Question for DIY people: Butcher block shelving??

I picked up the "Spar" maple butcher block from IKEA the other day. (Link to the butcher block is here) =>

I am going to use these blocks to replace the cheap MDF shelves on my welded steel Target rack. I believe the blocks are unfinished. They are not solid chunks of maple -- there is some hollowness inside.

My question is, what should I do with them next to increase their effectiveness as shelves and to increase their durability? Should I oil them? Put a coat of lacquer on them? Glue cork and/or rubber to the underside?

I will be placing them under a variety of components (Cd player, amp, power conditioner), so I could customize each block to suit the component it sits on.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!! Thanks!!!!

I'm impressed by your analysis. Any specific recommendations about materials, i.e. brands? I just used 3/4" plywood with adjustable clip strips in my current rack, but then I'm not into tubes or vinyl either. Still, I suspect the Sony 9000ES CD/SACD/DVD player is subject to vibrations, although even so the system is open and transparent, and generates a large soundstage with precise imaging.

Go and buy a sheet of high-ply birtch or oak (or any other good looking one-sided plywood) and make your self retangular boxes a little wider and longer than your componets and about 2-4" high. Fill it with play sand and place a final board on top "floating" in the sand. Place your componet on top. You can round the corners and the tops to make it look nice: either clear-coat it or your chioce of finishes. Cost around $60 for 3-4 boxes and a few hours of work and can look real nice. YOu can get all pro and dove tail where the boards meet if you have the skill and equipment. Make sure you epoxy the seams inside or you'll have sand eveywhere!

Works better than most commercial isolation products.
Hi Marc,

Optimally, a person should use a platform that has as little sonic character of its as possible AND that platform should absorb as much of the vibration and resonance out of the component as possible. Preferably, the platform would efficiently convert the mechanical energy (vibration) to a more benign form of energy (such as thermal energy - heat).

In addition, the support for the component should provide an effective barrier to stop vibration from entering the component from the floor/rack/shelf. In addition, there needs some mechanism to minimize the effects of air-borne vibration that is striking the component's chassis directly from the speaker AND addresses internally generated vibration within the component (motors, humming transformers and cooling fans).

Please be aware that natural wood, plexiglass, acrylic and many other similar materials are resonant and stone (granite, marble, corian, cement, concrete, glass, tile and other very rigid materials - IE: metal) will ring. The ringing and resonance will be transferred into the component and will negatively alter the signal flowing through the component.

Some people are confused about the fact that even though natural wood may be the right choice for a musical instrument (because it has distinct resonances) it is not appropriate for vibration control because of that very same reason. The components which comprise audio systems ARE NOT musical instruments. They should not have their own personalities (colorations) or have resonances imparted upon them by inappropriate choices in vibration control materials. The components in our audio systems are used to reproduce the sound of the original musical instrument as it has been captured in the recording. Anything that alters the signal flowing through our system's components takes us further away from being able to faithfully reproduce the signal in the recording.

Best Regards,

Barry Kohan

Disclaimer: I am a manufacturer of vibration control products.
Donbellphd, Neuance at is the only product I know of that is designed to the philosophy Sean is discussing. GREAT PRODUCT
Wow, Jadem6, WELCOME BACK!!! One of the most truly thorough, obsessive (I mean that in the best way) audiophiles in the history of Audiogon. Very nice to see you chime in here once again, it's been a long, long, long time.