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Discussion Starter #1
So I found my way to this forum via a diy project I have started. I am modeling my build from one a fellow aquaria central member built.
http://aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=270233
120 DIY Oak Stand & Canopy Build

I am doing this for a 75 gallon tank (48x18x21). I am following his build in the choice of wood and assembly via wood glue and a kreg pocket jig.

What led me to search for a helping hand was after assembling the front frame there was some issues that surfaced. The stiles connected perfectly to the top board, but at the bottom I was left with small gaps and a little bit of over hang...
I measured several times, accounted for the kerf of the blade, even check the top and bottom boards side by side to check if they where the same size before gluing and screwing the pocket holes tight.


ForumRunner_20140111_131305.jpg



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In my quest to buy a plane to shave the over hang off, lack of knowledge showed its face. I planed to fill the gaps with glue or wood putty. But the cost of a decent plane made me wonder if I should try cutting the edges with the miter saw...either way I am here for some constructive guidance. Cost is a factor, hence the reason I am trying to save what I have done.
 

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Looks like your cuts arnt square. If your using a miter saw, you cant always rely on the detents. Go back and check all the settings on your saw.

It also looks like your screws are way too long. I wouldnt rely on an endgrain glue joint and a few pocket screws to support the weight of a filled 75 gallon aquarium. Mortise and tennon would probably be best here but half laps would be much better than what your doing currently.

I havnt the slightest idea how you save what youve allready put together. Even if your able to fill the gaps and trim off the overhang, the joint is allready compromised. You need very strong joint to suport the kind of weight you intend to put on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah I was kind of wondering if I should have trimmed the factory cut ends...

As for the saw I made sure to use a square and check all the setting prior to use.

I know that 1 gallon equals 8 pounds. So add the tank weight, substrate, rocks and you have roughly 725 pounds, generous estimate. Is there a magic formula to calculate weight holding ability?
 

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Im sure if theres some formula to calculate or not. Id guess not since your joint will play such a huge factor and the fact that 2 boards of the same species could be entirely different.
 

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Use a square on the wood and it will tell you whether the saw is square or not. Try test cuts for each cut first until you get it square.


A question on the design (not yours I know) - why not add doors to the side or front so you could use the inside of the base for storage? Pains me to see a closed enclosure not able to be leveraged.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Rbk123, if you followed the link he used three doors on the front, I was planning on two.

Another thought I had, could I brace the frame more to help support the weight?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bassblaster-

Yeah I realized I had too long of screws early on and tried to compensate by adjusting the drill bit stop sleeve...as you see it still poked through.

So is the general consensus to scrape my work and do it over? Or can I maybe remove the bottom board and replace?

I know mortise joints are the go to for most wood workers, but the articles I read after seeing the original build suggested that the pocket hole was just as strong with glue.

And just to be clear, I am not trying to argue. I am just giving as much info as I can to give what led me to where I am.
 

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Bassblaster-

Yeah I realized I had too long of screws early on and tried to compensate by adjusting the drill bit stop sleeve...as you see it still poked through.

So is the general consensus to scrape my work and do it over? Or can I maybe remove the bottom board and replace?

I know mortise joints are the go to for most wood workers, but the articles I read after seeing the original build suggested that the pocket hole was just as strong with glue.

And just to be clear, I am not trying to argue. I am just giving as much info as I can to give what led me to where I am.
You can salvage what you have. First off, I wouldn't use pocket screws for any of it. You can separate the pieces. First remove all the screws. Use a heat gun to loosen glue joints and take them apart.

Do a skim cut on the ends to square them out. Block sand the long grain edges to smooth out. You can set up for dowels, or, drill a hole in the long grain edge large enough to allow a phillips or square drive bit to slip in, and drill about half to two thirds the way through. Clamp the end grain member to the long grain member where it goes, and at the bottom of that hole drill a pilot hole through into the end grain member.

