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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, not long ago i built my tiled top 20 long stand with a slide out sump. i knew i was going to upgrade eventually being that the tank was meant to be a saltwater. i ended up making it a moderately planted tank. now it has since grown on me and i wanted to go bigger. and you can't beat 40 bucks for a 40 breeder. and on top of that it holds just under 50 gallons. so i bought the 40 breeder. and seeing that my 20 long stand had limited space inside it because of the 2x4 framing i, i was against framing this stand. I've seen people build plywood stands using the kreg joint tool and thought why couldn't i make it from oak boards and capitalize on space is save without the framing.

now here is a picture of my design. it's not petty considering i used excel but i want to hear your concerns and comments. take into account that every board will be joined together using the kreg tool. even the side boards.

any and all advice before i spend the major bucks on the wood would be great. price isn't too much of an issue but i also don't want something to go wrong after i put all that time and money into it.

I'll keep the updates and pictures coming as soon as i get them. i promise. lol.

Bump:

Bump: I tried to get it as close to scale as possible.
 

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One problem that always has to be considered when you use solid wood to build something like this is wood shrinkage and expansion. Wood shrinks more across the grain than with the grain. For small widths it isn't usually a concern, but when you make a panel from narrow strips to get a wide board, the shrinkage can be very significant. You can design around the problem, so I suggest thinking about this as the boards get narrow faster than other boards at right angles get shorter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One problem that always has to be considered when you use solid wood to build something like this is wood shrinkage and expansion. Wood shrinks more across the grain than with the grain. For small widths it isn't usually a concern, but when you make a panel from narrow strips to get a wide board, the shrinkage can be very significant. You can design around the problem, so I suggest thinking about this as the boards get narrow faster than other boards at right angles get shorter.
I understand what you mean. And to be honest, it only crossed my mind once. Now I know pine shrinks because it isn't kiln dried. The red oak I will be purchasing will be kiln dried. Do you think I'll still run into that problem? If so, would be a slow or fast shrink like pine or even that much of a shrink as pine?

Bump: I also forgot to ask about lighting. I like the full dispersment of light that t5's give off verse other lighting, so with that being said, i was wondering if a 24inch hydroponic grow light fixture hung say 8-12inches above the tank would be enough to cover the ends of the tank like a 36 inch aquarium light would?

Bump: i'm also open to suggestions on lighting besides t5's. My ears are open.
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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You can handle wood movement. The only time it gets hairy with movement is in cross grain situations. Pine is kiln dried. Most woods you buy at a BBS is kiln dried.
A simple way to mitigate movement is using plywood that is edged all four sides with solid wood. That's how I built my library system. the down side though is the BBS only carries plain sawn veneer plywood. Actually it's more like they just roll the log and slice as it's rolling to get one long veneer. It needs to be noted that with plywood the grain pattern/direction is purely for looks. The strength is in the cross ply construction unlike solid wood.
I also used a tongue and dado joint where the sides meet. I can dry fit my cabinets together and lift them up without glue and it stays together. It's also self squaring.
The most expensive way to mitigate movement is of course to use quarter sawn woods.


Acclimate the wood to your shop for at least a week. Keep your shop as close to the humidity level in the house if possible.

Glue up large panels out of smallish pieces. It wil be less prone to warp.

If you do use solid wood then you need to be careful with the top and how you attach it to the carcass.

I've had the Kreg for years. I rarely use it. Well I use it when I can't tie up clamps for gluing. Or I don't have a clamp long enough. My go to is simply a really good glue. That joint will be stronger than the wood itself.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can handle wood movement. The only time it gets hairy with movement is in cross grain situations. Pine is kiln dried. Most woods you buy at a BBS is kiln dried.
A simple way to mitigate movement is using plywood that is edged all four sides with solid wood. That's how I built my library system. the down side though is the BBS only carries plain sawn veneer plywood. Actually it's more like they just roll the log and slice as it's rolling to get one long veneer. It needs to be noted that with plywood the grain pattern/direction is purely for looks. The strength is in the cross ply construction unlike solid wood.
I also used a tongue and dado joint where the sides meet. I can dry fit my cabinets together and lift them up without glue and it stays together. It's also self squaring.
The most expensive way to mitigate movement is of course to use quarter sawn woods.


