American oak record cabinet

Designing and building a timber sideboard for turntable and vinyl record storage.

Role
Furniture designer & maker

Client
Myself

Completed
May 2021

Brief

In 2020-21 I undertook a Cert II in Furniture Making at Victoria University’s Trades Campus.
While the first few projects were relatively simple (chopping/charcuterie boards) or came pre-designed with detailed plans (a park bench), the final project was very much a ‘choose your own adventure’.
Designing without a brief or any real constraints felt like an almost impossible task–where do you even start?!–so I set some guidelines for myself. The project should:

  • Be something functional that I actually needed in my home
  • Allow me to practice new skills or techniques not used in previous projects
  • Showcase some form of visible joinery
  • Use hardwood (rather than veneered MDF) as much as possible

The plan

After going through a few rough ideas and sketches, I decided on a storage solution for my turntable and vinyl records. My collection had started to outgrow the classic IKEA Kallax 4×4 shelving unit I had been using, and sitting the turntable on top had meant that it collected a lot of dust and needed to have the ugly plastic cover over it when it wasn’t being used.

Once I had decided on the general direction, I moved in to Sketchup to test out the proportions and make sure it would fit into the space I had in mind for it at home.

A Sketchup model of my planned build, with several key features called out. 
1. Space to display my Sonos Play5 speaker, plants, and a few favourite records. 
2. Curved top separators create a repeating motif with the side panels, and allow visibility while still leaving enough material to hold 12” records upright.
3. A soft-close slide-out shelf means I can get rid of the ugly plastic cover, while still having easy access and protecting the needle from dust. 
4. Push-to-open doors enabled me to keep the front view free of handle hardware. 
5. I practiced router templating techniques to seamlessly join curved legs onto the base, and intended to repeat the horizontal dowel detail. 
6. The design included two middle doors cut from the same board to add waterfall grain detail. 
7. Ample storage for around 260 12-inch LPs, with adjustable shelves adding room for another 170 7-inch singles. 
8. Slatted doors add contrast to the front view and allow me to experiment with new techniques. 
9. Exposed dowel joinery
showcases a mix of edge and end grain from side view.

The build process

The final product