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Reclaimed hardwood with a few wormholes

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Starjump

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Please could you offer me some advice regarding the pile of wood which I purchased yesterday:

IMG_20190402_140901_resized_20190403_094339446-1.jpg


It is (mostly) de-nailed hardwood pallet wood, which the seller rescued from being burned. He is selling it fairly cheaply, a friend told me about it having purchased some for raised beds in her garden. It measures approximately 3 1/2" x 1 3/4" in varying lengths.

IMG_20190403_214318.jpg


I am allergic to pine and seek reasonably priced hardwood to play with in my shed. The trouble is, and the reason for posting, is that I have found some worm holes in some of the planks.

I don't know much about woodworm. My shed is 11' x 8', insulated and I have a heater. I keep it warm and cosy! Uninvited guests nibbling into my projects fill me with dread!

The timber itself varies hugely. The weight is significantly different plank to plank. There are splits, nail holes etc The heavy stuff especially could be fun to work with, some of it being dark attractive timber. If however if the advice is that it is better off left outside, then I'll use it for garden projects.

I don't have pictures of the worm holes at present, but I will look again tomorrow at the planks affected. It isn't very much though. I would like to build a workbench and thought it might be suitable for the under-frame, any advice regarding worm will be much appreciated. Thank you.
 

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sunnybob

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There are lots of methods for getting rid of woodworm, but most of them dont work, and those that "might" are so complicated and time consuming that its normally cheaper to buy new.
Using infected wood outside will just give the worms a short trek to find the next piece of tasty wood.
I would suggest sorting through every plank and burning anything that has worm holes.
 

Ttrees

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Its that time of year again when the beetles emerge.
Squished a few common furnitures beetles so far in the damp house(hammer)
no mad plague of them yet, though it's around Easter when that happens.
Common furniture beetles are the most prolific, and leave the smallest flight hole, around the size of a ball point pen impression, is that what you've seen?

I would suggest you get a metal detector wand for those nails and such.
After denailing, find those bits with the flight holes and take a saw or a scrub plane to the affected sapwood, to ensure they're not in there no more.
If you keep the timber dry it shouldn't happen again.
You could always get some borax powder to discourage them, I haven't needed to do so, with my small supply of non toxic timbers....
yet, but have some green timbers drying in there now, so that might change.

Tom
 

Sideways

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As I understand it, the beetles mate, eggs are laid, grubs remain in the wood for 2, possibly 4 or 5 years munching away then changing. Holes are made when the beetles leave the wood for a short life and to mate. Any treatment is only going to affect the surface of the wood and not kill / sterilise the grubs active within it until possibly years later when the beetles emerge.
I wouldn't have it in my wokshop but for what it's worth, holes with very crisp edges and traces of light coloured sawdust (or "frass") in the holes are signs of recent activity as opposed to old holes which darken and crumble around the edges.
 

Starjump

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Thank you Sideways.
I have sorted through the boards and have found every other board has at least one exit hole, evidence of the enemy! Sunnybob suggests burning the bad boards, I think I'll do that.

With the remaining boards I imagine there must be one or two which are infected even if the remainder are 'clean'. The wood is well used with cracks and screw holes, inspection is hence likely to miss the odd hole. I wonder if I could smother them with creosote and engine oil or bitumen or the like and use them as a step to the shed. Here is a picture:

IMG_20190405_161837_resized_20190405_041918819.jpg


I agree with Sideways it mustn't come into the shed where work is in progress and some timber is stored, would constructing a coated step using the clean but worm-susceptible boards be a bad idea? Thanks for your help with this!
 

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Ttrees

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Why would you think they won't get into the shed?
Cut off the sapwood and see what you've got left.
 

Starjump

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Thanks Tom,
I know I am clutching at straws. I really am annoyed with myself for making such a bad mistake in the first place.
 

