Wood choice for DIY stand build? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Wood choice for DIY stand build?

Building a 2x4 frame is easy. Making it look good... not so much.

I've researched all available local wood, even went to a local lumber yard to see better grades of wood. Choosing wood seems to be what I'm caught up on, because I am already thinking ahead about how I want it finished... and I would prefer it to be stained.

Stand design will be simple, along the lines of..

http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/image...inColonia1.JPG

This will need both ply sheets for large surfaces, and boards that do not show ply ends for detail spots.

Ive been reading/watching many things about staining/dying, etc, etc, etc woods... What I've discovered is that there is no "trifecta" choice for wood to use in a project.

Pine - Many different sizes and qualities of pine boards. Have not found and FPS plywood boards that are even worth finishing. The better pieces have ugly grain and even some filler and cracks. However, there are lots of pine moldings that could be used. Remember, staining requires same wood types. Pine is difficult to stain.

Blondewood/Whitewood - These ply boards are finish/capable, possibly some variant of FPS, but its unknown if they will take stain same as the boards. They have absolutely no grain, so why bother with stain?

Oak - Limited sizes of oak boards. Larger ones (10" for canopy header) are prohibitively expensive ($100+ for 1x10x8'). Some decent sheets of oak veneer ply, but again do not seem to match closely oak boards. Very few oak moldings that are not pre stained.

Maple - Some finish worthy maple sheets with nice grain, limited sizes of maple boards. Notoriously difficult to stain.

MDF- My feeling is that if the project will be painted, why use anything other than MDF? It doesnt warp, is strong, smooth, can be bought primed, many sizes/shapes, cost effective.



I'm drifting towards maple ply and maple boards. Because its difficult to stain, I might just use a clear finish, although I wanted espresso.

Any suggestions for wood type to use that stains well, and is available in good range of sizes and affordable?
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 02:01 AM
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Affordable is an issue. If I was building and wanted stain I would use red oak. The veneer wonít match perfectly but nothing else will either.


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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 02:18 AM
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2x4 etc, stand construction is easy.
You could clad this whole project with birch plywood (most affordable) and trim.
Birch stains fairly well.

Oak ply cladding is another option and moldings are available if you don't mill your own.
If milling your own oak stock a shaper with high end cutters are needed.

Veneer is another art form of it's own.
It is cheap but the art is in the application.

MDF will accept veneer well but it still requires a special touch.

I resorted to pine grade #2 canopies due to the lack of #1 pine being available.
I use shellac on everything, but that is another sour subject from previous postings.

Luck!!!
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 02:32 AM
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I realize not everybody has the same tools or skill levels, but here is an example of something I did using pine 2x4's, some birch 1/4" plywood and no nails or screws - only glue.



I will agree staining pine and trying to make it perfect is no easy task. Much happier staining oak (done a lot of oak projects).


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 02:44 AM
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Very nice


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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 03:09 AM
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Edge joined aspen boards are easy to work with, finish well and don't warp. I've built 2 cabinets with them and have loved working with the wood. I use clear pine for the support structure and the aspen on the outside. My stands have no outside hardware so I can get away with a clean look.



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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 03:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
I realize not everybody has the same tools or skill levels, but here is an example of something I did using pine 2x4's, some birch 1/4" plywood and no nails or screws - only glue.



I will agree staining pine and trying to make it perfect is no easy task. Much happier staining oak (done a lot of oak projects).
I dont have a woodshop and few tools. I have a jig set up to make straight cuts with a circular saw.

I have wanted to get a router, and it would bring a wide range of cabinet doors and trim into reach.

Shellac wo wax, followed by multiple passes of gel stain is one way. A better way seems to be spray on dye, but that is a chemistry lesson and lots of experimentation. Would be good excuse to get spray gun.

Because i cant do much detail carpentry, i will focus on a quality finish and minimalist design.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 01:45 PM
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Plywood, even the better grades like oak has different grades. The look of the grain depends on how it is cut from the log. Most of what you find, the "cheap" stuff is a simple rotary cut. The log is rotated against a knife. That gives you the cathedral grain. You can get sliced cut veneer also but it is more expensive. There you can get the quarter sawn and book matched panels just like a solid wood.

