Cabots OUTDOOR water based vanish - stain.

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nuttylizardguy

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I'm starting my build tomorrow for a new multibay 1.2m x 0.6m footprint dragon and skink enclosure ( since all my home improvements / renovations I scheduled for this year are now completed , and my garden revamp ( several large and small raised beds using 200x75 Sienna H/wood sleepers, herbs , berry plants & small fruit trees , veg , and for flowering native plants for habitat and native bird, lizard, frog and insect attractants ) are now built , filled with excavation fill from my driveway extension and garage slab extension from 6m x 6m to 10m x 10m and 10 bulkabags of premium garden soil are in them and they are ready for planting ).

I'm using :
Bunnings Project Panel 1200mm x 600mm 18mm BC Plywood for the bases ,
and
Bunnings Project Panel 1200mm x 600mm x 9mm Premium Grade Radiata Plywood (had to order in specially) for tops (there will be a 100mm airgap between each bay to allow ventilation and ease of access to wiring and to provide some storage)
and
will be sealing these ALL with Cabot's Clear Exterior (water based - fast setting (2hrs between coats)) Varnish Stain = CTB + Colonial Baltic stain.
and
and building my mobile ( on 2" lockable 100kg rated casters ) cabinet / base using
185mm x 19mm Tasmanian Oak DAR Select Grade (for the base frame)
and
90mm x 12mm Tasmanian Oak DAR Moulding (for kickboards)
( the DAR are the only timber I need to cut )
and
varnish/staining it as above tomorrow.

There will be about 100L of concealed storage inside the base ( plenty of space for the live insects and other reptile associated stuff currently stored in tubs and various sized mailer boxes stacked in one corner and an eyesore - that will "vanish" , this will make my wife happy ).

Will be varnishing all my plywood pieces ( 3 coats all over ).

The plywood panels and base will then be left for a few weeks on my new 2m x 1m garage work bench to and standing around it to allow the vanish to completely dry and harden and loose all residue fumes before I move onto assembling the modularized enclosure bays .

Spec sheet for my chosen vanish here :
https://cabots.com.au/product/cabots-exterior-varnish-stain.
and brochure :
https://cabots.com.au/media/1277/cabots-projectguide_au_ext-web.pdf

I don't expect there to be any potential lizard health issues once the vanish has completely set and cured and is no longer releasing vapors and being exterior grade the vanish should cope with humidity and damp substrate in the water skink colony enclosure, with water spills in the water skink colony enclosure, and will protect the plywood bases nicely for many years as well being impervious to UV in the dragons' enclosures and impervious to wet urates ( wont soak into the vanish )..

Anyone else used this varnish in their reptile bays and enclosures ?
did you come across any unexpected issues ?


No I am the least bit interested in using laminated MDF or melamine. I don't have the luxury of a spare unused bedroom or special reptile room.
The multibay enclosure is going into my dining - family room so it needs to look "nice" and be a good match for the timber furniture already there.
 
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murrindindi

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Hi, water based varnish should "cure" within a few days, although it will not last "many years" under very damp/humid conditions, more suitable would be yacht varnish (oil based) and even better still would be epoxy resin paint which would probably last a lifetime (both the latter may take longer to cure than the water based product).
 
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dragonlover1

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I used the Cabots for my bearded dragon enclosures made from pine DAR and only had 1 problem ,there was a mildew problem in 1 enclosure under the water bowl after a few years but I don't think I used enough because 4 other enclosures were built exactly the same.
For water skinks maybe you should use pondtite for a waterproof seal, I used it for some Boyds forest dragons because I knew it was going to be wet all the time.
I did try a marine varnish once for a turtle enclosure but I was worried about toxicity and could find no info about using it in a confined space
 

nuttylizardguy

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Progress made today :

IMG-4741-the-tasmanian-oak-frame-for-my-multibay-enclosure-cabin.jpg


IMG-4742-the-tasmanian-oak-frame-from-another-angle.jpg

The frame built using 185mm x 19mm Tasmanian Oak DAR select grade , one coat of Cabots exterior vanish/stain applied to all surfaces that will be very hard to reach when the top and bottom are attached to seal it "internally".
All join gaps are filled as are the nail holes.

Took the time to preseal the 1.2m x 0.6m x 18mm Project Ply Panels with one coat of Cabots exterior vanish/stain before attaching the top and bottom of the multibay enclosure's base-storage cabinet to the already sealed Tasmanian Oak frame
IMG-4749-one-coat-all-over-from-the-other-end.jpg


The 2" casters get attached tomorrow, as will the fixed 90mm x 12mm Tasmanian Oak kickboards and the hinged long kickboards (same moulding material).

