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Re: Go ahead and build your own cabinet!

>I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but unless you are a master 
>cabinet builder with all the necessary knowledge of finish joinery 
>and appropriate types of water resistant fasteners and the  
>specialized tools, table/radial arm saw, router, jigs, clamps, 
>surface planner, etc. I suggest you purchase one off the shelf.  Ask 
>any excellent carpenter, the hardest project to make is a "square" 
>box and that is essentially what you'll be making.  Making the stand 
>furniture quality will be the second hardest.  While cinder blocks 
>and planks may be acceptable for the fishroom, a display tank in a 
>living area requires substanitally more.  The amount of money for 
>lumber, finishing products, plus your time (depending on how you 
>value your time), in my opinion, it is not cost effective or safe to 
>build one.  More importantly, at best the finished product will be a 
>wobbly unattractive affair, at worst it will inadequately support 
>the aquarium resulting in shattered glass and water everywhere, not 
>to mention dead fish. Simple butt joints, common nails and screws 
>won't do the job, and unless you work in the trade every day, tight
>dovetails and good rabbet joints will be a near impossibility.   

I'm sure you mean well, but this is not an all or nothing situation.  
It doesn't have to be either a wobbly leaky mess or fine cabinetry.  
There are many levels in between.  I went to the local stores, looked 
at how various cabinets were built, drew up a plan, and went at it 
WITH HAND TOOLS!  I now have a stand made of solid oak and oak ply, 
with butt joints hidden by mitered trim, with matching canopy.  The 
only concession I made was to have a cabinetry shop make the doors 
for me, although I could have done that myself also.  My cabinet 
looks very nice and doesn't wobble. Total cost, as I recall, was less 
than $100.   I've used it for about 10 years now.  I am a 
microbiologist and not a carpenter or cabinet maker.

So, to the person who originally posted, I say go ahead and make your 
own, but give attention to where the weight will be distributed, and 
work carefully.  

Cathy Hartland