welcome to my blog

designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
This blog is a record of my life in my studio.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Skipton's 180 gallon aquarium cabinet

Finally!  A post about the 180 gallon aquarium stand I made for Skipton's Unique Aquaria in Boston.  I have posted previously about this cabinet, but until now I haven't had the chance to take decent pictures of it in the store.  So here they are!

At the time, this cabinet was the best I'd ever made, from the design to the fit to the finish.  It also taught me a lesson about materials and larger tanks:
if the tank's side wall glass and plastic trim are more than 5/8" thick, I now use 1.25" thick VG fir, not the 3/4" maple I use on smaller cabinets.  This cabinet uses 3/4" maple as the main support ring, which turned out to not be wide enough to support the tank's 5/8" thick glass, as well as accommodate the 1/8" thick plastic trim and a small gap to ease installing the tank.  To make the top "ring" (on which the tank's edges and corners rest) wide enough, I doubled up the 3/4" stock on each end and in the middle, with a completely doubled center brace assembly in the middle, essentially splitting the cabinet into two 90 gallon cabinets. 

While this is the last time I'll use 3/4" stock to frame out a 180 gallon cabinet, I have switched to 1.15" thick VG fir because it's faster and more economical than doubling up on 3/4" maple, not because doubled 3/4" maple isn't strong enough.  In fact, there is far more wood and more support in this 180 than there is in a pair of 90 gallon stands.

This cabinet must stand up to the rigors of being in a retail environment.  It was also damaged during installation, but I plan to fix the damage before the holidays. It was in making this cabinet that I perfected a frame and panel door-making method that yields super-square doors that don't warp, and fit evenly, cleanly, in the cabinet frame.  The floor I used in this cabinet was meant to hold a 100 gallon sump, and was the first incarnation of my current method of making floors for big aquarium cabinets: half-lapped VG fir 2x4 cross braces, double-doweled with 5/8" dowels on each end, into the bottom rails of the sub frame.

Since it uses 3/4" maple for the sub frame (which I won't do again for a 180 gallon cabinet), you could say this stand is both the first, and the last, of its kind :(

Here's the link to the Picasa Web Album: https://picasaweb.google.com/isaacvw/180GallonPeninsulaStand?authuser=0&feat=directlink

In case the slideshow above isn't working, here are a few pics of the cabinet:

the finish is black water-based stain, then black-dyed polycrylic, hand rubbed to a satin finish

No comments:

Post a Comment