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Forum topic by fiddlebanshee posted 03-01-2016 05:14 PM 644 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2405 days


03-01-2016 05:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question sheet music storage lift and slide

I’ve recently purchased a piano and a guitar, both of which I used to play and am now reviving with the express purpose of playing music in a hospice setting, to soothe the final days/weeks of people who are at the end stage of their lives.

Repertoire is already piling up and I also still have a lot of books and loose leaf music from 20+ years ago. So in order to stay organized I need something to store and categorize all of this in. I can obviously just slap piles of books and music sheets on regular bookshelves but big piles are unwieldy, not so nice to look at and gather dust. So I was thinking of building something that lends itself to a bit more organization.

Since music wants to be stored flat this would be one option, but I’m not too hot on making all those partitions, and not being able to see what is in each slot.

I thought about these library shelves that have a sloped shelf that pivots at the top and when you lift it up and push it back it reveals storage underneath. So I would put the repertoire that I use frequently on the sloped shelves and put everything in piles on the shelves underneath. Like this:

I have only ever seen these in metal. Would there be any reason why I could not build this out of plywood/wood? I have a bunch of ash that I could use or I can just go with a nice plywood. I am not a very experienced woodworker, so I guess I would like some idea as to how complicated this would be to make. Do you think there is a reason that they only exist in metal? What design considerations would the sliding mechanism of the sloped shelves have to take into account?

-- As if I needed another hobby!


24 replies so far

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hotbyte

841 posts in 2435 days


#1 posted 03-01-2016 05:26 PM

This wouldn’t be flat but what about a cabinet of drawers sized to hold sheets upright. The drawers could have dividers for organizing and adjustable rear support like file cabinet. Seems musc stores mostly display in bins this way.

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2405 days


#2 posted 03-01-2016 05:39 PM

The problem is that loose leaf stuff is going to curl, as will solft cover books. So I really want them supported horizontally or on a sloped plane.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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clin

510 posts in 455 days


#3 posted 03-01-2016 08:32 PM

I’ve always thought plain old file folders in a standard file cabinet worked well for storing sheet music. The files can be kept close enough together to keep the sheets flat. While it usually isn’t long before any file cabinet gets so stuffed, it all squeezes together, often there is an adjustable stop (sort of like a book end) that can keep the files tight when there aren’t (yet) enough files in the drawer.

-- Clin

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2405 days


#4 posted 03-01-2016 09:14 PM

No file cabs. Do not like them and want to have easy access to the stuff I am working on. Would still like opinions on the library shelves that I posted above. Doable in wood?

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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thirdrail

54 posts in 2123 days


#5 posted 03-01-2016 09:24 PM

might be doable but think it would be faster/ cheaper to try to find a used one – through a broker if necessary.

-- Third rail

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kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#6 posted 03-01-2016 09:27 PM

I think the library shelves is a great idea. It could perhaps also inspire others to play or just read about the music.
If you want fairly easy to build something like this could perhaps work?

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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hotbyte

841 posts in 2435 days


#7 posted 03-01-2016 09:30 PM

It is doable. Reminds me of an entertainment center with the doors that would open up and then slide back to view the TV.

I would be concerned that any music on the shelf would fall off either onto the floor or into back of cabinet when you move the shelf.

I still suggest a nice looking file cabinet type storage except make it to stand the sheets up so you can read titles. You could angle the adjustable rear support so the music isn’t vertical. By moving the support forward you would hold the pages from bending/curling like clin explained. You could also have a front support that hinges on the bottom to lay on first piece to hold them tight against the rear support. Swing it forward when thumbing through the music.


No file cabs. Do not like them and want to have easy access to the stuff I am working on. Would still like opinions on the library shelves that I posted above. Doable in wood?

- fiddlebanshee


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hotbyte

841 posts in 2435 days


#8 posted 03-01-2016 09:45 PM

Also, look at barrister bookcases for examples of a front that opens like the shelf.

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JBrow

812 posts in 379 days


#9 posted 03-02-2016 03:51 AM

fiddlebanshee,

I am not sure why this style of case is rarely found expressed in wood – probably a demand thing.

I believe I would modify the design you presented. I would build the carcase as a single open box into which sloped shelves would fit. The shelves would be on full extension roller guides – side mounted or under mounted.

