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CD Rack

Project: CD Rack

Click for big view This was a project that I designed myself though it looks quite a bit like lots of other racks out there. I made a few of these for Christmas presents in 2004 and will probably make a few more. When I started the first one, I cut patterns out of particle board with the intention of making several of these. Now all I have to do to make new ones is tack the new pattern to a piece of stock, cut it out close with the bandsaw and then use a flush trim bit on the router table.

The first rack I built actually turned out the best but I didn't get any pictures of it before we sent it off to Jane's mom. Like the one shown here, it was made of quartersawn red oak and black walnut. I used through tennons on the dowels and made walnut wedges to hold them in place. There were no mechanical fasteners used and it turned out quite well. I wish I'd taken photos!

Update: Jane had to go back home for a funeral and she managed to snap a couple photos of this first rack. See the pictures section below titled "Wedges".

The second rack, pictured here, was made for the secret santa gift at my office. I made it from the same chunk of qartersawn red oak and black walnut. Since the wedges were the most time consuming part, I opted to simplify this project. Instead of wedges, I simply screwed the dowels in place and drilled out some walnut plugs. This look was simpler, but held the look together by making use of the black walnut in the splitter.

I have plans to make a few more of these designs as well as one rattling around in my head to try stacking these into some taller units. I might even go so far as to put together a floor-standing model. Maybe one day! :-)


Here are a few views of the second rack I built for Christmas 2004. I really like how the black walnut divider came out when it was finished. The figure really snaps nicely.

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Side View

Here's a shot of the side showing the walnut plugs sanded flush. You can also kind of see the ray fleck from the qartersawn oak. Jane finished this one with 3 coats of poly, sanded with 400 grit between coats.

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At an angle

This view sort of shows that walnut divider. I had some trouble coming up with the best shape for that part. I suppose as long as it does the job, any shape would do. I might experiment more with that in the future.

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In use

Here you see the rack in use. I did have a little trouble sizing the hole in the divider. Those are 3/4" dowels but with a finish on them a 3/4" hole would make the divider hard to slide. My next sized forstner was 7/8" and I think it was a bit too big. I think I'll have to find a 13/16" bit for the next ones.

Click for big view


Due to an unforseen trip home, Jane was able to take a few quick shots of the original rack I made using wedges for the dowels. The rest of the rack is identical to that above except for the wedges so I've included a detail shot of them.


When I started this project, I knew I was going to be making a few of them. Because of that, I decided to design patterns for the parts so that I could make multiples quickly. This process turned out pretty well in practice.

I made my templates using 3/8" particle board at first. This worked pretty well, but the corners don't hold up nearly as well as I'd like. On the next rack, I think I'll use the particle board patterns to make some new ones out of masonite instead. Those should hold up better, I hope.

Feel free to download and print these patterns out. I did them using TurboCAD Designer 9, but also made a PDF version so you don't need to have TurboCAD to use these. You can get a PDF viewer from Adobe at this link.

cdrack.tcw - This is the TurboCAD Designer 9 file.
cdrack.pdf - This is the PDF.