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ukegirl13
11-03-2011, 03:33 PM
Hi everyone,
I just purchased some Ambrosia Maple (back and sides) and the set has several bug holes in it going all the way through. Do you have any tips for filling them? Or I guess I could just leave them unfilled..they are all about 2 mm in diameter. If anyone has worked with this wood and can give me some feedback it is much appreciated!

dreamer9
11-03-2011, 07:03 PM
Preferring not to use vaporous adhesives and fillers, I mix my sawdust from the project with wood glue and put that mixture in the hole. It can take a two or three applications depending on the size of the hole and how you do it. I've done that with plenty of pieces of rustic furniture and it comes out perfectly smooth and durable and has an interesting look. I sometimes use sawdust of contrasting color or bits of wood larger than sawdust, tiny shavings from planing. Take care not to make much of a mess around the hole and when it's dry, sand it as you would the wood itself. I haven't used this process on a uke and there are certain to be finish considerations that others will inform you of shortly.

ukegirl13
11-03-2011, 07:19 PM
Preferring not to use vaporous adhesives and fillers, I mix my sawdust from the project with wood glue and put that mixture in the hole. It can take a two or three applications depending on the size of the hole and how you do it. I've done that with plenty of pieces of rustic furniture and it comes out perfectly smooth and durable and has an interesting look. I sometimes use sawdust of contrasting color or bits of wood larger than sawdust, tiny shavings from planing. Take care not to make much of a mess around the hole and when it's dry, sand it as you would the wood itself. I haven't used this process on a uke and there are certain to be finish considerations that others will inform you of shortly.

Yea! Someone replied! Thank you Dreamer9. I appreciate your comments and will try it on some scrap pieces of the wood. I love the holes but there are some that seem unnatural for a bug. Like 1-2-3-4, all in a little row. I'll have to reseach that beetle. Thanks again.

Rick Turner
11-03-2011, 07:46 PM
Do you know for sure that the bugs are dead?

Sad experience talking here. Yes, I completed a couple of instruments many years ago with air-dried myrtle with live powder post beetles in the wood... The bugs worked their way right on out through the finish and all. That was some kind of warranty work...

tonewood
11-03-2011, 08:14 PM
What would work good is that 15 minute epoxy they sell at Homedepot. Mainly because it is very thick and wont keep running out the other side of the hole and your sanding it out in about 15 minutes.Done deal.You can also add a pigment.

Liam Ryan
11-03-2011, 08:51 PM
Filling dark timbers is a snap. You can usually make them invisible. Light timbers are a bit harder because the fill always seems to come out too dark. I have seen somewhere, a builder who fills holes and blemishes with highly contrasting pigmented epoxy. Perhaps this is an option, you could make them a feature.

Allen
11-03-2011, 09:34 PM
I've built with Ambrosia Maple. It was a bit of a job to fill the holes. It's the ambrosia beetle that makes the pattern of stains, so it pretty much goes hand in hand with this maple to have the bug holes.

I sanded and worked the dust into the holes, and drop filled with CA. Took several applications to get them nice and level. I made no attempt at all to hide them, but make them a feature.

Timbuck
11-03-2011, 10:40 PM
I've built with Ambrosia Maple. It was a bit of a job to fill the holes. It's the ambrosia beetle that makes the pattern of stains, so it pretty much goes hand in hand with this maple to have the bug holes.

I sanded and worked the dust into the holes, and drop filled with CA. Took several applications to get them nice and level. I made no attempt at all to hide them, but make them a feature.
Without the Beetle it would be just plain Maple..I've had Mahogany and Ebony with the same beetle holes..but nobody said it was "Ambrosia mahogany" or "Ambrosia Ebony":)

*EDIT*..I take that back..After futher research,it seems they do have "Ambrosia Mahogany"...Do's that mean any wood with holes in it with Ambrosia beetle fungii can have an Ambrosia title ???

ukegirl13
11-04-2011, 12:34 PM
Do you know for sure that the bugs are dead?

Sad experience talking here. Yes, I completed a couple of instruments many years ago with air-dried myrtle with live powder post beetles in the wood... The bugs worked their way right on out through the finish and all. That was some kind of warranty work...

