Kind of wood to use for a tortoise table?

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Isa

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Hello

My little Hermy (Hermann tortoise) is getting bigger and bigger so her terrarium is getting smaller and smaller for her. I want to make her a tortoise table. I am not sure if I want to put a big rubbermaid on the wood table that I would fabric or If I want to put some glass at the bottom (I would put the substrate on the glass) I would put a glass because it would be easier to clean, I would just have to remove the glass and clean it, Does anyone has an opinion on this??

I know i cant put pine because it is not good for the tortoise, I know I can make my wood table from plywood but I dont find it to nice. What kind of hard wood can I use to fabric my tortoise table, what kind will not hurt my Hermy?

Thanks

Isa
 

Itort

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Any wood would be fine because you are going to have to seal it well. If you don't want to seal it the only wood that comes to mind is cypress which has a prohibitive price. May I suggest for the bottom you plexiglass or other type plastic, this would be easier to handle and cheaper.
 

Crazy1

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I made mine out of hard wood(sides) and plywood (bottom). Sealed it with a waterbased Thompson water seal. Let it air outside for a week, then lined it with a tarp. It's a fairly big table 58"x48". This Winter I will be making a new inside pen for them. The stacking bookshelf idea sort of like Jen made ( http://tortoiseforum.org/new-indoor-enclosure-t-1392.html )for hers is what I am thinking about now that my tort family is growing.
 

Isa

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If I make a box out of hardwood (like maple) and If I put plexiglass at the bottom and put the substrate on top, Will I have seal the wood??

Do I put the wood together with nails or with glue?

Thanks

Isa
 

Jenn1

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I used a white pine in planks.Sealed them together with strips if wood under neath and used cocking glue and screwed it all together.Its 3 foot x 6 foot and the side are 14" tall
Then I used Bulls eye finish on the wood.Its safe enough to use on baby furniture.I let it dry out for a week.
Even tho I sealed the bottom I still put down a tarp.
Hope this helps
 

Isa

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What is a tarp, what is the tarp made out of?

What kinf of cocking glue did you use? The ones I saw in store are toxic.

Can I put non toxic silicone to seal the corners?

I am soooo sorry, I have a million questions... I just want to be sure that everything is going to be safe for Hermy.

Thanks a lot

Isa
 

Jenn1

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yes you can use silicone. That's what i meant by cocking.Sorry.
A tarp is a large piece of fabric plastic,water proof,to cover large thing.Sometime i use large garbage bags.Cut them open and lay them on the bottom of table.Very much easier
 

Isa

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Jenn1 said:
yes you can use silicone. That's what i meant by cocking.Sorry.
A tarp is a large piece of fabric plastic,water proof,to cover large thing.Sometime i use large garbage bags.Cut them open and lay them on the bottom of table.Very much easier

If I put a plexiglass at the bottom, will I have to "put a tarp"?

Thanks
 

Jenn1

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I think that might be your call.Make sure you support the bottom with a strong piece of wood,and seal it.If you seal the bottom a few times you wont really have to worry about water damage.Thats why I only use the tarp or garbage bag method
 

Crazy1

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Ok ladies, let’s keep the site clean. We use Caulking (this spelling counts) (lol) like silicone.
I used philip head wood screws to hold the wood together you could also use that on Plexiglas. Just have the Plexiglas cut to the size you wanted and have them drill the amount and size holes in it to fasten it to the bottom of the wood with philip (+) head wood screws. Isa, I am not sure why you want to use glass or plexi on the bottom. Glass would be fragile and Plexi glass is fairly expensive in comparison with wood. Sealed wood will work as well. You can get all these materials at a hardware store or construction store near you. As I remember you are in Montreal Canada. You could even buy an inexpensive book shelf unit and leave the shelves out put silicone caulking on the edges before fixing the pieces together. Most inexpensive shelving units use a laminate that covers the wood. Hermy is still pretty small and will not cause big wet messes, so water should not be a big an issue.
Other things used to line a table has been linoleum (not the square tiles the sheet type), blue poly tarps or Canvas tarps, http://www.tarpsplus.com/ They are also sold at hardware stores. If you use Glass or Plexiglas and Hermy digs to the bottom it may give him the sense that he can dig through it just like glass walls. It will also scratch depending on the substrate you use.
 

Itort

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Isa said:
If I make a box out of hardwood (like maple) and If I put plexiglass at the bottom and put the substrate on top, Will I have seal the wood??

Do I put the wood together with nails or with glue?

Thanks

Isa
You will need to seal the wood. Over time a tort enclosure usealed will rot because of the moisture from the enviornment and the tort itself. I would suggest constructing it with silicone calking on seams and wood screws to hold it together. I would also use the caulk and screws on the bottom plexi. For sealing the wood, multiple coats of child proof paint or other such sealer and about a week cure time should be good.
 

Isa

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Thank you soooo much everyone. You are helping me a lot with all your advices.

Robyn, my BF thinks you are a geniussss, he loves the idea of using a bookshelf. That's what we are going to use. Should I put a sealer on the bookshelf? or only on the plywood? I will go check at home depot if they sell tarps (they dont sell a lot of things in Canada ). If they dont sell tarps, can I put laminate plywood instead of a wood plywood, if yes, should I seal the laminate plywood? I cant wait to see my little Hermy on her new tort table. We want to make a second floor :). I can't wait to see the results.

