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Old 10-12-2008, 05:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

Hi guys, I haven't been here for a while, and the reason is that I couldn't get rid of the algae in my tank and I wasn't too proud of it, so I didn't come to post pictures.

Now, me and my husband decided to build a stand for the tank that we have empty, and tear down the 55g and put this 36g together. But as we didn't have a stand for it, we wanted to make one instead of buying one. The budget - of course - is already way over the price of the new stands but building is fun And… this would be our first together project ever

We bought 4 2x4-s first and made a frame, then we covered it with a ½ inch birch plywood, stained it and that is it… so far, as we could not make the doors yet… as we don’t have router table or table saw… And that would be a VERY expensive stand if we bought those just for this project.

So…

First we cut the 2x4s. the tank dimensions are 30x12x18 (30.5x11.5x~1. So we made an extra ½ inch on both side. We used my husbands miter saw for this.




Then we had 2 2x4s left to the height of the frame, so we calculated out how high the stand should be

So we had all the pieces:



That is the bottom.




The joint is a 1 ¾ wood dowel plus 2 3inch long drywall screws topped with woodglue.



Although this joint won’t hold any weight, I wanted it to be massive.



Bottom and top:



When we wanted to put the legs together, we realized that we made a terrible quality cut on the wood:




So a little headache and 3 hours later…






So now they were exactly even.

It is hard for me to explain how the legs are built (my first language is Hungarian), I’ll try to show it in the pics. But the legs are double 2x4s:



Dowels are holding them together plus glue plus the screws.







Last edited by butacska; 10-12-2008 at 06:43 PM..
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

Butascka,

Your stand is seriously overbuilt. It will hold a tank that weights 3 times as much as the one you will put on this stand. I like to overbuilt too so it's nice to see that I'm not the only one Some time ago I made an ADA copycat stand and to this day I can't believe how heavy the thing is. But I know it will hold any tank I care to put on it without any bowing.

Here in the US the commercially available stands are build in such a way that you would think they would collapse just by looking at them. But they support the tanks fine. I guess it's physics, but it doesn't make me want to copy their construction.

What are you going to use for doors and sides? MDF and laminate?

--Nikolay
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

So I drew the calculation for the 4x8 birch plywood. One sheet covers the whole thing.




The top was added first



Then the bottom:


As we don’t have compressor and nail gun, I used elbow grease and I loved doing it I loved nailing the plywood to the 2x4s. In Hungary, I have actually never seen a finishing nail punch and I just loved hiding the nails with the punch I used 3d 1 ¼ nails. A lot



Then I used wood filler to cover the tiny holes.



Then we added the back:


The sides:




And the front… that was the trickiest.



As originally we wanted to cut the holes out from a whole front sheet (we cut it up into top, bottom and 3 columns instead) there was nothing to hold the center piece… So we had to make something for it.




Finally it was done.



It has some kind of chicken pox… I guess… too many nails…

Last edited by butacska; 10-12-2008 at 05:53 PM..
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

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Originally Posted by niko View Post
Butascka,

Your stand is seriously overbuilt. It will hold a tank that weights 3 times as much as the one you will put on this stand. I like to overbuilt too so it's nice to see that I'm not the only one Some time ago I made an ADA copycat stand and to this day I can't believe how heavy the thing is. But I know it will hold any tank I care to put on it without any bowing.

Here in the US the commercially available stands are build in such a way that you would think they would collapse just by looking at them. But they support the tanks fine. I guess it's physics, but it doesn't make me want to copy their construction.

What are you going to use for doors and sides? MDF and laminate?

--Nikolay
haha Thanks Nikolay My husband tried to argue about this (overbuilt) but he lost
Now, that it is together I can see it too, it could hold probably a tank size of solid granit piece my stand under the 55g is made out of PARTICLE board (not even plywood), if the tank is not on it it is so flimsy, it has approx. an inch tilt (whobble) in it...

We are having trouble with the door, as I said, no router rable no table saw, we have an idea, but we ahvn't started it yet... we'll see... THX for your comment.
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

The next step was the molding. Now that is a really time consuming procedure! I hadn’t thought before we started it. First we added the corners: ½ in quarter round.




Then we started the base. We bought pine baseboard for that. And it is a pain on the neck, to cut the 45 degrees angles and have the exact size… yuk…




We used a piece of plywood as a guide, so the saw wouldn’t break the molding.




We made some pilot hole into the molding, because it cracked when I was trying to put a nail into a small piece. (I decided to upload smaller images, sorry if they were too big so far...)







Then we started the top. We had a smaller kind of baseboard for that.




I like the way it turned out.




This is the top view:




On the back we are missing 3 inches of baseboard, but Lowe’s only sells them in whole 8’ long pieces, so I am going to check HD if I can find the same kind of baseboard.



Then I filled all the holes with wood filler,





and I let it dry for 20 minutes… it was time for a coffee break





Than I sanded the whole stand, first with a 150, then with a 180 just a little bit.

