Too Many DVDs?

When I first started woodworking at home, back in the summer of 2005, the very first piece I made was a simple ‘Craftsman-style‘ wall shelf in pine (Scandinavian, joinery-grade redwood). I took the plans directly from a book [The World’s Best Storage and Shelving Projects] and modified various dimensions in order for the unit to accommodate my stash of DVDs. Despite its garish appearance with the tung oil finish and the crudeness of some of the joints I used (particularly the beech dowels used to peg the shelves), this wall shelf made the move with me to my new home at the end of March this year. All in spite of the fact that, with a total capacity for forty-eight DVDs on each of the two lower shelves, it wasn’t long after the completion date that my DVD collection had over-grown [thanks, and CD-WOW!!] and I was having to stack cases on top of the unit to try and keep things ‘organised’!

One Shelf... Too Many DVDs!

It’s taken me almost six-years to make this decision but, I’ve decided now that the time is right to build a new wall shelf with increased capacity!

I’m not really sure why I’ve waited so long to do this… I’ve never really had it in mind to make anything more complicated or substantial than what you see above – just the same as before; but bigger. It’s always worked well for me as a storage solution. Every case is easy to access I’ve been able to show off my collection to both family and friends! Using Google SketchUp last year, I began toying with the idea of creating a two-door cabinet with storage inside of each drawer but, at more than 300mm/12in deep, plus the clearance necessary to allow both doors to swing open, I realised it may not be the best practical solution.

During the house move, I realised one flaw with the original wall shelf – the omission of a back panel. I don’t always add a back to units like this, where I know the rear wall will be hidden once the shelf is packed with its contents, anyway. But, even with over one-hundred DVDs on board, this unit was fairly lightweight. If I had fitted a back panel all those years ago, I’d have been able to lift the unit off the wall as one, complete with its contents… (It was hung on the wall with two T-slots, each one fitted over an exposed screwhead – my preferred method; you’ve seen me do it before). Instead, I had to box all of the DVDs and load the shelving unit in to the van separately.

That’s why then, with the next incarnation, I’m going to do things a little different… Instead of fitting a full back panel though, I simple add cleats to the back edges of each shelf, which should do the same job, essentially, as all my DVDs are modular in size (unlike books, where some are much shorter or taller than others). Each of the three shelves has a capacity of sixty DVDs [one-hundred-and-eighty in total, plus the very top!], which will almost certainly leave me with some room to spare (though, I’ll no doubt fill any remaining space with whatever computer games haven’t yet made it up to the attic!).

With my wallet sewn up very tightly at the moment, I’m trying to force myself in to using up whatever available scraps I have to hand within my workshop. I don’t want anything too fancy for this project and would happily have gone out and bought some more pine, if only perhaps I’d been able to use all this leftover American lime much sooner. Most of this stock (purchased as planed-all-round) had spent the last eight-months or so leant up against the workshop wall, as I’ve only very recently got around to installing spur shelving for my wood storage purposes. So, as you can probably see, these lengths (the longer ones, in particular!) weren’t in the greatest of states!! Bowing can often be removed by cutting them down in to shorter lengths but, as each board is already planed to a final thickness of 19mm, I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do about the cupping that has occured since…

If I was to try and plane these boards flat again, I reckon I’d lose a good 1mm-1.5mm from each face. As the joinery I intend to use on this short project is fairly crude and simple, I’m fairly confident that I’ll be able to pull the sides back in to shape, once they’re fixed. I still need to decide on how I’ll tackle the shelves, though. One thought is to try wetting each face with water… For now though, I’ve ripped all the components down to about 10mm over-width and I’ll leave them ‘pressed’ under the weight of my toolbox until I can decide further.

I was fortunate enough to have enough material spare to give me both sides and three of the shelves in full-width boards. One of the middle shelves, which won’t be clearly visible, will have to be jointed from two other boards, though.

All of my cleats can also be cut from these few shorter lengths I have remaining, which happen to be just about long enough to span the distance between the two sides.

Adding a vertical divider in the centre of the unit would help to become slightly more resourceful in my consumption of these offcuts and leftovers but, I fear it may also over-complicate the joinery used for what I want to be a simple construction and it would almost certainly cause problems at the final assembly stage. I’m not convinced it would be of any benefit in removing the cup from each shelf, either.

I hope to have more to follow on from this project fairly soon. In the mean time, how would you compensate for cupped timber?

Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Too Many DVDs?

  1. You probably don’t need them full width right? When ripped into DVD width, the cup would be minimal and further planning would probably be light. The cupping would drive me nuts, and I’d spend the next 6 years groaning about it.

    1. You’re probably right. I did rip them generously oversize to remove most of the cupping from the wider boards (some were originally as wide as 10in!) but, these are now around 6in and I’m only looking to reduce them to a finished width of just over 5in, I think…

      A few days ago, I tried soaking the concave faces with water and leaving them stacked (in stick) for a few days in my loft space (it gets very warm up there, at this time of year!). The idea was that the water may evaporate up through the thickness of the wood and that would perhaps have an effect on the board… If I’m being optimistic though, I’d say the the cupping has only reversed my a tiny fraction (if that!).

      I’ve got some more time this afternoon so, I think I’m going to have to run these through my bandsaw (thin-kerf blade) and re-join each board… Fingers crossed! 🙂


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