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Old 07-30-2003, 08:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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That's right! I'm looking for anyone with hood building or canopy design experience! If you can work with wood, I've got the job for you!

Seriously, I'm trying to design a closed top design for my 37 and 75 gallon aquariums. They are both 18.5" wide (with frame). The 37 is 24.5" long (again, with frame) and the 75 is 48.5"long. I'm looking to have a closed top design as I've already purchased cooling fans. I am trying to minimize the endgrain and screws that show from the front of the design but, have only hand and circular saws, drill, and orbiral sander available for tools. O.K., so I do have a craftsman rotary tool but, I'm not confident enough to use this for any routing etc. As I write this, I have already ruined some expensive red oak that I was trying to use for a hood for the 37. Screws don't go into the endgrain of plywood very cleanly, do they? I like the designs like James Hoftiezer and others here that have front and back pieces angled out from the top to meet the tank frame but, that would seem to involve cutting the wood at 30 degree angles or something and I don't have the tools. Also, I have 2x 55w and 1x36w PC from ahsupply for this. Any advice, tips, resources, etc... greatly appreciated. I hate to go back to Lowe's armed with nothing more than my limited experience and a dream!! Thanks.
Jack

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Old 07-30-2003, 08:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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That's right! I'm looking for anyone with hood building or canopy design experience! If you can work with wood, I've got the job for you!

Seriously, I'm trying to design a closed top design for my 37 and 75 gallon aquariums. They are both 18.5" wide (with frame). The 37 is 24.5" long (again, with frame) and the 75 is 48.5"long. I'm looking to have a closed top design as I've already purchased cooling fans. I am trying to minimize the endgrain and screws that show from the front of the design but, have only hand and circular saws, drill, and orbiral sander available for tools. O.K., so I do have a craftsman rotary tool but, I'm not confident enough to use this for any routing etc. As I write this, I have already ruined some expensive red oak that I was trying to use for a hood for the 37. Screws don't go into the endgrain of plywood very cleanly, do they? I like the designs like James Hoftiezer and others here that have front and back pieces angled out from the top to meet the tank frame but, that would seem to involve cutting the wood at 30 degree angles or something and I don't have the tools. Also, I have 2x 55w and 1x36w PC from ahsupply for this. Any advice, tips, resources, etc... greatly appreciated. I hate to go back to Lowe's armed with nothing more than my limited experience and a dream!! Thanks.
Jack

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Old 07-31-2003, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Jack,

You may be able to do angled cuts with your circular saw. Both of the circular saws I've owned allowed me to tilt the "foot" and had a scale to tell what the angle was. If your saw can tilt you should probably practice on some scrap wood before you cut your expensive red oak.

You should also be able to set the depth of cut with the circular saw. If so then with some effort you could even use it to cut rabbits. I haven't tried that one, but it *should* work.

Special cuts with a circular saw might even be a better approach than using a router -- especially if you don't have experience with routers. Routers are unparalleled when it comes to chewing through expensive wood in unrepairable ways. And they can do it in so many different ways! They do that on flesh, too.

It shouldn't be too hard to keep from showing end grain on the front of the hood even if you can't cut all the joints at angles. Show it on the ends and top, instead. You can also get strips of veneer-like material that are sold in rolls with heat-activated glue on one side. That is made to cover the end grain on plywood and works pretty well. It is probably used mostly for shelves. A little work and trial and error might be needed to get it to work right on cabinetry.

Hiding screws is difficult. There are four approaches I can think of: 1) you can use braces inside the hood and screw all of the outside pieces from the inside to the braces; 2) you can put trim over the screws; 3) you can countersink the screws fairly deeply and glue a dowl end or a button-shaped cap over them -- you can just fill over the screw heads, too, but the dowl ends look better and are probably less likely to come out; 4) you can dowl the hood together instead of using screws -- dowling is picky work but it gets the job done very well.

I don't like using trim. I usually use a combination of internal bracing and dowling. You can study the way that furniture items in your home are put together to get ideas on how to assemble the hood so that screws don't show.

High speed rotary tools aren't real useful for wood work unless you're working on very small pieces. They're great for models, for carving and a lot of other meticulous sorts of work, but not much good for cabinetry.

I don't know what kind of saw blade you're using in your circular saw. They make blades that are specialized for getting smooth cuts through plywood. One of those blades should give you much cleaner-looking end grain than you can get with a normal multipurpose blade.

Have fun.


Roger Miller
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Ditto all of the above.
I do have access to a few more tools (router, table saw) but most of my results came from practice and planning. You can create the hoods you have mentioned using the tools you have, but you'll need to practice some to gain confidence in their use.

Scrap wood is cheap. You can practice everything you need with some scrap shelving or a 2x4.

Some simple things .....
Piano hinges are VERY nice in any design

Keep in mind the tolerences you will need to tilt/open the hod for maintenance. Replanting a tank is a lot different then ading flake food.

Lots of air movement. You'll need inlets/outlets in addition to the fans.

glass covers or poly covers for the lights. water will be splashing up

James Hoftiezer
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Old 08-01-2003, 07:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Jack,

It's not hard to make a stand and hood with nothing more that a circular saw. I hadn't done any wood working in years and recently I built a stand and hood for a 32g acrylic tank. If you want to look at some pictures click the link below.

http://adkins.dynip.com/32g/

Alex
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Old 08-01-2003, 08:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Alex,

Nice photo series.

Roger Miller
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Old 08-02-2003, 03:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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jack, sign up for a carpentry course at a local high school. you get to make what you want, and you get ALL the tools you need and also someone watching over you when you need the help. it will be money well spent.

rick
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Old 08-04-2003, 08:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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aspen,
I'll definately check up on the carpentry course. Thanks.

Alex,
Thanks for the link. Great looking stand and hood. Lots of ideas and inspiration.


James,
Great advice, as usual.

To everyone, thanks for the replies. Not sure what direction I'll go with the hood yet. But, I am certainly more prepared for a second attempt due to your advice and help. Thanks again.
Jack
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Old 08-04-2003, 10:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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One thing I would like to add. It is possible to screw into the endgrain of plywood. I did it for my hood. And you can easily hide the screws at the same time. They make countersink/pilot hole bits. It is a countersink bit that also holds a replaceable drill bit. Get everything aligned well and in one motion it will drill a pilot hole and countersink your screw heads. Then you are free to put dowels over the heads or place trim over them and you don't have to worry about splitting anything out.

Those same bits are also made with a holder where you can turn the whole thing around and on the other end is a screw bit. Just a simple slide lock connection. Less rechucking. I would be completely lost without mine now that I have used one.

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Old 08-04-2003, 11:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Roger Miller:
Nice photo series.
Roger Miller<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks. As soon as I get another picture or two I'm going to post it up.

Alex
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