Re: 300gal paludarium project
Sorry for not updating. Progress has been a little slow. I'm almost done with the stand. I'll try to get some pics up when I get home from work. I ran into a few problems that complicated things a bit and have neccessited some sub-optimal fixes. Here's a few things I've learnt that would probably have already been obvious to a more experienced carpenter.
Were I to do this again I would NOT use miter joints on long structural joints. It's just too tricky to get everything to fit together perfectly and look good. I think a better method that would have given me a similar look and stronger joints would have been to just use butt joints on the plywood pieces and then covered them up with miter-edged trim pieces.
Don't assume that wood is the thickness that it's listed as. It turns out that my 3/4" plywood from Home Depot wasn't quite 3/4". It was more like 11/16". Unfortunately, when I made my calculations I figured that the inside edge of a mitered piece would be 3/4" less than the outside edge. Due to this oversight, the inside edge of a piece with two mitered corners is actually about 1/8" larger than I anticipated which means that my joints don't fit together as well as I hoped. I had to make some modifications to my initial design to work around this.
Epoxy glue cures very quickly. Most of my joints are glued with either Gorilla glue or Titebond III, but in the case of those poorly fitting joints with a 1/8" gap I decided to use epoxy for it's gap filling ability. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of thinking that epoxy glue would behave like epoxy resin (which it doesn't). I applied a heavy layer of the glue to both surfaces, assuming that excess glue would be squeezed out when I clamped the joint leaving me with a nice tight joint. Instead, by the time I'd applied the glue to all the surfaces and pressed them together the glue had already hardened enough that it didn't compress or squeeze out at all and instead left me with an even bigger gap! There's enough epoxy contact that I'm sure the joint is plenty strong but is cosmetically flawed and not quite flush with the other pieces.
Hopefully my mistakes will help out others working on similar projects.