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Old 04-06-2006, 12:40 AM   #1
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What type of wood is best for a canopy?

I'm planning to build a canopy for my 200G Aquarium. I will be sealing it with some sort of polyurethane to minimize warping, but still I'd figure some woods would be better than other. I also want to paint it black and would like to minimize sanding if possible.

Someone suggested furniture grade plywood or poplar. Can I get some insight on this please?

One more thing... how snug should the canopy fit? The tank is 84.5" from bracing to bracing, the wood is 1" thick, I was thinking I would cut the front panel 86.5" in length but that would make a very tight squeeze. Should I maybe go a little longer?

Thanks in Advance,
Dave
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Old 04-06-2006, 01:46 AM   #2
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MDF, and depends where you want the outside of the hood to sit.
I plan to have a 1/4" gap or less inbetween the glass and the hood.
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:27 AM   #3
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You could skin it or vaneer it with thin furniture grade woods if your intrested in that look.
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Old 04-06-2006, 09:59 AM   #4
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Plywood resists warping better than any solid lumber. I'd suggest birch plywood. They sell it in thicknesses of 1/4 - 3/4 inch at Home Depot. It's got two nice, smooth sides - a quick sanding, and it's ready for paint or stain.
Apply at least three coats of polyurethane for maximum water resistance, and be especially sure to completely coat the plywood edges.

I'd plan for at least a 1/8 inch gap between the tank frame and the canopy on all sides. This will allow for some wood 'movement' due to the humid environment.

If you can, post some pics of your project during construction.
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Old 04-06-2006, 10:01 AM   #5
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Im not sure if plywood or MDF would perform best (nither are solid woods)
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Old 04-06-2006, 01:17 PM   #6
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i would stay away from MDF... it absorbs moisture really well.

i used poplar lumber and skinned it with 1/4 oak plywood.
if you dont want to use a lumber, then use the birch plywood suggested above. plywood will give you good dimensional stability.
~mike
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Old 04-07-2006, 12:29 AM   #7
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A lot of the prefab canopies are made out of pine.
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:07 AM   #8
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If they're just going to paint it there's no sense in spending the money to veneer or investing in hard woods.

MDF can be problematic if it's not sealed properly. It is horribly bad at absorbing moisture. However, I made a canopy for a 20 gallon tank that I had and never had any problems with warping as it was well sealed inside and out.
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:11 PM   #9
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I built one of solid pine about 28 years ago, and it has held up very well. It is well sealed, and that is the key. When I build the next one I will seal all interior joints with caulking of some sort.
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:13 PM   #10
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I think I might try out MDF and seal each piece individually before assembly with varnish, then seal the joints with some sort of caulking, liquid nails or something. I'll support the whole thing with angle braces and do a front hinge so I can use the entire top area for lighting.

I'll post some pics of my progress as I go. Thanks everybody!
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