Custom Cage Cabinet/Stand

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
So we now have a family friend who is an expert carpenter. He's made all the entertainment systems/shelving/cabinet units in my parent's house and does great work. So naturally, I immediately start thinking of chameleon furniture! Right now my cages are all on those (ugly) metal stands so I can have drainage and storage below. And I have a curtain of sorts to cover the whole bottom half when I want it to look nicer, but still not pretty. So, here's what I'm thinking!



There will be a door over two cages each where I can mount the UVB fixture so it will light the front of the cages nicely and be easy to access. The hood will just hide the basking lights, rain domes, drippers, etc. And below I'd love to put my horny toad's terrarium on some kind of sliding system so I can get to the cage. But it's really heavy so we'll need to brainstorm that one. Then right under the cham cages I want to do a waterproofed sloping drainage system that will culminate under one of the end cages so I can just empty a bucket when needed. Drainage is the bane of chameleon keeping! I'd SO love a nice enclosed system like that! So one of the cabinets will be for the drainage bucket and storage, and the other will be for the water jugs for the mistking. Storage isn't that much of an issue because that room has two closets with nothing planned for them.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions for planning something like this? Any extra features or thoughts to take into considering during the planning phase?
 

johnnyev

New Member
Looks great.
But long term waterproofing of the wood is going to need some thought. Even if water isn't in direct contact with the wood. High humidity will eventually cause problems. Unfortunately the two just don't mix, unless you can fully waterproof the timber. Even then you can still get problems with mould/mildew/ wood bowing etc. Just look at hoods made from wood on aquariums. Not saying its not possible, just need to use the correct materials to waterproof it with.
Good luck with it though.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
In addition to sealing it I plan to use a plastic liner as well, probably the thick pvc shower liner, to keep water off the wood entirely if possible. It may not last forever, but really nothing does. :)
 
That looks great- from doing mine one thing you want to make sure you do is have easy access to the bottom door of the cage in front-
 
Good laaaaawd

If you go through with it.. it will be pretty but that monster will take up some serious space lol.. out of curiosity what size are your cages because if they are 24" at the base that is going to make this thing 12'-13' long.. even if they are 18" it will be 9'-10'. I would just take into consideration the size and maybe make it into two stands with three cages.. I don't live in a smurf house or anything but I think I would struggle to find 10'-13' of open wall space to fit this bad boy.. let alone the man power to move the thing around haha.. But it does look amazing especially with the aquarium at the bottom.
 

jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
And below I'd love to put my horny toad's terrarium on some kind of sliding system so I can get to the cage. But it's really heavy so we'll need to brainstorm that one.

There are really good drawer slides for kitchens that take a lot of weight--not the ones you buy at Home Depot, much better, stronger ones. They can take a big drawer full of cans. You can find the distributors at home shows. I bet your carpenter friend knows who to use. They could make you up a drawer that would hold the horned toads terrarium and pull fully out.
 
That looks like the custom cabinetry I build for aquariums . I'm curious what type of sealer he will use on the finished surfaces that will get some water exposure . It really should come out nice and functional .
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
That looks like the custom cabinetry I build for aquariums . I'm curious what type of sealer he will use on the finished surfaces that will get some water exposure . It really should come out nice and functional .

If you have suggestions based on your experience is love to know what you suggest! He doesn't do much aquarium type of cabinetry it sounds. I haven't talked to him about this project yet so he might already have something he prefers, but good suggestions would be great in case he doesn't!
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Good laaaaawd

If you go through with it.. it will be pretty but that monster will take up some serious space lol.. out of curiosity what size are your cages because if they are 24" at the base that is going to make this thing 12'-13' long.. even if they are 18" it will be 9'-10'. I would just take into consideration the size and maybe make it into two stands with three cages.. I don't live in a smurf house or anything but I think I would struggle to find 10'-13' of open wall space to fit this bad boy.. let alone the man power to move the thing around haha.. But it does look amazing especially with the aquarium at the bottom.

My cages are already in a line like that along a wall (and could even have room for one more)! We have a hobbies room with chameleons on one side and the other wall is occupied by husband's board game collection. It's the most interesting room in the house. ;) And my plan is to split the bottom into three pieces because otherwise that thing would never get up the stairs!
 

MelissaB

Avid Member
I really like spar varnish. I used it on a kitchen table top, and haven't had another ring from a coffee cup. :)
 

jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
That looks like the custom cabinetry I build for aquariums . I'm curious what type of sealer he will use on the finished surfaces that will get some water exposure . It really should come out nice and functional .

