I didn't put that hole there. Now what to do????

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Forum topic by cracknpop posted 12-23-2016 08:22 PM 1068 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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341 posts in 2615 days

12-23-2016 08:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood borer

Made my son and daughter-in-law a platform bed for Christmas. Used cherry. For the post legs I laminated cherry around some poplar I had laying around. Finished it a couple weeks ago. I ‘aged’ the cherry with a Lye solution and top coated with lacquer.

Picked up this piece today and noticed a hole in the bottom. I do not remember drilling that hole for any reason. I do recall cutting off the end of the poplar because of what I thought was old borer holes. Was careful to check all edges to make sure they were clean and clear. Now I am concerned I missed one.

Do I just scrap this piece and hurry to make a new one?
Do I try ‘baking’ it to kill what is possibly in there? If I bake it, wondering what it will do to the lacquer top coats.

Other suggestions?

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

13 replies so far

View sras's profile


4986 posts in 3395 days

#1 posted 12-23-2016 08:41 PM

This link suggests that 150-170 deg F for 45 minutes will do the trick.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View bobasaurus's profile


3553 posts in 3450 days

#2 posted 12-23-2016 08:51 PM

Getting it that hot could damage the glue joint though.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View OnhillWW's profile


151 posts in 1498 days

#3 posted 12-23-2016 09:37 PM

It could have been packed with frass when you first saw it so you missed it, with handling it fell out and now you can see the hole. If it was an active hole they bored out not in so you may not have anything to worry about. I wouldn’t loose any sleep over it.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3634 days

#4 posted 12-23-2016 10:05 PM

Run a piece of wire in the hole to see how deep it is…....and kill the critter if he’s in there.

View Bob5103's profile


117 posts in 1099 days

#5 posted 12-23-2016 10:39 PM

I have used CA glue for borer holes, it seem to work well. I use a medium thick 10-30 second set time glue and a syringe.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1186 days

#6 posted 12-23-2016 10:49 PM


An option would be a little exploratory surgery. Using the largest drill bit that can be used without damaging the veneer, but a 3/8” bit is probably large enough, carefully drill into the bug hole in depth increments of about 3/8” at a time. Vacuum the hole after drilling and carefully inspect. Once you are convinced the hole is deep enough and that there are no signs of bugs, I would probably add another 3/8” to the depth. The hole could then be plugged with a 3/8” dowel.

If you happen to have or can get a borate salt like Timbor, you could mix a small batch of the salt with water to make it a 15% borate salt solution. Then with a acid brush the hole could be soaked with the 15% solution. Once dried, a second soaking would ensure dispersion within the hole. After the solution has dried the dowel could be glued in place. This would offer any active bug a tasty and lethal treat when they chomp on the borate salt. It would, unfortunately, only be effective in the immediate area of thee drilled hole.

But the question is whether any other bug dens were missed. If this is a worry, I suppose the leg could be baked until the interior temperature reaches and is maintained at 140 degrees for maybe 30 minutes (but I am not sure how much time at 140 degrees is required to kill the eggs). Of course the time in the kiln would have to rather long to ensure the interior reaches that 140 degrees. Once cooled, then I would image there would be a lot of repair work. Therefore, if additional insect infestation is a worry, probably remaking the leg would be faster.

If the poplar is and has been kept dry for some time and no signs of recent activity observed, then it could well be a hole that you simply did not see. If that is the case then you may have nothing to worry about. Even so, I would still drill out the bug hole and then plug it with a dowel.

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


542 posts in 2130 days

#7 posted 12-23-2016 11:35 PM

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

View pintodeluxe's profile


5855 posts in 3079 days

#8 posted 12-24-2016 12:56 AM

Was the lumber kiln dried? That usually takes care of the problem. You can have isolated re-infestation depending where it is stored, but kiln drying usually does the trick. I would worry that kiln drying now might warp the wood or damage the finish.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View cracknpop's profile


341 posts in 2615 days

#9 posted 12-24-2016 01:37 AM

Thanks for all your suggestions. For now, I have it sitting hole down over a black piece of paper to see if any more dust emerges. Will recheck in the morning.

