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Old 01-16-2019, 12:49 PM   #1
AnnaJoey
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Default Help me with these materials, please!!

Sorry for the long post.. Just want to be extra sure.
Have been reading through old posts on Facebook groups and searching online to help with my ideas of making a second floor for Joey. Before I actually go out and buy the stuff that I plan to use, I want to check to make sure it will be suitable and safe.
So after much umming and aahing I decided I would make wooden ones that could be removed instead of attaching glass shelves. I'm thinking of using either/all of the following; pine, plywood, cardboard or timberboard. But I don't know what to use for the legs yet, any ideas?
To make it pee proof (bc Joey is being a pain and has started peeing on everything) I bought some of that plastikote project enamel, but then I later found out that the wood could be painted with children's paint and then covered with pva glue? If that's correct, it would be so much cheaper than the plastikote!! Any recommendations for kid's paint?
Lastly (Sorry!) I need a strong glue to keep the wood together as I don't think pva will be strong enough. I found gorilla wood glue and it says it's water based and non toxic - will that be ok?
Thanks!!!
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:05 AM   #2
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

I can't say I'm entirely sure about plywood or types of plywood, lots of people do use it but it is bound by glue which isn't ideal. Cardboard really won't last. Pine is quite thick generally but would be better. If you are just after a rectangular platform you can buy untreated pine tray boxes off ebay, that way they have a lip. I have one and filled it with sand. With shelves higher off the ground it is better to put a kind of fence around them especially with dwarf hamsters, as they have very little depth perception and will often jump right off.

Ponal glue is strong & will hold anything, it is quite expensive but I do think it's worth it. Gorilla glue - last time I checked it contained an ingredient that expanded in water & would cause serious damage if ingested. There is a load of information about it online but not sure if it's for different types of gorilla glue or not. Either way probably not safe!

For legs, dowelling works, the long rods that you can cut to size. They're cheap too.

A bit of plastikote actually goes quite a long way. For a regular shelf it should be enough. The PVA method on top of paint certainly doesn't sound ideal, I'd just stick to plastikote.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

I would also stick to plastikote - it's the only one I know that is safe and virtually odour free. A small bottle should easily do two coats on one side of a full level.

The issue with plywood is the formaldehyde in the glue used to make the plywood. The Germans use birch plywood that is supposed to have non toxic glue as well. If you can find some non toxic hardwood plywood (as opposed to softwood plywood), that would probably be easiest.

Untreated pine is fine but can be a bit thick and heavy for a full level - you would need good screw fixings.

On the other hand, plywood plastikoted should be sealed which would help.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

I second ponal for glueing wood - it doesn't smell of anything and is really good wood glue - also non toxic - the Germans use it

Any kind of dowels would do for legs - wider ones would be easier so there is more surface to stick to the bottom of the level.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:28 AM   #5
AnnaJoey
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mangoandmimi View Post
I can't say I'm entirely sure about plywood or types of plywood, lots of people do use it but it is bound by glue which isn't ideal. Cardboard really won't last. Pine is quite thick generally but would be better. If you are just after a rectangular platform you can buy untreated pine tray boxes off ebay, that way they have a lip. I have one and filled it with sand. With shelves higher off the ground it is better to put a kind of fence around them especially with dwarf hamsters, as they have very little depth perception and will often jump right off.

Ponal glue is strong & will hold anything, it is quite expensive but I do think it's worth it. Gorilla glue - last time I checked it contained an ingredient that expanded in water & would cause serious damage if ingested. There is a load of information about it online but not sure if it's for different types of gorilla glue or not. Either way probably not safe!

For legs, dowelling works, the long rods that you can cut to size. They're cheap too.

A bit of plastikote actually goes quite a long way. For a regular shelf it should be enough. The PVA method on top of paint certainly doesn't sound ideal, I'd just stick to plastikote.
I actually meant to say hardboard, not card board !! Haha, I know for a fact that Joey world fall right through the cardboard as he's quite a big ham.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I would also stick to plastikote - it's the only one I know that is safe and virtually odour free. A small bottle should easily do two coats on one side of a full level.

The issue with plywood is the formaldehyde in the glue used to make the plywood. The Germans use birch plywood that is supposed to have non toxic glue as well. If you can find some non toxic hardwood plywood (as opposed to softwood plywood), that would probably be easiest.

Untreated pine is fine but can be a bit thick and heavy for a full level - you would need good screw fixings.

On the other hand, plywood plastikoted should be sealed which would help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I second ponal for glueing wood - it doesn't smell of anything and is really good wood glue - also non toxic - the Germans use it

Any kind of dowels would do for legs - wider ones would be easier so there is more surface to stick to the bottom of the level.
(Answering all three)
Thank you for the suggestions. I had a free day yesterday so whilst my post pended review I did some more research and then went down to the diy and hobby stores.

I did read that someone had actually contacted the gorilla glue company in reference to the glue that i was wishing to use and it had been confirmed that the particular glue should be animal safe as it had been made to make animal hutches. I do think I know which glue you mean that expands tho - I am a fan of the band and previously I have a glue that does expand which is useful for fixing many things.

I also read that many people had tried pod podge for sealing their wood as it is water based, child friendly and non toxic.

I also found some hardboard sheets which are a kind of fibreboard - nice and light. Another thing I'd read that many people had used and deemed safe. So whilst I was out I thought I would buy the hardboard sheet, lollipop sticks, gorilla wood glue, mod podge and a hardboard curtain rail that I could use as legs, with the thought that I can return anything that would be deemed unsuitable.

