Record Player - Stereo Console in Sapele

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Project by kyngfish posted 01-27-2020 04:53 AM 1282 views 5 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve built a few speakers and I’ve done an island wrap, but this is my first piece of actual furniture. The entire thing is built of solid Sapele and I learned a ton, for the most part, the mistakes are things I can only see, and I’m pretty happy with it. The Lumberjacks community was also a ton of help when I had questions, and of course, all that valuable YouTube content that helped me with jigs and hinge installations.

Here are the mistakes I made, and I’m mainly highlighting them because I learned important lessons.

1. Sapele has a ton of tear-out, I was better off taking as little as possible off with the jointer, and taking multiple passes.

2. I clamped the panels too hard, and they bowed slightly, it made gluing harder. Since now I have a good jointer and planer, I plan on using slightly less pressure next time.

3. I cut the dados for the corners too deep, I they shouldn’t have gone more than 1/2”, which affected the glue-up.

4. When I cut the dados for the separator panel, I didn’t pay attention until too late how I ran the top panel through. so the dados were actually mismatched. I was able to “fix” it with a strip of wood, but if you open the cabinet and look up, you can see it. No biggie, lesson learned.

5. 3/4” is a little on the thin side for the legs, they hold up the 40LB amp easily, but it feels less sturdy than I want. Nevertheless I love the look, and probably would have only gone marginally wider.

6. The legs were a big pain to attach with dowels, need to think of a better way for next time.

7. When I glued up the panels, I took the clamps off too soon, and the panels ended up leaning slightly, I didn’t notice until I had done the round-over and attached the middle separator, so I had to detach the middle separator, and cut off the entire face, re-glue and do the round-over over again. Even then, the cabinet is not 1000% square, though fairly close.

8. The gaps for my door are about 1/16th bigger than I would want, and I ended up having to make a few minor skims with the track saw to make the door look right (see point 7.)

I’m really happy with the outcome, and pointers and criticisms are welcome!

8 comments so far

View metalbot's profile


25 posts in 684 days

#1 posted 01-27-2020 11:47 AM

I feel like every project I do has a “list” of lessons, but that’s one of the things I like about woodworking.

You’ve built a gorgeous piece!

View swirt's profile


6344 posts in 4133 days

#2 posted 01-27-2020 02:03 PM

Nice. I like the diagonal grain on the door. That was a nice touch. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned, but don’t be too hard on yourself, it looks great.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Jamie's profile


102 posts in 1702 days

#3 posted 01-27-2020 04:17 PM

The real pros know how to hide their mistakes better than us beginners. Looks great.

I bowed my first panel as well. Clamping boards across the panel helps avoid this or you can put small c clamps on each joint to hold them in line. As you said, too much clamp pressure is usually the culprit.

-- Jamie, Red Deer

View kyngfish's profile


124 posts in 1251 days

#4 posted 01-27-2020 08:55 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. Quick question. One thing I really struggled with was getting the interior dimensions to make a door that had a good fit, any pointers there? Since the cabinet was slightly off, and the boards were planed to size, the dimensions weren’t 100% equal.

View sansoo22's profile


1748 posts in 816 days

#5 posted 01-27-2020 09:13 PM

Nice work! I’m in the planning stages of one of these as well. I like how well the legs turned out. You’re right that 3/4 does seem a little thin but at that size i think they will work fine. If you went with one of the super wide 50s style console stereo cabinets they might not hold.

The way i’ve seen that style done on authentic MCM pieces is basically 6/4 tapered to 3/4 at each end which of course just increases the number of angles to cut accurately.

View kyngfish's profile


124 posts in 1251 days

#6 posted 01-27-2020 10:22 PM

The way i ve seen that style done on authentic MCM pieces is basically 6/4 tapered to 3/4 at each end which of course just increases the number of angles to cut accurately.

The leg tapering jig i found on instructables really takes the guesswork or calculations out of it, I just make a mark at the width and cut along the zero clearance edge. When I taper all four sides i just slap one of the already cut wedges into the gap between the jig fence and the leg, because it’s already at a perfect angle. The nice thing too is since I never have to move the fence, all legs end up exactly the same.

At 3/4 inch i didn’t feel that I needed side to side tapers, but if I went thicker, I probably would have.

Instructions here:

View 489tad's profile (online now)


4020 posts in 4173 days

#7 posted 01-30-2020 12:35 AM

I think you did a great job. We all are still learning and refining our skills. For lining up dowel holes there are the point plugs you put in holes. I make a mirror image drill jigs that can be put on both surfaces. That usually works best for me. The legs you made came out nice.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1363 posts in 2875 days

#8 posted 02-01-2020 02:51 PM

Great looking cabinet. Well done for a first try!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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