Introduction: Hardwood Headphones Stand Designed for Large Headphones
This stand will work well for any over-ear headphones, but is designed with larger sets in mind.
When I went looking online to find a nice stand to hold and display my Audeze headphones, which are quite large, I was unable to find anything off the shelf or published DIY that met all of my criteria:
- Looks good.
- Is made out of a nice wood.
- Allows the headphones to hang freely without having the ear-pads clamped or resting on anything.
I built this wooden headphones stand to those criteria; a nice bonus is that you only need an 11 inch scrap end of a 1x6. I used a piece of oak, but any nice hardwood should turn out well.
- An 11 inch piece of nice milled oak 1x6 (or equivalent) - so actual dimensions are 5-1/2" wide x 3/4" thick
- Clear semi-gloss finish (or similar)
- Carpenters glue
- One Legal size piece of paper (8.5x14) to print the pattern
Two small 1 inch wood screws (optional)
- Jigsaw with fine wood blade to make the rounded cuts.
- Router with 5/16" rounding over bit to both round the stem and make the base detail.
- 'Mouse' style palm sander with 80grit and 180grit sandpaper (or similar).
- small paintbrush to apply the finish
- 2 C-clamps to hold your wood in place while cutting
- Drill with 3/32" and 1/4" bits (only needed if using screws)
- Printer with a Legal size piece of paper (8.5x14) for the pattern
- Compass or other means of drawing a circle of a certain size
- Small square
- Chop saw (optional)
Recommended safety equipment
- Ear protection
- Eye protection
- Dust mask
Note: the drill and screws are optional if you want to just use glue to join the base to the stem. In this case you'll need a C-clamp with a range of at least 1 foot. Don't worry if you don't have all the same exact tools that I used - equivalents will work fine.
Step 1: Choose Your Wood and Attach or Transfer the Pattern
Once you have picked out your nice piece of 1x6, print the attached .pdf template on this step at actual size with no scaling on a legal size sheet of paper (8.5" by 14"). If you use a standard 8.5x11 sheet of the top and bottom may be cut off as your printer wont print right to the edges.
I've included the actual size measurements on the pattern, which should match up if you print with no scaling. The width of the pattern should fit exactly on your board. At this point you can either:
- Secure it well all the way around the edges with with masking tape or similar and plan to cut through the paper.
- Cut out just the shape from the paper, tape the shape on your board, and trace around it carefully so you have pencil lines to cut. I personally prefer this method as I like to see the wood when I am making curved cuts with the jigsaw.
A note that if you choose to make a bigger or smaller version you can adjust the print scaling - just remember if you go smaller your headphones will have less room to hang, and if you go bigger you'll need to start with a wider piece of wood.
Step 2: Start Cutting With Your Jigsaw . . . Carefully!
Before making any of the cuts, ensure your wood is clamped well to your workbench. Use a clamp with plastic callipers (or put something soft between your wood and your clamp) to avoid damaging your nice project. Little scuffs are ok, you can sand them out easily. Move and re-clamp as needed for the different cuts to ensure your jigsaw has room to move.
Make the cuts in this order:
- If you have a chop saw or other type of saw better at cutting straight lines than a jigsaw (otherwise use the jigsaw and a square as a guide), use it to cut your piece to length squarely along the bottom line of the stem so you have a nice square and straight bottom to attach to your base.
- The long semi-oval cut that will separate your base from the stand is the trickiest cut and I suggest going here next. Take your time, work the jigsaw slowly. You're cutting through 3/4 inches of hard wood, it will complain! Remember you are keeping both pieces (so stick to the line), and the cleaner the cut the less sanding you'll need to do. That said, don't worry if you make minor wobbles. They can be sanded out.
- Once the base is cut out, set it aside, and make the top cut where your headphone band will sit. Be careful not to overcut here, as it is hard to sand out mistakes in the small area. See the picture for my approach on this cut.
- Cut out the outside corner pieces and put them in your scrap bin. You won't need them for this project.
If everything went well, you now have your base and stem cut out.
Cleaning up angles on your cuts
I found that my rounded cuts had a slight angle to them from the blade turning through so much wood. To straighten them up, go around the edges again with the jigsaw (with the blade just touching the edge) now that there is no resistance. You'll cut off any protruding bits. If you're still not happy with the cuts, flip the stem and base over and go around them again.
Step 3: Make the Base a True Half Circle
The piece you cut out isn't perfectly circular or symmetrical by design, but your base will look odd like this. Using a compass with the point at the middle of the flat edge, draw the largest half circle you can and cut off the excess.
