Help with my DIY ADA style stand
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #1
PRSRocker3390
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Help with my DIY ADA style stand


Okay so I'm trying to build an ADA style stand for my 45-P so only roughly 10 gallons. I don't mind overbuilding because it gives me piece of mind. Tank is 18 x 10.5 inches. I want to build an ADA style stand and have tried researching every possibly thread for weeks but still am confused since I'm not a woodworker by any means. I build some basic frame type stands out of 2x2's for a 10 gallon in my garage I didn't care about. It seemed to have held pretty well but wasn't good looking since it was just a basic frame. Well I want this to be a nice ADA style cabinet for inside my living room. I don't want the formica, I'm probably just going to paint or stain it to save money and just to make it easier for me.

I've looked at tons of threads and even jB's article on his site. But I'm trying to figure out what to do for my smaller tank but I still want it to be very strong. Any ideas? Here is my idea, I just don't know if this would even work or be strong. Warning, I don't have many tools. Mainly a drill, screwdrivers, wrenches, hammer, woodglue, the basics.

My idea was just getting two sheets of 3/4" plywood. Using it to make two sides, a back, bottom, top and that front skinny panel above the door that you see on the ADA style stands. Then I would basically join each panel together with glue and then screw a couple screws in at each edge where the panels meet to hold it together while the glue dries. Then eventually cut a door and install hinges and mount the door. So basically though, it is just a box like stand made from 3/4" plywood. No frame or anything using 2x2 or 2x4. Is that safe, would that even work? Would that just break? Should I also add metal L-brace type things to every corner inside the cabinet to make sure it doesn't move? Like I said, overkill is okay with me.

I have no clue as to what to do but I know I want to start soon because I want this tank setup! Lol

Please help out a non-woodworker figure out how to work with wood.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:01 PM   #2
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That is the basic design of almost all commercial stands, including those for the ADA tanks. It is extremely strong, and for small tanks you can even use 1/2 inch plywood. (I prefer using medium density fiberboard - MDF - but many people believe that is a bad idea.)
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:12 AM   #3
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Yeah I know nothing about fancy joint work with wood so I figured everything would just be butt joints with glue and screws at the joints. Then maybe use those metal L brackets for extra support? I'll use 3/4" wood because I don't mind overkill. Any suggestions as to something I should do in addition to this?
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:16 AM   #4
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I recently built a spec ADA stand for a 90-H. 3/4" plyboard is plenty strong for your application. If I were ever going to build another ADA stand I would be tempted to use MDF. Finding plywood (even furniture grade) that isn't warped to some degree is damn hard. And even if it isn't warped at the time of purchase that doesn't guarantee that it won't get that way. Getting straight cuts with slightly warped plywood is a PITA! Bottom line, decent cabinet or furniture grade plywood is more than enough for the size stand that you are proposing to build.

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Old 01-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #5
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I haven't built it yet but any good ideas on painting the stand and waterproofing it. I was thinking on sealing all the seams on the inside with something. For paint, I don't know. I'm thinking either the ADA type grey or possibly just black. But I want to paint to look really nice. I'm guessing primer first and then multiple coats of paint, any certain kinds? Should I waterproof after painting and how?

Also any recommendations on the build, feel free to always add to that as well.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:56 AM   #6
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Wood will never be completely waterproof, but it doesn't need to be either. Just paint is all the water resistance you need. The type of paint isn't that important either, use the one that you can apply very uniformly, for the best looking job.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:25 PM   #7
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I don't think you'd need to add any bracing/brackets, unless you are using them as an assembly aid.

Even just using but joints, it should be plenty strong enough considering the length of the joint.

Building a stand like that is basically just a box made out of plywood, it's relatively simple, and pretty strong. If you use 3/4", your stand is going to be built like a bunker (nothing wrong with that ). I think 1/2" would be plenty thick enough for that size stand/tank, but it might be easier to use 3/4", as it would give you a little more lee way when putting the screws in.

I'd also suggest looking at something like cabinet grade plywood, it's usually smoother, straighter, and will be easier to work with and less effort to get a nice finish.

If you plan on doing any other wood work/stand building in the future, I'd suggest looking into a pocket-hole jig. I had used one from a local tool-lending library (great idea, more cities should have them), and found it incredibly useful, especially for keeping the screws out of sight. I ended up buying the ~40 kreg version, and have been pretty happy with it.

Otherwise, you can just countersink the screws, add plugs, and sand them down, and it shouldn't be visible after the painting.

As to the finish, I also think just paint will be fine, and don't see much point to sealing the inside of the stand. Just sand the stand pretty good before painting, especially the joints/plugs, and some filler or something to plug any gaps/cracks/voids, use a primer, and follow the instructions on the paint can.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:46 PM   #8
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Thanks Hoppy for all the info. Thank you cobra as well. And also thanks lochaber for the informative post!
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:17 AM   #9
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Fully understanding you have minimal woodworking skills what tools do you own or have access to? Those that you own or have access to how good are you with them? For example if you're familiar with a router I can tell you how to build it with absolutely no screws yet you could pick up the stand before you ever glue it and when you do glue it it's self squaring and strong.. And it's really simple to do.

If you want a really slick surface from paint first sand the wood to 220. Put on a coat of primer and sand it A color coat and sand it. Another color coat and sand it. Last color coat and use 800+ grit sandpaper and sand it using wax as lubricant. Any car wax is fine.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:51 PM   #10
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You're welcome. Paint-wise we really need to know what the building material is going to be to give you a solid answer. FYI, if you use 3/4" wood (MDF or plywood), leave the 2x4 boards out of the construction. They are unnecessary and will take up valuable real estate inside the stand itself.

If you paint plywood be prepared for a lot of prep work (not talking sanding here). Many coats of sealer are needed to not have the grain show through the primer/paint. Assuming you want a smooth uniform finish.

Have Fun!

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