Can't decide joinery

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Forum topic by thrak76 posted 11-27-2011 07:46 AM 769 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 1807 days

11-27-2011 07:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: fish tank canopy lid hinges joinery

Hi folks

I’m designing a canopy for my 75 gallon aquarium.

The canopy will be able to open in a couple different ways. One way will just open the front portion of the hinged lid (for feeding time), and the second way will be able to open the whole lid up and out of the way (for maintenance).

Think of the hinged lid as kind of an “L” rotated 90 degrees clockwise. One hinge will be near the intersection of the “L”, but set a little further back, so that the piece can be opened and rested on the long part of the “L”. I’ll probably just use some kind of continuous hinge in this location.
The second hinge point will be at the end of the “L” and will lift the whole lid up on some kind of chest lid hinge. I haven’t decided on hardware for the hinges yet…

BUT, my question is… what kind of joinery would y’all suggest at the intersection of the “L”?

This lid will be opened multiple times a day, so it would have to be able to put up to some abuse. I plan on using 1/2” stock so that the whole canopy is not too heavy, and can be removed by one person in a pinch.

I’ve included a sketchup model of the canopy, minus the lid…

thanks for reading!!

3 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


3892 posts in 2665 days

#1 posted 11-28-2011 06:46 PM

Without commenting on the type of joint to use, I must first warn you against the use of wood for a cover. It will always be subject to moisture. That’s why the ones you can buy are made of plastic. Wood can be protected by finishes, but will always require maintenance to keep it from warping, twisting, etc. There is only one wood material that I would recommend. It is called MDO, (Medium Density Overlay). It is a plywood that has been impreginated with a plastic resin. It is the material of choice for signs used on highways. It doesn’t absorb moisture and remains stable. Being a plywood, you would have to paint it or apply a plastic laminate. It comes in normal plywood thicknesses and takes some effort to locate. Sign shops usually have it and can order it for you. Sorry I can’t be more help.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2490 days

#2 posted 11-28-2011 07:11 PM

Another vote for not using wood for the canopy. Aquariums give of tons of moisture and unless they’re VERY well ventilated will wreck wood pretty quickly.

MDO would be a good choice as long as you can avoid having any cut edges exposed to the moisture. It would be real heavy, though.

If I were doing this, I would look into using PVC “boards”. I’ve never done it, but I’ve been told that they can be shaped and milled like wood and glued with PVC cement.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View thrak76's profile


20 posts in 1807 days

#3 posted 11-28-2011 07:35 PM

I’m not sure you understand what i mean by canopy? If you do a google image search for aquarium canopy, you will see what i’m speaking of. These are most definitely NOT plastic. I’m not talking about a light fixture. I’m not asking about the moisture effects on wood. I’m asking about joinery….
MDO would be cost prohibitive and VERY heavy. The PVC boards method is an interesting idea, but i’d have a very hard time getting that to match the already-in-place Red Oak stand.

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