OMG! I never even thought about that and I have a degree in horticulture! :p Wow, yea, you're right there could be some microscopic live frass in there. I don't see any beetles but maybe I better get my loop out for a closer inspection. Thank you Rick for your experience.

ukegirl13
11-04-2011, 12:43 PM
I've built with Ambrosia Maple. It was a bit of a job to fill the holes. It's the ambrosia beetle that makes the pattern of stains, so it pretty much goes hand in hand with this maple to have the bug holes.

I sanded and worked the dust into the holes, and drop filled with CA. Took several applications to get them nice and level. I made no attempt at all to hide them, but make them a feature.

Ok, so CA and some kind of colored dust. I do like the holes and want to feature them (there's really no way to hide them), so I'll probably use some kind of darker dust to fill them. Not black, black ebony but maybe a dark brown would do it. They're actually kind of big at 2 mm each and go all the way through. If I can figure out how to post a pic I will. The seller said the holes were microscopic but they definitely aren't. It's ok though, I like them. Just wondered how to fill them since I have not done that before. Thank you Allen for your advice!

PS: Allen, are there Ambrosia beetles in Australia?

ukegirl13
11-04-2011, 12:47 PM
Without the Beetle it would be just plain Maple..I've had Mahogany and Ebony with the same beetle holes..but nobody said it was "Ambrosia mahogany" or "Ambrosia Ebony":)

*EDIT*..I take that back..After futher research,it seems they do have "Ambrosia Mahogany"...Do's that mean any wood with holes in it with Ambrosia beetle fungii can have an Ambrosia title ???

I believe you are spot on with that! Now that I've looked them up I'll have to inlay an Ambrosia beetle on this uke. Cute little buggers...NOT!

ukegirl13
11-04-2011, 12:50 PM
What would work good is that 15 minute epoxy they sell at Homedepot. Mainly because it is very thick and wont keep running out the other side of the hole and your sanding it out in about 15 minutes.Done deal.You can also add a pigment.

Yes, epoxy would be good because it is thicker and would be easier to fill. I'll have to try both (CA and epoxy) on a scrap to do a tester. Thank you Tonewood!

ukegirl13
11-04-2011, 12:54 PM
Filling dark timbers is a snap. You can usually make them invisible. Light timbers are a bit harder because the fill always seems to come out too dark. I have seen somewhere, a builder who fills holes and blemishes with highly contrasting pigmented epoxy. Perhaps this is an option, you could make them a feature.

Hi Liam,
Yes, I was thinking I should just try and feature them. They are too big to hide. And it is a light timber with grey striations in it.

ukegirl13
11-04-2011, 12:55 PM
Thank you for all your thoughts on this matter. Now I have a better idea of what I need to do. You guys are the best!

Liam Ryan
11-05-2011, 12:04 AM
Maybe something red or rich blue to tie in with perhaps coloured purflings..............

We do have ambrosia beetles in Australia. They are 2ft long and can weigh up to 20lb. They mostly avoid timber once they get a taste for human blood. I had a friend who once got caught between an adult Ambrosia Beetle and her cub. May he rest in piece(s).

Doug W
11-05-2011, 08:04 AM
Do you know for sure that the bugs are dead?

Sad experience talking here. Yes, I completed a couple of instruments many years ago with air-dried myrtle with live powder post beetles in the wood... The bugs worked their way right on out through the finish and all. That was some kind of warranty work...

Doesn't anybody else see the potential for the first ukulele science fiction horror movie here?

ksquine
11-05-2011, 10:55 AM
Maybe you could inlay some pearl or other wood to make a design out of it

Ken W
11-06-2011, 04:17 PM
I completed this banjo in February using ambrosia maple. My approach with this wood was "it is what it is" so I just left the holes unfilled. Several coats of Tru oil finish brought out the flame and color of the wood. The person I made it for was happy with it.

ukegirl13
11-06-2011, 04:33 PM
Nice Ken! Thank you for sharing your banjo! Yea, I'm still considering leaving them as is.

