covering bug trails

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Forum topic by awlee posted 08-04-2016 08:32 PM 625 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View awlee's profile


23 posts in 2591 days

08-04-2016 08:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: trails finishing bugs

Can I ask for some suggestions? I have some beautiful maple that I’m using to make legs for a small table, but when I started jointing the surface, I uncovered some bug trails—don’t know what kind of critter made them. I hate to toss the wood and there really isn’t enough wood to cut around the trails. So, my question: is there any good way to cover them or finish the surfaces that will render the trails mostly invisible? I thought of plugging them with glue and sawdust, but the trails really aren’t that big (though still noticeable), sort of like scratches; and using the glue/sawdust combinations seems like I’d need to dig into the wood to create more space for the glue/sawdust to take hold. Any advice for handling these things would be much appreciated.

3 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6069 posts in 2481 days

#1 posted 08-04-2016 08:53 PM

If they are that small, something I’ve done with small cracks or voids is hand sand the surface to fill the voids with sawdust and then run some thin CA glue across those places. It sometimes takes 2-3 applications, as the sawdust can pack down a bit as the glue dries, but once done, is almost invisible. Never tried it on bug trails, though.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View OSU55's profile


2095 posts in 2260 days

#2 posted 08-05-2016 01:25 AM

How do you plan to finish the piece? If staining, simply sand enough to make some dust, apply the stain stain and wipe around to fill the marks, then wipe the stain off. Can do multiple passes this way. If applying solvent poly, thin the 1st coat 1:1 with MS, sand as above, wipe on for 10-15 minutes adding a little finish as needed, then wipe off. If needed sand a little and repeat as necessary. I keep sawdust around for this, or use the a dry wood filler (only when staining). these methods may not make them disappear, but will level the surface – then they look like part of the natural beauty of the wood.

If they are scratches some sanding, or hand planing, should remove them.

View awlee's profile


23 posts in 2591 days

#3 posted 08-06-2016 12:57 PM

Thanks for the advice, JayT and OSU55. I’ll give them a try. I was going to finish with danish oil and, depending on how the wood looks after the oil, a few coats of satin wipe-on poly. I cut further into the maple to separate the chunk into legs and am finding more bug trails. Arrrgghh. Some trails are deeper.

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