what woods cant be used in DYI projects.

freshfish

New Member
Hi everyone ,

My name is Chad and I'm new here. After 10 years of keeping saltwater reef aquariums I have decided to expand my horizons of caring for exotic animals. After a long hard thoughtout decision I decided to tear down my 220gal reef and venture into a panther chameleon. I have always wanted one but having two super dedicated hobbies at once would be really exhausting. After reading and looking on the forum it looks like I'm diving right into my next addiction and I'm excited! Half the fun for me is building the system and making it work I've seen a lot of sweet set ups on here and have a lot of great ideas from all of your ideas and I have a few questions for ya.

1) I would like to use Cedar as it naturally inhibits deterioration better than other woods . Is this ok & can it be sealed with a wood sealer? I want to inlay the screen' s just like a house window.

2) What kind of screen should I use ? metal window screen? or the fiber mesh?

3) Bottom substrate? From the pictures of some of your guys designs it looks like a bare bottom drip pan is the way to go. That is the way I would like to go if there's no problem going that route. As we all no, easier is better:)

4) The back of the Chameleons new house? I have destroyed some of the walls in my house with saltwater and would like to try and avoid that this time around. Now all the reading I've done on the Panther insists on having the best open air possible in your cage design. I would like to use clear acrylic on the back of the cage to minimize the misting from getting on the wall behind the cage. Is 3 open sides enough airflow?

I think all these questions will get me on the right path if anyone has anymore to add to my list it would be greatly appreciated.

Anxious to here from you all .

Thanks

Chad
 

chnk

New Member
1) idk really lol

2) fiber meshed is prefered but crickets could possibly chew through it, ive used the pet coated ones with no issues

3) newspaer or paper can be used, i use nothing really

4) covering up a few sides will be fine and will help hold in humidity, just make sure the cham cant see itself in the reflection. you could always spray the plastic with some rustroleom rock texture and seal it
 

Lathis

Chameleon Enthusiast
There are several types of cedar, and they may be different. I don't really know enough on this topic to give you a definitive answer; I am bringing up the info below more as something you should research and consider.

Human Skin Irritant
My gut reaction is that I wouldn't use cedar or any other "aromatic" type wood. The nice smell of cedar, and the reason it resists insect and fungal attack, is related to the oils in the wood. Because of those oils, cedar can be a skin irritant (I can vouch for this personally - unfinished cedar makes me break out in a poison ivy like rash).

Small Mammal Toxicity
There's a lot of information out there on possible toxicity of cedar exposure on small mammals (when used as bedding for rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc). Not sure if there is any hard data on reptile exposure. Maybe a non-issue if you are staining/finishing the wood and there would be far less skin exposure, but like I said above, it's something to research so you can make an informed decision.

Workability
Cedar might also be too soft, depending on this size of the lumber you want to use. It you want narrow rails and columns, you might go with a harder wood. I used red oak 1x2s for my enclosure. It was extremely hard, and I found it very difficult to work with. However, the oak stays straight and plumb, takes stain beautifully, and overall makes the enclosure look "furniture quality".
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Based on my research you should only build cages out of pine/birch/cherry. Oak and cedar should be avoided, and some have all ready chimed in on that. It might not make a diff for sealed/painted wood, but exposed wood or lizards with mighty claws or like to nibble, well that could be a problem.
 

kgallego

Member
Hi everyone ,

My name is Chad and I'm new here. After 10 years of keeping saltwater reef aquariums I have decided to expand my horizons of caring for exotic animals. After a long hard thoughtout decision I decided to tear down my 220gal reef and venture into a panther chameleon. I have always wanted one but having two super dedicated hobbies at once would be really exhausting. After reading and looking on the forum it looks like I'm diving right into my next addiction and I'm excited! Half the fun for me is building the system and making it work I've seen a lot of sweet set ups on here and have a lot of great ideas from all of your ideas and I have a few questions for ya.

