aquarium stand wood joint question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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aquarium stand wood joint question

I'm planning on building a stand for my 55g. but i cant make this too easy

I was wondering if a mortise and tenon joint would prove strong enough? I intend on drilling and using a plug along with gorilla glue to keep things from backing out.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:37 PM
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It depends on where the joint is located, and what kind of stresses are on it.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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the intention is to use 4x4 for posts and 2x4s to join between them w/ maybe a 4x4 post in the center front and back.

i'd like to use this join for the entire piece. so there would be two mortises at the top of each 4x4 post w/ a tenon on either side of the 2x4 to make a flush match at the top so there is a clear and level frame around the top. I plan on putting a flat top on this entire structure as well for piece of mind.

i will then do another set of these join lower to the base of the posts.

i realize i could easily do a pocket joint w/ screws... but i wouldnt mind doing something a bit different
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:46 PM
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Is one of the strongest (and most difficult) joints you can use. I don't know if the Gorilla glue helps...any woodworking specific glue will work and will likely be a lot easier to work with when it comes time to stain/finish the project.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HX67 View Post
...but sounds like you're a lot better off than most of people making stands. Actual "joints" instead of "screwing a 2"by4" to the side of another" is carpentry. Go for it.
this would be my first real wood project since... highschool...

it would seem to me this joint would be more secure and handle a higher load than a standard "screwing things together".

ultimately, i'd like to hit the community college for night classes after work for woodworking. maybe winter semester after my first born pop outs of the woman haha
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by original kuhli View Post
Is one of the strongest (and most difficult) joints you can use. I don't know if the Gorilla glue helps...any woodworking specific glue will work and will likely be a lot easier to work with when it comes time to stain/finish the project.
watching some videos, it doesn't seem so difficult with a wheel gauge, the right chisel and a mallet. however... i'm more than aware that i probably will run into trouble. but, measure 10 times, cut twice... or something like that

i've got some spare wood at home i'll be practicing with, and will be sure to purchase some wood glue. as you're right, the gorilla glue likes to expand a lot and i would assume it would seep out of the joint
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 06:59 PM
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I heard 4x4 post have a tendency to wrap/ twist over time.You could use 2x6 for the corners.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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I heard 4x4 post have a tendency to wrap/ twist over time.You could use 2x6 for the corners.
anyone else able to confirm this? ultimately i chose the 4x4 due to it's shape and really enjoy the look of those meaty legs like the industrial style stand posted here, the one hoppy posted https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/911308-post157.html and this one https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1208842-post298.html
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 07:14 PM
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Sorry for the mix up,it is treated 4x4 post that will do that.It's when they dry out they will twist and crack.If they are not treated you should be fine.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 07:41 PM
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The key to using dimentional lumber like 4x4 or 2x6 is to let the acclimate to your environment. Bring them into where you are going to construct the stand at least a couple of days before you intend to start. Stack them flat, do not stand them up and they should acclimate well. Based on your lumber choice, this will be a very beefy stand.

As for the mortise and tenon joints, they should work just fine and will be very strong. However, they are a lot more time consuming to make than you would imagine.

I would recommend titebond 3 over gorrilla glue for this application. It is a type 1 waterproof glue and much easier to work with than gorrilla.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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acclimation is a good point, one i forgot to consider. i was going to have lowes cut the wood for me but i would be better off letting it sit in my basement for a little bit.

taking my time to build the stand is also a way for me to not spend money and spend more time researching what i'm putting in the tank itself.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 08:04 PM
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Be careful letting the home center cut your lumber, their cuts are not always the most accurate.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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probably more accurate than mine haha. I'll be borrowing a miter saw and doing a lot of measurements before going ahead with the cuts.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 08:07 PM
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Just take your time, it is not that hard.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-14-2011, 08:33 PM
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Most 4x4 posts that you are going to find are pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine and also rated #2. The #2 rating refers to the quality of the wood. It is fine for fence posts and deck supports, but not really intended for finish work.

There is architectural wood $$$$, #1 $$, and #2 $. If you are planning on staining and finishing this stand to a furniture quality stand I would probably steer clear of pressure treated #2. Although structurally sound, it will have a lot of knots, irregularities, a green tint from the pressure treating process (used to be copper chromium arsenic, but changed to another copper based chemical can't remember exactly what it is), with a more likelihood of warping. Additionally, the wood will often still be wet from the pressure treating process and will take a long time to dry out (several months). This moisture from the pressure treating process can also cause problems if you try to stain the stand before it is completely dry. The moisture will be trapped deep inside the wood and may cause your finish to fail.

If you are set on 4x4 construction, Western Red Cedar may be a viable option that is fairly common and not crazy expensive. It has a nice straight grain and mills nicely.
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