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Unsealed wood body... Termites? Problems?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Xanaptabil, Sep 21, 2005.


  1. Xanaptabil

    Xanaptabil

    Jul 18, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Hello!
    Well, I have sanded down a cheap bass body down to the bare wood. If I leave it alone for hours and come back to do some more sanding I could almost swear I see some new tiny black holes on the bass. Could this be the work of termites or some other bug, or am I hallucinating and there were always a few tiny shallow holes there all along? What the hell are these tiny holes??

    Haha, also, once I am all done sanding all I plan to do is oil up the body. Will the oil be enough to discourage termites (if this even happens) and keep the wood from splitting in half?

    Thanks for any advice,
    Ian
     
  2. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Some wood has been known to have worms in it. I heard a story like that about a bass made in Mexico, and the worms came through the finish into the player's shirt. Hilarity ensued.

    Just something to consider. :D
     
  3. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Oh, and termites aren't going to be a problem, unless you have them already in your house and you stick the bass in a closet and leave it indefinitely. They have to make their way back to the ground for moisture. I don't think you'll be doing that.
     
  4. When you were sanding, you probably were filling the holes with a little wood dust. When you came back and started again, the dust might have been knocked out of some of the holes for you to see them.

    But you'll have to pop something a little more potent to get small enough to follow Alice down one of them... :D
     
  5. Post a picture so we can see. If it is a bug, then it may not be termintes but possibly borers or something else.
     
  6. Xanaptabil

    Xanaptabil

    Jul 18, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Borers? Damn, I was convinced it was all in my head until I read that. Sorry, no digital camera. I want to buy one just so I can share pictures of my modded up Ibanez with you guys at TB.
     
  7. Ian,

    It may not even be a bug. So, I wouldn't worry just yet.

    But if it is, I'm just pointing out that borers make pin prick cavities/holes. If it were termites, then you'd know - your bass would be a hollow bass and crumble or possibly getting there. Insects don't like turbulence, so maybe sand the bass with an electric sander with thin grit paper for about 10 mins.

    Anyway, pesticide treatment will fix a termite/borer problem, but the wood must be drenched. An alternative is to use a powder, but I don't know if they make this for termintes/borers. There's also the gas treatment. The problem here is, I don't know what effect this treatment will have on the wood so don't get it done unless you know for sure. If it won't affect the wood, then it should be ok. The only problem then, is what effect that will have on the paint. But then again, it's a pesticide so it is hazardous to your health.
     
  8. Xanaptabil

    Xanaptabil

    Jul 18, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    That has to be it. I am surprised I've never heard about this before on TB.
     
  9. Ok, here's a link to some general information about termites and borers that may be of use:

    http://www.csiro.au/index.asp?type=faq&id=termitecontrol

    Description of borers:

    "Wood borer are insects which damage wood by tunnelling at the larval (grub) stage for food or leaving an emergence hole on the surface of the wood after becoming an adult (beetle). These emergence holes ('pin holes') are quite visible and are usually the first signs of an active infestation of wood borer."

    Here is an excerpt that details some things that you could try to determine if borers are the problem:

    "Knocking a piece of infested timber usually causes fine borer dust to be dislodged from the emergence holes. The presence of holes or dust does not always mean borer are still active within the timber. To find out whether they are still active, mark all emergence holes with a pen or pencil. Check the timber monthly, the appearance of new holes will indicate that borer are still present. If the number of holes are too numerous to make this method practical, placing newspaper underneath the affected timber and checking on a regular basis for dust output can indicate activity. Dust however may continue to be dislodged from emergence holes by normal movement or vibration caused by human activity in the house for several years after borer activity has ceased. The pencil method is a more reliable indicator."

    and ...

    "Timber that is kiln dried will contain no live larvae. If borer larvae (grubs) survive the sawmilling process, they may continue feeding on the timber and emerge as adults once the timber dries out. The adults will not re-infest the dry timber. Structural weakening of timbers by this type of borer is rare. As with lyctid borer, if decorative timber is infested and the emergent holes are considered unsightly, the timber may be treated using borer fluid."