Where I Build Some Record Album Shelving.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

“Not everything has to be a blog post, babe,” Mike says to me as I turn this into a blog post.  Sorry, babe.  I love you!

“I felt like this project was kinda just for me,” he said slightly bereft.

I built him a shelving unit for the record albums that are scattered everywhere, see.  I have been meaning to get this done and get this done and get this done for freakin' ever.

Mostly since last end-of-year holiday season though as Mike moved the record player cabinet and records to over by the front door, the albums stacked up and leaning and taking up space, a trip hazard and a total mess.

See, we inherited a slew of albums:  from my mom's parents, from my parents, from Mike's parents.

As such, offff course, Mike then bought a fancy album player, receiver, and speakers, ya know, 'cuz that's what guys do.  Hahahaha!

So offffff course, Mike's now buying albums.  I gifted him a few.  We've had a record album explosion going on, really.  More than the lil' cabinet, or I, can handle.

Time to resolve the chaos.

autocad drawing design shelving shelf diy wood build record vinyl album storage
The front elevation drawing I created, trying to take into account the base moulding so the unit would be flush to the wall.  The not square nor level walls.  Uh huh.......
Menards had these 5/4” by twelve by four foot red oak edge-glued boards so I kept buying them.  Ten in total I think, I lost track.  They’d go on sale, I’d show up.

I bought a couple at first not knowing what to do with them until it dawned on me, duh, they’d make beefy, hopefully non-saggy shelving for heavy albums.

“It’s done babe, let’s bring it upstairs,” I nervously choked.  Once I began, I tried to get it finished as quickly as I could which, in the end, was maybe kinda a mistake...?

diy storage record vinyl red oak shelf shelves
Yup, there it is, ready to be hoisted up the stairs.
See, I get mired:  this design or that design or this color or that color or this finish or that finish.  I can never make up my mind.  The choices….too many choices and they all seem right or lead me down a different design path.

So I panic about Design Regret.  Or Color Regret.  Or, yep heh, Finish Regret.

“Are you sure it’s going to make the stair turns?  It’s pretty tall,” Mike asked with concerned brow.

“Nope.  Or yep!  Yep!  It’ll be fine, totally fine.  Trust me.”

“Oh jeez, this thing is heavy, I was not expecting that.  Wow, this is really heavy.”

"Babe, it's red oak."

Up it went with ease.

It’s up, it’s in its spot, there’s apprehension in the air.  Silence.  Perched on the Joybird couch, we stare.  (which, turns out, Mike doesn’t like the couch.  *shrug.*)

A little warbly, I ask, “do you, do you like your shelves, babe?”

Pause.  “Yeah.”

“What?  Why, what’s wrong?"

shelving shelves vinyl record album storage red oak woodworking
Here's where I had to stop for a week as work rolled in.  No, I did not make the side supports the same width as the shelf planks.
“I thought I dropped enough hints to make it black.  [He did mention black several times, I kinda thought he was kidding.]  I’m starting to think you don’t like the color black anymore.”

GaaassspwhaaAAAaaat??  Just for that, everything’s going black from now on!  Everything!

I did send a photo of color samples to Mike who responded with go dark, True Brown or Ebony, you choose.  Clearly he did hint.  Soooo strange!

bare wood woodworking shelf shelving vinyl storage album record
Pre-stain.  My first inclination was to just put some tung oil* or something along those lines on it.
“Yeah I just thought it would look too heavy [it's heavy and clunky already] and like a weird non-matching extension of the kitchen plus the album covers would way pop against a black background.”

“Well but I want the covers to stand out.”

“Yeah, but I don’t, I don’t want that visual mess.”

Silence.  Barely audible sighs from both sides of the unliked couch.

Mike, reading my additional sighs, “what’s wrong, you don’t like it?”

“Nope, not really, not right now.  Maybe because it’s new and huge.  I wish I had designed something more creative.  And I’m not sold on the color."

Design-Regret-sigh.  Pause.