Thanks a lot

Isa
 

Diana Stone

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Here is something I learned today about wood, moisture and raw plywood. I took down my small turtle table to replace with a bigger one. What I discovered under the damp dirt/substrate shocked me. I used raw plywood to make the table and sealed it with I believe 5 layers of water based polyurethane. I did not however treat the underside of the box. The wood looked and felt like I did not treat it at all. It was even going thru to the other side. The cloth I had under the box to protect my table was damp and a bit moldy. I am thinking that if you treat it, layer it ALOT. Could it be that the polyurethane is not meant to be under ground and cannot take the dampness needed for the box turtles? Thats what I am thinking at this point. Maybe I used the wrong kind of polyurethane. It said outdoors on the can.
 

Crazy1

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Box turtles are in pretty damp conditions where Hermanns are not. I would think that with a box turtle or RF you would need to have a water resistant tarp or some sort of water resistant barrier down. I have my large table on cinderblocks
5 of them standing on end. The bottom is dry but I have it fairly dry as I have Greeks.
Isa. Depending on the type of book shelf you get depends on how you will treat it. Some are made of lumber, some are made of pressed wood or partical board with a veneer over the pressed wood that makes it look like a solid piece of wood. this is simply glued onto the wood and if damp over a span of time I would think it would seperate. Laminant is like a coating on the wood people use to call it Formica it too is glued. I would think that you could use just that. But if you are getting a book shelf (which is usually made of particle board with a laminant or veneer over it) where are you using plywood? If you are talking about the plywood that is pressed together and looks as if it is all chopped up wood, Yes you would need to seal that very well. If you are using pressed wood or fiberboard yes it must also be sealed well. That is why I use a tarp. Think of it as a drop cloth for painting. Any raw wood needs to be sealed but an already made bookshelf or waterbed frame could have a tarp (drop cloth) just placed in it, add substrate and your done.
 

Itort

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You can find heavy duty tarps at a farm supply store. They are fairly inexpensive and last a long while. One thing I'm going to try on my next enclosures is making them out of shower surround panels. I made a cage for boa of this and it worked well and had little leakage.
 

Diana Stone

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Crazy1 said:
Box turtles are in pretty damp conditions where Hermanns are not. I would think that with a box turtle or RF you would need to have a water resistant tarp or some sort of water resistant barrier down. I have my large table on cinderblocks
5 of them standing on end. The bottom is dry but I have it fairly dry as I have Greeks.
Isa. Depending on the type of book shelf you get depends on how you will treat it. Some are made of lumber, some are made of pressed wood or partical board with a veneer over the pressed wood that makes it look like a solid piece of wood. this is simply glued onto the wood and if damp over a span of time I would think it would seperate. Laminant is like a coating on the wood people use to call it Formica it too is glued. I would think that you could use just that. But if you are getting a book shelf (which is usually made of particle board with a laminant or veneer over it) where are you using plywood? If you are talking about the plywood that is pressed together and looks as if it is all chopped up wood, Yes you would need to seal that very well. If you are using pressed wood or fiberboard yes it must also be sealed well. That is why I use a tarp. Think of it as a drop cloth for painting. Any raw wood needs to be sealed but an already made bookshelf or waterbed frame could have a tarp (drop cloth) just placed in it, add substrate and your done.

Curious about the tarp idea. My Russians dig alot and scrape at the sides, corners and bottom of the box. How would I secure a tarp so they are not digging it up all the time and how to make it look nice? The bookcase has pressboard sides but the back is a fake back, its a very thin piece of laminate. I nailed plywood to the back of that, after I sealed it with 3 coats then I sealed the fake laminate backing with 5 coats. Being that the torts are no wheres near as wet at boxies I am hoping to be fine. I did seal the sides with 3 coats.
 

Isa

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Thanks a lot :)

My boyfriend wants tp use a bookshelf and put a laminate plywood to replace the thin backing and seal the interior sides and the bottom with 5 coats of sealer (non toxic and child proof, I dont know which brand we have in Canada yet but I will go to the store this week). Then, cover the interior sides and the bottom with a thin sheet of plastic (we dont know which one yet we have to go to home depot) and seal all corners with a non toxic silicone for water resitance and maintenance. Do you think the plastic could harm my little Hermy?? What do you think of the idea??

Thanks
 

Itort

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As long as the plastic is heavier grade (tear proof) it should be good.
 

Crazy1

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Itort said:
One thing I'm going to try on my next enclosures is making them out of shower surround panels. I made a cage for boa of this and it worked well and had little leakage.

I think this is the best idea yet. It would hold moisture, no sealing other than aquarium silicone in the joints. If thin stabilize by placing it on plywood or boards with screws. Thanks for the Idea.
 

Isa

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You are sooo lucky in the States, here in Canada, we dont have farm supplies stores and our Home depot does not have all the things you do in the states. We have Reno depot but we don't find the stuff you do. Even our pet store, they sell the brand exo terra (I dont like it much) It is very hard to find zoo med. I cant wait to go in the states in June for a wedding in the Connecticut. I will go to home Depot and the pet store there to buy what I cant find here. I will go check at wal mart or reno depot to see if they sell cheap shower surround panels, that's the kind of plastic I am looking for plus it is very easy to clean.

I will keep you posted.

Isa
 
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