Okay, I know what you’re saying. Cinder blocks as furniture are for starving students and heavy beer-drinking guys that never grew up. Well, I’m not going to argue with that. But with a little extra preparation, I think that you can make some pretty nifty, and very functional items for home: Let me present my cinder block speaker stands.
It all started when I needed some new speaker stands. In an effort to have your speakers produce sound as accurately as possible, it is important to place speakers on a good stand. I know most of you out there probably just stick your speakers on a desk, or shelf, and mostly likely the speaker is pushed all the way back against the wall. Well, let me tell you that this is NOT optimal. Speakers should be at least 1 foot away from the wall, and placed on sturdy structures that will not resonate with the speaker, which can color the sound. Large surfaces like desks or shelves are also not good for speaker placement, as the early reflections of the sound off that surface can cause uneven frequency response and comb-filtering effects (if you want me to go more in depth, just leave a comment).
Looking around on the internets, I was unable to find decent-looking speaker stands for a reasonable price. Most nice speaker stands run you several hundred dollars. If I had spent thousands on the speakers, maybe this would be a more reasonable option, as these examples tend to be well built and also quite attractive. However, the speakers I am using in my bedroom were purchased second hand for the mere price of $20 (nice speakers though)! Amazon has some nice looking stands for $30, but the reviews led me to believe that while it’s nice looking, the construction and materials are poor. In addition, its shipping weight of only 14 lbs (7 lbs a stand), convinced me that these stands were not heavy or sturdy enough to appease the inner audiophile in me. So I thought to myself, what’s cheap and heavy. Cinder Blocks!!! Went to the hardware store, and a few days later had some great speaker stands that are sturdy as a rock and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg! Not only do they provide a nice stable base for the speakers, but the holes in the cinder blocks are perfect for storing CDs!!
The cinder block style isn’t for everyone, but with your paint color of choice, I think these stands would fit in in a lot of situations: from more urban apartments, to people that just like quirky furniture. I personally love how they look.
My final speaker stands are quite easy to build, here’s what you need to do if you’d like a pair of your own.
First you need the following:
- 4 cinder blocks (~$2 per block)
- 2 wooden disks (~$7 each for a 17″ diameter disk, but if you’ve got extra wood around, you can make your own)
- 1 tube of epoxy (~$5, I used the 2 ton holding strength variety)
- sealer-primer suitable for use on concrete (~$9)
- Paint ($depends, I grabbed this awesome mint green from the mis-mixed rejects bin for $4)
- Optional: Speaker Spikes ( ~$8/set, I used this to make sure these puppies were firmly planted, and also to prevent my carpet from being permanently imprinted)
I’m pretty sure you can figure out what to do from here, but in case you need directions:
- Glue blocks and wooden base together. If you glue it like it stands (wooden base on bottom), you wont need any clamps since the weight of the cinder blocks will be enough to hold it while the epoxy sets.
- Optional: Drill holes for speaker spikes. I only used three spikes per stand in a triangle pattern. If you got the ones I linked to in the parts list, then you’ll need a 1/2″ drill bit and drill to make the appropriate holes. You’ll want to drill nice and slow to make sure not to mess up the plywood too bad. I actually did this step last, but it ended up ripping up some of the wood, and i had to repaint it, hence my suggestion to drill before painting
- Apply primer. Get in all the nooks and crannies. Then wait for it to dry (it tells you how long to wait on the can that the primer came in). If you drilled holes for the speaker spikes, try to keep the primer out of these holes.
- Apply paint. If you drilled holes for the speaker spikes, try to keep the paint out of these holes.
- Optional: if you are using speaker spikes. Go ahead and install these now. If you got the ones I linked, you’ll need a 10mm allen wrench to install the insert. Then the spikes thread into the insert.
All done! As a final touch, i used some plumber’s putty between the speakers and the stands to provide a damping couple between the speakers and the stands.
If you end up building a pair, shoot me an email with the results!
Here are some more pics of my new setup :)