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New Iguana Cage

Discussion in 'General Construction' started by TitoAndKatt, May 7, 2010.

  1. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Most big hardware stores will cut the wood for you.
  2. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    I am not sure what you are talking about. What wood is a different size? The frame is all fairly evened up. :(
    And I do have experience with a round saw thank you! lol I have used them before, I just do not own one myself. Besides, the round saw can make finer cuts, perhaps a jig saw even to cut out holes and such. I think they are cheaper too. It would be good to have on on hand for any future projects too. :)

    Yes, I had them do that to start with and they completely botched it. They are incompetent. I went home with all of my 34" boards different lengths! AFTER having him re-cut them! It threw EVERYTHING off and now, instead of going in and asking for x amount of x sized pieces for all of my hard-work pre-planning sizes...I have to build one step, and remeasure for the next step. Even so there are little uneven spots here and there. There are gaps between the floor and ceiling boards and the ceiling boards - which is ok because that provides some ventilation without me having to cut vents - but I do NOT want gaps in the walls or the heat and humidity will really not stay in. (the gaps on the floor/ceiling are "decently" sized).
    This is part of why this has taken so long. Every step I have to remeasure, then find time to go back to the store for more wood. I typically have "time" to work on the cage late at night...which means that it can be pretty late when I get to the store... :( What I have done for the back boards, is I had them cut the boards to size a bit bigger than what I need, and then I will trim them down myself.
    I wish my camera worked (Tito! *glares in her direction*) so I could show you with pics how bad he gaps are. They REALLY can't cut well at the hardware store. lol Part of it is the saw they have, part of it is incompetence. Besides, as StePFHaN said, I am a perfectionist - the cage is already rough in spots, I would prefer the rest of it to be as nice as possible.

    On a side note, any suggestions for hanging branches? I have one smaller branch that I think I will use shower rod holders for (the little cups that stick to the wall and the rod slides in) but I have some bigger ones that I want to hang. I am considering hanging them by chains (screw hooks into the ends of the branches, and the ceiling, and then attach with chains) but would this be too unstable/swingy? I wouldn't think so, as Tito uses her ropes all of the time... Whatever I do has to be easily undone.

    Oh yes, another Q: any suggestions as to how to conceal the lights? I mean they will be visibly hanging in the cage somehow, but I need a way to screen them off, that will still allow me easy access to change the bulbs when needed. I have some wooden dowels, I though about maybe building part of a cube with the hardware cloth and the dowels as a frame, and hanging that over the light....not sure how that will work though. Any suggestions?

    (can a jigsaw cut metal screws?)
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Katt this may be what Stephan is talking about.

    As for them cutting the wood, I don't know what their problem is but I have had cuts made numerous times without issue. Of course I had a tape measure hanging on my pocket and checked it before I left.
    The branches hanging on chains from screw hooks should work fine. After all tree branches in the wind move.
    As for hiding the lamps, what I did was to have the lamps outside the cage and have a open bottomed box that sits on top of the cage walls over the lamps and CHE.

    Attached Files:

  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    O.k Kitty, I must have seen the work before you got to this stage, it looked as if the cross pieces on the framework were over long, never mind, we`ll move on.... Yes, you can buy blades for a jigsaw that will cut through metal, but far easier to get a junior hacksaw and cut them yourself. I personally would not hang the branches, remember she`s still got a lot of growing in weight as well as length to do, fix them firmly in place, I`ll explain how I do it, and mine need to withstand a 7.5ft monitor weighing around 50lbs: If you can get a large fairly thick branch that goes from the floor fairly high up (maybe 4 ft long or so), cut the bottom off at the angle you want the branch to sit (in other words, it may not be fixed exactly perpendicularly), screw a square piece of 1/2inch plywood to the bottom of the branch,(maybe 9 inches square or so), then screw that to the floor of the cage, then attach a couple of small brackets to the higher branches and in turn, screw those to the sides of the cage, that way, the bottom and top of the branch/es are fixed firmly at two or three points, if this doesn`t make sense, I`ll send you a couple of pics, it`s VERY easy and quick to do, and if/when you move house, you just unscrew and take the branch out.
    The circular saw cuts depend on the size of the teeth on the blade, as does the jigsaw blade, you need a fine-toothed blade to cut plywood, but it will also cut the framework nicely, too. It`s easy to cut a straight line with the jigsaw, you just clamp a piece of 2 x 1 inch timber to the piece you`re cutting and the edge of the guide on the jigsaw butts along that. (You probably already know all this, after it`s taken me almost forever to type it out)...... How did you manage to get gaps, can you not unscrew at a couple of points and adjust it?
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Thanks Merlin, no, it was another photo with the cross pieces overlapping the edge, but Katt must have trimmed them. I don`t quite understand how the iguana will climb on to branches that are free swinging and at different heights, that`s why I suggested fixing a large branch from the floor to whatever height she wants it to be, (it could be almost 6ft long in theory). I do the same as you hiding the lights, I just made a separate lid for my tank that houses all the bulbs.
  6. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Well I do not want to cut into the ceiling and prefer to hang the lights on the inside. This is to help keep a little more heat and humidity in, and to allow me space to store things on top of the cage among other reasons.

