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DIY ADA Style cabinet builds

Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Section' started by ShadowMac, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been frustrated with being unable to find good stylish cabinets at a reasonable price, so I've decided to add another hobby on top of my hobby....cabinet making. I've mocked up some plans and am getting ready to buy the necessary tools and materials to begin building my own cabinets. I'm starting with a couple small stands.

    There are two methods I can employ to build the cabinets.

    1) Use a Kreg hole jig to make simple strong joints with screws and glue
    2) Use a biscuit joiner and glue to make the joints

    I plan to try both methods to see which I like best. I've been told the Kreg jig builds pretty good joints and it helps you hide the screw holes. The biscuit joiner uses wood biscuits and slots to create glued joints. No screws for these joints.

    Most cheap cabinetry you can buy is made from MDF, which does not hold up to water well at all. Primary trouble with using it for an aquarium cabinet. If its painted and sealed, not as bad...but nothing manufactured will be sealed. Originally, I looked into IKEA for a modern looking stand, however it came to my attention that they are essentially making many of the cabinets out of what basically consists of strong cardboard and it has the potential to collapse. When I looked at the weight bearing for a 60 cm cabinet it was 44 lbs, only suitable for the smallest of tanks and even then water damage may jeopardize the integrity of the cabinet. I had a custom cabinet built for my 90 cm, but it cost about $700. Even small custom jobs come close to that, since time and labor is nearly the same for a large cabinet as a small. So, time to learn to build my own. I plan to share what I learn as well as very detailed drawings and instructions here. Some of the designs will be very similar to the ADA cabinets, while others will be a bit of a spin on the look.

    I plan to use laminate on the outsides, while painting the interiors with high gloss water resistant paint, either black or white. A third stand will likely be built from wood and stained as to match cabinetry already in the room where the tank sits.

    The laminate will hide any ends of the wood pieces which would not take paint or stain well.

    I'm using this guide by Jason Baliban from his blog "Project Aquarium" as a general guide on what I plan to do. There will be some modifications, but the general idea and process particularly for attaching the laminate will be followed.

    http://www.projectaquarium.com/plantedAquariumArticles_ADAAquariumStand.aspx


    My basic sketch in SketchUp. I will upload detailed dimensions as well as a blow out of the pieces used to construct each cabinet.
    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned for updates and a build journal.
     

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  2. shaun.s

    shaun.s New Member

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    love the ada stands! I built one years ago. I wanted a wood look in the ada style. I used the kreg system with great results. I had written a long reply with pictures and stuff but realized you may want to keep this strictly as a build log of your stands. not trying to have my first post on this forum be a "toe stepper" lol!

    by the way really like the slots in the side of you sketchup model. reminds me of the ADG stands. good way to keep the hoses from kinking/binding
     
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  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the consideration. Please, post up the detailed parts in a new thread. I'd love to read through it.

    The vertical holes were taken from the ADG designs, much better than the centered round hole. The holes on top are another way to reduce hose kinks or twisting. I have them on my 90 cm. Works well.

    sent from tapatalk on my phone so auto correct and other errors are bound to happen
     
  4. J Art

    J Art Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Any developments?
     
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  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    you know how it goes...best laid plans of mice and men....

    I need to get to buying the tools. I still plan to do this. Step 1) get a good workspace set out in the garage Step 2) buy those darn tools Step 3) find a way to escape to the garage without getting "the look". :ROFLMAO:
     
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  6. J Art

    J Art Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Easiest way, just look down while walking. What you don't see can't hurt you.
     
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  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Have you been married long!? That is exactly what hurts you!

    I tease my wife that after she asks me any question I have to briefly contemplate if it is a trap. :LOL:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn

    Any updates yet

    If you have to buy the tools and learn how to use them I guarantee it will be cheaper to buy a made up unit.

    Have a look at other locations than the LFS the same unit will be a lot cheaper.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  9. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    My 20g tank broke because a piece of a brush somehow got under it. So I decided to build a new tank. I wanted to make the tank larger from front to back, but then it wouldn't fit on my ugly stand, so I got rid of the stand and built a new one. I was going to buy an ADA one but thought I could build one for a fraction of the price. So I Googled diy ada stand and found this: http://www.aquascapingworld.com/threads/diy-ada-60-stand.132/
    Although it's vague in description, I felt I was up to the challenge.
    20170106_173243.jpg
    20170106_173302.jpg
    20170110_192735.jpg
    It was actually quite difficult to build, I added a shelf to help with stability since it will be top heavy. There is a large hole in the back above the shelf for the surge protector wire and possibly co2 line. I also cut a hole on the right side for filtration tubes. The door is super heavy and after lining the inside with flex seal, it goes on very snug, but I did add a few cabinet magnets to keep from falling off (after I took the photos), I felt the door was too heavy for hinges and the MDF board would eventually rip away at any screws holding the hinges after a few uses. The stand is 32" tall, 24" wide, and sticks out 18" from the wall. The tank is 24" wide, 14" tall, and 18" front to back. It's too cold outside to cover the stand in clear polyurethane, it won't dry properly, I'll have to wait until spring.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  10. Shane P.

