Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Renovation project - chasing wood worms

Renovation project - chasing wood worms

We are still working out what to do with the stairs, we have bought a selection of stains and varnishes and need to find one that will make the new wood look like the old wood and ensure that the damaged bits are not obvious.

We have also got to cover all of the wood worm holes. There is no live wood worm or rot in the stairs and they have been treated a number of times. I did have a little scare when John had the nerve to suggest that we just replace the stairs, this would’ve meant that I had spent days on my hands and knees scrubbing years of dirt and grime for nothing again!!! (I still remember the old kitchen floor!!!!).

There are a number of ways to fill and cover wood worm holes, we learnt on the internet that you could use shoe polish but the traditional way of filling holes is by using beeswax/French polishing wax (this is like a specialist brown crayon) or brown linseed putty.

We get the putty and it is a case of going over every spindle and stair and rubbing the putty into every little teeny tiny hole, this is such a fun job!!!!!! But once finished (this is my Blue Peter moment, here is one I made earlier!) it has filled every hole, it has also taken us a couple of days to complete but we are ready for staining the stairs.

filling wood worm holes in old stairs

We spend a another day testing out different colours, and don’t actually find one that we both like, John mixes different combinations and I get angry as how the hell will he remember the mixes as he has made so many?

We decide to live with a couple of mixes, until we both say no! Then we find a bit of left over stain from the floors upstairs and it is almost perfect, we are both happy, but there is only a little bit left.

This stain is a shops own brand so we set off to buy it and you may add your own swear words here, they have none, and the brand has changed, which also means the colour has changed! The colour we wanted was chene moyen, the shop has approximately 7 different brands of stain and varnish in this colour and they are all different! Why can you be allowed to sell a colour that is completely different if it has the same name!
But we find a different stain and decide to try this, it must’ve been fate, this colour is perfect and it goes on so easily, thank goodness they didn’t have what we really wanted.

The stairs are fully stained and varnished and look amazing, the new wood is also stained and varnished and looks the same as the stairs! The wood worm holes cannot be seen and we have a set of stairs.

This has taken the best part of a week to complete but the result is worth it. Whilst we were doing it, it was one of the worst jobs, as we were spending so much time on it and there was no visible result. This is one of the things that you have to get used too. You can work for hours every day and see no change, then you do one more little bit and the change is unbelievable.

I now get my house proud head on and shout every time that dust goes on to my lovely new stairs, the fact that the house is still covered in dust is not the point; I want my lovely new stairs to look like lovely new stairs!!!!!!


  1. Your stairs look lovely.
    I have bought linseed putty, but I was was planning to try either wax or shoe polish
    We only have one serious wood worm cover up issue and that is big wormy beam in garage/workshop and small area of sitting room floor

    Know all about discontinued items (GGGRRRRRHH!!!) see our blog sur aude

    Have become reconciled to it now


    1. Hi Gill

      the wax is fantastic but is a lot more expensive if you have a big area to cover, the linseed putty cover well and can also be stained and varnished so cannot be seen.

      good luck x

  2. They look so much better now. The man who came to treat our termite holes had two lovely boxes of wax all different browns. The termites were in the wood from the country of origin - they couldn't survive here - so they reassured me.

    1. Glad you've got it sorted, we are lucky that our part of Brittany doesn't have a problem with termites, I'm struggling enough to live with all of the horrible bits as it is, so another disgusting creature may have sent me over the edge!

  3. I was looking on Google images for staircases as we have to replace part of the stairs leading up to the grenier, and as soon as I saw the photo of your stairs I said Brittany! Our stairs are exactly the same. The reason I was looking for something similar is because I forgot to measure the depth of the boards making up the steps.
    We return to Plougonver next week for 10 days and intend to repair them then. Could you tell me the depth of your boards so I can purchase some timber before coming over. I'm guessing the wood is pine.