Tag Archives: Dado

Fish Tank Stand: Glued up and Square

Tonight GAKMAN came over for shop night. We haven’t worked on the fish tank filter broke stand for a long time. Our last shop night was May 2nd, since then we’ve both been busy including my awesome vacation to Cabo San Lucas. Tonight we finalized some dimensions after a dry fit of the pieces, and glued the case up. Yes, that’s 11 clamps. I really prefer the Jet clamps, even over the Bessey K-Body clamp. The case is upside-down on the bench in this picture with the back toward you, and that’s GAKMAN smiling because we’re finally making progress on his project.


That is a very square glue up, and the key to this fitting together so well was a full dry fit to adjust the dimensions. The bottom fits into dadoes in the sides and back, and the back is a full 3/4” thick to help deal with the weight of the fish tank and minimize noise from the pump. It’s a very strong case and it’s square because the tools are setup well, we used The Beastmaster for cutting the big pieces, and we checked our cuts often with a square. I can’t tell you how many problems you’ll have trying to get your cases to glue up square if you assemble them on a table that isn’t level or flat. Your garage floor might be somewhat flat, but it isn’t level. An unlevel surface means that gravity will try to rack your case, and it’ll be harder to get square.


Next we’ll put on the top, sand it, and trim it out. Then it’s on to the doors, which will be inset on European hinges. After that we’ll give it a finish, trying to match the tank hood that GAKMAN built a few years back.

It was good to get in the shop again!


Shop Tip: Router Dado Sled for the Thomas Walnut Dresser

I got about 2 hours of shop time tonight. I was working alone so I wasn’t going to try to push any big pieces through the saw. I need to cut the top, back, and bottom to their final sizes, and also rip the front into the strips that will make up the front for the drawers. I’ll have to do that when I have help.

Knowing that I’ll have to make some dados in the sides for the drawers, and knowing that I’ll want those to fit the dust frames perfectly, I made a Router Dado Sled. Basically, I can set the cutting width of this to match the material thickness exactly, clamp it to the piece, and let the router do the work.



Here you can see the sled, from the bottom. One sled rail is fixed square to the cross rails with glue and screws. The other floats free in two grooves. You can see the grooves in the cross pieces that let me adjust the width. The knobs that lock in the floating sled rail are on the bottom so that they don’t interfere with the router.



Set the sled face down on the workbench, and put a scrap piece of the material that will be going into the dado in it. Push the material against the fixed sled, and the free sled against the material, tighten the knobs. The Router Dado Sled is now set for your material.



Now turn the sled right side up, clamp it to your piece, and rout the dados. Probably best to minimize tear out by putting the back cross member up against the piece. I’m also going to check for square before making cuts, but this could also make angled cuts for shoe racks, louvers, etc.



Here you can see that the bolts for the knobs have flat oval heads. They are recessed so they won’t get in the way, and I cut oval holes for them so they won’t spin.


This sled will be used on this project to cut four dados, and I’m sure I’ll use it on other projects. Now I need to get the perfect router bit for it.