reinforcing particle board shelf with 2x4's - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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reinforcing particle board shelf with 2x4's

Hey guys, first post here.

I've been wanting to get a shelf up for a while now to maximize space and let me add another tank or two.
I picked up one of these today: http://www.lowes.com/pd_101933-1281-...y_sales_dollar

Now I know that particle board is not very strong. The plan is to replace the particle board. My first idea was to buy several 2x4's and stack them side by side to make a shelf surface. I've read online about people doing this. The 2x4s are 48 inches long which is the perfect length, no cutting required.

But the problem with that is the 2x4's don't have exactly the same height. They are all slightly different heights. When I lay them together to make a shelf, I end up with a very uneven surface.

Is this a problem? Will it cause my tank to break when loaded? I've read about uneven platforms causing tanks to twist and crack.

Should I try and get one large piece of wood that can fit my tank so it's an even surface (instead of stacking multiple smaller pieces)?

My tank is a 29 gallon long.

Here is what I have going on right now. I still have more sections of shelving to add. The ball python cage is on the bottom.


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:18 AM
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You could always screw some high quality 1/2" plywood to the top of those 2x4s to even out the surface. With no support in the middle the plywood may sag but combining a flat surface with the less than perfectly cut 2x4s may be just the ticket.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:20 AM
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OK so this is just me on this stand being used for an aquarium.
I would get a piece of plywood...NOT particle board 1/2" and put it on top of the 2x4's.
I would get this piece to fit all the way to the edges all around on all sides.
Then I would center the tank between the up rights as exactly as I could.
But before I would put the tank on it I would cut two pieces of 2x4's the right length to fit from front to back. I would put them under the tank on each end with 3/4" sticking out on each end of the tank. If that makes you nervous/w only two of them then put another one front to back in the middle.
This will evenly distribute all the weight without twisting the tank.
Like I said, it's just how I would feel comfortable/w that stand.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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My tank is too small for the weight to be on the cut 2x4s at the ends. It's 30 inches long and the stand is 48 inches long.

How many inches of plywood stacked on top of each other would I need for a 29 gallon tank? That seems a bit easier and safer than trying to screw plywood onto the 2x4's.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:50 AM
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I would use two layers of 3/4" plywood.
I would screw the whole shelf to the wall, and make sure the back and at least one side is well braced in case it wants to wrack on you.....
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 12:36 PM
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I have the same shelving unit.

I have a table saw and pretty darn big workshop, but the ease of buying pre-cut 2' X 4' 3/4" plywood panels was just hard to pass up. The pre-cut panels fit perfectly, no trimming at all, and I didn't have lug a full sheet of 3/4" plywood home and cut it up. Just too easy.

I have a 40B on bottom, and 3 20G's on each of two shelves above that. The 20's are all end-view.

The 40B on the bottom has a couple of sections of 2X4 that support the middle of the plywood. There's also a vertical panel in the middle of the second shelf that supports the upper shelf for its' entire 24" depth. So the longest unsupported length is 24".

I wouldn't use 2x4's for all the reasons already given here as well as what you've observed. Also, by the time you add 2X4's and plywood over that, you've added significantly to the height of the horizontal supports and the plywood would most likely not be level on all planes and 1/2" would transmit the irregularities in the 2X4's you've already noticed. Lastly, with all that wood, you may as well make it out of 2X4's from scratch and save the cost of the shelf unit.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 12:55 PM
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You can probably just lay a sheet of foam on top of the 2x4's and even out any of the differences in height that way...

Though I have to ask why? The 36" version of your shelf can hold 800lbs per shelf, that's almost double the weight of your tank FULL I see no reason to need to reinforce the shelf. Do some quick looking on the strength of your shelf unit, I bet you don't actually need to do anything at all


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 01:16 PM
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I am wondering if the unevenness is just a bow. Looking at the first two pieces towards where it meets the shelf itself it appears to even out. If that is in fact the case a little weight will even them out. I still wouldn't put a tank on individual strips though. What about gluing them up into a solid panel since you already have the wood?

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaker8484 View Post
My tank is too small for the weight to be on the cut 2x4s at the ends. It's 30 inches long and the stand is 48 inches long.

How many inches of plywood stacked on top of each other would I need for a 29 gallon tank? That seems a bit easier and safer than trying to screw plywood onto the 2x4's.
I was working/w what you already had. The tank's weight would be spread out evenly if you used my method and ran the plywood all the way to the edges. Screws not needed. But the two pieces of 3/4 ply is much better.
One will hold the weight but may sag. That's not to say break. But still the tank needs to be directly in the center of that rack's shelf to avoid uneven weight distribution from any sag. Once again two sheets of the 3/4 would eliminate that.
Particle board was created to sell more of the lumber that used to get thrown away.
In my most sincere estimate, the people who made it first thought people would use it for packing crates and throw it away after delivery.
Using it for ANY other purpose...the results are on you...LOL...

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 02:26 PM
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2x4's flat are not very sag resistant.. Just push down in the middle yourself..
Multiple grain orientation in plywood makes it much stiffer..
I do agree w/ 2 sheets of 3/4. I don't agree w/ the shelf type.
29 long weighs 330lbs filled..
125lbs/sqft. I think

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
2x4's flat are not very sag resistant.. Just push down in the middle yourself..
Multiple grain orientation in plywood makes it much stiffer..
I do agree w/ 2 sheets of 3/4. I don't agree w/ the shelf type.
29 long weighs 330lbs filled..
125lbs/sqft. I think
If glued up it becomes a 1.5" thick slab. That won't flex as much once you spread the load out on each piece.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 03:56 PM
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Raymond got it right in his first post, but OP didn't understand.
2x4 like you have (in picture) with 2 more 2x4 running perpendicular on top to land the aquarium corners on.
The weight will be on all boards, they won't sag,and tank is properly supported on corners.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the replies. Lots of good ideas here.
Yeah, I misunderstood you Raymond. That makes sense only supporting it on the corners.
I talked to my dad and he mentioned having a 12x2 board that is 8 foot long. So we could cut it in half and it should fit perfectly with 2 boards. I'll see if I can get it flat that way. The tank is 12 inches wide so it should only need to sit on one board.
Then the plan is to set up a small 5 gallon shrimp tank to the right of the 30 gallon. Then if all goes well, I can start feeding the overpopulation of shrimp to the 30 gallon newt tank.
And yeah, I definitely need to chain this thing to the wall. There is serious earthquake danger around here.

Thanks! I wasn't expecting so many replies.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-24-2015, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermusic87 View Post
You can probably just lay a sheet of foam on top of the 2x4's and even out any of the differences in height that way...

Though I have to ask why? The 36" version of your shelf can hold 800lbs per shelf, that's almost double the weight of your tank FULL I see no reason to need to reinforce the shelf. Do some quick looking on the strength of your shelf unit, I bet you don't actually need to do anything at all
The frame of each shelf can hold 800 pounds, not the particle board which has nothing underneath it. So all of the weight would be on the particle board... and those particle boards are flimsy pieces of crap. If the tank was the right size to sit directly onto the lip of each shelf frame then I wouldn't even need a shelf at all.
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