My Custom Tortoise Table Build Thread

skyline223

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Hey everyone,

I recently purchased my first tortoise (Russian) and have decided that I should build a proper table. I really enjoy designing and building things (I am currently restoring a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air) so this should be a fun chance to stretch out my creative fibers.

I went to Lowe's today and bought all of the appropriate materials. My table will be 2 feet by 5 feet and will be complete with a shelter area and a second level basking platform. (Maybe some mild water features as well)

Substrate will be playsand/coconut fiber mix. There will be two 150 watt basking lamps and a T5 UVB bulb.

As stated I will try to be as creative as possible with the table to make it something special for my tort. I will get started building it tomorrow. So please stay tuned!
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Will:

We all can benefit from a pictorial of your habitat's progress. How about taking pictures as you go along and sharing them with us.
 

skyline223

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emysemys said:
Hi Will:

We all can benefit from a pictorial of your habitat's progress. How about taking pictures as you go along and sharing them with us.

Will do! A thread like this would be worthless without pics!
 

nicoleandrocky

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Sounds really cool, I'm not very good at making things.. Hope to see the finished product soon :D
 

skyline223

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Day one of building has come to an end. I feel that I made pretty good progress. I got the whole table built up and stained the outside. Here is my to-do list of tasks still remaining:

  • Attach legs
  • Install plexiglass
  • Apply silicone sealer at seams
  • Install substrate drain plug
  • Install waterproof liner
  • Fill with substrate
  • Add water features
  • Add lighting
  • Install tortoise :p

Here are the beginnings of the table
floorbottom.jpg

floortop.jpg


Here is how the table looks as of the end of day one. (Note that the sawhorses are obviously not the final legs!)

ALSO, for those of you who are observant, I will add a piece of plexiglass next to the ramp so that there is no chance a tortoise could fall off the side.
endofday1.jpg


And here is the rough design that started the whole idea. (Thanks to daydreaming in high school history class)
design1o.jpg


I stayed pretty close to the dimensions I originally planned +/- 1 inch or so in some places.

If anyone wants a copy of the plans and material lists, I would be willing to properly digitize them and make them available to you. Just let me know.:)
 

lynnedit

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Gee, you are good!
YOu might want to add a small lip around the tops of the walls as they are quite the climbers. Doesn't take much, just, say, 2 inches. It kind of trims it up nicely.

Perhaps you have a side job building tort tables!
 

skyline223

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Thank you very much!!! I will work on that lip, pretty good idea!

And for any of those who may wonder, here is her temporary setup that she has been living in since I got her earlier this week. Its not bad, but the table will be much more suited to her and allow more exercise space!

oldhousek.jpg
 

cljohnson

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skyline223 said:
Substrate will be playsand/coconut fiber mix.

The build looks great.
You are just like me. I over engineer and over build everything (just give me an excuse). It Is just my idea of fun. I like a challenge.
The only thing is I would steer clear of the sand. It can cause intestinal impaction.
Coconut fiber with organic topsoil, peat or just plain dirt would be better. I would use damp sphagnum moss in the hide.
 

skyline223

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cljohnson said:
The only thing is I would steer clear of the sand. It can cause intestinal impaction.
Coconut fiber with organic topsoil, peat or just plain dirt would be better. I would use damp sphagnum moss in the hide.

You got it. No go on the sand. I will take your advice and avoid it. Thanks!
 

Zamric

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All looks Great!

good idea to remove sand. I use topsoil, but I dont think that would be good idea to use top soil in a wooden enclosure.
 

MarcaineArt

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Great Job. I'll be working on a new table as soon as I finish the outdoor enclosure. You guys really have some great setups.
 

cljohnson

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Zamric said:
All looks Great!

good idea to remove sand. I use topsoil, but I dont think that would be good idea to use top soil in a wooden enclosure.

You can if you coat it with a marine epoxy.
 

skyline223

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cljohnson said:
Zamric said:
All looks Great!

good idea to remove sand. I use topsoil, but I dont think that would be good idea to use top soil in a wooden enclosure.

You can if you coat it with a marine epoxy.

Our idea was to install a thick plastic liner underneath all of the substrate; that way it provides a waterproof seal to the wood, and when it is time to change substrate, all you have to do is lift up the liner. Being an automotive enthusiast, I have many different epoxy coatings in my shop, but I am hesitant to use any kind of solvents on the interior. Can't ever be too safe for these little guys!
 

MarcaineArt

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[/quote]
Our idea was to install a thick plastic liner underneath all of the substrate; that way it provides a waterproof seal to the wood, and when it is time to change substrate, all you have to do is lift up the liner. Being an automotive enthusiast, I have many different epoxy coatings in my shop, but I am hesitant to use any kind of solvents on the interior. Can't ever be too safe for these little guys!


[/quote]

I was thinking about buying a small pond liner to line mine with but they aren't available in smaller sizes around here. Any other ideas?
 

MarcaineArt

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skyline223 said:
MarcaineArt said:
I was thinking about buying a small pond liner to line mine with but they aren't available in smaller sizes around here. Any other ideas?

We are using heavy gauge plastic drop cloth. You can buy it at Lowe's. Here is another brand on amazon
Red Devil 2 Mil Plastic Drop Cloth

Nice, thanks. As soon as I saw it I realized I have some of this already. Bought a few when I was painting my bedroom and only used one. SAVINGS
 

Akronic

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yeah ive heard of ppl using liners. i was gonna use some 5mil visqueen, but they will try to dig and scratch a hole in it. 2mil is way to thin anyway. if you are dead set on using a liner at homedepot they have shower pan liners, which is MUCH thicker than any vapor barrier, or you could go w/ linoleum(squares or sheets) I went w/ Minwax Helmsman water sealer. idk about a drain hole.......looks great tho like how you put the loft above the hide, they will prob try to escape/fall off that ramp or use the height advantage to climb over the side wall
 
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