Recently I've become interested in another hobby besides comics...
In the Summer of 2015 I bought a broken down record player and fixed it. Next step was of course seeing what was left of my vinyl collection from 30 years ago. Alas not a lot, sold of most of them to buy CDs (like most did) and held on to about 20 albums. So I hatched a plan to buy all the albums I had as a kid. This of course quickly avalanched into buying everything that looked interesting or cool and soon I had over 350 albums (yes I know I have a sickness). I had been looking for an ideal storage solution, but for months couldn't find anything I liked, so in the end I decided to build my own. I wanted a storage bin that showed the albums covers facing front...as for me they are half the experience of owning a vinyl album.
Part 1 : Paper Dreams
I had seen some projects on the internet where people had made their own record bin, but not being the handiest of human beings and also only having the sparsest of DIY tools, I never thought it would be something I could pull off. But the idea wouldn't leave my mind and in the end I decided to at least try. I found a US schematic and started to modify it so it would confirm to European measurements and changed certain dimensions as I wanted to store my albums in thick plastic covers and wasn't sure it would work.
I went to a lumberyard and bought a single sheet of 18 MM green MDF. Now there was no way I could actually saw all the parts by hand and I don't have any machinery, so I asked them what they would charge me if I provided a plan with the exact measurements, and to deliver all the parts to my house as well. I ended up paying €80 for the wood, the work and the transport...which seemed like a bargain.
2. First cut is the deepest
When I took delivery of all the parts I was both happy and both scared to death, there was no way back now, I was going to put it together or die trying (or just give up and hide everything in the attic).
4. When I paint my masterpiece
Afer all the drilling, I dusted and lightly sanded everything down, degreased the wood and applied the first primer coat.
It looked like crap, but I was hoping it would get better.
3. Fixing a Hole
One of the parts I enjoyed most was to figure out where I would have to insert screws to hold everything together. My dad gave me the advice to pre-drill everything.
So on paper I sketched where the best places would be to dril the 30 or so holes I needed. I also decided to widen the top of each of the pilot holes using the wider drill bit, so that my screw heads would "sink" into the wood and not protrude.
5. Coat of many layers
In the end I had to apply two coats of primer and three top coats. That's 5 coats people, count them. And not forgetting sanding everything down between each coat.
Oh, I forgot the most fun part, both sides had to be painted and sanded otherwise the MDF can warp over time.
Because I ran out of paint (money !) I only gave the interior and (hidden) back parts 4 coats.
Sure, maybe it could have been done with 3 or 4 coats, but then it would have taken a much better painter than me, and this way I don't have to worry about chips falling off.
6. Out here on my own
In hindsight my biggest mistake was that I decided to put everything together on my own.
I'm telling it's not easy wrestling with heavy panels, screws and not forgetting wood glue.
Took me far longer than I care to explain, but let me just say that I still find dried up wood glue in body orrifices...It was messy, dirty and hard. And not in a good way. But in the end I managed to construct a sturdy "skeleton"
7. Some great reward
Putting on the two front pieces was easy and straight forward, a few screws, some glue and it started to look like my initial plan of all those moons ago. I got some confidence back, eventhough I had to repaint a small section because screw #16 decided it wanted some independence and went a completely different way.
8. Livin' on the edge
I've avoided taking about the edges and sides where the wood was cut, because it was a real PITA. The paint wouldn't stick because the edges were very porous, I read about using wood glue on the edges to seal them, but that didn't work, so I just applied layers of paint after layers of paint. And in the end it looked pretty decent, but just not good enough, there was too much difference in color and texture with the rest of the wood.
9. Shiny..not happy
I went to a car detailing shop and asked for chrome trim, I had the idea of blining the bin up with some shiny chrome magic. It was fairly easy to apply, juggling trim, a ruler and razor blades, but it ended up looking like crap. The trim wasn't thick enough and you could spot every grain of wood underneath. Good thing it was cheap and was easily removed.
10.Damn you DIY store
I went to a local DIY store to see if I could get some different (normal) trim and bought a lot more than I anticipated. Not only did I get the proper wood trim (applied with hot clothes iron) but also some brackets, buttons to hide the screw-heads, an LED-lamp and wheels !
