DIY Stereo Rack

I want to build a music system rack but get a headache after trying to chose what route to go. Is the hardest densest wood like ash or walnut best. Or something softer? I was thinking of using countertop cement for shelves. My thinking being the harder it is the easier vibrations transfer. Cement being not so dense may not transfer vibrations so readily. If styrofoam was stronger why not use blocks of it for super vibration isolation? Thanks for any insight you can provide. Bob
Maple is an excellent choice but if the cost is dear then Birch is a good substitute. They are close on the hardness scale being from similar families. Ash and walnut look fine and are hard as well so it's really just a matter of taste and what's available.

I'd stay away from the styrofoam (you were joking, right?).

All the best,
Agree with maple. When I was reading what folks think audio components sound good sitting on maple came up very often -Regards Jet
My two favorites are Maple and Sapelle, both species are very dense and VERY stable once finished. Making a couple of Racks for one of my Tube systems (Canary) out of Sapelle currently.

Good Listening

I used slate for mine. If you are looking at stone, slate is about as dead as you can get. The stuff is heavy though so you better have strong help when it's time to move it. Luckily I have a couple of rugged grandsons available.
When I built mine I was looking for a ruff hewn look. If I was going to build a new rack I'd use finished slate pieces for a more refined look. Check my system page for a pic.
Below is a thread about building a rod and block rack to which many people, including Timrhu, contributed.

Mine is in maple; I note, with amazement and dismay, that it's been almost ten years. In contrast to its builder, the rack has held up just fine. :)

Good luck!

Is maple butcher block ok relative to solid maple? You can get good deals on premade butcher block products.
I don't see why butcher block wouldn't work. My Timbernation stands shelves are butcher block constructed and work just fine. I'd prefer to see the block intended before going for it as there's butcher blocks out there and then there are butcher blocks out there.

All the best,
Maple, oak, birch, cherry--a good woodworker can use any wood you like, and in terms of board feet, you won't need that much, so cost differences between species should not be large. See my pics for stands built for me by a good friend and master woodworker. He made the legs and aprons, tops are then placed separately. This allows for easy shipping and use of isolation pads, etc.---very nice--made in the Twin Cities.
I've made a few system racks and amp stands for me and a few few friends using different solid hard woods and laminates over the years.They were all nice and did the job but the last set I made for me out of Plexiglas turned out the best the weigh alot no vibrations from subs getting to my system.The only problem is the Plexiglas is a little expensive but if you can find a dealer that will sell you small 2'buy 2'pcs its alot cheaper. Anyway just a thought check my system for picks.
Thank you for all your input. This will be a big help building my rack. Bob
Slipknot1 and I did a rack for my system that uses all McMaster-Carr hardware and maple shelves from Trelja for that source).
I agree with others that the key to the rack is easily adjustable shelves that are easy to level. Threaded rods and bolts/washers above & below each shelf are they way to go.
If anyone wants to check my system page,
you can see photos and a post with a parts list. Cheers,
If you want an alternative to using exposed threaded rods as the posts, try t slot aluminum extrusions. You can put the threaded rod through that and sandwich the top and bottom shelves together. If additional shelves are needed, there are accessories you can get or be creative to put them in.
Guiddog - I've tried some of the hardwood materials suggested above and also granite and MDF.

The problem I found with all of them is they all tend to vibrate at some point in time if they are not "treated".

One solution is to construct each shelf as a "sandwich" - i.e. between two layers of shelving material place a layer of the foam rubber material used to line drawers - the stuff with all the holes.

The sandwich significantly reduces vibrations in both layers.

Another approach that is easier to implement, is to get a sheet of sorbothane and apply it to the underside of the shelf. Provided the underside of the shelf is smoothly finished in some manner (like urethane) as the sorbothane naturally adheres by vacuum, so it can easily be removed without leaving any residue.

You can easily experiment with the alignments i.e. either the square sheet aligns with the front/sides/back of the shelf or at an angle might be more beneficial.

Re-applying a sheet may cause it to lose it's tackiness, so simply wash with plain water under the tap, or better still wipe with isopropyl alcohol to restore it.

Either of these treatments will significantly reduce the vibrations in any shelf.

A 1/10" thick sheet of sorbothane sheet is all that is required - Thicker may not improve it's effectiveness - but will cost you more

Sorbothane sheets are available from Amazon/Ebay for around $25 for one square foot and is widely used by the HVAC industry on furnaces, plenum's etc. to curb noisy installations

Good luck with the stand :-)
Here's mine. I used maple with stainless steel tube and threaded rod for the uprights. The tubes are filled with sand and are totally dead. This is not for everyone as the construction required a good deal of machining (this could never be built with basic hand tools), but if you can do that sort of thing, go for it. If not, wood slabs with simple holes drilled through them with threaded rod will work.

Building racks is not a science. Nobody knows what material is "best." Choose what is available and what you can work with and have fun.
Ketchup - that is beautiful work.
Ketchup, great stand. Both the process and the result must be very satisfying.

I agree that the hardwood shelving and threaded rod approach seems one of the most easily built, cost effective, practical, vibration free options. I was going to go this route, however got a budget Target stand which I filled with sand (took a long time as sand was poured through the threaded spike holes) and replaced the plywood shelves with 2” maple.
I used butcher block from Ikea put together with 1" solid threaded steel rods, big hex nuts, and steel washers. Herbie's Audio Lab persuaded me not to use rubber washers under the steel.

Legs are tapped 1/4 x 20 to accept spikes de jour. Currently using Black Diamond Racing Cones because I had a set in my parts bin. The rack is super-solid, and if I could figure out how to post a photo or two, I'd do so. It looks pretty darn cool.

I was able to cut the steel rods using a hack saw but it was a lot of work. I had a local cabinet maker drill the holes for the rods because I don't have a drill press, and also cut the butcher block to size.

It was a fun project, but time-consuming. Saved a few bux, tho'.
I purchased some red oak butcher block slabs from Boo's Blocks in Framingham. 1 1/2 x 19 x 43. Really nice stuff. I'm working on the sides now. Brass angle iron shelves that the butcher block slabs drop right into. Should be nice when I'm done but it has been a lot of work.