Help solidify a trash can for use as a stereo shelf
August 25, 2022 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I have a fast food style trash receptacle (big, black, coated particle board with a door that says “THANK YOU” - if you live in the US you’ve seen a million of them) that has my stereo receiver and turntable on it. My home is old and when you walk heavily near it the floor bounces and, if there is a record playing, it skips.

I think because of the shape (big, empty rectangular cube) any vibrations at the bottom are magnified at the top? I have some isolation feet under the turntable and that helps but it is still an issue. I also have a big five gallon bottle of water in the bottom of the trash can, which doesn’t seem to help.

Can you think of anything I could o to make this less bouncy?
A pic, if it helps
posted by dirtdirt to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Fill the base with cinder blocks? As few as 3 might do it. Is the floor actually rocking, though? If the floorboards are loose or flexing, it may be difficult to deal with that. But weight will help! Might be able to get some for free in your local Buy Nothing group.
posted by amanda at 4:32 PM on August 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Can you mount the whole trash receptacle to the wall instead of the floor, like just a little off the ground?
posted by aubilenon at 4:35 PM on August 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Oh also a quicker solution, at least to try, is what if you put the isolation feet you have under the receiver instead of just the turntable. I would think that having more weight on the turntable end would help the springs absorb vibrations better.
posted by aubilenon at 4:40 PM on August 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

That big box has a lot of inherent wobble, especially when it only takes a fraction of an inch of movement to make your tonearm skip on a record. Weights in the bottom won’t necessarily stabilize the top — you need to make the entire thing really rigid and weighted down. Maybe you could screw in some crossmembers inside the container.
posted by conscious matter at 4:46 PM on August 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Nothing much will help if the floor itself is bouncing. My 'outside-the-box' solution here is to build a suspended shelf for the turntable only, hanging it from one big ceiling hook branching into four cables, one for each corner of the shelf.
posted by Rash at 4:49 PM on August 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Don't put weight on the bottom, suspend the weight from the inside using cordage with some flex, and it will act as a dampener. Also you can put foam feet under the whole cabinet.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:56 PM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Adding weight or stiffening the trash can isn't likely to help. The movement is being transmitted up through the can from the bouncing floor. A modest amount of weight just connects the can more securely to the floor so that they move together. Making the can more rigid will just cause it to transmit the energy more efficiently.

I'm surprised that the isolation feet aren't more effective. Does the weight of the turntable compress them noticeably? If it doesn't, then I'd guess that they're designed for a heavier turntable, in which case aubilenon's suggestion of putting the feet under the receiver might help... as long as the receiver isn't so heavy that it completely compresses the springs.
posted by jon1270 at 6:14 PM on August 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

If it's against an inside wall, can you move it so it's against an outside wall, one that is above foundation that goes into the ground? That will make a huge difference.
posted by fritley at 6:52 PM on August 25, 2022

Build a low flat box. Fill it with sand. Place a board on the sand. Place the trash can on the board.
posted by ergomatic at 9:06 PM on August 25, 2022

I would get a fatigue floor mat, cut it to size (or not) and put it under the trash receptacle. Leave the 5 gallon water bottle in the same place as now. That is 40 lbs of weight. If you can attach it to the wall behind like a bookcase would be attached, that would help too.

I hope there is a funny story about how you acquired the fast food garbage bin.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:52 PM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

IF you own this home (or rent and have a cooperative landlord) AND if this is on the first floor with an accessible basement underneath, go out and get some 4x4 posts and wedge them under the floor joists to stop the bounce. Also adding cross-braces between the joists will stiffen the floor and reduce bounce, plus making sure the floor boards are solidly nailed down. If this approach is not possible, I would mount a shelf to the wall, JUST to hold the turntable in approximately the same spot. The wall is much less likely to be bouncing when you walk past.
posted by beagle at 6:42 AM on August 26, 2022

I'm honestly not sure how well they would work for your purposes, but they're inexpensive enough that it'd be a low-risk experiment: search for "furniture shock absorbers" or anti-vibration pads. They're mostly meant for dampening the vibrations from a washing machine or etc, but might help keep heavy footsteps from making their way to the receiver.
posted by ook at 9:56 AM on August 26, 2022

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