The shelves would actually feature drawer construction. The drawer bottom would be surrounded by a back and sides tall enough to have a lip to keep things from sliding off. The sides of the drawer box at the front would be cut at an angle and the drawer front would be tall and sloped, supported by the drawer bottom and the drawer sides. The sloped front would be fitted with a bottom lip on which music would rest. The ends of the sloped shelf could also feature lips to keep the music from sliding off the ends and the front. The side lips would also provide a mounting point for a 3/8” dowel running across the sloped shelf to prevent music from falling forward.

The shelves could then be built and finished separate from the carcase, making the project easier. Full extension drawer guides would afford convenient and full access to items in the back. A tempered glass door(s) would protect the music from dust.

The problems I see with the pivot mechanism is that when reaching behind the lifted panel, the pivoted shelf has to be held while reaching into dimly lit recesses fishing around for want you need. While perhaps not a problem when standing at eye level, bent down to access the lower shelves would be difficult. A mechanism like on a barrister’s case could be used to overcome the problem of holding the shelf, but access into the cabinet would remain difficult.

I tend toward ¾” plywood as a primary building material with the ash used to dress up the plywood. By using ash plywood, the ash lumber on hand could be used for the face frame. Your ash lumber could also be used to end and front edge band the shelves. If you like the look of raised panels, vertical and horizontal pieces of ash could be applied to the plywood on the end panels. A local hardwood dealer would probably offer ash dowels and ¾” ash cabinet grade plywood, but it will cost about $100/ sheet (+/-).

If you wanted to use solid ash throughout you could build the panels yourself (a lot of work to get wide and flat panels of consistent thickness) or contract with a local cabinet shop willing to build the panels. The construction methods for solid wood and plywood would be the same, except edge and end banding is, of course, unnecessary.

The joinery could be dados and rabbets, milled with the router. Square crosscuts, precise angled cuts, and parallel straight edges are essential. With careful planning, these operations can be done without much problem. I like to leave my projects unstained but protected with a clear finish. Ash is a nice looking wood when clear coated.

Good luck with the project!

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SonOfMI

7 posts in 500 days


#10 posted 03-02-2016 04:17 AM

I see more and more gigging musicians who play covers or need some reference for chords or lyrics they are not familiar with using iPads. Scan your sheet music to a file format such as PDF and put it on a tablet. No more lugging around multiple binders or stacks of sheets. No more having to go through 3 or 4 binders until you find the song you are after. It’s all in one location, indexed, and easy to locate what you need more quickly. I’d recommend implementing an external backup such as a USB drive.

I no longer play out but use the above system for playing around the house for friends or when I’m teaching my son some new riffs. It works great and is much more convenient than having to dig through binders like I did 20 years ago. And I no longer have book cases and shelves taking up space in my house for sheet music storage. Want new music? Most sheet music is available online for download already in PDF and can be bought more cheaply than buying a hard copy book.

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bbrown

173 posts in 3012 days


#11 posted 03-02-2016 11:30 AM

I am a recording guitarist. I store hundreds of scores in a large, 4 drawer file cabinet in file folders. I considered other options, but this is by far the easiest and most efficient. I can find what I want quickly and all my music stores flat and is well preserved.

-- Forest, Virginia ; Micah 6:8

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2405 days


#12 posted 03-02-2016 12:29 PM

Thanks everyone for the responses. I guess I will draw something up in Sketchup and play with some of the ideas. Going fully digital is not a solution because I still have a storage need for the sheet music I already have. I also don’t like the small screen of most tablets that display the sheet music. And as I said, I just don’t want the look or functionality of a filing cabinet.

They only type of filing cabinet that I may look into is the idea above of making drawers with a sloping front and then pulling the entire thing out for the stuff that is inside, downside is that it would have to be fairly low otherwise I can’t look into it. I may make some small prototype for this.

The other idea I found online is to make the front pivot on the sides, in stead of sliding back. This may be easier to implement and if fastened with wingnuts could also easily be adjusted to tilt in any position.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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JBrow

812 posts in 379 days


#13 posted 03-02-2016 03:44 PM

fiddlebanshee

You are correct that the drawer-like shelves above shoulder level would make it difficult to view the materials behind the slop fronts. However, this problem exists for shelves on a simple bookcase or any case for that matter, where only the edges of items stored above shoulder level can be seen. Unlike books in a bookcase, the stored sheet music has no spine that can be viewed when the music lays flat. Whatever the design, a case taller than you will make finding things lying flat on the upper recesses a challenge.

