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Wood Type

  • Treated

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Type of Wood

1181 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Rhenerie
What is the consensus on using treated vs non for stand builds? This will be for both my display and breeding setups. Would like to hear your opinions and reasoning.
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Standard Kiln Dried Lumber(untreated)
Everything at the least gets a coat of shellac as some form of moisture treatment.

Reasoning: Treated lumber is typically wet when purchased.
Very heavy too until it's dried out.
Tends to warp during it's drying process(after you've built something)
Will not absorb any coating until it is dried out.
Why bring arsenic and other stuff into your home with treated wood? Burning it is not recommended, why would you want to live with it?
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Why bring arsenic and other stuff into your home with treated wood? Burning it is not recommended, why would you want to live with it?
I agree there is no reason to use treated lumbar, but the modern treatments are much less of a health concern when burned (CCA was discontinued back in 2003). Ultimately, those chemicals are locked up in the wood - especially after you paint / seal it.

If it catches fire, I think I have bigger problems to worry about :)

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Although the arsenic (CCA) types are not sold anymore, there are several good reasons to not use treated. Number one is that it is very bad wood. Much of what I find is southern yellow pine. That leaves it with very large grain, extremely weak compared to other types and it is very green/ wet as it is soaked. Treated comes in two types when looking at it in a yard. There is the wet, green, heavy stuff and the lighter, drier warped stuff. In boat dock use, it is not uncommon for a 2X 12 beam to break a quarter inch bolt as it dries. Just not good for stands.
The best wood I find for my stands are just the normal fir or what is normally used in your area for studs in building. Stands rarely rot down as any water spilled will be on the surface and does tend to dry out more than set and rot.
Dont use treated because it will slowly warp over time.
If the setup isn't outside, I can't think of any reason at all to use treated lumber. Among other things, treated lumber is a pain to work with.
For some further insight into what we are saying about warping, do a check of the stacks in a lumber yard. There will likely be those which are still banded together so that they tend to stay straighter and then those which have begun to dry and warp. If the yard leaves them banded so they can sell them, think of those in your stand?
Treated wood contains lots of chemicals and nasty stuff. It does leach fumes as well. I personally wouldn't want that in a house, or anywhere that I am living for that matter. If you need waterproofing, just coat the normal lumber with a waterproof layer. And as people have said above, it does warp as it dries.
I know that they have banned most of the chemicals that are really harmful, but why bring something into your house that could leach something that we find to be extremely toxic in 10 years?
While CCA has been discontinued the ACQ is still poison.

I have found SYP to be just fine for studs and also for tanks and other building projects. It all depends on price. Most of your studs that we use for tanks is some type of a spruce. I remember watching an episode of This Old House where Tommy Silva is talking about the spruce not being as strong as the SYP.

All wood, whether treated or not can twist, warp, bow or check. Heck just look at most of the wood at the BBS. I've searched through an entire lot of red oak and couldn't find a straight piece. Woodworkers who mill their own wood will wax the ends of the boards to help curtail checking but it only lessens not eliminates it. It's organic. It is always moving.

Pressure treated since it has has liquid forced through it is more susceptible of course. There are also different levels of the chemicals forced into it depending on whether it will be above ground or buried.

My racks are made from 2 x 3. It is more than enough wood to hold the tanks even with dados cut for the horizontal runners. I don't paint them at all and yes, I do have spills in the fish house. But the wood never sits in water where it will cause a problem.

If you have a concrete block house you have PT anyplace wood touches the concrete. All of the furring strips in my house on exterior walls is PT. By code.
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Seems treated wood is universally shunned. ;-)
For those still debating the question, here is a pretty easy to read site that has some good info that we can all understand as it is written in a pretty non-techie way:

Pressure Treated Wood Uses, Limitations and Safety Considerations
Most Pressure treated wood will also shrink considerably. When I help my friend build his deck we butted the floor boards right next to each other. he was glad hew dsid when the wood dried ther was over 1/8 in gap between the boards.
Just use kiln dried boards that are straight and relatively square. Finish with some type of sealer. Polyurethane, shellac or even Danish oil. It will also look much better.

Edit: also treated wood does not glue well.. I know most diy folks just screw boards together, but wood glue is incredibly powerful stuff. I always use wood glue when I can and it adds alot of strength to any project.. for aquarium use Titebond III as it is waterproof..
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