Preparing driftwood: Soaking, Boiling, Baking, Super-glue, Plexiglass & Epoxy - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Preparing driftwood: Soaking, Boiling, Baking, Super-glue, Plexiglass & Epoxy

FWIW, had a recent bout w/ driftwood, got some a LFS, had a ton of driftwood in the reptile section, thought I would take it home and soak it for a few days, good idea....

Soaking....soaking in a spare 10g tank for 2 days didn't work...looked around here, seems lots of people say to boil it, plus helps "clean" it...

Boiling...well, my pieces some were 16" long, that doesn't fit in a pot, could've maybe done 1/2 an end at a time, but I didn't have a spaghetti pot anyways, so, bought a turkey basting "pan," the heavy duty one for $2 and *folded* up the edges *up* so I could fit more water in, boiled the dang things for 12 hours or so, maybe 16, who's counting...still floated like the Hindenburg taking off (but didn't come down). This was the biggest PITA, boiling did not work for me....then changing the water on the 2nd day I was pulling the pan/water out of the oven to the sink and the edge folded, spilling 4 gallons or so of fairly hot water.....20 minutes of soaking foot in cold water later mppped up all the tannin tea off the kitchen floor....whole house smells like tannin tea now and dang things still float. Tannin tea smell for 2 days, one burnt foot, heated up house from oven on at 500 to boil the water in July for 2 days, the oven is a mess from the tannin tea steaming over the top edge and running down the front, and 6-8 pieces of floating driftwood, great.

Slate: no, I didn't want to screw into slate, I need the ground space for plants not big chunks of rock

Baking: Next had to bake the driftwood for a night to get out what little water-logging had occurd, so that I could use the superglue on a dry surface...good thing I had those turkey basting pans

Super-Glue....went to LFS and one of the good guys there we brainstormed and we joke I could super-glue the driftwood to the bottom of the tank....hahaha. But then he thinks what if you cut a piece of acrylic/plexiglass to the size of the bottom of the tank, and then super-glued the driftwood to that? Good thinking I say. I get the acrylic, and I cut w/ a dremel (you could use a saw) the driftwood bottom edge so I'd have a surface to superglue to (only on the pieces that didn't fit naturally against the bottom w/ enough gluing area already). This was a tedious task, cutting/sanding/gluing/trying not to knock over the piece I already glued), but got it done, threw down a coat of peat, then AS Amazonia II to help hold the plexiglass plate down (and cinch in the driftwood from the sides), then filled w/ water, everything is holding so far. Not sure how long superglue works for, the label says it doesn't hold under water, but every one here, LFS and other salt forums uses it (superglue GEL), maybe the drift wood will become water logged by then...

Epoxy...if it doesn't, I'm going to get some aquarium epoxy, search around, apparently there's a brand that Big Al's carries, and another from Home Despot that maybe isn't carried anymore. Someone somewhere said JB weld doesn't leak to the water column, so you could use JB Weld marine, but who knows what leaks or doesn't into the column.

Superglue is cyranocylate, which people say is inert after curing, why the JB Weld marine and other marine epoxy (Power Poxy marine etc) wouldn't be inert as well I don't know. all the labels said pretty much the same thing (if you get it in your eyes your an idiot, and don't eat it). There was only 1 epoxy I found that said "not safe in water meant for humans or animals." But, I don't have a degree in science so can't say for sure....

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Last edited by Nbot; 07-29-2007 at 05:42 PM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 09:39 AM
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I hope the glue works out. If not, I would simply drill some small holes in the acrylic base you made, and screw the driftwood to it with stainless steel screws instead of relying on a bonding agent. I haven't had much luck or longevity using glue/silicone/epoxy with submerged driftwood.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 10:43 AM
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i have a driftwood that sink, but after the boiling process it float. i know the frustration. after about a week soaking, it sank again. i don't know how this happens, perhaps someone can explain here?


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure what the process is....boiling I was told forces the gases out of the wood?

Well, the driftwood is still attached to the acrylic 12 hours later, I don't need it to hold forever, just long enough to water log...

I meant to put in the idea of screwing thru the drift wood in my first post, left it out, the pieces I was using, some of them didn't lend to screwing so that's why I went a different route, however in retrospect it might've worked.

ps. I added "baking" to the list above

pps. I used .110 inch acrylic, so it hardly took up any space in the tank

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 06:31 PM
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One way to avoid all that drama If you have clean rivers around you, find already waterlogged pieces. Once I found a great big root while hiking, and somehow fit it in my backpack and lugged it home. It weighted about 25 pounds, I arrived tired, but had no problems keeping it on the bottom of the tank. It is still in my 100gal tank today.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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hiking? You mean outside of the house?

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 06:56 PM
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Hehe... yeah, that crazy stuff, when people get up and for no apparent reason run around in the wilderness. My wife always shakes her head too.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2007, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Wasser..lol, I just moved here to Madison so I don't know where to hike around yet, work keeps me pretty busy too, so those are my excuses! When I was 21 or so, I lived out of a tent for 7 months or so outside Durango, CO so I'm not anti-hiking

Here's some pics of the driftwood glued up, sorry for lousy camera, you can see & read more in my dwarf puffer tank journal here:https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ph...tml#post445204




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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 01:01 AM
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native collecting... i envy you guys. living in a big city prevent me to do that


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 02:56 PM
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I haven't had long term success with glue and epoxy. The wood eventually decomposes at the sealant juncture. IMO the best solution is to affix it to a heavy base support with screws.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-30-2007, 03:15 PM
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Suction cups work for a smaller piece. Just make sure to attach them properly the first time, or else you will be shoveling up your substrate to reattach them!

Just use some stainless steel screws and Walmart sell suction cups that won't rust in the arts and crafts section. I would advise using at least 3 on any piece.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-31-2007, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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I made some smaller sections of plexiglass for my other tank and new driftwood w/ Xmas moss on it...plexiglass in 3" squares or so, easy enough to wiggle under the gravel...as long as the super glue holds the wood until its water logged, is all I care about and relatively easy, I guess screws are fairly easy as well, several different options out there...

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