DIY plywood aquarium stand for 55g - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2019, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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DIY plywood aquarium stand for 55g

Here's the plywood aquarium stand that I'm building for my 55g. The design is my own, based on several other stands that I had seen. I've built some cabinets before when I used to work for a local carpentry company. Originally I picked up a rabbeting bit to frame it with rabbeted edges, but I decided to just do butt joints with 16g finish nails and glue, and some extra plywood to support the corners. There are a few pocket joined corners as well, you'll see in the pictures. Next cabinet I make I'll try out the rabbeting bit.

The entire stand is made 3/4" of maple veneer plywood, except for the doors which will use some 1/4" for the middle paneling. It took about 1.5 4'x8' sheets. I've finished the stand, but haven't made the doors yet.

Total price was about $50 per 3/4" sheet at Lowes, $25 for the 1/4" sheet, and then another $25 for the cabinet hinges, plus glue, nails, pocket screws, and finish.

Tools used were a skil saw, table saw, miter saw, finish nailer, clamps, orbital sander, drill, and a pocket screw jig.

Enough writing, here are some pictures! I'll snap a few more as it looks now, I just need to clean it up. These are from a month ago. I still need to make the doors, and I think I'd like to make a matching hood as well when I have the time.




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Last edited by ererer; 11-10-2019 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Fixed image links
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 12:15 PM
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Very nice!! Much better looking then most of the 2x4 stands that are the typical diy stand. What did you use for your finish?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 05:06 PM
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Looks great! Are we seeing the front or the back? I assume thats the back, and you're not going with any doors on front to use that void for storage?

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 09:21 PM
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From the "king of overbuilding".. me..
Personally, I'd add 2x2" in each inside corner to transfer pressure to the bottom ledger..

I'm pretty sure its strong enough as is but the 2 things "I" worry about is downward force on the top cross piece and any flex.
Doesn't need to break to flex enough to strain the tank glass..

No idea on how much flex is in the plywood front cross piece and it's glue and the 2 pocket screws though so there is that..

Full spanplywood sides/back aren't an issue..


Besides adding the 2x2's gives more room for hinges ect,,
Of course I'd probably also do a center column..

My 55 stand is a lot like that design except for more of a supporting face frame on the front..
That's how the manuf made it.. Won't tell you what I did to make it up to my.. err.. "standards"
It actually folds up ..or did.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2019, 11:43 PM
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I'm kinda on jeff's train today. The span of plywood across the front is my only concern. Certainly does look better than my 2x4 stand I made for my 55g! Excited to see the doors. Staining or painting? I love a good stained stand.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-14-2019, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
I'm kinda on jeff's train today. The span of plywood across the front is my only concern. Certainly does look better than my 2x4 stand I made for my 55g! Excited to see the doors. Staining or painting? I love a good stained stand.

It's been years since I really looked at the 55 stand and most of my "mods"were to prevent racking..


Anyways point is the back uses about the same "style" w/ 3" 3/4 plywood spanner.
Only difference is the piece is slotted into the side panels w/ pockets..so still no shear forces on the attachment of the piece, just downward pressure on the side panels..


Example of how complicated the question is:
https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/b...plywood.54809/

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 11-14-2019 at 10:44 PM. Reason: edit
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Very nice!! Much better looking then most of the 2x4 stands that are the typical diy stand. What did you use for your finish?
It's still unfinished, that's just the maple unstained maple veneer the plywood has. I usually prefer finishes that leave most of the natural color of the wood. I've used tung oil and linseed oil on projects in the past and like the results of both. I'm going to try testing a few spots on some of the scraps I have and see what I like better. I'll post more pictures once it's finished.

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Originally Posted by lksdrinker View Post
Looks great! Are we seeing the front or the back? I assume thats the back, and you're not going with any doors on front to use that void for storage?
All shots are from the front, and you are seeing the back panel from the inside.

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Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
From the "king of overbuilding".. me..
Personally, I'd add 2x2" in each inside corner to transfer pressure to the bottom ledger..

I'm pretty sure its strong enough as is but the 2 things "I" worry about is downward force on the top cross piece and any flex.
Doesn't need to break to flex enough to strain the tank glass..

No idea on how much flex is in the plywood front cross piece and it's glue and the 2 pocket screws though so there is that..

Full spanplywood sides/back aren't an issue..


Besides adding the 2x2's gives more room for hinges ect,,
Of course I'd probably also do a center column..