Ken W
11-06-2011, 05:00 PM
Thanks, Vic. Not to hijack this post...but I'd love to trade the chisel for more bone. I hate the way it stinks up the shop when I'm cutting and sanding it, but I love the way it sounds. I'd also like you to see and hear my most recent uke. Send me a pm...we need to get together.

Back to the post...Yep, Ukegirl, I think leaving the holes is the way to go. Sometimes I will stabilize with ca glue if the wood seems punky, but most of the time the holes don't cause structural problems. I recall a previous post in which the builder was speculating about acoustical impact but I can't imagine that holes that small would make much difference. However, I might be wrong about that.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-06-2011, 05:23 PM
If you want the least noticeable fix, try mixing some of the same sawdust with Elmers white glue (NOT Titebond.) Sand flush then saturate the area with thin ca. Sand flush again.

Liam Ryan
11-06-2011, 06:52 PM
I completed this banjo in February using ambrosia maple. My approach with this wood was "it is what it is" so I just left the holes unfilled. Several coats of Tru oil finish brought out the flame and color of the wood. The person I made it for was happy with it.

That is one mighty purdy banjo Ken. Have you got a website or blog with more of that goodness?

MarxLynx
11-07-2011, 06:28 PM
29725 What about holes from the inside-out? i have a spalted mango uke that has little black spots all around the sides (from the spalting i think). it turns out, some of them are hollow and i can see light coming through from the inside. When i run my fingers over the spots, i don't feel anything but some of them have a little indentation where the finish kinda "sunk" into the hollow spot. there's probably about 6 of em, and it bugs the hell outa me for some reason. Aesthetics isn't an issue because its an inside job. any idea's on how to plug em up? should i use Elmer's Glue-all? or wood glue? hide glue? or should i not even worry about it.

ukegirl13
11-08-2011, 10:14 PM
If you want the least noticeable fix, try mixing some of the same sawdust with Elmers white glue (NOT Titebond.) Sand flush then saturate the area with thin ca. Sand flush again.

Thank you Chuck! In fact, thank you all for the great advice!

jcalkin
11-10-2011, 04:19 PM
There's a quicker fix. Cut little planks (sticks) of wood. Stick them in a pencil sharpener to make a point. Tap the point into the beetle hole, snip it off, super glue it and sand it flat. If the point sticks through, sand the other side flat, too. I like contrasty wood, though if the grain in the plug runs right it can be semi-hidden. In dark wood an invisible plug is possible.

ukegirl13
11-10-2011, 08:03 PM
Thank you JCalkin! I never even thought of that. I appreciate your advice and will try it.

jcalkin
11-12-2011, 03:57 AM
You're welcome, ukegirl13. The same process works well for filling extra screw holes in mahogany peg heads. But use Titebond rather than CA, and clean up with a really sharp chisel rather than a sanding block.

Tarhead
11-13-2011, 08:13 AM
I've seen Silver Jewler's wire inserted in the holes. Turquoise and other stone/stone dust too. Fix with CA, flush with the surface and polish.

dave g
11-13-2011, 12:58 PM
29725...or should i not even worry about it.

That's the ticket - anything you do will make it "worse". Just embrace the worm holes :)

Rick Turner
11-13-2011, 02:08 PM
Put some worms in them!

Timbuck
11-14-2011, 12:09 AM
Remember these holes???? I think Allen posted this pic last year
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/Wormplank.jpg
And it was made into this
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/holyguitar.jpg

ukegirl13
11-15-2011, 05:40 PM
Put some worms in them!

Ha ha! Yes, Rick, I thought of doing an inlay with a worm coming out! ;)

ukegirl13
11-15-2011, 05:42 PM
Wow Timbuck! Thank you for the posting. Very cool looking uke with the holes filled.

Allen
11-15-2011, 09:10 PM
That's a guitar that a fellow built from mahogany planks that were salvaged from Douglas Faribanks yacht. I think that is one of the coolest guitars I've ever seen.

Timbuck
11-16-2011, 06:25 AM
This is the link .. http://www.rasmussenguitars.com/?p=galleri&intId=4