As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.  

Stereo Stand

#use "../../index-template.wml" This is one of my rough working drawings that I made in the planning stages for this stereo stand. Actually, this is the only on-line drawing of it that I have, the rest are in my notebook. The drawing is roughly to scale, but be aware that it was made in a drawing program and not a CAD program. You can ignore most of the colours, they were just chosen to help me distinguish the individual elements as I worked with the drawing program. (However there is going to be some purpleheart trim!) In the final product there will be a framed glass door covering the top section. That door is not in this drawing.

Or just go and look at the Photo Gallery at the bottom of this page. [rough diagram of the stereo stand]

  • Red Oak for the face frame, door frame, and drawer fronts. (I scored the Red Oak from a garage sale for cheap).
  • Some Purpleheart, left over from my Bookcase Project also for part of the face frame.
  • One 4x8 sheet of Oak-veneered half-inch plywood, for the carcass, some shelves and part of the drawer bodies. (Good-One-Side only, the backside had Mahogany on it)
  • One sheet of G1S Fir plywood, for the back, bottom, and part of the drawer bodies, and other hidden bits. (Actually, as much as half of the Fir, and a lesser amount of the oak plywood should be left over after this project is complete.)
  • Full-Extensions drawer slides, for the three drawers. Plus some handles and hinges.
Custom plans, based on:
(a) the dimensions of our stereo components, plus some extra.
(b) the size of CD cases and the number of CD's.
(c) a desire to hide some things away -- CD's into drawers.
The end result is a unit about 4' high by 20" wide by 19" deep. Three drawers in the bottom half, each about 6" deep by 18" wide. The top half is where the components go. It is about 25" tall, and is behind a framed glass door. The dimensions were all approximate, and finalized as the unit was built.
Polymerized Tung Oil, from Lee Valley Tools.

Random Thoughts / Construction Details / Etc:
I chose to use 1/2" thick plywood for the carcass. This didn't save me any money, since the price was almost the same as for 3/4" plywood. This is an example of supply and demand in action. Nevertheless, I chose the 1/2" since I thought that was all I'd need for strength, and I didn't want extra dead weight. Next time I'd just use 3/4", since the 1/2" was a problem for screws. Half an inch just isn't that thick, when it comes to screws. I obtained short screws, but even so when I attached pieces inside the carcass I was worried about screwing right out the other side. Also, for attaching the face frame, 1/2" was too narrow for dowels (or biscuits, if you use those). I needed to first attach a small piece of blocking to the carcass, and then put the dowels into that.

Tung Oil: fairly easy to work with, but a lot more fumes than the water-based varathane that I used on my last big project. Lots of ventilation is required! This would be less of a problem in warmer weather, when I could just work out in the garage. I applied a sealer coat first, and then 3 regular coats. After the 2nd and following coats I rubbed it out with a 3M super-fine pad (equivalent to #000 steel wool).

At this point, I think that the Tung Oil gives a richer burgundy appearance to the Purpleheart, than did the Flecto Varathane Diamond Finish (water based) that I used on my Bookcase Project, which also had Purpleheart trim.

I used my "new" router table to round over the edge of the door fronts. Wonderful tool!

This was my first experience in constructing drawers. It really drove home the need for careful planning around drawers. As in, how are you going to attach the drawer runners to the carcass. As mentioned above, I used full extension slides. (Because of weight concerns, ease of opening, and a desire to have easy access to the back of the drawers.) With a 1/2" thick carcass, and a 2" wide face frame, I needed to find some way to bridge that gap, so that I'd have something on which to mount the drawer slides. I left that out of my original plans on purpose, with the idea that I'd "figure something out" when the time came to actually mount the drawers. Well I did figure something out, but I think it looks like a bit of a hack and I'm glad that it's well hidden inside the drawer compartment! The difficulty that I encountered was that I needed something of a precise thickness (in my case, about 1.5") and then I also needed a way to attach that to the inside sides of the drawer compartment in an unobtrusive manner. Unobtrusive means that big screws zipped in from the outside was not an option! Here's a situation where the fact that I could only screw in about 3/8" into the side of the carcass was a concern. I ended up glueing the suports to the sides, and using some short screws, and also inserting some blocks that supported it from the bottom -- so it ended up looking somewhat like a ladder. (I want to check out the innards of a bunch of other drawer units and come up with a better plan for the next time)

Another "goof" with the drawers was that when I sized the bottom half of the unit, I was not quite generous enough with the drawer-height requirements. That is, in order to comfortably fit CD's into the drawers (Standing on their end, so we can read the spines), I should have allowed a bit more space. As a consequence of this, I chose to fit the drawer bottoms into rabbet's instead of dado's, so that the CD's would still fit as we desired. While not my first choice, I am confident that this will work well enough.

PLEASE NOTE: I'm delighted, overall, with how this project has turned out. I reveal these "flaws" for a personal reminder (for I do read my own web pages!) and also in the hopes that you also might benefit from them. See the quote on the previous page about the mark of a true master.

The face frame is put together with lap joints. (With the exceptioin of the top piece of purpleheart.) It is glued to the carcase, and also screwed in place through hidden cleats inside the carcase. The lap joints go through the full width of the uprights, so you can see the end grain of the cross members. I did that partly because it was easier, and partly because I thought it would look interesting -- and it does.

The door frame was constructed from 1x2 oak, just like the face frame. I built it with lap joints, also like the face frame. One design element that I carried forward from the face frame to the door frame was that the top board goes all the way across the frame, while the bottom board fits between the vertical side boards. See the photo if you don't get it.

Out of concern for wood movement, after some email discussion with a more experienced fellow internet woodworker (Tom Perigrin), I pinned the corners of the door frame with dowels. For that, I continued the use of purpleheart as the accent wood. I was really pleased with the results. I put in these dowels for structural reasons, but I found the end result to really add to the look of the piece.

The glass is a piece of smoked, tempered, 5 mil glass. The handles, hinges, and full-extension drawer slides are all from Lee Valley Tools. (However, these are fairly common items.)

Photo Gallery
Photo of stand Photo of stand Photo of stand
(Click for larger photo)
Two photo's of the almost-complete unit -- the door has not yet been mounted -- and one of the finished stand.

(Jan 2001) 4 years later... I wish I'd designed some sort of locking mechanism into this project. The stereo stand is currently standing nearly empty, as our boys (Currently just a few months shy of ages 2 and 4) are exceedingly inquisitive, and getting them to leave the stereo alone is a losing battle. In fact, last fall I set about building a separate, lockable(!), cupboard to hold CD's.

One recent weekend I knocked together a three-sided box to rest on top of the stereo stand. This way I think it looks a bit better than just having the stereo components sitting alone on top of the cabinets. (no more purpleheart, so I trimmed it in cherry)


Thanks for reading!