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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I'm planning on building a 10'x2'x40inch wide viv stack (3 vivs high) and I'm wondering the best way to go about construction. All the sheets of wood I can find seem to only be 8ft max length. Is there somewhere I can get larger sheets from? If not I'm wondering what the best way of providing support at the joins are?

I'm assuming I'd need battening to build the frame (I'm guessing this comes in 8ft lengths too but haven't checked). I doubt I'd have enough money to do the whole lot in one go so was planning to build the frame + bottom viv, and work on the rest as and when I can

All thoughts and ideas are welcome at this point. If anyone has made vivs larger than 8ft then I'd love to know how you went about doing so.

Regards,

Matt
 

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What's going to be going in them? The support would be very different if it's going to be for snakes with newspaper substrate than if it was for lizards with half a tonne of sand in there...

Personally if I were doing it I'd start saving and not start until I had enough to do it all at once; that way you have the continuity of working on it. I find that ideas sometimes pop into my head whilst I'm working; if I then had to wait a couple of weeks to be able to put them into practise, the mental image wouldn't be as good, and it would be harder to get back into the mindset of working on it all...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Monitor in the bottom, Tegu in the top and a retic in the middle plus a couple of smaller vivs for small snakes on the upper 2 levels.

I need the bottom viv kinda sharpish is the reason for doing that one now.

Would I be better off building the 3 totally seperate vivs and putting them into a framework rather than doing them as a stack?
 

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personally i have been thinking about doing one of these my self and have talked to FAR TO MANY carpenters and wood workers what they have suggested is that you build a "frame" and the screw the boarding on after this would be quite easy and thats how i built my own viv (took me about 2days (or 7hours as i didnt work all day) in total) main bit that takes the time is the marking up. what i would do is buy PINE! inch and a half square lengths and construst the skeleton once done varnish and stain!!! (dont forget) then go out and by the cut boards and cover 8ft of the back and sides this then leaves you cross struts to screw seperating boards into you can fashino the doors your self like the retro sliding glass or a snazzy hinged built in swing open doors.....
hope this helps.... im sure you wont know what the fudge im talking about but it makes sense to me... i would guestimate a project cost of about £130 for a luxuary build but i reckon its really going to cost about no more than £60-70
all the best would love to help you do it!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks madman, it's the construction of the frame more than anything I'm gonna have problems with. Assuming the wood only comes in 8ft lenths I'm wondering how I go about joining the extra 2ft on the horizontals? I guess I'll have to build some arches or squares going from back to the front and then screw the horizontal bits to them.

I think I'm gonna be getting VERY frustrated over the next few weeks!!!!!!
 

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Thanks madman, it's the construction of the frame more than anything I'm gonna have problems with. Assuming the wood only comes in 8ft lenths I'm wondering how I go about joining the extra 2ft on the horizontals? I guess I'll have to build some arches or squares going from back to the front and then screw the horizontal bits to them.

I think I'm gonna be getting VERY frustrated over the next few weeks!!!!!!

What ever you do DONT GET FRUSTRATED!!!! thats the worst thing to do!! what i would to for the cross beams are ( lets say we have 6cm cross struts for instance):

1. take either end of the cross beams and cut about 1cm off the width of the strut BUT only as much as the depth of the uprights then chisel out a hollow in the uprights for these thined out struts to sit in.. these can then have screws added to provide stability!!!===== this is the hardest method but one of the most secure.

2 take the struts and dill two holes in the cross section ends of each of the ends of each strut the holes must be big enough for sutible strong dowling to be glued in then make up and drill two holes in the uprights and slot the dowling and strut in the two up rights==== this is the method ikea use and is actually very good IF THE SUPPLYED IKEA GLUE!!!

3 finally the easiest method would be to get an upright and a strut and ues another "chock" of square wood place the chock in the right angle where the stru and upright meet and drill one hole form he outside of the strust and upright into the wood and screw these together its always good if its a thick chock!!!! this is what the do when they build chests of draws and cuboards.

as you can see i did listen in one subject at school!!! just obviously NOT ENGLISH!!!!

