Turntable Made of 100y Old German Oak




Introduction: Turntable Made of 100y Old German Oak

This Instructable is part of a series of projects, like

  • how to design a preamp for vinyl record amplifying --> RIAA Equalization
  • how to controll a stepper motor for correct speed (in view of the spinning speed of a turntable)

Altogether will bring the actual working and DIY turntable.

This part is about working out the wooden basis of the Turntable. That means building together all the general mechanical parts and work on the wooden plate, which build the base of my turntable.

You can use whatever you want for creating a base plate of your turntable and of course you can use a box, like the commercially available ones use.

Nevertheless I will deposit everything on a simple plate, because i thought everything will look more open and more technical, but still simple. Since i found a nearly 100y old piece of wood (german oak) in an old farmhouse, the idea for this project was born.

The mechanical parts are either selfmade or, if they are too complex, taken from an old "Dual" turntable i bought on ebay for 15€.

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Step 1: The Base Plate

As you can imagine, you can use everything as a base for your own turntable design. I want to have an open but simple design with everything on top (except for the electronic stuff). Thats why i decide to use a simple plate, where i can put everything on it and hide electronics under it.

To my fortune, i found a really old wooden board (the former owner told me, that it has to be from the beginning of the last century). It was cutted out of an old german oak. This is a really impressive material, especially because of its age.

For working with this, i cutted a peace out of the whole plate with the necessary space for my turntable.

Before working on the plate, you have to know where you have to drill holes. I need a hole for the actual turntable. This turntable is connected to a smaller rotating shaft, connected to a rod. This rod builds the center of the spinning axis and have to be connected to a bearring. i used a brazen tube, which inner diameter fits exactly to the outer diameter of the rod. This works very good with some lubricants.

Because this turntable will be belt driven by a stepper motor, i need another bigger hole for the stepper motor. I have an old stepper with a self lathed piece of plastic to larger the diameter for the necessary rounds per minute (e.g. 33 1/3 and 45).

The other holes depend on the stuff you will have on your turntable. Because i designed my own amplifier, which will be implemented in this turntable later on, i will need some terminals like switches and plugs.

To connect the cables for my electronic stuff afterwarts, i shaped some paths in the bottom side. I made one field in a rectangular shape with a fitting metal box for hiding the amplifier and motor controll electronic.

Step 2: The Pick Up Arm Mounting

I bought the pic up arm seperately on ebay, so there was no need for me to build one. I think, building your own pic up arm will be very difficult, because the lengths, alignment, weight and so on and so forth are very important for a proper sound quality. I will also have the necessary plugs for the cartridge with the bought one.

Something really important, is the possibility of a smooth and easy movement of the pick up arm over the vinyl disk. Thats why i lathe a brazen tube to a special diameter of a ball bearring. I mounted that bearring in the wood with epoxy adhesive in a way, that its still moveable in the middle. Thats the point i connected the brazen tube. The other side is connected to the pick up arm, which is now fixed but still flippable.

I build a pick up arm holder out of some aluminium and connected it to another round piece of aluminium. I drilled a hole with the same diameter as the round piece in the plate, so it fits in there.

Step 3: Stain and Varnish the Wood

Oak is a very beautiful material, even if it isnt stained. I want my plate a little bit darker and a little bit shinier, so i decided to work on that. Varnishing the wood is also necessary, because the wood still has its bark and this part is way more sensitive and was fully perforated by wood worm.

I sanded the whole plate on both sides with different papers till it was very smooth. Then i stained it with dark colored stain and after one day waiting time i varnished it with 5 layers of clear varnish.

Both together bring the very good optical result.

Step 4: Starting With the Build Up

In this step ,i started to glue or screw the important parts in the base plate. The potentiometers, plugs and switches are placed from the button side in the shaped place.

The pick up arm holder is glued in his hole. The actual turntable is connected to the smaller rotating shaft and covers the motor and the belt.

Step 5: Decorate the Buttons and Place the Plugs

Because my amplifier needs two potentiometer to control the volume for each stereo channel, i need two round shaped buttons to connect them to the outside with a proper look.

At first i thought about making some out of aluminium, but the result wasnt the best optical result for me. After thinking about the use of plastic buttons or other materials, i got caught by german oak again. I took another piece of the old wood and started to lathe a round shape out of it. After some additional work with a sandpaper, staining and varnishing, i got a very good looking result. The power button is out of black plastic and looked good enough for me to build it in. The power supply and sound output connectors are placed on the right bottom side in fitting holes.

Everything is fixed with epoxy adhesive.

Step 6: Cover Plate

To prevent thick dust layers on my turntable and on my LPs, i decided to make a cover plate out of acrylic glass. I cuttet a plate in the form and size of the wooden base, so it isnt rectangular but unsymmetric like the base plate itself. That will altogether more naturally.

I handled the edges and sawn sides with sandpaper to make everything smooth and safe.

After the baseplate is finished, i need a hinge for a proper movement of the cover plate. Because everything i found in the do it yourself stores was not really good looking, i decided to make my own hinge. I fixed two flat rods, curved around another rod, on both sides of the acrylic glass like its shown in the picture.

The thin rods operate as a hinge together with the bounded plate at the acrylic glas. The other side of the rods are connected to the wooden base plate and glued there. All in all it works very well and with some lubricants without squealing noises.

On the front-bottom size of the glass plate i glued another small piece of glass with epoxy adhesives. It has the function of a little pillar and also looks quite good.

Step 7: The Stands

Since i used a small metal box to cover the electronic stuff and since the plate is a little bit crooked, stands are necessary. Normally stands of a vinyl player are very special ones for vibration damping and movement prevention. There are some commercially available, but before i will buy some of these, i test my own. Because my apartment isnt really vulnerable for huge vibrations, i decide to use simple stand out of the same wood like the other parts of the turntable: oak.

i lathed some oak parts to a round shape and treated them like the other parts: staining and varnishing.

Then the get screwed into the base plate and connected one to the metal box to get a even turntable.

remark: I did not test the turntable till today, so i dont know if there is a necessity for special stands. But i am in cheeful spirits that everythink will work well with my wooden stands.

Step 8: The Turntable

The result is shown in the pictures!

The Materials:

Next steps will be:

Adding the electronics and a proper motor control (probably arduino based)

I will upload the next steps as instructables in the next months!

Please leave comments and your thoughts and/or just have a look on my other Instructables!

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    10 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great design! It almost made me want to start spinning vinyl again.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I will definitely agree that direct drive tables like the venerable Technics 1200 are best suited for DJ use. They are well made in general, and very durable. To spin a belt drive table by hand would pop the belt off. Many high end turntables have extremely heavy platters that would be difficult to spin quickly at all. I owned a SOTA with a 22lb platter. There have been a few very respectable direct drive tables made by companies like Denon, but overall, the vast majority of the finest tables made are belt drive.


    6 years ago

    Could you please link where you got the parts?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    i tried to find the parts on ebay. since i got all the parts from german distributors or i already had them available for me at home, i wasnt really easy. Hope its good enough for you guys ;-)


    6 years ago

    Do you have any type of vibration damping. I have had turntables vibrate and skip due to hgh volume and low frequencies.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    thanks for your coment! havent yet cared about that. Since this is not a running system till now i want to wait for the first try to have a look on the real error i got due to the vibrations. But i have to finish the motor control till i can make a first run. If i really have serious problems because of the vibrations, i think about some dampers with vibration absorbing material. i made positive experience with silicone and it is cheap, too. i made a small sketch