Holes in antique furniture

by Homeroad
I found an antique piece of furniture that is covered with tiny holes. I noticed it after I painted the piece. Should I save the piece or toss it? Is this an infestation? I see no evidence of bugs. Thanks!
  6 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jul 25, 2014
    I have no idea what this is, but I think I would set it outside and spray it really well with bug spray, and leave it outside in the sun. Take out the drawers and spray EVERY surface! Be very liberal with the spray. Wear a mask! Keep us informed!
  • This was or could have been a infestation at one time. Powder Post beetles. These wood borers are found just under the bark from trees. Although they are not really aggressive, as they take a long time for them to destroy wood. They most likely have died off as the surface of the wood has been painted. I have never seen them on furniture, non the less painted. When we check for activity in older homes we measure off an area and count the holes. Come back several months later and recount. If the number goes up, we treat. Its really that simple. I doubt if it is indeed these bugs that they are still alive. They tend to die off as the wood dries out over time. Older homes often had exposed soil floors keeping the humidity higher in the basement giving them just enough moisture to survive. Sealing the surface of the wood with paint normally would kill them off. One way to tell if this is indeed powder post is to take a small sharp knife and dig into one of the holes. If you find that its filled with a powdery saw dust this is evidence of the bugs. They get their name from infesting lumber to such an extent that the boards or logs which is where you normally find them turns to dust. Kiln drying normally kills them off. If its not Powder Post these holes then may have been caused by thumb tacks or someone who is really bad at playing darts.
    • Homeroad Homeroad on Jul 25, 2014
      @Woodbridge Environmental Tiptophouse.com Thank you so much for all the information. I do believe that if it was bugs, they are gone. Before this piece was painted it was shellacked wit a very heavy varnish... thanks so much!
  • Reposhture Studio - Kim Reposhture Studio - Kim on Jul 25, 2014
    This may sound crazy but those just look like thumbtack holes to me. I would fill in the holes and repaint because it looks like a fun piece
  • I have a kitchen with the same attributes. I like the holes and am even going to add more distressing to my cabinet for a more rustic look. However, Dri-Dex comes in a small container that you could apply a dab at a time. Dries white and un-noticable.
  • Wendy Johnson Wendy Johnson on Jul 25, 2014
    It could be old bug holes or tack holes. I had a teenager who did actually sit absent mindly and poke holes in an old piece of furniture. But I agree the bugs are probably long gone.
  • Evey's Creations Evey's Creations on Jul 25, 2014
    just fill the holes with some wood filler...put it on a spackle knife and spread it over thinly...then sand down to the original wood level and repaint :) You should be fine. The bugs are likely long gone.