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Old 06-06-2004, 08:41 PM   #1
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180 Gallon Tank Stand - Build Log

I finally got my tank in and I'm ready to get started. Thanks again to everyone who provided advice and got me back up to speed after taking a number of years off from marine aquariums. This 180 stand that I've started has gone through at least a dozen design changes since I began sketching it, including some recent ones while wandering around Lowes trying to pick out lumber (don’t you hate that). I originally wanted to do a 3/4 oak plywood stand and had everything planned when I finally decided that it would be a little too challenging for my equipment/ability. Now that I've started, I'm glad I changed my mind. Not only did I switch to 2x construction, but I kept ratcheting up the plans until I finally ended up with 2x6's with some 2x8's and 10's thrown in for good measure. The tank weighs a ton ... and it looks like the stand will weigh as much if not more. But that's not bothering me ... better safe than sorry.

Here's my first set of pics. Hope some of you benefit from this like I have from everyone else's pics.

The tank ... finally!!!


Started with the 2x6 frame - this is where to edge of the tank will sit


Then I put up the inside legs (it sure would have been nice to have a level surface to build on)


Used biscuits to attach the outside legs


Outside legs


Sorry if some of the pics are crappy. I'm just figuring out the wife's digital camera.

More to come ...
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Old 06-06-2004, 09:49 PM   #2
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Beefy!!!!!
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Old 06-07-2004, 12:02 PM   #3
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Looking good so far. I'm very handyman-challenged, so could you please explain what a biscuit is?
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Old 06-07-2004, 02:24 PM   #4
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A biscuit is a flattened piece of maple that expands when exposed to water. A slot for the biscuit is cut on the two pieces of wood that you want to join. The biscuit fits quite tight in the joint as it is, and when the glue is applied, the biscuit expands making the joint very strong.

You can think of the biscuit as a super dowel. Plus much easier to use.

Jim
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Old 06-07-2004, 07:52 PM   #5
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Beefy!!!!!
... and then some. When I picked up the tank and started to actually feel the amount of weight I was going to be dealing with, I went back to the drawing board. I know it's serious overkill .... but there's just about zero chance of having it fail and there was not much difference in price to step up to the larger 2x's

Quote:
Looking good so far.
Thanks dsmalls ... and thanks for the explanation yaksplat. One additional comment ... I only used the biscuits cause a friend of mine had a biscuit cutter to lend. Dowels or even toe nailing (w/ srews) would have been sufficient for what I'm doing. I had access to it so I figured, what the heck. It does make really strong joints. I'm going to be using it to combine solid oak pieces that I'll use to make the front face. It should be really helpfull there.
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Old 06-07-2004, 11:48 PM   #6
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Are you using solid oak? Or oak ply with solid oak trim to cover the exposed ply?

Jim
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Old 06-08-2004, 07:21 PM   #7
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Are you using solid oak? Or oak ply with solid oak trim to cover the exposed ply?
I'm using nothing but solid oak on the front. I'll be using 3/4 oak ply for the top, sides, and bottom deck. I've been looking around in HD and Lowes for oak crown and base, and man is it ever expensive. My trim cost is going to be equal to my 2x cost and more than my solid oak cost. But I think it's going to be worth it. I'm going for a real formal cherry finished furniture kind of look. Please stay tuned for an @$$ load of questions on staining.

Here's some more pics of progress:
I attached the 3 middle legs

different angle

and put on the top frame

side view

then some cross bracing and the 2x frame is pretty much complete.


This thing is solid as a rock. My neighbor came over and he's convinced it could survive a small missle strike. What do ya'll think?
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Old 06-11-2004, 11:53 AM   #8
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Making more progress ...

