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Thread: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

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    Banned kracken's Avatar


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    DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread just on WOOD, so add your tips and advice here to help out those who are wood challenged like me Click here to enlarge

    My observations in building a stand (by a noob)

    **** Must Have Tools ****
    - a carpenter's square
    - level
    - miter saw
    - measuring tape
    - good power drill
    - clamps, lots of clamps
    - patience

    Something I like to do before I hit the store to buy wood is visualize putting the stand together. I recently built a new stand using Joey's video, highly recommend it, it's one of the best stand designs. Although, this stand is pretty standard, it's not actually Joey's, not sure who came up with the actual design, I saw it long time ago on another site, but Joey was the first to do a DIY video on it, so as far as I'm concern, IT'S JOEY'S STAND ha ha. I watched the video a few times, many times actually, made some mental notes on what I would need, how much wood for legs, frame, etc Get all the measurements you need before you go buy the wood.

    Basic Stand Design

    - top frame
    - bottom frame
    - 4 inner legs to determine height and connect the frames together
    - 2 outer legs on each corner and a middle leg.

    Regarding the need for a middle leg. Here's what I have found, when you are using 3/4 ply that is held up by legs on the four corners, you could actually put a tank smack in the center with no middle support and it will hold up just fine. I use to always be worried about if the tank weight should be on the edges only, trust me, it's not the tank edges you have to be concerned with, it's the top of the stand (plywood) held up by supports underneath that you need to get right. The plywood on top when done right, you can position the tank anywhere on top of it, does not need to be exactly on the edges. The legs support the plywood which in turn gives you a solid top to put your tank on.

    I'm not sure if I explained that clearly, I'm not smarter than a third grader.

    For myself, adding a middle leg is more for peace of mind than anything else.

    Selecting Wood

    Selecting lumber is always a PITA so be prepared to spend a couple of hours at Home Depot or Lowes. You want to select wood that is as little warped and bent as possible, a difficult task I know. Some have suggested using better quality wood. I did happen to find the section that has better quality wood, but it's very expensive and some it's $per square feet. Nonetheless, would you rather spend only $20 for cheap warped wood and hours of frustration or would you pay $50-$80 or more for good quality wood and be done with the stand in no time. My next stand I will be paying for the better wood lol

    Something I learned about Tank Weight and Stand Stability

    Often, you'll hear people saying how heavy a tank is when they are carrying it. The weight of a tank carried by two people or even four should not be compared to the sitting weight on the stand. The sitting weight is weight evenly distributed over wood. One 2x4 leg can hold thousands of pounds, the more legs you add, the more stable the stand will be. I generally use 2x3 and have used smaller and the stability factor is always still high, just to give you some perspective on how strong a single leg of wood is regardless if it's 2x6, 2x4, 2x3, 1x4, 1x3.

    Never be afraid of how heavy your tank will be, even with water, sand, decorations, etc. A well built stand will handle just about any load. I never liked the term over-build, it's over-kill. Just buy the amount of wood you'll need to create a capable stand. Anything more is just waste of money. I have a stand made of only 1x3 and I still sleep good at night lol

    Using 3/4 plywood definitely helps make they stand more solid. 3/4 ply can be very intimidating because well, it's bloody thick and uber heavy. Your first thought might be to dismiss it because you don't want to bother with heavy pieces of wood. I use to think that, but not anymore. 3/4 is strong and adding it to your stand will make your stand stronger, this is a good thing. 1/2 plywood is just not the same, although, remember what I said about comparing weight. 1/2 ply could work just fine, especially if you add it to top and bottom.

    What are your secrets to building a good stand?

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    Divine Moderator Divinehammer's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    with your miter saw use your square to make sure it is square to the fence and up and down, this will make sure your cut are accurate, when you make your wood always cut on the opposite side of the mark that is the piece you want, the side of the blade should be even to the mark this will insure you get the right length not 1/6 less, some people cut the mark down the center of the blade. when using a Table saw to cut long pieces of wood have someone help you keep the piece of wood tight and straight to the fence.

