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Old 10-12-17, 09:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
akane
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Join Date: Nov-2013
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Re: Safe oils/waxes for protecting wood

They should be perfectly safe but high maintenance long term, harder to clean, pretty impossible to fully disinfect if you aren't going a more natural setup route, and not as easy to achieve a good seal on cheap wood versus if you are maintaining quality floors or furniture. In the US we've mostly gone to sealing even our hardwood housing materials with polyurethanes and similar for simplicity and not needing to reapply waterproofing ever if it doesn't receive damage moving furniture around or too much traffic wear. Both of which don't really occur in an enclosure. I dented my coating banging a rock into it once and had to paint a little back on that area. It makes it 100% waterproof and can be cleaned with most disinfectants or soaps for little ongoing maintenance. It's hard to even find info and the materials here for naturally keeping wood that isn't sealed in polyurethane. I had to search hard for bulk materials instead of tiny, high cost containers for furniture or wood utensils in order to clean and waterproof our 1800s hardwood floors that escaped modern sealants.

For enclosures using cheap wood to make it completely waterproof and basically work like plastic I prefer enamel paint. It's thick and soaks into cheap plywood to hold the inferior wood together better. Downside is clear is rare if you actually have a good piece of wood but with the wood I'm using you don't want to see it anyway. I was thinking of covering the wood sections with a stone pattern vinyl/linoleum floor roll after waterproofing. It is an option to just line the enclosure in some type of plastic paneling or rolled materials since it's already waterproof whether for industrial, pond, or flooring purposes but I'm going to be thorough and seal the wood first anyway. If you use higher quality plywood, or any other wood parts, and want to see the wood a clear polyurethane works. Types made for boats are ideal but large bodies of water are a long long ways away here... so I only have polyurethanes for wood sided housing and structures likes decks or porches. Some say they use yacht varnish.

Various pond sealant options, usually an epoxy paint, are popular too and often one of the first mentioned but I don't really see a benefit given one of my enamel plywood bases is 8 years old with no water damage and polyurethane versions for boats are still used by marine aquarists growing out coral or building very large aquariums to also avoid the cost of thick glass or plastic panels by making custom wood tanks with just viewing panels. To grow sensitive coral in a wood box it has to be completely waterproof with absolutely no toxins to build up in that small area. You'd think the aquarium crowd would have switched all to the pond sealants if they were really superior for relatively small indoor use. They sure better work awesome though because pond epoxy is listed at $60/quart here and the enamel I use is $8/quart.
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