Introduction: Custom Audio Shelf

About: A materials scientist gone electrical engineer my hobbies include experimenting with electronics and making fun and interesting things. I rarely know what I'm doing when I start a project, but learning new ski…

This custom audio shelf was a gift to my girlfriend. I wanted to give here a nice place to store her CDs and vinyl records and I was unable to find any store-bought options I liked. The shelf was designed for a record player to sit on top and hold 120 CDs.

Note that this Instructable assumes prior woodworking experience and experience with power tools.

Step 1: Design: Vinyl Shelf

I'm referring to the middle section of the shelf as the Vinyl shelf. It's a simple one shelf, square design divided into four sections.

Step 2: Design: CD Shelf

The CD shelf design allows the CDs to be displayed at a tilted angle. You can see in the cut-away images how the the CDs sit within the shelf.

Step 3: Acquire Tools and Supplies

The wood for this project was purchased from Home Depot. The following quantities are needed for this project:
  • 2x - 1x12x6
  • 1x - 1x12x4
  • 1x - 1x3x6
  • 2x - 3/4" Dowel
  • 2x - 1x6x8
  • 1x - 1/8"x2ftx4ft Hardboard Panel
You'll need common woodworking tools to complete this project:
  • Power Drill
  • Hole Saw/Spade Bits
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Level
  • Brad Nailer with nails
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Miter Saw
  • Chalk Line (came in handy)

Step 4: Cut the Wood

The Cut List is as follows:

CD Shelf (Makes 2)
  • (4x) 39" Long 1x6
  • (2x) 4.5" Long 1x6
  • (2x) 4.5" Long 1x3
  • (2x) 6" x 36" 1/8" Hardboard
  • (12x) 6" Long 3/4" Dowel
Vinyl Shelf
  • 24 3/4" Long 1x3
  • 26 1/4" x 30 1/4" x 1/8" Hardboard
  • (2x) 32 3/4" Long 1x12
  • (2x) 14" Long 1x12
  • (3x) 24 3/4" Long 1x12

Step 5: Assemble the Vinyl Shelf

Assembling the vinyl shelf is relatively simple. The first step is to build the outer frame. I used a handy right-angle clamp to hold the sides together while I glued and nailed them. Then I added the bottom front piece.

Next, I added the bottom shelf. In order to hold it in place while I nailed it, I used scrap wood pieces placed on the floor. Then the middle shelf was put in place using the two center dividers as support while nailing. After the middle was secure the center dividers were glued and nailed in place.

The last step was to add an overhang board to the rear of the shelf assembly. This is because because the shelves are not deep enough for the record player I wanted to put on top on it.

Step 6: Assemble the CD Shelves

To assemble the CD shelves, I first took one of the side boards and marked the locations of the wood dowels so I could drill holes. I then stacked the four boards and clamped them together before drilling any holes so that I could make sure all the holes would line up. I then took a regular drill bit and drilled a hole through all the boards at the location of each dowel. I then separated the boards and made the holes for the dowels using a spade bit using the pre-drilled hole a guide. A hole saw would have been better to use for this step as it would make a much cleaner hole, however, all I had on hand were spade bits.

Now that the holes are drilled, I inserted the dowels with a little glue applied to the ends into one side board. Then I placed another side board on the opposite end of the dowels. Lastly, the bottom front piece was nailed into place. This process was repeated twice to make both shelves.

Step 7: Apply the Finishing Touches

To finish this project, I first filled in all the holes from nails and other marks with wood filler. After that dried, I sanded down the entire surface starting with 100 grit sandpaper and then 220 grit. I then gave the shelves a first coat of paint and then re-sanded some areas with 220 grit sandpaper. I applied a final coat and after that dried I nailed the hardboard backing to the shelves. Lastly, I attached the CD shelves to the vinyl shelf.

And there it is: a custom designed and built audio shelf.

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