72g Bow Front DIY stand

VIT

New member
I have been in freshwater hobby like 10 years ago and this year decided to start reef tank.

It was a great help by looking to others designs and discussions so I hope this build will help somebody else.

I liked the view of 72g but most of the stands available were not good looking at all. On top of this I wanted to match the stand with the rest of the furniture which is kind of red cherry.

I did some research on the builds and made the stand based on eric-c (from Boston reefers forum) design. I did few changes in the design and finished it differently.

here is the original build:
http://www.bostonreefers.org/forums/showthread.php?81295-72Bow-Stand

I bought 29g AGA aquarium for sump so made my design to accommodate it which led to some tweaks from similar build.

Construction materials:
- 2x4 studs for frame
- 3/4" plywood for top and bottom
- 1/4" maple plywood to skin the stand
- maple moldings

In order to fit 29g I had to shift the middle back leg off center. The rest is kind of self explaining. I glued and screwed studs to L blocks, then glued and screwed them to 3/4" plywood.
 

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VIT

New member
I nailed both plywood sheets together to have similar cuts but later on I realized Jigsaw was not exactly straight so 2 curves were little bit different and more seriously that 2 plywood sheets were not exactly the same size. It did not seem to be big deal initially but later on I had to spend some efforts to make 2x4 studs vertical. So you better trim the sheets to be exactly the same size so it will be easier to make columns vertical.

Then I cut 4 curved segments from 2x4 studs to add a frame for the doors.
As you can see from the picture I cut small corner from back side stud and front curves to fit 29g sump.
 

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VIT

New member
We all tend to overbuild DIY things so I was worried about excessive bowing from the tank having stand's back column off the center. I decided to use the remaining of 3/4" plywood cut as reinforcement. It will prevent from bowing and add diagonal strength against tilting. I used dowels to connect it to top plywood.

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VIT

New member
Next step was to put 1/4" maple plywood on the front. I wet it slightly with water to help with bending but still it was quite difficult task. I used Gorilla wood glue and many nails to hold it in place. I did not have many clamps to hold it till glue cures so I put a lot of nails with intention to retrieve it later (you can see brown pieces). I retrieved nails bot holes were still visible after the finish so it would be simpler just to use molding nails. Although using moldings covered top and bottom holes later on.

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Next thing is doors. It turned out to be quite simple. I used different approach than the original design my build is based on. Instead of making the curvature afterwards I just glued the doors in place and then cut it from the stand. Since bending plywood even for large area on front was not easy I felt it would be very difficult to do it for smaller doors.

Here I used lap joints, screws and standard Gorilla glue (not PVA).

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VIT

New member
When glue cured I just cut the doors with Jigsaw. Few hints here:
- Make sure you have some gap between door frame and stand frame so you can make such blind cuts. I used dremel to make 4 holes in the corners.
- Use masking tape. You can mark a line on it, it helps with splintering and you do not scratch fine plywood by Jigsaw.

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VIT

New member
Some hints here:

- 72g bow aquarium is not exactly 48" but slightly bigger so you will have to cut flush with the top plywood on the sides.

- You can use veneer edge tape to seal edges of top and bottom 3/4" plywood

- I used door hinges with the pin (insert style) vs piano hinges. The intention was to be able to remove doors without unscrewing them. Unfortunately since the doors had tight clearance and I wanted to hide hinges so I recessed them later on it proved very difficult to remove the pins without scratching plywood so I left the doors in.

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VIT

New member
It looked good so i did not want to screw up with poor finish. It took a lot of research to understand what I wanted. Then I did several testing with scrap wood. Finally I did the following:

- Dyed wood with Transtint. I made a mix of red mahogany and green :strange: to look like deep red cherry.

- Sprayed shellac with prevail (to avoid dye moving and seal exterior)
- Brushed shellac inside the stand to seal the wood
- Wiped several coats of Waterlox Original varnish
- Painted with almond enamel inside

Few hints here:

- if you use dye the wood after drying looks terrible but as you start adding finish it will become much better and different color (use scrap to test)
- it still looked quite reddish so I added another few thin coats of tinted shellac (same Transtint but with more green in the mix)
- you need just make very light sanding of plywood since it is very thin and already cabinet grade
- avoid dripping of wood glue on plywood since you will have spots in these places after dying

After dying:

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After tinting and wipe on varnish:

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Then I added maple moldings at top and bottom. For bending I kerfed the bottom and used heat gun to bend top molding. Finished the same way as plywood. There still was some blotching. I did not figure out how to avoid it and build deep dark color which required several coats of dye.

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(The sump aquarium is retrievable from the front I just put it to start looking on plumbing)
 

VIT

New member
Right now it is kind of semi gloss. I have not decided yet if I want to polish it or make it satin. I will wait for few weeks till Waterlox completely cured.

Other pictures:
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VIT

New member
Soon I will put new info about plumbing. I did some engineering calculations to come up with the design. Basically it is Herbie type but with pipe-in-pipe plumbing. So I do not have anything outside of my tank, still use standard 2 holes overflow and it is absolutely silent. I never saw if anybody tried this approach before. On paper it looked ok. After plumbing was done it proved itself in practice.
 

VIT

New member
Thanks for the comments.

*It seems most people with LED lighting do not use canopies so will need to decide if I need to build it or not. Any comments on this ?
 
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