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John Donne

Woodworm in workshop

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My father was a luthier who made and repaired instruments in his cellar. For the last ten years of his life he was not very active in the cellar. I found fresh woodworm holes in the neck of an unfinished viola, the neckmof an old violin and some old bits of violin and cello. I think they came from an old cricket bat he must have bought in a charity shop and left down there. Before I move anything out of the cellar I want to kill any woodworm. Please can anybody advise me on the best way to do this without damaging the instruments?

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If you yourself are not a luthier, or interested in becoming one, locate a few in your area and turn them loose down there.  Everything will disappear, including the resident woodworms, you won't have to move anything yourself, and you can charge them, say $20 per busted violin,, $50 per busted cello, $10 per box of pieces, and so on.  :)

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First of all - you will need to clean and dust everything really well.  I mean really well.  Be aware that 'woodworm' refers to the larvae of several wood-boring beetles and you need to know which species you have for your best bet of taking care of the issue.  But, in general:

Once everything is all cleaned up - look for signs of active woodworm feeding, set those pieces aside.

Store everything in a light, airy, well ventilated, dry space.  Provide an environment that adults don't like (so they won't want to lay eggs in the wood).

Stay vigilant.

This describes some things you can do.  The insect strips may help catch emerging adults, so I'd put them up - can't hurt.

 

https://www.petercox.com/news/woodworm/top-ten-tips-for-dealing-with-woodworm/

Prolonged heat and prolonged cold will kill most larvae, but again, you need to know what you are dealing with.

 

If it's Anobium punctatum...this site might be useful:

http://www.rocheviolins.com/html/woodworm.html

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Hi All - paint the offending bits with turpentine oil - kills all known bugs.

At  the same time it gives the shop an authentic smell, clears the sinuses, eases sore joints...

cheers edi

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3 hours ago, Violadamore said:

 you can charge them, say $20 per busted violin,, $50 per busted cello, $10 per box of pieces, and so on.  :)

 

3 hours ago, John Donne said:

I wouldn't want to pass anything on with a latent problem. 

10$, 20$, 50$... If you were close by I would buy EVERYTHING :)
(Looking at your plug, I would say UK or some other commonwealth state... but then you have a gas meter as well. Probably cold there, so I'm back to UK... Am I right?)

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1 hour ago, Stavanger said:


(Looking at your plug, I would say UK or some other commonwealth state... but then you have a gas meter as well. Probably cold there, so I'm back to UK... Am I right?)

What about the cricket bats? Is that played anywhere except England and India? 

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There are a lot of products that might work but you also have to consider these are assembled instruments.  Jacobs suggestion of moth balls (naphthalene) might work, but I wouldn't try yo just treat the whole room.  Instead I would remove each instrument and treat inside something air tight like a construction trash bag.  Once you have emptied the room, cleaned it, and reduced the humidity if the cellar was damp, then it would be safe to return the instruments and what not to the cellar.  Or as each item is treated to your satisfaction find it a new home.  Eventually it will all get done.  My 2 cents.

Good luck,

Jim 

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I've never done it, but I've heard that for a fee commercial exterminators will allow you to put furniture into a house that they are tenting and treating. Why not violins/wood? If it were me I'd want to know that the job was unequivocally done, and I'd consider something like that.

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29 minutes ago, caerolle said:

What about the cricket bats? Is that played anywhere except England and India? 

Sorry, missed that clue. I am so not interested in any type of sport, so they might just as well be baseball bats for all know... ;)

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9 minutes ago, Stavanger said:

Sorry, missed that clue. I am so not interested in any type of sport, so they might just as well be baseball bats for all know... ;)

Hi All - those aren't cricket bats - they are linings-to-be.

My nephew was a scorer at a local cricket club and managed to collect a number of broken bats for me. A few quick passes through the table saw and I had a supply of lining material. Our local bow maker found that willow made excellent plugs,

cheers edi

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There is an extensive discussion of this that you can find under ;

lichtid beetles site:Maestronet.com

There are lots of critters that could be involved but I think the methods discussed here will work for most of them if applied at the right point in their life cycle. Hence if possible do try to identify the culprit(s) first.

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24 minutes ago, TimRobinson said:

Thousands of Australians just died...

Lol. Australia is a lot like Canada. We are there....we are big...everyone has heard of us...but we never pop to mind...

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I think the clue is in the word 'cellar'.

Move it all upstairs to a dry room. Furniture beetle (esp. anobium punctatum) love wood with a relatively high moisture content.

