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Re: DIY Hood Questions

"I've been toying with the idea of constructing a wooden hood for my 60

"1)  I've read the archives on type of materials to use, and am wondering if
the "kiln-dried" pine would be best to use, as I believe it would match my
pine stand once stained.  So, is the kiln-dried pine easy to work with?
Inexpensive?  Will it take stain?  Or are there better choices?"

"2) Should I "seal" the inside and outside with polyurethane?  The outside
my stand is NOT sealed, and has performed very well for me over the years.
I suppose I could seal it with the aquarium still on it if need be to match
the hood..."

"Kiln-dried" wood has been "baked" in a controlled atmosphere environment to
remove most of the moisture content which is present in green wood. It
twists and warps a lot less than wood which has not been so treated. But any
solid wood that you buy is going to take a while to reach equilibrium with
its environment, so it is always best to buy your wood a few weeks before
you intend to use it, to allow it to adjust to your home or workshop. Don't
cut it to size until you need it (selecting of course, the straightest and
most warp free pieces possible). If you don't want your hood to warp after
it is put in place, you are going to have to seal the wood. Kiln dried pine
is one of the easiest solid woods to work but a good grade of veneer core
plywood can look just as good and will warp less due to its multi-ply
construction. A lot depends upon the design you choose - the hood I built
for my larges tank is made using a combination of both solid oak and oak
veneered plywood. I do notice that one of the end pieces (made from a length
of solid oak) has a very slight "cup" (twist) in it now - I should have been
more careful about how I picked the piece of wood for that part in the first
place. But the plywood components are as warp free now as they were the day
it was built. Long pieces of solid wood can be made more stable and trouble
free if they are built up from several thinner strips, clamped and glued
together, but not everyone has the setup to do this.

The "traditional" finish for use near water is an oil based, "spar" varnish,
but there have been miracles worked in the past few years with modern water
based finishes. Flecto is one brand I have used with great results - they go
on easily, don't smell (much, or for long), clean up is easy with water, and
most importantly, the new ones  can be every bit as waterproof as the old
oil based varnishes  (which smell to high heaven and are unforgiving in
application). Be prepared to apply multiple coats - 3 would be a minimum for
an item used near water, with sandling between coats to ensure proper

Finish the INSIDE and the OUTSIDE of the hood. There should be no areas of
bare wood where moisture can get into the  wood.

Unless you can drill directly into a  wooden ceiling joist, I would forget
about trying to suspend a wooden hood from the ceiling. If you live in an
apartment building, the ceilings are more than likely suspended below the
concrete frame and just not strong enough to hold the weight. Even getting
right into solid concrete, while possible, it dicey unless you really know
what you are doing (having  had a whole wall of bookshelves come down in the
middle of the night, I know what I'm talking about......)

James Purchase