Oh Crap. Worm Holes!!

Article - April 11, 2007

This week’s question comes from Craig. He writes:

I recently found a small local mill that I was able to get what I think seemed like a great price on some 4/4 8″ wide white oak for $2 per board foot. I got my jointer jumping and my planer going following your instruction on your video. The boards are perfectly flat and square and look beautiful except for one small problem. In some of the boards there are small holes that look as if they might be from some wood boring insect. What’s the best way to fill these? Is this an indication that I should not buy from this mill or is this a common problem? (I don’t recall ever seeing this on my Home Depot or Lowes boards.)

And here was my reply:
“Hey Craig. Worm holes are not completely uncommon. But one thing is for sure, a lumber dealer should not be selling wormy wood at full price. And it seems you got a very good price on it. I would imagine that would be why you got a good deal. If this is a frequent occurance there, then you may want to find another mill. As for filling them, it depends on the look you want. Some people like the character of worm holes. So they either leave them alone or plug them using epoxy. Epoxy will fill the hole nicely and make it look like its just a small knot. If you want to hide it, you can use a good quality filler like Famowood. Another option would be to buy a dowel and use a pencil sharpener to create a cone shape. Then drive the cone into the hole with some glue to plug the hole. The only problem with this method is the dowel will create end-grain on a face grain surface. So the repair might be noticeable. And lastly, you can rout out a square and drop in a small inlay that matches the wood grain. But thats an awful lot of work. :)”

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