Built the two door frames that will sit flush in the frame face

Here's the doors test mounted onto the frame

The doors were a bargain. Four 11"x25" unfinished raised panel oak doors for $72 (shipping included). Here's the place
http://www.cabinetdoorsandhardware.com/default.asp

here's where I started the left side of the face

I had some real trouble with trying to keep the pipe clamps from making the end boards rise up due to the pressure ... so I fixed that problem when I attached the right side

I bet the more professional do-it-yourselfers are choking on the cinder block method. What can I say, it did the job.

Here's a shot of the completed face.


A couple of tips. If you're going to use solid red oak, get the best ripping blade that you can. If you use a regular blade or a dull ripping blade it will burn the wood as it cuts. Then you'll have to go back and sand. Makes for double work and there's always the chance of ending up with rounded edges when you try to sand a 1x.
Also, I started sealing the 2x frame with Helmsman Spar Polyurethane (I probably spelled that wrong). This stuff is reacting with my heavy duty liquid nails. The poly on the wood is drying but the poly on the liq nails is staying wet and it looks like its dissolving some of the liq nails.
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Old 06-17-2004, 09:01 PM   #9
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I managed to get some more work done over the weekend. Putting the red oak wrap on the tank went very quick, but now I'm getting into the trim work and it's turning out to be real slow going and tuff. On the plus side, it's starting to come together and I can see what the final products going to look like.
Pics should be better ... I got an early fathers day gift ... Minolta S414.

The next step was attaching the face to the frame. You can see how the recessed doors are going to work here.

Then I cut out the floor. This wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The circular saw, a tiger saw (reciprocating), and a coping saw made this real easy.

Here's a look at the floor from underneath. 2x6's will support the fuge which I'm guessing will be around 65 gallons.

Then the top

Here's the last pic that I took. I put the vertical fluted trim on here. I couldn't find this at the local DIY stores so I decided to route it myself. It came out good but took about 3 hours, a couple beers, and plenty of fowl language. If I had to do it over, I would wait for the millwork stores to open Monday. Hope you can see it ok in the pic.
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:52 AM   #10
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Excellent photo log. Thank you for sharing with us.
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Old 06-18-2004, 10:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaksplat
A biscuit is a flattened piece of maple that expands when exposed to water. A slot for the biscuit is cut on the two pieces of wood that you want to join. The biscuit fits quite tight in the joint as it is, and when the glue is applied, the biscuit expands making the joint very strong.

You can think of the biscuit as a super dowel. Plus much easier to use.

Jim
I do a lot of wood working, but this is the one thing I havent ventured into yet. Mainly because I didnt know anything about it. How do you cut the slot for it? Do you buy the Biscuit or do you cut them?
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Old 06-20-2004, 12:20 PM   #12
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Fishfreek, happy to share ... great site!

SquishyFish, I cut my slots with a PorterCable biscuit joiner. It was so simple. All you do is line up the two boards you're joining and sketch a line that runs perpendicular to where the boards meet. The joiner has a 90 degree fence that you just butt up against the wood on that line and then push the handle in. They usually sell the joiners as a kit with several large bags of biscuits. This one came with 3 different sizes of biscuits, about 200 to a bag. I loaded up the groves with liq nails, stuck the biscuit in, and then put the boards together with clamps.That's it!
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Old 06-21-2004, 03:24 PM   #13
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A little more progress ...

I had a slight design problem with getting the doors to be centered virtically. My original plan was to have base trim on the bottom and a piece of crown on the top. I fixed my centering problem by putting a piece of base upside down across the top of the stand. Here's a couple looks at that:


and now I've started putting on the crown. This stuff looks really good ... unfortunately it's really expensive. I used a compound mitre saw and it made for nearly perfect cuts. I pre-cut all of the crown pieces, put them together with glue, and then attached it to the face.


