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Old 10-06-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
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DIY plywood only stand - questions

I've searched hither and yon and it looks like nearly everyone builds their stand out of dimensional lumber. I'm an amateur woodworker, having built my fair share of mission style furniture.

I know very well how strong plywood is, thus I'd like to build a stand strictly out of plywood for a 90g tank.

I'm looking for either interior pictures of a stand you've built using just plywood or pictures of the interior of commercial made stand.

So far, the only things I know for sure is that I'm going to use cabinet grade 3/4" plywood, I'll use pocket screws (and glue) to hold the whole mess together, I'll double up plywood on the bottom few inches to provide a support for the floor of the cabinet/stand, I'll run a strip of plywood (about 3" wide) between the middle of the front and back to prevent bowing of the stand while it's unloaded, and I'm going to trim at least the bottom with built up moulding.

I'll most likely use european hinges, since I want the hinges concealed. I haven't decided whether I'll use solid wood strips to conceal the ends of the plywood or if I'll trim it with mouding or use veneer tape.

I'm 99 and 44/100ths percent sure the aquarium should rest on the cabinet walls, this will let me trim out the top to cover the bottom frame of the aquarium - can someone confirm this?

Hopefully someone out there has done this already and can point me to some gotchas to avoid.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:27 PM   #2
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For a glass aquarium, all of the weight is supported by the bottom trim of the tank, so and open bottom cabinet will be fine.

If the aquarium is acrylic, then a solid cabinet top should be used to support the entire bottom of the tank.
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Vmax911
For a glass aquarium, all of the weight is supported by the bottom trim of the tank, so and open bottom cabinet will be fine.

If the aquarium is acrylic, then a solid cabinet top should be used to support the entire bottom of the tank.

Thanks, I should have mentioned that it'll be a 90g glass aquarium. I thought about a diy acrylic to the exact dimensions I want, but in the end, I'd rather buy the tank and spend time matching the stand to my other furniture.
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Old 10-06-2006, 07:24 PM   #4
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90 gal is pretty heavy, I would engineer the stand to take at least 1000 lb.

I don't have any pics for you since I built my stand out of wood (rail & stile with plywood panels) so the load is carried by the frame. However, I have built a wood working table out of plywood, and the plans appears solid.

The wood working table plans calls for 1" plywood for strength & rigidity. If you can't find 1", you can glue 2 3/4" together (with the undersized plywood these days, 2x3/4" is just over 1.25"). Instead of just a simple box, this stand is heavily reinforced. (If you look at a standard kitchen cabinet, that is just a simple box & not strong enough for 1000 lb).

This table has solid sides reinforced at each corner with 2 - 6" plywood legs jointed in a L shape (I used a rabitted joint for stability). The front & back is open, but the top is supported by 6" plywood rails at both top & bottom (& front & back). The thick rails prevents racking movement, while torsional stability is provided by the top & bottom shelf. So far this table had withstood lots of pounding & general wood-working abuse & is rock solid. A design like that would be something you should look into.

Note the table is 4'x6'. All parts are glued & screwed together. You will need to size things to fit your tank. With a glass tank, you can omit the top, but you'll need to put braces (maybe 12" wide x3) front to back to give rigidity). The tank should sit right on top of the sides/rails. You might consider adding extra legs down the middle as well to prevent sag (although the 4 6" rails make it pretty rigid.
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:25 PM   #5
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The reason ply is not used is because any moisture will cause it to fail eventually if not sealed 100%.

I strongly urge you to reconsider. But wish you good luck if you decide to go ahead.
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:48 PM   #6
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What is your motivation for a ply-only construction?
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by zacusmaximus
What is your motivation for a ply-only construction?
Timber takes up space and plywood is plenty strong - primarily the space issue.
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:15 PM   #8
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If all you are worry about is space, you can use solid hardwood. 5/4 hardwood is as strong as 2x lumber and only half as thick (although much more pricey).
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