If you're not finding quality plywood are you looking at the cabinet grade? In Cabinet Grade there are no voids nor any fillers. But again it is generally a rotary cut veneer so a cathedral grain pattern.

That cabinet you want does not require any 2x wood. Built correctly a plywood or solid wood cabinet will be as strong and a lot lighter. And it can all be done with a circ saw, a long straight edge and a router. Hell I've built high end wall units with little more than that. Well that and some clamps.

You talk about the price of the wider solid boards. Glue up your own. In fact if you decided to go with a solid wood instead of plywood you could glue up the panels yourself. It's a simple edge grain joint. And that joint is mighty strong enough. No biscuits required.

I like pine. I love the home depot 1x4 super strips for great knotty pine. Made an entire set of kitchen cabinets out of them and the woman that bought my house said that is the thing that sold her on the house. I built them in my garage on an extension cord.

If you do get a router also get, or build, a router table. The one I use the most is simply a laminated plywood with a cutout for the router plate. I attach it to a fish tank stand with clamps and use a simple fence I built.
You can make quite a few different moldings with a router. A shaper isn't needed.

Finishing pine is not that hard. The key is to use a sealer aka wood conditioner to avoid blotches. Thing is while pine is a softwood and gets blotchy on finishing cherry is a hardwood and has the same problem. Gel stains make finishing them both a bit easier. Even in stains there are a myriad of choices if you stay away from the low end stuff like minwax although I do use it a lot.

BTW if you look at woods like oak if you want that super smooth finish you are going to use a filler before you stain it.

If you do decide to do a cope and stick door, or anything that has rails and stiles the stiles, that part where you attach the hinge, runs full length from top to bottom. The rails are in between the stiles. Running the rails over the stiles is the wrong way to do it. BTW you can build a simple panel door with nothing more than a router, table, and a slot cutting bit.

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 01:58 PM
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When first learning a new art, I never favor going for the tough projects first. It is a learning thing and starting tough is a sure way to fail so go simple and then after doing a few and acquiring tools, take the next step higher. For your tools and experience, a 2X4 frame and then clad with whatever plywood you favor will be difficult enough to challenge you. End cuts that show? That is where the experienced folks know to use trim.
If it turns out right but not what you want, you can likely sell it easy enough and go for doing a second , tougher stand to keep. But if the first is not right, at least you will have less loss if you have to put it in the fireplace?
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 02:38 PM
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I hear people mentioning 2x4's I would recommend you use 1x4's or even 1x3's as it will make the stand a lot lighter and not sacrifice strength as you are going to add plywood or panels to the outside of it


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbacha View Post
I hear people mentioning 2x4's I would recommend you use 1x4's or even 1x3's as it will make the stand a lot lighter and not sacrifice strength as you are going to add plywood or panels to the outside of it


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I started with the utilitarian 2x4 design and it creates more problems than it solves.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Plywood, even the better grades like oak has different grades. The look of the grain depends on how it is cut from the log. Most of what you find, the "cheap" stuff is a simple rotary cut. The log is rotated against a knife. That gives you the cathedral grain. You can get sliced cut veneer also but it is more expensive. There you can get the quarter sawn and book matched panels just like a solid wood.

If you're not finding quality plywood are you looking at the cabinet grade? In Cabinet Grade there are no voids nor any fillers. But again it is generally a rotary cut veneer so a cathedral grain pattern.

That cabinet you want does not require any 2x wood. Built correctly a plywood or solid wood cabinet will be as strong and a lot lighter. And it can all be done with a circ saw, a long straight edge and a router. Hell I've built high end wall units with little more than that. Well that and some clamps.

You talk about the price of the wider solid boards. Glue up your own. In fact if you decided to go with a solid wood instead of plywood you could glue up the panels yourself. It's a simple edge grain joint. And that joint is mighty strong enough. No biscuits required.

