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tahir

Possible woodworm

We bought a cherry tree about 7 years ago, it was planked into 2" thick planks and has been in our barn ever since. It's supposed to be our new dining table, we've started trimming it/squaring it up with a view to starting work on the table this winter, however we've noticed that some pieces have what looks like woodworm holes in them.

I don't really want to be treating the timber unnecessarily, is there any way of telling whether it's an active infestation or whether anything that was in there has departed?
tahir

This is a random piece

Click to see full size image
tahir

If I do need to treat I'm a bit worried about wetting the timber, and then bringing it back into our well vented house (which dries timber out v quickly).

All advice gratefully received
vegplot

You would normally see tell-tale signs of dust at the holes if there is a live infestation. I'm not able to download the image to see if that is the case.
tahir

Problem is there was still sawdust from the original sawing on the timber which I brushed off before getting the timber out of the barn.

No way of telling now whether the holes (there are a few) are fresh or not
vegplot

Woodworm holes are usually quite circular and a 2mm or so in diameter. Not sure how to test whether they are live but if you suspect they are you could try some boron treatment which is available either in water or glycol.
tahir

Woodworm holes are usually quite circular and a 2mm or so in diameter.


Sounds about right, will pop in to Screwfix on my way home tonight.
dpack

looking at the photo i would say yes,as vegplot mentions fresh dust is a good indication they are recent but does not gnt active and a lack of dust does not gnt worm free .

it looks like emergence holes rather than "burrows" that were exposed when the timber was planked,if they layed,lived in then emerged from the timber when it was still greenish you might not have any active ones as the timber should be too dry for them after 7 yrs.

that said i would err on the side of caution and treat/redry it all before machining up into a table.

as you say the house dries timber rapidly it is wise to dry it as planks before machining/cabinet making even if not treating it.

it does not look as though they have eaten enough to void the timber for use and the holes can either be fully filled with a matching shade of filler (self dust and rabbitskin glue and or joiners wax are traditional) or left to add "character"(bad in a dining table as the holes will get mucky)before the final polish coats

im not sure what the current regs/products are for timber to be used in furniture but if it is going to be a dining table i would go for a non persistant fugitive method such as a big plastic bag full of hcn (pro job) or perhaps even heat treating them (i recon vac packed and steamed for a while would do for any live larvae so long as warping did not become an issue ,that could be a scrapheap challenge job)
another option would be to finish the drying by kiln which will kill any beasts and once machined/made use french polishing,oil and waxing or 2 part mix to finish the piece as though nowt had happened to the plankwood.(fp/wax is a bad idea if owt will ever get spilled on it)
Hairyloon

The holes are always exit holes, but they exit, mate and lay eggs in the nearest suitable piece of wood so the fact that they've exited means not a lot.
If you've a freezer you can fit the wood in then that'll kill them, but I'm guessing those bits are a bit big...
tahir

The bits are indeed a bit big, there's lots of em too.
tahir

dpack, I'm guessing this:

http://www.screwfix.com/p/sika-sikagard-woodworm-killer-clear-5ltr/56214

will do the job, active ingredient is pirethrim
dpack

permethrinis fairly safe(unless you are a cat or a fish) but i would avoid breathing sanding dust (always a good idea anyway) and wash my paws after handling treated timber .
once the table is sealed and polished i would expect it to be a very low risk to humans

im old school and stuff like lindane ,tri butyl tin etc were normal woodworm treatments hence my full nbc kit approach ,the modern stuff seems quite tame Laughing
mousjoos

assuming no-one's already mentioned it, a needle & syringe is a good approach ie flush the galleries with a worm killer & try to keep the surface as dry as poss.

I imagine also that maching the boards will include removing any wany edge, & therefore the sapwood...this should go a long way toward solving the problem
tahir

Thanks guys
tahir

Where do I get a syringe?
Nick

A chemist will give you one, but be suspicious.
A vet or agricultural supplier.
Or, someone who's using your car park next week could drop you one.
dpack

a bit of insulation from a thin wire glued into the hole of a washing up liquid bottle works rather well and avoids refilling every few ml(and avoids funny looks from your local chemist)

as the holes look like emergence holes there is a good chance some live larvae are not connected to those channels so a thorough treatment will need ends edges and faces to be done to get any that are hiding in situ or when any survivors try to emerge through treated wood.

the stuff you mentioned from screwfix claims to be stain free once dry but it might be worth trying an off cut before you commit to the whole batch
tahir

Or, someone who's using your car park next week could drop you one.


