Is hardwood plywood safe?

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I’m wanting to build some hides for my family members red foot, she desperately needs more coverage in her upcoming upgrade so I’m trying to get multiple decent sized ones made(I know wood isn’t the best option in a humid environment, but pvc box hides would work out a similar price for the sizes and amount we need and won’t look very nice in there, plant pots are too awkward for her to turn in)the most cost effective way to do so is to make them out of plywood and seal them using this special reptile resin, I’ll be sealing the wood panels first, then once they’re screwed together I’ll go over the edges with the resin again, then go over the screw heads with aquatic sealant and go along the edges with that too.
I was originally going to get some marine grade plywood as I’ve read somewhere it’s a bit safer chemical wise? But for the amount we need, it’ll be so much cheaper getting a hardwood plywood(not a soft pine or anything, I know pine can be toxic) it’d be the same thickness of 25mm.

Will that be perfectly safe to use provided I seal it well enough?
 

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Littleredfootbigredheart

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RF would rather have plants than a bunch of hides taking up walking space.
You can plant some safe plants in substrate and also put some in pots. They would prefer that much more.
But hardwood shouldn't be a problem.
Yeah I do agree tbh, it’ll only be the one hide technically taking up a bit of walking space, as the other two are going to be a ‘stool’ style, meaning they’ll act more as shady areas to go under as opposed to actual hides.

I’d definitely prefer to plant some ground plants but our squirt destroys them all, she either eats or tramples them😂making them no good as hidey/shady spots lol. But I’ll definitely have a go at planting one or two in some tall enough pots she won’t be able to get to as easy, I think for now till we work out what plants we’d want to grow(I’m the only one with a green hand in the family so it’ll be up to me to help them thrive haha) we just want to make sure we can provide her enough coverage with the larger area she’s in, her current cave definitely isn’t going to be enough.
Hopefully over time I can collect some decent sized faux ground plants too for coverage, she’s always had faux ones since a baby and never eaten a fake leaf, so I think they’d be safe for her😊

Thanks for reassuring me on the plywood! Appreciate that because I was definitely curious, read so many different things
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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@wellington here’s my current ‘life sized’ floor plan😂 the rectangle at the top is the more enclosed hide, the shape in the middle is the area her current cave would cover in there and that rectangle at the far end is a stool style hide, I also put aside a stool hide in the event there’s a temporary hot spot I need to cover in the viv, or as option to change out the cave that takes up walking space. My goal was to make it so she has some shady spots throughout the length of the viv, what do you think? Reckon there’s enough coverage?

*Also I know this still in all technicality isn’t enough roaming space for her as an enclosure when full grown, I’ve had to work hard with her owner to get her this larger space, but considering how long she’s been in her 4 by 2, I know this will be such a huge improvement both mentally and physically for her already❤️
I hope one day, even if it’s in years to come, if there’s enough space in the room down the line, I’d like to try and build her a tent style extension she could access from the viv via a ramp or something, I’d happily do it off my own back as I appreciate how much this upgrade has cost her owner and I’ve become super attached to her, she’s a little sweetheart❤️
 

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wellington

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I personally would do two hides. Keep the third on hand. Then try to add in more plants. The coverage of plants will make her want to roam and be out of the hides more. Even fake plants out of reach in pots and hanging over head or sitting on the hides.
Looking good though.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I personally would do two hides. Keep the third on hand. Then try to add in more plants. The coverage of plants will make her want to roam and be out of the hides more. Even fake plants out of reach in pots and hanging over head or sitting on the hides.
Looking good though.
Ok fair enough, I’ll keep that in mind, sounds like a good plan😊

I thought about maybe trying to adhere these to the sides of a corner of the viv(cause I’m guessing the suction wouldn’t hold) and wrapping a bunch of the reptile decor vines I’ve brought her to kind of make a ‘shady’ corner area, if that’s makes sense(sight my quick little diagram😂), idk if it’d work though and could only go in a corner, but would be good to free up ground space
 

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wellington

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Just be sure she can't reach any fake leaves, unless watched real close to see if she tries to eat them. Some tortoises will try to eat them, some won't and others will try but drop It as it's figured out it's not good to eat. You can get real branches from outside too and wrap vines, and stuff to them. Think outside the box when buying reptile stuff. Most is expensive and you can make your own or look in a different area, like the fake flower departments of stores, etc.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Just be sure she can't reach any fake leaves, unless watched real close to see if she tries to eat them. Some tortoises will try to eat them, some won't and others will try but drop It as it's figured out it's not good to eat. You can get real branches from outside too and wrap vines, and stuff to them. Think outside the box when buying reptile stuff. Most is expensive and you can make your own or look in a different area, like the fake flower departments of stores, etc.
Yeah luckily no worries there, she’s always had faux plants within her reach since being tiny, long before I knew her, and she’s never eaten one, whenever I’ve put a new faux plant in with her, I’ll watch her, at most she’ll give one of the leaves a ‘test grab’😂then drops it instantly once she realises, doesn’t bother with them other than walking all over it lol.
Good idea! I need to look into the diy side of things more for sure, I get a bit paranoid about making sure everything’s a safe material, I overthink stuff haha, but always rather be safe
 

wellington

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Yeah luckily no worries there, she’s always had faux plants within her reach since being tiny, long before I knew her, and she’s never eaten one, whenever I’ve put a new faux plant in with her, I’ll watch her, at most she’ll give one of the leaves a ‘test grab’😂then drops it instantly once she realises, doesn’t bother with them other than walking all over it lol.
Good idea! I need to look into the diy side of things more for sure, I get a bit paranoid about making sure everything’s a safe material, I overthink stuff haha, but always rather be safe
Oh that's great she doesn't eat them.
Yes always want to be safe, but so much can be done cheaper when other items can be used that's not labeled for reptiles.
 

