Custom Red Oak Headphone Stands (for $10 a piece!)
So I've been wanting to build headphone stands, a bunch of them, for my collection. So I wanted to get like 6+ to hold headphones that I use the most often (since many of my headphones simply collect dust and aren't worth showing off anyways). I wanted them to at least look close to the same, like a set. I figured, I'll have to buy a bunch... and ouch, what an expense, I could buy a new nice headphone for the cost of all those stands (ranging $30~70 easily for many stands I was looking at). And custom stands are just ungodly expensive to buy. I said to myself, let's just make them. I'm no craftsman, but come on, how hard can it be to build some simple but effective wooden stands that at least look presentable. I like to think of it as a way to keep more money for buying more equipment to listen to rather than simply to display.
I bought some red oak bits from Lowes. I bought two posts, two boards and a dowel stick, a sheet of 220 grain sand paper, wood glue, and picked up some stain and some finish. Cost me $58 for the entire lot from Lowes. It is enough to make 6 of these stands, with some left over room in case I was inaccurate (which I am) with cuts. This worked out to be a comfortable $10 per stand overall, not including work time of course. Overall, the project takes two days, because you have to have dry times. Work time is probably 15 minutes total per stand maybe, if you combine all the actual work time. But total time, might as well be realistic, it's two days because you'll want glue to dry and stain to dry and finish to dry.
Here's what I ended up with (see how nicely I didn't make you scroll to the bottom to know if you wanted to read the whole thing?):
(Hifiman HE-500 on a custom red oak headphone stand that cost $10)
So if you like what you see there, let's talk about how to build it, in case you're interested in making your own for pretty cheap.
- Mallet (Hammer)
- Wood saw (fine tooth is better for the finish)
- Drill (hand or electric) with 1/4" drill bit (nothing fancy here) *Note, not needed if you don't want a notch to hang a cord.
- Measuring tape, pencil, & a right angle (a book edge works if you don't have an angle)
- "C" clamps (alternative: anything really heavy that you can balance on top of the stand)
- Sand paper (fine grit, like 220 or so)
- Old rag (one you don't care if it gets destroyed)
- Work space with good air circulation (fumes from stain, finish, etc)
The Raw Materials:
- Red oak posts (36" x 3")
- Red oak planks (24" x 5-1/2" x 3/4")
- Oak dowel stick (1/4" diameter x 36") *Note, not needed if you don't want a notch to hang a cord.
- Minwax Red Oak Stain
- Minwax Clear Gloss Finish
- Titebond II Wood Glue
(Prevent sitting down and procrastinating by putting materials in your normal sitting place.)
Measuring & Cutting:
First, I had to decide what size I wanted. So I placed some headphones on the end of the post to get an idea of how tall, minimum, it needs to be. I found anything from about 10" to 12" was plenty, with a lot of room to spare and looked nice. And that was easy to cut three of the same size (about 11" tall) from each 36" post. So I measured out 11" and cut on the outside of the measurements to avoid making it smaller than 11" (learn this early in wood cutting life...). I also cut a square out of the planks, since they're 5-1/2" wide, I simply cut squares that are 5-1/2" by 5-1/2" to make it simple (and to avoid needing to do extra cuts, very simple). Since the post is 3" wide, and square, it fits neatly in the center of 5-1/2" square, with lots of room to spare so the stand will have a good base and not be too top heavy.
(Simple measurements, simple cuts, keep it simple, less work.)
(Cut one, 5-1/2" wide, so 5-1/2" across to make a perfect square with a single cut. Done.)
(Cut two, about 11", straight across, for a 11" x 3" by 3" post in a single cut. Done.)
(*Optional, Cut three, about a 2" dowel cut from a 1/4" diameter stick of oak. Honestly you could just break it, no need to cut.)
(*Optional, Drilled a 1/4" hole in the center of the post for the dowel, which is to hang a cord if you want. Not necessary for the stand.)
(Measure to center your post on your base and give yourself some marks in pencil.)
At this point, you should sand all pieces very well. You want them to be smooth and free of spurs and rough edges. Here's where you round your edges if you want. Use a fine grain to keep it nice, a low grain will take a lot of wood away.
You've got your raw materials cut and it's time for the easiest part: putting it together.
(Lay down some wood glue in your measured center. Thin layer, not too much, spread it.)
Note, you need to be very careful with the wood glue. Once you place the post, you want to clean off excess glue immediately. If it dries, it will make your wood impossible to stain and you don't want areas with glue on them exposed as it will look bad. So if you mess up here, the easy solution is to sand off places that have dried glue should you discover you missed a spot and didn't clean well. Very simple.