Did think that, but bank holiday weekend so I thought I'd get it done...
tahir

as the holes look like emergence holes there is a good chance some live larvae are not connected to those channels so a thorough treatment will need ends edges and faces to be done to get any that are hiding in situ or when any survivors try to emerge through treated wood.

Hmm, didn't really want to do the whole lot, purely from the fact of re-introducing moisture and then rapid re-drying.

I am a bit torn over this...
dpack

so long as you coat them evenly and dry them flat on several bearers,turning at intervals so as both faces dry at a similar rate well seasoned timber should not warp or split much.seasoned timber wont absorb as much water as fast dried stuff would

if you rough trimmed the edges to parallel which would remove most of the softwood/bark before treatment the final machining should deal with any minor warps.

depending on conditions drying might be a few days to a couple of weeks .

it would be good to dry the rough planks before machining/joinery to a similar moisture content that they will experience once made up into a table, even if you were not treating them for worms, as that will reduce the chance of the finished table swelling,shrinking or warping when put in a warm dry room.

having thought about the whole thing i recon the best option would be to rough cut to give parallel planks,kiln to 70c to kill any wildlife,rest planks in house to adjust moisture,machine planks to accurate size,do the joinery,finish the surfaces.

if you go down the wet treatment route cut to parallel,treat,dry to touch dry in a shed then dry to room moisture turning throughout the process,machine,joinery,finish

either way it might take a couple of weeks before you get to the joinery stage,with nice timber like that rushing things would be a bad idea.
if i am laying a floor or suchlike i try to always let the timber adjust to it's new location before starting to fit it into place.

if you are planning on having the planks machined into joinery timber the machinist might have or know of a suitable kiln.for a table top tongue and groove is good so i would be looking for somebody with the right machine to edge my planks as im a bit wobbly with a combo plane for such accurate work.
good machining makes the difference between "rustic diy" and "future antique"

unfortunately i have been out of the trades game for so long that gerald would be about 110yrs old by now but there must be good machinists in the greater london area,the folk who do stuff for listed buildings,bespoke fitted furniture etc would be able to do the machining and although not cheap will be good value in the greater scheme of ending up with a super table.(they would want to know the worms were decidedly dead before they mow the planks into shape though).
tahir

having thought about the whole thing i recon the best option would be to rough cut to give parallel planks,kiln to 70c to kill any wildlife,rest planks in house to adjust moisture,machine planks to accurate size,do the joinery,finish the surfaces.

Certainly sounds the best option but I don't think there's anywhere near here that'd do it.
tahir

either way it might take a couple of weeks before you get to the joinery stage,with nice timber like that rushing things would be a bad idea.

We're into orchard season now, won't be doing anything on this once the boards are rough cut, till winter

Quote:
if i am laying a floor or suchlike i try to always let the timber adjust to it's new location before starting to fit it into place.


That's why we brought the stuff indoors

Quote:
if you are planning on having the planks machined into joinery timber the machinist might have or know of a suitable kiln.


The local guy we have used no longer has a kiln, doesn't know anyone left in the area that would.

Quote:
for a table top tongue and groove is good so i would be looking for somebody with the right machine to edge my planks as im a bit wobbly with a combo plane for such accurate work.


We'll be using a friend's domino (like a cross between a biscuit jointer and dowels)

Unfortunately anywhere near London that still operates relies on the mega money end of the market so not likely to find anywhere within our budget, so might have to go wet treat and back to barn. Which is a proper pain.
dpack

morgan timbermorgan[url]

[/url=http://dwgeneralwood.co.uk/]dw[url]dw[/url]

iirc morgan's have a london branch it might be worth giving them a call but for a special table it might even be worth a couple of visits to kent .

dw's are london based but i have never traded with them but they seem to say the right sort of things on their website.
dpack

if you rough them now,treat them with the permethrin stuff and let em dry in the barn til winter i recon they should be fine tahir

I've used dw before they're actually good value, easy to deal with too tahir

if you rough them now,treat them with the permethrin stuff and let em dry in the barn til winter i recon they should be fine

Couple of months in the barn and back indoors?
dpack

that seems a good plan ,use plenty of bearers and turn em every few weeks to help em stay flat. it might even be worth putting a top set of bearers a part sheet or plank and weight on em to keep the top one or two from considering curling.

if they barn dry for a few months over summer and house dry over autumn they should be pretty house stable by winter .
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