DIY aquarium stand, what to paint exposed plywood? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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DIY aquarium stand, what to paint exposed plywood?

I built a frame from 2x4s. Have used plywood for a top on the frame. I know I don't _plan_ on any water getting down there, but is there an effective way to seal it that is easy and inexpensive?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 08:08 PM
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Shellac @ Home Depot. Two coats with a cheap roller.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 10:30 PM
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Coming from a woodworker. shellac would be good and would work perfectly but I would recommend an oil based varnish it?s the best in terms of water proofing

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Shellac @ Home Depot. Two coats with a cheap roller.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-22-2017, 11:51 PM
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Well ,, Conversion varnish or laminate..

https://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com...ood-finishing/


Neither are really easy nor inexpensive though..

anyways:
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Varnish which includes polyurethane and conversion varnish is the most durable of the finishes. It protects well against heat, solvents, acids, wear, alkyds, and water.
Pros of Varnish

Resistance to heat, wear, solvents, acids, and alkalis the crosslinking of resin molecules result in an extremely durable finish. It takes significant exposure to solvents, acids, alkalis, or heat to damage a varnish finish
Resistance to water again due to the crosslinks that are formed varnish excels at preventing water from passing through
Easy to brush and hard to spray (with the exception of conversion varnish)

Cons of Varnish

Slow Cure times Varnish takes a long time to dry which is why it is easy to brush on as you have a lot of time to work with. However, the long dry time allows for greater potential for dust to settle in your finish
Not sprayed easily (except conversion varnish) due to overspray floating and long cure times varnish can present problems in getting a clean finish when spraying (unless using conversion varnish)

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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Hd has some roll on poly.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 03:40 AM
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I like the Minwax Polyshades, stain and poly in one. Three coats seems to provide a pretty good seal. Some people have a hard time applying it because it is rather viscous but I've never had any trouble with it. Both times I used it was during the dead of summer though.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 03:58 AM
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I like the Minwax Polyshades, stain and poly in one. Three coats seems to provide a pretty good seal. Some people have a hard time applying it because it is rather viscous but I've never had any trouble with it. Both times I used it was during the dead of summer though.
It depends on the color. I've tried the bombay mahogany a few times and the color is way too streaky.

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Shellac @ Home Depot. Two coats with a cheap roller.
Shellac is, well basically, the poop from a lac bug. It is mixed with denatured alcohol (moonshine with chemicals added to make it poisonous) and it doesn't like water. A glass set on it with condensation will cause water rings.

Best finish would be a polyurethane, either oil or water. All six sides should be done. Especially the end grain. When it cures it is basically a sheet of plastic.

Avoid getting water on furniture finished with shellac. If you have a spill, wipe it up immediately. Shellac is a high-gloss finish that doesn't stand up to moisture well. Other surface finishes are a little better, but you should avoid letting wood get wet when you can.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...lishes-lacquer
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-23-2017 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 10:53 AM
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Sorry all, I though this was under the tank to be only used as a sealant.


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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. Another question:

Should I water proof the entire frame? It will have wood panel exterior.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 01:21 PM
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What type of wood paneling are you using? If it's a laminate some don't need to be waterproofed. Otherwise I would recommend polyurethane, I personally use water Based as it's easier to clean up. I usually do 5-6 thin coats vs 1 thick coat as it looks a lot better


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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 01:57 PM
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Shellac isn?t the poop of the lac bug rather the ?caccoon? it forms when it is metamorphisizing into its final stage of life. Shellac does hold up very well to water it isn?t a high gloss finish per se rather it can be if buffed out properly or if frenchpolished which I think would be overkill on a fish stand. Shellac holds up very well to water it can withstand standing water for several hours without being affected it can even withstand alcohol for a few minutes before it starts to burn. Maybe you?ve had bad results with it before but to my experience shellac is amazing and extremely water resistant.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AlonsoOrtiz View Post
Shellac isn?t the poop of the lac bug rather the ?caccoon? it forms when it is metamorphisizing into its final stage of life. Shellac does hold up very well to water it isn?t a high gloss finish per se rather it can be if buffed out properly or if frenchpolished which I think would be overkill on a fish stand. Shellac holds up very well to water it can withstand standing water for several hours without being affected it can even withstand alcohol for a few minutes before it starts to burn. Maybe you?ve had bad results with it before but to my experience shellac is amazing and extremely water resistant.
Actually it is a resin secreted by the female lac. It is not a cocoon. More like a tunnel as they traverse the tree branches. The insects suck the sap of the tree and excrete "sticklac" almost constantly.

The information about water resistance is from noted woodworkers, not from my experiences. And the links were provided. In all honesty I haven't used shellac as a top coat in over 30 years. There are way better, longer lasting finishes out there that are fairly easy to use and are more resistant to water and chemicals.
Polys would be the better choice at any rate and the water based polys are easy to use. But they do give a stark finish unlike the amber tint of an oil poly. I am able to do three coats in one day with water base. I normally do a total of 6. If you're looking for a satin or matte finish do the first coats with the gloss. Let your last coat or two be the satin or matte and you won't have the flattening agents clouding the finish.

To the OP. Yes, I would use poly on all of the stand to keep the same sheen so it looks right.

As an aside. Shellac is food safe once dried. In fact it is used as a coating for many medicines.

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Sorry all, I though this was under the tank to be only used as a sealant.
Shellac really isn't a sealer in this regard. It is used as a sealer between dissimilar top coats and also as a sealer for resins from woods like pine that are sappy. Also for odors. Not for water however.

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Last edited by GraphicGr8s; 10-23-2017 at 02:53 PM. Reason: added info
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 12:17 AM
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Adding some more light to the topic here is a sheet that shows most finishes and their pros and cons.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 10-24-2017, 01:38 AM
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Marine varnish while waterproof is definitely overkill for what you are doing. It is also a lot harder to apply and keep from streaking as it's a lot thicker than polyurethane


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