SORRY IF IT DONT MAKE SENSE!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
It makes perfect sense! I hadn't thought about the chiseling/chock option. I'm not keen on the idea of dowling tbh, maybe for small vivs but for this I feel wouldn't be worthwile (though I may be wrong there!!!). Yes I think this one is gonna need plenty of glue as well as being screwed.

This will only be my 4th viv attempt.

The first was crap and I put NO thought into it whatsoever.

The second I HATED while making it but was proud once finished (until the tegu kept turning the waterbowl over and the base & front plinth rotted (I'm never using MDF again!).

Third one went well and I took my time and quite enjoyed it:)

*EDIT* just re-read the bit about the dowling and it's probably also a good idea (I don't think I got exactly what was meant the first time around lol).
 

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hope it helped
btw i didnt ask what are they for exactally??? i would go for a hard wood laminate as the varnish isnt absorbed by the wood and therefore can water proof better but STICK TO PINE for the skeleton as its very cheap and just as efective when stained,treated and varnished as any of the other substitues... also did you know many countries have banned MDF as the bonding glue they use when its inhaded over a long period of time has been linked to more than the number to illneseses you can get from smoking (poor ikea people) !!!! well anyway MDF is foul stuff. if i was you spend a day looking around a wood merchant and explain the charateristics your viv has to have to make it work they will help you out!!!
the hardest part THE F:censor:G electricts was for me i really regret not listen in physics especially after nearly killing my self with the heat lamp fitting.

would love a pic when done also by all means as me anymore questions if you get stuck and ill try to help as much as possible!!!

ENJOY and dont get stressed!!! it should be enjoiable....

p.s. also i have noticed on the forum that many people that have BDs or such have created senic backgrounds with grout take this build to try these out for yours well i would anyway!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes you have been a great help and given me lots of ideas to play with. :notworthy::2thumb:

Laminated wood I'm wary of using as it's gonna have a tegu and a young nile monitor in (for now) and with their digging/strength and long claws the laminate coating won't last very long. I am however considering using melamine for everything but the bases which I'd use ply for I think. I think it'd look nicer doing it that way and will save me doing a LOT of varnishing. Gonna go with hinged doors with bolt locks I think instead of sliding glass doors also. I do know a couple of master carpenters who I may consider enlisting if it all goes tits up lol. Also going in the stack will be a purple albino retic, red blood python and a pair of royals

Viv electrics for me is the easy bit but then I've had a lot of practise at it over the years.: victory:

Once again thanks for all the help and no doubt there will be a pic of it once finished.

regards,

Matt

As for the backgrounds they look very nice but again I don't think the expanding foam is gonna last for very long once the monitor/tegu starts to climb on them. If I was housing smaller species of lizard then I'd give it a go for sure:)
 

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2 food wide is wide enough for a tegu or other monitor??? i wouldnt of thought so?

thinking about it even for a retic?

turning around may be atad hard
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
2 food wide is wide enough for a tegu or other monitor??? i wouldnt of thought so?

thinking about it even for a retic?

turning around may be atad hard
NO. 2ft is the height:) 40" is the width (3ft4") which will be fine for the female teg, and the retic, for and the nile whilst it's still small. Thinking about it though I'll probably increase the height on the bottom viv.
 

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Hi Matt. :)

As these vivs sound as though they will be the final homes for your animals, and those animals have hopefully many years ahead of them, I do wonder if melamine will be good enough long term. I have seen twenty year old vivs housing green anacondas and retics, and these still looked as good as day one re the condition of the wood. It was marine ply. Anyhow enough of that. :) The only reason I really joined in here was to remind you of the fact that you will seriously need to take into account the amount of heat required in the different vivs, and the fact that in a stacking system for example, if you have the monitor underneath, being a creature that requires high heat, this could generate far too much heat to the viv above, housing the retic. You will need to think out carefully how to avoid that sort of problem, as talking from experience in the past, it's a nightmare if you don't get it right first go. Since my first big mistake, I have since chosen carefully by housing animals requiring the lower heats at the bottom of a stack, and the ones loving high temps at the top.

