Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
3/4" pine is good as long as you pay attention to what the load is doing. My 75 gallon is sitting on a stand made of 3/4" pine, has been for over a year now.
Stud framing isn't over kill at all, in fact, as far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as overkill when you consider the consequences of a tank collapsing. The nice thing about building a 2X4 subframe is the strength you get for the money, and you can just overlay it with 1/4" hardwood plywood and it looks great.
I prefer to use solid hardwoods when I can or my customers can afford it just because my father detested anything BUT solid hardwood, he wouldn't even look at pine unless it was clear, which is not much less than oak anymore. I use a lot of of furniture grade plywood, especially if the hardwood alternative is too expensive, but even plyood with a good veneer isn't cheap, a sheet of cherry just ran me over $130.00, oak is about $50.00, birch is not bad at around $40.00.
I just started a shaker style stand for a customer, I'll keep a photo journal and post the process, for anyone who thinks they aren't a carpenter, hopefully they'll see how hard it isn't. Next to staring at my tanks, making sawdust is the best form of time wasting there is !