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In revamping my 26 gallon bowfront aquarium, I would like to make a better hood. To get a manageable amount of light, I plant on using 55- and 13-watt lights from AH Supply, to give me ~2.6 wpg. Attached is a schematic of what I'd like to build, preferably with at least the visible portions constructed of light oak (to match the stand). At present I have zero wood working tools, though I do have some experience and can buy some tools as needed. I have drawn it with some legs to keep it off the tank, but could do without those if it had some sort of hinge to allow is feeding and tank maint.

Any thoughts on how I can best go about this? As I see it, the curve presents the greatest part of the challenge!

Thanks!
 

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Sorry it took me so long to get to this. I have been busy and then it got lost in the shuffle for me when APC reformated.

If you have some experience, it should not be to hard to do. You will need some tools though, a friends shop would be perfect but you may need to get the curved parts cut.

The hood only needs to be ~3" high to accomidate the lights. I would first cut my back piece to exactly hte same length as the tank frame and cut your 2 ends to the correct length based on the amount of space you want to allow at the back for equipment. The back piece should be cut to the height you want the *inside* of the hood to be. The 2 ends should be cut 3/8" taller + the thickness of the hood's top as they will actually sit down below the frame of the tank to keep the light from falling in:)

The top of the hood should have the curve cut into front and be exactly the same length as the back (cut them both at the same time using a stop if possible).

Now, place the ends onto the top of the hood remembering that the back (just hold or clamp them there) because you need to mark the angle of the front. Cut this angle.

Now glue and nail, screw or clamp the back onto the top, aligning th etop edge of the back with the top edge of the top. Next, glue etc the sides onto this assembly.

Personally I would make the hood out of MDF and then paint it, inside and out. If you want it to look like wood, this will be the hardest. Easiest would be to use solid wood and give it a few coats of spar varnish to protect it from moisture and humidity. The front curve is obviously the hardest. If you wanted to paint it, use a peice of 1/4" mdf and bend it around the top with clamps. Use lots of glue and make sure it is very dry before unclamping it. You are best using Gorilla glue. While it is a little pricy, it is the best choice for the hot, humid, wet conditions the hood will live in. If you wanted to make it out of solid wood, see if you can locate a some 1/8" to 1/4" solid wood in the species of your choice. You might be able to find the thin stuff at home depot but more likely you would need to get it made by a local woodworker of maybe there is a Woodcraft store near you. They often have the thinner stuff. If you are unable to find the wood you need, contact me by PM or email and I will try to help you out. Maybe I could make and mail you the laminations you need.

Either way, if you go the solid route, you should use 2 layers of 1/8" material (although 1 1/4" piece would probably work but be less rigid and might warp) I would cut 2 pieces of scrap wood, plywood, mdf, etc the same length (or a little longer) and with the same curveto use a clamp cauls. Glue the 2 laminations together and clamp them onto the curved cauls until the glue dries. When you unclamp it, the front piece might spring back a little it will be almost the right cruve and you can easily bend it tothe correct by glueing and clamping it onto the actual hood.

Sand everything flush and smooth and finish as required.

I hope this is easy enough to understand and please, feel free to ask more questions as you need:)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tips, Dennis!

I don't have my lights yet, but I will update this thread as my hood progresses.

The biggest challenge for me will be coming up with the tools- my dad has all the tools, but unfortunately he's an 8-hour drive away! Perhaps this will be a good excuse for a visit... :)
 
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