this was originally the first post, bumped it down so I could make the focus of the first post tank updates
So I've been holding off on posting a journal because I'm still waiting on my tank to arrive but I've got my stand pretty much totally finished so I figured I'd share.
I took a lot of inspiration for building the tank from malaybiswas' thread here
but with a few big tweaks. I built the whole stand out of MDF (for better or for worse, this is my first project, next time I'll use ply) then I laminated the sides and top, and finally I used some locally sourced reclaimed Oregon Black Walnut for the face of it. I'll do a full cost breakdown of the build when I get the tank in but as you can imagine for the stand the walnut was easily the most expensive component and probably tripled the cost of what it had been had I just gone with fully laminating it.
I'm calling this tank Oregon because the wood is Oregon Walnut and the rocks in the tank will be granite with quartz veins from the Oregon coast hopefully, still soaking them and going to test the water for hardness to see how they effect it.
The first thing I did was I taught myself how to use Google Sketch-up so I could render how I wanted the stand to be, unfortunately never having built anything like this before there were some minor allowances I had to make that I hadn't taken into consideration but in the end it all worked out.
The next thing I did was track down a nice piece of black walnut for the face, it was initially ~2" thick and I had it cut down the middle to be bookmatched then had it squared, cut across the top, and had it belt sanded which reduced the overall board thickness to less than 3/4"
I did a lot of reading on woodworking forums to figure out how I wanted to finish the wood, I landed on Danish Oil which is a blend of natural oil to stain it and a light varnish to seal the wood. I had to buy an orbital palm sander and a router (for the laminate) and then I was off and running. I started with 80 grit, then moved to 100, 120, 150, and finally 220 grit before rubbing it down with Watco Danish Oil. Each piece of the face got 3 coats of the Oil waiting about a day between each coat.
This is what the face pieces looked like after they were all finished:
At the same time I was working on finishing the wood I was working on the stand with the help of my dad who used to be a carpenter years ago.
note our expert use of Ikea storage containers in place of a real workbench
adding 2x2's for support:
scoring the laminate:
laminate glued on the sides w/ contact cement:
flush-routing the laminate:
after the laminate was applied to the top and routed we cut hand/hose holes in the sides with a jigsaw. I ordered some cable trap grommet's for routing wires on a desk from this company Mold Rite
My desk at work has these same grommets so I tested my 1/2" eheim hoses in the holes and it fit perfectly.
The part I don't have any photos of that probably caused us the most grief of the entire project was mounting the euro-style hinges. Because the thickness of the walnut doors was a little thinner than the thickness of the 3/4" MDF sides the hinges weren't aligning properly. We ended up having to route out the hinges on one side of it at unequal depths to get it lined up properly... all said and done though there's just a little bit of unevenness in the gaps above the doors but I'm totally alright with it.
I also ended up coating all of the exposed mdf I could get to with a few coats of polyurethane varnish after reading how terrible mdf is around moisture, hopefully this will protect it from swelling well enough if it gets some drips here and there.
That's it for now, I'll do a write-up of all of the gear I'm using once my tank arrives. I'm also trying to figure out the best way to mount some 3/4" square-tubing to the back of the cabinet so I can hang my light fixture.
Thanks for taking a look, please keep checking back