Bugs in the Blank

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Forum topic by mike02719 posted 03-27-2020 02:12 AM 257 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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228 posts in 4466 days

03-27-2020 02:12 AM

In September of last year I had two birch trees taken down. These trees were about a foot in diameter and were dead for two years. Being a wood turner, I scoffed many good pieces for my guarded collection. Today I mounted a blank 14”long by 10” diameter. The tree guy said some kind of borers killed the tree. When I got into the wood about two inches, I ran into little black bugs very much alive. They made holes and tracks that complimented the turning. My questions are, how can I be sure that they are gone and will not return sometime after the piece is finished, and will these pests take up residence in wood surfaces around my house? Anybody have ideas about this?

-- Mike, Massachusetts

5 replies so far

View Underdog's profile


1474 posts in 2715 days

#1 posted 03-27-2020 02:21 AM

Here are a few ideas. Not guaranteed to work…

You could microwave the thing. Or freeze it. Soak it in alcohol.

After that, seal it in some container to see if sawdust still comes out. If it does repeat one or more of the treatments above.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I had a bowl that had some critters in it. I put it in the freezer for a week. I think that did them in.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Foghorn's profile


241 posts in 66 days

#2 posted 03-27-2020 02:30 AM

In a garbage bag or wrapped in poly. A few shots of Raid. Close it up and give it a day.

-- Darrel

View Lazyman's profile


4820 posts in 2067 days

#3 posted 03-27-2020 03:21 PM

More than likely, the borers you are seeing now did not actually kill the tree. Most beetles and their larva you find in logs come in after the tree has died. There are exceptions of course, and the tree guy could be right, but I seem to recall that those kinds of beetles generally don’t continue to attack and feed on dead trees. The beetles are probably seeing usually will only attack relatively moist wood of relatively recently killed or already dying trees. The big exception of course is powder post beetles. You definitely want to kill those ASAP to prevent them from attacking your house or other lumber and logs you have stacked in your shop. A quick way to kill the borers that are already inside is to microwave the blank for on a low (<50>t want to scorch it. I use the microwave to dry rough turned bowls when I am too impatient to wait for them to dry in a bag of shavings. As long as the piece is dry, it is very unlikely that anything will attack it after it is finished.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View splintergroup's profile


3444 posts in 1902 days

#4 posted 03-27-2020 09:59 PM

I had a similar issue with a BL maple blank. A few weeks in the deep freeze solved the problem.

View Foghorn's profile


241 posts in 66 days

#5 posted 03-28-2020 01:53 AM

I only brought up the Raid thing because way back in the 70s when I had a small trapline, that’s how we would kill off the lice that would invariably be on the weasels, mink, etc. Worked great and the smell dissipated in short order.

-- Darrel

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