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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm getting a custom open top tank soon. Plan on using a hanging Tek Light setup :)

I also am looking at a custom stand to go with it. I have invested this much money so far...not going to skimp on a cheap pine or particle board stand from petsmart LOL.

Below is a rendering to give an idea of what I am after (visual aids are a must when you want another to build something for you ;)). For the stand and accompanying shelf (can suspend the lights from it as well has have some plants and store my ADA ferts there :D)

Does the prices seam reasonable to you? I have seen some of the builders work and it is nice...just haven't priced out custom stuff before.

dimensions are ~ 38x17x30.

Walnut: $500
Mohagany: $450
Maple: $400

Thanks!
 

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Very reasonable. Suprisingly so actually fo rtruely custom stuff. Is the person do custom kitchens and/or baths by chance. They are really the only person able to to it for a price like that profitably. Lets say the company I work for gets 60$ an hour, by the time you take materials cost out, they are making it in about 5 hours or less. Theyare either very efficient or you are getting a good deal. If I were making htat on my own, I would charge about 25-30 an hour, but it would be a side job and not my lively hood, and I would have no overhead. I woudl still charge as much as them, probably more. I cannot of course comment on the quality of the work. If you really want to discuss more Gomer, contact me off list;) No, I'm not trying to sell my own stuff, just it can be hard to get all the details in forums:)
 

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About par for the course, for ordinary. Good if it is top quality. Cabinets do cost money. The materials are what count. Is this birch plywood? Does it include delivery?

Andrew Cribb
 

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If you are looking for solid wood, no ply at all, those prices are low, unless you want a hobbiest building it in his basement. Finishing is where the time is, and a good finish takes alot of it. I am a carpenter. Built my cabinet out of poplar and 3/4 birch ply. Birch and clear poplar (stay away from the green colored stuff) will look just like any of the woods that you mentioned, and many more. I finished mine in cherry. You would have to have a piece of cherry side by side to tell the difference, and even then you may not be able to tell.

I guess my only point is dont be averse to ply. It is stronger than solid wood, and it will save you money. Oh, by the way, is the door on your cabinet raised pannel, slab, or glass? A raised pannel door is ALOT of work. That'll add to the total cost.

What about the ADA style grey cabinets? How much are those?
 

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I worked in a Custom Kitchen Cabinet Shop and the prices seem about right assuming a $60 an hour shop rate as Dennis mentioned:

Full sheet of Plywood - $40(maple) - $100?(Walnut)
Hour of Labor to cut the plywood - $60
Edging for plywood $5-10 (depends on the type of wood and thickness)
1 hour to prepare and apply plywood edging (by hand) - $60
2 hours to assemble - $120
1 Hour to apply finish - $60

Now, if you add in the price of door hinges and pulls or knobs, and any other miscellaneous hardware (screws etc etc) that may be needed, you can see the price is about right. The price of plywood can vary a bit by shop, depending on the volume they use, and also the area of the country you are in.

Like Dennis, I usually only charged 1/2 of the hourly shop rate when I made cabinets for people (side jobs). However, I worked at a great place who didn't mind letting me use their space, tools, and utilities for my personal gain and profit. Not all shops are that nice to their employees.
 

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Just looked at the prevoius post and forgot about the doors :-( Like Jcolletteiii mentioned, the doors would take considerable time to do unless they are a flat panel plywood. You could add another hour for flat panel doors, which seem in keeping with the style of the cabinet, and probably a bit more to add edging around all four sides of the doors. Still, a pretty good deal, at least from my "professional" experience.

If were doing this as a hobbiest, without a full-blown woodshop, it would take me much longer than the times I listed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys :)

I'm going for solid panels instead of raised panels. ..makes for a less distracting look. I have made them before..and would build my own stand, but simply don't have the time anymore LOL. The doors will have hidden hinges. As for delivery, it is only $30 :D only charged for gas and lunch! can't beat that!!!
 

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Well, if delivery is gas and lunch I am guessing youa re dealing with a solo person, working on the side or just starting up:) Been there, done that;) That price definately seems very reasonable, neither to high or to low. Post some pics when you get it set up. Also, I really like the idea of using a shelf as the suspension point far hanging the lights. Who came up with that one. I like it alot!
 

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MatPat said:
Full sheet of Plywood - $40(maple) - $100?(Walnut)
:-s :-s :-s

Have you bought ply lately? You cant get a sheet of 11/16 cabinet grade birch for less than $45 bucks or so. I cant recall ever seeing maple ply for less than $70 a sheet, even before ply prices skyrocketed when the US govt bought up half the inventory to rebuild iraq.

What I spent on my project:

$45.00 11/16" birch ply
$80.00 3/4" poplar, mouldings
$~20.00 poly, stain

$145.00 total so far.

