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Building The Perfect Record Rack

Paul Wilson describes the lesson learned after trying to build his own…

Sometimes, things can go decisively wrong. Those best laid plans that seem like a wonderful idea turn out to be absolute catastrophes. Many of us have had them, done them, and felt less than proud after doing them – even if only to a minor degree. One in my list of really ignorant things I’ve tried was building my own rack to house LP’s. This occurred not long after buying my new home and having grown weary at looking at all those album boxes stacked up at the rear of the audio room. 

AR-ShelvingSmallFormat.jpgI’m reasonably handy around the house. I can do anything that may come up in residential electrical wiring. I’ve added switches in walls, added receptacles in walls for things like wall mounted TV’s, and hung more ceiling fans than I can remember. Replacing a breaker in a live breaker box presents no issues at all. Never once have I had an incident and everything is always held to minimum code standard – usually, better than minimum code but whose counting. Possessing these skills has certainly saved me many times when some type of repair or modification was needed around my home. 

I’m also fairly capable at plumbing. I’ve replaced sinks, faucets, toilets, mixing valves on showers, and, in an unforeseen emergency before leaving for a weekend, even my water heater (although upon returning I did call a plumber to bring the install up to current code requirements). Again, never had an issue. In recent years I’ve succumbed to being a trifle lazy in my plumbing exploits and have resigned myself to calling a professional. Apparently, it’s easier to dial a phone for a plumber than to crawl under the kitchen sink to install that new, really cool touchless faucet. Who knew? 

I have all manner of power tools – things like circular saws, multiple drills, a compound miter saw, a router, vibratory cut off tools, power sanders, and so on. Hand tools of all description. I have a nice bench with a vice and my hand tools hung on peg boards. Cabinets for fasteners, nails, screws, and enough junk to hopefully keep me from having to run up to the home center for a package of $0.89 screws or a $1.49 bracket. I consider myself pretty handy around the house. Except, it seems, building something to hold and store LP’s. 

AR-HammerAndNail2.jpgMy one construction attempt attempt ended horribly. Armed with excited desire and secure in the knowledge that no problems awaited me, I went to the home center, picked out the lumber, wood glue, and all the associated things I thought I’d need and rushed home to get to work. I was an “expert” having watched shows on television that made it all look so easy! I had no formal plan, other than what I saw in my mind’s eye and a rough estimate of the dimensions of an LP. Simple right? A few zips with the circular saw, hammer, nails, few screws – shoot, I’ll have this thing done by lunchtime! 

Not so fast, buster. My measurements didn’t exactly measure up, I vastly underestimated the weight of the LP’s and found the whole rack to be so flimsy it bordered on collapse. Basically, it just looked like crap. This didn’t make sense to me. I consider myself of average or better intelligence, I clearly have electrical and plumbing skills, and I’m a decent painter, so why is a simple thing on which to sit an LP so difficult? 

Soon after this monstrosity was finished, I immediately realized it would not support the couple hundred albums it was intended to hold. Building other units for my entire LP collection didn’t seem like a wise thing to do either. What I decided to do instead was to take one good swipe at it with the hammer, and in about two seconds undid what it took me three hours to did. 

AR-Mapleshade.jpgMy second, dedicated, purposeful effort at a rack to store LP’s came as a result of a quick Internet search and the discovery of the Mapleshade web site. Three days after placing an order my units arrived and were pretty easy to assemble. Best of all, they actually work.  The line from the Clint Eastwood movie, Magnum Force comes to mind: “a man’s got to know his limitations.” I’ve resigned myself to the fact that whatever I might be, as it applies to things done around the house, and realizing that no one is an expert in everything, carpentry is sadly not one of my more noted skill sets. Hate though I do to admit, building something out of wood isn’t for me. When mass produced shelving units work so well, look really good, are easy to assemble and install, well, you get the idea. 

Moral of the story – realize your limitations – channel your inner Clint Eastwood. If you need an LP rack, and your carpentry skillset borders on non existent, better look to something commercially available. Your home and your valued LP’s will love you for doing so.

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