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DIY ADA style 60p Cabinet/Stand meets Exotic wood from OZ!

121390 Views 40 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  k zeller
Hi all,

I'm new to this hobby again and wanted to start off with something different. I have come across many DIY ADA style stands made from MDF or Plywood or Pine.. but what about mother natures' beautiful exotic woods?.. I live in Australia and we have some beautiful species and this one is my favourite so far:

Blackheart Sassafras Description:
Sassafras grows as an understorey tree in Tasmania's wet mixed forests and rainforests but also grows in Victoria and New South Wales. Timber from the plain sassafras logs was once used for clothes pegs because they do not contain any tannin. Today sassafras is famous for its spectacular black-heart stain caused by naturally occuring wood fungi which produces a range of contrasting brown to black colours in the heartwood.
Black-heart sassafras timber is used in wood turning, furniture, joinery, for veneers and in many souvenir items. Creative veneer lay-ups can produce stunning effects with even slight amounts of heart stain. Spalted sassafras timber, fine dark lines caused by stain fungi in the log after harvesting, is also attractive and popular in craft and furniture items. (Taken from IST Australia)

I have been able to source a small quantity just enough to make this cabinet. Before purchasing any woods to use for furniture, make sure its been kiln dried, seasoned and has a complete flat surface with no warping or cupping in the wood. Otherwise its not usable and cannot be joined properly and you will have a "wonky" cabinet.

Dimensions are 600mm Length x 300mm Wide x 650mm High x 18mm Thick.

First task was to surface plane all the required pieces, pair them up with familiar patterns on each side and cut the panels to size. Here you can see the beautiful natural tones and colours in this blackheart wood.

Next was to join the wood and give it strength in between the joints so we dont get pieces warping or moving once complete. I chose to make biscuit joints and use size 20 biscuits for this project and titebond III glue.

I used 4 biscuits between each join.

Next clamp all the pieces together to form a tight and straight fit. Leave to dry for 24 hours before sanding

Here's the finished back piece. Will look wonderful once finished using pure danish or tung oil. Note the pairing of wood to make it look more natural and not so out of place.

To be continued..
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Apologies about the delay and pics, had to host on a different server :)

Here is an update. I've finally joined all the required pieces and cut to size.
Cutting the service holes wasn't fun, but it had to be done!
Then biscuit joined all the panels together remembering to use an 90' angle ruler to keep things square and in check.
Next step was giving it a good planing and sanding. Here is the almost finished product before the final oil finishes.
For extra strength and stability, i've added L brackets screwed up on all corners.


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That's one nice stand. I can't wait to see it all finished. Are you going to use a natural finish or a stain?
I will be using 5-6 coats of danish oil and a few coats of bees wax to protect the final finish. Next step is to fix the door hinges and attach the door. Will update soon :)
Wow that wood is beautiful! I could never imagine it as an aquarium stand but now I want one! Excellent work!
Update - I managed to get off work early today.. so straight to the workshop to finish construction of the stand.. I fitted the concealed hinges then lined up the door and finally complete before the final sanding and oiling/buffing. Can anyone recommend a good finish?..

Since this timber is called Blackheart Sassafras, I wanted to show the blackheart growth displayed in contrasting colours at the centre of the door, just as in nature where its grown from the centre of the tree.

Also, here is a sneak peek of the next cabinet's timber. Tasmanian Huon Pine.. more details to follow soon!

You can see the timber currently seasoning in my workshop on small wood racks to circulate air and acclimate temperature and moisture conditions. This Huon pine was milled from a 2000 yr old tree then air dried for over 40 years before being milled into boards you see below. The smell of Huon oil coming from this timber is amazing.. I wonder if it would make your living room smell like a bit of nature if it was made into furniture??

Here is a planed, dressed and sanded piece of Huon Pine ready for construction.

Notice the lovely grain on this timber


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Thanks all for the tips and kind comments!

Update: Did final sanding and oiled up first coat.. In the end I opted for a satin finish, using Danish Oil and will polish after 5-6 coats. Will recoat after 24 hours.


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I would pay good money for something like this. Where did you learn so much about woodworking? I have been wanting to try my hand at it for a while.

Oh... And also... GORGEOUS, BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING I can't say enough.

It's simple and clean, the perfect stand.

Good job man.
Thank you :)

I learned from reading online, watching you tube and just common trial and error.. believe me, my first attempts and making things out of wood were horrible!..

I am making a few of these for some people flat packed and shipped internationally.. send me a PM if you are interested :)
Beautiful. Adds warmth and beauty to the clean ADA-style lines. Great job.
Hey man do you happen to have a picture of a tank on your stand? I would love to see that.
Are u going to sell those lol? Coz that's really nice...
Amazingly beautiful! I wish I could afford one!
In all my searching and browsing on the subject of aquarium stands, this one stands out (pardon the pub) in a class of its own. Bar none the most attractive, desirable piece I have ever seen! In so many ways it is counter ADA in that his stand try to be minimal and not take away from the aquatic garden. Your achieves that same goal with its clean CLEAN lines, free of superfluous trim and such, but goes so much further than grey synthetic-wrapped composite by being a window into nature in its own fashion.

Are the 600mm x 300mm x 650mm dimensions you quoted the size of the finished product? For some reason it appears much deeper than 30cm in the photos.
Amazing wood !great job!!

Gesendet von meinem Nexus 7 mit Tapatalk 4 Beta
Thank you all for the kind comments!.. It's good to see the interest still going around.

Here are some more pics for your viewing.


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And.. here are some others I have made recently:

Marine Plywood + Danish Oil Finish - 60x45x75

Marine Plywood + Chocolate Stain Finish - 1650x70x75

Tasmanian Blackwood + Danish Oil Finish - 60x45x70

Blackheart Sassafras + Danish Oil Finish - 120x45x70

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