After sanding:


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Old 10-12-2008, 07:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

Very, very nice job, so far! You guys work like craftsmen. Now, you need to make doors, and there are several ways to do that without using a router or table saw.

One is to use rectangles of one half inch birch plywood, slightly bigger than the openings. You can find some thin flat strips of wood in the moulding section of HD, to cut to cover the plywood edges. Those, you can just glue on and use masking tape as the "clamps" to hold it while the glue dries. Then sand off any excess width of the strips and fill the cracks.

Another way is harder: make doors like that, but make them fit into the door openings with about one thirty second of an inch clearance all around. Finding appropriate hinges and installing them for this type door is more difficult, but you can do it with hand tools.

Just don't give up! You really have a nice stand going, even if it could be used as an elephant's chair!
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

wow! that's an awesome job!

yes it's over-built, but then again, you will be supporting a few hundred pounds of water. and piece of mind is what this stand will definitely give you.

hope to see more pictures of the completed stand with your tank on top
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

So after sanding…

I have never stained anything. This is the very first one! So I was kind of nervous about it. Especially since I read that birch plywood is a pain to stain… well I guess it is. I bought some pre-stain wood conditioner, and stain, the color is gunstock. I had some extra plywood I sanded it the same (150 then 180) as the stand and tried the stain out.



Haha it was funny. The first two pieces got the same finish plus conditioner plus one layer stain… and they are all different:


So I grabbed two other pieces, and without sanding I put some conditioner then stain, on the fourth one I skipped the conditioner and used the stain right away…



I have no idea why I got the results I got, I didn’t see the difference so I guess I just wanted to look professional with the sample

I cleaned the stand, first with a vacuum cleaner.


Then I wiped it with an old damp T-shirt.


You can see there was a lot of dust on it after vacuuming.


Then I applied the conditioner, waited 5 minutes, wiped it then stained the top first - this is the one side that’s going to be the most invisible.


I recognized that the nail holes and the wood filler is really ugly,

so I tried to sand the ones on the side a little bit more…
It got a little bit better, but not perfect..

ohh well, next time less holes, less wood filler…

Then I stained the rest of the stand.






I just love the color. Unfortunately the camera does not reflect the original color and of course it is not the final stage, but I just love this gunstock stain.




Then we made a "little" (2in) hole to the back for the wires:
The inspector said it is OK :lol



And installed the timer and an other search protector.



Now that is it guys.

Today, after work I sanded the whole thing with a 320 sandpaper, it got really smooth. I love it. Then I stained it again, but didn’t take any pictures. Tomorrow I’ll sand it with a 600 paper and do the final staining. Why? because I enjoy staining And the darker the color get the more I love it.

Later this week we’ll try to do the doors or… it has to wait until the weekend.

Any comment appreciated.

Last edited by butacska; 10-13-2008 at 06:27 PM..
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

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Originally Posted by hoppycalif View Post
Very, very nice job, so far! You guys work like craftsmen. Now, you need to make doors, and there are several ways to do that without using a router or table saw.

One is to use rectangles of one half inch birch plywood, slightly bigger than the openings. You can find some thin flat strips of wood in the moulding section of HD, to cut to cover the plywood edges. Those, you can just glue on and use masking tape as the "clamps" to hold it while the glue dries. Then sand off any excess width of the strips and fill the cracks.

Another way is harder: make doors like that, but make them fit into the door openings with about one thirty second of an inch clearance all around. Finding appropriate hinges and installing them for this type door is more difficult, but you can do it with hand tools.

Just don't give up! You really have a nice stand going, even if it could be used as an elephant's chair!
Thank you We are really amateurs though.
We would like to do something like your second suggestion, so the plywood would fit into the opening and then make a little frame from a tiny molding (not wider than 1 1/4 inch and not thicker than 3/8 max 1/2 inch). Do the frame like a picture frame (with 45 degree cuts), and the overlay would be only maximum a 1/2 inch. So if i can buy a nice hinge for that it should open nicely, and not damage the frame... Well as i said, that's the plan today... We'll see...
Thank you for your comment and your encourage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by freydo View Post
wow! that's an awesome job!

yes it's over-built, but then again, you will be supporting a few hundred pounds of water. and piece of mind is what this stand will definitely give you.

hope to see more pictures of the completed stand with your tank on top

Thanks and I hope to see my tank on the top of it too Yeah, the idea was to build it massive, well I guess we succeeded
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project

It is very difficult to stain evenly where you fill nail holes or cracks. The filler just doesn't react to the stain the way wood does. You can get so called stainable wood filler, but even that shows up very boldly when you stain over it. I found you can use wood dye, instead of stain (http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=760) and it covers the wood filler better. It still isn't a perfect color match, but a lot better. When I finally quit making wood furniture I was using dyes almost exclusively because I liked working with them so much better.

Your door idea should work very well, and overlay hinges are easy to get and not expensive.
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