Varnishing Branches? Prepping Cork Bark? Cork Bark and Rock Walls?

Discussion in 'DIY Zone' started by EllieSkyline, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. EllieSkyline

    EllieSkyline Not so new Member

    Jul 6, 2017
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    I have a few question's in regards to adding foreign wood to an enclosure?

    I have collected some nice branches and a hollow log, for climbing and hiding, which will be correctly sanitised via the baking method, 250° for 3 hours.

    Question 1; Removing sharp edges and bark? What is the best method to remove bark and smooth off sharp edges from the wood? I planned to just cut, file and sand the edges? Any tips?

    Question 2; After sanitising I am wondering if it is safe to varnish the wood? The reason I want to varnish is to bring all the wood to a similar darker color. I would like to use a mat varnish so there is no shine, but want to assure it is safe to do so. Has anyone done his? Is it definitely safe? If so which type of varnish?

    Cork Bark, I intend to incorporate cork bark into my DYI rock wall.

    Question 3; How do you sanitise Virgin Cork Bark?

    Question 4; Sealing Cork Bark? With my rock wall I am using the foam, sealant and grout method. What is the best way to incorporate cork bark into this. For example, my rock face (foam) will end up against a piece of cork bark. When sealing, should I finish the sealant at the cork bark (slightly overlapping the edges to assure the foam is sealed) and allow the cork bark to just be natural with no sealant coverage? OR should I seal the entire surface (foam + cork bark) and just grout up to the edges of the cork bark?

    IF I am to seal over the cork bark, is there a safe and appropriate sealant for this application that has no shine?

    Question 5; Is cork bark definitely safe in a heated environment?

    Thank you very much!
  2. Smittiferous

    Smittiferous Subscriber Subscriber

    Jan 13, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Frankston South, Victoria
    1) Sandpaper wrapped over a block, file, emery board etc will do fine

    2) Avoid anything oil-based. You can paint a clear water-based timber sealant over the top afterwards. Just a clear timber seal alone will darken the wood up a bit.

    3) By virgin, do you mean stripped straight from a tree? Either put it in a sealed plastic bag, left in the sun for a couple of days or the oven treatment. Maybe not so hot though.

    4) If it were me, I wouldn't worry about sealing the cork. If you do though, clear water-based timber sealant will do fine, or whatever sealant you're using on the grout (if it is clear with matte finish)

    5) Most of us seem to be using cork in a heated environment with our herps. Obviously direct high heat isn't advised (hot basking spots etc) but that's the same as any potentially flammable item really.

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    pinefamily likes this.

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