DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:55 AM   #1
butacska
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DIY aquarium stand lots of photos - first ever woodworking project


Hi guys, I haven't been here for a while, and the reason is that I couldn't get rid of the algae in my tank and I wasn't too proud of it, so I didn't come to post pictures.

Now, me and my husband decided to build a stand for the tank we have empty and tear down the 55g and put this 36g together. But as we didn't have a stand for it, we wanted to make one instead of buying one. The budget - of course - is already way over the price of the new stands but building is fun And… this would be our first together project ever

We bought 4 2x4-s first and make a frame, then we covered it with a ½ inch birch plywood, stained it and that is it… so far, as we could not make the doors yet… as we don’t have router table or table saw… And that would be a VERY expensive stand if we bought those just for this project.

So…

First we cut the 2x4s. the tank dimensions are 30x12x18 (30.5x11.5x~18). So we made an extra ½ inch on both side. We used my husbands miter saw for this.



Then we had 2 2x4s left to the height of the frame, so we calculated out how high the stand should be
So we had all the pieces:


That is the bottom.


The joint is a 1 ¾ wood dowel plus 2 3inch long drywall screws topped with woodglue.

Although this joint won’t hold any weight, I wanted it to be massive.

Bottom and top:


When we wanted to put the legs together, we realized that we made a terrible quality cut on the wood:

So a little headache and 3 hours later…




So now they were exactly even.
It is hard for me to explain how the legs are built (my first language is Hungarian), I’ll try to show it in the pics. But the legs are double 2x4s:

Dowels are holding them together plus glue plus the screws.






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Old 10-13-2008, 04:22 AM   #2
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Nice, I'm working on mine right now but it's not nearly as professional looking as this. I hope to cover up most of the defects with formica :/
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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Nice! Any pics of the whole stand?
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:02 AM   #4
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butacska -

Thats a nice looking frame you have there. Did you and your husband design it yourselves or did you use the design from somewhere else? The design looks like a combination of different ideas I have seen on the Internet.

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Originally Posted by butacska View Post
The joint is a 1 ¾ wood dowel plus 2 3inch long drywall screws topped with woodglue.
...
Although this joint won’t hold any weight, I wanted it to be massive.
While that joint won't be under a tremendous amount of load from the tank, your method of joining the wood makes a lot of sense. The joint comprised of butting 2 x 4s could have a tendancy of pulling apart due to the tendancy of a 2 x 4 wanting to twist. Your joint should remain sound and stay together without any problem.

What kind of 2 x 4s did you use? They look a lot like Douglas Fir.

Pre cutting all of your pieces is also a great idea. It allows you to check to make sure that your measurements between the pieces are precise which will help to make a square and level stand.

Great job!

I would like to see some full stand shots as well.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
butacska -

Thats a nice looking frame you have there. Did you and your husband design it yourselves or did you use the design from somewhere else? The design looks like a combination of different ideas I have seen on the Internet.



While that joint won't be under a tremendous amount of load from the tank, your method of joining the wood makes a lot of sense. The joint comprised of butting 2 x 4s could have a tendancy of pulling apart due to the tendancy of a 2 x 4 wanting to twist. Your joint should remain sound and stay together without any problem.

What kind of 2 x 4s did you use? They look a lot like Douglas Fir.

Pre cutting all of your pieces is also a great idea. It allows you to check to make sure that your measurements between the pieces are precise which will help to make a square and level stand.

Great job!

I would like to see some full stand shots as well.
Thank you guys for your comments.
It is just plain dougfir.
The design is defenetly some mixed combination of every sort of things I was looking for plans on the internet and could not find the exact thing I wanted for, so we just started without a fix plan.
As I said we calculated the height of the stand during cutting the wood
Thanks fot the comment guys
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:13 PM   #6
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Well... I drew the calculation for the 4x8 birch plywood. One sheet covers the whole thing.




The top was added first



Then the bottom:


As we don’t have compressor and nail gun, I used elbow grease and I loved doing it I loved nailing the plywood to the 2x4s. In Hungary, I have actually never seen a finishing nail punch and I just loved hiding the nails with the punch I used 3d 1 ¼ nails. A lot of them



Then I used wood filler to cover the tiny holes.



Then we added the back:


The sides:




And the front… that was the trickiest.