Noel

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Easy mistake to make SJ. Was resawing a metre long bit of oak and noticed this despite checking before starting. It was burnt a few hours later. Really not worth the risk keeping it, anywhere:



Wire for illustration purposes... : )
 

Ttrees

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It might not be so bad Starjump
There might be only a small amount of sapwood on those timbers...
To put things into perspective, building codes adhere to having roof timbers that contains no more than a certain percentage of sapwood.
I couldn't find the article on hand.
Here is what I found to be one of the best articles on woodborers in UK whats free.
http://www.rocheviolins.com/html/woodworm.html

Along with colour change, sighting the endgrain might give a clue on what percentages of sapwood you've got.
If its not sapwood thats got attacked, then more than likely the surface has got weathered enough for them to digest the outer areas.
They normally prefer somewhere they can get stuck into, meaning endgrain, checks or splits, and will not really go out of their way to infest the heartwood unless its rotten enough to digest, they would sooner munch away at the digestible sapwood.
I wouldn't say its hard to spot the flight holes once you get used to looking for them.

Best of luck with sorting through the pile
I would be more worried about the nails, embedded grit and staples that can cause damage to your tools,
than the cutting off of the sapwood or rotten parts which you probably wouldn't want to use anyway...
Unless it was walnut.

Tom
 

ED65

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I feel there shouldn't be an emphasis placed on the sapwood being the major weak point in wood. It's extremely common to see woodworm (common furniture beetle) activity in sound heartwood, the ideal laying and growth condition in the wood were just met. In short, there was an unfinished surface somewhere the eggs could be laid and the wood was damp enough to then allow the young to survive. That's really all it takes, the heartwood does not have to be decayed.
 

Starjump

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Thanks again Tom. Thanks Noel and thanks ED65.

Today, I contacted the seller, took all of the wood back to him and received a full refund. The seller, a gumtree advertiser, I thought behaved very well. I am relieved, I have also learned a lesson or two through the process.
 

Noel

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Starjump":21arjud0 said:
Thanks again Tom. Thanks Noel and thanks ED65.

Today, I contacted the seller, took all of the wood back to him and received a full refund. The seller, a gumtree advertiser, I thought behaved very well. I am relieved, I have also learned a lesson or two through the process.
That's a good (and surprising, especially on Gumtree) result, great news. As you say, every day is a school day.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Noel":15j9mo2x said:
Easy mistake to make SJ. Was resawing a metre long bit of oak and noticed this despite checking before starting. It was burnt a few hours later. Really not worth the risk keeping it, anywhere:



Wire for illustration purposes... : )
I thought it was a wire worm. :D
 

Phil Pascoe

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Starjump":3dx1rh2v said:
I am allergic to pine
Being severely allergic to bee stings I'm not one to scoff at allergies, but you are aware that a huge amount of whitewood sold is spruce (sometimes fir) and not pine? Do you know for certain what you are allergic to?
 

Starjump

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Hi phil.p, thanks for your posts.

Colophony is the allergen. 'Rosin' or 'Colophany' to give it another name, is produced from pine in the main. Many people, I am one of them, are allergic to rosin / colophany. The contact dermatitis which results in my case, is a consequence of skin contact with pine - it's shavings or it's sawdust especially. In addition, respiratory problems can occur. I attended a furniture making college course at a local college for a couple of times a week - my sensitivity to pine / rosin increased. I was red around the nostrils and developed a breathing complaint basically a sort of asthma. A couple of times my eyes became swollen, maybe a spec of dust made its way into my eye. The skin on my hands suffered too. Thankfully a couple of years on I have avoided contact with it and I am returned to good health. Hence wanting to avoid the stuff.

I have tried using other woods and it is a matter of trial and error. Iroko being another nasty one personally.

Thinking about spruce, I just googled 'colophony spruce' and the first post up said colophony and rosin are a product of pine and spruce. :-(

Rosin is widely used in industry. Many people are allergic to sticky plaster: it is the rosin used in it that is the culprit for many. Rosin is used in the paper industries in inks and in paper, many people develop allergies to photocopier paper etc. It is in polishes and all sorts. There is a whole lot on the web.

I am fortunate, I can avoid pine when woodworking at home, and find rosin-free soap, hypo-allergenic plasters, rosin-free solder etc. It can be very debilitating for some though.

Sorry to hear of the bee stings, that can be very serious, I hope you are able to manage it somehow.
 

ED65

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Good result there Starjump! Well done on returning it.
 

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