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Wormholes in Pine

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Forum topic by red0ak posted 07-30-2016 11:35 PM 398 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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red0ak

10 posts in 176 days


07-30-2016 11:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wormhole pine lumber advice

In a little bit of a dilemma here. I’ve been observing CL waiting for a good deal on some pine to make a workbench. An ad came up with 12 year air-dried pine slabs that a homeowner milled from trees in his yard. The grain was nice, very few knots, good dimensions, and straight. Also the ends were painted and stacked right so it seemed to some degree like they knew what they were doing. Didn’t read the MC but the wood felt super dry. All was well until I got home.

Didn’t pay much attention to the wormholes I was seeing until I got home and googled around and I realized all 20-30 boards have wormholes in them and how it could be powder post beetles, etc. The wood is great I definitely want to use it, but don’t want to start an infestation my garage. All of the holes look to not have frass in them, but the the boards were swept with a broom. There are some boards with sapwood with more holes, but there are 1/16-1/32 holes elsewhere, at least 5 on every board (see pic below for an example).

Options:
1) sell or give away (would really kill me to do this, it is nice wood and perfect for what I want to do)
2) look for someone with a kiln to kill all critters inside (building a solar kiln won’t work for me)
3) wrap boards in plastic and leave in the sun a week or two then check for any new frass (with 20-30 2×8x7’ boards this will be very time consuming), currently around 95 degrees in Raleigh during the afternoon so it will get really hot in the wraps
4) bora clean – i’ve read this isn’t very effective on an existing infestation, better at prevention, plus it is expensive

It’s possible I may be overreacting but there is a fair amount of stock in my garage that I’d like to keep clean. Plus a lot of pine and plywood shelving. What makes me nervous is that eggs can hatch up to 5 years later.

It’s sitting in my driveway now nicely piled up waiting to be planed. Can’t decide if I should bring it in the garage and start working it, I really really want to but the short term joy may not be worth the risks. It is going to rain tomorrow so I need to decide soon. What would you do?


6 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile

bobkberg

420 posts in 2539 days


#1 posted 07-31-2016 01:31 AM

I don’t know if this will work or not, but I think it’s worth asking about.

If you contact a local exterminator, see if you can ask the homeowner if you can put your boards in the garage of a house that is about to be tented – keeping them spaced apart.

Let me know if that works or not.

Regards,

-- Bob www.singularengineering.com - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

819 posts in 386 days


#2 posted 07-31-2016 04:32 AM

red0ak,

It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of the risks and mitigation strategies. Of the options mentioned, I would not have a much confidence in wrapping the lumber and hoping the sun will cause the interior of the lumber reach and remain at 140 degrees for whatever period required to kill the beetles and eggs.

bobkberg’s suggestion to contact an exterminator may be fruitful, but more costly than the lumber is worth. Some exterminators are now using a heat treatment method to rid client’s homes of bed bugs. Some may even have a heat chamber, manufactured for heat treating large upholstered items. This professional method elevates the temperature of the home and its furnishings or whatever may be parked in a chamber to an ambient temperature of somewhere around 180 degree in an effort to achieve 140 degree internal temperature of objects. Subjecting the lumber to this type of professional heat treatment would probably be the surest way to rid your lumber of the infestation.

The other, less costly approach is to spray the edges, faces and ends of the lumber with a 15% solution of TimBor, sticker, and cover to keep rain and snow from washing away the treatment. Thereafter wait for at least a year before using. Additionally, injecting a 15% solution of TimBor into the tunnels may offer some additional protection; after the lumber is milled but before final sanding. But then this injection idea may also be a waste of time. In any event, the TimBor method may not completely rid the pine of the infestation.

The only way to be sure that the pine does not introduce an infestation into the shop is to rid yourself of the lumber.

By the way, I have about 2500 bf of 4/4 red oak some of which has evidence of an active powder post beetle infestation. I am pursuing the TimBor strategy. With this quantity of lumber and the rate at which I complete projects, it will be years before I use all of it. My greatest concern is with the lumber I may use after about a year. But then I have yet to decide whether I will ever use the lumber as anything other than firewood.

View red0ak's profile

red0ak

10 posts in 176 days


#3 posted 07-31-2016 03:13 PM

bobkberg and JBrow,

Thanks for the responses. Exterminator would work, as well as the TimBor. In terms of cost vs benefit vs risk vs time it does seem like this is the sage advice:


The only way to be sure that the pine does not introduce an infestation into the shop is to rid yourself of the lumber.

After sleeping on it I couldn’t agree more. It really does kill me to have to part with it, but that really does seem like the way to go since this isn’t primo lumber. The same cost to treat that lumber I could buy all the construction SYP needed with no risk. Luckily for me it was a cheap lesson ($40 after getting a partial refund) but next time this will definitely be something to look out for.


By the way, I have about 2500 bf of 4/4 red oak some of which has evidence of an active powder post beetle infestation. I am pursuing the TimBor strategy. With this quantity of lumber and the rate at which I complete projects, it will be years before I use all of it. My greatest concern is with the lumber I may use after about a year. But then I have yet to decide whether I will ever use the lumber as anything other than firewood.

Man that sucks, but I get why the TimBor strategy would work there. I hope that works out for you.

View bobkberg's profile

bobkberg

420 posts in 2539 days


#4 posted 08-01-2016 03:12 AM

Thanks for letting us know what your experience/decision was. I was just guessing, and it’s nice to have some real-world confirmation.

Regards,

-- Bob www.singularengineering.com - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 947 days


#5 posted 08-01-2016 12:14 PM

Powder post beetles. If you don’t see little piles of sawdust, they are probably not active, which is usually the case. I’ve cut into many a board like these and never usually see evidence of fresh boring.

It will be accompanied by a blue staining do to mildew. This is also quite unattractive. I’ve seen sawyers around here even call it “Levi pine”.

Many a nice pine board have I pulled from my wood pile only to find the holes. I use them for construction.

I think your choice to go with SYP is a good one.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

698 posts in 853 days


#6 posted 08-01-2016 12:29 PM

You could try stacking it outside wrapped or at least covered by some clear plastic drop cloths found in the paint section at the hardware store to both keep the rain off and solarize it. Since you saw no sign at all of the frass as you loaded it and if you don’t see any activity in 3 or 4 months, the damage was probably done many years ago before the wood dried out. My understanding is that PPBs prefer a moisture content above about 13% so if the wood is truly dry and has been for some time, chances are good that they are long gone. (But I understand if you don’t want to take a chance.)

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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