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Old 05-17-2020, 07:49 PM
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Default Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build

Hey everyone, Iím new to woodworking and wanted to ask for collective wisdom on how to proceed on a shelf Iím building for frogs and plants. Iíve built most of the frame with 2X4ís and some nicer hardwood from a friend. Iím debating applying a veneer or a stain to hide the seems of the 2◊4s and improve the overall look.

I recognize this build probably has quite a few amateur mistakes, but Iíve had fun with it and Iím just looking for good advice moving forward.
Ultimately I plan to put it in my office and put plants on it, itís been a good project to learn on.

If I do stain it, Iím thinking Iíd likely go with a wood conditioner + an old masters maple + an old masters finish.

If I veneer Iím just worried that my edges arenít even enough and I might muck it up. But I think if I can pull off a veneer itíll look better?

Either way I donít expect it to be perfect.

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Old 05-17-2020, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build

I have been puttering around with woodworking for the past 15 years. To be clear when I am talking about a veneer it is a thin piece of hardwood glued over some lesser wood or engineered wood product. Is that what you mean? If so that is not really an option for you on raw 2x4s. The rounded over edge of a 2x4 means you cannot glue a flat piece of veneer to them and have it look not terrible.

If you are talking about skinning the shelf so you put large pieces of ply or hardwood or whatever covering your joints then that is fine and not uncommon.

If you are asking which to do, then I would say that with low quality pine and engineered wood you should consider paint as it will hide the grain and make the use of engineered wood less obvious. An outdoor rated paint would be my choice for anything that might have water exposure.
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Old 05-17-2020, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build

I'd paint it as well. I never had any luck staining pine, even after using wood conditioner; pine takes stain poorly (blotchy) and won't stain the same as the (oak?) plywood.

If you paint, you can fill the gaps first, if you like. Paint will cover the fastener heads, too -- might be best to sink those flush before finishing.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build


You should certainly seal all the wood - especially any engineered wood like plywood - with a waterproof coating. As a plant or viv shelf it's going to get wet and engineered wood does not react well to moisture. Paint will work fine. Polyurethane is another option if you'd still like to see the wood grain. Seal it now and it will extend the life of your shelf.

Is there a reason you extended the framing above the top shelf? Are you going to hang plants from the corner studs or add hanger bars?
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build

I would paint it. Applying a veneer to less then perfect wood is going to be a pain in the butt. Staining pine lumber usually turns out blotchy. That wood is meant to be painted.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build

You've got a solid workhorse there, that'll give you YEARS of reliable service if you just don't fuck up the last step - making sure you keep out the water. Fuck that step up and you've got the first signs of trouble within 12 months. No question. So...what are you gonna do? What does success - in 2022, in 2025, in 2030 - look like to you? Water stains, delam, rot, collapse? I doubt it.

Look man, it's a workhorse not a showhorse. Ain't never gonna be a showhorse. I mean it's 2x4s for God's sake. But that is A-OK, long as you don't delude yourself about what it is. It is what it is, and it's not what it's not. You want a showhorse, well, make you a showhorse. You don't have one right now. That's A-OK, you've got a solid frog and plant rack, whose prime directive is to not fail under load. Just keep the water out and it will not fail you.

So - why don't you just get yourself a 1.5 quart kit of Pondshield in a non-garish color and lay on 2 or 3 thin coats? White would be most light-reflecting, and best for plants. And white's a neutral, it'll go with anything else in the room.

Good luck!
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Seeking advice on a frog and plant rack build

I agree with paint and wanted to suggest: Topside paint. This is an epoxy based very durable (and thick) paint for marine boats. You can get colors, it does not require an A B mix, dries hard and waterproof. And the thickness will cover many a sin nicely. I've used it on my mushroom fruiting chambers (super high humidity- intentionally infested with fungus) and it works great. Looks tight as well. It's more expensive than latex house paint and less expensive than epoxy A B paints.
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