Acclimate the wood to your shop for at least a week. Keep your shop as close to the humidity level in the house if possible.

Glue up large panels out of smallish pieces. It wil be less prone to warp.

If you do use solid wood then you need to be careful with the top and how you attach it to the carcass.

I've had the Kreg for years. I rarely use it. Well I use it when I can't tie up clamps for gluing. Or I don't have a clamp long enough. My go to is simply a really good glue. That joint will be stronger than the wood itself.
that is a lot of really good info. thank you. how would you attach the top? instead of screwing wood to wood leaving little to no room for expansion, i was thinking of using a few small brass angle brackets. screw one side to the stand the other to the top allowing for the shift. what's your take on this?
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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There's a number of ways really. They have "figure 8" fasteners. Looks like two washers and you drill a bit into the carcass to accommodate the thickness of the metal and screw it to the carcass. Turn the cabinet over and screw to the top. This allows the wood to move.

Here's one type.

Desk Top Fasteners, 8 Pack - Rockler Woodworking Tools


You can cut a groove around the perimeter of the carcass and make wood blocks that have a tongue that fits into the grove and a hole through it to screw it to the top.
What I do though is before I assemble it I cut the groove around the top inside of each side. Then I cut triangle pieces of wood and cut a tongue on the right angle. That gets inserted into the groove while I am assembling. Then I drill an oversized hole for the screw that holds the top. That oversize hole allows for top movement. And that's good. Better though that right angle forces the cabinet to square the top without much effort.

Here's another thing I do. You want to build in a shelf. Or attach the bottom. I cut a dado that is smaller than the thickness of the plywood. I cut the dado in position where I want the visible side to be. Then I cut a rabbet on the bottom of the shelf and sneak up on it until I get a snug fit. No more loose plywood joints nor do I have to buy a special plywood bit. (I've got a couple though they are getting dull hence this technique. Regular dado bits are cheap)

If you don't have a router table it is easy to do on a saw. I've used my radial arm many times.

Another way I've attached the top when it's a plywood edged is to use the Kreg. I put screws along the top rails that run the same direction as the top edge. And I leave them a tad loose.
 

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I understand what you mean. And to be honest, it only crossed my mind once. Now I know pine shrinks because it isn't kiln dried. The red oak I will be purchasing will be kiln dried. Do you think I'll still run into that problem? If so, would be a slow or fast shrink like pine or even that much of a shrink as pine?

Bump: I also forgot to ask about lighting. I like the full dispersment of light that t5's give off verse other lighting, so with that being said, i was wondering if a 24inch hydroponic grow light fixture hung say 8-12inches above the tank would be enough to cover the ends of the tank like a 36 inch aquarium light would?

Bump: i'm also open to suggestions on lighting besides t5's. My ears are open.
All wood shrinks and expands as the air humidity changes, especially seasonal changes. I have seen several DIY furniture (made by my dad) where cracks opened up over several years when two pieces of wood with the grain 90 degrees to each other were glued together. Either the glue joint would crack or the wood would crack. But, if you are careful how you join the pieces with grain direction changes it can work out fine. One thing I have seen a lot of is panel doors, where the door is stained/varnished after assembly. The panel then shrinks or expands or both and an unfinished edge starts showing at the joints. Again, if it is done right that isn't a problem. I always used plywood panels, just to be sure not to run into that problem.

If you hang a 24 inch long light over a 36 inch long aquarium you will very likely have more drop off in light intensity at the ends of the tank than with a 36 inch light, but you also have a lot less light spillover at the ends. So, I like using 24 inch lights hanging above a 36 inch tank. The hydroponic T5HO lights tend to be very good, and much cheaper than aquarium lights. As long as you are hanging them several inches above the tank the lower grade waterproofing should be adequate.
 

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If you look under an old table you will see it is attached with shaped metal plates in little grooves, this allows the wood to expand and shrink seasonally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thank you GraphicGr8s, Hoppy and Nordic. the information was spot on what i was looking for. for a visual of what you were talking about, i found this. they all look to be solid joining methods, but since I'm no expert, and you guys know what your talking about, which method would you choose. remember that i don't want to put all this time and money into it to have one minor mistake room it all. thanks again.