    I think the overlap you were talking about Stefan was when I had the boards just all laid out but not actually connected yet?

    Anyways, as for the cuts, I do not know what the issue is either, but I do know that after several botched jobs, and a lot of extra wood that I didn't need (I had to have them redo it, and had to but the extra wood to do so....long story very frustrating) I have no confidence in their cutting. Thus, I will either do it myself, or have a friend do it (either my bf's dad, or my friend's dad who is a carpenter).

    I will have to think about the branches. I have a bit before they go in anyways! haha The cage will probably not get finished until August, with all that I have going on this summer it is a slow process. :( Painting will take the longest, I want it to look nice (for me, I know Tito could care less! haha).
  7. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    I do have a Plano plastic shelving unit that is already in the cage. I set it up to see that it would fit. It is about 4 feet tall and 4 shelves (bottom one is ground level, so really 3 shelves).

    On the top shelf, I have an idea - perhaps you guys can help. Right now Tito spends most of her time on top of her cage (I no longer keep it closed, she would escape anyways at this point as my velcro came off, and she is too big for the cage anyways). She sits right over her poop dish and poops, meaning the poop collects on top of the cage (I can't reach it is a bit process involving moving things around and setting up a stool piled with books to get up there once a week or so to clean it lol). Some of it falls through and lands in the dish, some of it goes right over the cage (and onto my camera charger). Anyways, I have these metal grated cubes for storage: Whitmor Black Wire Storage Cubes, Set of 4: Storage & Organization I want to put one cube on top op the last plastic shelf, and put the water dish in/under the cube. With the bigger squares the poop will fall right in! However, that means her laying on the grating which doesn't seem comfy (granted, neither does a branch! haha). Is there a way to make it comfy, but still a pooping platform? It will only last for so long, that perhaps I will just secure a branch above it. She is a terrible, lazy, messy pooper and so I want to keep the basking/pooping corner similar in set up so that she at least hist the bucket part of the time...

    I really do not understand the concept of a "clean" ig. Tito is SO disgusting! She poops anywhere and will drag her tail through it, lay in it, and step in it! I keep things clean, and I swear she poops all over just to spite me! :rolleyes: haha Anyways, sorry, tangent...
  8. LLoydene

    LLoydene Elite Member

    How old is she again??
  9. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Older than 1 year, younger than 2. My best guess is that she is just reaching 2 years, maybe a year and ten months or so based on info from how long the previous owners supposedly had her and how old she may have been from the pet store (young). So she still has a LOT of growing to do...the crate cube would only be for a while. Mainly to get her pooping back in the water dish in the new set up...
  10. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Looking at the mesh cubes, they look fine, Tito won`t mind sitting on top of the wire mesh, so long as her body`s supported, which it would be, plus easy to grip/climb onto, I would definitely try them Kattrina, I seriously would....
    And the painting won`t take that long, you can easily paint two coats a day, maybe three. Inside: one coat of wood primer, two undercoat, two gloss. Outside; one, possibly two stain, three varnish... finished! (Nothing to it) :)
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

  12. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Well see here is the problem. First, the cubes are not mesh but rather coated metal grids of about an inch square or so, but she climbs them around my room all the time (great storage units! lol) so yes they are easy for her to climb.

    As for the painting, I plan to paint a jungle scene on the inside. That takes a lot of time. If I have a few days of nothing else I could get it done quickly, but that will not happen until August at least! Otherwise it will be a slow bit by bit painting process for the inside. The outside should be done quickly once I get started.

