The first post will be the basic "box" construction. There were two main purchases for raw materials - a sheet of sanded birch handy panel (1/2" x 2' x 4' - $16 per board) and 7' of pine corner molding (11/16 x 11/16 - about $5). I decided against using an internal 1"x2" frame for this build to keep the material costs down. The Bakuis build used a thicker internal frame, but I had extra plywood left over after that build so I thought I would try a 100% plywood build. That will save you $8. So my investment in wood was about $22. Other stuff that you will need for this post's work:
- work surface
- table saw
- orbital sander & 220 grit discs
- tape measure
- finish nails
- wood glue
- vacuum for cleanup
- safety equipment - googles, ear protection, gloves, common sense
Here are photos of the raw materials:
The next step was to go upstairs and scribe all my measurements on a reference stick. Though I have built a lot of stuff, precision measurements and plans are not my thing. I usually work from templates and scribes where I can, so I went up stairs with scrap wood and pencil in hand to mark my measurements to ensure I could fit the precise dimensions of each viv. I marked the Zoomed measurements on one side (18 wide, 18 & 3/8 deep), Exoterra on the other (18 & 1/16 wide, 18 & 1/4 deep). The slightly strange measurements include clearance for the door hinge treatments unique to each model.
Backing up a bit, the design uses an internal frame that is flush with the outer dimensions of the plastic tops on the vivariums. This frame will sit on a weatherstripping gasket that will float the hood and provide a tight seal. Outer paneling will be applied that drops about 1/4" down covering the plastic frame on the top of the viv and "locking" the hood in place.
I set my fence on the table saw 2" from the blade and ripped 4 x 19" strips of wood for each hood that will be used for the internal hood frame.
Here are shots of me transferring my measurements to the ripped frame pieces. First the front and rear pieces:
Then the side pieces - I had to factor in the depth of the front and rear members of the frame:
Now's a good time to run back to the vivs and make sure my measurements were accurate before gluing and nailing... ... ... ... ... ok so they fit. Now on to gluing and nailing. On the bakhuis build I used 1"x2" pine for the frame and countersunk screws. I think this hood could withstand a freakin hurricane, so I decided finish nails and wood glue were sufficient for these two hoods:
Check the frame for square by measuring the diagonals:
Again, I'm lazy with measurements so I just dropped the frame on my piece of plywood, used two factory cut edges and traced the other two:
Make the two cuts on the table saw. Apply glue to the top of the inner frame, then set the freshly cut top panel on the inner frame. Fasten with finish nails (I use 5 per side, 20 total). And now you have...a box: