Iam new to wood working so people please forgive my ignorance.I am making a couple of fire place mantles out of red oak and it has worm holes in it.What i am wondering is how i can make sure all these little guys are dead before i stain and poly. Any suggestions guys thanks!
I refurbished French antiques for some years.I worked with a lot of importers who were bringing peices over with live wood worm activity.If you tap the piece is dust falling out?Blow out as much dust with a compressor hose and see if the dust is still collecting.That could be a week or more.For that there are products for treating them.You literally soak the wood by painting it on.Making sure to get it in the holes.And there is also a spray can with a small needle/hose that you sqiurt into the holes.But even after several applications I have seen them still active.
Mohawk supplies these products if memory serves.
But unless this product came from Europe,I doubt they are wood worms. But I'm sure the same treatment would apply.
If the peice is small enough you can put it in the oven.Research the temp and time...Because I never did it myself.But that will kill them,if they are in fact alive.
Someone was offering kiln service here.I have known people who had lumber drying that became infested and they had it kiln dried,problem solved.But I don't know to many people with a kiln who would want you bringing your infested wood into their kiln.
In all likelihood, what you are seeing is infestation by powder post beetles or another wood boring beetle (e.g., see this reference). It may be active (you will see a talcum powder-like residue around the holes) or inactive. To check activity, put some masking tape over a set of holes and see if they get bored out after several days -- also look for their boring residue. The best method of getting rid of them is to heat the wood to 120 - 140 F for a few days (see this article), being certain that the heat penetrates to the full depth of the wood. Normal kiln-dried lumber goes through a sterilization step for this reason. Avoid using chemicals as you plan to use this material indoors.
Hope this helps... By the way, as a new member, you should start a thread in the "Who We Are" forum and introduce yourself -- you'll get a warm welcome from many members. Happy to see you here.