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Old 01-26-2020, 12:06 AM
athiker04 athiker04 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: East Tennessee
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Default Re: Pair Of 80 Gallon Plywood Builds

I didn't mean to come off so negative on building these tanks in my first post. While it probably doesn't make sense in terms of time or cost to build tanks this size from plywood, it has been an interesting project and the result will be something unique, and hopefully nice to look at.

After the back, bottom, sides and front of the tank were cut out and assembled, the next step was the top. The idea was to build a wooden frame that the top glass would set into. I also needed to include top ventilation and a groove for the top track for the sliding glass door.

IMAG0305 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

I needed to cut a lot of grooves into this piece for both the top glass, the side glass, and the top sliding glass track. Because of this I wanted to avoid any kind of hardware (screws) when putting this frame together. I did this by cutting the pieces with a 45 degree miter angle, gluing them together and then reinforcing with a 1/8" spline.

IMAG0309 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

Slot cut for the reinforcing splines:
IMAG0310 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

I sliced a piece of plywood down to near 1/8", then ran it through the drum sander until it was a nice fit in the slots I'd cut in the frame joints above:
IMAG0311 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

Glued it all up and then trimmed and sanded the splines off flush.
IMAG0312 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

Then I used the router to cut in the same pattern of vent holes as I did on the front bottom. I also cut a shallow inset all around the top to set the glass into. The back of the frame sits directly on top of the vertical back piece of the tank and is fully supported by it. The sides sit on top of and are supported by the side glass. But the top front wouldn't be supported by anything and I didn't want it to possibly sag under the weight of the top glass. I cut an extra 1/8" deep slot across the top front of the frame in order to attach a piece of 1/8" x 3/4" aluminum angle. It should lend rigidity to this piece of wood.

Also, though I don't have a picture, I cut slots about 5/16" wide and 1/2" deep into the bottom of the frame. These slots will accept the 1/4" pieces of side glass.
IMAG0314 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

This is skipping a some steps (I'd already applied the epoxy) but this image shows the aluminum angle screwed and epoxied to the front top frame piece:
IMAG0347 by Josh Yates, on Flickr

The top frame was then attached to the back and sides, again using pocket screws and glue.

Then, in preparation for the water proofing epoxy, I plugged all of the exposed pocket screw holes with dowels cut off at an angle and then sanded flush. Also, any major cracks, splits, or knot holes in the interior were filled with a sandable epoxy wood filler. I wanted as smooth a surface as possible to work with the pond shield epoxy.

IMAG0317 by Josh Yates, on Flickr
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