1) I would like to use Cedar as it naturally inhibits deterioration better than other woods . Is this ok & can it be sealed with a wood sealer? I want to inlay the screen' s just like a house window.

2) What kind of screen should I use ? metal window screen? or the fiber mesh?

3) Bottom substrate? From the pictures of some of your guys designs it looks like a bare bottom drip pan is the way to go. That is the way I would like to go if there's no problem going that route. As we all no, easier is better:)

4) The back of the Chameleons new house? I have destroyed some of the walls in my house with saltwater and would like to try and avoid that this time around. Now all the reading I've done on the Panther insists on having the best open air possible in your cage design. I would like to use clear acrylic on the back of the cage to minimize the misting from getting on the wall behind the cage. Is 3 open sides enough airflow?

I think all these questions will get me on the right path if anyone has anymore to add to my list it would be greatly appreciated.

Anxious to here from you all .

Thanks

Chad

Chad, this video might be helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcIbzeCQ0R8

And to answer your questions

1. Cedar would be great! Good choice. Beautiful wood!

2. Black Aluminum Screen, which I found at Lowe's (Home Depot didn't have it) is my preference. I don't like the shiny aluminum screen personally. One downfall from this screen is that they get their toe nails caught in it and sometimes pull them out. Happened to me, but they are growing them back.

3. No substrate needed. The pan is perfectly fine.

4. 3 sides is fine. However, if you're going to use a mistking mist system (which is a great product), you wont have any trouble with water on your walls. One nice thing about the aluminum screen is that it builds a "water wall" as the mist collects on it, and it stops water from shooting out. It does this by using interfacial tension (I'm an Engineer nerd ;)).

Good luck!

Kelsey
 

Lathis

Chameleon Enthusiast
I hadn't heard that about oak. I have read to avoid using the leaves, as the tannins are toxic to eat and might also be a skin irritant. I know there are similar concerns with using pine bedding for small mammals as with cedar, but I typically consider pine to be a "safe" wood for lumber because it is rarely used as a finish without being sealed.

Hence the need to do some research and decide for yourself! You'll need to know of the wood was treated with anything as well. Some preservatives are toxic and might also interfere with sealing/staining the wood.

Talking about this stuff always makes me laugh a little. Food made of filler, byproducts, and plastics that never rot? OMG outta my way, I love my Mickey Ds!!! Something that maybe has the potential for maybe creating a possible issue for my cham? Suddenly I'm a conservative health nut :D
 

DanSB

Avid Member
1) I would like to use Cedar as it naturally inhibits deterioration better than other woods . Is this ok & can it be sealed with a wood sealer? I want to inlay the screen' s just like a house window.

2) What kind of screen should I use ? metal window screen? or the fiber mesh?

3) Bottom substrate? From the pictures of some of your guys designs it looks like a bare bottom drip pan is the way to go. That is the way I would like to go if there's no problem going that route. As we all no, easier is better:)

4) The back of the Chameleons new house? I have destroyed some of the walls in my house with saltwater and would like to try and avoid that this time around. Now all the reading I've done on the Panther insists on having the best open air possible in your cage design. I would like to use clear acrylic on the back of the cage to minimize the misting from getting on the wall behind the cage. Is 3 open sides enough airflow?

It really doesn't matter what wood you're going to use as long as you seal it with a good barrier seal. Fortunately chameleons don't chew on wood and a good seal will keep oils from ever contacting your chameleon. I like maple because it is close grained and stable. Redwood is probably the best choice for unsealed, I've seen it used for long term with no reported issues.

As has been said the charcoal aluminum screen at Lowes is what most of us here use. It is fairly soft and if installed so there is very little flex causes few problems.

Substrate is a hot topic, but in general you're best off not using it. A bare bottom is the best solution.

