Introduction: Walnut Record Player Cabinet

About: I like to dabble in a bit of everything: woodworking, metalworking, sewing, electronics.

A friend commissioned me to build this cabinet for her record player.

Unfortunately I built this around a year ago, so my recollection about the build specifics is a little fuzzy. Also the camera on my phone at the time had some issues with the focus, so parts of the pictures are a little fuzzy, too.

Step 1: Ideas

I sketched four different ideas I had and she picked the first one shown here. It would be two boxes, a large one on bottom made to fit 12" LPs and a smaller one on top made to fit 7" 45s. There would be some spacers in between the boxes to make it look like the top one was floating. The record player would sit on top.

I had her send me the dimensions of the record player and the spot in the room it would be sitting.

Step 2: Walnut

I was fortunate enough to have access to some rough sawn walnut. I had originally planned on making this out of some cabinet grade plywood, but solid wood is even better!

Step 3: Milling

This is just a portion of what I eventually milled. I cut the boards oversized, quite a bit longer than they would eventually need to be to account for the snipe of the thickness planer. I believe the final thickness was 1/2".

This was the worst part because my allergies really do not like walnut sawdust in particular. I just had to take an antihistamine when I started and a shower and a nap when I was done.

Step 4: Glue-Up

I made a quick table saw jig to hold the pieces. This way I could cut one edge nice and straight, then flip the board around and rip the parallel side.

The boards were a bit too thin to use biscuits in, so I had to glue just a couple panels up at a time and use all of my clamps to keep everything aligned.

Step 5: Back Panels

While glue was drying I started on the back panels. I like the look of white with walnut. For convince sake and since it was going to be painted, I used particle board for these. They really soaked up the primer.

Step 6: Cross Cut Sled

I made a simple cross cut sled to trim the glued up panels to their final dimensions.

After this I filled any cracks, knot holes, or worm holes in the wood with epoxy. After that I sanded them all flat and smooth.

Step 7: Assembly

I build everything off of the backs. I had to make sure to cut my sides to their exact dimensions. I didn't get fancy with my corners, just dowel re-enforced butt joints. This let me leave my top and bottom pieces long, and then trim them precisely with a flush-trim bit on my router.

Step 8: Dowels

I really like the look of contrasting dowels. I didn't want them to be too big and noticeable from a distance though, so I just went with 1/8" bamboo skewers. I really like the look of these.

Step 9: Spacers

It was time to add the spacers. I went ahead and sealed the top of the big box and the bottom of the small box, since they would be very hard to get to after this. I glued the rails to the bottom of the small box before sealing it, then screwed it to the big box, since you wouldn't see the screws in the top of the bottom box.

I used a spray lacquer for this for a couple reasons. One was how quickly it dried; I was able to build up a whole bunch of thin coats over the coarse of a day. The second was because it wouldn't tint the white backs amber like a polyurethane would.

Step 10: Legs

I was originally going to go with hairpin legs, but I'm glad I changed my mind to stick with all walnut. I really like how these turned out and I think they are my favorite part of the final cabinet.

Unfortunately I don't remember what the final angles were, I just remember experimenting and making a few test legs out of pine until I got one I really liked.

I used this handy dowel jig to join the two parts with glue and oak dowels.

Step 11: Legs Assembled

I added some adjustable feet since this cabinet would eventually be living in an old house with uneven hardwood floors.

Step 12: Finishing

I screwed the legs in from the inside of the bottom box.

The last thing was to give everything a final sanding then seal the rest of the piece. I went through several cans of spray lacquer building up thin coats. I would sand lightly with 400 grit between coats to remove any raised grain or drip lines. I repeated until I was happy with the finish.

Step 13: Glamor Shots

Had to get some props from inside and take some glamor shots!

I'm really happy with how this turned out! This is probably the most proper woodworking I've done so far.

A delightful side effect of this build was that was supplied me with enough walnut cutoffs to use on small projects for about the next year. Never throw away nice hardwood!

Step 14: New Home

A shot of the cabinet patiently waiting to be picked up, and a shot of it in its new home.

This project was completed on May 18, 2020. View it on Instagram.