    If I use stain with polyurethane (it is a 2/1 type can that is both stain and polyurethane in one liquid) will that do to seal the tank (outside), or do I still need to use an actual varnish over the stain?
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    You misunderstand, I use the word "mesh" but it means the same thing (in my mind), they are just metal cages, and you only want to put them on top of the tank so she can poop into a water dish underneath which should work quite well, obviously you`ll still need to clean the mesh thoroughly on a daily basis, but that`s no problem?
    If you`re using the combined stain /varnish (it`s just called "coloured varnish"), that`s all you need to use. If it were a piece of "real" furniture, the best way would be to stain first and then use a clear varnish, in this case that won`t matter.
    I forgot you were painting a scene on the inside, I tried it on my tank, but in the end I just painted it plain green, then added the fake plants/logs etc which I think looks better, but to each his own Kitty, either way, I`m sure you`ll make a great job of it!
  14. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Are polyurethane (sealant) and varnish the same thing? I thought that they were different. The stain is poly and stain, not varnish (unless they are the same thing that is! haha). Will the sanding to get a lighter color with darker grain still work with it?
  15. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    A sealant just seals the surface, that`s all, a wax will seal the surface but it`s not waterproof, varnish (unless it`s yatch), can`t really take being wet too much, that`s why you see "watermarks" on furniture.
    Polyurethane varnish, it`s just a particular type, even harder wearing is the yatch varnish I mentioned (yes, it IS used on yatchs), so very tough and waterproof, not too much difference in price (over here), but not really needed for the outside of the tank. The combination is literally just colour added to clear varnish, it just means the job`s done in one stage, but obviously, unlike stain which you could sand down to get it lighter, or mix a different shade in to give a certain "tint", with the combo it`s whatever that colour tint is, you could varnish over it, but it`s not as professional looking in my experience..
  16. MollyJ

    MollyJ Elite Member

    Ok, I just came up with an idea of how to attach the doors that might work, be easy to do, and very easy to dismantle. Might let out too much heat and humidity, but that may be fixable.
    What if... you attached several of these-
    to the corners and middle of the cage, got something like this-
    attached upside down to the doors to catch into the handles, and put some sort of-
    around the sides of the doors to keep the air in, and then attached handles to the outsides of the doors for easy lifting and removing....?
    I couldn't find an example of any flatter type of hook that would create less of a gap, but I bet you could find one.

    :( Is there some sort of block on ************?
  17. MollyJ

    MollyJ Elite Member

    Hahahaha... tiny url dot com

    And I take that as a yes..
  18. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    So I decided to stain the inside and the outside but now I have some questions regarding the finishing. For the inside, it obviously needs to be water proof due to the humidity. I thought Polyurethane would do this? The inside and outside will be partly stained, partly painted (painted frame, floor, and ceiling; stained walls). Will the PolyU work to seal both the stain and paint? Do I need a water proofer and polyU and varnish? What is the best way to finish and seal the stained areas (both inside and outside) if varnish does not water proof?
  19. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    Well, Good news! Tito is FINALLY moved into her new cage!!!! :D It is not 100% done yet, but it is done enough for her to move in. :) I still need to stain and seal the cage walls, and put on the doors, but I can do that with her in the cage. The walls are in panels so I will remove one panel at a time, sand, stain, and seal it, let it dry/air, and put it back while I do the next one. I will cover the gap with a tarp of some sort to keep her in. The doors I have, I am just waiting on the sliding tracks to arrive, which should be sometime this week. I ordered this track and the doors will be plexi.
    1/8" Plastic Door Track by Knape & Vogt Mfg Co - P2413TAN72 - More Sliding door hardware at
    For now I have a large piece of plywood secured over the front to keep her in. I moved her cage across my room because I installed a window AC unit and her cage was by the window. lol I moved stuff that was where her new cage now is, by the window where her cage used to be, and she went and climbed up on top of that stuff to "bask." I feel bad, she looks so lost! :( Anyways, I figured the plywood will help her feel more secure by blocking her off a bit more, and keep her in the cage until I can get the doors up and she realizes that that is her new home. I feel bad, she is clawing to get out. :(
  20. TitoAndKatt

    TitoAndKatt Elite Member

    And pics!

    Tito in her new basking spot... (yes, I intend to cover the light first thing tomorrow)

    Side View


    Front View



    Makeshift "door"

    The dimensions are 4' x 3' x 6+' (I measured it to be 6', but it turned out a little bit more than that once wall was said and done).

    The wire hardware cloth you see on top is what I will be using to block the light off tomorrow. Eventually I might just cut a hole in the roof, but for now I want it hanging. The cage is too tall for me to reach to easily change the light bulb if it is on the ceiling. lol And my plan is to store stuff up there which I can't do if there is a big hot light up there. lol

    Attached Files:

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