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designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My first hexagonal aquarium cabinet & canopy

I was recently commissioned to build a cabinet and canopy for a 45 gallon hexagonal aquarium.  It was my first hexagonal cabinet, and it presented the unique challenges associated with 45 degree (rather than 90 degree) corners.  In order to play-up the hexagonal shape of the cabinet, I made special tapered panels for the front doors.  These panels, trapezoidal in shape, helped to give this burly cabinet a little height and lift.  Of course, it also gets lift from being 36" from the floor to the bottom of the tank, which is my standard practice with aquarium cabinets (for some reason I never see anything else over 34", more commonly 30").

The cases for the cabinet and canopy are 100% solid cherry, except for the lid on the canopy, which is of cherry veneered plywood with a cherry hardwood edge. 

Apart from the 45 degree corners, this was also my first time putting a hardwood edge on plywood using a miter lock bit to cut a glue-joint.  The doors are my first non-symmetrical panels.  This also represents my second attempt at making solid-wood raised panels. 

This project is the one that finally made me hunt down a wider jointer.  The panels on this cabinet were 7-8" wide, and so on my old 6" jointer this meant ripping 9" boards in half, flattening them on the jointer, and then gluing them back together again.  Very frustrating.  Now I have my new Robland x31 combo tool, which has a 12" jointer. 

The stand is 100% solid cherry, with solid cherry frame and panel construction. I used snap-closing euro hinges on the doors, and brass overlay hinges for the canopy lid, with cork all around so the doors don't slam. The finish is three coats of General's Arm-R-Seal oil & urethane blend, which is both a sealer coat and a topcoat. I rubbed the last coat with steel wool. This is a quick, nice looking, and water-resistant finish. 

This is a handsome piece.  My client is using a tank he's owned for quite some time, and he is happy to be able to upgrade his system with new furniture. 

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