I rambled on:   “It is the most carpenter-y thing I’ve ever made, the most woodwork-y ever for a non-carpenter with sucky skills.”

“Babe, nothing you do sucks.”  Aw babe!  He’s so sweet.

“I did a lot of things I’ve never done before.  I made the boards wider for the shelves, I used tools I’ve never used, hid holes....”

Indeed, 'tis true.  My cool woodworking friend Scott zipped one board down for me into two inch strips on his table saw which I then edge wood-glued to make the 11.25” wide boards into 13.25”.

gluing edge wood glue clamps widen board
Here's me starting to edge glue for the first time (make sure to coat the edge fully with a thin layer of glue).  And discovering right quick I needed waaaaayyyy more clamps.

saw stop wood cut exact dimension woodworking jig
I even assembled a custom wood stop for the miter saw so each cut would be exactly the same.  Iiiii know, me!
I used a generic version of a Kreg jig to make pocket holes* which was new to me too.  Darn thing is clever!  And even despite being far cheaper, it worked shockingly well.

pocket hole jig test screw break
This was definitely some trial and error but it's not a hard tool to use, really.  Top left, generic jig.  Top right, tester hole.  Sweet!  Bottom, me discovering that you use less torque/power to drive the pocket screws lest the heads snap off.  Doh.
I filled the pocket holes with oak plugs* to hide the holes.  It was cool.  I felt way fancy pants.

Lookit!  Lookit!  I hid the holes!  With red oak pocket plugs!  Seriously, way fancy pants.
But staring at the new shelf in its new place…

“Maybe we slide it over to the other side,” Mike suggested. “I don’t like brown next to black.”

Yeah.  Fair.  This True Brown stain caused some Stain Regret instantly, looking Elizabethian-ish, heavy, foreboding, not modern at all.

Dumbly, in the rush to get it finished, I sealed it with Watco Satin Wax.*  Finish Regret in that removal to change colors would suck.  The wax itself is great.

satin wax brown stain album shelving storage
On the left, just wiped on satin wax after letting the stain set 72 hours per wax instructions.  The stain still came up when wiped.  Will use again though.
“Yeah I don’t know about this thing," I lamented.  "I wish I had done something more interesting.  This was expensive too,” I grumbled glumly.

“Babe.  When you have a client and they ask you to design something and despite you thinking it’s ugly but you design it anyway and they’re happy, didn’t you do a good job?”


“Well I was your client and you made me happy.”  He genuinely did look happy.

"Ok.  Maybe I’ll feel differently about it later."

red oak shelving unit vinyl album storage display shelf
Here it is next day in some light in the spot originally planned.
“Maybe you could design a bench with like a basket underneath for Finn’s toys…?”

“A bench?  Who would sit there?”

“Well I might.  Ya know, look at an album cov....”

Me trying very hard to picture this occurring, “mmm, a bench, I dunno…”

“You think my idea sucks…”

“No, no no, it’s not that, I just don’t think a bench...I’m trying to figure out how to get the record player and such back over here too.”

Hmph.  This is not how I thought this whole shelf thing would go.  Feelin' forlorn, I was.

We’ll see.

Update:  The very next day I skootched the lumbering shelf over to the other side.  Huh.  Better.  For two days after, Mike was prancing around, touting his design genius and prowess for the move suggestion.  Needless to say then, I'm back on track.

Heavy.  Not heavy.
* The tung oil, pocket hole jigs, pocket hole plugs, and Watco Satin Wax are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Great project! There was a lot of work involved and it turned out perfectly. I know what you mean about indecision, we are remodeling our entire house and I am not having a fun time deciding on siding color, woodwork, sigh, all of it. People say it will be 'nice when it's done'. I agree, it cannot look any worse than it does now. (I hope.)

    I wish I had your ambition, my house would be done by now!

    1. Thanks so much! Oh indecision, right?! Oh but what fun to do all those renovations! Take it one small step at a time, and take your time, don't feel pressured into a choice and you'll end up with great results no doubt. You can do it! Thank you!


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