How To Fill Woodworm Holes In Furniture

The result of the woodworm's work are the tunnels they dig in the wood and the holes through which they enter and exit.

How to fill woodworm holes
How to fill woodworm holes

These holes must be closed to prevent further infestations.

We have already dedicated an article on how to get rid of woodworms that infest our furniture and we take it for granted that all the procedures have been carried out to ensure that there are no insects still alive after the treatment; this article is dedicated instead to describe the procedures to plug the holes left by woodworms.

Closing the woodworm holes is a fundamental step in the restoration treatment of a piece of furniture because leaving the holes open would mean leaving an inviting open door through which the woodworms could settle again in our furniture, even after the woodworm treatment.

The first question one must ask when faced with closing woodworm holes is, "What do I use? Wax or putty?"

The answer to this question can only depend on the extent of damage caused by woodworms and the number of holes we see on the surface of our furniture.

piece of furniture infested

If the woodworm holes are few then you can certainly resort to wax sticks.

If the damage is more serious, it will be very difficult to close the holes one by one and it might be necessary to think about a treatment with putty.

wax stick woodworm

A great deal depends, moreover, on the state of our furniture and on which treatments we need to carry out.

If the furniture is coated and finished, then wax is the best solution, and if, on the other hand, it has been or is to be stripped of its paint, then it is more advantageous to opt for stucco and the relevant sanding.

On the other hand, the use of wax before varnishing is not recommended because, being a greasy substance, it would end up staining the wood and the stain would not be able to penetrate into the area where the wax is present.

In this article we will mainly talk about how to use wax to fill woodworm holes, reserving, at the end, a few words about putty.

Let's start with the object of our intervention, which is an antique mirror with a walnut base on which woodworms have worked undisturbed since it is kept in a second country house.

The damage was limited but not too much, considering the size of the object. There are about ten holes caused by one or more woodworms that have already been eliminated with a DIY woodworm treatment.

Wax sticks to close woodworm holes

It is now a matter of closing those holes and the first step was to go to a DIY store where we can find a wide assortment of wax sticks of various colors from which we will choose the one that best suits the color of our furniture (as we can see from the opening photo).

You can not always find a color completely identical to the color of our wood but we look for the one that comes closest.

The wax sticks of different colors can also be mixed together until you get the exact color, but to achieve the goal you should have more wax sticks (which are not exactly cheap) and a certain skill in mixing colors.

In my case, in fact, I opted for a stick of wax color "rustic walnut" much darker than the color of the furniture but the choice fell on this color because there were already worm holes closed with that color and we thought it was perhaps better to adapt the color to the color of the previous filling.

The wax stick has a hard consistency but softens easily. We start by peeling off a small piece of wax with a knife and then begin to work it slowly massaging it between our fingertips.

To soften the wax we can also use a hair dryer or we can approach it to a radiator; what we must never do is to approach the wax to a flame.

After having softened the wax we must make some pointed sticks by repeatedly "rolling" the wax with our fingertips; the purpose is to have a wedge of wax that can penetrate as deeply as possible in the hole of the woodworm.

soften wax stick

Once we have obtained a thin enough stick we will simply have to put it in the hole of the woodworm and break it a few millimeters above the surface of the furniture.

At this point we must, first of all, crush the wax towards the hole and then move it in all directions towards the center of the hole so that it adheres perfectly to it and is not immediately removed when we go to remove the excess with a spatula. In the following photos we see the two steps just described.

filling woodwoorm hole

Now we will probably have a small bump of excess wax that we will remove with a wooden spatula to avoid scratching the surface of the wood. In our case we used a plastic ruler that did the job very well.

The work is almost finished; all that remains is to remove the smears of wax with a soft cotton cloth until the surface of the wood around the woodworm hole has been completely cleaned and then continue with the next holes.

remove wax excess

Now we will probably have a small bump of excess wax that we will remove with a wooden spatula to avoid scratching the surface of the wood.

Wood filler to close woodworm holes

As promised we finally say something about the use of wood filler to close woodworm holes. We have already mentioned that its use is recommended especially when we have a piece of furniture already stripped of paint because, once hardened, the filler should be sanded first with a medium-fine sandpaper and then with very fine steel wool to smooth perfectly the surface of the wood.

We have already mentioned that its use is recommended especially when we have a piece of furniture already stripped of paint because, once hardened, the filler should be sanded first with a medium-fine sandpaper and then with very fine steel wool to smooth perfectly the surface of the wood.

So, after having done a proper woodworm treatment using a Permethrin-based woodworm product, you can close the woodworm holes with putty.

If you have stripped the furniture and you need to repolish it, you can close the woodworm holes with plaster putty. I remind you that you have to color the plaster filler with earth until it is the same color as the wood. Then you sand, color and polish.

wood putty

With wood filler it is possible to close, with one pass, many woodworm holes as well as small cracks and fissures for which the use of wax would be inadvisable.

Once sanded, the putty or wood filler takes on the same consistency as real wood and can be colored with the wood; in this regard, to putty a surface that will be later painted, it will be necessary to choose a putty with the same color of the dye.

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.