Step 4: Rough Sanding to Smooth Out Any Cut Lines or Irregularities
This part is important as it gives you your final shape. Unless you're a true jigsaw magician (I'm not!), you won't have a perfectly smooth cut curve on your stem or base. You'll likely have small irregularities and wobbles.
Before you start sanding, if you have any major problems, you can take a trimming pass with the jigsaw as discussed.
Attach your 80grit (or rougher) sandpaper to your palm sander and start working all the way around the stem (other than the flat part that will attach to the base), and around the curve of the base, until you've removed all those irregularities and the shape looks great.
Make sure you look from all angles, brush off the sanded sawdust, and repeat. As your router bit will follow the contour of your edge, this is your last real chance to get the lines smooth and looking like you want.
Step 5: Router Time! and More Sanding
The same router bit (5/16" round over) will give you the elegant rounded shape on your stem and the round+bevel on your base. See the pictures on how to set your router fence (bit depth) to achieve the two different cuts.
Set your router speed a bit below the max RPM listed for your bit diameter. This should be in the packaging for your bit. Clamp each piece tightly so it doesn't move (you'll need to reposition it at least once to get all the way around). Follow the directions in your router manual or online on what direction to go. Take it slow.
Set your fence so only the rounded part of the cutting edge is protruding as in the picture, and go all the way around both sides of the stem, including the notch at the top, leaving only the flat bottom that will attach to your base untouched.
Move your fence slightly to allow about 1/8" of the flat part of the cutting edge of the bit to protrude as in the picture. Choose which side you want to be the top of your base, and router all the way around it.
Sand out the rough or burnt spots
When you are done with the router, you may notice spots where it didn't cut totally smooth or left a bit of burn marks on your wood. Make passes again with your palm sander and rougher grit to smooth out any irregularities. Again, be patient here and sand liberally, as this is your final look you're creating.
Step 6: Mount the Stem on the Base
To mount the stem, you'll want to first find your middle line on the top of the base. Use a measuring tape and a square to draw a light line up the middle as pictured. In hindsight I'd say the screws were more trouble than they benefit, and I'd suggest following the glue only instructions below.
If using screws: drill, from the top, two holes slightly larger than your screw thread diameter (you don't want the screw binding in the base) on the line, not too close to the edges. Flip the base over, then drill a shallow larger hole on the small hole, wider than your screw heads (so the screw heads don't protrude)
Whether or not you use screws, apply carpenters glue (not too much, you don't want it squishing out the sides) to the base of the stem before positioning it centred on the line.
If you're using screws, screw up from the bottom, through the base, into the stem. Hold the stem firmly in your other hand or clamp it so it doesn't move off the line. Hardwood is not the easiest to screw into, so you may want to predrill the stem with narrow pilot holes (you'll know where if you poke it with the screws coming up through the holes). I did this and it made the process much easier, as the stem is less likely to move around as you try and get the screws started.
Make it tight so the two pieces fit snug together but don't really crank it (it is not necessary, the glue will make things very solid) - you don't want to split your stem. if you're using a cordless drill with an adjustable clutch, keep the setting very low and up it if it slips too early.
If you use glue only, clamp from the top notch where your headphones will go to all the way under your workbench as in the picture, with the base sitting flat on the workbench. Don't clamp too tight - you could break your stem.
Congratulations! The hard part is over. Now to make it look great. If using glue only on this step, be sure to let it dry before proceeding.
Step 7: Apply the Clear Finish and Fine Sanding
Choosing your finish
I used a semi-gloss with a 'warm amber' tint and am really happy with it, but this is totally up to you. If you want really shiny, go for full gloss. If you prefer matte, go for that. The clear part is important though; you want your nice grain and natural beauty of the wood to show through.
Preparing to paint
- Before you apply your finish, go over everything with your 180Grit sandpaper until it is smooth to the touch and looks great. Vacuum away any dust and wipe your work with a slightly damp cloth. Let it dry.
- Ensure your painting area is reasonably sawdust free. You don't want sawdust getting on your finish when it is still wet.
Applying the finish
Nothing too complicated here but it requires patience. Apply evenly (you'll see white globs if it is too thick), and be sure to follow the directions as to the recommended number of coats (my finish recommended a minimum of three coats, with sanding after the first two) and how long to let dry in between.
Sanding before the last coat or two
You may notice that the first couple coats take your smoothly sanded wood and turn it rough again. This is normal! The finish soaks into the grain and raises it. Before applying the last coat(s), use your fine grit sandpaper and smooth it down again. Now apply one or two more coats.
Enjoy your work!
It is tempting to put your headphones right on there, but be sure to let that final coat dry overnight so you don't get a sticky headphones band. I'd love to hear how your project went, see pictures, and get feedback.