Filling woodworm holes

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Established Member
2 Jul 2005
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Nailsworth, Glos
I have turned a spalted beech bowl and have discovered a couple of worm holes that I would like to fill (they are v. old holes so no risk of more but not the best asthetically).

Any suggestions for the best method. I though of a bit of melted beeswax then polish it out?

I have not posted on the turning / finishing forum as I think the answer will be generic whether the item is turned or not.

With thanks.
The answer really depends on whether you wish to disguise the holes and filler - or not. It will be far easier not to disguise them but to make a feature of them instead as this means you can fill with virtually anything including metallised filler, contrasting wood etc.

To disguise them will need a lot more work and skill, depending on their size - the larger the harder.

Which do you want?
I would like to disguse them really. There are approx 12 in a 3" dia patch on the side of a 12" dia 4" deep bowl. The average hole size is 2-3mm dia approx. (Std UK w/worm diameter if there is such a thing!!).
thats what I would do as well, I use a slower setting thick SG though.

To disguise them well, I would consider inlaying an irregularly shaped patch to cover the entire area, then "graining" it after levelling it back to the parent surface (easier to do if you can still mount the bowl in the lathe). If this is too much work, then I would fill the holes as suggested. You might want to experiment using sawdust from a lighter wood as the process often darkens the filler more than the surrounding wood.
I've spent quite a bit of time restoring some oak panelling, which involved filling holes of various sizes. I used traditional methods and would say that it if you want the "repair" to be invisible it takes a fair bit of practice and a good eye for colour. Small holes - such as woodworm holes - can be filled with beeswax stopping coloured with pigments. You'll need a variety of different colours to make your one colour (I use anything from 3 - 6) and it's quite hard to mix them to get the right colour stopping to match the wood. If you're putting a clear finish on you'll have to get it spot on. The same applies if you are making shellac stopping for bigger holes.
If you're going the beeswaw route, you'll need to seal the hole first otherwise the hot beeswax will soak into the wood and leave you with blotches are the filled hole.
Good luck!

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