Could you build something with a stainless steel inner frame? They make stainless steel parrot cages, so why couldn't you get stainless steel angles to frame it with. The wood cabinet would be just a sheeting that is separate from the frame.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Could you build something with a stainless steel inner frame? They make stainless steel parrot cages, so why couldn't you get stainless steel angles to frame it with. The wood cabinet would be just a sheeting that is separate from the frame.

Wouldn't that just make it heavier? Are you saying do that instead of the doors that open?
 

jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wouldn't that just make it heavier? Are you saying do that instead of the doors that open?

No, I'm thinking of an inner frame so that the cages sit on steel. Any water wouldn't damage the steel. Even if you seal up the wood really well, there will be little pools of water under that will just always be there. In my mind, it would be separate from the cabinet and would sit inside the cabinet. Does that make sense? I haven't put much thought into it, but I just feel there will be a water problem if the cages sit on wood.

Or, you could make the inner part the cages sit on in something like that plastic counter top--not laminate, the solid stuff that is molded.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Ok I see what you mean. I've thought about that too because I could just put a shell around the metal stands they're already on. But then I can't put the terrarium on the bottom, and drainage is still an issue. Already I can't really control the drainage very well and I've tried so many different methods. So with the new cabinet I was planning on slats for the cages to sit on spaced about a foot apart. Each cage has holes drilled in the middle of the floor for drainage so as long as the slats don't sit under those or the ends of the floor where they tend to leak sometimes I don't think there will be much sitting water anywhere. And with the slope I'd like to cover the whole thing and up the sides a little with plastic in a continuous sheet, which will limit water leaking to the wood underneath, which will be sealed. I just can't get that kind of control with my current shelving despite all my efforts. Makes me crazy!
 

ataraxia

Avid Member
That looks very nice ferret.

For drainage under the cages. I would have the carpenter put in a flat sheet of 1/4" plywood and cover the top of it with flat shower wall surround. Id have him have the plywood tilting towards the front or rear. You can then directly under the lip install a pvc gutter that would channel the water to a bucket with a sump pump going to your drain (bath room, kitchen or pumbing). OR you could have it draining into something like this http://www.supplyhouse.com/Little-G...p-14719000-p?gclid=CMP9x9Wjv8MCFQyraQod-LwAww and then have it draining into your house/apt pumbing. OR just use a bulk head fitting in the bucket and plumb it to the plumbing.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Man I wish it was closer to the house plumbing to hook it up directly...maybe one day I'll run a line through the closet to the laundry room down the hall.

Yeah I guess I could have it slant back or front instead of all the way across. Good ideas!
 

jajeanpierre

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok I see what you mean. I've thought about that too because I could just put a shell around the metal stands they're already on. But then I can't put the terrarium on the bottom, and drainage is still an issue. Already I can't really control the drainage very well and I've tried so many different methods. So with the new cabinet I was planning on slats for the cages to sit on spaced about a foot apart. Each cage has holes drilled in the middle of the floor for drainage so as long as the slats don't sit under those or the ends of the floor where they tend to leak sometimes I don't think there will be much sitting water anywhere. And with the slope I'd like to cover the whole thing and up the sides a little with plastic in a continuous sheet, which will limit water leaking to the wood underneath, which will be sealed. I just can't get that kind of control with my current shelving despite all my efforts. Makes me crazy!

Maybe the slats could be metal? You can buy aluminium in a variety of shapes. Did you see the aviaries at the San Antonio Zoo? They have the same aviaries as I do, 1" aluminum frames with galvanized steel wire (or maybe the zoo has coated wire). You could do the same kind of thing and use it as a shelf--so the cages are sitting on a wire frame, with the drainage below. I still would think about having the cabinet as a shell around the frame that holds the cages so you can keep the cages away from the wood.

You can still do have your horned toad on a drawer underneath.



I've thought about buying a pre-fab shower for chameleon caging!
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Yeah drainage is just the worst. If only that part was easier to contain in any system. I've always said that if I had a big yard I would get an aviary like that for chams and torts on the bottom! Right now my yard doesn't have a privacy fence so it would draw too much unwanted attention.
 

ridgebax1

Established Member
Man I wish it was closer to the house plumbing to hook it up directly...maybe one day I'll run a line through the closet to the laundry room down the hall.

Yeah I guess I could have it slant back or front instead of all the way across. Good ideas!

Well I am JEALOUS!!!:eek: As far as the plumbing, check out Sharkbite fittings. They are very easy to use and work with copper, pvc and pex tubing. It would not be that difficult to tap into your water line and bring the source to your stands. I actually used it to run an indoor hose off of my laundry room fixtures. No soldering is required.:D
 

Chameleonmaster

Established Member
Is the top of the entertainment center just a perimeter around the lights to hide them or is it covering the lights on top like a cap?
 
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