ADA Inspired Hardwood Stand Build - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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ADA Inspired Hardwood Stand Build

So, after about a year in the hobby, I've decided to throw some time and $$ into a new setup. I recently purchased a new ADA 32 gal tank, but I really didn't like the ultra-modern "feel" of the stand.

Totally understand the thought process for it, as to not distract from the tank, and to be a streamlined and uniform display piece. I like that concept, but I don't like the "cold" gun metal look or the glass versions. I wanted something warmer and more "alive," but wanted to keep with the intentions of ADA.

Soo... I saw a few hardwood versions of this and decided to start a project. I must admit, I've been pretty bad at a photo-log for the whole thing. But, I do have a pics of the process. I'm in the middle of finish work on the stand now.

Here are some process pics:

I went with Walnut. Love that wood, have several pieces made from it in the house. The carcass is built with a single sheet of Walnut plywood, and the face frames are jointed from a 1x10.




I'm planning to do an asymmetrical pair of doors, one with the cross bars and one without. They are glass panel doors, with frosted glass inlay. Behind them I will have an LED strip light that I can adjust for any color to backlight them, and also be able to see and work under the stand.



Here's a shot with the doors mounted. I used Euro hinges for a streamlined look. The doors have magnetic push catches, so they are also push-to-open (no pulls/handles). The plywood is assembled with dados and biscuits, glued up tight.



The doors were cut by hand with a lock-and-key joint here.





The finish is going on now, as you can see it still needs some buffing. The inside is satin poly for extra waterproofing, the outside is gloss. The Walnut is really starting to look alive though, loving it so far.



Here's a shot with the garden mat fitted. I screwed up cutting it, but it's very pliable and hopefully can stretch it a bit and hold it square with double-sided tape. It will stretch it a bit, but the top is dead level and it's pretty thick material. Don't think it will be an issue.



I'll post more to come. Hopefully I get the look I want with the backlighting and it doesn't distract from the tank too much. I think when the tank and stand are together it will really give off that earthy vibe I'm going for.

Would love to hear feedback, I'll try to update the thread if people are interested in where it's going.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 08:00 AM
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Nice to see someone working/w real wood. Recently made a bracket to hold a light fixture that was a tad longer than it should have been. Dual bulb T5 fixture for a 10g.
The wire brackets wouldn't close enough so it would slip off the rim. Wanted it higher by just a bit anyway. The square wood to go front to back (1x1 hardwood) was easy to find.
Had to go to three lumber supply places for the outside corner molding to get real wood
that you could barely call real wood. The first two places had something which looked
like wood with a plastic wood grain tape on it. Integrity seems to only be a word in
the dictionary any more. Would you put a corner molding in your house that had wood grain tape on it so that it looked like wood ?
Anyway enough for my rant. Your stand looks great. I haven't the skills for that level of work, neither the equipment. The band saw actually looks like it was made to cut wood and didn't come from "Toy's are Us"...LOL...
I will be watching for the finished product/w the tank on it. Should be awesome.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 02:04 PM
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Looks good overall.
The only thing that sticks out to me is the grain direction on your rails.

Are you going to buff out the gloss finish? I find the gloss very harsh unless I go through the grits and wind up using rubbing compound for cars then a polishing compound followed by a wax.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Looks good overall.
The only thing that sticks out to me is the grain direction on your rails.

Are you going to buff out the gloss finish? I find the gloss very harsh unless I go through the grits and wind up using rubbing compound for cars then a polishing compound followed by a wax.
Yeah, I was concerned that effect wouldn't "play" so to speak. The rails are intentionally vertical... They are actually face-jointed with cross-grain. So, the back is horizontal, keeping a thin 1/8" veneer on the front for the vertical effect. You can kind of see it on the shot of the joint I posted.

I did this to keep the visual flow from the ground up to the tank. Generally, the doors would be a solid panel - I didn't want to break that effect, so I tried to mimic what it would look like if a window was cut into a solid door.

Yes, the gloss is pretty outrageous right now. It will take a week or more to cure and be ready to buff out. It will still shine, somewhere between a satin and a gloss, again to keep with the style of the ADA stands.

