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Music Shelf Unit

Build a functional shelving unit complete with cubbyholes for books and a center section that folds upright to hold sheet music.

Materials and Tools:

birch plywood
circular saw
speed square
carpenter's square
drill with dual bit
wood glue
2" drywall screws
finish nails
2' piano hinge
2 friction lid supports
luan plywood
6 lag bolts (3")
6 washers
quarter round molding
cabinet facing
spackling compound


1. The featured unit has a bottom and top that measure 8' x 12-1/2" deep. Cut two pieces of plywood to that width using a circular saw and a long guide, making sure to keep the shoe of the circular saw pressed against the guide. Cut the pieces to length using the saw with a speed square.

2. The two end pieces and six dividers in the cabinet measure 12" x 8". Cut those eight pieces from the remaining plywood using the circular saw and a guide.

3. To attach the dividers to the bottom, start from the end and mark along the bottom piece every 11 inches. Use a carpenter's square to make the layout lines for the dividers (leave two openings in the center for extra storage).

4. Use a dual drill bit and counter sink to drill three pilot holes along each layout line. Attach the dividers with wood glue and drywall screws, which will give the unit a lot of support for heavy items like books.

5. The top is made up of three sections. Cut the top piece into two three-foot pieces and one two-foot piece using a circular saw.

6. Attach the two three-foot sections to the ends of the unit with finish nails and wood glue. For the middle section, cut a one-inch and a two-inch section along the long sides of the center board. Attach the outer pieces to the base unit using wood glue and finish nails.

7. Set the remaining center section in position and secure it using a piano hinge along the front, which will allow the piece to be raised and lowered. Attach two friction lid supports on both sides inside the cabinet and the top lid to hold the sheet music support upright.

8. For the back of the cabinet, attach a piece of luan plywood with finish nails.

9. To finish the front of the cabinet, attach small pieces of cabinet facing using wood glue and finish nails. Fill all the holes with spackling compound.

10. Paint the unit as desired and let dry. Use lag bolts and washers (two through each end and two through the center) to attach the cabinet to wall studs. Hide any gaps along the wall with quarter round molding nailed to the cabinet and paint as above.

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