I was born in 1972, and I’ve always had vinyl records, as far back as I can remember. For a while, during the heyday of CD’s and then digital downloads, my collection was a bit neglected. But over the past few years, I’ve updated my turntable and started collecting again. I tend to favor soundtracks, but I have a little of everything.
Right now, my vinyl setup is in my small home office, where space is tight. The empty sleeves for whatever is playing usually get propped up on the floor, and I invariably kick them or nearly step on them. Not good.
So I’ve been thinking of how I could display the album art for what’s currently playing on top the turntable. Just propping them up wouldn’t work, as they’d just slide right down. Plus, to flip the record, you’d still have to handle it again.
So I designed a simple wooden display that could be mounted onto the turntable lid itself.
Watch the video for this project:
First, I took some measurements of a few records, just to make sure whatever I built could accommodate the thickness of a big double album. Then I measured the top of the turntable lid for the width and hight of the display.
The front and back panels are quarter-inch baltic birch plywood, which I cut down with a circular saw and table saw.
The side rails, which give the holder its depth are just two half-inch square pine dowels (is it still a dowel if it’s a square?) I cut to length. I gave them a miter cut as well as a bit of a design feature.
I then glued on each of the side rails, and a bottom rail to keep the record supported. I added a couple brad nails on the back for added support.
The front face is about five inches tall, but I didn’t want that much of the record covered up, so I cut out about three inches in the center for the cover to show through. I also took a small can and traced out rounded edges to smooth things out.
I built this before I had a band saw, so I had to cut out the curves with a jigsaw. As with most other woodworkers I follow, I feel legally obligated at this point to reiterate how much I hate using a jigsaw. For the most part, the cuts came out okay, though.
I then gently clamped the face in the vice and sanded the rough edges.
A dry fit of an album with the face and it worked perfectly. Now to glue it on. I didn’t use brads in the front, as I didn’t want to have to cover them up, and figured it’d be plenty strong enough.
Once that was dry, I flipped over my belt sander and made a few passes over the edges of the completed piece.
At this point, I’d forgotten I’d planned on rounding the top corners of the back panel. Would’ve been a lot easier to have done that before, but oh well.
I then used the belt sander again to further shape those curves.
Now, it was time to attach to the turntable lid. I lined it up with the wooden display and clamped them together, then marked the holes for the hinges.
The first holes I drilled in the lid, I realized were too close to the top of the lid, so the quarter inch nut I was using wouldn’t line up with the bolt. Oops.
So I moved the hinges closer to the center and marked new drill holes. After that, the bolts screwed in pretty easily, and I got them all attached. With everything finished, it got a quick couple coats on each side of spray PolyCrylic.
I’ve been using the display on my turntable for a while now and it’s working out great. The spring-loaded hinge on the lid actually acts as a perfect counterbalance for the display. When you open the lid, the display just lowers down a bit on its hinge. No need to adjust it at all when flipping a record.
I’d thought about making plans for this, but honestly it’s probably too simple, and it would greatly depend on your particular turntable and the dimensions of the lid. I’d also considered making custom displays that would come with hinges you can just attach yourself. But again, there’s a chance a customer’s lid just wouldn’t accommodate the hinges. So hopefully this will give you some ideas for what you might want to make for your particular setup.
I hope to do more projects related to vinyl record storage and presentation, so I’m open to suggestions!