    If using a skill saw to cut long lengths or short for that mater use a straight edge clamped to your piece of wood to act as a guide for the saw, works for a router or jig saw too. for drawing straight lines skip the pencil and use a chalk line faster and more accurate.

    when screwing your wood together always pr-drill your wood, to avoid splitting the wood, I will do this with finishing nails as well in trim, 1 will use a 1/16" bit for the finishing nails, for #8 screws I will use a 1/8" bit.

    glue then screw or nail your wood together much stronger bond, wipe the excessive glue off while its still wet uses a damp rag for it.

    when staining your wood after you sanded and wiped it off take a damp rag not soaking wet but damp and wipe the wood with it will help open the pores of the wood so the stain sinks in better. sand gently between coats, wipe with damp cloth again re-stain again to taste, re-sand wipe again with damp rag and then apply finish sanding between coats, by light sanding I mean uses 150-200 grit sandpaper always wipe with a damp rag not paper towel lit free rags preferably. Always sand with the grain not against, using a DA sander is the best but by hand with a sanding block will work just fine.
    To get a really shiny finish I like to use Turtle wax on the finish after it has dried fully for 24 hours to get the high gloss shine.
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    Head Moderator AussieDIYFK's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    great work from you both, i feel like a real slacker now for not posting info like this earlier, all the stuff you have mentioned is a great index for people to learn from. thumbs up kracken and devine Click here to enlarge
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    Head Moderator AussieDIYFK's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    with long tanks like 4ft plus i put a leg in at every 2ft that way i can sleep at night and it looks great having the 2ft spacings for doors, you can do a 3ft with no middle but any bigger like 4ft you need it. mitre saws are great for cutting square and 45's perfect and are highly recomended with any stand build, with ply perfect ply cuts without the use of a panel saw you can use a jig saw to cut roughly a straight line and then a trimmer with a flush trim bit to get that perfect straight edge providing you use a fence or guide for the bearing to follow.
    with screwing as divine mentioned the pilot hole is a must so timber dosnt split and u can use a clearance hole thats bigger than the thread of the screw so your top piece actualy pulls together with the peice your screwing it too, theres so much to learn from wood working and paint finishing that this topic needs a hole new section, so mayby in the future there might be something in the line i hope,thats whats diy is all about Click here to enlarge
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    Snowman Moderator sboisvert's Avatar


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    DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    When cutting plywood. To help prevent splintering, put a piece of painters tape over the cut line. This will help keep the splintering to a minimum.


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    Working on setting up a 180 gallon SW setup.

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    DIYFK member Trippinmyrlinn's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    Another great way to prevent splintering on trim is use a scrap piece of wood (2X4 works great) behind the nice piece that way the blade wont blow out the back side.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of quality lumber. if $1 extra for a 2X4 is gonna make or break you, you should rethink your financial situation before you start your build, because the stand frame is probably the cheapest part.

    PRE-DRILL ALL SCREW HOLES! this will save you alot of wasted energy and you'll never split a board. 1/8" bits are perfect for wood screw pilot holes. Buy em in bulk because they DO snap.


    hope this helps Click here to enlarge

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    DIYFK member memfish's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    also when cutting plywood make home depot or lowes do it Click here to enlarge


    but seriously this is a great thread for people to learn from

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    Snowman Moderator sboisvert's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by memfish
    also when cutting plywood make home depot or lowes do it Click here to enlarge


    but seriously this is a great thread for people to learn from
    Only if you want to go back and buy another sheet of plywood and cut it yourself after you get home and realized they messed up the cut. :lol
    Working on setting up a 180 gallon SW setup.

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    DIYFK member Trippinmyrlinn's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by memfish
    also when cutting plywood make home depot or lowes do it
    if you can find one of those orange bibbed $&$^#@! to come run the machine Click here to enlarge

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    Moderator megaphoenix's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AussieDIYFK
    great work from you both, i feel like a real slacker now for not posting info like this earlier, all the stuff you have mentioned is a great index for people to learn from. thumbs up kracken and devine Click here to enlarge
    You should!!!! I've been after you for months to do it. Click here to enlarge Click here to enlarge

