Restoration Saving Wood Pieces (1)

Step 1

I'm going to explain the process I used to save a couple pieces of wood that were key pieces to the floor restoration part of my Rickenbacker. These pieces of wood, which you'll see on the next page, had the common old wood problems. Some dry rot, and a bug problem. These are two different problems with two different process to rid your wood of their problems.

The picture to the left is the main ingredients needed to rid your wood of it's rot problem.

Boric Acid

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Step 2

Before I start I should state I did my research on these problems first before doing my repairs. I first went to the guy I'm buying all my wood from. Been in the business 22 years. New right away all my problems and told me I first must treat the wood for the rot, then cook the wood to remove any bugs that might still be alive. He told me to look for rot repair stuff at local paint store or wood boat repair places. The local paint stores were clueless, and in Iowa we don't have many wooden boats. So I turned to the all might web and found this site: The next couple pages I will be following the process outlined on this page.

Here you can see I'm measuring out my Borax powder. The mixing ratio is

50% Antifreeze
28% Borax Powder
22% Boric Acid

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Step 3

The direction state to measure all items by weight, so I'm using a small postage scale set up to measure in ounces. To make a 40oz mixture the ounces needed are as followed.

10oz Antifreeze
5.6oz Borax Powder
4.4oz Boric Acid
(20oz Antifreeze added later)

Here I'm measuring out my Antifreeze. Antifreeze is used because it's made with glycol, very important to buy antifreeze made from glycol.....why...because that's what the recipe calls for. The website explains why in better details.

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Step 4

Okay now I need to bring this magic mix of items to a boil. This is to remove any water that might be in the solution. The instruction state to bring the solution to a boil, which isn't 212 degrees since there isn't any water in this...that's what were trying to get rid of. The boiling point of this magic brew is around 250 degrees, and the instructions call out to take it up to 260 degrees. Using a candy thermometer I was able to watch the temperature.

Don't use the wife's candy thermometer...very important!!! If you do I'd advise not putting it back in the drawer where you found it.

I'm using a 1 1/2 quart size pan on a small electric burner in my shop. Again not recommended to use the wifes pans for this project.

Also note the stir stick doesn't show any green tint from the mixture. If for some reason you'd want to clear over this afterwards I'd believe you should see much of a green tint, if any.

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Step 5

Now I'm at 260 degrees and all the Borax crystals are gone.
Once all mixed we're instructed to add the same volume of antifreeze to this mixture. Currently we have 20oz in the pan, so we need to add another 20oz of antifreeze.

During the cooking process a strong smell of antifreeze will fill the room. Advise doing this in the shop and well ventilated. Not in the kitchen!!

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Step 6

Here are the two pieces of wood I'm needing to save. They are about 5" across and about 18" long. In general these pieces are very strong yet for their age. The angles they are cut at are very important for alignment of the trunk to the cab floor. To have these pieces re-made from Oak or Ash was going to cost me close to $150 or more.

At this point I turned to my wood expert and asked if there is any saving these pieces since the rot is only on the outside and not very deep. Each board only has one spot of rot on it and the rest is nice and hard.

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Step 7

A closer view of the rot area shows all the details needed. As you can see the rot doesn't travel to far into the wood. The dark area around the visible pieces missing is the outer edge of the rot.

Also note the small holes in the wood. These are from the Powder Pole Bugs and stage 2 of this process will kill any of these bugs that might still be alive in the wood.

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Step 8

To help get the epoxy to hold later I drilled out some of the rotting wood. It's very easy to tell how far to drill into the wood to remove the rot. The drill will just fly through the rotting wood and as soon as you hit good wood it will almost stop drilling without adding a fair amount of pressure.

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Step 9

Here is a closer view of my rotten area after drilling holes in it. The main purpose of this is to give the epoxy something to bit into. You want to drill down to the good wood so the liquid epoxy will fill the whole area from the rotten wood to go wood.

You can see along the upper edge I didn't have to drill very far for good wood. After the drilling was done I gave the board a good hand sanding and blew it clean with an air hose.

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Step 10

I needed to find a simple tray to hold my rot killer sauce and my piece of wood. I found a paint roller tray to work great for this. I put on a pair of rubber gloves and started applying my rot killer to my board. I gave it three coats over a period of an hour. The first coat soaked in pretty well after about 15 minutes, the second coat took a lot longer. Each coat was very thick and just dripping off the wood.

This rot killer sauce is about the thickness of maple syrup.

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Step 11

Here are my piece after three coats of the rot killer. You can see all the holes are filled with fluid.

I now left these parts sit over night to soak up and dry. There isn't to much drying since our sauce doesn't have any water in it to evaporate. The next morning it was all soaked into the wood and a nice shinny coating was still across all the wood.

The left over sauce I put back into my pan and stored away in the refrigerator. In the instruction they state this will help keep our sauce stable and not crystallize back up.

Again I'd advise not putting this into the refrigerator in the house. This goes into the shop refrigerator!!

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Step 12

Now it's time for part 2 of this process. Here you can see I've installed the parts into an oven. This oven is my shop oven for when I weld cast iron parts, not my wife's oven in the house!!! Very important not to confuse your ovens!!

This part of the process is to remove the powder pole bugs that drill the small holes in the wood. When I was at my wood experts shop he pulled a book out and we reviewed how to kill these bugs. These bugs are only found in non kiln dried all pieces found on my car. Both the rot and these bugs like wood that have over 15% moisture found in it. So at certain times of the year these guys could really like this piece of wood. If you seal over them they still might pop through the sealer then that hole will help let moisture back into your piece of wood.

The book stated to warm the wood to 180-200 degrees for 2 hrs, or 100 degrees for 12 hrs. I cooked my wood at 200 degrees for over 4 hrs to really make sure the core of my wood was good and warm.

With the rot killer on these pieces the first hour of cooking really made a smell. Make sure you have good ventilation available.

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Step 13

All the rot & bug problems should be taken care of now. Most of the rot has been removed and holes drilled into the wood for the Kwik Poly  polyurethane to grab a hold even better. All the bugs have been cooked and are dead. You can see the wood is very dry after baking it, which is a must for the Kwik Poly to stick.

I've run 2" masking tape a long the outside of the wood to act as a form board to hold the Kwik Poly in during curing.

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Step 14

The first coat of Kwik Poly I just poured down all the holes and covered the old rotten area. Then I took saw dust from my belt sander bag and laid across the rotten area about 1/4" thick. Applied more Kwik Poly, then more saw dust, more Kwik Poly and kept repeating that process until I reached the height of the original edge.

Remember Kwik Poly  hardens in about 5 minutes. Have all your items close by during this process to save time.

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Step 15

After about 30 minutes I sanded the Kwik Poly  level with the original wood. Kwik Poly sands very easy and won't take long to get into shape. I then applied more kwik Poly and saw dust where needed and repeated the sanding process. I made sure to apply Kwik Poly all around the fixed area.

When all finished I sealed the wood with MiniWax Sandable Sealer. Next day I lightly sanded then and applied a low semi-gloss black.

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Step 16

Here is the piece all repaired and in place looking very nice. All the wood around this piece is new oak or ash. Since so much of this piece was still good hard wood, and the cost of remaking this piece was so high, the repaired process we just went through is well worth it.

Remember not every piece of wood can be saved. Do a care review of any piece your thinking of saving, if it's not strong enough as is I'd really be looking at making a new piece. Last think you want is to be removing that piece after the total restoration is complete.