As originally we wanted to cut the holes out from a whole front sheet (we cut it up into top, bottom and 3 columns instead) there was nothing to hold the center piece… So we had to make something for it.




Finally it was done.



It has some kind of chicken pox… I guess… too many nails…
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:38 AM   #7
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The next step was the molding. Now that is a really time consuming procedure! I hadn’t thought before we started it. First we added the corners: ½ in quarter round.





Then we started the base. We bought pine baseboard for that. And it is a pain on the neck, to cut the 45 degrees angles and have the exact size… yuk…




We used a piece of plywood as a guide, so the saw wouldn’t break the molding.




We made some pilot hole into the molding, because it cracked when I was trying to put a nail into a small piece. (I decided to upload smaller images, sorry if they were too big so far...)







Then we started the top. We had a smaller kind of baseboard for that.




I like the way it turned out.




This is the top view:




On the back we are missing 3 inches of baseboard, but Lowe’s only sells them in whole 8’ long pieces, so I am going to check HD if I can find the same kind of baseboard.



Then I filled all the holes with wood filler,





and I let it dry for 20 minutes… it was time for a coffee break






Than I sanded the whole stand, first with a 150, then with a 180 just a little bit.After sanding:
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:12 AM   #8
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So after sanding…

I have never stained anything. This is the very first one! So I was kind of nervous about it. Especially since I read that birch plywood is a pain to stain… well I guess it is. I bought some pre-stain wood conditioner, and stain, the color is gunstock. I had some extra plywood I sanded it the same (150 then 180) as the stand and tried the stain out.


Haha it was funny. The first two pieces got the same finish plus conditioner plus one layer stain… and they are all different:


So I grabbed two other pieces, and without sanding I put some conditioner then stain, on the fourth one I skipped the conditioner and used the stain right away…



I have no idea why I got the results I got, I didn’t see the difference so I guess I just wanted to look professional with the sample

I cleaned the stand, first with a vacuum cleaner.


Then I wiped it with an old damp T-shirt.


You can see there was a lot of dust on it after vacuuming.


Then I applied the conditioner, waited 5 minutes, wiped it then stained the top first - this is the one side that’s going to be the most invisible.


I recognized that the nail holes and the wood filler is really ugly,

so I tried to sand the ones on the side a little bit more…
It got a little bit better, but not perfect..

ohh well, next time less holes, less wood filler…

Then I stained the rest of the stand.





I just love the color. Unfortunately the camera does not reflect the original color and of course it is not the final stage, but I just love this gunstock stain.




Then we made a little (2in) hole to the back for the wires:
(The inspector said it is OK to do so... )



And installed the timer and an other search protector.



Now that is it guys.

Today, after work I sanded the whole thing with a 320 sandpaper, it got really smooth. I love it. Then I stained it again, but didn’t take any pictures. Tomorrow I’ll sand it with a 600 paper and do the final staining. Why/ because I enjoy staining And the darker the color get the more I love it.

Later this week we’ll thy to do the doors or… it has to wait until the weekend.

Any comment appreciated.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:33 AM   #9
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Nice!
Built like a ship.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:45 AM   #10
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That looks great! Wish I had the skill and patience to build something so beautiful.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:39 AM   #11
butacska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lescarpentier View Post
Nice!
Built like a ship.
yeah, and as heavy too

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGH3962 View Post
That looks great! Wish I had the skill and patience to build something so beautiful.
Thank you
It for sure needs patience. And time. We were even thinking about buying doors for it, a little bit ran out of steam, but then today i bought some molding real quick so we HAVE TO finish by ourselves.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:45 AM   #12
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Wow, that's a really nice stand!
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:42 AM   #13
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Are you filling your tank with Mercury? That thing could hold a truck!

In all seriousness, the stand is very nice. The crown and base molding is a nice twist.

Great documentation, too!
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:53 AM   #14
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butacska -

Your stand looks great! I think your choice of stain was a good one. The stain is definately not over powering at all.

The wood conditioner is used so that the stain is soaked into the wood evenly. It basically fills the wood pores to some degree so that the stain is not soaked in as deeply. When you use birch, it isn't really necesary since birch doesn't have large pores that soak in the stain too deep.

What are you going to use for a top coat? Polyurethane?
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:27 PM   #15
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Very nice stand. Any holes for filter tubing? Why didn't you wait to do the staining until you have the doors prepped?
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