My 55 stand is a lot like that design except for more of a supporting face frame on the front..
That's how the manuf made it.. Won't tell you what I did to make it up to my.. err.. "standards"
It actually folds up ..or did.
The above pics are before I added the face frame, I did add a face frame that does support the top sheet of plywood, as well as adding additional strips of plywood on the inside for additional support. See the pictures below. I would have been worried about the span as well. While I think the face frame was a good idea, the additional inside plywood strips probably weren't necessary, but I tend to overbuild as well.

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Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
I'm kinda on jeff's train today. The span of plywood across the front is my only concern. Certainly does look better than my 2x4 stand I made for my 55g! Excited to see the doors. Staining or painting? I love a good stained stand.
I'm excited to see the doors as well! Hopefully I'll have time come the beginning of January to finish and install them. I'm going to stain, I wouldn't have bothered to get such nice looking (and expensive!) plywood if I was just going to paint it I also prefer the all wood look to painted, generally.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the front with the face frame, as well as right and left side pictures. I am going to add two doors later. Excuse the glue marks! I still need to sand some areas as well as finish the whole stand. I'm also strongly considering add a shelf to the left side to put smaller items on top for a little more storage space. The right side is for my canister filter and my CO2 tank.







Here are some pictures of the inside framing, so you can see the added supports. The panels that make up the face frame are glued as well as pocket screwed together, which you can't see from these pictures, since the additional framing inside is covering the pocket holes. I wish I had remembered to take pictures of the face frame before I installed it!





You may notice that the three vertical sections of the face frame span from the top panel all the way to the ground (well to the shims at least, the floor here is really out of level unfortunately!). The main inside shelf on the bottom sits on top of the framing that you see in the pictures from the first post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
It's been years since I really looked at the 55 stand and most of my "mods"were to prevent racking..


Anyways point is the back uses about the same "style" w/ 3" 3/4 plywood spanner.
Only difference is the piece is slotted into the side panels w/ pockets..so still no shear forces on the attachment of the piece, just downward pressure on the side panels..


Example of how complicated the question is:
https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/b...plywood.54809/

Yes, that's a great diagram. The only panel that is panel loaded is the top panel. All other plywood sections are edge loaded, and I designed the stand in such a way that all of the vertical framing can transfer the weight on edge straight to the ground. The ~3.5" plywood strips that are in the corners and middle of the stand go from the top inside supports to the bottom shelf, which rests on the plywood box.
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Last edited by ererer; 11-15-2019 at 11:32 PM. Reason: Fixed some errors
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-15-2019, 11:40 PM
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Ah my mistake, I thought you had added finish off camera so to speak.

I would want a waterproof finish you don't need to touch up years down the road. My concern being long-term contact with moisture causing delamination. You might seriously consider either poly or paint.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 03:08 AM
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Coating the interior with appliance epoxy may prove to be worth while! I did that personally and enjoyed it quite a bit. Not sure if it would have help up any better than an exterior stain, but it held up to a lot of moisture while I had it.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Ah my mistake, I thought you had added finish off camera so to speak.

I would want a waterproof finish you don't need to touch up years down the road. My concern being long-term contact with moisture causing delamination. You might seriously consider either poly or paint.
In my experience, a sufficient number of coats of 100% tung oil holds up well to occasional light to moderate water contact, though sometimes I may need to recoat it. I like the way tung oil looks on wood better than poly, so for the outside I'll probably go with tung oil, with poly on the inside and other areas that have a higher chance of water contact and/or are less visible. I've never tried it on an aquarium stand before though, so we'll see how it goes!

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Coating the interior with appliance epoxy may prove to be worth while! I did that personally and enjoyed it quite a bit. Not sure if it would have help up any better than an exterior stain, but it held up to a lot of moisture while I had it.
Interesting idea! I may have to try that at some point in the future.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-16-2019, 09:15 PM
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In my experience, a sufficient number of coats of 100% tung oil holds up well to occasional light to moderate water contact, though sometimes you may need to recoat it. I like the way tung oil looks on wood better than poly, so for the outside I'll probably go with tung oil, with poly on the inside and other areas that have a higher chance of water contact and/or are less visible.

Interesting idea! I may have to try that at some point in the future.
Most hardware stores carry it by the quart or in a spray can. Usually white as well. It makes for a very robust and reflective coating. Your use of tung oil should look great. The exterior shouldn't be subject to too much wear and you can easily touch it up in the future. The stand isn't excessively large.


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