Bowfront oak aquarium stand

  • Advertise with us
Project by Sawdustmaker posted 03-03-2008 07:32 PM 15816 views 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Although this is one of my older projects, it took me a good chunk of time to produce it. After deciding to purchase a salt water tank, I started looking at tanks and stands. The tank I ended up purchasing was a 72 gallon bow front. The stand that was available with it looked to be press board and there was the whole idea of placing hundreds of pounds on top of something that did not look strong enough to hold my weight. I built (some might say overbuilt) a sub frame to carry the weight with salt treated 4×4’s for the uprights and salt treated 2×4’s for the cross members. I rabbeted the 4×4’s then bolted and glued them to the 2×4’s. The tank and the sump sit on 3/4” furniture grade oak plywood with 5 coats of spar varnish. I set the tank on a large piece of cardboard and traced out the outline of the tank. I also used the same ark to design the cross members for the doors to continue the profile of the tank. All of the individual 1×3 oak stays on the outside are screwed with stainless steel screws and glued from the rear. I added some rope molding to give it a nautical look and here it is.

-- Brian, Virginia Beach

12 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5063 days

#1 posted 03-03-2008 07:36 PM

That’s pretty nice. I gave up on killing fish a long time ago though.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5293 days

#2 posted 03-03-2008 08:50 PM

Great way to hide all that equipment!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4840 days

#3 posted 03-03-2008 09:01 PM

Good project Brian. I think it looks good and it was a good idea on your part to build it so strong. That’s a lot of weight for it to support. I’m kind of like GaryK, the fish stand a better chance of surviving if they stay in the lakes and rivers. Especially when I go fishing. LOL. Before my son moved out (finally), he had a medium sized salt water tank in his bedroom. I think everything in that room that was made of metal rusted. Again, good job.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4843 days

#4 posted 03-03-2008 10:23 PM

great project. it was a good idea to find a place to hide all of that stuff and it looks great too. also now when you go and look at it it will give you a sense of pride because you know that you made that with your own two hands. great job!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4897 days

#5 posted 03-04-2008 12:36 AM


This is an absolutely gorgeous piece. The bowfront design of the piece makes this one unique. I like the rope molding as it adds a nice detail to the piece. Your lightstand is very innovative. All in all this is a very nice piece. It certainly puts to shame stands that are sold commercially and I am sure that you completed it for far less than it would have cost you from a pet store. And yours is obviously a vast improvement with respect to quality.

Well done. I will have to favorite this and put one on my to do list to replace the stands that I am now using.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5141 days

#6 posted 03-04-2008 12:49 AM

That is a really nice stand. I think that you should snap a picture of it and show it to the retailer that sold you the tank – I bet you will end up getting some sales for them.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5476 days

#7 posted 03-04-2008 02:25 AM

Great looking tank. Luckily we only get 1 or 2 fish at a time and they die within a week. So no one wants another for a while.

Then we start all over again.

Now we just have a corn snake and a leopard gecko.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4950 days

#8 posted 03-04-2008 03:10 AM

That looks positively great. I have never tried, nor do I intend to try salt water. I have a 125 Gal. fresh in my living room with 4 Koi and one (big) comet, and a few plecostamus (sp?).

Bill is right.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4874 days

#9 posted 03-04-2008 03:22 AM

looks good.. must be strong to hold up all of those soon to be not so alive fish… Oh I am projecting on my lack of skill in aquarium skills…

-- making sawdust....

View woodup's profile


145 posts in 5018 days

#10 posted 03-04-2008 03:26 AM

Stunning piece! Capturing the curve with the stand to match the tank is great. The rope trim and the hardware really complete the project! I made a light hood for my 55 gallon tank. I didn’t pay attention to how corrosive the saltwater would be to the wood and it has taken it’s toll. My fish tank hobbie is on hold indefinitely. I just don’t have the time money or commitment to do it justice. Your display looks terrific!

-- Michael, Fort Worth, TX. "I wood if I could!"

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5152 days

#11 posted 03-10-2008 02:21 PM

What a nice piece of woodworking. Just a great job.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View 9fingersleft's profile


1 post in 3595 days

#12 posted 07-03-2011 07:21 AM

I would love to learn how to build a bow front stand and canopy. Can you give me any advice, tips, tricks and hints? A very detailed set of plans would be great! lol!

-- If i only had a brain......

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics