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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick question. I want to build a stand for a 135g tank, any recommendations? I went to my local home depot, and they have douglass-fir. I don't know anything to do with lumber, so I wanted to know if this will be fine, as long as I check them to make sure they are true and not bowed/warped. Is this type of wood fine? Seems like a general purpose do it kind of wood, and I really don't want to have 135g of water on my floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Alright I just wanted to make sure. :thumb:
 

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Douglas fir, like all wood from coniferous trees, is a soft wood. If you are doing your main construction with it, it may be cheaper just to use regular spruce 2x4's. The fir is fine, but in my area anyway, it is more expensive than spruce.
Not sure what kind of stand your building, but if you are planning on staining it, softwoods don't stain very well, usually end up blotchy. You can paint it just fine though.
If I were building a large stand (which I will be for a 150 very soon). I would use spruce for the main support structure, and then cover it with a hardwood like oak for the outside finished areas.
Just my 2 cents.
 

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X2 what boomr said.

There is a difference in grades of wood, usually the cheapest stuff is not very good for furniture, but often suitable for construction where it will be covered with something like drywall or brick or other woods. I like to try and pick pieces of wood that have straight fine grain instead of twisty or wide grain (figured maple and other exotics aside) it may take some digging through the stack of wood at the lumber yard but if you're persistant you can usually find a couple good pieces of wood. It seems like pieces of wood with straighter grain usually don't twist or warp as much and it looks better in my opinion.

Baltic B irch plywood is fairly inexpensive and is good for finishing the exterior of a 2x4 skeleton, it can be finished pretty easily with paint or stain and won't require much sanding. Another option would be Luan or Mahogany (same thing different names,) I've seen 1/4" thick sheets around here for about $8, the nice thing about Mahogany is that it's moisture resistant, finishing with laquer or polyurethane may not be necessary at all depending on your tastes.
 

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If it's good enough to frame a house with it will be fine to build your stand with. Kornflake gave some very good information on how to choose the wood and I'll just add a little to it. If the wood has a high moisture content avoid it. Sometimes when your breaking down a stack you'll run across a peice that's extra heavy (What, did they float this yesterday?) It may seem like a strong pc. of wood but most likely it will twist or bend as it dries out.

One good investment to make when you buy the wood is a high quality exterior paint. After your frames built and your happy with it give it a couple good coats before doing the final finish woodwork.
 

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The people at your lumber yard should be able to help you with your wood choice. I will just add a bit more (politely disagree) with some of what was said.
Mahogany is no more water resistant than many other hardwoods, and would need to be protected with a varnish, laquer or paint. Typically only woods with very high oil content in them naturally, are resistant to moisture. Those include cedar, teak and more exotic woods like cocobolo.
Also the strand orientation or "grain" of the wood, is not a very good indicator of whether or not the wood will twist. Although some woods are very prone to twisting and warping, it has more to do with the woods thickness, density, how it is cut (quartersawn vs. straightsawn vs. rotary cut), how it is dried, and as stated, the moisture content. Like iceblue said, wet wood is prone to twist when it dries, so buy dry stuff.
One other thing, balticbirch plywood is not the best stuff to stain, the pores are small in birch so use a pigment based stain if you do want to stain it. It will paint real nice though...
 

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Boomr99 said:
The people at your lumber yard should be able to help you with your wood choice. I will just add a bit more (politely disagree) with some of what was said.
Mahogany is no more water resistant than many other hardwoods, and would need to be protected with a varnish, laquer or paint. Typically only woods with very high oil content in them naturally, are resistant to moisture. Those include cedar, teak and more exotic woods like cocobolo.
Really? It's marked "moisture resistant Luan Ply" at the store, is that more a reference to the the glue used to bond the plys? Any exterior grade plywood would use the same moisture resistant glue why make the distinction for Luan?

Also the strand orientation or "grain" of the wood, is not a very good indicator of whether or not the wood will twist. Although some woods are very prone to twisting and warping, it has more to do with the woods thickness, density, how it is cut (quartersawn vs. straightsawn vs. rotary cut), how it is dried, and as stated, the moisture content. Like iceblue said, wet wood is prone to twist when it dries, so buy dry stuff.
This is true, construction grade lumber is almost always wet around here, finish grade hardwood boards like poplar, oak or maple tend to be well dried. Usually straight grain boards are quarter sawn and less likely to warp though aren't they? My dad might have mislead me here, I've always looked for straight grain boards because that's what he always did.

One other thing, balticbirch plywood is not the best stuff to stain, the pores are small in [email protected]#$ so use a pigment based stain if you do want to stain it. It will paint real nice though...
You know that's what I'd always heard, I'm not a fan of the figure in b irch plywood, I tend to use oak for natural finishes, or mdf if I'm going to paint over it. I've seen a lot of DIY projects built using baltic b irch and none looked blotchy so I figured the newer stains must do a better job on b irch.
 

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I was actually refering to mahogany as a hardwood, not as ply. True mahogany plywood is quite expensive (at least near me). And even that is not moisture resistant. Luan ply is not real mahogany, it's a very cheap plywood. I havn't used it myself so I won't profess to know much about it. But here is an excert from an article I found on the subj.

"Mositure Detrioration

A major problem with luan plywood subfloors is that any type of moisture will seriously deteriorate the wood. Luan plywood is at most one-fourth of an inch thick and is made from wood usually derived from tropical rainforests. For this reason the wood itself is not very stable and is often made of a wide variety of scrap materials that will blister severely when any type of moisture is introduced to them."

Take it for what it's worth, but I sure wouldn't use it.
I suppose they could make a "moisture resistant" variety, using different glues to hold the ply's together.
That being said, I read another article where a guy built a row boat out of Luan ply, but only used it becasue it was cheap and bends easily. He had to use fiberglass resin and epoxy to waterproof it.

Quartersawn boards are typically more resistant to warping yes, but like I said, whether a board will warp or not is also dependant on many other factors.

You can stain balticbirch ply, you just have to use the right kind of stain to avoid blotchyness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Will post pics as I move on. Today I picked up some wood. Plywood finished ready for paint or staining/regulay plywood/ and 2x4's. Should be done in the next few days I won't post pics until I am completely done that way you can see the entire build in a single thread. Thanks for the help guys. :thumb:
 
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