Melamine safe??

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Hi, I am planning to build a new cage for my beardie Venus. It hopefully will be about 48X24X18. I read some stuff that said melamine was toxic, and some that said it was great, and I'm very confused right now, so could somebody please help me?? Thanks.
 

Taterbug

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Melamine is toxic at certain large quantities and over long term - my understanding is you need to be eating it though. Heating it I think can release nasty gasses which is why melamine cookware isn't as popular as it once was and shouldn't be microwaved.

I don't like the look of melamine so I never considered it. If the laminate is to chip, it's a bigger problem than with wood. Have you thought about using untreated plywood? Also, what plans are you looking at? The crossfire plans use on 4x8 sheet and are 48x24x24 roughly.

That said: many people use it for dragon cages and I haven't heard about any associated illnesses.
 

dragonlover4774

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Original Poster
How much do you think the plywood cost versus the melamine? I liked the melamine because it had a nice clean look with the white. And should I treat the plywood with something like shellac? Thanks
 

Taterbug

BD.org Addict
Top grade oak plywood looks a little more expensive (10$ more per 4x8 sheet) and lower grade probably a little cheaper. It really depends on the look you are going for. You could paint and seal a cheaper plywood - but it won't get that smooth modern look of melamine. We wanted something 'furniture' like so we just did plywood with polyurethane on it for a 'natural' look. I'm also careless about drinks... I've ruined many a melamine walmart bookshelf. At the sizes the cage will be they are both going to be super heavy.

I've never worked with melamine, but this link looks helpful: http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2010/11/12/working-with-melamine/
it has tips on cutting as well as repairing.
 
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