It will “bug” me until I can be reasonably assured there isn’t a bug in there. I may give papadan’s suggestion a try with the wire to see if I can squish something. Even so, since it won’t be seen, I may do a little “exploratory surgery” as JBROW suggested. If I can get a clean hole, then I will plug it with a dowel.

pintodeluxe, I bought the poplar from a cabinet shop going out of business so I do not know if it was kiln dried. But like you and others mentioned above, I’m concerned heat will cause other problems.

UncannyValleyWoods, I appreciate the humor. LOL

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View sras's profile


4986 posts in 3395 days

#10 posted 12-24-2016 04:51 PM

FYI – this link says PVA is tested for full strength after heating to 145F and then boiled. Link has more info.

Good luck with whatever path you choose.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View CL810's profile


3904 posts in 3254 days

#11 posted 12-24-2016 06:20 PM

Coming from a cabinet shop I think you can be 99.9% certain it was kiln dried.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

110 posts in 2236 days

#12 posted 12-31-2016 03:37 PM

I had a PPB infestation and they can be killed, but I went ape-s* on them to be sure as I have a business and too much wood to have them come back.

Heat is the way to go and I am not 4 years out and have not seen one bug!!!. I bought a 20’ container and insulated the inside with rigid foam, added a cheap ebay temperature controller, three electric baseboards, and a box fan to circulate air. Cooked batches of wood (I had enough to fill it 5 times) until the air temp was 160-170 and tested the thickest piece in the kiln after a while (adjusted for how large it was) by cutting it open or drilling a hole and inserting a temp probe into the center of the piece to get true core temp. It needs to be 135 I think, but look that up. You need the air temp higher because the water in the wood can evaporate causing a cooling of the surface just like when you sweat. So I would spray down the wood with some water at the start of the cycle to make sure the humidity was high enough not to cause too much drying and evaporation. This is all detailed in a USFS bulletin with cooking times for various thicknesses, wood moisture levels, etc.

That hole could have been there filled with sawdust and be an old hole. But it could be new. Looking out for new holes is the way to go and they can’t re-infest wood coated in a film finish, but they can go back into the old holes and lay new eggs. Fill that hole, cook it gently in your oven if it fits at only 140 for a long time wrapped in plastic film or parchment paper to prevent drying and cracking. Or just make a new one and don’t worry about it.

Segregate any wood that you think may be an issue and inspect every piece in your shop for those small holes. If you find a piece with a lot of holes, just burn it immediately, don’t worry about it just kill em fast.

My advise – take the time an effort to do a thorough cleaning, inspection if all your wood, inside and out. Look for any holes that size (ignore large sized bark borer holes – they are gone) and separate that wood. Kiln that stuff or get rid of it and kiln the rest if you can. If not, then keep a watchful eye out on the rest and do an inspection every 3 months for a year. If you find no new holes, you are set. If you find a hole – don’t worry, you may be able to stop the infestation by just removing that piece and keeping a lookout.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View cracknpop's profile


341 posts in 2615 days

#13 posted 12-31-2016 05:27 PM

Thank you for all your thoughts and recommendations.

I stuck a wire in it and it was only about an inch deep. So I matched the angle of the wire and drilled with 3/8” drill bit about 1 1/2”. Blew it out real well. Could see no holes, so I probed around real well with a wire. I didn’t find any signs of the hole going any further. I believe I am satisfied that it was an old hole I simply missed. Whew!

It is still going to be a little while before I deliver it to my son. I am going to tape over the hole and leave it ‘hole down’ until I deliver it to see if any suspicious dust appears.

Going to go through my wood stack again and see if any other boards show signs of PPB. Won’t take me as long as Matt Rogers :)
Thanks again for all your input.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

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