Long ago in my late teens and early twenties I worked on many victorian houses in the UK. Cellars were No.1 (by a long way) for finding beetle eaten wood. No.2 was under baths that had obviously leaked for years. Skirting boards attached to damp walls was another obvious candidate. Move a few yards to drier parts of rooms, above ground level and the chances of finding damaged wood was extremely slim. In fact I'm struggling to think of any examples that I came across.

I've had anobium punctatum in my workshop. My workshop is dry (attic space) but the beetle was brought in because I was storing some maple for a friend. He later admitted that it had been stored in damp conditions (he moved around a lot). Come spring and I was seeing the beetles everywhere, landing on the white painted walls of the workshop. I traced them to my friends maple and watched as the beetles emerged. I did nothing. The stuff was riddled with beetle. That was over 10 years ago. All my wood stocks were untouched. The infested wood is still in the workshop right next to my stocks. It has the exact same level of damage as it did all those years ago, no worse.

The secret is dry. They'll fly off to better pastures.

All assuming the common furniture beetle.

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Many years ago, a customer of mine, Herr Wolf from the Austrian Radio Symphony orchestra, discovered that his cherished Cello had woodworm. It was (is) a Jaura Cello, the very one that Jaura expressly made for the once legendary Prof. Brabetz, who back then was the solo cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic for decades.

 

I spent ages ringing around to find an acceptable solution for him, until (on the recommendation of an Organ-builder) I discovered that the National Bibliotek fumed old books and manuscripts. It became a pretty delicate task, asking a senior Austrian civil servant, if he had a free space in his Gaskammer, but my request was granted, and Herr Wolf was entirely satisfied. It was however a mammoth bureaucratic task and a quick eye balling of your cellar legacy might suggest, that it isn't really worth it.

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Thank you for the very useful advice. Yes I am in UK. Treating instruments in plastic bags sounds ideal. I used to watch my dad fix violins but his opinion was that I should learn to play before taking sharp tools to them. That never happened. He left a lot of instruments that he never fixed up and I've been trying to teach myself basics practising on derelict instruments. 

If I lower humidity in the cellar with instruments still there it is safe to use an electric dehumidifier and how gradually should I reduce it. Is 50% humidity at 17oC ok?

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On 4/3/2017 at 6:01 PM, TimRobinson said:

Thousands of Australians just died...

Australians play cricket????

Hmmm, that changes my stereotype of Australians somewhat...

Please tell me at least that New Zealanders don't...

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16 hours ago, Michael.N. said:

I think the clue is in the word 'cellar'.

Move it all upstairs to a dry room. Furniture beetle (esp. anobium punctatum) love wood with a relatively high moisture content.

Long ago in my late teens and early twenties I worked on many victorian houses in the UK. Cellars were No.1 (by a long way) for finding beetle eaten wood. No.2 was under baths that had obviously leaked for years. Skirting boards attached to damp walls was another obvious candidate. Move a few yards to drier parts of rooms, above ground level and the chances of finding damaged wood was extremely slim. In fact I'm struggling to think of any examples that I came across.

I've had anobium punctatum in my workshop. My workshop is dry (attic space) but the beetle was brought in because I was storing some maple for a friend. He later admitted that it had been stored in damp conditions (he moved around a lot). Come spring and I was seeing the beetles everywhere, landing on the white painted walls of the workshop. I traced them to my friends maple and watched as the beetles emerged. I did nothing. The stuff was riddled with beetle. That was over 10 years ago. All my wood stocks were untouched. The infested wood is still in the workshop right next to my stocks. It has the exact same level of damage as it did all those years ago, no worse.

The secret is dry. They'll fly off to better pastures.

All assuming the common furniture beetle.

Absence of wine has the same effect on me...

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Grown-up beetles are responsible for drilling the openings when they leave the wood to breed. This occurs amongst May and September, so a smart thought is to obstruct the gaps amid the winter by painting with a layer of emulsion, or applying a sticky tape.

  • Keeping all wood dry
 
  • Keeping your home warmed and all around ventilated
 
  • Buying furniture produced using great quality hardwood
 
  • Sealing the wood with varnish
 
  • Carefully checking for indications of woodworm when acquiring collectible or second-hand furniture 
 
  • Removing contaminated wood from your home
 
  • Replacing contaminated timbers
 
  • Using flytraps to get and contain grown-up common furniture beetles. Ideally, before they have an opportunity to mate!

Stay vigilant.

What are the signs of woodworm infestation?

Edited by RAZA

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