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Old 10-26-17, 10:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul-2017
Posts: 156
Using SPF (spruce/pine/fir).

When my new viv is ready (in a couple more weeks) I plan on stacking my current glass viv on top, which will require using a couple of strong supports. The obvious choice is something like 2x3 SPF lumber; it's strong, smoothly finished and cheap. However, I know some people have reservations about using such woods.

As long as I choose nice, dry pieces (i.e. not oozing sap) and leave it to stand for a few weeks, is there really any reason not to use it? After all, it won't be going inside the viv itself.

PS. I also just read this about SPF:
To get the wood closer to a usable state, most of this wood is put into large dryers for a period of "kiln-drying" which reduces the moisture content to an acceptable level for use. This kiln-drying produces a more consistent material than if the wood had been simply allowed to air dry naturally.

And what about Pine snakes (Pituophis melanoleucus)?!

Last edited by; 10-26-17 at 10:30 PM.. is offline  
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Old 10-27-17, 02:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov-2013
Posts: 551
Re: Using SPF (spruce/pine/fir).

What's the problem? They never even proved in studies that what was left in dried pine shavings was harmful. They saw some changes in liver enzymes in mammals with no proof of damage and people spread the links all over decades ago as proof it was toxic to then spread to other species groups. Using even kiln dried pine shavings for all animals is steadily being dismissed as a problem by many people due to lack of any proof actually out there compared to cedar and the fact most wood actually is heat dried or compressed to remove the oils now. A lot of people probably have more harmful build up from animal waste between cleaning before they have build up from dried softwood. I use pine pellets whole or partially broken down if I want a wood product bedding because of their absorbency, smooth or soft depending if they are pellet or sawdust consistency, and compact size to keep around.

Lumber here is quite thoroughly dry with no sap and all I use is standard pine boards. I also put locally found softwood branches, bark, etc.. in my bioactive enclosures. The larger a piece is the better sealed it actually is provided you avoid sap covered areas. Shavings are a lot of open wood with a lot of surface area to dry so they don't dry well by themselves. Logs and boards have a single, quickly weathered surface that seals off the inside even if it isn't forcefully dried to the center. Then it depends on ventilation. If you stick a bunch of high fume items in an enclosed area with low ventilation like many enclosures are to keep in heat and humidity you have far more of a problem than sticking boards in an entire room with air circulation or using cedar boards to build the frame of an outdoor building for animal housing. Quite different levels of air flow inside versus outside various spaces and then with various concentrations of the volatile oils.

It's a good idea to seal all wood being used long term even on the outside anyway though. Inevitably things will get on it even if it's just small water damage building up over time or gathering of dust. It's far harder to wipe clean when it absorbs or you have to scrub the buildup back out. Pest insects are another problem since unsealed softwood is a favorite to burrow and gnaw and most of the world has various moth and beetle species that can become an issue if nothing deters them.
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Old 10-27-17, 03:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul-2017
Posts: 156
Re: Using SPF (spruce/pine/fir).

Thanks for the detailed reply! I probably won't bother sealing it as it's only temporary until I get a second wooden viv built, and it's going to get scratched up anyway if I ever have to shift the top viv around. Plus the amount of water-based urethane varnish necessary would be quite expensive.

As long as it's safe used as it is, that's the main thing. is offline  
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