I'd like to share a project that I'd been thinking about doing for ages, but always found an excuse not to. I was either too busy or too lazy, and somehow scrolling through Facebook was more important than cleaning up the growing record collection that my girlfriend was acquiring. This is also my first post on Workshop, so would be great to get your feedback.
About a year ago we went to a friend’s place and they had a cool retro vinyl turntable with inbuilt speakers. It filled the room with the dulcet tones of Rod Stewart and Nat King Cole that afternoon, and so a couple of weeks later we purchased one for ourselves and were now heading down to the local trash-and-treasure markets on a Sunday morning to find another 'gem'. Now that we have acquired around 15 or so records we don't really have a safe place to keep them in the bookcase the record player sits on.
I’ve finally got around to putting pen to paper and sketching out a few ideas on what it could look like. I've attached a pic below where it has evolved from a basic box, to one with a hinged lid, now to one with an angled lid to allow a quick flick through the housed records.
Next step was measuring up the materials that I’d need to put it together. A quick consultation with my Dad (who’s quite handy with these sort of things) lead to creating a wooden skeleton from Pine DAR and then wrap it in 7-9mm Plywood for the project, which I could then add a finish (paint or stain) after it’s all been put together – or what the girlfriend prefers!
QUICK TIP: Always measure outwards! It could have been very easy to get carried away and measure twice cut once, put it together and then realise that the inside is too small to fit anything because you haven’t accounted for the width of the material. I worked on having a bit of a buffer with the records (300mm to 330mm) and then adding the 12mm width of the Pine DAR for the skeleton to work out the overall width, which ended up at a width of 375mm edge to edge.
I already had a few items required for this project already in the shed, so headed off to the local Bunnings to pick up the materials required to build the skeleton. This included a new saw, clamps, nails, tape and the Pine DAR.
I split the build into three parts – front, back, and lid.
Measuring twice and cutting once didn’t take too long, and soon I had the pieces to build the front. Making sure I had a stable and firm grip on the timber allowed a quick and clean cut. Then it was time to assemble.
QUICK TIP: Use a nail as a tracer with a drill to make sure you don’t split the timber (Picked this up from Dad). This really helped with speed and accuracy when putting the frame together, especially when added with the wood glue to make a solid skeleton.
I put together the front and sides easily enough, along with the back which lined up nicely to the front elements which were built from the bottom up to make sure the pieces were lining up correctly. For structural support I also added some spacers on the bottom of the box, as this will also be what the records rest on.
Also using offcuts allowed the correct spacing to be applied when gluing and nailing the timber together, making a more effective join, and straighter!
See below an image of the main box without the lid, which I’ll be working on next weekend with a bit more time, and I'll post some pics shortly.
If anyone has some tips or feedback on what I’ve put together so far it would be great to hear them as I plan to make something similar to this again, and I’m sure there are better ways to cut, join and put together small items like this.
I thought I'd provide an update as I had some spare time over the weekend to give this project a fair crack, and thankfully the weather held up too as I needed the space outside to cut the plywood to wrap the frame I'd built.
I finished off the 'lid' frame, and purchased some 4mm marine grade plywood to wrap it in. I'm sure I could have used something different, but I liked the finish and texture.
Having the right saws definitely helped, with the smaller hand saw having finer teeth allowing a cleaner cut of the plywood. A tip that I picked up was to score the plywood with a stanley knife, enough to have a clear line to follow, and this helped cut the plywood a lot more smoothly. I did have a little bit of wastage here as I was trying to cut too quickly on some pieces, but patience is the key here!
Also had to make sure I measured twice and cut once, as I had measured out the pieces needed from just the one piece of ply.
I started off with the glueing and nailing the base, using small brad nails to help affix the ply to the timber, and an improvised nail punch to finish it off with a cleaner finish. Next came the front and back of the actual box, making sure that there was enough glue over the frame and a bit of pressure to make sure it adhered properly.
The lid was next and applied the same startegy with this as with the box. Applied the top, sides then back and front, making sure each piece lined up correctly with the grain of the piece below to provide a cleaner finish. As you can see in the image above it has come together pretty well.
There will be a few bits that I need to clean up with some wood filler, and sand back some edges to even everything out as the frame wasn't 100% even (out by maybe 1-2mm in some places), but it's all part of the learning curve when making these sorts of things I suppose
I'm happy with how it's progressed and I'm now working out if I want to keep the finish raw, apply a stain or paint it. Plus still need to pick out the hardware (hinges and latch) to bring it all together, though just need to find the time to do it!
Again, if you have any hints or tips on how I could improve with the joinery, or materials to use next time, it would be appreciated as I'm hoping to do some more woodworking projects in the months to come!
Fantastic project @Dallas_Mc. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure you will inspire other community members to give something similar a crack.
I was thinking about it @MartyH, but not sure of the best way to go about it.
I've got some offcuts which I can test on, but do you have any tips?
You might be interested in this - https://www.workshop.com.au/t5/Interiors/Furniture-surface-Polish-Waxes-or-Synthetic/m-p/9150 - there was lots of discussion about different finishes.
Nice job Dallas_mc, if you do decide to stain, ensure you use matching colour wood filler for your nail holes etc, nothing worse than seeing your nice stained surface marred by unsightly spots, As ther are differnt methods of applying stain, brush or cloth, depending on the type of finish you want, I suggest you watch some of the hundreds of vids on youtube etc, that will show you step by step process.
Btw, I always use a bit of scrap material (of same timber) to test stain first before i hit the project, then u can decide how many coats it takes to get to your shade, do Half in one or two coats, and the rest in more, once dry and you are happy, drop a coat of clear polyurethane or similar over the top and see if thats the result u are looking for