If anything stands out (although I will look into the German glue) let me know?
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

This is the Ponal I have. It is a large bottle and I've had mine for 2 or 3 years and still loads left, so it's worth paying for. I love the stuff. No noxious fumes and safe for pets and it sets wood like nothing else. I would suggest it would be better and safer than Gorilla Glue (having read the ingredients of Gorilla glue!). If you do use Gorilla glue then any fumes need to have worn off before putting the shelf in the cage and there mustn't be any residue showing at all that could be chewed. Even then if they chew the wood they could technically get at some glue. Once the fumes have worn off it shouldn't be toxic unless eaten.

Personally I am happy to have found a really good wood glue that isn't nasty (I don't like the fumes myself and don't have to worry about getting it on my hands a bit).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000S697..._t3_B000KJKK4C

Hardboard sounds ok.

Lolly sticks would not be stable enough.

This kind of thing would be ideal - 25mm thick (ie 1 inch thick) 20cm long. Four costs £6.25

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wooden-Ha....c100505.m3226

Actually you can buy a very good large platform for about £10!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trixie-Natu...living+shelter

Or two next to each other. Very sturdy and safe - no glue - the legs screw into the base into pre-drilled holes.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

I would stick with tried & tested things that are known to be safe, I love my ponal glue too I have to say & though a bit of an investment well worth it, Plastikote has been used for so long I would stick with that (there are various types of modge podge & I'm not sure which you were referring to but I wouldn't use that) for just one shelf a small pot of the Plastikote water based enamel is way more than enough & not that expensive really.
Not sure about hardboard tbh, I've never looked into that.
I always use dowels for legs on shelves, houses etc, you can get different lengths so may not even have to cut to size.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

I'd get the Trixie platform It's very popular. Or two. As Cypher says, safety comes first. There are loads of lolly stick creations and they are quite dangerous some of them as they can collapse on a hamster. Check how long mod podge takes to set as well - I read something that said it can take 2 to 3 weeks to cure. Plastikote is dry in a couple of hours although I leave it 24 hours between coats and then a few hours after the second coat, to make sure it isn't a sticky finish.
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:39 AM   #9
AnnaJoey
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
This is the Ponal I have. It is a large bottle and I've had mine for 2 or 3 years and still loads left, so it's worth paying for. I love the stuff. No noxious fumes and safe for pets and it sets wood like nothing else. I would suggest it would be better and safer than Gorilla Glue (having read the ingredients of Gorilla glue!). If you do use Gorilla glue then any fumes need to have worn off before putting the shelf in the cage and there mustn't be any residue showing at all that could be chewed. Even then if they chew the wood they could technically get at some glue. Once the fumes have worn off it shouldn't be toxic unless eaten.

Personally I am happy to have found a really good wood glue that isn't nasty (I don't like the fumes myself and don't have to worry about getting it on my hands a bit).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000S697..._t3_B000KJKK4C

Hardboard sounds ok.

Lolly sticks would not be stable enough.

This kind of thing would be ideal - 25mm thick (ie 1 inch thick) 20cm long. Four costs £6.25

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wooden-Ha....c100505.m3226

Actually you can buy a very good large platform for about £10!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trixie-Natu...living+shelter

Or two next to each other. Very sturdy and safe - no glue - the legs screw into the base into pre-drilled holes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
I would stick with tried & tested things that are known to be safe, I love my ponal glue too I have to say & though a bit of an investment well worth it, Plastikote has been used for so long I would stick with that (there are various types of modge podge & I'm not sure which you were referring to but I wouldn't use that) for just one shelf a small pot of the Plastikote water based enamel is way more than enough & not that expensive really.
Not sure about hardboard tbh, I've never looked into that.
I always use dowels for legs on shelves, houses etc, you can get different lengths so may not even have to cut to size.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I'd get the Trixie platform It's very popular. Or two. As Cypher says, safety comes first. There are loads of lolly stick creations and they are quite dangerous some of them as they can collapse on a hamster. Check how long mod podge takes to set as well - I read something that said it can take 2 to 3 weeks to cure. Plastikote is dry in a couple of hours although I leave it 24 hours between coats and then a few hours after the second coat, to make sure it isn't a sticky finish.
Right, okay. I'll definitely steer clear of the mod podge then, and I'll order some ponal. Does it matter which type of ponal - I've looked at the one linked but there are also loads of others!

The lolly sticks are actually nothing to do with the building process at all - I was going to stick them to the ramp leading to the second floor so it's easier to grip hold of. Not to mention the fact I'm too impatient for those impressive models people make out of hundreds of sticks 😂

I was looking at different platforms like the one suggested but I came to the conclusion I'd rather make it myself so that I could shape it the way I want it to be. And the pole I bought is actually like the dowel that was attached here, just a darker colour.

The only thing I'm worried about with the plastikote is that it's so small!! I picked up an aerosol one today and it's tiny! I know you said you can cover a shelf easy but I can't believe it!! 😂
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:41 PM   #10
cypher
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Default Re: Help me with these materials, please!!

The aerosol plastikote is the wrong one, you need the jar of water based enamel, that is the only safe one to use, a jar of that does seem small too but it goes quite a long way, more than enough for a few platforms probably even using the two coats you will need, depending on how big your shelf is going to be I guess but it should still be plenty.

The glue I have is ponal express, everything else on it is in German & I've had it such a long time I can't remember if there's anything else specific you need to know!
This is the one I have.
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