DIY plywood stand material choice?

homer1475

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So when I bought my tank, real wood for a stand wasn't an option. The stand I purchased is just OSB. While I did caulk the seems, and paint the interior, water got through and as a result my stand is failing.

So I plan on building another stand just as the original(I do not want to use dimensional lumber as I need the space within the stand for the sump) with basically plywood.

The current stand is 3/4", and 1" OSB. What are my choices for hardwood(I would assume this is better then a softwood plywood?) plywood? I do have a very large plywood distributor local to me and they pretty much carry everything. I was originally going to use marine grade ply, but after some reading it seems everyone is just using hardwood plywood and sealing it up real well.

Do they even make 1" thick plywood(don't think it's exactly 1" as it's just shy of 1" on my tape measure. Maybe 30/32 or something?) I'm not a wood worker of any kind, but have p0lenty of DIY skills and tools to accomplish this.

Basically my current stand, and how I want to make the new, is just a plywood box with the sides and back resting within the top and bottom for just downward pressure.
 
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AlexG

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They do make 1" plywood or at least they used to but it was normally not available at retailers and would be special order. Considering the sky high lumber prices right now I would consider just laminating 2 sheets of 1/2" plywood together and make your own 1".
 

lstmysock11

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You could also do a 2x4 frame and cover it with 1/2 plywood or even get creative and use hardwood flooring or even shiplap if you like.
 

threebuoys

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3/4 inch is a standard size, pine B/C grade should be ok, but oak or maple 3/4" are usually carried by Home Depot and Lowes. The oak and maple usually have more plys and therefore can be noticeably smoother and flatter than the pine. The 3/4 should provide adequate strength to support the weight, depending on the weight . don't know how your original stand was built, but I would still consider 2 x 4 or 2 x 3 corner posts to which you would attach the plywood, depending on the size of the tank.

edit: I should have said Birch, although some carry maple too. Birch holds paint and stain really well. Oak stains really well.
 
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homer1475

homer1475

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Just got off the phone with the plywood distributor, very nice and helpful guy, had a tank at home(FW) and actually told me to come in and he would show me a ton of options. They do actually make a 1" hardwood birch ply which is what he suggested as it has great strength.

Thanks for the replies, but I guess I just needed to call the distributor.

80G tank so not a ton of weight, but enough.
 

lstmysock11

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3/4 inch is a standard size, pine B/C grade should be ok, but oak or maple 3/4" are usually carried by Home Depot and Lowes. The oak and maple usually have more plys and therefore can be noticeably smoother and flatter than the pine. The 3/4 should provide adequate strength to support the weight, depending on the weight . don't know how your original stand was built, but I would still consider 2 x 4 or 2 x 3 corner posts to which you would attach the plywood, depending on the size of the tank.
I second this, Having a 2x4 wood support from the top to the floor holding all the weight is a good thing. Better to depend on a 2x4 holding the weight then 1 inch plywood. Will hold more weight less chance to fail.
 
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homer1475

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Current stand(think ikea furniture with those cheesy cam lock screws) has been holding fine for about 5 years, other then the melamin is falling apart from water damage.

Sometimes people don't realize exactly how strong plywood is. No need for a 2x4 frame.

80G tank with 30G sump = roughly 800+ pounds.
 

kcinnick

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Just got off the phone with the plywood distributor, very nice and helpful guy, had a tank at home(FW) and actually told me to come in and he would show me a ton of options. They do actually make a 1" hardwood birch ply which is what he suggested as it has great strength.

Thanks for the replies, but I guess I just needed to call the distributor.

80G tank so not a ton of weight, but enough.
3/4" will be fine on an 80 gallon tank if built properly. I am using 3/4" birch to build a stand for a 96X30X25" tank.
 

neon_reefer

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Current stand(think ikea furniture with those cheesy cam lock screws) has been holding fine for about 5 years, other then the melamin is falling apart from water damage.

Sometimes people don't realize exactly how strong plywood is. No need for a 2x4 frame.

80G tank with 30G sump = roughly 800+ pounds.