    Shane P. Moderator Staff Member

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    Cool! How much is the conventional Ada stand in price?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Alright, I have my supplies and tools.

    I will be using 3/4" maple plywood

    A circular saw with Kreg ripcut to cut straight pieces. A table saw would be ideal, but costs a lot more and I already had a circular saw.

    A kreg jig system to create the joints. Essentially it allows you to align pieces then glue and screw them in square. Handy little tool, relatively inexpensive (compared to a biscuit joiner which is the other joint making option) and a friend of mine who does carpentry and cabinet making said it makes very strong joints.

    Once the pieces are cut I will use a jigsaw to cut the openings for equipment. Smaller hose openings will be made with a drill bit then sanded smooth.

    I am first making a 60 cm cabinet. I will use a laminate veneer on the ends of the plywood to make them look finished. I plan to stain the cabinet ebony and paint the inside white and coat with polyurethane for water protection. I'm staining this particular cabinet instead of painting in hopes it will match the cabinetry in my kitchen near the dining room where this cabinet will be located.

    I will try to share some photos of the build process.
     
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  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I had to get a couple tools, but the Kreg jig and rip cut were not that expensive compared to the tools they stand in for: a biscuit joiner and a table saw.

    I know some larger cities have what are community shops where people can go and use a whole host of tools. For people with that option it would be a great idea.

    The cabinet should be plenty strong using the 3/4 " plywood. The maple outside layer will also look nice.

    As far as buying locally, that is the trouble. I cannot purchase a premade stand that will fit scaping tanks. They are all built for the black rimmed tanks, so the wrong dimensions. Other furniture type cabinets are either too flimsy, susceptible to water damage, or too expensive with the wrong dimensions anyways.

    Buying the tools, even the fancier tools (biscuit joiner $200-300 USD, table saw $200-$400), would cost the same as a custom built unit which runs around $500-$700 USD. If I can learn to build cabinets, it will continue to pay dividends. I have several tanks I would like cabinets for.
     
  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I should note, I avoided using MDF for two reasons: 1) its really heavy. Cabinets made with it get super heavy making them difficult to move. 2) MDF is very susceptible to water damage. It will swell and weaken. Not ideal for an aquarium cabinet. Compared to the plywood, it is cheaper...but not so much so that MDF becomes a better option in my opinion. If anyone uses MDF it needs to be well sealed. I would seal the ends before assembling the stand, not just seal it after it is put together.
     
  14. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have to ask you can't afford it :ROFLMAO:
     
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  15. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Spray flex seal all over it!
    I used MDF board because I knew screws wouldn't hold very well in the laminations of plywood, so I pinned dowels in the MDF. The most difficult part is getting the perfect measurements, I ended up cutting one piece out, then measuring the next piece so I wasn't short 1/8" (blade width) anywhere. An idea I had scrapped during the design phase i was going to do was add a drawer at the top for my tools, I should've done it, I'm going to hang a knife magnet to the inside left wall for my tools instead.
     
  16. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm trying to go for a high end look. Not sure if flex seal fits that goal :whistle:
     
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  17. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I don't think it looks bad, plus it's extra grip for your filter and co2 tank. I only did the inside and top of my cabnet. They make this two part apoxy stuff that is equal to 16 coats of varnish, it's meant for bar tops. I'll have to wait until spring to coat my cabnet since it most likely will need to ventilate, but I'll let you know how it goes.
     
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  18. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Yes weighs a ton, my base weighs more thank tank. It does have one complete base panel which was a good job as had to pull it out during DSM the other day to add a few more holes. The base is well sealed by the company I got it off, but don't see it lasting 5years



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    When I was a 1st year Apprentice Cabinet Maker 1954 one of the first things we were taught to do was "Pocket Screwing" no power tools or jigs just a good eye and a steady hand.
    When I was teaching Cabinet Making Apprentices that was one method I taught.

    Today it looks like a fancy name tools that must have to do the same job.

    MDF was not designed to be used for any where near moisture let alone water.

    Once you drill or cut MDF you expose a very course material that is not held together by water proof glues etc.

    Those exposed areas must be sealed before assembly the screw holes must be sealed and when assembled the area still exposed must also be sealed.

    The best option is either solid timber practically impossible for the DIY or waterproof plywood (used in boat building) not moisture proof plywood.

    The biggest problem is the cost factor these days.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    That photo is precisely what the jig does...I have very little wood working experience so like the assistance the jig provides. Your wealth of knowledge in this area is very much appreciated. Do you know if there are any issues with trying to hide the pockets on the inside instead of drilling on the outside? This was what I hoped to do in order to keep the smooth appearance of the wood. There are wood pieces that can be used to fill the holes of course, but these would be very visible in a stained cabinet. For painted cabinets it would be much less of an issue.
     
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