Easy CD Tower




Introduction: Easy CD Tower

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

I am running out of storage space for CDs. I wanted one taller tower rather than the short towers made of wire. I decided to make my own using a variation on finger or box joints.


  • 1 x 6 pine
  • 1/8 inch fiberboard
  • Wire brads
  • glue


  • Radial arm saw (or table saw)
  • Dado blade
  • Hammer
  • Wire brads
  • Clamps

(This Instructable has been entered in the Reclaimed Wood contest. Although the 1 x 6 pine appears new, it had a former life as a valance for draperies in another home we once occupied.)

Step 1: Set the Dado

A plastic jewel box for a CD is just under 7/16 inch thick. I set my adjustable dado blade for 7/16 inch and made a test cut in some scrap wood to be certain of the fit.

Step 2: First Cut and Locking Two Sides Together

I want to cut dados in both 1 x 6 pine sides of the tower at the same time. Finger or box joints require a staggering. The first cut on one piece leaves a void. The first cut on the other piece is set back the thickness of the dado on the first piece. I made a first cut across the end of the first piece of 1 x 6. I set the second piece even with the side of the first cut. I measured and marked carefully to leave a shoulder the same exact width as the 7/16 inch dado.

Then I carefully made a piece of scrap that fits into my dado very snugly. It locks the two pieces for the 1 x 6 sides together.

I also cut two small squares from the end of the piece that fits into the dado and locks the two sides together. These will be used as spacers for positioning the dado cuts. See the text boxes.

Step 3: Cutting the Dados

I do not have a finger joint jig. I made an impromptu finger jig using spacers. The end product was not quite precise enough for making a box, but very good for making a CD tower.

See the first photo. With the two side pieces locked together by the spline, slide the stop clamped to the saw table away from the 1 x 6 pieces. Insert the two spacers between the end of the first 1 x 6 and the stop. Clamp the stop in place. Make a dado cut.

Then remove the two spacers. Slide the two sides locked together against the end of the stop. Make a dado cut. Unclamp the stop and insert the two spacers again. Slide the stop against the two spacers and clamp it down.

Remove the two spacers. Slide the 1 x 6 pieces against the end of the stop and made a dado cut. Continue using the spacers to reposition the stop and make dado cuts until finished. At the end trim away any partial dado less than 7/16 inch wide. Trim the other side piece to match. (My tower is 27 15/16 inches tall and holds 57 CDs.)

Step 4: Trim the Sides

The leading edge of the first 1 x 6 piece suffered some unsightly chipping. Although the 1 x 6 pieces fit the CD jewel boxes very nicely, I trimmed away the chipped portion and then trimmed the other 1 x 6 to match.

Step 5: Glue and Clamp

Mark the top ends of the 1 x 6 pieces so they remain in the same orientation as when the dados were cut during handling and getting ready to glue.

I cut a piece of fiberboard or Masonite to fit across the back of both 1 x 6 pieces. I glued and clamped the sides to the fiberboard one at a time. See the second photo. Even though everything should fit, it is wise to place a CD jewel box at both ends of the tower when clamping the glued pieces in place.

Finally, I cut pieces of fiberboard to cap the ends of the tower. I glued them and held them in place with wire brads.

Step 6: Not Really a Problem

When a CD is removed, nothing supports one side of the CD above it and it falls as shown in the photo. Seldom will I remove two CDs directly next to each other at the same time. When putting a CD back in place, simply insert a corner on one side and slide it laterally to restore the space. See the second photo.

See the third photo. Because the CDs are staggered in the tower, it is very easy to remove any one. Just grasp the staggered corner.

This project required a little more time than I expected. But, I have a CD tower I designed with my needs in mind. And, I did not need to spend time shopping for what I wanted. I can store my CDs in a closet, or I can paint or stain the tower to make it more presentable.

One slight disadvantage to this CD tower is that it holds single CD jewel boxes only. It does not accommodate a double thickness jewel box as it is made presently. I could remove the raised portion between two dados and do that on both sides to make room for a double thickness case.

Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016

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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I like the staggered positions of the CD's in your design.

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. The CDs are easy to grab and remove from the tower. Putting the CDs back into the tower requires a little more care, but it is not a problem. Once you get set up for the dado cuts, it is very easy to construct.