Exactly what the case would look like and function is hard for me to visualize from your description “front pivot on the sides, in stead of sliding back”. However it was clear enough to suggest another option, which would not be too complicated to build. This option is to build a door that fits the case. Open the door and full access is afforded items laying on the shelf system behind the door. The shelves could be adjustable and there could be as many shelves as you like.

The door would be a shallow box with a back, sides, top and bottom. The sloped surfaces could be set into the shallow frame as fixed slopped surfaces. The retaining dowels to keep music in place when the door is opened or closed could be mounted to the sides. The door could be mounted flush with the face frame as an inset door. However, I suppose an overlay door could also work and could be made to look pretty good.

Whether the door is divided would be driven by your design. If the case is wide with a single door, the case could tip forward when the door is opened. This tipping tendency would be reduced by making two doors that, when closed meet in the center of the case like French doors. The doors could also be divided the doors like a Dutch door. The tipping problem could also be solved by attaching the cabinet to a wall near the top of the case, assuming the cabinet will set flat against the wall. Alternatively the case could be made deeper to compensate for the weight of the opened doors. Reducing the weight of the doors will lessen tendency to tipping. If the door design is considered, the tipping problem is best addressed during design.

In the end, your idea to put designs in Sketch-Up is a great idea. You can work through your various design ideas and discover any problems without spending any money or discovering problems in the shop. If you struggle with proportionality when designing as I do, making one dimension 1.68 times longer than the other dimension of a rectangle (L = 1.68 X W) will consistently yield a pleasing look.

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fiddlebanshee

195 posts in 2405 days


#14 posted 03-02-2016 04:26 PM

Exactly what the case would look like and function is hard for me to visualize from your description “front pivot on the sides, in stead of sliding back”. However it was clear enough to suggest another option, which would not be too complicated to build. This option is to build a door that fits the case. Open the door and full access is afforded items laying on the shelf system behind the door. The shelves could be adjustable and there could be as many shelves as you like.

The idea is essentially that it is a standard bookcase with doors for each of the shelves. The door slants backwards about 20 degrees and has a ledge to prevent documents from sliding down/off. The document on the door is displayed and the documents behind the doors are stored out of sight. The mechanism is that the door flips up with the document on it in place to access the documents behind the door. The two options I saw on the internet is 1. the door flips up and slides horizontally to the back of the unit at the top of the shelf it belongs to. 2. the door pivots on a rod and flips up to give access to the documents behind it. The system in #2 would have to have some kind of system to pinch it in place while accessing the materials so that you have two hands to retrieve stuff.

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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JBrow

812 posts in 379 days


#15 posted 03-02-2016 06:30 PM

fiddlebanshee,

Thanks for the clarification. Your later description sounded like the sloped shelf would swing like a normal door; not up and in as you just described.

If you settle on the slop surface lifting up and sliding back, you will be developing a design found in barrister bookcases, like those found in law libraries. The units I have seen are stackable, one unit sets atop another. A stack sets on a separate base. I am not sure what keeps the stacked cases in alignment along the front and sides, maybe alignment dowels. The alignment dowels would also keep the separate top in place. The advantage to stackable units is that as a collection outgrows the current capacity of the cases, another case can be built and simply set on top of the existing cases. The disadvantage is in the look – I think a single case is more appealing to the eye.

Your design is a departure from the barrister bookcase in that the door on the barrister bookcase is a simply flat door. However, if the sloped shelf set is in a frame so that the surface of the frame at the front is co-planer with the face frame, I would think the design would simplify the challenge in the opening mechanism design.

I am sure there are several sources for barrister bookcase hardware. The hardware allows the barrister door to be raised at the bottom, pivoting at the top and then sliding back into the case overhead smoothly and with little effort. A quick search revealed this hardware on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/14-1-Barrister-Bookcase-Door-Slides/dp/B001DSZ4Y0

My recommendation is select your hardware and determine the requirements for mounting the hardware before finalizing the design. Otherwise the hardware may not fit.

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