DIY bookshelf modifications
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:09 AM   #1
Justbeginningfish
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DIY bookshelf modifications


Right now our tank is on top of the tv cabinet sitting over a cross piece where it is the most stable. But is not a good permanent solution as if it gets knocked over or breaks we will lost not only tank but tv and playstation and stereo

So how does this sound?

I got two bookshelves with a third to come tomorow, each is 48 inches tall, 29.5 inches wide and 13 inches deep. They are a serious pain in the booty to put together~!

They will all sit flush with one another so we can have a wall of shelving with no gaps. My dad is cutting a ginormous piece of of plywood or MDF, whichever will work better, to go across the back of all the three of them and we will actually bolt the sides together as well.

I picked out some trim to go along the top and possibly the sides as well to make it look more finished, and add that much more stability. It's small crown molding but in the same shape as our actual original crown molding that is almost 100 yrs old.

I figure we can screw a brace going along the back into the plywood to help give the shelves with tanks on them more support and even run braces on the sides to make a u shape if need be.

Each shelf is rated for 200 lbs but I dont trust it when it comes to glass and fishies!

I may also end up making a false top for them because they have a lip rather than being totally flush on the top, which bothers me and will limit what can be on the top.
The trim should hide any weirdness. and a solid lightweight piece of mdf or plywood going all the way across would add even more stability.

It's gonna be fun to move this whole thing when we eventually move! It will end up weighing a ton!

Im thinking that bolting them to a stud in the wall would be a good idea too, just in case a cat gets crazy or dog paws find their way onto the top of it. 7 yr old boys don't always have the best judgment either..i dont want a ton of wood and glass to come crashing down on anyone.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:21 AM   #2
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I've been a fish keeper for 30 years, and worked as a carpenter/painter/construction for most of my adult life. Built and modified a lot of stuff to sit aquariums on, but without a diagram or photos, there's not much anyone can add. I think I get where you are coming from, but I've had too many things go wrong (recently) between diagram and assembly. FWIW, MDF is more sturdy and water-resistant than plywood, but it's ridiculously heavy. I made a snake hatching rack out of it a few years ago, and had to take a saws-all to it when I need to move it!
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
FWIW, MDF is more sturdy and water-resistant than plywood...
You must be talking about different MDF than what I'm used to . The stuff I'm used to swells readily with exposure to moisture/humidity. Unlike plywood, I'm not aware of any structural ratings for MDF.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:15 PM   #4
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Crap, I was thinking of melamine. MDF is "medium density fiber." Mea culpa!
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Crap, I was thinking of melamine. MDF is "medium density fiber." Mea culpa!
Melamine is just MDF with two laminate like sides isn't it?

I used melamine to build a reptile cage about 12 years ago. Pretty easy to work with, but not too great around water unless you seal it up so water can't get to the MDF areas.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:20 PM   #6
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Melamine in this part of the country is more like low density particle board covered with a thin plastic laminate. The edge of a piece of Melamine looks like it's made of compressed sawdust, MDF looks more like compressed cardboard pulp. I'm not sure one is better than the other when it comes to moisture resistance. I've seen both fall apart with a little moisture but I don't think it happens as easily some people want you to believe. I used Melamine to bulid a stand for my 29g, it's held up pretty good but I am careful to clean up any water that drips onto the stand.

If you can afford plywood it's probably superior, and in some cases easier to work with, it will hold screws better, resist moisture a little better and might finish a little nicer if you get a good grade.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:29 PM   #7
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I thought melamine was what they made that indestructable dishware out of, and also what was poisoning pets in their food last year...im guessing they also use it as a coating for some mdf to add water resistance and durability.

after reading through this we will probably go with plywood though!
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:44 AM   #8
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"I thought melamine was ..."

Not just pets...babies too. it was in milk powder in all sorts of products (chocolate, baby formula) some of which were never pulled off shelves. It was put there because it makes the milk powder appear to have more protein (and more valuble). It makes me sick thinking about it.
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