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24 Aug 2002
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Some of you may remember that I mentioned we have an old woodstore which the last owners didn't clear for us?


Well it had to be cleared and the door opening made bigger so we could get the ride on mower in there (an old rusty one that you spend more time fixing than cutting the grass). The whole job took just over three days. Taking out the old lintel took nearly 3 hours as it wouldn't budge even though the only thing supporting it was cement. Anyway we found everything in there including metal sheeting, loft boards, mdf, hardboard, chipboard, bricks, breeze blocks, air filters, plumbing fittings, copper, plastic and lead pipes, chimney liner, plaster board, doors - basically you name it we had it in there. Unfortunately I didn't find any decent sizes of mahogany other hardwood as I was hoping, but we have got a large amount of what looks like very old pine.

I took one piece into the workshop and as I haven't got a metal detector I haven't risked putting it through the thicknesser yet but I have planed a little bit off one end and there are signs of woodworm. Now how can I tell if it's active? And if it is, what's the best way to treat it that won't stain the wood too much? Should I plane it up then treat it? I've never dealt with woodworm before so I need all advice I can get :)

Chris Knight

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14 Jan 2004
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SE London - NW Kent

I think you are probably safe to plane first as I believe the eggs need to hatch in the wood where the larvae feed until they emerge from the flight holes in the timber.

This site ( http://www.safeguardchem.com/WoodPreser ... odworm.htm ) has a useful amount of info including a useful identification guide to the various types of woodworm one can encounter here in the UK. Not knowing exactly what I was doing I have used the usual Rentokil stuff in the past and I think it has worked! You get a can with a fine nozzle adapter to squirt in the flight holes and you also have to spray the wood all over.


Sounds like the Death-watch beetle which likes big seasoned timbers. The powder post beetle prefers hard-woods. The furniture beetle prefers thinner timbers such as panelling and floor-boards and also furniture and some ply-woods. If it is active you should see 'Frass' at the holes entrances.
It will cease boring at the end of autumn and seal itself in a chamber until spring, then it will wake up and start boring again. After a short time it will enter chrysalis stage, before turning toward the surface of the timber, stopping just short of the surface. After about three weeks it will emerge as a full grown beetle. The furniture beetle is related to the death-watch beetle and has a similar life cycle.

Treatment is easy. Go and buy a gallon tin of 'Cuprinol 5 in 1' and either spray the timbers or paint it on. It is best to saturate the end grain with a brush and the wood will soak it up. some fill a tin up with cuprinol (an inch or two) and stand the timber up in the tin, on it's end for an hour.

When it dries it will not smell or leave any residue and is a clear liquid. Cuprinol will eradicate everything.

Timber treatment is one of the biggest rip-off's in the building industry, and they only ever treat the easy to reach bit's, then charge you an arm and a leg!

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