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Swamp/white Cedar Root

Discussion in 'Cage Furniture - Accessories' started by Vers, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Ok, so I found a sweet piece of old root system in my woodpile last week, which I brought inside to dry. Yesterday I decided it was dry enough to wire brush, sand and buff out. It's been dead for what appears to be a number of years. Since I want to use it as a centerpiece for my new uros enclosure I wanted to make sure it would be safe doing so, as I know many species of tree emit harmful toxins, especially coniferous trees. I have good reason to believe the root came from what's locally known as swamp cedar, more broadly as white cedar. I know that cedar chips/saw dust should not be used for any animal but I believe that's due to oils and dust being easily inhaled. In this case the wood is in a solid form and resembles drift wood. Anyone have any thoughts or, better yet, actual knowledge in reference to my query?

  2. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Good question.
    The most dangerous cedar is the Red Cedar which is the one used for lining trunks and what not.
    The white I'm not all that familiar with. But it is more the dust that is dangerous. Bugs and what not seem fine on the surface of cedar but can't bore into them because of the toxins.
    Sorry, can't give you a definite answer but I would think it's fine.
    You could always coat it with a polycrylic coating as well. But of course it would look shiny.
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Unless you used a satin finish.
    The main problem with cedar wood is the resinous sap.
    The first problem we have is identifying the tree. According to what I found, what is known as swamp cedar or white cedar is not a cedar at all but actually an arborvitae (Thuja).
    Does the tree have a strong smell like red cedar?
  4. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Thanks for the input so far, fellas. Merlin, only when I was using the sander did I smell a very faint cedar scent, otherwise as it is it doesn't smell like anything at all. Like I said it's been dead and rotting for what appears to be a number of years so I think any sap that it once had is long gone. With that in mind I'm thinking it'll be safe, I just wanted further confirmation :)

    As for coating it, I'd really rather not use it at all if that were the only option.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    If it was ony a faint smell when sanding I would think it would be fine. True cedar has quite a strong odor.
  6. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    If it doesnt smell then it should be safe. The harmful phenoyls in cedar have a strong smell to them and that is what causes all the issues with animals. Over time they do evaporate/dry up. You could always toss it in the oven and bake it for an hour if it fits lol!
  7. BarelyBreathing

    BarelyBreathing Elite Member

    I wouldn't use it at all, but I'm pretty paranoid about that stuff.
  8. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Thanks again, everyone. I'd bake it if it were possible, but alas my oven is only so big and the piece is over 4' long. Regardless I believe it's been dead plenty long enough, so I'm going to use it.

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