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Aquarium stand finishing

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Forum topic by dbleoh7 posted 09-29-2020 02:20 PM 268 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dbleoh7

2 posts in 27 days


09-29-2020 02:20 PM

I’m a newbie to woodworking and I built an aquarium stand with 1×4s and the exterior covered with 3/4” birch plywood from Home Depot (I think it came sanded) and will be putting cabinet molding along the corners. I’m wanting to finish it in a high gloss white that needs to be water resistant. My question is what I should use to obtain this. I’m fine with multiple layers and sanding, I just want a really sharp looking finish that’s sealed well. I’ve read ways of doing it online but they’re all different so I’m a bit confused. I’d prefer to use spray cans but I did pick up an electric sprayer if needed (not sure if it’s adequate though – a cheap electric paint spray gun from Harbor Freight (listed below)). Can anyone outline the steps for me? Any help would be appreciated

https://www.harborfreight.com/painting/paint-sprayers/5-gph-electric-paint-spray-gun-63452.html


7 replies so far

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ChefHDAN

1772 posts in 3732 days


#1 posted 09-29-2020 02:37 PM

Welcome to LJ’s ; Likely marine spar varnish would be the highest gloss most waterproof finish that would be the most “bullet-proof” but even for experienced wood workers, finishing is not a simple process and if you’re expecting to get the finish you’re seeing on the showroom floor on your first project you’re headed for a heart break. A water based poly is probably the best product for you to start with to get your project completed, (1”x4”, hope it’s a 20g tank), A great place to start would be for you to take some time to watch Charles Neil on YouTube, Charles was an extremely well respected LJ here and his passing was a great loss for our community. Check out his finishing video here, you will learn much more than any of us could type here for you, and there are many other videos from a great finishing master to see as well.

Good LUck

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Russell Hayes

25 posts in 61 days


#2 posted 09-29-2020 02:39 PM

What size aquarium/how heavy? 1×4 frame doesn’t sound very strong.

-- Have a hobby? You should have a business.

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LesB

2622 posts in 4326 days


#3 posted 09-29-2020 05:06 PM

So as I understand it you want a painted white gloss finish? I would suggest using an exterior paint for that. For a smooth finish you need to sand the surface down to 320 grit sand paper. Then I would seal it with clear de-waxed Shellac (Zinssers Makes a shellac sealer that is de-waxed). I would dilute is 50% with alcohol for the first coat then sand again with 320 grit to remove any raised fibers and apply a second full strength coat and sand again. Shellac dries quickly so you can get both coats on in one day. About 3 hours between coats. I often wipe shellac on with a small piece of lint free cloth wearing a latex glove. By the way shellac cleans up with household ammonia and water.
Cheap spary guns are for painting fences not the fine finish you are looking for although I’m sure someone will correct me on this. The shortcoming of cheap sprayers is usually the spray tip.

In-lieu of using shellac us a good paint primer first and again carefully sand the raised wood grain before applying the final coat. You can use a water based primer and an oil paint but I would not recommend doing the other way around.

Now you are ready to apply your white paint. If you use a spraygun or can go slowly and lightly to avoid runs. It may take several coats doing it this way with possible light sanding between to get your final glossy smooth finish.

Good luck

-- Les B, Oregon

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dbleoh7

2 posts in 27 days


#4 posted 09-29-2020 06:43 PM

Hey thank you for the replies. Would I be correct in using Kilz White Interior/Exterior Multi-Surface Primer to prime it? and then finishing it off with Rustoleum enamel paint from the spray can?

The stand is 1×4s but the legs are 2 1×4s screwed and glued together with wood glue. I think it will be fine… It’s a tank… I included a picture of what it’s at now. Still have some work to do but I’m done with the structural part of it.

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LesB

2622 posts in 4326 days


#5 posted 09-29-2020 07:12 PM

The Kiltz primer should work fine.

-- Les B, Oregon

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1772 posts in 3732 days


#6 posted 09-30-2020 11:36 AM

DOH!!!

Totally missed the word WHITE… lol, structure looks good if all of those joints are screwed and glued

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

2725 posts in 1046 days


#7 posted 10-01-2020 11:29 AM

dbleoh – is this a fresh or salt water tank ?
I use RustOleum TopSIde marine enamel for my boat and it is a good product.
it brushes on easily and dries to a hard enamel finish.
aluminum expands and contracts drastically with the elements and it was four
years before the paint had to have a refresher coat.
I also painted the 1957 pink ceramic wall tile in my bathroom 3 years ago. and it looks great.
I am a Brush-Aholic ~ I don’t spray anything.
as with any new tool or product, practice, practice, practice on similar material or you will be
sanding, sanding, sanding until you get it right.
Welcome to the forum !! looking forward to seeing more of your project as you go along.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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