Preserving beetle tunnels in Ash

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Forum topic by garlandkr posted 01-21-2016 04:44 PM 1065 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 2963 days

01-21-2016 04:44 PM

I have some Ash that I’m using in a project and after milling it exposed frass trails in some bored out tunnels. I like the look of it for this project and want to preserve it. Basically, the tunnel has been cut open after passing through the planer and the sawdust is just laying there.

I’m guessing the best option is to use epoxy on the trails. After that sets, I plan on using Arm-R-Seal.

The project is a beer caddy for a friend. I am also using a poplar 3/4” dowel that will be coated in beeswax for the handle.

8 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


8999 posts in 3658 days

#1 posted 01-21-2016 05:11 PM

I’ve done it several ways depending on the project and the look desired. On some, I’ll dig out the worm excrement and fill the hole with epoxy – sometimes adding coloring, sometimes sawdust, sometimes just leaving it neat. On others, I’ve stabilized them with a thinned out polyurethane. I know others that will do the same with thinned CA glue. They all seem to work fine.


PS: The worst thing is when turning and instead of hitting the excrement filled hole, actually hitting the larva! Nothing like getting bug guts splattered all over the place!

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View garlandkr's profile


58 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 01-21-2016 11:32 PM

I have a few scrap pieces, I’ll try CA glue to see how that goes and compare it to the epoxy before applying on the final piece.

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2945 days

#3 posted 01-21-2016 11:50 PM

I have a bunch of beetle chewed ash. Sometimes the epoxy keeps going and going into the little tunnels. As far as sealing up the poo or whatever it is, CA will work fine.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4149 days

#4 posted 01-22-2016 01:24 AM

Those frass filled tunnels will soak up a LOT of finish but you can eventually finish them with poly.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 2912 days

#5 posted 01-22-2016 05:32 PM

Uhhhh, its NOT ‘sawdust’, its beetle crap …

Dig it out, fill with sawdust mixed with carpenters yellow glue & dry. Repeat as required.

I like leaving them unfilled, adds a 3rd dimension to the surface.


-- Madmark - [email protected]

View bigblockyeti's profile


8530 posts in 3180 days

#6 posted 01-22-2016 05:50 PM

I usually start with removing all the frass with compressed air, a rubber tipped blow gun (& an old toothbrush) works best as you can better pressurize the tunnels to get out all the crap and any remaining larva. After that I like to lightly sand the outside to soften the edges and reduce the chance of any small edge being broken off. As for filling the tunnels, I like use tinted epoxy & to keep it from flowing to china, I’ll stuff a small piece of rolled and compressed paper towel in just far enough to be sure it’ll be covered.

-- “I never in my life thought I would have to say this, but the proper role of government is not to fund the distribution of crack pipes,” Lauren Boebert

View garlandkr's profile


58 posts in 2963 days

#7 posted 01-22-2016 06:45 PM

After doing some tests with CA and Epoxy, sanding and then putting on my finish I decided to clean out the tunnels and use CA to fill them. I like the look of the clear visible tunnel in this project. The frass darkened too much after applying CA/Epoxy for my liking.

View ErnestP's profile


15 posts in 2370 days

#8 posted 01-23-2016 01:04 AM

Keep in mind, sometimes the beetles are still alive.
I got a call-back, on a set of bookcases. Kept finding ‘sawdust’ on the top under the face-frame.
Had to replace the frame. It was a clear coat finish, so apparently it didn’t kill the infestation.
Pretty surprising, and I’ve only run into it the one time. Especially considering it was kiln-dried.

This was in a production-shop environment, so there wasn’t quite the attention to detail
being advocated by your other comments. If you go to that much effort, you should be good.


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