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Old 11-14-2006, 03:25 PM   #1
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canopy material...

I'm getting ready to build a canopy for my 75 gal to hook up my MH's up and I was wondering what the best material would be to use. If its wood, then what would be the best kind and do I have to treat it with anything special? Thanks a ton!
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Old 11-14-2006, 03:47 PM   #2
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I would say use anything but particle board.
Maybe the only way you could use particle board safely would be to seal it well.
After prolonged exposure to humidity, particle board will just fall apart.
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:04 PM   #3
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One other drawback to particle board is it's weight. Also, finishes are limited. I have used solid pine boards with good sucess, but there is always the chance of warpage. The design will have a bearing as to which is the best material, as will availability and cost of material.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:59 PM   #4
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Some nice finish-veneer ply would minimize the warping problem. Really, though, any wood should do, they all should be sealed on all sides and especially edges anyway, solid or ply. For sealing you can use a number of things, polyurethane or varnish over stain, or primer and then paint.

I would strongly advise against chipboard, particle board or MDF.
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:00 PM   #5
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Some nice finish-veneer ply would minimize the warping problem.
I'll have to check that stuff out if we have it up here. I'm definately not going to use particle board because for one it doesnt look very good and two, I know it falls apart really easily. Would berch wood work or does that warp really easily too? Thanks for all the input!
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:26 AM   #6
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Hardwoods like Oak are the best, Birch is fine, but it depends what you are looking for... I made one to match a rustic mexican pine living room set and I just used the best pine boards I could find at the Home Depot, knots and all. DO NOT get concerned about weight, you can't build it too heavy. The glass of any tank is super strong on the vertical plane. My LFS guy actually stands on the bottom row of ten gallon tanks in his store to reach the upper tanks, I see him do it every time I am there. There have also been people who put two 10 gal tanks directly on top of a 55 gal tank without a problem. My own canopy weighs over 30 lbs after wood/lighting/fans, and it has been on my 55 gal. for three years w/ no problems.

As far as treating it, I hit the outside w/ oil based stain and seal it with polyurethane in either gloss or satin, two light coats is enough (it's not a floor you're sealing here, it doesn't have to be built up too thick, just close the pores on the wood... You can touch it up a few years down the line by sanding it and applying additional coats). I spray paint the insides with gloss white Krylon, a couple/three coats does a nice job of sealing moisture and reflecting light.

Regarding MDF/Particle board, my buddies' 180 gal has a canopy AND stand made from MDF, painted with Fleck-stone spray paint... It looks nice, but you have to route the edges to a radius for it to look good and help shed water. The stand is entirely made from MDF, basically a box w/ no structural support/framework of lumber inside it at all... It's been holding his tank in the same spot in his living room for at least 10 years now.

Good luck & have fun it's a rewarding project.
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Old 11-17-2006, 03:25 PM   #7
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Awesome! Thanks for the info. I'll let you guys know how it goes once I get everything set up!
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:24 AM   #8
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Make sure you do get a good seal on the wood. The top to the hood I made is warped all to hell (U shaped) and lets a lot of light out. Don't think I did a very good job sealing that piece, the rest are fine.
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:52 AM   #9
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It helps to not warp if you can add a sub frame of some kind to any piece that is not screwed/glued/nailed down. On my 55 gallon canopy, I used a sub frame of furring strips on the lid, used gorilla glue, and a nail gun shooting 18 gauge brads. The thing is built like a brick s#!t house.
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Old 11-19-2006, 05:28 PM   #10
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it can be tough to get nice solid wood these days, not impossible, but hard. that was the reasoning behind suggesting ply, as it's easier to get a nice piece, ply is more consistent. But this is a case where there are a zillion ways to skin a cat, just depends on your skills and what you have visualized in your head!
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