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Thread: Building a vinyl record storage cabinet

  1. #1

    Building a vinyl record storage cabinet

    Some friends want me to build them a storage cabinet for their vinyl record collection. This is exciting as it combines 2 of my favorite experiences (records and woodworking.)

    What they want is a similar basic form to the ubiquitous IKEA cube / box style shelves (2 high x 8 wide) but with sliding drawers in each box instead of open shelves. They want to be able to slide each drawer open and flip through the records with the front covers facing forward, like in bins at the record store. They also want the panels of the drawer fronts to be mostly clear (plexiglass) with a slot in the top that can house a record to be “on display” at the front of each drawer and be swapped out easily. I’m thinking I will build narrow face frames with grooves for the plexiglass and will likely use Acrylite framing grade acrylic glass, which I’ve used many times in custom art framing work that I’ve done.

    I think the drawers will be about 16-18” deep, which has the capacity to hold between 80-100 LPs, with a potential estimated weight of ~ 60 -75 lbs (+ ?) per drawer. As of right now, there will be 16 drawers total (2 tall x 8 wide) and I will almost certainly split that into 2 boxes of 4 wide and screw them together like you would with kitchen cabinetry once the cabinets are in place.

    I’m thinking that case construction will be 3/4” ply with biscuits / glue and screws and dadoes in certain load bearing joints. Solid wood, narrow face frames. Solid wood “countertop” and likely some sort of end panels, whether solid wood or a skin of nicer looking thinner ply or veneer. The cabinet will either sit on top of a toe kick style box on the floor or have short feet like in a mid century modern style (will likely need at least 8 feet due to length and overall weight.)

    I don’t do a lot of plywood cabinetry and don’t really know where to start with sourcing the right drawers slides for this. Definitely don’t want to cheap out on the drawer slide hardware with such a heavy load and precious cargo like a prized record collection. Soft close would be nice, not sure if they care about undermount or side mount from visual perspective, but if the price wasn’t dramatically different then I’d prefer undermount simply for a cleaner look.

    Anybody have any advice on slide hardware / other details?

    This is not a pro-bono project; I am a woodworking professional. At the same time I’m trying to value engineer this project to a certain degree within reason that provideS a balance of function / value / and simple style for my friends to be able to make this dream of a large record storage system a reality for them.

    I’d personally love to have my records collection of nearly 1000 LPs housed and organized like this, so I completely understand their desires on a personal level. Alas, my records live on the aforementioned 4x4 ikea cube / box open shelf that I’ve had for nearly a decade...

    Thanks as always.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 11-07-2020 at 2:41 PM.
    Still waters run deep.

  2. #2
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    You're going to want slides that hold at least 100 pounds. The Knape & Vogt Side Mount Self-Closing Drawer Slides are rated for 100 pounds and are reasonably priced. With 100 LP's in a drawer that is fully extended you may have a cabinet that will tip, particularly if two or more upper drawers are open at the same time. I would make provisions to anchor the cabinet to the wall.
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
    I made this for a client who wanted to have an album in the front, sort of album of the week. Slides are the Grass undermounts 75kg I used the small brackets from fast cap album storage1.jpg
    to attach fronts as there was very little frame left for the drawer front. They are 20" deep The material is ash.

  4. #4
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    I don't think I'd rely on biscuits to hold the shelves... rather make the shelves run all the way through horisontally and possibly use bisquits to hold the vertical dividers...... I have well beyond 1000s myself, unfortunately stacked away for the time being.... as you have a good stash yourself, you know the weight....

  5. #5
    I was actually thinking biscuits for the vertical partitions and dadoes for the horizontals. Glue in both and screws in the dado-ed joints.

    Yes, I know the weight well. A lot more than some might realize! Thanks for the reminder about anchoring to the wall.

    I’ll check out the slides mentioned. Thanks for the recommendations. Keep em coming.

    Joe, lovely cabinet. That’s similar to what I’m planning to do design-wise. What are the Fast Cap brackets you mentioned called? Thanks
    Still waters run deep.

  6. #6
    Kolbe Korners are the fastcap product. I also ran the bottom of the drawer straight through and biscuited the sides.

  7. #7
    I don't think 100lb rated slides are going to be enough for 80-100 records. There is the weight of the drawer itself in addition to the weight of the vinyl, and slides don't function well at close to their limit. I think I would buy 220 lb slides to take mechanical problems out of play. At that rating, I think you're forced to use side mounts, but I may be wrong.

  8. #8
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    I don't think I can cram 100 LPs into 18" depth. I think cram would be the word at that point. I generally get about 40-45 max into a 13" box.

