Wood Gloat Gone Bad - Help!

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Forum topic by JL7 posted 01-26-2011 02:05 AM 2786 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8399 posts in 2386 days

01-26-2011 02:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: worms bugs

Long story short – my dad and his friend found a guy on a farm in northern Minnesota with huge stash of hard Maple. Didn’t have much more info than that, except it was $1.00/bf. They asked if I wanted some since they were on their way to pick some up so I now have 50/bf of 8/4 and 50/bf of 4/4.

It was stored outdoors, stickered, covered and weighted down for 7 years…....and it has bugs…..probably powder-post beetles. Not so obvious in the rough, but very obvious when planed. Best I can tell the larve are still intact – using a small pick, I could pull them out of some of the holes – looks like an 1/8” long booger with a black dot on one end.

Before realizing the scope of the problem, on Sunday I hauled all the lumber downstairs to my lumber room. Today, I hauled it all back out to the cold garage.

Don’t know what to do now. Don’t have ready access to kiln. We have 4 feet of snow and I have nowhere to stack outside short of digging a huge hole in the snow…....

I’ve heard that thawing out the wood (which I did from Sunday until today) will fool them into thinking it’s spring, and if you freeze them again, they will die. Who knows for sure?

The guy is giving our money back, so it’s now free wood. I’ve got a pretty nice little collection of wood and can’t take any chance of those little buggers infecting the rest of the stack, let alone the house itself (basement shop and all).

I was actually thinking of posting on Craigslist for free but hate to see it go….........what would you do?

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

22 replies so far

View papadan's profile


1166 posts in 2790 days

#1 posted 01-26-2011 02:11 AM

50 bf would make a great fire in the back yard.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View Gee's profile


27 posts in 2928 days

#2 posted 01-26-2011 02:27 AM

I would make a tent out of plastic and use a couple of bug bombs or contact your local pest control company
and ask them to put it in the next house they tent. another option is to resaw it thin 1/4 or 1/8 inch
and make boxes out of it. just hate to see hard wood burned .

-- Gee ,Florida

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3144 days

#3 posted 01-26-2011 02:46 AM

I like the tent and bomb idea. Keeps everything far away from the house and the good stash and also gives you the possibility of being able to use some of it.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3035 days

#4 posted 01-26-2011 02:50 AM

Many years ago, my father made some things out of wood that was worm-eaten. The tracks made for very interesting character in the wood. I don’t think I’d burn it or throw it away. If you do decide to trash it, let me know. I could make something out of it.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2263 days

#5 posted 01-26-2011 03:19 AM

I agree with EEngineer. Unless there is rot in the wood too, the wood is still usable, for the right project. I’ve met a few people that make things like distressed looking picture frames that actually seek out wood like what you’ve described.


View JL7's profile


8399 posts in 2386 days

#6 posted 01-26-2011 03:29 AM

I agree with EEngineer also – I don’t mind the worm holes so much, but the fact that the little critters are still alive is a whole other issue.

I’m not sure that the tent idea will acually kill the larve – from what I read – they are embedded in the middle of the board and bore there way out when they mature…...anybody actually use the tent idea?

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Gee's profile


27 posts in 2928 days

#7 posted 01-26-2011 04:08 AM

Boracare concentrate can be sprayed on the wood it will penetrate up to 4 inches it will kill the larva and the eggs and any adults.

good luck

-- Gee ,Florida

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2530 days

#8 posted 01-26-2011 04:50 AM

Anyone remember the “pecky cedar” craze from the ‘70s? Gee and EEngineer have the right idea. Kill them suckers, and sell most of the wood. But keep some for yourself- someday you’ll want it. I used to do stuff all nice and shiny, but sometimes now I’ll build something that intentionally looks aged, like a picture frame I did recently. It’s roughsawn red oak, treated with ammonia, that I put a picture of a tropical scene in. I made it to look like a window in an old shack, like you were looking out at the palm trees, beach and such from some Pacific island. I’m going to take it to work and hang it over my desk.

...and make SURE you kill any bugs that might be in the basement!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View reberly's profile


191 posts in 2110 days

#9 posted 01-26-2011 05:04 AM

I would consider coating the wood in Timbor.

-- "Big Timber is our Legacy" ,

View superstretch's profile


1530 posts in 2114 days

#10 posted 01-26-2011 05:36 AM

Worm holes would add fantastic character to the wood in certain circumstances- small table tops, picture frames…

It also might be a good excuse to pick up inlaying with epoxy and turquoise..

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View JL7's profile


8399 posts in 2386 days

#11 posted 01-26-2011 05:51 AM

Gee and reberly – I’ve been reading up on the Boracare and Timbor – sounds like they work. Do you have any experience using them? Any weird side effects? Also not clear what kind of coverage to expect? Between my dad, his friend and I, we have about 400 bf to treat, would a gallon do it…...?

And thanks for all the comments… preference of course is to save the wood – kill the bugs…..

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Loren's profile


8163 posts in 3069 days

#12 posted 01-26-2011 07:39 AM

Call a car paint shop. They have drive-in ovens that go hot enough
to get rid of the bugs. If the shop is slow for work you can probably
negotiate driving a truck in there with the wood in the back and
turning up the heat for a few hours.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2379 days

#13 posted 01-27-2011 07:40 PM

You will need to get the wood to 130 degrees thru and thru to kill the bugs and their larvae. Spray products work well on an average, so long as you use one with a borate product included, like Timbor; but you will need to remember that you used it and protect yourself from the dust when you use the wood later on. The problem is the weather, it’s freezing and hard to tell if a spray-on product will soak in before it freezes. Please don’t give it away as it is, that just causes problems for other people like those you now have; if they use it and pass the wood or wood product along, more problems for another person, on and on. Thawing and freezing won’t help, those little critters have put up with ecological variations for eons. If I were in your position I would roast some marshmallows over it, and toast their doom with a cold beer.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View JL7's profile


8399 posts in 2386 days

#14 posted 01-27-2011 08:30 PM

Hey Nomad – I like the “toast their doom with a cold beer plan”! But, I did order some Bora-Coat today. I really don’t want to torch the wood OR give it – like you said, somebody else will have the same problem.

I am planning on doing the treatment in the garage and will likely run the heater for awhile before soaking the wood. The wood is dry so I think it should work.

Thanks for all the input!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 2098 days

#15 posted 01-27-2011 10:38 PM

Jeff, rewetting already dried wood is usually not a good idea. I have used TimBor to sterilze large beams that would not fit into my kiln, but they were green. Another option is to build an amonia fuming tent and fume the wood (although that will change it’s color).

You can build a simple sterilization kiln in your garage by using a space heater and some foil covered foam board panels. A recent wood magazine issue had a short note about doing it (I think that it was FWW a couple of months back). It is simple, inexpensive and very effective.

To sterilize the lumber, the CORE of the board needs to reach 135F for at least 4 hours. Don’t overheat the boards, the magazine article called for an adjustable vent in the top of the insulated box to allow you to regulate the temp.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

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