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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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~18). 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.






 

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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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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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… :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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 :D
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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Discussion Starter #5
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:


[smilie=l:
 

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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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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
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 :D

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 :D :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. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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.

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 :D
:) Thanks and I hope to see my tank on the top of it too :D Yeah, the idea was to build it massive, well I guess we succeeded :)
 

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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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I am seriously impressed with this build! I make all my own stands as well, being reasonably handy with a hammer and saw, so I can fully appreciate the effort and detail in this stand. First woodwork project you say?? Pretty good for a first effort!

A trick I learnt many moons ago, is to use wood dust (from the project being worked on) mixed with glue as wood filler. Easiest way to get a perfect colour match, every time.

Any pics of the tank destined for this stand??
 

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I think she's tricking us all, she's a veteran expert craftswoman :D

I don't know much about making stands, but that looks pretty pro :p Feel free to make me one too when your done with this one
 

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Nice job!!! though I do think some one here does wood work. Why else have those nice tools? I wish I would of built my last stank that well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
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.
Thanks very much for the idea on the dye, on the next project I'll consider it.
I bought the molding today for the doors, we put a "sample side" together (just a piece of plywood approx as long as the doors and we nailed on a piece of molding the way I said before... actually 5/16 overhang) so tomorrow I'll take it with me when I go to buy hinges. We don't want to put the doors together without seeing how the hinge connects to them.

I am seriously impressed with this build! I make all my own stands as well, being reasonably handy with a hammer and saw, so I can fully appreciate the effort and detail in this stand. First woodwork project you say?? Pretty good for a first effort!

A trick I learnt many moons ago, is to use wood dust (from the project being worked on) mixed with glue as wood filler. Easiest way to get a perfect colour match, every time.

Any pics of the tank destined for this stand??
Thank you so much for your comment I am really happy about it:) And that sawdust idea sounds great, so on the nex project we will try out both (hoppycalif's dye and your sawdust) What kind of glue? regular woodglue? because it expands... or you just sand it down? :rolleyes::D
The tank is empty at the moment.

I think she's tricking us all, she's a veteran expert craftswoman :D

I don't know much about making stands, but that looks pretty pro :p Feel free to make me one too when your done with this one
Haha, I wish :) But this is seriously our first "together" project. I am a totally newbie to this but I definetly love it. Fortunatelly my husband has pretty good idea about putting things together, that helps a lot:)

Nice job!!! though I do think some one here does wood work. Why else have those nice tools? I wish I would of built my last stank that well.
:) Again... no experience in woodworking. My husband's profession is moldmaker. And most of our tools are from his job.And they are for metal, not wood ... :)That is the main reason for the fact that this project has already turned out at least twice as much $$$ as we had bought a new one:) (we had to buy clamps, jigsaw, sander etc) We got the miter saw from his son-in-law and this is the first time we ever used it :) But other than that... yeah, he has great tools. :) We used a 1/32 bit for making pilot holes for the molding :D He said it is not supposed to be used in a regular drill, only in very high speed... (above 2500RPM) We used precision measuring tools for the 2x4's... it was actually funny :D Especially since we found out that the door openings are NOT EVEN... 8-[:) But we'll figure out how to put the door frames together so it won't be noticable:)
 

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You did such an excellent job of documenting each step. The photos and infomation are detailed enough for even a novice woodworker like me to follow. I was so inspired by your success I decided to start on a stand today for a 55 gal. tank my husband surprised me with. I doubt it will turn out as beautiful as yours, but it will be much sturdier than a flimsy comercial stand. [smilie=l:.
 

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You used urethane glue, I think, which does expand a lot as it cures. It won't work well with sawdust mixed in. But ordinary Elmer's glue, either white or the "carpenters glue" yellow type work well with sawdust. Unfortunately I can't get stain to penetrate that either, and where the stuff smears against the wood, it shows up as light areas when stained. I have the best luck with the "stainable" wood filler.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
You did such an excellent job of documenting each step. The photos and infomation are detailed enough for even a novice woodworker like me to follow. I was so inspired by your success I decided to start on a stand today for a 55 gal. tank my husband surprised me with. I doubt it will turn out as beautiful as yours, but it will be much sturdier than a flimsy comercial stand. [smilie=l:.[/QUOTE]

Thank you so much! :)

congratulation on your new tank:)

I know that a couple of people here (plus my husband) said that the stand is way overbuilt, I still would put two extra 2x4 legs... one between the 2 back and one between the two front legs... for a 4 feet long tank... ours is only 30 inches long. If you chose this style (with the extra inch on the top) make sure you calculate some extra space... eg the base of my tank is exactly 30x12.5 so we made the top plywood 31x13.5. these are the frame's dimensions too, so the 2x4's are: 31''x10.5'' for the top and bottom frame. Also make sure you keep a level next to you all the time and check on the level horisontaly AND verically on the legs. Although you can correct it with shims later on, the more level the stand is, the better.
If you have any question, just write to us and we'll answer... if we can. Good luck to you! :) And make pictures for us!!! mandatory :D lol just kidding :) Maria and George
 

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I used a minwax wood filler on my last project and I hid the holes very well.


this was not the final stain but you can see the holes are covered.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You used urethane glue, I think, which does expand a lot as it cures. It won't work well with sawdust mixed in. But ordinary Elmer's glue, either white or the "carpenters glue" yellow type work well with sawdust. Unfortunately I can't get stain to penetrate that either, and where the stuff smears against the wood, it shows up as light areas when stained. I have the best luck with the "stainable" wood filler.
Hmm, the glue is actually an accessory that we didn't buy :D As a matter of fact i won it through an online contest :D So we thought we can use it.
We'll try both methods out and see which one fits better for us. It is really hard though to make it look like it is untouched (like no screw or nail went ever through it...) :)

By the way i sanded it today with a 600 grid sandpaper, it is so smooth, a fly could fall on it :D LOL I love it. Last layer of stain is comming up and I make some new photos.
 

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I also like to use steel wool as a final sanding. I dose a good job of picking up the small pieces of dust. You have done an amazing job, if you don't have an art form I believe this is it.
 
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