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For the past 30 years Anita Gold has written her column Antiques & Collectibles that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Knight Ridder syndicated newspapers.

Antiques & Collectibles

Beware sawdust left by insect infestations 

by Anita Gold


Our house is furnished with beautiful antique furniture and furnishings. At a farm auction, we recently bought an antique armoire with the intention of using it in our guest room. However, when we got it home and took it out of its packing, we noticed sawdust droppings from little holes in the wood, and were told (by the auctioneer we bought it from) that the little holes was a sure sign of antiquity. It wasn't too long afterwards, that an antique table in the same room had the same little holes dropping sawdust. We called the auctioneer again who said he didn't know what to make of it. Do you? -- Marylee Johnson, Stockton, CA


A fabulous and much-raved-about, safe and harmless oil is Conrad's Furniture and Wood Youth Food Oil (an old family-secret recipe made from plants, seeds, herbs and roots) that'll remove the most disgusting smells from wood and upholstered furniture. It kills insect infestation in antique furniture made by powder post beetles, termites and worms that burrow in the wood, leaving a fine dropping of sawdust such as in your case.

To treat such furniture and destroy the infestation, first completely saturate or spray the inside and outside with the oil. Then at least 24 hours afterwards, lightly wipe the furniture off with a cloth slightly dampened with denatured wood alcohol and a little of Conrad's oil. By doing this any insects, wood-boring beetles, worms and their eggs will be killed. The oil softens the eggs so they cannot hatch and wood becomes inedible. The oil will also remove warps in furniture over time with repeated use, and restores dried-out crackled furniture leaving the pieces beautiful, clean and completely odor- and insect-free.


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A bad flood left our century-old cabin furniture moldy, smelly, warped and dried out. Is there a way such water-damaged furniture can be restored?


Conrad's Furniture and Youth Wood Food Oil has a delightful fragrance and beautifully cleans and restores anything made of wood, as well as rusty iron and tin, dried leather and even buckskin.  

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