3 coats all over of the Cabots exterior vanish/stain (Colonial Baltic) and the same for the 9mm and 18mm Project Ply Panels that will become the tops and bottoms of my modular bays , and I'll then let the completed base rest , and vanish-stained 9mm lids and 18mm bases stand in my very warm garage on my workbench until after Xmas when I'll set to assembling the modular bays for my dragons and water skinks.
I'm hoping by the time I'm ready complete the build ( in my living area ) the vanish will no longer be releasing fumes.

My backyard is currently a work in progress after the excavator guy turned my nice lawn into a boggy muddy disaster zone in June , lots of raised beds to take the fill .
The costs to legally dump 24 cubic m of fill was ridiculous and nothing short of highway robbery , and my response to the quote by the excavator guy to transport the stuff in his truck was unprintable ( he wont ever be allowed back here ).

Next on my to do list is
> pave 25 sq-m between my new beds and these and my now 9m x 9m slab
> returf about 75 sq-m that will still be bare mud
> fill the hockey stick , the 6m x 1.5m raised bed with "pretty flowing plants and shrubs ( natives if I get my way )
> get the 3m x 1.5m raised herb bed planted
> get the 3m x 1.5m raised berry plant and tropical fruits bed planted
> get some salad and veg plants growing in the 3rd 3m x 1.5m raised bed
> built my 8m x 4.5m back deck.

[doublepost=1576078280,1576077848][/doublepost]
I used the Cabots for my bearded dragon enclosures made from pine DAR and only had 1 problem ,there was a mildew problem in 1 enclosure under the water bowl after a few years but I don't think I used enough because 4 other enclosures were built exactly the same.
For water skinks maybe you should use pondtite for a waterproof seal, I used it for some Boyds forest dragons because I knew it was going to be wet all the time.
I did try a marine varnish once for a turtle enclosure but I was worried about toxicity and could find no info about using it in a confined space

Will look into the Pondite , I too looked at a marine vanish but remembered how stinky it was when I vanished my new front and back entry doors so decided against it.
Can always use a 10L TellFresh tub for the water skinks' pond with some suitable aquarium gravel and sand in it , and some handy sized tumbled rocks , add an aerator or recirculating waterfall grotto thing and some freshwater shrimp and minnow and maybe a yabby or two , and some native water plants and I think the little skinkies will be very happy.
[doublepost=1576079708][/doublepost]Any experience with using 14 - 10 x 50mm Galvanised Type 17 Batten Bugle Head Timber Screws ( that's 14 Gauge = 6.5mm diam ) to fix to 19mm thick Tasmanian Oak , my base is currently held together with timber glue and nails , I'd like to reinforce the whole strength of fixing of the 185mm x 19mm tas oak DAR to the top and bottom 18mm project ply panels , even if drill pilot holes (4.5mm diam maybe) at 300mm centres.

I'm just not 100% convinced nailing and gluing will hold up long term if the enclosure base is regularly trundled about on cleaning days and to make room when entertaining. I'd be more confident if it was glued and screwed.

Worried the tas oak may split if not done carefully using suitable pilot holes prior to screwing in the Type 17 Batten Bugle Head Timber Screws .
[doublepost=1576115614][/doublepost]

UPDATE :
I checked an online carpentry handbook and they gave the following guidelines :
pilot-hole-size-for-different-types-of-timber.png
.

Did a test with an offcut of 185mm x 19mm Tasmanian oak DAR and 4.5mm pilots holes to put 14G - 10 x 50mm Galvanized Type 17 Batten Bugle Head Timber Screws along the centerline of the thin 19mm side at 300mm centres , no splitting.

Now have 14G - 10 x 50mm Galvanized Type 17 Batten Bugle Head Timber Screws into the 19mm edge of the 185mm x 19mm Tasmanian oak DAR (no splits) , used a 4.5mm predrilled pilot hole for each screw.
Layout of 14G screws top and bottom on my base is now :
14g-screw-screw-layout-for-base-with-4.png

[doublepost=1576149772][/doublepost]All stain varnished now ( 3 coats ) , only need to fit the fixed kick boards to the ends, the hinged (piano hinges) kickboards to the front and back, and attach the
25mm x 20mm x 1.6mm clear anodised finish aluminium angle enclosure seat when the stain varnish has dried and completely hardened and no longer releasing fumes.
The casters are already fitted and glide nicely.

Going to give it a few weeks to now and start my builds for the two full size bearded dragon enclosures , the water skink colony enclosure, and the open frames that will form my "airgaps" between bays.
Jobs for the weekend or next week.
[doublepost=1576258213][/doublepost]Called Cabots tech support to find out how long for the water based stain varnish to cure and set and harden completely , told up to 14 days , so wont be able complete the build until 28 December .

I'll build the enclosures for the 2 bearded dragons that day , too busy til then.
 

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