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Worm Holes in Mahogany

Worm holes aren't always considered as a defect in Mahogany, but they do leave you wondering whether the critters will come back. July 30, 2007

Question
I'm building furniture that requires 3 1/4" thick Honduras mahogany. I'm using pattern grade (best) 16/4 to get my size. Has anybody here used similar, and did you find that it had worm holes in it? I'm about to talk with my supplier about it, but I'm not sure if it's industry accepted to have a certain number of holes per board? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
Worm holes are acceptable when grading to a limited extent. But I would worry if they are powderpost holes, and if so, you will have a major problem.



From the original questioner:
Thanks. Is there a way to tell if it's powder post or ambrosia beetle or whatever? What major problem do you envision if all insects are dead?


From contributor D:
Some sellers of mahogany will specify "whnd" or "whad" as to whether the worm holes are a defect or not when grading. With 16/4, it will be hard to order without worm holes. All "mahoganies" are seeing a decrease in quality due to cutting pressure. Honduras quality has declined steadily and will continue to do so for the future.


From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
Unless the wood has been heat treated or fumigated, the insects could be alive or their eggs could still be viable.


From contributor J:
Speaking of fumigation, I've read that some people are killing various bugs by bagging the object they want fumigated, and dropping in a couple slabs of dry ice. Once the partial pressure of CO2 gets over about 30%, any air-breathing critters should be done for. What I'm wondering is, are there any negative effects on the wood from CO2 exposure in high concentrations?


From Professor Gene Wengert, Sawing and Drying Forum technical advisor:
I wonder what this does to eggs. I have not heard that ot works on insects. I do not know about wood effects. Because PPB often do not hatch and exit the wood for over a year, it takes careful study to know the results for 100%.


From contributor A:
Dry ice is not going to be successful in killing eggs or bugs. Some folks used to put a nasty critter in a container and dump in some dry ice to put it to sleep... not a good way to do it. Critters can hold their breath for a long time. Heat and chemical poisons will do the trick. Read that someone put a big piece of figured wood in the chest freezer to kill the bugs. They built the table. And the bugs ate through the finish and dumped the frass on the floor after it was built. Heat and better living through chemicals.
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