I really like working with 9 ply baltic birch 3/4" it is very strong, and looks great!
RVIU7872.JPG
 
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Billdogg

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Plywood is available in just about any species you might want. 3/4" in more than strong enough. Pocket hole screws/glue will hold it together very well, and if you want, you could add corner braces although if your cuts are square they really aren't needed. As someone else mentioned, baltic birch is a pleasure to work with, but you will pay a premium for it, and it comes in 5'x5' sheets, not the usual 4x8 of other plywoods.

Are you going to paint or stain? That will be the determining factor as to which you should go with. If it's paint, it really won't matter, but if you like the look of real wood the options are nearly unlimited.
 

neon_reefer

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Plywood is available in just about any species you might want. 3/4" in more than strong enough. Pocket hole screws/glue will hold it together very well, and if you want, you could add corner braces although if your cuts are square they really aren't needed. As someone else mentioned, baltic birch is a pleasure to work with, but you will pay a premium for it, and it comes in 5'x5' sheets, not the usual 4x8 of other plywoods.

Are you going to paint or stain? That will be the determining factor as to which you should go with. If it's paint, it really won't matter, but if you like the look of real wood the options are nearly unlimited.
I was able to get 9 ply baltic birch in a 4x8. and yes it does come at a premium price, and is also ready for stain finish if you choose to go that rout. not rough paint grade like pine..
 

Billdogg

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I was able to get 9 ply baltic birch in a 4x8. and yes it does come at a premium price, and is also ready for stain finish if you choose to go that rout. not rough paint grade like pine..
If I might ask - where'd you find BB in 4x8?, and do they ship? I need enough for 60 13x16 shelves in 3/8 bb. I can do it in the usual 5x5 but there might be less waste in 4x8.
 

DWill

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Don’t know how big your tank is. This is 3/4 Oak plywood.
It’s holding a IM 25 Lagoon Ext. I had it built for a 50 Lagoon Ext.
 

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threebuoys

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If I might ask - where'd you find BB in 4x8?, and do they ship? I need enough for 60 13x16 shelves in 3/8 bb. I can do it in the usual 5x5 but there might be less waste in 4x8.
You can get 7 ply birch plywood @ Home Depot and Lowe's for about $65 for a 4 x 8. Don't think it's baltic, not sure about the difference though. I've used it for shelves and it worked great, very stable and ready for stain, paint or poly.
 

neon_reefer

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If I might ask - where'd you find BB in 4x8?, and do they ship? I need enough for 60 13x16 shelves in 3/8 bb. I can do it in the usual 5x5 but there might be less waste in 4x8.
i got it at phillips plywood in sylmar,CA. i dont know if they ship... this material was made in russia, as it was printed on the edge in english.
 
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homer1475

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I got the same as @neon_reefer, Russian baltic birch(printed on the side) in 3/4" 4x8 sheets for $49.99 a sheet. It's a local plywood supply house(all they sell is various grades and thicknesses of plywood). Would have never known it existed, but talked to a local cabinet maker, and thats where he gets all his ply from.

Thanks for all the replies guys! I went with 3/4" baltic birch for the sides, and 31/32" CDX fort he top and bottom. Since the top will have a yoga mat on it, and the bottom is within the stand, you won't see it at all. I did find another thread where they used truck bed liner on the top. I think I'll use that to coat the top and fill in the small blemishes from it being CDX ply.

OOh I do plan on just painting the entire thing black like my current stand.
 

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The benefit of using Baltic Birch from Russia as opposed to the Chinese version is that they actually use marine glue to laminate the plies. So even though the wood isn’t technically waterproof it will be much more resistant to moisture and insects. When you build a stand you should try to have the top horizontal piece that holds the load of your tank on top of your vertical legs. You don’t want screws supporting the weight of your aquarium. If one screw were to fail or the connection point where the screw is in the plywood were to fail it could cause major damage. If your design doesn’t allow you to have that horizontal piece on top of the legs then at least try to align the edges of the tank with the vertical legs of the stand. Make sure they go all the way to the floor or if there is anything that intersects them that there are no spaces between the pieces and you’re transferring the weight directly straight down to the floor. I’ve made thousands of cabinets and allot of aquarium stands and have never had one fail using this logic. Btw domestic maple plywood is also excellent for building stands, super strong, and considerably lighter. And allot more attractive in my opinion of your staining it.
 
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