When gluing wood, it's a good idea to glue it with grain touching grain that are traveling the same direction, it will increase the strength of the bond.
If you are making a notch to hang a cord, simply put some wood glue in the hole you drilled, if you did, and push in the dowel you made. Tap it in gently with a mallet, or a soda can, anything works here. This is completely optional. I did it just in case I wanted to hand a cord.
(Clamps pressing the post into the base, where the glue is, and I have my dowel glued and tapped in.)
Drying will take a few hours. I left it over night before messing with it to avoid breaking the bond. I recommend you let it sit over night. You don't want it falling apart later on if you are impatient. Wood is not for impatient people. Keep that in mind. But you're looking to build, not buy, so hopefully that's not an issue.
If you don't have clamps, which most people will not, simply place the base on a flat surface and place your post on it where you want it to stay. Weight it down from the top with heavy, heavy stuff. But keep it centered and balanced. Heavy, I mean heavy. Get some weights. Anything heavy, that can be balanced. You want an even press on the stand to make sure the glue is flattened and tight against each other. Press weights, dumb bells, bricks, cinder blocks, Encyclopedia Britanica, all volumes. Whatever it takes. Get some weight on top and let it sit over night. Mess up the bonding and you'll be building a new one when it falls apart.
Alternative Approach: If you are not able to glue or deal with this, simply put two screws in from the bottom of the plank up into the post. Pre-drill the holes if you want to avoid cracking the wood potentially with a smaller bit than the screws you will lay. It needs at least two screws to avoid it 'turning' when it's loose. Be ready to then put something under the stand to avoid the screw from potentially scratching or touching other surfaces later. A felt bottom perhaps?
Finished Raw Product:
It's dry, or at least constructed. Sanded. Re-sanded. If you like how it turned out, time to pick your stain and finish and all that. I went with red oak because I like red oak. You could go lighter, darker, doesn't matter.
(Raw stand, well sanded, glued, with notch for hanging cord. Complete.)
(Ultrasone Pro 900 to give idea of size of stand in it's raw state. Note cord is hanging on the dowel behind it. Optional.)
Staining & Finishing:
Time to pick a color. Even if you don't want to stain the wood, you need to at least finish it with a protective seal. This will keep it from rotting, becoming a house for bugs, absorbing liquids from spills, etc. You can get stuff that brushes on, or you can get spray. I used spray. Whatever floats your boat. Stain on the other hand is not a spray, it's something you wipe/brush on. I used a rag, not a brush. You can use a paper towel even. Even application is more important than what you use to apply these things.
(I applied one coat of Red Oak stain, let it sit 30 minutes, then applied a second coat to darken it further.)
Stain will need to dry a good 24 hours. You want the stuff to evaporate. It will smell. Don't leave it in the house if you can help it. But don't put it own in the humidity either or it will never dry. A cool, ventilated, dry place is what you want. Shed, garage, etc. Or, just do it in the house and deal with the complaining from house-mates, spouse, children, pets, etc. Your call. Again, wait a day. A full day. Fail to do this and try to finish it and you'll find out your finish won't stick and it will need to be re-sanded and re-stained and re-finished. But hey, at least you don't have to cut again if you screw up.
(Finished with a clear gloss spray on finish. Minwax Polycrylic Clear Gloss. Apply a thin coat. Sand. Do it three times.)
I finished off with a simple spray. You can get brush on stuff, but it takes more work and more clean up to use. Spray just sprays on. You put on a layer. Give it a while. Then sand it. Apply another layer. Give it a while. Then sand it. Do this at least three times. You're sealing the wood. You're sealing the stain. And you're sanding it to keep it from building up and turning white or weird some where if you put too much. Thin layers are fine. Sand with the same finer grain sand paper you used before (220 grit). It will dry very quickly so this part takes very little time. Follow the directions of your finish for drying time.
You're done. At this point, you could get creative with the bottom of the base. You could put rubber feet. You could glue a cut fitting sheet of velvet or felt. Whatever suits your fancy. You can also leave it bare. Some fancy metal & rubber feet would be pretty sweet (the kind that would screw into the base). I'll eventually add some of those, but they are expensive (cost more than the stand itself, so... gonna see about that).
Completed Headphone Stand:
That's it. Simple huh? Very little work. Lots of waiting time. But that gives you more time to have a few beers, listen to music, and hang out on Head-Fi.
So here's some examples of it supporting a Hifiman HE-500 again:
Good luck on your projects, or simply thanks for reading!
Edited by MalVeauX - 8/25/11 at 7:16am