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tips on building furniture?

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  • tips on building furniture?

    Recently I bartered for a used 55 gallon aquarium that was in pretty good condition, except for the fact that the stand was old, worn, and a bit smelly. I looked at buying a decent replacement that would look more presentable in my home, but the prices were crazy, especially considering the poor quality of the materials they use to make them.

    I put together a simple, functional stand using about 30' of 2x4" s and 5/16 lag screws. It came out looking like a well built shipping crate, but after staining it, it doesn't look any worse than the store bought stands, and came out to about a quarter of the cost.

    I had a lot of fun with this first project, and the only thing I would change if I were to do it again was how I fastened the wood, the bolt heads sticking out everywhere aren't very appealing. How would some of you pros out there make strong joints, yet not be so visible?

    Also, any links to online resources for building tips would help out as well.

  • #2
    Re: tips on building furniture?

    Not a pro, but here are my thoughts.

    Glue is very strong, so if you use glue in addition to or instead of a mechanical fastener it will look nicer and be just as strong.

    Half lap joints are pretty easy to make, have lots of surface area, and look pretty nice.

    You don't need to have the bolts show, you can usually hide them. For example, if you screwed them in from the inside instead of outside, they are still ugly; but ugly where you can't see them.

    You could also use more smaller fasteners (again on the inside if you can swing it). Instead of a big huge lag bolt, why not use four deck screws in a square pattern.


    • #3
      Re: tips on building furniture?

      i bought one of these kits a little over a year ago from Amazon and am really glad i did as it has become a very handy tool for alot of different projects.

      if you build the stand with the pockets on the inside they are usually not seen, however if it will be seen you can plug the 3/8 hole with a piece of dowel and sand it flush.

      i dont think i would use this on any fine furniture but shelves and such its a great tool.


      • #4
        Re: tips on building furniture?

        That jig kit looked pretty interesting, don't really have much budget for more tools at the moment, but definitely something to put on the list. Now that I think about it, I could have done a counter bore into the wood while I was making the pilot holes. I just picked up a small set of Irwin speed bore bits yesterday since they were on sale. At least I'll have them for future projects I guess. Since my lag bolts were so big, I probably would have had a hard time with dowels, but could have possibly used a wood putty of some sort for finishing.

        About using glue, any recommendations on type? Regular wood glue, some type of calk adhesive, liquid nails? I read the back of some adhesives and they all have different curing times.


        • #5
          Re: tips on building furniture?

          There are other pocket hole jigs out there for a lot less money. Kreg has some jigs that you just clamp on the work piece that work great. The mini jig comes with a guide and a drill bit for about $20.00, and a Rocket jig that ocmes with a jig, drill bit, and face frame clamp for about $50.00 They are not as fast as the master system, but still work great. For anything that has a face frame I use pocket holes. They are easy, strong, and are unseen in most cases.


          • #6
            Re: tips on building furniture?

            I don't know what your piece looks like (if you were to give us a pic that would be great), but if you were to build it with joints that don't rely on mechanical fasteners for strength, you wouldn't have to worry about covering those lag screws. You're looking at roughly 500 pounds for an aquarium of that size, so you need something sturdy for sure.

            You might search the 'net for free woodworking bench plans and adapt something you find there into a stand for you aquarium. I've seen a number built with 2x4s.

            Also, not knowing what tools you have to work with makes it difficult to suggest types of joints. You can make 2x4 half-lap joints using nothing more than a handsaw or a circ saw and a chisel, its not difficult as all. You could then drill and peg these joints after gluing and you would have a strong joint.
            "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



            1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error