1. Dear All: I’ve just got back into my workshop and started to prepare some oak boards for up and coming projects. They’ve been air drying in my garage (if you can call it that) for twenty years- which shows you how much fishing I’ve been doing. The soft wood along the wany edge is full of woodworm. What should I do?

    Sincere regards,


  2. Obviously only you can decide if the wood you have is fit for use in its current state. Bad portions can be cut out.

    But you can halt further insect damage with heat. The U S Forrest service has done experiments and shown that all boring insects can be killed by heating the core temperature of wood th 60°C (140°F). for one hour. You can do this with a makeshift kiln of tarps and a heater. Obviously, it will take thicker wood longer to reach that core temperature. Here is an excerpt from the forest service study , which was originally conducted in the last decade or so, though I have seen prior studies from the 1930’s.

    “Our Research
    During 2009-2013, we tested different treatment temperature and time regimes required to kill various woodboring insects in log sections cut from naturally infested trees. During our studies we examined both hardwood (deciduous) and softwood (conifer) infested material. Survival was studied for emerald ash borer (EAB) and other flathead borers, longhorned beetles, bark beetles, and weevils. Temperatures and times tested included the ISPM-15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures) standard of 56°C core temperature for 30 minutes.
    Expected Outcomes
    Our results provide information on the effectiveness of approved heat treatment protocols for killing woodboring insects and provide information on the temperatures and time required to kill specific species. These results are useful to regulatory personnel and resource managers when setting guidelines and determining treatment protocols for sanitizing firewood and other wood products.

    Research Results
    We found that the lethal temperature required to kill woodboring insects varies considerably among families and even genera. Most insects were killed when subjected to the ISPM-15 temperature treatment of 56°C core temperature for 30 minutes. The most heat tolerant insect we tested was a Chrysobothris sp. (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), in which two individuals survived treatments of 60°C core for 30 minutes. Given this, the current firewood heat treatment approved by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspections Service (APHIS) of 60°C core for 60 minutes appears to be sufficient for sanitizing firewood and similar treatment temperatures and times should be considered for all wood products.”

    It’s standard for imported and exported woods in the US that they be subjected to kiln drying to international standard ISPM-15 , not to dry the wood, but to kill insects.

    Some species are sold with insect damage as an “enhanced feature”. Among these are “pecky” Bolivian walnut and American “pecky” cypress. Currently, there is an ash dye off caused by Beatles that is destroying American ash forests and the wood is treated in this manner, as is a Pine Beattie Die off that stains the pine heartwood a distinctive blue color. Even the box stores have gotten into the act selling this stuff.

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