Creating Woodworm Holes in Furniture for an Authentic Antique Look

By Karl

Worm holes occur naturally in some old wood furniture, but creating woodworm holes is a way to antique newer wood furniture. Let’s learn more about naturally occurring furniture worm holes.

If you find naturally occurring furniture worm holes, it’s usually a sign that the furniture has been around for quite a while, and may even be an antique (defined as a piece over 100 years of age.) Woodworm holes are holes and grooves cut into the surface of wood by various insect larvae. Woodworm holes often appear as small (less than an inch) squiggly channels that are dark in color. Generally speaking, furniture worm hole are not found in mahogany, but are sometimes observed in old oak, pine and maple.

If you have a newer piece of wood furniture that you’d like to antique or distress, creating furniture worm holes is a cinch. Here are three methods of creating woodworm holes.

Ice pick technique of creating woodworm holes.

One way to create the look of furniture worm holes is to use an ice pick. Use an ice pick to make worm holes in furniture by stabbing the furniture. Also make short, squiggly grooves in the furniture about half an inch long. Use caution!

Dremel tool technique of creating woodworm holes.

A Dremel Tool is a wonderful addition to any tool kit, because it has dozens of attachments that have hundreds of uses. One use is making convincing furniture worm holes. Use the bit that has a small ball at the tip. With the Dremel Tool method, you can really give depth to the hole as well as making worm hole “trails.” Be careful though! Because you’re using an electric drill, it’s easy to get carried away creating woodworm holes!

Hot nail technique of creating woodworm holes.

Using a hot nail to make worm holes in furniture is another method that (when done properly) looks like the real deal. Heat the end of a large nail. Hammer the nail into the furniture at various depths. The great thing about this method is that the worm holes will appear black (because the nail is burning the wood) and this gives the furniture worm holes a look of authenticity.

Tips for making worm holes in furniture.

Whatever technique you chose, here are a few tips that will help produce the most authentic woodworm holes.

  • Make holes and channels in the furniture randomly.
  • Make woodworm holes in small groupings.
  • Vary the depth and diameter of the holes.
  • Create channels that go with the grain of the wood.
  • Don’t over-do it! Too many woodworm holes will spoil the look.


Antiquing furniture with woodworm holes is really a fun way to give a newer piece of furniture the charm of yesteryear. It’s also a very easy and inexpensive technique. I advise practicing creating the look on a scrap piece of wood. Try out different methods and see what you’re most comfortable with, then get creating!

If you have an article that you would like to publish, then you may submit an article and it will be listed on this site.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.