Tennessee Valley Woodworkers

Vol. 15/ Issue 9                                                September 2000                                             Editor: Tom Gillard


Meeting Notice:

The next meeting of the TN Valley Woodworkers

Will be held, September 19, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. in the

Duck River Electric Building, Decherd, TN

All interested woodworkers are invited!



The following people have agreed to serve as contacts for their particular skills.  If you have questions, suggestions for activities, or other comments relating to these skills, please call these folks.  Their interest is to help the club better serve their area of expertise.  Your participation with them will help them achieve that goal.


                Alice Berry      454-3815    Design                    Phil Bishop         967-4626    Finishing

                Tom Church     967-4460   Turning                   Harry May          962-0215     Carving

                Bob Reese        728-7974   Sharpening              Jim VanCleave    455-8150     Joinery 

                Maurice Ryan   962-1555   Health and Safety



The exhibit items to be judged in the Coffee County Fair will be accepted on Saturday September 16 from 9 AM until 5 PM. and on Sunday September 17 from 1 PM until 5 PM. There will be a special category set up for Tennessee Valley Woodworkers. You need to mention this to the person that registers you. The forms can be obtained at the fair grounds. They will be located in the first large building after entering through the gate.  Exhibit items to be displayed in our booth should be brought to the Fair ground sometime Monday. Someone from the club will be at the Morton Youth Village or at the exhibit building to assist.  September 18 through 23. Demonstrations will be at the Morton Youth Village from 4 PM until the crowd leaves on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 9 AM.  Those who have one of the stools that needs a bottom, Juel will have the material and will be helping with the bottom making at the Morton Youth Village on Saturday at 10 AM. Bring a chair to sit in. We will need someone to sit with the exhibit in the exhibit building from about 4 PM until around 9 PM at night Monday through Saturday.  Lets make this a time for fun and meeting people. Bring a chair. Those people working need to enter the drive through gate past the walk  through gate and tell them you are with the club so as not to have to  pay.

Doyle      Dmcconnell@ficom.net     931-729-7315


Fall Seminar


Bob Leonard announced that Alan Noel would do a presentation on wood finishing on Saturday October 28 from 8:30 AM  until 3:30 PM. The cost will be $25.00 for the seminar. The location will be at Tom Gillard’s shop in Tullahoma. Maps to follow.

Please call Bob @728-1077 for more details or to sign up.




Termites feed on wood and serve an important function in nature by converting dead trees into organic matter. Unfortunately, the wood in buildings is equally appetizing to termites and they cause serious damage to residential and commercial buildings.

Two species of subterranean termites are found in Nebraska and both species have similar habitats.




Subterranean termites are ground inhabiting, social insects that live in colonies. A colony or nest of subterranean termites may be up to 18-20 feet below the soil surface to protect it from extreme weather conditions. These termites travel through mud tubes to reach food sources above the soil surface. The mature termite colony has three castes: a) reproductives (king and queen), b) soldiers, and c) workers. The colony reaches its maximum size in approximately 4 to 5 years and may include 60,000 to 200,000 workers. New colonies are formed when winged males and females from a parent colony emerge in flight or swarm.


The winged reproductives are dark brown to brownish black and have two pairs of equal size wings that extend well beyond the body. Swarms are common in spring and fall, especially after a rain. After a flight, the winged males and females return to the ground and shed their wings. The wingless males and females pair off and search for sources of wood and moisture in soil.  The royal couple digs a chamber in the soil near wood, enters the chamber and seals the opening. After mating, the queen starts laying eggs. The queen may live up to 25 years and lay more than 60,000 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs are yellowish white and hatch after an incubation of 50 to 60 days.


Full-grown workers are soft-bodied, wingless, blind and creamy white. In early stages, they are fed predigested food by the king and queen. Once workers are able to digest wood, they provide food for the entire colony. The workers perform all the labor in the colony such as obtaining food, feeding other caste members and immatures, excavating wood, and constructing tunnels. Workers mature within a year and live from 3 to 5 years.


Soldiers are creamy white, soft-bodied, wingless and blind. The head of the soldier is enormously elongated, brownish, hard and equipped with two jaws. Soldiers must be fed by workers because they cannot feed themselves. They are less numerous in the colony than workers and their only function is to defend the colony against invaders. Soldiers mature within a year and live up to 5 years. 



Difference Between Termites and Ants

Flying ants and swarming termites are often difficult to tell apart. Termites have relatively straight, bead-like antennae while ants have elbowed antennae.

Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) that are of almost equal length.  Ants also have two pair of wings but the fore wings are much larger than the hind

wings. The abdomen of the termite is broadly joined to the thorax while the abdomen and thorax of the ant are joined by a narrow waist called a petiole.


Feeding Habits

Subterranean termites feed exclusively on wood and wood products containing cellulose. Termites have protozoa (microorganisms) in their intestines that provide enzymes to digest cellulose. Although termites are soft-bodied insects, their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, a piece at a time. Termites often infest buildings and damage lumber, wood panels, flooring, sheetrock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage is the loss of structural strength. Other costly losses include attacks on flooring, carpeting, art work, books, clothing, furniture and valuable papers. Subterranean termites do not attack live trees.


Communication in the Colony

Termites communicate primarily by secreting chemicals called pheromones. Each colony develops its own characteristic odor.

An intruder is instantly recognized and an alarm pheromone is secreted that triggers the soldiers to attack. If a worker finds a new source of food, it lays a chemical trail for others to follow. The proportion of termites in each caste within the colony is also regulated chemically. Nymphs or immatures can develop into workers, soldiers or reproductive adults depending on colony needs.


