the dvd shelf in use

I have over 150 DVDs, and until I built this shelf I had been using a bookcase to store them. The problem with my bookcase was that the shelves were about 11" high and 11" deep, and so there was a lot of dead space. So, one weekend I decided to try my first woodworking project and made a DVD shelf.

I bought wood from the Home Depot because I was a little intimidated to go to a wood dealer since I had no experience yet. At the Home Depot I picked out some nice pieces of Poplar (a.k.a. Tulip Poplar, or Liriodendron tulipifera, which is not a true Poplar, from the family Populus). For the body of the shelf I chose some 1x8 planks that had very interesting green heartwood sections. For the top of the cabinet I found a 1x10 piece of what is caled "rainbow poplar", which is from the same species of tree, but has dark blue and purple mineral stains in it, along with the green and white. I just used a sheet of thin plywood for the back of the shelf.

close up of the top and first shelf

The shelf is 48" tall by about 26" wide, to fit with the other furniture in my living room, with roughly 8.5 x 7" shelves. This size allows the DVDs to be taken out easily, but still packs them in pretty closely. I put the shelves into dados (the grooves on the side) since I knew I wouldn't need to make the shelves adjustable, and I liked the way it looked. The dadoes also make the whole piece a bit stronger, but DVDs and their cases are so light that strength isn't really important. I also used some Red Oak dowels to secure all of the parts together, but they are also mostly there for aesthetics, since the glued Dado joints would hold things well on their own.

The whole thing is finished with Minwax Tung Oil Finish, which actually contains Linseed Oil and not Tung Oil, and also contains varnish. I chose an oil-based finish because I didn't want to cover up the green coloring in the wood with a stain, and didn't want the high gloss or build-up of polyurethane. The finish ended up being a little yellower than I had hoped, but it does bring out depth in the grain, and the colors in the wood are still apparent. I applied the last coat with some 600 grit sandpaper, which gave more of a matte finish. It actually took more than a week to apply the finish, because each coat must dry for 24 hours, and I had to experiment some to find a finish I liked. Unfortunately, for me anyway, the green color oxidized out of the wood, and so now it's different tones of yellow and brown.

the cut wood pieces stacked up the top and side of the empty shelf