THe LED-lamp came to me in a moment of clarity (get it ?), as I expected that the bottom shelves could use some extra lighting when flipping through records.
As for the wheels...well the unit weighs a ton empty, with 400 albums it will be impossible to move, so wheels would do the trick.
Alas I needed industry standard wheels that could carry up to 300 kg combined...and wow those babies cost a pretty penny. Good thing they came in a funky looking red color. It dulls the financial pain.
11. We all need support
In my original plan I figured that screws and wood glue would suffice in keeping the shelves from collapsing under the weight of 200 albums. But these brackets were sturdy and cheap, and didn't take a lot of work to install, and they give me peace of mind. Plus they can't be seen so out of sight, out of mind.
12. Relax, don't overdo it
I just told you the brackets are hidden and still I felt the need to cover the screw holes with those little covers...don't ask me why.
You can also see there is a long slit with a long metal bar worked into it. The plan was to atttach a strip of LED lights there, but I wanted something that was battery operated and could be tilted so I never used the metal bar.
12. Wheely Nice
I just wasn't sure that the wheels would have a sturdy enough base just screwed into the 18MM mdf bottom board. So I used really hard tropical wood (could hardly drill pilot holes in these with my power drill) and really long screws, also glued the tropical wood parts to the mdf board. Those wheels won't come off anytime soon (and go round and round, round and round...)
13. Middle of the Road
The dividers were a pain, I had them cut to precision, but the all the layers of paint made them too tight of a fit. I needed to sand them down ,but again with almost no tools I had to use a manual hand sander and my one good eye. The result was less than perfect, it's almost impossible to get an even sanding job without proper tools, so I messed it up, the sides weren't even anymore and had to much leeway now. I fixed this by applying sticky foam (to keep out drafts coming in from under doors) and could wiggle both of them in place and screw them in. I probably should have installed these after the first coat of paint, but then it would have been hell to paint properly.
14. Feelin' Edgy
Here I just finished applying the white wood trim on the edges to replace the tacky chrome.
My wife helped out as I had never used a clothes iron in my life and didn't even know which parts I could touch and which parts would scar me for life.
The white trim made a huge difference and gave it that 'almost professional" look. Almost
15. Virgin white
Well that's what it said on the paint can anyway. Here you can see the nearly finished product with the wheels installed. I really like the raised look, it makes the bin look less clunky.
The black part in the back left corner is just gunk and dirt, no I didn't forget to paint that corner (or maybe I did and am too ashamed to admit it)
16. Let there be light
...Tschaikovsky had the news (listening to AC/DC as I'm typing this).
This LED light fixture was just perfect for what I wanted, gave ample light and could be rotated 180° so I could shine the light way in the back of the cabinet.
17. Light my way
Here's a close-up with the angle tilted towards the camera, shot in broad daylight. The light itself is equiped with two magnets that attach to a strip that I stuk inside the record bin.
Again not visible unless you are lying flat on the ground (and why would you want to do that ?) and easy to remove to replace the batteries.
18. Shine a light
The back fully lit, again in broad daylight. The unit is touch operated and goes on/off by swiping your finger over a side-sensor.
Incredibly it was only about $15, that's cheaper than I paid for one of those wheels.
19. Skate Away
Speaking of which...here they are in all their crimson glory. Yes they were expensive, but so glad I made this little upgrade to my original plan, made moving it a breeze.
20. Rubber Soul
The finishing touch..rubber mats. This way the records won't slip and slide all over the plave and stay upright. The more vertical a record is stored the less chance you have of it getting warped. Still with all my records in really thick transparant sleeves, it's probably overkill, but it looks nice.
21. The End
So here you have it, my home made record storage bin. I know I've made a big deal out of it, detailing all the steps and it might look complicated. But it's not, like I said I had almost zero first hand experience with most of the stuff here. I just took my time, asked and looked for advice, thoughts things through and just cracked on. The hardest, most tedious part was without a doubt the painting and the endless sanding. If I could have had this done on the cheap by someone I probably would have.
But all in all it was a lot of fun and I love how it looks in my office, plus it's a blast flipping through all my records, taking in some of the magnificent sleeve-art and finding a record I haven't played in ages.