Sound is another means of communication. Soldiers and workers may bang their heads against the tunnels creating vibrations perceived by others in the colony and serving to mobilize the colony to defend itself. Mutual exchange of foods enhances recognition of colony members.


Evidence of Termite Infestations

     Wood damaged by termites always has remains of mud tubes attached to wood galleries or tunnels in an irregular pattern. The tunnels may contain broken mud particles with fecal materials. In the case of an active colony, white termites may be found in infested wood.       The presence of flying winged males, females or their shed wings inside the building indicates an infestation.

     The presence of mud or shelter tubes extending from the ground to woodwork or on foundation walls also may indicate infestation. Workers travel periodically via shelter tubes to their nest to regain moisture and perform feeding duties. Each mud tube is approximately the diameter of a lead pencil.


How Old is the Damage?

Based on normal feeding activity, it takes 3 to 8 years to cause appreciable damage. There have been some predictions that, under ideal conditions, a termite colony of 60,000 workers may consume a one-foot length of 2" x 4" pine in 118 to 157 days.  In Nebraska, the extent of damage may be different because of reduced feeding activity during the cold season.


Inspection for Subterranean Termites

Termite damage may be located by probing wood with a screwdriver, ice pick or knife. Start inspection in the basement and use a bright flashlight. Look for mud tubes and the activity of swarmers. If necessary, get help from a professional pest control operator or advice from an experienced entomologist. A qualified professional inspector should inspect the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation, particularly construction where wood is on or near the soil. Mud tubes are solid evidence of termite activity.


Other sites requiring inspection are: a) wood construction in basement and crawl space (if present); b) sills, joists, support posts, basement window frames, wood under porches; c) hollow blocks, cracks in cement or brick construction and expansion joints; and d) scrap wood on ground, old tree stumps, fence posts and exterior frames of basement windows. The inspector should be able to determine if termites are active or not, how old the damage may be, and if chemical treatment is necessary.


Useful Information If Termite Treatment is Necessary

 1.  Do not panic. There is no need to be alarmed if termite activity is found in your home and treatment is necessary.

     Termites work slowly and the structure will not be extensively damaged or collapse overnight.


 2.  Take your time to make a sound decision. Do not allow anyone to force you to make quick decisions. If you decide to hire a commercial pest control company, get two or more cost estimates. It is important to request the plan of work revealing sites of termite activity and treatment procedures. Ask for written information on chemical treatment procedures, repair of wood work, warranties, copies of insecticide labels and other pertinent information. Compare bids before making decisions. Ask about liability insurance.


 3.  Beware these situations:

          Someone says that a structure will be treated with a secret chemical formula pest control operators with no business address and no listed phone number, and operators with no liability insurance.


Termite Control

The goal is to establish a continuous insecticide barrier between the termite colony (usually in the soil) and wood in a building.

Sometimes there may be a secondary termite colony above the soil (in the roof or other areas with a constant moisture supply) that requires additional treatment. Insecticide barriers may be established during or after building construction. In an existing building, termite treatments may involve any of the following procedures: a) mechanical alterations, and/or b) use of an insecticide to treat the soil, foundation and wood. In most cases, it is beyond the ability of an untrained person to attempt the termite treatment, unless it is a spot treatment or a person has work experience in this area.


Generally, termite treatment should be performed by professional pest control operators. Termite treatment requires special tools such as hammer drills, sub-slab injectors, rodding devices, engines equipped with pumps, protective equipment, etc. There are several insecticides registered in Nebraska for termite control. Please refer to the University of Nebraska, Cooperative Extension Division publication EC91-1556, Subterranean Termites and Their Control. All of these insecticides control termites if applied properly.






John Green, showing his new plane.

Presented to him, by the club, for outstanding service.


Louise can use it too, right John?

Thanks for the goodies each month!






President Tom Cowan called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

New members include: Steven Savelle, Thomas Vandervort, Jim Del Toro.

Howard Coulson, a member we haven’t seen in a while was welcomed back to the club.

·        President Cowan requested Doyle McConnell to report on progress of plans for the Coffee County fair. Doyle reported that the club is to have a place to display items and the demonstration at the rustic Morton house will continue. Demonstrations to include: wood turning, carving and stools to be bottomed. Also, club members can enter items to be judged. Items on display at the Morton house may be for sale.

·        Bob Leonard announced that Alan Noel would do a presentation on wood finishing on Saturday from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM October 28, 2000. The cost will be $25.00 for the seminar. The location will be at Tom Gillard’s shop in Tullahoma.

Tom Gillard announced that the newsletter, “splinters” is available at the club meeting.

Maurice Ryan announced that some items from the picnic are in need to be picked up.

Loyd Ackerman announced that contacts are available to help on questions concerning woodworking. A listing is available in the newsletter “Splinters”.

Steve Savelle has a table saw, router table and other wood working tools for sale.




Barbara Keen-two pictures on mirror frames.

Tom Gillard-discussed problems associated with project to cut baseballs in half.

Steven Savelle-carving of a Santa clause made of walnut and oak. Hand painted.

Dean Lutes-bowl turned from corian.

Doyle McConnell-bowl turned from butternut wood with decorative edge.

Tom Church-photos from turning symposium.            



The program was on the effects moisture has on wood. Tom Church was the principal presenter in discussing the different methods of measuring moisture in wood. In addition, Loyd Ackerman, John Mayberry, Bob Leonard and Phil Bishop demonstrated different meters to measure moisture in wood.