Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: gman Tue, Nov 18, 2008
That hole on the inside may be the entrance/exit hole of some type of worm, or beetle larvae.
There are some larvae which can live in a piece of wood for years. Back in the day when I sold antiques, I was working in my repair shop when I kept hearing a sound which was like someone scratching their fingernail on sandpaper.
I began wondering where the sound came from, so I started looking around and zeroed in on a carving which came in a container from Portugal.
It was the type of carving made from a treebranch which had the form of a standing man.
The branch was very heavy for its size, and I could clearly hear the scratching coming from within. There was one visible hole which looked similar to the one in your carving, but did not look recent.
Since we imported from around the world, we tried to be cognizant of bringing unwanted pests into the country, and in fact had most of our shipments fumigated after they were loaded, especially from South America.
The usual indicator of pests such as most wood beetles and termites was lots of small holes, leaking bug-dust either powdery or granular, and a noticeable hollowness.
The piece from Portugal was an anomaly since it displayed none of these characteristics. After a few more days of listening to the annoying scratching sound, I drilled a hole where I could hear the sound, and sure enough, there was a beetle grub the size of my index finger, which I pulled out with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
I remember thinking it odd that there was no dust coming from the hole. The scratching sound was the grub chewing his way through the branch.
After giving him a new home in a jar of turpentine, I thought the problem was solved when the next day, I heard more scratching from a different spot, repeated the removal process, and reunited the second grub with the first.
Again, no dust from the hole.
Since I heard more scratching, and the carving was nothing special, I sawed it in half lengthways and was surprised to find three more grubs, and the solution to the lack of dust.
Each grub as it ate its way down the length of the branch would deposit its excrement behind it, and the excrement was like bondo and harder than the wood. The part of the hole which was hollow, had a ribbed appearance.
Each grub was in its own separate world, and when they got to within two inches or so of the end of the branch, they would turn 180 degrees and start eating in the opposite direction.
To be safe I eventually burned the remains of the branch in my fireplace.
If you start to hear a scratching noise you can't figure out, you'll know where to look first.