Good luck with everything.

Mo. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Hi Matt. :)

As these vivs sound as though they will be the final homes for your animals, and those animals have hopefully many years ahead of them, I do wonder if melamine will be good enough long term. I have seen twenty year old vivs housing green anacondas and retics, and these still looked as good as day one re the condition of the wood. It was marine ply. Anyhow enough of that. :) The only reason I really joined in here was to remind you of the fact that you will seriously need to take into account the amount of heat required in the different vivs, and the fact that in a stacking system for example, if you have the monitor underneath, being a creature that requires high heat, this could generate far too much heat to the viv above, housing the retic. You will need to think out carefully how to avoid that sort of problem, as talking from experience in the past, it's a nightmare if you don't get it right first go. Since my first big mistake, I have since chosen carefully by housing animals requiring the lower heats at the bottom of a stack, and the ones loving high temps at the top.

Good luck with everything.

Mo. :)
Hi Mo,

Your words as ever are wise ones. I've never used a stack before, always built seperate vivs and then stacked them, with extra barriers inbetween. I have had to choose carefully what I'm housing where, doing it like that also.

Since what I'm housing all are fairly high temp animals it shouldn't be so bad (he says), I'm just gonna have to make sure I'm using reflectors for basking lights and the ventilation is good. If there's any other suggestions as to how you've overcome this problem then I'd gladly hear it.

As for the wood we'll see what happens. I built my last viv out of ply and pleased with the outcome there. I didn't use marine ply though but a WBP ply and a good varnish to seal it with. I know melamine is basically crap but just thought it'd make the outside parts look a bit nicer is all. I probably will end up using ply though tbh. Dunno if the extra expense of marine ply is worth it over WBP though (exterior grade ply, weather and boil proof).

Also I'll probably need a whole lot of luck with this LOL!

Thanks again,

Matt:)

p.s Jay she's going to Xiorell, pm me if you want to know the whys and wherefores. I have told him though if ever he finds himself in a position where he can no longer house her (which he hopefully won't), then she is to come straight back to me.
 

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heat.... hmmm i wonder if a 1/4 inch insulation board is a good investiment for that with an extra sheet of tin foil over the top it would sure get those hybrid car driving save the planet types (which i am one) all loving you for your energy conservation!!!!???

the issue with marine ply is that it has the extra few "$" to it which i personally dont think it neededs normal "melly" treated and extra varnished should do a nice job.

i think u have made a great decision with the swing open doors glass sliders would be an absolute arse when tring to get a hold of the monitor i would guess!!!! i really regret not doing that to my viv as having two hungry adult corns in one viv is hell when you are trying to split them for feeding!!!
 

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i was also ment to tell you that probably july-august time im going to be constructing an arboreal set up readly for a tai beauty its going to be massive as i hope to eventually get breeding them... there vive is going to be: 60 inch length x 48 inch hight x24 inch width giving me 69,120 inch cubed area for them so stick that in your pipe and smoke it animal rights!!!!
 

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With the 10' problem, and being a non-technical girly, I'd build two seperate frames of 5'x2' and bolt them together (dirty great big bolts!) That way you'd have a support down the middle as well. You could easily overlap the ply covering so the join wasn't in the same place as the join in the two frames.
I don't know if it'd work though... all my plans are a bit hit-and-miss, just do them and see if it works! I've not built a viv before, but shelving/racking/kitchen cupboards were ok!

Edit - I'll try to remember the camera tomorrow and take some photos of the little so-and-so that is causing all this trouble! He escaped yesterday...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Edit - I'll try to remember the camera tomorrow and take some photos of the little so-and-so that is causing all this trouble! He escaped yesterday...
YaY.....he's obviously wondering where I've got to.: victory:

If all goes to plan i'll be coming back for another cuddle this weekend, if not def. the next and I'll pay for him then:)

Funnily enough in the book I have it mentions that they "test" the viv and if they find a weak point they work at it until freedom LOL. Looks like I'm gonna have fun with this lil guy!!
 
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