Wednesday, July 6, 2016

45 Crate

I have experimented with my Kreg jig on and off and demonstrated its use at a talk I gave regarding crate construction a while back.  The simple 12" box I built (without lid) I gave away/sold at that event and I've been aching to put something else together.

We visit my girlfriend's mom a few times a year at least which consists of me vegetating on the couch and watching TV, running the grill and drinking beer.  I have no doubt that she does in fact not mind this oafish behavior and enjoys our visits but I always feel like a freeloader.  So as she is a big music fan I thought it would be nice to get her a portable record player and a bunch of vinyl as a surprise gift because I know she would flip out.  But of course there is no way I can gift someone anymore than a single record without building them a box.  So I began to engineer a box in my mind which would use hardware (something I've never done before) and had a full opening and closing mechanism.  I decided to do a 7" bin and see how many 45s I could round up for a nice start to a collection.

I had a shipping crate made of 3/4" boards, really sturdy nice stuff.  Ironically I originally intended to reuse the crate to ship something back out in but I realized it was badly damaged and wouldn't work out.  While the Kreg can indeed work with as thin as 1/2" stock, everything has to be perfect to get a solid connection between boards.  I should know - I tried and did a crappy job and threw the project in the trash.  It was a learning experience in terms of what stock works and doesn't, and using the jig in general.  So this 3/4" was perfect.  It wasn't plywood, it was solid boards.  Really nice stuff which wouldn't even need much sanding.

Putting together the intial 'walls' of the box was the easy part - I had already done this on the 12' box I did a while back and referenced above.  The lid would take some thinking.  I eventually figured out something that would work but I had a problem.  Like the 12" bin, I did diagonal cuts on the sides so flipping through the vinyl is easier and you don't have to jam your fingers inside the box.  It also looks nice I think.  But when I got my lid put together I was displeased with the look of the gaps that the lid made.  I knew that the triangles I could try to fabricate would be tough to get a good fit and even then fastening them would be very tough.  But after cutting a few and sanding the hell out of them to fit, I was able (with much difficulty) to use nails to hold them in.

Another problem was that I did not have any more pieces of material which were wide enough and long enough to serve as the top of the bin.  So I have the two piece top you see here.  This makes the function of the hinges a bit easier to incorporate as well but it does create a difficult void at the back of the box where you cannot reach inside to get your vinyl.  The best you can do is to tilt the whole box forward so they fall towards you.  A little embarrassing but I used what I had and again, I learned.

The last problem was that I did not make the width quite as wide as I would have liked.  I have made this mistake before.  It isn't a math error, I just did not account for the added width that plastic sleeves add.  The records themselves fit fine, even with generic paper sleeves or picture sleeves they are OK.  I don't think my girlfriend's mom gives a rip about plastic sleeves and would probably scoff at them anyway, but I need to take measurements before or just give a full extra 1" beyond what I think is necessary, this has come up too many times before.  When will I learn???

Like the 12" crate, again I used stain.  First of all, I have tons left.  Second of all, stain is much easier to work with than paint - and I LOVE the look.  I think I could have hidden some of the pocket holes inside the box (not all) but I think it looks kind of cool.  One of my favorite features is on the back of the box, there is some kind of international marking that says 'HT" with some symbols.  This illustrates that the box is heat treated so it can be used for international shipment (heat treated wood won't have bugs living in it, or something like that).  Paint would have covered it, the stain only highlighted it.  I love it.


I went through my 7" records and pulled out a load of duplicate Tom Jones and Engelbert 45s, I think 11 in all.  Including some pictures sleeves for both singers! Then I went on discogs (with my girlfriend's advisement on her mother's taste in music) and found a seller with a couple thousand 45s for sale and we bought 8 for about $20.  All are Very Good or Very Good +, so that is definitely a good price.  The Herman's Hermits is a picture sleeve as well.  My girlfriend also went though her own collection and donated a handful - some of which were actually her mom's from long ago that she inherited when her mom no longer had a record player! I believe that is called 'Full Circle', folks.  So I think we have about 20 in there in all.


We got the player earlier in the week after doing some research on Amazon.  This one had over 2000 reviews and was only about $50.  The sound isn't amazing but who cares? My girlfriend had it delivered to her house (she has Amazon Prime) and when she brought it inside her cat, Tom, decided he may want to keep it for himself.

Well we got it over to her mom's and unpacked it.  I wasn't present for the initial play (I had run to the store) but my girlfriend was prudent enough to think to take a video of it.  The magic is below.  Enjoy.

(for some reason blogger doesn't host videos too well - if it won't play you can also see it here)

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