I like pine. I love the home depot 1x4 super strips for great knotty pine. Made an entire set of kitchen cabinets out of them and the woman that bought my house said that is the thing that sold her on the house. I built them in my garage on an extension cord.

If you do get a router also get, or build, a router table. The one I use the most is simply a laminated plywood with a cutout for the router plate. I attach it to a fish tank stand with clamps and use a simple fence I built.
You can make quite a few different moldings with a router. A shaper isn't needed.

Finishing pine is not that hard. The key is to use a sealer aka wood conditioner to avoid blotches. Thing is while pine is a softwood and gets blotchy on finishing cherry is a hardwood and has the same problem. Gel stains make finishing them both a bit easier. Even in stains there are a myriad of choices if you stay away from the low end stuff like minwax although I do use it a lot.

BTW if you look at woods like oak if you want that super smooth finish you are going to use a filler before you stain it.

If you do decide to do a cope and stick door, or anything that has rails and stiles the stiles, that part where you attach the hinge, runs full length from top to bottom. The rails are in between the stiles. Running the rails over the stiles is the wrong way to do it. BTW you can build a simple panel door with nothing more than a router, table, and a slot cutting bit.
This is exactly where my thinking has been trending.

Router and router table - On my list. I am getting my mind around building my own table, but I have a bit of a fish emergency that needs the 75g to be up and running soon, so I have been pondering simpler designs. I think I will build the stand, and leave the doors, routing etc til after the tank is up... although having the router to shape the "fender" trim would be nice.

Re: joining pine into boards.. I realized that is the way pine builders create large surfaces. But I would need a table and frame to clamp the pieces together while the glue dries. Videos show specialized metal desk tool for this. Inexpensive way to do this?


Building with ply.. The problem is that the ends are unsightly. (Are there sheets where the ends can be finished? How?) I realize that 90% of furniture design is based on working around the shortcoming of available materials.

Aside, does it appear that the guy who built this stand used plywood with ends showing? He said he used maple plywood, but the ends look like wood. How do you do this kind of construction without ugly ends?




(It appears that he cut end caps from wood.. ???)


Cabinet grade plywood? Ends would still be visible so it would just buy me better appearance, not simplified construction. I went to a local lumber yard, they had a selection of "select" and COB wood (pine, red oak, and I think poplar.) But no cabinet grade ply. Where to get?


I am generally frustrated because building the stand is delayed by having to locate attractive ply with matching boards, trim, and researching how to stain so I don't make a big mistake later on.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Found this.. Screen moldings? This opens up some interesting possibilities.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 04:56 PM
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You can buy iron on wood edging. or attach solid wood strips to the ends (common)..like you see..
Kreg Newsletter


pipe clamps...pipes are more expensive than the clamps..
assembling panels is "not" for the squeamish..
Used to build bar tops w/ 21/2" sq oak strips..After gluing (carefully. trick is not to squeeze out ALL the glue) then down to an industrial planer to finish.. well main pre-finish..

as to doors many big box hardware stores have "buy and finish" door panels..
Using plain plywood panels is fine for these smaller doors though (w edging ) though if you look around at old kitchens you'll find they often skipped it and just rounded the edges..

Generally the most expensive part is a forstner bit and template (usually metric) to attach the euro hardware

not sure of your local supplies but birch panels and aspen/basswood mouldings are certainly common where I live.
also oak/oak.. Actually red oak moulding is a lot cheaper than clear pine..

aspen plywood cabinet grade is relatively cheap..


Luan works well too. bit soft but it has nice grain (phillipine mahogany) and molding to match is pretty easy to find..
Can be hind of slivery..
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Last edited by jeffkrol; 10-31-2017 at 05:20 PM. Reason: edit
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-31-2017, 05:21 PM
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You don't need 3/4 panels to skin a 2x4 frame for the main panels..



When all else fails..

Quote:
Go to a local cabinet shop (small shop). They can skin it fast and inexpensive. I did

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