You can really start to see where I'm headed with this thing in this pic. It's finally coming together!!!
Next up ... base trim and doors.
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Old 06-21-2004, 03:39 PM   #14
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Man, that looks nice! You have some talent!!!!!!
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Old 06-21-2004, 09:11 PM   #15
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very classy! top notch job. i'm glad i like minimalist designs b/c i don't think i'd have the patience to mitre all that moulding then stain/paint it! how are you finishing it?
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Old 06-22-2004, 09:41 PM   #16
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i don't think i'd have the patience to mitre all that moulding then stain/paint it! how are you finishing it?
The moulding is turning out to be pretty difficult, but I figured that I'd put plenty of effort into this one tank since I don't think I'll be able to catch this MTS that I've been hearing so much about. As far as the finish goes, I'm open to suggestions (and hoping for some). Any thoughts on what brands stain/seal are best or techniques for staining with all these crown curves that I've got? Also, really concerned about what will seal really well while still looking good for furniture. Do I need to go with the helms. spar poly or would something else be better?
Scot
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Old 06-22-2004, 10:20 PM   #17
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minwax is a pretty safe bet for stains. i really like the gel stains, but the finish is really up to you. figure out what looks best with the rest of your room then match it up. regular poly will be just fine. the only reason for going with spar is if the piece is going to be in frequenty contact with water or sitting water. a good poly should have no problem with humidity. spar might also tint the finish a bit yellow....
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Old 06-24-2004, 12:53 AM   #18
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instead of replying to my post, ill reply here

That looks amazing! That is exactly what I have picture in my mind about my tank. The plan I have now is a little different but the molding looks so wonderful.

Hope this isn't nosey but approx how much did it cost and how many hours (labor wise) did that take?
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:44 PM   #19
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spar might also tint the finish a bit yellow....
I was wondering 'bout that. It seemed to put a realy yellow hue on my pine frame. I'm reconsidering and now plan to go with spar on the hood and stand interior and I'll find a regular poly for the exterior
Quote:
That looks amazing! ... Hope this isn't nosey but approx how much did it cost and how many hours (labor wise) did that take?
Thanks, and I don't mind you asking at all. Unfortunately, I have not put together all my receipts yet. Ballpark, it was around 175 for the frame, 120 for oak ply, and about 270 for the trim (ouch!) It's a good chunk of cash, but I couldn't get local cabinet makers to come close to that. The real trick would be finding a local millwork store that can help you cut trim cost. I must confess that I didn't shop on this one ... the local diy was right down the street and I was ready to get going. The good news is that I have almost everything I need for the hood in left over materials from the stand. As far as time is concerned, I started this thread a few days after I started construction and averaged about one long day and a couple of short afternoons per week. The most underestimated part of any diy wood working is time spent in local DIY stores picking lumber (PITA). Good luck with yours and keep us posted.

and now the fun part ... got some more pics ... and I'm basically done with the wood work!!!!!!!!!! What a relief! This is by far my best DIY. I've done the deck thing, the monster swing set thing, the ceramic tile thing, and others; but none of them came out as precise as this one. My wife even noted that I didn't stop at 85% on this job (which is what I usually do). I told her 'not so fast, I still haven't stained it yet, and there's still no ocean scene in our den'. Enough of the commentary, here's the near final product.



The doors worked out well. They recessed nicely and I'm not getting an rubbing on the face. This could have caused some real scratch problems once its stained/poly'd

You can see the recessed doors better here

A look at the top


One other tip on the trim (don't know if I already mentioned this). I used wood glue to match up several of the joints and then put it on the stand in sizeable chunks. On the last piece of crown (on the left side), the back end of it was nearly 3/4" low and 3/4" off of the stand. I put on plenty of wood glue on the joints leading to it and then came back the next day and basically bent that piece into position. This worked like a charm and I eneded up with really tight joins. I doubt this is the proper way, but it worked ... I'll update this post if I see any trouble with the trim after it's had some wear and tear.

Now I'm going to treat myself to a weekend of chatching speckled trout and red fish. What can I say .... I like to watch 'em, like to hook 'em, like to eat 'em!
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Old 06-24-2004, 02:14 PM   #20
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I keep on coming back to this thread and my jaw drops every time! Beautiful work!
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