Attaching Tabletops | Building Tables | Wood Workers
 

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Pixel Prestidigitator
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All wood shrinks and expands as the air humidity changes, especially seasonal changes. I have seen several DIY furniture (made by my dad) where cracks opened up over several years when two pieces of wood with the grain 90 degrees to each other were glued together. Either the glue joint would crack or the wood would crack. But, if you are careful how you join the pieces with grain direction changes it can work out fine. One thing I have seen a lot of is panel doors, where the door is stained/varnished after assembly. The panel then shrinks or expands or both and an unfinished edge starts showing at the joints. Again, if it is done right that isn't a problem. I always used plywood panels, just to be sure not to run into that problem.

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I do make raised panels with solid wood Hoppy. And not just for doors. The ke is to get stain on the panel before it's assembled. You will never see the bare wood when it moves that way. Some people use "space balls" to keep the panel from rattling.

Bump:
thank you GraphicGr8s, Hoppy and Nordic. the information was spot on what i was looking for. for a visual of what you were talking about, i found this. they all look to be solid joining methods, but since I'm no expert, and you guys know what your talking about, which method would you choose. remember that i don't want to put all this time and money into it to have one minor mistake room it all. thanks again.

Attaching Tabletops | Building Tables | Wood Workers
Your link shows a breadboard end on what could be a solid table top. That is another area where it could lead to trouble not done right. A breadboard end is a tongue and groove joint. A bit of glue right in the center will force the movement to both sides cutting the amount that shows on either side in half. The ends of the breadboard are in fact secured with a dowel. The hole you drill into the tongue on the panel is however elongated to account for movement.

Much of how you build your stand depends on the tools at hand. I've got the tools so I use one method I've perfected. I've got other tools, like a router table fence that is accurate to 1/1000 of an inch I never use. And my Kreg doesn't see much use either. Mostly use it like I've said and also on areas where it would be difficult if not impossible to get a clamp on. I've just found it to be finicky to get face frames flat consistently. And yes, I've talked to Kreg reps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Much of how you build your stand depends on the tools at hand. I've got the tools so I use one method I've perfected. I've got other tools, like a router table fence that is accurate to 1/1000 of an inch I never use. And my Kreg doesn't see much use either. Mostly use it like I've said and also on areas where it would be difficult if not impossible to get a clamp on. I've just found it to be finicky to get face frames flat consistently. And yes, I've talked to Kreg reps.
Unfortunately for me, I don't have an extensive workshop. I have the basics. Table saw, circular saw, jig saw, compound miter saw, corded and cordless drills, the kreg kit i just picked up and the non electric tools (my wife calls those the caveman tools...lol) Because I'm limited on tools, the only way for me to go about building this is to use the kreg tool. Also, at the moment, I'm not looking to add to my list of tools (my wife might kill me if I continue bringing more and more in without a break in between).

But seriously, the info you guys have given me was great. Some of it I had thought of. Some of it never once crossed my mind. Thank you.
 

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Ive built stands for a 29 gallon a 55 gallon 75 gallon and a 125 gallon and have never had a problem with any of them.I think for a 40 gallon tank all you people are over thinking it.A pocket hole jig is your best friend.I have table saws,a shaper for raised panel doors and just about any tool in between but the one tool I will never without is my pocket hole jig.I don't know if you have bought the kregg yet but if not I would look at harbor freight they have an excellent pocket hole jig.You wont really save any money but it just seems like a better tool to me.I think the most important part is the corners and the stiles that's where most of the weight is,dont forget the glue its your second best friend make sure it water proof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ive built stands for a 29 gallon a 55 gallon 75 gallon and a 125 gallon and have never had a problem with any of them.I think for a 40 gallon tank all you people are over thinking it.A pocket hole jig is your best friend.I have table saws,a shaper for raised panel doors and just about any tool in between but the one tool I will never without is my pocket hole jig.I don't know if you have bought the kregg yet but if not I would look at harbor freight they have an excellent pocket hole jig.You wont really save any money but it just seems like a better tool to me.I think the most important part is the corners and the stiles that's where most of the weight is,dont forget the glue its your second best friend make sure it water proof.
i already bought the kreg. completely forgot about harbor freight. used to go there all the time when i lived in Chicago but now the army has me at Fort hood and the closest one is almost a 45 minute drive. Lowe's and HD are the closest ones to me and slim pickings as it goes unless i venture out towards Austin. i was going to use the kreg on the joints with glue but my main concern was a buckling table top. thanks to everyone on here i now think I'll be better off with this build. especially the top now. hopefully my tax return comes in within the next fees days so i can get this show rolling. already been 2wks. and as for the sides and back, instead of going with boats i think i might use some oak plywood just to make sure there's no over expansion of the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm really trying to stay away from the use of construction grade wood and do this solely out of oak and IMO a 3x3 piece of oak is going to be plenty strong. the table top will sit on the 3x3s and the cross members are mainly there to support the structure from wobble. correct me if I'm wrong. I'm open to criticism. i won't get butt hurt. if it's going to keep this project from falling I'm all for it but at the same time i don't want to over complicate it.
 

