Phonograph-Aquarium (Oct, 1954)

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Favorite tunes and tropical fish can be enjoyed at the same time when you build this novel combination unit.

By Colin J. Creitz

YOU’LL hear many pleasing comments from friends and neighbors when you invite them over to see this unusual looking phonograph-aquarium with its rattan trim, Formica paneled doors, and cabinet covered with lauhala cloth. They’ll be fascinated by your tropical fish as they swim around in the illuminated aquarium while the phonograph plays some of your favorite music selections. And this combination piece makes an attractive unit that fits in well with practically all types of living room furniture.

You can see from even a casual study of the drawings and photos that this project is not difficult in construction. It is well within the capability of the average craftsman who is familiar with ordinary hand tools. The cost is moderate, being largely determined by the type of record player you desire. Of course, if you already have a record player, you can change the drawing dimensions as needed to build the rest of the unit around it.

Make the side panels from 3/4-in. Douglas fir plywood, cutting them to a 17-1/8 x 32-1/2-in. size, as shown in upper drawing. At a point 15-1/8-in. down from the top of the sides, a 3/4-in. plywood shelf for the aquarium tank is attached to the inside of the panels. These fit into dadoes cut in the side panels and are held firmly in place with glue and screws.

The entire cabinet is conventional in general construction so you should experience no trouble if you follow the details shown in the drawings and photos. As stated previously, dimensions must be altered to meet your needs depending on size of aquarium and record player. For that reason, the list of materials needed gives only the type of items required and does not specify quantities.

The upper front of the cabinet is made of 1/4-in. plywood in which an opening is cut for the aquarium. This plywood panel is braced with 1×2 and 1×1 wood sticks, as shown in drawings. The back of the section where the aquarium tank will be housed is left open to permit air circulation and for water temperature control. The back of the lower section is closed off with a panel made of 1/4-in. plywood. The top fits flush with the rattan facing on front and sides.

Limed oak Formica is used to cover the top and the two cabinet doors. Formica should be glued to an even grained wood and left to set under weights. Doors are attached to cabinet with hinges, permitting them to be opened outwards.

The cabinet, except doors and top, should be sprayed with a good clear lacquer, or varnished with a clear varnish.

  1. Bill Thompson says: January 24, 20137:37 pm

    I love it! The answer to a question that no one ever asked…ever. Brilliant! I would totally make this.

  2. Hirudinea says: January 25, 20137:14 am

    @ Bill Thompson – Put a deep fryer in it too and you can have fish and chips with your music.

  3. Toronto says: January 25, 20137:41 am

    I think I own several albums that contain music that would kill fish.

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