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sequoia
10-23-2016, 05:52 PM
I went out to work on some sides today and found that a boring beetle had started lunching on my Oregon myrtle sides. As I was inspecting this revolting development, the thing casually walked out of a hole and started walking across the wood. Now I'm a gentle soul and literally wouldn't hurt a fly, but before I knew it I had terribly injured this little precious life form. Actually in the blink of an eye, it was a small grease spot and IT FELT GOOD! These were to be the sides for the Vegan uke so I wish I had captured and released it while saying: Be free little bug. Be free! Instead of die, die you little bastard! Die!

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Yankulele
10-23-2016, 06:09 PM
This does not bode well for vegan bliss. Perhaps you should change your story, feature the holes in the sides of the uke, and describe the harmony of your creation as it makes harmony with all of creation. "Look," you could say, "there goes the beetle I set free. I'd recognize it anywhere by the look of peaceful satisfaction in its eyes."

Nelson

saltytri
10-23-2016, 06:37 PM
It may not be a good idea to assume that you solved the problem by splatting one bug. Powder post beetles are not uncommon in myrtle and the presence of a single one is a sign that you need to make sure that there aren't more before committing a lot of work to an instrument using that wood. It would be a shame to get it built and then start seeing the telltale wisps of fine sawdust that tell you that you will soon have many extra sound holes. You might want to google this critter and decide upon an eradication strategy. And don't leave this wood near your other treasured wood until you're sure that you don't have a problem.

And how do I know this? I have two costly sets of myrtle from a reputable purveyor that didn't show any signs of harboring the little devils for many months after I bought them. They are now in the freezer for a few weeks, which is one of the approaches that is said to kill the beetles. We'll see.

sequoia
10-23-2016, 08:10 PM
It may not be a good idea to assume that you solved the problem by splatting one bug. Powder post beetles are not uncommon in myrtle and the presence of a single one is a sign that you need to make sure that there aren't more before committing a lot of work to an instrument using that wood. It would be a shame to get it built and then start seeing the telltale wisps of fine sawdust that tell you that you will soon have many extra sound holes. You might want to google this critter and decide upon an eradication strategy. And don't leave this wood near your other treasured wood until you're sure that you don't have a problem.

And how do I know this? I have two costly sets of myrtle from a reputable purveyor that didn't show any signs of harboring the little devils for many months after I bought them. They are now in the freezer for a few weeks, which is one of the approaches that is said to kill the beetles. We'll see.

I live in the deep woods and powder post beetles are everywhere so this beetle might not have come in on the wood but be native to my shop so to speak. Also, I store my woodstove kindling in my shop and no doubt there are beetles in that because I'll burn anything. This is not the first time I have had problems with them.

Putting wood in the freezer would do the trick, but what does it do to the moisture content? I don't even want to think about that... Maybe just putting the wood in a plastic bag and fumigating with an insecticide would be quicker and more sure, but then you have to deal with toxic insecticides on top of everything else when you sand... Below is a really chilling quote from Wikipedia concerning powder post beetles:

If wood conditions are right, female beetles may lay their eggs and re-infest the wood, continuing the cycle for generations.

Picture below of the little darlings. The picture makes them look big, but they are so tiny you might not even notice them. About the size of a pinhead. I hate these things.

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saltytri
10-24-2016, 06:16 AM
Glad to hear that you are up on this. It came as a surprise to me. There is no end to the lessons that need to be learned!

My "Deepfreeze Myrtle" is well wrapped. When it comes out, it will get stickered to give it an opportunity to readapt to the conditions in the shop.

Good luck with the Vegan Uke. Maybe all the tunnels through the wood will make it lighter and more responsive. :)

Michael N.
10-24-2016, 09:57 AM
I had an infestation in the workshop around 12 years ago. The common furniture beetle. In the spring I started seeing these small insects landing on the white painted walls of the workshop. I had no idea what they were, until I noticed a few tiny holes in some figured maple. When I looked further it had infested a quarter of the prime grade maple, all stock that I was storing for a violin maker. Literally thousands of 's. I even watched one of them emerge through the surface of the wood. There wasn't a lot I could do. What troubled me was that I had never seen one single example in that workshop in the previous 20 years. I also knew that they much preferred damp conditions and my workshop was dry. It transpired that my violin making friend had stored the wood in less than ideal conditions for a year (he moved around a lot). Pretty sure that's where the infestation started. Not one single piece of my wood was affected even though it was stored right next to that maple. It was too dry for them, so I guess they went in search of better (damper) pastures. I still have the violin wood, no further damage and absolutely no sign of any beetles since.

saltytri
10-24-2016, 01:05 PM
That's an interesting story, Michael. It seems that this problem is rather capricious but not terribly common. It's good to get the word out so that others are aware.