Canadian Woodworking

CD cabinet

Author: Danny Proulx
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: December January 2005

This cabinet stores all of your CD’s in a practical, yet attractive cabinet.


Is your living room on the formal side? Do you have a beautiful CD/DVD system but nowhere to attractively store your disks? If so, this CD storage unit might be just the solution for you: it stores all of your CD’s in a practical, yet attractive cabinet.

This CD/DVD storage cabinet can be finished to match the decor in any room. It has three full extension pull-out drawers that can hold 80 disks in each: a total of 240 disks in plastic cases. That should keep your favorite music and movies close at hand for a long while.

I used 3/4″ thick oak veneer plywood, but just about any sheet material will work, as long as the inside dimensions are maintained. You can use 3/4″ thick MDF and paint it for your teenager’s room. It might be just the thing to help them keep their disks neat and organized. This cabinet can also be used to store and organize your computer software disks. I’m sure you’ll find that it’s easy to build and a nice addition to any room in your home.

Rout a rabbet

Apply edge tape

Join bottom and top panels

Glue back in place

Attach base cleats

Attach skirts to base cleats

Secure top board

Make pull-out trays

Install plastic holders

Screw in three space cleats

Install drawer glides

Secure faces to pull-outs

Cut grooves on stiles and rails

Cut centered tenons

Edge glue finished panel

Push wood panel across blade

Glue joints and clamp

Drill holes for hinges

Position and install door

Rout a rabbet

Cut the two side, top, and bottom panels to the sizes indicated. Rout a 1/2″ wide by 3/8″ deep rabbet on the back inside face of each panel.

Apply edge tape

Apply wood veneer edge tape to the front edges of the four panels. Wood edge tape doesn’t trim well with a knife so I use a flush trim bit in my router and sand the edges smooth after the cut.

Join bottom and top panels

Join the bottom and top panels to the sides using glue and #20 biscuits. Clamp securely until the adhesive sets.

Glue back in place

Place a little glue in the panel rabbets and set the 1/2″ thick back in place. Secure it with a few brad nails until the glue sets up. Remember, if the backboard was cut square, your cabinet carcase will be squared.

Attach base cleats

Attach the three base cleats to the bottom of the cabinet, flush with the outside edges. Use glue and 1 1/4″ screws through the cleats and into the bottom board and side panel edges. Drill holes every 4″ through the sides of the cleats. These holes will be used to secure the skirt boards.

Rout cove profile

Rout a cove profile into the top outside edge of the three skirt boards. Leave them about 1″ longer than the finished sizes shown in the materials list so you can cut clean 45º mitres. The front board has a 45º mitre on each end and the sides have a mitre on the end that meets the front skirt board.

Secure the skirt boards to the cabinet using glue and 1 1/4″ screws through the base cleats. Position each skirt board 1/8″ above the top edge of the base cleat to hide the cleat-to-cabinet joint.

Secure top board

Use 1 1/4″ screws to secure the top board to the top panel of the cabinet. It’s positioned so the sides and front edge overhang the cabinet by 3/4″. The top board is flush with the cabinet’s back face.

Attach a 3/4″ wide decorative moulding to the top board’s four edges. Secure the moulding with glue and brad nails. Pick a moulding design that suits your taste or matches other furniture in the room where the cabinet will be placed.

Make pull-out trays

The pull-out trays are built with simple butt joints, glue, and screws. Don’t worry about trying to hide the screw heads, as they will be covered by the side mounted full extension glides and front pull-out face. Attach the front and back boards to the sides, then slip in the bottom board and fasten with a little glue, and screws. Install the divider boards with screws through the front, back, and bottom boards. If you want to try building fancy pull-out trays, these trays are a great place to experiment with box and dovetail joinery. However, pay attention to the overall dimensions so the pull-outs will fit properly in the cabinet and the CD’s will fit in the pull-outs.