Much of this was constrained stylistically, to honor the ADA concept and the eastern influence.

I have the glass panels installed now, I'll get some shots of it all set up and back lit soon.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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A few more photos:

Assembled for testing. Getting everything aligned, making sure the glass and gaskets all fit etc.



Testing the back light, the blue is a bit much but it shows up better in the photos. It can be adjusted to any color with a remote.



The orange is a bit smoother. It will probably end up white or off most of the time.



I do regret not sealing the face grain. I should have run a grain sealer over it, but I wanted to keep some texture. Looking back I think a smooth mirror finish would have been better. Overall I'm quite happy with how it's shaping up.

The magnetic touch latches still need to be installed, they will flush the doors in the center.

Now to take it all apart again for curing, sanding, and buffing
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 03:55 PM
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Great looking stand. I feel the vertical grain in your rails may have appeared more "intentional" if you would have grain matched your doors with the false front above.

Overall good work!

Best,
Nate


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Great looking stand. I feel the vertical grain in your rails may have appeared more "intentional" if you would have grain matched your doors with the false front above.

Overall good work!
Yeah kind of blew it on that, I got the idea late in the build and by that point the matching grain was sawdust

Used quarter sawn to try to just get vertical bars, but with the mismatch it doesn't quite give the flow I wanted.

I do feel that leaving it horizontal would break up the flow even more though, and I think this ended up being a bit more unique, so I'm pleased overall. I think most people who would take issue are woodworkers anyway And with the dark wood it doesn't translate as badly in person.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2015, 02:45 AM
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A week for the finish to dry? What did you use? I sand/rub/buff/wax right after 48 hours and have done it as soon as 24.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-09-2015, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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A week for the finish to dry? What did you use? I sand/rub/buff/wax right after 48 hours and have done it as soon as 24.
Gloss Poly.

Never seen or heard of it being ready to sand and buff that quickly... maybe satin... I've had it take over a month on some heavy jobs. I supposed it *could* be done sooner if you had a rush job. Has to fully cure, the best way to tell the full cure is to wait until it no longer smells like poly.

Either way, one thing I've learned from woodworking is patience, and I'm in no hurry. I just let it do it's thing. Wouldn't want it in the house anyway smelling like polyurethane.

I've run the sanding up to the limit tonight, going to buff it tomorrow and start setting up.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Reefer94 View Post
Gloss Poly.

Never seen or heard of it being ready to sand and buff that quickly... maybe satin... I've had it take over a month on some heavy jobs. I supposed it *could* be done sooner if you had a rush job. Has to fully cure, the best way to tell the full cure is to wait until it no longer smells like poly.

Either way, one thing I've learned from woodworking is patience, and I'm in no hurry. I just let it do it's thing. Wouldn't want it in the house anyway smelling like polyurethane.

I've run the sanding up to the limit tonight, going to buff it tomorrow and start setting up.
The only difference between gloss and a satin/semi gloss are the flattening agents in the latter. In fact if you don't stir up a satin/semi you have gloss.

I've used oil base poly for quite a few years. (OK. Decades) Whether it's MinWax, Varathane or the professional brands I start sanding after 48 hours. I've never had a problem with the finish. Are you cutting it down? Heavy coats? I do 3 thin even coats with oil.

My last project I finally broke down and used water based. I went through 4 gallons of the stuff and I have to say I will probably use it more often especially when I don't want the amber tint with the oil base. I was able to do 2 coats per day with it so 3 days all 6 coats were done. All the cabinet top surfaces were gloss everything else was 5 coats of gloss 1 of satin. Nice deep chatoyence with a satin finish. You can't get that from 3-6 coats all satin or semi gloss.

One thing I've noticed with Min Wax the last few years they've changed the formulation. Actually I noticed it way back in 99 when I stained and urethaned all the baseboard for this house. It didn't have the same draw as the old stuff and it was harder to use than the Varathane.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 06:37 AM
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wow, fantastic craftsmanship. really beautiful stand. wish I had your woodworking skills. Can't wait to see the final result with the tank on top.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
The only difference between gloss and a satin/semi gloss are the flattening agents in the latter. In fact if you don't stir up a satin/semi you have gloss.