I have yet to build doors, though. I am going with glass, so a bit more poplar, and 2 glass panels - probably another $60-75.

The time involved is a significant factor, though. I estimate that it probably took me about 8-10 hours in my basement shop, which is pretty well set up. Probably 3 hours was finishing. Always take your time finishing. The devil is in the details. ;-)
 

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I really like the idea of using a shelf as the suspension point far hanging the lights. Who came up with that one. I like it alot!
As much as I would live to say I thought of it, there is no way I can and keep a straight face. However I hung mine from a shelf

 

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Actually I have bought ply lately. Like I said, I worked in a Cabinet Shop so I get wood pretty much at their cost :) I was quoting prices based on the cost of plywood where I worked. You cant even get a sheet of sub-standard ply that they sell at Lowe's or Home Depot for those prices, let alone 15 ply cabinet grade! I used paint grade maple ply since I was painting my stand, $42 a sheet. Clear maple would've cost me nearly $60.

In April or so of last year I built 3 stand/hood combos...2 to fit a 55g and one for a 30g. Total cost to me was $209 for each of the 55's. That included all of the cabinet grade plywood, solid wood (poplar) for the trim on the hood (bullnose and cove) and custom milled (by me) trim for the bottom of the hood and top of the stand to hide the plastic trim on the tanks, Doors, and custom milled base molding (again by me) to match the other trim on the cabinet and hood. It also included European style hidden hinges, pulls, and miscellaneous screws, nails, etc. The stand sides, center divider, and top were laminated of two sheets of ply, effectively giving me 1 1/2" sides, center divider, and top. Weight is distributed across a 2x stock base covered in molding.

I finished the stands and hoods in black primer (left over from a job) and coated that with post catalyzed laquer (sheen of 5) for use in kitchens so it is highly water resistant. I went with black because I didn't want the stand to take away from the tank. In the evening, when the room is darkened, all you notice is the tank!

I spent maybe 6 hours cutting, sanding, and assembling all three stands. Another couple of hours finishing. The doors probably took me a total of 4 hours for 6 doors. If I were to try this in my garage, which is also quite nicely set up, it would take me at least twice as long to complete it. I wouldn't be spraying ctalyzed lacquer in my garage either.

As far as finishing, it would be much quicker and probably give you a better end result if you use a dye versus a stain, either light red or dark red mahogany. It will be much easier to match the different wood species you used with dye and will not splotch as bad either. Keep a bit of denatured alcohol on hand so you can wipe over any spots where the dye stain is too dark. Another trick is to finish everything you can before you assemble it. I cut all of my pieces and finished them before they were assembled, even the trim. Much easier/faster that way! I do the same with crown moulding when I install that. Paint/stain prior to installing. Saves a bunch of time.

Poplar with green streaks in it would also be fine to use. If you put it out in the sun for an afternoon the green streaks will darken to brown and the lighter wood will get a bit darker. They are much easier to camoflage that way. Could save you a bit of money on future poplar expenses :)
 

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I just found this place and it's within a hundred miles of me , I'm going to have fun come spring (no heat in the shop :-s)

http://www.hardwoodcenter.com/
 

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Looks like the stand is shaping up nicely Gomer!

Since I am (was) a professional cabinet maker the grain orientation on the interior of the stand and the doors really bothers me. If it were me, I would have oriented the grain on the back panel, the center divider, and the doors vertically instead of horizontally (though this may have been more expensive doe to needind more plywood). This doesn't have anything to do with strength of the cabinet, since they are plywood panels, but it just looks a bit strange to me.

The interior panels really don't make much of a difference but I would INSIST that the doors be oriented vertically. It would really make the stand look better IMO (just remember, opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one and they all stink). Again this is just a matter of personal taste and doesn't make any difference to the structural stability of the stand.

If you want to have the doors oriented differently, now is the time to do it. Don't wait until after it is stained and lacquered.
 

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Kind of off topic, but their update page for your stand doesn't seem to be very firefox friendly :)

Opened in IE no problem, though! And it's looking good. I may have to get them to build one for my next tank...
 

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pineapple said:
Glad you mentioned that one. I am not very happy with companies that fail to observe standards.

Andrew Cribb
We've got to remember they might not be computer guys. The fact that they have the marketing skill to put works in progress on a site at all speaks well for them. Now if they fail to respond to my e-mail that pointed out exactly what was wrong...
 

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Page opened just fine for me on Firefox 1.0, on OSX 10.3.7 .

The stand looks cool gomie, are you going to put all your filtration stuff inside that stand? Did you get the standard lecture from your wife on how badly you would get it if you spilled water on it :)
 

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As another proffessional woodworker, I think Pineapple was talking about Matt's post concerning the grain orientation, something that bothers the snot out of me aswell:)
 
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