    Basically, I don't think it's gonna be a 100lb load per shelf.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  9. #9
    Thanks Jamil. I may try and encourage the choice of a drawer depth of 15-16” so I can use heavy duty 15” drawer slides that are rated for 150 lbs. At that depth I think it will be more like 80 LPs deep max. The best I can estimate, 100 12” LPs weigh between 60-80 lbs depending on actual thickness/weight of the vinyl itself which is usually anywhere between 140g and 220g, plus cardboard jacket / cover, and the drawer itself + slides will be maybe 10–12 lbs?

    Edit: for scientific purposes, I just weighed about 10 different LPs / double LPs in dust jackets/covers and the weight of single LPs with jackets varied between 200g-275g and the double LPs were around 350-400g. That’s roughly 0.55 lbs and 0.8 lbs respectively, per record. FYI!
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 11-08-2020 at 9:48 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    I don't think I can cram 100 LPs into 18" depth. I think cram would be the word at that point. I generally get about 40-45 max into a 13" box.

    Basically, I don't think it's gonna be a 100lb load per shelf.
    Mike, I just counted a few of my 13” deep open shelves and have an average of 60-70 LPs per shelf. That’s not quite library shelf packed, but they are mostly vertical and close to the max you could fit, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that in, say a 16” depth there could be 80 LPs or in 18” there could be 90 LPs. Neither is approaching 100 lbs, though. More like 50-60 lbs of vinyl.
    Still waters run deep.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Mitchell View Post
    Mike, I just counted a few of my 13” deep open shelves and have an average of 60-70 LPs per shelf. That’s not quite library shelf packed, but they are mostly vertical and close to the max you could fit, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that in, say a 16” depth there could be 80 LPs or in 18” there could be 90 LPs. Neither is approaching 100 lbs, though. More like 50-60 lbs of vinyl.
    Interesting, it could just be the stuff I tend to have (it's possible, Pauls Boutique is about 1/2" alone.. and it's a single LP but a trifold cover).. or how I store them (cover goes into 3mil outer, and the LP slips behind that in a rice paper inner, which likely takes up some more space), having the plastic sleeve adds more space (than just it's total thickness) since you need more wiggle room to slide in and out I think. That did make me go double check.. most of mine are currently sitting about 45.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  12. #12
    Plan on some pretty substantial weight on the back of the cabinet. I've used 1/4"steel plates to cover the entire back of file cabinets. I've also used steel "bricks" attracted top the bottom back corner of the cabinet. You have to assume that all or most of the drawers will need pulled out, fully weighted on occasion.

  13. #13
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    Phillip, hats off to you. Putting all those LPs in drawers is ambitious. The album-of-the-day display will be a beloved feature.

    Mine is (was) a simple cabinet of the construction style you are planning. I did not have more than one level, so the LP section of the wall unit only had a floor, sides, and a top. Since the sides were always going to be fixed, I went ahead and set them into the top and bottom with dadoes, and I was glad I did. They were easier to locate than biscuits would have been, and there was no wobbling around in the glue-up. I used biscuits for the poplar face frames.

    As mentioned, the LPs sat on the cabinet bottom, which was in turn resting on a box-frame base made with 1 x 3 poplar. The base lines matched the load-bearing sides of the cabinet, so there was no sagging. I attached twelve adjustable feet to the base (2 rows of 6). The feet were adjustable with an Allen wrench through small holes in the cabinet bottom that were inconspicuous enough, and got covered by the LPs anyway. In this way I was able to level the cabinet perfectly on a very uneven wood floor. For some reason I don't seem to have a good photo of the wall unit in use, but here's one of it partially assembled that shows the lower cabinet and the base frame:

    partially assembled.jpg

    I could see every album at a glance.

    Like Jamil I'd tend to be conservative about the load rating of the slides. Engineer up.

    The full unit had a matching left side, plus a top component that spanned the two vertical bookshelves. This is the best picture I have of it:

    full view.jpg

    Epilog: I just gave the entire wall unit away! The wall you see behind it is no longer there; we took it out in a kitchen remodel. I was sad to see it go. The photo shows its second life, but in its first use in an earlier house there was a 50" flat screen in the middle, mounted on its own panel, and the front portion of the home theater nestled in the unit exactly at screen height. But enough about that.

    Good luck with your project. I'm sure your clients will love it!

  14. #14
    Well, I thought Id update this thread with some photos of the finished work now that its finally been built!

    Walnut ply for the cases and drawer boxes, solid air dried walnut for the tops and bases and Ash for the display frames. Rubio monocoat finish. These are 2 18x57 cabs side by side as they will sit in the clients home. Would love to build a version 2.0 from all solid wood. These drawers / applied frames on the fronts were a bit of work to get everything to play nicely together in terms of dimension necessary for the records themselves. Hard to see but the tops have subtle tapers and bevels along the edges and ends that match the style.

    Wish I could keep them for my own record collection!

    Thanks for looking.
    Still waters run deep.

  15. #15
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    Oh that turned out really nice! I may have to steal some of that design
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

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