Monday, April 25, 2016

Mountain of Movies: Making a Media Cabinet

Has this ever happened to you? I'm referring to the photo and not the horrible overuse of alliteration in the title.

Perhaps you find yourself enjoying a performance by an actor or actress, causing you to seek out other films with the favored thespian, and suddenly you find there is no more room on your shelves and movies are spreading across the floor or amassing in great looming towers that are sure to topple when the next quake hits. You tell yourself that you truly must stop buying more movies, but you know it's not going to happen because those missing film noirs have been found, there are still a few Hitchcocks you do not yet own, and classics you didn't even know existed with your most cherished actors or directors continue to be released. You wonder how many more media storage units can possibly fit in your domicile. What's an insatiable movie fan to do?

I have heard that some collectors actually remove the discs from their packaging and keep them in organized sleeves in binders, but I am not so sensibly minded. No, no, I must have the case with the colorful movie art as part of the display and joy of collecting. I must be able to hold it in my hot little hands, so digital collecting is not for me, and no one should dare suggest that I part with some of those movies that I will probably not watch again, because I probably might. There is no other choice. It is time to make a new media cabinet.

When I was a young lass, I enjoyed building with legos, marble towers and wood blocks, and while I like to make things, I really dislike building furniture. I found a nice compact unit on amazon that can fit into a cozy nook and will hold enough DVDs and Blu-Rays to clear them off the floor, plus give me a little extra space to expand. I did have the option to spend nearly twice as much as the cost of the cabinet to have someone come out and build it for me, which serves to help me enjoy building much more. The money otherwise spent on some joe shmoe will go toward filling this little baby up right quick.

If you haven't experienced the joy of building your own cabinet, then allow me to guide you through the process, and if you have had this dubious pleasure, then come along to commiserate. First, you'll want to unpack all the pieces and make sure there has been no damage during shipping. The components in this unit have been packed really well and are in good shape.

Make sure you have all the tools necessary for completing the job, in this case, a hammer and Philips screwdriver are needed. Word to the wise, do not use your iron dumbbells to pound nails because it mars the surface of them and they won't look as pretty. I appreciate that the screws, nails, dowels and doodads have been helpfully sorted into baggies and labeled for easy identification with this unit. With some furniture, you will have to do the sorting yourself. 

I cannot overstate the importance of reading through the instructions carefully and making sure that all the pieces have been shipped as indicated in the instructions manual.

I find it helpful to lay out all pieces in the order of assembly to make it a swift and easy task. Also, it is imperative that you count and make sure that you have all the little parts listed before beginning assembly. You do not want to find out midway through construction that you are lacking any screws, dowels, cams or nails.

Sometimes you will find all parts labeled, though most of the time manufacturers assume you can match the same parts and will only label one of a group of identical parts. If they look the same, they are the same. In this case, shelf "D" is only labeled on one of the shelves, however there are two more shelves exactly like it, so when you are instructed to attach shelf "D" in two other steps, then you need to grab one of the unlabeled identical mates. The same is true for panels "B" and "C."

Some units, as in the case of this one, assume prior knowledge of furniture assemblage, therefore, when you are instructed to use cam bolts, you are expected to know how to line them up. Of course, if you do not line them up properly, you won't be able to fit the screws into them, and your pieces will not fit together.

It is imperative that you pay attention to what you are doing. Here you'll see that the unfinished side is showing. This is wrong. I know it seems silly to mention, but one reviewer of this product actually rated it poorly because said reviewer put it together in this fashion. Poor little whippersnapper was confused by not having all of the shelves and panels labeled.

This is the correct way to do it. Always make sure your parts are aligned properly before screwing them together, unless you enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again. Perhaps you'd like to make a day of it. I prefer to get it done as quickly as possible, because I haven't had breakfast yet, and I'm getting hungry.

The challenge for the aging broad or joe is in having to switch from using the specs to read instructions and then having to remove them to do the actual construction. Here is where a granny chain comes in handy. It helps to remember where you have put it. You are, of course, still reading and following the instructions.

The job is a snap from here on out because you just need to repeat the last step, pop on the base, smack on the backing, and slide in the shelves to the desired heights. By this time, I am really wishing I had had breakfast before starting this project.

 Thank goodness it is nearing completion and breakfast is right around the corner.

Approaching the final steps and it's looking more like a cabinet. This is not a blurry picture. This is how it really looks. Wait, where are my spectacles...

Now it is time for my favorite, and also least favorite part of the job. I enjoy hammering, but hate having to measure where the nails need to go to affix the backing. I am truly displeased that the instructions have not given me measurements for where I am supposed to nail in the backing, but to my delight I see that there are pre-made holes for where I am to attach the backing. Super sweet! Do not be confused that the instructions say to screw in the back panels when it is obvious that nails need to be used. An aging broad needs her coffee by now. Do not make this mistake. If you don't intend to have breakfast before starting this project, at least have your cuppa java.

At last, the shelf is complete, the movies are off the floor, and the aging broad is happily having her brekkie and resting on her laurels. This compact shelf is perfect for squeezing into odd places and will hold over a hundred DVDs and/or Blu-Rays. This particular shelf is holding some movie collections, as well as 1965-1979 movies. I prefer to organize my movies by year. It is unusual to most people who organize alphabetically by title in the most boring fashion, however, I never have trouble finding movies this way. When you organize by year, it gives you a different perspective on your movies. Of course, Hitchcock has his own exalted place on the top shelf, just like the finest wine.

I hope this has been helpful to any of you who have been reluctant to build your own cabinet, or at least amusing to those of you who have also suffered through the process. You'd think my disdain for doing this would discourage me from buying more movies, but alas, the aging broad's failing memory will soon forget this momentary nuisance and I will be building another one of these the next time I notice that movies are spreading across the floor. What's an avid movie collector to do?

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