I've used oil base poly for quite a few years. (OK. Decades) Whether it's MinWax, Varathane or the professional brands I start sanding after 48 hours. I've never had a problem with the finish. Are you cutting it down? Heavy coats? I do 3 thin even coats with oil.

My last project I finally broke down and used water based. I went through 4 gallons of the stuff and I have to say I will probably use it more often especially when I don't want the amber tint with the oil base. I was able to do 2 coats per day with it so 3 days all 6 coats were done. All the cabinet top surfaces were gloss everything else was 5 coats of gloss 1 of satin. Nice deep chatoyence with a satin finish. You can't get that from 3-6 coats all satin or semi gloss.

One thing I've noticed with Min Wax the last few years they've changed the formulation. Actually I noticed it way back in 99 when I stained and urethaned all the baseboard for this house. It didn't have the same draw as the old stuff and it was harder to use than the Varathane.
Might be the difference, I'm using water based, didn't want to impact the beautiful color of the Walnut with the amber tint, even though it may be slight. This particular project was pretty cut down, probably about 5-6 coats over 3 days. I've simply never seen it cure that fast, and in my experience when sanding before it cures it tends to cloud the finish, which is why I said maybe it could be done with satin, not because it's a different product, but because A) the finish doesn't have to be mirror shined, and B) you generally don't have to work the finish as hard to get it smooth.

On top of that, I simply don't like having the items in my house when they still reek of poly, and I let that die off either way. That can take quite a while in my experience.

Either way, if what you are doing works, keep on rockin Thanks for the input.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by skoram View Post
wow, fantastic craftsmanship. really beautiful stand. wish I had your woodworking skills. Can't wait to see the final result with the tank on top.
Thanks for the reply! I'm working on getting it set up now. I'll do some final pics when it's up and running.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Reefer94 View Post
Might be the difference, I'm using water based, didn't want to impact the beautiful color of the Walnut with the amber tint, even though it may be slight. This particular project was pretty cut down, probably about 5-6 coats over 3 days. I've simply never seen it cure that fast, and in my experience when sanding before it cures it tends to cloud the finish, which is why I said maybe it could be done with satin, not because it's a different product, but because A) the finish doesn't have to be mirror shined, and B) you generally don't have to work the finish as hard to get it smooth.

On top of that, I simply don't like having the items in my house when they still reek of poly, and I let that die off either way. That can take quite a while in my experience.

Either way, if what you are doing works, keep on rockin Thanks for the input.

Bump:

Thanks for the reply! I'm working on getting it set up now. I'll do some final pics when it's up and running.
Yeah Walnut is some beautiful wood. Probably one of my favorites.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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So just another couple of updates. Have a few "new tank" shots of everything up and running. I tried to reduce the file sizes this time.

Putting in the soil and rocks/wood. I'm sure this will be a KH nightmare for a bit with both Aquasoil and driftwood, but no hurries, no worries. I'll just keep regular changes until it levels out.



A couple of it set up with the light running. Forgive the poor photos, they are taken on my phone, and to this day I can't figure out how to get good tank shots with a phone. The light just oversaturates everything, so I mess with the brightness/contrast and color temps but then they end up washed out.





Tried to get a shot of the backlighting, but it comes out really aggressive in the photos. It's much more subtle than what you see here. This is a side by side, just a couple of examples of the colors I can pull out of it.



The LEDs I used are color-changing, but I wish I'd have gotten one where I could customize the color a bit. Also, they are on the same remote as the stand, and I wish I had them separate.

All-in-all I'm happy. If I could go back, I'd have chosen the cuts a bit better on the Walnut and used a grain seal. I also would have gotten one of the "misted" ADA tanks instead of this smoked glass product I used.

The tank has only been up for a day, so the water is a bit cloudy in the shots, but I think you get the idea.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-12-2015, 11:20 PM
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Great job man, nice work on this.

-Mikey G
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