zovick

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I’m wanting to build some hides for my family members red foot, she desperately needs more coverage in her upcoming upgrade so I’m trying to get multiple decent sized ones made(I know wood isn’t the best option in a humid environment, but pvc box hides would work out a similar price for the sizes and amount we need and won’t look very nice in there, plant pots are too awkward for her to turn in)the most cost effective way to do so is to make them out of plywood and seal them using this special reptile resin, I’ll be sealing the wood panels first, then once they’re screwed together I’ll go over the edges with the resin again, then go over the screw heads with aquatic sealant and go along the edges with that too.
I was originally going to get some marine grade plywood as I’ve read somewhere it’s a bit safer chemical wise? But for the amount we need, it’ll be so much cheaper getting a hardwood plywood(not a soft pine or anything, I know pine can be toxic) it’d be the same thickness of 25mm.

Will that be perfectly safe to use provided I seal it well enough?
I believe that you may be overthinking the hide situation wanting to use 25 mm plywood. That will be quite heavy, although maybe that is what you desire. All that sawing, painting and sealing, etc., is extra work which can be avoided. Personally, I always opted for sheer practicality and the ease of supplying what I wanted to provide for the tortoises and was not overly concerned with esthetics.

It would be much simpler to use a disposable cardboard box turned upside down with one or two doorways cut out as a hide. I used to use tomato boxes which are relatively sturdy here in the US. When they got too soiled or bent out of shape, I just used a new one.

A similar solution I also used was to buy flower boxes made of the same type material as peat pots only much thicker and cut doorways in them. Those proved very useful and lasted for multiple years.

Another more permanent idea is to use an appropriate sized opaque colored plastic tub turned upside down with a doorway or two cut out of it.

You can place something heavy on the top of any of these (such as bricks or attractive rocks) if necessary to prevent the tortoise from being able to move them.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I believe that you may be overthinking the hide situation wanting to use 25 mm plywood. That will be quite heavy, although maybe that is what you desire. Personally, I always opted for sheer practicality and ease of supplying what I want to provide for the tortoises and was not overly concerned with esthetics.

It would be much simpler to use a disposable cardboard box turned upside down with one or two doorways cut out as a hide. I used to use tomato boxes which are relatively sturdy here in the US. When they got too soiled or bent out of shape, I just used a new one.

A similar solution I used was to buy flower boxes made of the same type material as peat pots only much thicker and cut doorways in them. Those proved very useful and lasted for multiple years.

Another more permanent idea is to use an appropriate sized opaque colored plastic tub turned upside down with a doorway or two cut out of it.

You can place something heavy on the top of any of these (such as bricks or attractive rocks) if necessary to prevent the tortoise from being able to move them.
We did want the wooden hides to be quite heavy as she’s in the habit of pushing her hide about, I wouldn’t see cardboard lasting long in her substrate and I think we’d struggle to keep up with replacing every few days, I might have a look into the peat pots, but we’d need them quite big and again they’d be too light weight😕
With the plastic tubs, I looked into it and for the sizes we need, the price wasn’t worth it for something not very nice looking to go into her new viv.
The thought of adding any kind of heavy weight to any of those makes me too nervous without any kind of ‘sides’ on the roof that would support them if she were to bump against it
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Oh that's great she doesn't eat them.
Yes always want to be safe, but so much can be done cheaper when other items can be used that's not labeled for reptiles.
Yeah absolutely, anything I’m ever unsure about material wise I just hop on here, you’re all so helpful😊
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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We did want the wooden hides to be quite heavy as she’s in the habit of pushing her hide about, I wouldn’t see cardboard lasting long in her substrate and I think we’d struggle to keep up with replacing every few days, I might have a look into the peat pots, but we’d need them quite big and again they’d be too light weight😕
With the plastic tubs, I looked into it and for the sizes we need, the price wasn’t worth it for something not very nice looking to go into her new viv.
The thought of adding any kind of heavy weight to any of those makes me too nervous without any kind of ‘sides’ on the roof that would support them if she were to bump against it
I just wanted to add that I still really appreciated your suggestions! I think I’ve exhausted all options when it came to these hides, none seemed overly practical for the cost they were, but I’m still absolutely open to ideas! This resin I have seals lots of different materials and I’ve not ordered the wood yet, so keep them coming😊

These ones in mind, overall probably cost that bit more to make, but I have faith they’ll be long lasting by the time I’m done sealing them, I’ve designed them to have a lidded style roof so we can put weight up there safely, I’m hoping to grow some herbs for her😊definitely wanted them to be a practical design, but it’ll be an added bonus for them to look nice too, I don’t mind putting in the extra time because I have fun with the creative bits lol
 
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