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Small holes in walnut -any concern?

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Forum topic by BB1 posted 01-02-2018 04:29 PM 1039 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


01-02-2018 04:29 PM

I was given some walnut and one of the boards has a number of pinhead size small holes. I am assuming caused by a bug (??) at some point. I don’t see any evidence of anything now other than the small holes. My question is if there is any concern in using this wood for projects?


16 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5120 posts in 4157 days


#1 posted 01-02-2018 04:51 PM

Powder post beetles. No problem if they are inactive/dead. Do you see any “frass”? That’s the dust from active beetles. If not, you’re good to go.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


#2 posted 01-02-2018 04:58 PM

Thank you for the reply. I haven’t seen any dust around the holes and the holes are only in one piece that appears to be more sap wood. Is the frass the only way to make sure these are “old” holes? I used the board for a box lid and don’t want to give away a “buggy” box!


Powder post beetles. No problem if they are inactive/dead. Do you see any “frass”? That s the dust from active beetles. If not, you re good to go.
Bill

- Bill White


View LesB's profile

LesB

1857 posts in 3639 days


#3 posted 01-02-2018 05:48 PM

If you are concerned about more beetles still in the wood and it is small enough to put in the microwave just give it a couple of 30 second shot being careful not to over heat the wood and possibly warping it.
If the wood is not sealed it is possible it could get re-infested but unlikely. Sap wood is usually the most damaged by them.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21709 posts in 3302 days


#4 posted 01-02-2018 06:00 PM

That is good info from Les to kill any bugs in there. If you don’t like the look you can fill them with black epoxy and then sand the board down to make a smooth finish.

Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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ColonelTravis

1929 posts in 2090 days


#5 posted 01-02-2018 06:39 PM

These bugs bore in the sapwood, sometimes the heartwood close to that, if it’s soft enough. Heat is the only thing that will 100% guarantee kill every stage of that bug.

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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


#6 posted 01-02-2018 06:56 PM

Hmmm..I already have about 4 or 5 coats of GF High Performance on the piece used in the box so guessing that any microwaving would not be a good idea. I expect that the boards were stored in a metal storage container and thus were “heated” over the years here in southern Missouri. I haven’t seen any evidence of anything alive but wasn’t sure if there was something I could look for as a double-check (as noted, haven’t seen any frass).

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ColonelTravis

1929 posts in 2090 days


#7 posted 01-02-2018 08:02 PM

The only way you can tell (unless maybe you x-ray it or whatnot), is when it’s too late! One day you see a small pile of powder/dust underneath a hole that wasn’t there the day before. The ones I deal with, it can take 1-2 years for a bug to finally emerge.

The holes I see in my boards are larger than yours there. It’s common in mesquite, and with that wood I got sick of trying to treat it and just started cutting off all sapwood and anything near a hole. Ended all worry for me.

Your lid doesn’t look too thick so if anything had bored in there, I’m guessing you would have been able to see it when sizing it down? Again, just a guess. But the larvae can tunnel a few inches, and I’ve found many a tunnel when resizing that I didn’t know was there until after I started cutting.

I have put small boards in an oven at the lowest setting (170-80 degrees) for a couple hours and never seen a bored hole afterward. Since I’m not an expert, I’ve checked online about this with various extension people and I’ve read that you need a minimum internal temp. of the wood at least 120-130 degrees for 2-6 hours. It depends on the board you’ve got. For example, you wouldn’t have to heat treat a small box lid for 6 hours.

But since you’ve got a finished box, I’m not sure what to say. Don’t know if the low oven heat would damage the finish. If it would, you could always do the really annoying thing and rough out another lid then bake it before finishing for peace of mind.

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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


#8 posted 01-02-2018 08:38 PM

I’m thinking that I’ll redo the lid out of a none-hole board. The idea that it could take years to show up…well, ugh! I’m assuming no visible holes means none are present as they would have to bore their way in? For future reference, if wood is kiln dried, is it then ok with regard to this issue?

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 844 days


#9 posted 01-02-2018 08:59 PM

... maybe … maybe not! See http://www.powderpostbeetles.com/treatments/beetles-in-lumber.html ... NO guarantees! We will just have to learn to live together with the little buggars!

As I read else where they do seem to be on the up rise!

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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


#10 posted 01-02-2018 09:12 PM

Just spoke with the person who gave me the wood. The boards were cut back in 2007, stickered, and stored in a metal shipping container that likely was 150+ degrees during hot summer months. Thus, likely I’m looking at “vacant homes” for the bugs as that heat should have killed them off (although the link from Ron calls heat into question!). Given the small size and relatively low number, I’m also feeling better that there is nothing alive anymore.

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Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 844 days


#11 posted 01-02-2018 09:22 PM


Just spoke with the person who gave me the wood. The boards were cut back in 2007, stickered, and stored in a metal shipping container that likely was 150+ degrees during hot summer months. Thus, likely I m looking at “vacant homes” for the bugs as that heat should have killed them off. Given the small size and relatively low number, I m also feeling better that there is nothing alive anymore.

- BB1

You are most likely safe. Even if they do decide to munch on that walnut in the future … it’s not your fault! Blame Mother Nature. At least that’s what I tell the recipients of things I build from Ambrosia maple.

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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


#12 posted 01-02-2018 10:23 PM

Working with wood is definitely a learning process -always more to consider when selecting materials for projects. Much thanks to everyone who offered comments and insights.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1929 posts in 2090 days


#13 posted 01-02-2018 10:35 PM

Before getting into this hobby I had no idea how much prep work would be involved in making even the simplest things. Live and learn!

Great job on your boxes, by the way.

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BB1

1211 posts in 1044 days


#14 posted 01-02-2018 10:40 PM

Thanks. Had some health issues in December and doing some little projects, like the boxes, has been a good mental outlet.


Before getting into this hobby I had no idea how much prep work would be involved in making even the simplest things. Live and learn!

Great job on your boxes, by the way.

- ColonelTravis


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ColonelTravis

1929 posts in 2090 days


#15 posted 01-03-2018 12:28 AM

Sorry to hear that, I wish you well.
Here’s to a healthy, happy 2018!

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