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DIY stand and canopy or Adventures in Woodwork!

2829 Views 19 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Formiga
or maybe - Incompetence in woodwork!

Well decided a couple of days ago to take the plunge and build a stand for the 60 gallon tank sitting in bedroom. But having no experience with woodworking I thought I'd try something simpler first. A stand for my 10 gallon that isn't empty. I've gotten the framework done and the top and face of the stand on, at which point the 2 batteries for my cordless set decided that having sat for the last year that they were dead and no more cutting, or drilling. A good demonstration of forethought. I didn't photograph much, never having catalogued a DIY project before, (and again) but I did get some. I'll head to the dark room, and get what I do have up and with a narrative.
In retrospect, there wasn't much forethought into this project. Maybe any of you readers can give me some wood working tips that'll help out through this project.
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Alright as promised, the initial pictures!
The basic idea came from this, except I had an almost 4x8 sheet of 3/4" plywood that I'd rescued from a dumpster, and 2x2's are really cheap, as I work next door to a lumber place. Keep in mind that I have literally nothing for woodwork experience and only simple tools.

Pieces for the framework of it are cut. Like my sawhorse?

Basic framework from the back, front and top are on.

View from front, had gotten part way through drilling first of 4 holes for door opening corners when last battery had had enough.

Things I didn't think of in advance: Get a pencil, make sure of having correct bit for screws, measure twice, linear available amount of a 2"x2"x4' and the length of pieces needed. It's awkward cutting off less than an inch with a cordless trim saw. For a really big or pretty project like this, a level surface that is not at stooping height would be nice. I refuse to check but I'm pretty sure that nothing is square. I know the front piece is, as I checked corner to corner measurements, but I think I'll still pick up a piece of 1/2" styrofoam for under tank tomorrow. As well as ask my brother in law for some hardwood shims.

Hmm, too long. Anyhow, until tomorrow evening...
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I have to say, that it is still sturdier than a pet store stand!
Just home from work now, will eat - then do some more!
Kelley, that was the idea. Alot of the petstore ones looked sketchy, and expensive for what they are. And doesn't particle board swell drastically and get soft when wet?
idk if this'll work but i just thought of this but couldn't u stain the would so the water wouldn't be able to get through to the wood. i think it'll work because this would touch the water. =] =]
Well I don't know about stain, I'm gonna use bathroom paint as a basecoat, and then maybe black latex on top of that. I haven't decided on that though. I saw coloured stains that I thought was cool. Anyways, some more pictures.

Got the sides, and small back piece on - then drilled the holes for the corners of the front opening. My daughter helped!

As you can see, she's just the right to stand in front of it when all done and watch our finned friends!

Sort of finished!

The door isn't actually attached, it's just propped up to give an idea of what it'll look like. I ended up taking the doorish piece and trimmed it to cover the entire top. That goes hand in hand with some ideass on prettifiing it up. But you'll just have to wait to see that!

Now for some questions:

How do I make angled cuts for the neaten up trim I have in mind? If I screw the last piece of top plywood down from the inside, does it need glue of some kind? Or rather did any of this need glue? It's a little late on that one I guess. How do I attach trim pieces to hide screw, joints and other uglies? Screwing them down from the inside seems more difficult than reasonable, do they get glued on? I'll have to put some thought into these. It definitely sturdy though, I jumped up on it and danced a jig without it shifting or flexing.
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Your project is starting to take shape. Looking good so far. When I build my woodworking projects, especialy aquarium stands I allways glue where wood is joining wood. Even if screws are being used joints are stronger glued, less likely to start wobbling.

Keep the picture comming!
Want to see the finished project.
oh, well like I said earlier - not a lot of forethought went into the project, it's just a learning experience for a larger similar project. Is it going to come apart, or get wobbly due to unglued?
For the corners, there are premade small trim pieces that'll hide your corner exposures, simply tack them on with brad or small finish nails, sink the nail heads via nailgun or a nail punch, and cover with wood putty.

They look like an L, come in a couple of sizes. Thin enough that they can butt into a trim piece around the top and be inconspicuous.

If those are screws, I'd undo it and put the glue lines, myself, I tend to be a "make to so it can't come apart" kind of person for this kind of a project.
That stand looks stronger than the one under my empty 75 gallon.
Buy a cheap miter box to help cut angles on the trimwork. Or go crazy and buy an electric miter saw--some of those are big enough to do 2x4s (nice for the typical cuts as well as the mitered ones).
Coming along nicely. As mori said, get yourself a miter box/saw and you can make angled cuts for your trim.

its the yellow box in this picture
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A mitre box and saw eh? I'd imagine readily available at Rona or other places like that. I'll go looking tomorrow or sat.
Just read about miter boxes on wikipedia. How do you make your own miter box without a miter box? Extremely careful measuring?
Thinking about staining this still, and had some thoughts that have lead to questions. Stands to reason that different kinds of wood will appear different when stained. So how do I tell what kind of wood the mystery plywood is?
Never thought of making one, but I suppose it wouldnt be all that hard to do, Its just a half box with grooves cut to form an X so you can cut on an angle.
Basically the saw will fit into the grooves while the wood you wanted to cut is laying in the box. theres also a few more angles notched into it for other angled cuts.

I cant really tell from the pictures, but if its 3,5,or 7 plies thick then its most likely a softwood such as Fir, spruce, or pine.

If you are going to stain it either pick up a 2 in 1 stain and sealer, minwax makes these, or stain it and add 1 or 2 coats of polyurethane. It gives it a smooth and shiny finish that water will bead off of.
I can't seem to take a picture of it, but there seems to be 3 thick light coloured layers, with 2 darker thinner layers in between and a 1/2 mm or so light layer sandwhiching all of that. So I guess 7 layer. I miss my old Minolta manual SLR and hate this point and click sony digital!
If I were to take a wild guess, I would say Pine, or spruce. Very common to see in Pine plywood in the US, but as far as Canada goes, I dont know.
It does look more like spruce tho from what I can see from your pics. Pine usually has alot of knots in the wood, since its been already cut I cant really say, was there alot of Knots in the wood precut?

They all look nice stained either way, just some types stain alot more uniform than others, Pine tends to blotch up alot more than the other softwoods when staining, so you need to do a bit more work in getting the coat even.
Very few knots at all. The only thing I know about wood is what I've picked up from this project. If it looks ok to me when it's done, and it's more durable and stable than a petstore stand I'm happy. But It'll be sunday before anything else gets done, sorry. Wife going to some Harry Potty thing tonight, and I've got a broken coil spring that I've got to deal with tomorrow.

So until Sunday, thanks for looking!
No, I had a sudden unexpected change in job - which is decidedly a very good thing, but it meant not having time to finish it. Although with a long weekend here, it's going into service tommorrow, unfinished. I've decided not to finish it, just to use it temporarily. Two weekends from now, I'm going to start a larger one for a 60 gallon I've got sitting in my bedroom. I'll put a couple shots of the little one in use after the fact. Although I have to admit to I'm experimenting with algae and it's ugly!
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