Finishing an aquarium stand - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Finishing an aquarium stand

I'm a woodworking newbie and I am building a saltwater aquarium stand with the base made of 1 x 4s and covered in Birch plywood from Home Depot (I think it's sanded already). I'm also going to put cabinet molding on the corners. I'm wanting to put a semi glossy white finish on it and it needs to be water resistant. I've looked online and there are so many sources and they're all different so I'm a little confused...I don't mind doing a lot of steps I just want it to look nice. Would someone be able to outline the steps I would need to take? I would prefer to use spray cans if that's possible but I also have a cheap paint sprayer from Harbor Freight but not sure it will even work (listed below). Thanks in advance! Image below (still have some work to do - all sides will be birch plywood)

https://www.harborfreight.com/5-gph-...gun-63452.html
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 07:41 PM
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Since you have wood that is easily damaged by water you need to caulk it very good and prime it with an exterior primer and then topcoat with an exterior oil based enamel. If you get it wet pretty often a better finish would be a pigmented epoxy paint like what is used on boats.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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It will just get a few drops of water on it here and there... Not constant exposure... So you're saying I would prime it with an exterior primer then topcoat it with an oil based enamel correct? Like with the products I listed below? And the pigmented epoxy would take the place of the topcoat if I were to use it? Would I need to apply multiple coats of each and sand in between? Sorry this is my first time so I have zero paint knowledge.

Primer:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/KILZ-2-A...0941/100096395)
Topcoat:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Ole...2402/100141357
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 10:10 PM
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I think those products should work fine. But, be aware of a couple of things. It's REALLY glossy and REALLY white and as I recall, HD won't tint it.
Sherwin Williams has a similar product called All Surface Enamel which comes in Satin and they will tint it any color you want.

On a different note, I'm guessing from the picture that your stand is for something like a 55 gallon aquarium? Are you comfortable with the 1x4 frame holding 400+ pounds of water?
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe I'll just do a semi-glossy or satin like you say since that would show less of the imperfections if there are any... Yeah the stand has two 1 x 4s glued together with wood glue for the six main pillars supporting weight. Plus I think the added plywood will add some structural integrity to it.

On a side note someone mentioned Rustoleum spray to me... That would work well also correct? I do like the idea of spraying rather than painting with a brush...
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 10:20 PM
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The products in your links would work fine.

A little water wouldn't hurt it. Being saltwater it would be best if it was wiped off soon after you get it wet. The salt would leave a residue and salt could eat on the paint.

The primer is water based. You would probably need to apply one coat, then sand it and apply a second coat. Then sand it again and apply the enamel. The surface needs to be smooth before applying the enamel. Sometimes it takes three or four coats of primer before you get the surface smooth and level to paint. You just have to feel the surface to make a decision. It would probably take two coats of enamel. If it doesn't go well and the paint is still rough when it's dry you can sand it again and put more coats on it. Enamel dries real slow and you could get dirt or bugs in the finish. Don't try to put more than one coat of the enamel on within a 24 hour period. If it's cool and or damp allow more time.

For what you are doing I think epoxy is overkill. It would hold up to a leaking aquarium. It's more difficult to live with as it may need the paint touched up now and then and epoxy you would need to do the entire side instead of spots.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve. This is the response I was looking for! I don't think I have any questions left... Other than could I potentially use Rustoleum satin enamel spray after the primer?
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-28-2020, 11:46 PM
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Yes you could use satin. The only difference between gloss and satin is the satin they put what is called a flattening agent in it. In dry form it looks like baby powder. The more of this powder they put in paint makes the difference between semi-gloss, satin or flat. Of course the more of this powder they put in the paint makes it a little less water resistant compared to gloss.
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