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Cherry Bow Front Aquarium Stand

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Project by reedwood posted 715 days ago 1865 views 5 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cherry Bow Front Aquarium Stand
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155 gal. salt water aquarium bow front stand made from solid cherry and maple plywood

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This project took forever to build.

It all started when a neighbor asked me to install a bay window in their kitchen. He had an Aquarium business where he built and maintained huge aquariums so I thought it was a good opportunity to make a trade.

Of course, the bay window turned out to be a bigger project. There was a 1” electrical conduit and a gas line in the wall for the HVAC in the attic which had to be relocated. They failed to mention that. After completing the work and several other honey do projects, I took delivery of the tank.

I had to build the stand before he could install the elaborate filter system so I bought 3/4” maple plywood for the casework and solid 4/4 cherry for the doors and exterior wrap.

I’ve built a lot of cabinets but never a bow front with bowed, raised paneled doors. This was going to be a fun project and I couldn’t wait to get started.

The problem was, once the aquarium was full of water it wasn’t going anywhere.

First, the floor framing had to be reinforced and I had to run electrical and water supply
and drain lines under the floor.

Then the reclaimed 100+ yr. old oak floors had to be installed and finished.
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The 1942 refurbished corner hutches had to be rebuilt and installed.
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The windows, walls and ceiling had to be painted.


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Tess kitty loves to hang out and inspect the progress.

7/8/13 Update: RIP my little buddy.
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The empty aquarium sat on the half completed stand while I slowly finished the other projects.
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We love Halloween so, one year we had a party and filled the empty tank with skeleton fish! Ha!


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I knew the cabinet and trim would be easy to build but the doors were going to be a challenge.

Lots of clamping jigs!
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I discovered it was better to glue up four thinner veneers rather than only three in order to bend it this much.
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I had two cherry 1/2 posts left over from a cherry kitchen remodel.

I figured they would look good on either side of the stand but they seemed a little plain.
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I decided to carve them to look like sea weed, more abstract than accurately detailed.
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The angled trim pcs. were easy to make. Now it’s time to make the arched doors.
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I glued 1 1/2” pcs. with a 1 degree angle, sanded the panels with a belt sander and finished with an angled sanding block.


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They weren’t that hard to make, don’t know why I was so nervous.
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While I was sanding and fine tuning the inset doors which were held in place with little shims,
everyone that came by just HAD to try to open the loose doors and touch it….. Geeez!
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Enough of that!
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Stain and finish

I used a wood conditioner to prevent the cherry from blotching.
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Zar Teak natural stain and 3 coats of oil base varnish.
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The fish guy was finally able to install the filter system, and after waiting about 5 weeks for the water to cycle

we filled it with beautiful salt water fish.

..... and an eel named Eli.

there’s Daisy and Dory

And this is Little’ Buddy

Vinnie the spotted grouper – he’s da boss

and Spike – no one messes with Spike.

I have to be careful when I feed them, his spines stick out of the water …. Terrible sting!

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So, now you know why it took so long to finish.

-- mark





18 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile

Northwest29

678 posts in 1074 days


#1 posted 715 days ago

Wow!!! Now that’s one beautiful tank setup. Excellent craftsmanship.Really love the curved look – Thanks for sharing your 4 year journey with all of us.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View mafe's profile

mafe

9413 posts in 1673 days


#2 posted 715 days ago

What a amzing work you have done.
What a wonderful workshop.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1422 posts in 785 days


#3 posted 715 days ago

Persistants pays off….. Beautiful Tank, Good pictures, thanks for sharing…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2304 days


#4 posted 715 days ago

Outstanding! Thanks for posting. I love the way your creativity flows with the project.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1444 posts in 1011 days


#5 posted 715 days ago

Beaded frame and raised curved panels – you love a challenge and winning. I take my hat off to you!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View syeret's profile

syeret

96 posts in 1900 days


#6 posted 715 days ago

Beautiful, you’re a craftsman blessed with golden hands.

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1464 posts in 2045 days


#7 posted 715 days ago

Beautiful Aquarium. Incredible work on your home. Really awesome flooring. I acknowledge your persistence, workmanship, and creativity. Great post!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View NormG's profile

NormG

3930 posts in 1588 days


#8 posted 715 days ago

Excellent workmanship, glad to see the end result, very nice looking piece for furniture. I am sure the cat was also pleased

-- Norman

View dpmeyer4867's profile

dpmeyer4867

17 posts in 715 days


#9 posted 715 days ago

My tank was set up on fabric wrapped cement blocks. Great job. I love the floor. I like the calendar on photo 23.

View reedwood's profile

reedwood

858 posts in 1260 days


#10 posted 715 days ago

Hey everyone,
Thanks for all the compliments!

Thank you Mads, just trying to keep up with your beautiful work. Say hello to your little friend, Shave. Will he be posting a new project soon – I hope?

exelectrician, you noticed the beaded frame. Yes, that was a fun detail to create but it was worth it, I think.

syeret, golden hands? More like beat up, covered in scars, and achey from years of hard work. But I still have all my fingers and I’m still making stuff so – no compaints.

normG, I think Tess liked the tank, hard to tell with cats but she was pissed when I put the ladder away. Ha!

dpmeyer4867 Hey bud, welcome to lumberjocks!
Glad you’re here and would love to see some of your projects. It sounds like there is a future aquarium stand project waiting for you too. Hopefully, it won’t take 4 years like mine.
Believe it or not, the construction girls calander was a gift from my wife. She’s so good to me. What a gal.

Thank you for sharing with me. On to the next project!

-- mark

View JusticeBeaver's profile

JusticeBeaver

26 posts in 1092 days


#11 posted 715 days ago

really impressive! and the four year process sounds familiar

-- Lonnie - Peachtree Corners, GA

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2257 days


#12 posted 715 days ago

The aquarium turn out nice.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View LittlePaw's profile

LittlePaw

1571 posts in 1662 days


#13 posted 714 days ago

Gorgeous, beautiful . . . something to be really proud of, Mark.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1748 days


#14 posted 714 days ago

I like it, hope the fish like it too! Never ending projects….....very familiar with that one….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3517 posts in 1952 days


#15 posted 714 days ago

All I can say is WOW!

The detail of the posts really complements the design!

Four years and worth very minute!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

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