing. How many of them can I safely remove and maintain the stability of the unit? Also, can I remove the shelf that separates the large middle section from the top section where the lights are?

And then there’s the question about how to remove them if it’s safe to do so! As I said, I’ve never worked with wood before. This is a first for me.

I can definitely remove the parts that shield the lights. I think. ;)

05/22/12  09:17pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2267325

 Building the big enclosure

Been on the road in Montana , beautiful time of year too.... Will make some Photoshop adjustments to your picture over the week end ....please post 1 image without the white script


05/25/12  10:20am


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2267584

 Building the big enclosure


Just a thought, but, how large are those side compartments?
Even if they’re not structural, leaving 1 in might be a nice sleeping area for your WD .. Providing it’s large enough of course. hard to tell from the pic


05/25/12  04:57pm


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  Message To: TwilightDreamer1979   In reference to Message Id: 2267642

 Building the big enclosure

The side compartments were designed to hold CDs or DVDs, so they’re not very wide. The whole unit is 5 feet wide.

Here’s a non-annotated version:

05/26/12  02:57am


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2267705

 Building the big enclosure

OK ...thanks for the image...will be back

05/27/12  05:00pm


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2267893

 Building the big enclosure

I don’t know for certain, but the uprights and shelves all appear to be slotted in, and the trim (maybe not the right word... the hangy-down part is what I’m referring to) at the top appears to be glued in place.

05/27/12  06:44pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2267905

 Building the big enclosure

If you remove the back and get a firm mental idea of how things are attached you can start the removal process....

I realize that some places will then be void of stain / color but more than likely they will be covered up anyway. You may have to sand old glue and rough spots smooth

The ultimate goal is to have as much room as possible for the dragon. Placing the lamps completely on top of the exterior ceiling of the enclosure, by means of holes cut and screen placed over the the lamps don’t fall in...

I would love some more detailed images of the area above the vertical shelf...which looks to contain the bookshelf lamps now?? Are those easily detached from the back wall? They serve no purpose and they need to come out ...the area in which I used the spay paint effect.

The doors will need to come off and be re invented...or customized completely. Much like a bathroom mirror the glass or acrylic can be fastened to it by means of the plastic glass holders...or framed in with wood. That also means they will need to be higher than they are now...a cabinet shop could make them for you, if you can shop around, they would be very nice in the end and save you lots of headaches. They might even be able to utilize part of the frame you currently have...

05/27/12  07:15pm


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2267909

 Building the big enclosure

Thanks, CP! Those are exactly the pieces I want to remove. I’m hoping that once I do, the whole thing doesn’t become wobbly and unstable.

I don’t know how easy it will be to get the lamps out. Most likely they’ll be easier than pulling the shelf and uprights out.

I’ve got a cabinet-maker coming over to look at it this week and hopefully he’ll give me some ideas on how to do this. The unit is really well built so nothing’s very obvious (at least to me) about how to go about taking it apart. Taking the back off is a good idea. Maybe I’ll be able to determine more that way.

05/27/12  08:23pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2267919

 Building the big enclosure

It might get a bit wobbly with the back off ....but once you attach a new back it will be solid again.

Can’t wait to see what you dream should be really nice even if you just open it up and get new doors...

The scallop/ curved pieces up top that seem to be glued in can be converted to simple rectangular pieces and re installed...thus giving you less complications and straight edges to deal with
The upper shelf (the top red line) might even be incorporated into a false ceiling to support the lights ....if you can salvage it.

How much fun and adventure can 1 stand

So glad you have a cabinet maker to help....awesome

05/27/12  09:14pm


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  Message To: Cphill58   In reference to Message Id: 2267922

 Building the big enclosure

Thanks again for all your input. I’ll get you a more detailed picture of the upper shelf where the lights are as soon as I get a day off. I can get one now but the light in that room is horrible and the flash is killing the picture. I’m hoping daytime light will give me a better photo.

05/29/12  01:47am


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2268019

 Building the big enclosure

Update: My cabinet-maker friend came and looked at it. The good news is, it’s really well made. :) The bad news is, it’s REALLY well made! It’s all dadoed together and can’t be taken apart easily. He’s coming back with tools to cut out the shelves and uprights as that’s the only way they’re coming out. After that he’ll put the back on for me, and then I’m clear to start sanding, caulking and sealing. I’ll post pictures as it develops.

06/02/12  06:21pm


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  Message To: Raisdbywolvz   In reference to Message Id: 2268584

 Building the big enclosure

LOL....well I am glad it’s REALLY WELL BUILT

That means it will last forever and not get ruined with moisture.

06/02/12  07:51pm

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