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Unfortunately for me, I don't have an extensive workshop. I have the basics. Table saw, circular saw, jig saw, compound miter saw, corded and cordless drills, the kreg kit i just picked up and the non electric tools (my wife calls those the caveman tools...lol) Because I'm limited on tools, the only way for me to go about building this is to use the kreg tool. Also, at the moment, I'm not looking to add to my list of tools (my wife might kill me if I continue bringing more and more in without a break in between).

But seriously, the info you guys have given me was great. Some of it I had thought of. Some of it never once crossed my mind. Thank you.
I've built cabinets with less than that. Well with that less the Kreg jig.
Yo can do rabbets, dados, and tongue and dado joints with the table saw. While I do have a bench mounted radial arm saw capable of breaking down 4 x 8 sheets of plywood, most times I put the sheet goods on a 2 x 4 framework on saw horses and break it down with my circ saw and a straight edge clamp. I do have a great blade for it and get glue joint cuts. My fish tank racks had the rabbets cut by repeated passes with the circ saw then cleaned up with a chisel. (Took me 4 hours to realize the batteries weren't dead. A chisel isn't powered.)
Hell you can do mortise and tenon joints with what you have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've used 2x4 and other 2x??? material to build stands. they're great,reliable and definitely over built but take up valuable space underneath a small aquarium where all that over building isn't necessary for the weight of maybe 500-600lbs. this is also going to be a show piece inside my living room. if it were going in my fish room i wouldn't care to much. since it isn't i want it to add close to what would come out of a carpenters furniture shop. i am limited in tools and because this will be my first time going away from the 2x?? material i will be taking it slow and making sure everything is precise,not leading to a mistake. i know the design will hold the weight of a 40 breeder. that wasn't my concern. my concern was the flexing of the hardwood and now the table top. but hoppy and others have given me some really good advice and that's what I'm going to follow.
 

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that is a lot of really good info. thank you. how would you attach the top? instead of screwing wood to wood leaving little to no room for expansion, i was thinking of using a few small brass angle brackets. screw one side to the stand the other to the top allowing for the shift. what's your take on this?
Glue is stronger than screw if you have app the clamps. Would be a good way to put your stand together.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok everyone, the time has come. I went out and bought all my wood. Had to make some last minute changes. I will not be building this from oak. For one, the selection of wood available to me was just crap. And my wife really got on me for cost of the build. So, I went with finishing pine. I know a lot of you are probably saying, "ugh, pine? It's not going to be strong enough." Well, I ran a test a few days ago. I built a coffee table out of pine about a year ago and it wasn't built properly. However there's no warping or wobble and my wife, myself and the kids all stood on it. Didn't even budge. That's about 500 lbs amongst us. It's also built out of 1x2 pine with 1x4 pine joined together for the top and bottom top and shelf. So, here we go. Today I will be cutting and making pocket holes. If I have enough time I will assemble it without glue and check the stand for defects. If ask is good I will disassemble, sand, stain and reassemble with glue. After its all assembled, I will seal it and go from there. Also ordered my aquatek mini which should be in today. More updates to come!
 
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