You'll need a very long drive bit, and a very long drill bit to do this. Drive bits and/or extensions can be 12" long, and drill bits...called "bellhangers" bits, come very long. Usually in a shop 12" will get you through most inordinate work. Use some glue on the end grain and while clamped drive some long screws from down in the hole into the the endgrain and bump up tight. Usually two per piece will be sufficient.

When designing a framework for some project like an aquarium cabinet, the most critical planning is for resistance to racking.






.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cabinetman, I appreciate that bit of information. I will do as you said and remove the lower board so I can straighten the ends up. Maybe I will change this project into a nice tv stand for the end of the bed...

Sounds like I made a bad decision to build first, and get real help later.

Thanks again.
 

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I am planning a similar build. One for a 48 gallon tank and one for a 65 gallon. Not trying to hack but why not use pocket hole like the Kreg system uses? I would think that using that and glue would resist racking enough. Of course this isn't my first time at being wring and definitely won't be my last. Big box stores sell MDF stands that are weak in my opinion but are strong enough to hold an aquarium. The whole 8.34 # per gallon, tank and decor. I would think that the design the op is looking at is plenty strong enough. Again, I could be wrong...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Funny you suggested the kreg jig, it is what I am using.

It appears my main issues was not squaring the factory cut ends and too long of screws.

The build in the link was for a 120 gallon.and he has yet to have any issues, he said his friend who does carpentry for a living said it should be fine...but that's all second hand knowledge from the internet.

Also here is the stain color I am planning to use when I finish the tank stand.

ForumRunner_20140111_223024.jpg
 

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I have made a few tanks for a friend who services aquariums.
The basic design was two platforms one for the bottom and on for the top.
Between them are 2x4s all cut on the same length, two in the corner couple in the back and usually two in the front middle between the doors.
After the framing parts are screwd together I wrapped the sides and part of the front with plywood more screws top and bottom and gorilla glue on the 2bys in the middle.Dont be shy with the glue no one going to look inside the stand where the sump pump lives.
Add some molding to the corners some base molding.After you set your tank add the molding to the top to cover the bottom of the tank and little bit of the sand.
And for gods sake don't use oak and stain it that ugly dark brown.Hope this helps and good luck.
 

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Here is a link to a design I was looking at.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=510729
I think This would work for pretty much anything under 40 gallons. Anything over that would require additional support. I think I am going to play it safe though and overbuild. I am going to build the frame with 2x4 and skin it with 1/4" ply. But after looking at the op's link again, I do like the thought of saving space inside the stand by going with 1 by's
 

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Sorry I didnt get back to this. Yeah I agree you might can save it if you can get it back apart. Its just gonna be shorter now. Taking just the bottom joints apart solves nothing if the top joints arnt square. They all look a little out of wack to me. If you can get it all apart, Id try to completely disassemble it and start over.

Do you have access to a table saw? If M&T joinery is out of the question, Id at a minimum opt for half laps. Its a very simple joint but its very strong. I know lots of guys like those pocket holes but I wouldnt trust them in 3/4" lumber with that much weight sitting on top of it. This is just one guys opinion. Theres a whole bunch of people here with a lot more experience than me.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Quick update I was able to break the glue bond with a heat gun. Now I can correct my mistakes. I have also found a local club that meets once a month, along with some private instruction as well.
I have yet to decide to abandon this project, but have been thinking about re-purpose it as a TV stand...

Thanks again for the advice and help.
 

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It's never fun to begin a project and then have to disassemble it to rebuild. I've been there. Don't abandon the project, better yet, figure out the design (joints, methods, etc), then practice these joints as well as getting good at making your cuts. Make a few small mockups of the joints. Once you have this all down, begin construction.

This worked well for me since not only did I have my technique down, but I also would know which tools I needed that I didn't have ahead of time.

As for the joints, I am a big dowel guy so I would just use dowels for hardwood joints like that, it will help with the strength and alignment of the joint. I would definitely overbuild it if I was unsure of the support strength.
 
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