    Good job guys, but what other wood working tips do you have to offer?
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    Divine Moderator Divinehammer's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    oh I forgot with wood screws use a bit of wax or soap on the threads of the screws will act as a lubricant and make the screws go into the wood easier, if your drilling holes in wood with spade bits start the hole till the point comes through the other side of the wood then drill from that side of the wood you will get a nice clean hole and no tare out, for cutting plywood the more teeth on the blade the better the cut, most saws come with a general use blade which works ok, but there are blades designed for cutting plywood, just as there is blades for ripping down wood stock, use the proper blade for the job, less hassle, less chance of tear outs and ruff cuts. and using soap or wax on the blade helps with smooth clean cuts as well.
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    Head Moderator AussieDIYFK's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    i find it easy to drill ply together eg L shape by using a tacking gun(small nail gun) to hold the pieces together and then glue and screw, this way its flush and is right on square, just make sure your base panel is square that way every other panel that goes on to it fits snug.
    titebond 3 is a waterproof pva that i use some times but i prefere 2 part 24hr epoxy for max strength
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    Banned kracken's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    How about those nasty knots, holy #%##% I hate drilling into knots, takes forever lol All I can do is drill stop reverse drill stop reverse, drill keeps getting stuck.

    BTW, forgot one handy piece of equipment, it's called the Kreg's Jig, I don't have one yet but I plan on getting it. It allows you to pre-drill pocket screw holes so you can later assemble your pieces like legos. I've heard great things about using one of these.

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    Head Moderator AussieDIYFK's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    i used a kreg jig on my 240gallon reef tank stand,check it out if u want
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    DIYFK member wackarnold's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    aussie what did you use to get the nice black surface on your cabnets? i was never the best at painting and what not. i'd like to get a professional looking finish on my tank when i do it.

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    Head Moderator AussieDIYFK's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    i use a sheen/satin board that has a nice flat surface i then lightly sand it with 240 and then undercoat rub back and use a precatilised base coat or just single pack black car paint will do the job to, u can add a satin clear coat on top to make it more dull or full gloss if u want also. having a good gun and keeping it clean is a must aswell as good surface prep, with painting the preparation is the most vital part expecially with high gloss
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    DIYFK member wackarnold's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    wow. this might be something i do when i have more money to buy the tools. thanks. thats impressive

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    Banned kracken's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    I think I'm going to cry Click here to enlarge I got to get one of these, now they have one for larger wood, perfect for stand building.

    All Hail The Kreg Jig Click here to enlarge

    http://www.kregtool.com/Kreg-Jig-HD-...tml?source=689
    Click here to enlarge

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    DIYFK member Monster7's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    I think you can build one.
    First rule of DIYFK: Post more pictures.
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    DIYFK member Jubs's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    Great thread and info everyone!

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    DIYFK member GoggleEye's Avatar


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    Re: DIY Lumber Tips and Advice

    Just a thought.

    Oak Wood is expensive and not available in Thailand.

    Would it be possible to use old oak pallets. Take the pallets apart and use the 2x4 oak from the pallets.

    They would take a lot of clean up and sanding filling more sanding.

    Is it possible to join the two ends togather by using a Mortise and Bunt Joint?

    Would the joint be strond enough for a verticle in the top or bottom portion of the frame?

    You could flip two 2x4s that make up one side of the frame, so the joints are not side by side when making the frame. In other words you would have one joint on one end of the frame and another joint on the other end of the frame.

    Hope that makes since.
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    DIYFK member Flyer's Avatar


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    When you're at Home Depot ask them if they have a "Cull cart" . It's usually stashed somewhere in the back of the lumber dept. They take bad boards and cut them down to about 4' lengths and re-price them for a fraction of the original price. So if you're after shorter lengths check there 1st, sometimes you can find some pretty nice stuff in there.
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    DIYFK member fiesta90150's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flyer Click here to enlarge
    When you're at Home Depot ask them if they have a "Cull cart" . It's usually stashed somewhere in the back of the lumber dept. They take bad boards and cut them down to about 4' lengths and re-price them for a fraction of the original price. So if you're after shorter lengths check there 1st, sometimes you can find some pretty nice stuff in there.
    I don't think he has Home depot in thailand.

    Just a thought.

    Oak Wood is expensive and not available in Thailand.

    Would it be possible to use old oak pallets. Take the pallets apart and use the 2x4 oak from the pallets.

    They would take a lot of clean up and sanding filling more sanding.

    Is it possible to join the two ends togather by using a Mortise and Bunt Joint?

    Would the joint be strond enough for a verticle in the top or bottom portion of the frame?

    You could flip two 2x4s that make up one side of the frame, so the joints are not side by side when making the frame. In other words you would have one joint on one end of the frame and another joint on the other end of the frame.

