The Nerd-Cave Reconfiguration: Breaking Ground

So delivery day came, and there I was sitting in my living room staring out of the window anxiously awaiting the delivery guys (like a kid waiting for Santa Clause at Christmas). With no set delivery time, only an expected window of time to expect them in, every passing vehicle that sounded like it could be a delivery truck made me jump out of my seat and check to see if it was them.

The delivery people soon showed up, and to my surprise, quickly unloaded the 1200+ lbs of glass and wood from their trailer... and Detolfsinto my foyer. I'm not going to lie, I didn't realize exactly how much room all these boxes were going to take up, and they pretty much took over my entire entry way. It was a total disaster, but it felt good to finally be making some progress on my little endeavor.

With the delivery made it was time to head upstairs (that's right, I still had to haul all this stuff up to the second story of my home) IMG-20131002-00835and start removing anything that left a "footprint" in my office, so that I could start assembling the cabinets. I had already started moving stuff out in anticipation of the delivery, but amount of "Tetrising" I had left to do in order to make room for the construction was a bit overwhelming. My foyer, upstairs bathroom, upstairs hallway and most of my bedroom were pretty much unusable; Mrs. Th0r was far less than happy about this. With a little bit of effort (and convincing on the part of Mrs.) I was able to make everything work (temporarily), but I had to get this crap straightened up quick before the little lady flipped her nugget.

IMG-20131003-00847I started out by assembling a bunch of the Expedits. Since these were going to serve as the stands for my cabinets I needed to check their footprint before I moved ahead any further; e.g. I needed to make sure that they were all going to fit in the space I had allocated for them or I was going to be in IMG-20131003-00845deep doo doo. I was pretty sure of my measurements, but wanted to be sure. With only eight screws each (Allan Wrench included) the Expedits only took a few minutes to assemble, went together rather easily, and fit perfectly; just as expected.

After getting the Expedits assembled I had just enough daylight left to drag my table-saw out of the basement, and start making the IMG-20131004-00848modifications I needed to the tops and bottoms of the Detolfs to get the first set of cabinets assembled. From this point on I'm only going to focus on the assembly process of just one set of these cabinets, but remember the total build involved taking twelve Detolfs, and combining them into six larger two-door curio cabinets.

The so-called "duel-door mod" for the Detolfs pretty much involves placing two cabinets next to each other, removing the panes of IMG-20131004-00849glass that separate them, and then trimming the excess wood at the base and top to prevent the a huge gap from seprating them. I had read the tutorial over several times, but before doing the first set I was still a bit afraid of messing something up, and turning all my hard earned money into a pile of scrap wood and glass. So I carefully set the guide on my table saw using the pre-cut slots for the glass as a guide. After getting over the initial anxiety of taking a saw to a perfectly good piece of furniture, I IMG-20131004-00850finally got the nerve to make the (irreversible) cuts to the wood. After the initial cut the whole process was rather simple, although I still took great precaution to make sure I was cutting the correct sides of each piece of wood by keeping all four pieces in close proximity of each other, and triple checking each against the others before actually placing them on the table-saw; Primus fobid that I accidentally cut the wrong side off.

Once the cuts were made it was time to take the pieces upstairs into the nerd-cave to do a quick mock-up to make sure everything IMG-20131004-00851lined up the way it was intended. I also needed to familiarize myself with the assembly process for the others. Basic assembly of a Detolf is pretty straight forward, but I wouldn't recommend doing it by yourself; there's quite a bit of lifting and balancing involved before you secure everything together.

With the mock-up done it was time to take everything apart and start securing the two cabinets together into one. For this I used mendingplatessome mending plates that I was able to get in the Hardware section at Wal-Mart (four for $2.00). I took the time to spray paint metal plated black so that they wouldn't stand out too much against the dark color of the wood on the Detolfs, and Expedits. Once I was done with that I placed two of the Expedits next to each other (careful to keep them aligned properly), and use two plates on the bottom to secure them together. IMG-20131008-00870NOTE: It is important to check the length and placement of your screws to insure that they are not going to go completely through the wood and protrude from the opposing surface. I also took this time to put the small plastic feet that came with the Detolfs on the bottom of the Expedits to prevent scratching the bottom surface when moving them around.

IMG-20131008-00871With the Expedits secured together at the bottom it was time to flip them over and start attaching the bottoms of the Detolfs to the top of the Expedit stands. Before you do any more drilling it is important to take the time to attach the wire framing to the bottoms of the Detolfs, because once IMG-20131005-00853they are secured to the Expedits it will be impossible to access the undersides to do so. Once the wire framing was in place I placed the two bottom pieces on top of the stands, carefully made sure that the center seam on the Detolf bottoms lined up with the seam on the Expedit Cubes, and that the back edges were all flush with each other; this insured that the cabinets would be centered on the stands, and aligned correctly (more or less). With everything lined up I took two mending IMG-20131008-00874plates, placed them across the seam, and marked where the holes should to be. I drilled small pilot holes through the bottoms and into the tops of the Expedits, placed the plates back, and secured them with a couple of screws. Once this was done I drilled a small pilot hole in each of the unsecured corners, and screwed them down as well.

Before I went any farther I took the time to "mend" the tops together. I took great care to make sure that the edges were all lined up correctly, placed two mending plates on what would be the IMG-20131008-00875underside of the tops, drilled a few pilot holes, and screwed them down (with slightly smaller screws than I used on the bottoms). In retrospect I should have put mending plates on the top side as well for added stability. I had planned on using to top of the cabinets to store the boxes for some of my more expensive figures though, and I didn't want the plates up there scratching them all to crap.

Now that all the drilling was all done it was time to install the glass, IMG-20131005-00856and secure the tops to the wire framing. This is no easy task because of the weight (and size) of the glass, but was no different than indicated in the instructions for the Detolfs (with the exception of leaving out the two panes of glass that separate them). Getting the doors properly aligned is also a pain in the butt, but (again) no different than assembling a Detolf normally.

With my first set of cabinets fully assembled it was time to sit back, admire my work for a bit, and prepare to start the daunting task of IMG-20131007-00860assembling the rest of them over the next few days. I took me two or three days of working through the night after work to get them all done, but once they were all completed it was well worth it. Although it's not really pictured clearly, I did take the time to use a black permanent maker to cover up the screw heads, so that they weren't as noticeable against the rest of the cabinet.

The next thing on my plate... installing the lights and putting some kind of backing on them so that you can't see the walls through them.

That's my guide to modding your Detolf. I hope it was helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments section; I'll do my best to answer them for you.

One thought on “The Nerd-Cave Reconfiguration: Breaking Ground”

  1. Wow! What a daunting task!

    To be honest, when I was originally looking at shelving choices I had consider the glass shelving for my Transformers only and not my books, but because of the limited space it would have been hard for me to display my boxed figures properly thus the reason I went for the Billy bookshelves instead. Also, my office would have looked a little cluttered if I had gone the route of two different styled display cases.

    Good on you for having the cahones to cut your cases to fit them together. That is one mistake I would have hated to make if I screwed them up.

    I’m enjoying your progress through this whole setup.

    Keep on collecting!


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