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· Registered
697 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi all,

i thought i would post this project in here as well so people can have a chance to see it with all the project details.

photos can be seen here: DIY 65 Gallon Tank Stand

This is the tank stand that I had been designing for about 6 months, and it's finally done. There were a few minor design changes, but in the end, they helped improve on the structural integrity and aesthetics. The stand will be supporting my new custom 65 gallon tank, which will weigh roughly 700lbs once everything has been added, such as water, substrate, hardscape, fish and plants.

This is the materials list for this stand. All items were purchased at Home Depot:

2 x 4: 5 - 8' lengths
3/4" thick Birch plywood: 4 x 8 sheet
1/2" thick Birch plywood: 4 x 8 sheet
3/8" Oak plugs: 6 bags - 15/bag

Hinges: 2 sets for cabinet doors
Handles: 3 for cabinet doors and canopy lid
Screws: 1 5/8" long standard
Screws: 1 1/2" long drywall
Wood glue

In total, I spent approximately $150.00 Canadian.

The Construction:

We started off by plaining down the 2 x 4's, which would be used for the internal frame of the stand. This was done to ensure everything was square and straight... or straighter. We ended up taking 1/4" off the width and depth of each lumber piece. This left us with extremely smooth lumber.

We then began cutting them down to size. The overall rough dimension of the stand is 34" high x 36" long x 20" wide. The next step was to cut notches into each of the vertical legs where the long horizontal pieces would go. This was to provide better structural strength, and to remove unnecessary stress from the wood screws. The horizontal short pieces were attached to the vertical legs flush via pockets screws, because we felt they would not be bearing any real weight.

The next step was to wrap the frame with the birch plywood. The 3/4" would go on the front, sides and top. The 1/2" would be used for the back, inside floor, doors, and the future canopy. It was at this point that some minor design changes were made, such as the front panel would extend past the sides by 1/2", and the side panels would extend past the back panel by 1/2". The overall effect was better.

The front panel consisted of separate pieces and were attached via pocket screws. They were then attached to the frame from behind so as to hide the screws. The side panels were then attached to the frame from the front, with the screws countersunk. These screw holes would then be covered with the oak plugs, and sanded smooth. This was done to give the completed stand a cool look once the finish was applied.

The back panel was attached to the frame using staples, more for quickness than anything. After this, we attached the top to complete the look. The top extended past the sides by approximately 1/2", and extended past the front by 2". It was at this point we cut the plugs down and sanded them flush. For the floor panels, we had attached the cross brace flush with the bottom edge of the horizontal brace. We then cut out support pieces that would be attached to the frame. Instead of cutting out one large panel for the floor, we decided to cut it in half and just dropped it in without screwing it in. This would allow for future modifications, such as cutting out a section to allow for

Next on the agenda was to dry fit the doors. We spent quite a bit of time making sure the doors were on straight and the gap between them was small. It took us even longer when we realized one of the hinges was damaged and was the reason why one of the doors did not hang straight. We also realized that the screws for the handles were too long. This meant a trip to Home Depot to return the hinges and get new ones, and to get shorter screws for the handles.

Now that everything was constructed, it was time to apply the finish to the wood. Me being me, I painted the inside of the stand red... colonial red to be exact. I like that it is an extreme contrast, but the colour suits the finish for the outside. I had decided early on that I would either apply a clear finish or paint it with a solid colour. This is why i opted for Birch, but would have perferred maple, because I like the small grain size and didn't want to spend the money on oak. I also liked the blonde colour of birch, which is why I decided on using polyeurathane satin finish. We applied 3 coats with sandings in between. The result was an awesome looking stand.

As an experiment, we added some clear floor wax to the top as extra protection from water damage, and used a car buffer to buff it smooth.

We had to call on another friend to borrow his mini-van to get the stand to my apartment, because we originally thought we could get the stand into SteveB's wagon. We were wrong. But we got it in and set the tank up on top with a piece of 1" rigid insulation separating it.

A side mini project will be creating a small frame around the bottom to hide the insulation and an inch or two of the substrate.

Thanks to Steveb for the use of his tools, garage, and woodworking skills. The stand is amazing and looks awesome. I will be adding some wire shelving inside for fishy supplies and possibly a puck light so I can see inside.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our efforts in creating a DIY aquarium stand. The next item on the list is the DIY canopy, which won't get built until I get back from my trip to NY next week. But I will post pictures of that process as well.

take care.

Cabinetry Wood Shelving Kitchen Home appliance

· Premium Member
7,439 Posts
That's a beautiful bit of cabinet making! Did you think of doing inset doors instead of the overlapped doors? I'm not sure it would look any better, but it would demonstrate your high skill level at woodworking even better. Now I will be watching to see how the hood goes - with your skills it will be very nice I'm sure. I'm stalled making my hood for now, so if you get going on yours soon maybe I can pick up some more good ideas!

· Registered
697 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the compliments hoppy, but trust me, it was more of Steveb's skills at using his tools than me. i was more of the assistant holding the tools :D

the idea of inset doors were actually never considered. we wanted to keep it as simple as possible, and the overlapping doors were the simplest.

as for the canopy, it will be simple box canopy with a front flip lid. nothing special AT all. so there won't be any ideas to be had, but you're more than welcome if you want to change your canopy completely :p
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