    Hope that makes since.
    I made a low living room table using 2 pallets, its a pain to do, you will as you said be sanding and filling and sanding lol. I think the worst part is taken them apart lol and the fact that the peices of wood are not exactly straight or flat all the time. As for joinning the ends i have no idea I would like to see what you come up with. Oh and the bet part is that pallets are free lol. Is there not another type of wood you could use that you can find?

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    DIYFK member GeoJB's Avatar


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    Cutting plywood, face down when using a circular saw ( hand held)
    Face up for the table saw users.
    Jig saw.... good luck make sure you tape it. But, will still be splintering.

    In either case, use a fine blade for smoother cuts.

    Is it possible to join the two ends together by using a Mortise and Bunt Joint?
    Would the joint be strong enough for a vertical in the top or bottom portion of the frame?
    Making half lap joints mated together plenty of glue surface a bit more stable than plain butt joints.
    Half laps look like a step. you can even use this in corners for strength.
    A crude quick drawing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Halflap joint.jpg  

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    Moderator inkbull's Avatar


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    like on your canopy
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    DIYFK member GoggleEye's Avatar


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    We do not have Lowes, Builders Square or Home Depot in Thailand. I wish they they were here. Not any pine wood available. Hard wood 2 x 4 have verticle cracks in the wood about 2 to 4 inches long and 1/4 inch to 2 inches deep in the 2 x 4. The wood is not pressure treated. The wood cracks when they dry the wood out.

    Take the 2 x 4 1 ft from the end make 2 notches on one 2 x 4 and one notch on the other 2 x 4. (you are making a tong and grove joint, take your fingers and slid them togather from end to end. Same joint.) The notch 6 inches deep then slide the two pieces of wood togather. Make the 2 x 4 longer. Need to glue the joint before sliding it togather. Then drill two 1/4 inch hole from the top down. Drive in Wood Dowles to secure the joint. Fill with wood puty and let dry 24 hours. Run the 2 x 4 thru a plainer to square up the 2 x 4. or use a Hand Plainer, Then sand.

    Or You could rip the 2 x 4 to 2 x 1 and lamintate the wood back togather making the 2 x 4 longer. Same thing as a Tongue and Grove Joint.

    The bottom joint for the bottom frame would not matter since it is setting on the floor for more support. The only concern is the top joint and you would need a verticle brace under the joint. On the opposite side of the top frame you would have to flip the 2 x 4 so the two joints are on opposing end. Not directly across from each other.

    sure this will work how ever my excplanation is not very clear.
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    Divine Moderator Divinehammer's Avatar


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    you can't mortise and tenon 2 2x4 together but you can finger joint it together, but I would go for cutting it into strips and laminating it back together into 1 long piece, and by laminating it with a good quality wood glue will be actually stronger than a piece of solid wood 2x4, this type of wood is also called engineered lumber, another trick is to take plywood and make an I beam out of it, most new homes are going with this for floor joist as it is stronger and lighter weight and will hold more weight and resist bowing like sold wood beams will.
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    DIYFK member GoggleEye's Avatar


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    Divine, seen laminated I beams. Very interesting I have seen sheets of the same wood the 2 x 4s are made from. It does not look like plywood but solid wood sheets very smooth on the top and bottom. Found some 3/4 of an inch thick. I wish I new the type of wood it is? The sheets could be riped and glued togather. Divine I think you just resolved my issue poor quality wood. Just need to find a good wood supplier in Thailand.
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    DIYFK member shawnwaldon's Avatar


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    Out of all the posts no one talked about kelm dried wood. If you want to use a cheap 2x4 get KD studs. These are the studs used to build houses and are usually not warped or bent, at least not as much as standered "wet" lumber. I just built my stand for my 40 gallon for about $15 worth of wood. Here in Oregon they are 2.49 ea. Just a thought. Oh before I forget the biggest perk of using KD studs is they are already dried so you don't have to worry about swelling and shrinkage.

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    Head Moderator AussieDIYFK's Avatar


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    kiln dried is just a faster way of speading up the process of curing the timber, natural curing takes 5000000 times longer eg.. it takes 5-10 years to compleatly dry out a slab of wood, in a kiln its just a day
    but it still can shrink and warp.
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