As long as you can create bottom to top airflow you can use all the acrylic you want. A lot of people have great success with mostly glass / acrylic. You're goal is to set up to match your environment. If you live in a dry, cold climate you're best off with an exo terra style terrarium, in a warm humid environment a full screen is best, if like most of the world you're in between it is best to monitor humidity and airflow conditions. I think in general a solid back with options to cover the sides is safest. As far as the reflection off acrylic issue this is apparently rare but something to keep in mind.

Welcome and have fun! You will find a whole new set of challenges with chameleons than reefs. Not necessarily easier or harder, different. It is much easier to monitor humidity in a reef tank though...
 

CrazyChamLady13

New Member
Cedar and pine cause and respiratory problems. Cedar is an awesome wood and thought about it multiple times but I'm just afraid that it would cause too much issues
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
Cedar and pine cause and respiratory problems. Cedar is an awesome wood and thought about it multiple times but I'm just afraid that it would cause too much issues

The respiratory is due to cedar and pine chips. In um "wood" form pin is fine, but the same properties that keep cedar from molding/rotting, will taint water splashed on them.

Never thought about maple (how rich are you people?), but as others have stated, as long as its sealed and is incapable of having water on the raw material, you could make the cage out of lead and asbestos :)
 

DanSB

Avid Member
The respiratory is due to cedar and pine chips. In um "wood" form pin is fine, but the same properties that keep cedar from molding/rotting, will taint water splashed on them.

Never thought about maple (how rich are you people?), but as others have stated, as long as its sealed and is incapable of having water on the raw material, you could make the cage out of lead and asbestos :)

If money (and conservation) is no object ebony would be ideal. African hardwoods aren't cheap though! I have a couple large pieces of macassar and gaboon ebony... Completely non toxic, strong, holds shape well and can be brought to a mirror finish with nothing but sandpaper and steel wool. Too bad it would run about 500 bucks worth of wood for a normal enclosure, not to mention all the saw blades you'll ruin in the process.
 

Lathis

Chameleon Enthusiast
If money (and conservation) is no object ebony would be ideal. African hardwoods aren't cheap though! I have a couple large pieces of macassar and gaboon ebony... Completely non toxic, strong, holds shape well and can be brought to a mirror finish with nothing but sandpaper and steel wool. Too bad it would run about 500 bucks worth of wood for a normal enclosure, not to mention all the saw blades you'll ruin in the process.

I'm putting my order in for 2! One for everyday use and one with mother-of-pearl inlay for special occasions.

:D
 

freshfish

New Member
Thanks for the info everyone! I changed my mind completely and built a 24x24x48 screened enclosure and then bought one for cheaper than the one I made (figures). I thought about a nice wood enclosure but I like the fact of being able to just pick it up and move it around with ease. My buddy knows a local breeder in the area and brought me there to talk to them about what I needed to do, get, how to all the good questions:) I came home with a veiled chameleon an he's sweet:) I just ordered a 24x24x48 enclosure and water tray from lllreptiles there on sale for 89.00 can't beat that! And the best thing of all is the fact that the breeder is going to hand pick me a panther from the show in Chicago in Oct. I'm excited! So the veiled is in the palace that I made, and the panther is going to go in the new one I just ordered. Here's a couple of pics of the enclosure I just built.


 

Yak

New Member
Thanks for the info everyone! I changed my mind completely and built a 24x24x48 screened enclosure and then bought one for cheaper than the one I made (figures). I thought about a nice wood enclosure but I like the fact of being able to just pick it up and move it around with ease. My buddy knows a local breeder in the area and brought me there to talk to them about what I needed to do, get, how to all the good questions:) I came home with a veiled chameleon an he's sweet:) I just ordered a 24x24x48 enclosure and water tray from lllreptiles there on sale for 89.00 can't beat that! And the best thing of all is the fact that the breeder is going to hand pick me a panther from the show in Chicago in Oct. I'm excited! So the veiled is in the palace that I made, and the panther is going to go in the new one I just ordered. Here's a couple of pics of the enclosure I just built.



hahaha best route
 
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