Install plastic holders

I installed plastic holders for my compact disks. They are screwed in place and hold the CD’s upright. I found these at my local stationary store, but they are available at some woodworking stores as well. Be sure to check the dimensions of the holder and your pull-outs, to verify that the compact disks will fit properly.

Install spacer cleats

Install the three spacer cleats, 1/2″ back from the cabinet’s front edge, on the hinge side of the cabinet. Space them so there will be enough room above each pull-out for CD case clearance. Note their position, because you’ll need those dimensions when you drill the 35mm holes in the door for the two hidden hinges.

Install drawer slides

Install 18″ full extension drawer glides following the manufacturer’s instructions. Position them 1/2″ back from the cabinet’s front edge to provide room for the 1/2″ thick pull-out faces.

Cut pull-out faces

Cut the three pull-out faces to size and round over the front edges with a 1/4″ radius bit in a router. Secure the faces to the pull-outs with screws through the pullout front board. Use 3/4″ screws in countersunk holes so they’ll penetrate the solid face by about 3/8″. The lower edge of each pull-out face is flush with the lower edge of the tray’s bottom board. The top edge of the pull-out face can be used as a finger pull to open and close the trays.

Make door

The door width, using hidden hinges, is 1″ wider than the interior cabinet width. The door height for this cabinet is also 1″ higher than the interior height, so the door will be 16″ x 25 1/2″. Cut the stiles and rails to length. Use the table saw to form a 1/4″ wide x 1/2″ deep groove on one edge of both stiles and rails.

Cut rail tenons

Each rail requires a tenon that’s 1/4″ thick and 1/2″ long on both ends. Use the table saw to cut the centered tenons.

Make center panel

The center panel for the door can be a 1/4″ thick sheet of veneer plywood or a solid raised panel. If you decide on a raised panel, it can be made using a panel raising bit on a router table, or with a table saw. First, edge glue enough 3/4″ boards to form a finished panel that will be 12 3/8″ x 21 7/8″.

Raise the center panel

A center panel can be raised on a table saw (see CWM Feb/Mar 04). The procedure involves clamping a straight edged board across the table saw blade. Use the saw’s mitre slide to ensure the guide board is at 90º to the blade. The front edge of the guide board should be centered on the blade when it is in its lowest position beneath the table top surface.

Turn on the saw and raise the blade 1/16″. Then, push each edge of the solid wood panel across the blade. Repeat these steps until the panel has been raised and the edges are about 3/16″ thick. Small cuts and slow passes make the smoothest cuts.

Assemble door

Sand the center panel and assemble the door. Use small strips of foam in the grooves to prevent door rattle. Be sure the panel is free to move, as it will expand and contract with humidity changes.

Glue the tenon and groove joints only, not the panel, and clamp securely making sure the door is square. If the diagonal measurements are the same, the door is square. Set it aside until adhesive cures.

Drill for hinges

Drill two 35mm diameter holes, 1/2″ deep and 1/8″ from the edge, in the door for the hidden hinges. Verify that they will clear the drawer glide spacer cleats. Install two 100º – 120º hinges on the door at 90º to the door edge. I plan on using 170º hinges but I will install the door with standard opening hinges to correctly locate the mounting plates. Once correctly installed, remove the standard hinge bodies on the door and install the wider opening 170º hinges, if desired.

Attach hinge plates

To correctly position and install the door, attach the hinge plates to the hinge bodies. Hold the door in its normally open position, at the correct height, with a 1/8″ thick spacer strip between the cabinet and door. Drive 5/8″ screws through the mounting plate holes into the cabinet side to secure the door to the cabinet. Remove the 1/8″ spacer strip and check the door’s operation.

Finally, you can remove the hardware and apply a finish. I picked a walnut stain and applied a couple of coats of semigloss polyurethane to protect it. However, as previously mentioned, you can change moulding trim, the base skirt pattern, or the final finish colour, to something that better suits your requirements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More Cabinetry projects to consider
Username: Password: