When square doesn’t cut it.
As part of my basement revitalization projects (see my new Project Screen and my Dolby Atmos Surround Setup), I decided to revisit the platform I created last year and think of new ways to enhance it. Although I loved the height of the platform, the square edges with brown flooring made the theater room feel a bit cold.
To soften the vibe, I wanted to incorporate some curves and carpet. This isn’t meant to be a full tutorial since I was working on a number of projects in this space at the same time, but I tried to capture areas that were unique to this build. These updates were built upon the top of my old platform, so if you are starting fresh, make sure you start here.
I had some old hardboard that I used to shape out my design. Totally not required but I wanted to visualize my space prior to committing to anything since this was already my second attempt at getting this right. I wouldn’t have gone out to buy this if I didn’t already have.
Using my old platform as the core of the new one, I added some ledgers onto the sides at1.5″ below level. This allowed me to run a 2×4 across at level to create additional support under the new additions. I ran some vertical braces about 12″-16: where required.
To achieve the bend, I used the kerfing method since I was going to cover the risers with carpet anyways. You can bend plywood with bendable plywood, or conversely some water and lots of time if you plan on leaving the wood visible. To achieve perfect spacing on your kerf cuts, you can refer to this space calculator here. For me, I didn’t bother since I was again covering it and secondly, planned on binding a few layers together to strenghen the riser.
I ended up using 1/4″ plywood, cut about 3/16″ deep, spaced just under 2 inches apart. No science here, I just had a marker on my mitre saw at this distance and just lined it up as I sped through the cuts. My mitre saw did have a crown stop which allowed me to set the distance at 3/16″ so when I slid the saw across the top of the piece, I would get a perfect cut every time.
Once I established my lower level, I moved to the top layer. Again, planning my curves, I tried to provide enough support to extend the platform over the old base. The distance between top layer and lower was 3.5″, which is exactly the width of a 2″ x 4″.
This time around, I used some subfloor OSB. Nothing complicated here, just cut your pieces to fit and glue / screw them in place. For the curves, I rough fit them in place and used a sharpy to trace the shape from the underside. Then flipped the board around and used a jigsaw to cut it out, leaving about 3/4″ of nosing. Basically cut 3/4″ from your traced outline.
Once all the pieces were screwed in place, I used a jigsaw and slowly cleaned up the entire run. For straight edges, I used a straight edge guide to make sure the transitions were smooth.
After this step, I used a router with a roundover bit and ran the entire edges to smooth it out. The last thing I want is to put carpet over this only to have it tear over time with sharp edges.
At this point, I called up a local carpet company, and they took it from there. I wasn’t about to explore doing carpeting myself only to have to redo this again. Carpeting this space ended up costing me about $900 for a decent quality carpet with a solid under pad. Check out the final results here and let me know what you think!
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