HOW TO MAKE A WALL-MOUNTED RECORD RAIL
by Britton Walters
Over the years we have amassed a nice-sized record collection here at Nerfect headquarters. We love records for a lot of reasons, but the one that relates most to this project is the album covers themselves. Each record we bring home from the thrift store or second-hand music shop has one, and many albums in our collection were bought solely because of the images on the covers.

Great as the cover may be, where do most records reside? Stacked, piled and lined up like books on a shelf or sitting in a milk crate with their jackets hidden to the world. It’s a real shame, and we found our collection destined to the same fate. Unless you pulled them out, how would visitors to your home realize that you owned a copy of Art Linkletter’s “We Love You, Call Collect” or “Hear How To Be A Better Bowler” narrated by bowling champion, Billy Golembiewski?

The solution we devised was to build a couple of rails that records can be placed in for display. Essentially these rails are small shelves with a small lip to hold the record sleeves (with or without records) in place. The records can be removed and switched with ease. Here at headquarters we swap out the display to go with the nearest holiday, the theme of a party and just for fun.

Provided here are the details about how to make a basic rail, but feel free to get fancy and to elaborate on the basic form. We painted ours to match the wall, but covering them in other materials isn’t out of the question.

You also might want to consider the wall you will be affixing the rail to. The rails and records themselves don’t weigh much and in most can be simply nailed to the wall, but if you’re walls aren’t all that solid or you’d like to make sure they stay up, you might want to adapt the basic set up to include screws and plastic anchors.

If you’re ready to get those records out of hiding and have got a good space for them then this project is for you.
MATERIALS
1” x 1/4” molding strip (cut to length needed)
 1/2” x 1/2” square dowel (cut to same length as above)
 1 1/2”- 2” long finishing nails

TOOLS
Hammer
 Level
 Pencil
 Ruler

INSTRUCTIONS

The first step in this project is to figure out how long your rail needs to be. A LP album jacket measures 12 1/4” x 12 1/4”, and we recommend that you add 1/4” in length for each record to give your covers a bit of room to make them easier to move in and out of the rail. If your rail is too snug, neighboring records will tumble when you try to pull out a record. Basically, multiply 12 1/2” by the number of albums you want to display to get your total length. For example for 5 records you would multiply 12 1/2” by 5 to get a total length of 62 1/2”.

If you’re working with a limited space you would divide the horizontal dimension by 12 1/2” to get the maximum number of records you can display. You would take this number and multiply it by 12 1/2” to get the rail length. For example you might have 6 feet between windows to work with and you want to get the most albums across that you can. You would first, convert the 6 feet to inches by multiplying by 12, which would give you 72” to work with. You would then divide this sum by 12 1/2” to get roughly 5.76. This means that you could fit 5 albums across. You multiply 12 1/2” by five and as the previous example you get 62 1/2”.

Now that you have the total length of the rail or rails, you will need to cut the lumber to make the rails. You’re best bet for the sizes you’ll need is you local lumberyard or home improvement center. For the shelf and lip of our design you will find strips of wood the right size in the section with molding and dowels. Harder woods that won’t split when you drive a nail through them are the best for this project. You will need to find a strip measuring about 1/2” by 1/2” for the shelf and one measuring about 1/4” by 1”. We are using the word “about” here because a piece of lumber’s actual size and what it is marked often differs. In most cases the piece is a tad bigger than what it is marked. Many stores will even cut your wood to a specific size for a small charge.

With your strips of wood cut to size, you’re almost ready to assemble the rail and mount it to your wall. If you are painting or covering the rail to match your décor do so now before it gets up on the wall. This will save a lot of headaches later.

When you’re ready hold up the shelf (the 1/2” by 1/2” piece) to where you want to mount it. You might want to get a friend to help as you use a level to adjust the shelf so it is perfectly horizontal. When it’s perfect make a few marks with pencil that you can line the shelf up in its final position.

Proceed to nail the shelf up in place keeping it lined up with your marks. Again the rail and records themselves aren’t heavy so you don’t need a lot of nails to get the shelf in place.

Next align the bottom of the shelf with the bottom of the lip piece and nail the lip on with a couple of finishing nails. With a long enough nail you will be able to go through booth the lip and the shelf pieces into the wall for a sound mounting. If you’ve painted your rail a touch of paint with conceal the nail head. If you don’t want any nail holes showing then you can use some wood glue to affix the lip.

With the attachment of the lip your rail is done and you can put your favorite albums up for display.

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

MOUNTING MULTIPLE RAILS
If you are mounting one rail over another to get multiple horizontal rows of records up you should give a minimum of 13” vertically between shelves. We recommend between 13” and 14” between rails to give you space above the records to grip the records when removing them.

STUCK ON YOU
Avoid using glossy finishes or paints in the slot where the record cover rests. Older covers can be fragile and may adhere to a sticky surface over time causing damage to the jacket. An unpainted groove is the best bet for keeping older covers free from harm.

SMOOTH AS A BABY’S...
You can smooth out any rough edges before painting and assembly with a bit of sandpaper.

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