Friday, October 11, 2013

Rediscovering my Music Collection Via Vinyl

My brother-in-law Ben recently gave me an excellent collection of records. Not owning a player myself, I turned to amazon to see what was available. I found the Electrohome Signature Retro Hi-Fi Stereo System - EANOS700. I like this player a lot because it's allowed me to consolidate and rediscover my music collection. It's a compact unit with built-in speakers that plays Vinyl, CD's, MP3's and Radio. I'm sure vinyl purists would consider this player to be less than ideal, but I like it. The sound is good and it means my collection of music remains usefully intact regardless of format. I made a custom sized stand for it out of some discarded futon wood, and now I'm enjoying classics like Simon & Garunkel, Chicago, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, The Grateful Dead, and The Beatles... on vinyl! 

While listening to Ben's records over the past week I've been soaking up the album art, jacket inserts and such. It's nice to experience each musicians creation this way. I'm also finding it nice to listen to an album in it's entirety, something I seem to have lost complete ability to do since the introduction of MP3s and internet radio. I think for me, absorbing cover art while listening to an album provides a more authentic experience than simply dialing up a playlist on my ipod. These records have reminded me how having a music collection tangibly available in my home can invite conversations about, and appreciation for, the artists who made it. I'm loving it!

Here are a couple pictures of the stand I made. I'm loving having a physical music collection again!

Every time I do a woodworking project I come away with a new piece of knowledge. This project I learned how to use a jointer which was AWESOME for getting the lumber stripped down to a raw surface. Another thing I really liked about using the jointer is that it creates a very straight finished edge. So, after running each board through, I was then able to glue several pieces of wood together for a solid top because their edges lined up much more nicely than they would have if I had just sanded the finish off.  

Here is my set up! I chose to leave the stand unstained for now. I'm kind of liking the unfinished look.


  1. If you like the natural look, maybe try finishing with a couple of coats of Waterlox or boiled linseed oil. Doesn't add color (though an absorbant wood may get a little darker), but does protect your furniture from spills and natural aging and warping and all that.

  2. Nice, thanks Josh. I hadn't heard of Waterlox before, is that something you use often? I have used Formby's Tung Oil in the past with good results. I might eventually decide to stain it so I'm trying to keep my options open for now. Tough call though because I don't want it to warp. Do you know if one of these oils sands down easier than the others if I do decide to apply it for now and then end up wanting to stain it later?

  3. Tung oil is okay, and I use it often. It tends to darken with age. Waterlox is, I believe, a blend of tung oil and varnish. Another choice is Danish oil, which is similar, but with boiled linseed oil instead of tung oil. Either one protects more than oil alone, because of the presence of the varnish resins. They are also very easy to apply. None of them are particularly penetrating, so they sand off easily. A coat of paste wax over any oil finish is also not a bad idea. Gives it a little water resistance and extra protection. I like Briwax, but Johnson's Paste Wax is a classic. You can also add tints to Danish oil or Waterlox to darken it up a bit. I've done that with good results. You can also try things like pore filling if you have a porous wood like oak or walnut. That's just a matter of applying oil, then wet sanding it to jam the oiled sawdust into the pores. It emphasizes the grains and looks cool. Here's an article on that.

    I'm still learning to finish. I mostly am trying to master simple oil and wax finishes for the moment. You didn't say what type of wood this was -- just some construction pine? I think pine is a cool looking wood to just leave with a clear coat. Another option with pine is milk paint, which fills the pores and gives it a little durability, and adds a cool antique look to it (kind of looks like faded old paint). I haven't tried it yet, but I would try it if I did a piece out of pine.

  4. If Dubuque or the surrounding area doesn't have a place that sells those finishes, then try That's one of my favorite sites for woodworking, along with Also, if you ever want to look into getting into trying out hand tools. I really enjoy using hand tools. Power tools are fun too, don't get me wrong, but the simple pleasure of applying a well-honed blade to a piece of wood is hard to beat.