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Thread: Home- made bora care & timbor

  1. #1

    Home- made bora care & timbor

    I think my last post re Bora-Care fell under the radar, so here it is again, with the additional formula for Timbor as well. If you store wood outdoors, these formulas are life-savers, and making it at home saves BIG bucks.

    Mods, maybe you could make this post a sticky?



    Pyrethroids: They are very effective at killing the pests, but they are more dangerous to mammals (lethal to cats), Also phyretroids are not good at preventing reinfestation, since they completely break down within 4 months. Additionally, it is extremely dangerous to mill lumber that has been treated with pesticides. (And illegal to sell lumber or furniture treated with the stuff, without written disclosure.)

    Diatomaceous Earth: Not proven to be effective, and very dangerous to breath / mill.
    It also dulls tools when milling. Just a bad idea, all around.

    Heat: If you can kiln-dry or in some other way heat your lumber to over 130 degrees F (probably 150 F or hotter is best) for a period of at least several hours, you will kill all bugs & larvae. However, This is pretty hard to do with an existing stack. Additionally, your lumber can still get re-infested with new PPB’s.

    Timbor: A powder which you mix with water. It is inexpensive, but only useful for prevention, not for killing existing PPB larvae or termite infestation.. Also, Timbor can leave a white powdery residue. This residue can be washed off, but it’s extra work. Worse, this residue can sometimes appear even after your piece is finished:

    Because Timbor does not contain glycol, after some months the tiny salt crystals often resurface on the wood, looking like a white powder, and they are visible under the clear topcoat. Not that nice.

    This residue can be washed off, but it’s extra work.

    * Bora Care:
    Bora Care penetrates the wood deeper and faster than Timbor, and typically penetrates completely through. Additionally, without glycol after some months you will have the tiny salt crystals resurface on the wood, and they are visible under the clear topcoat. Not that nice. - So Bora Care is the stuff to use on raw wood.

    Boracare is even better when sprayed on green wood, because borates love water and therefore will spread into the wood faster and more evenly when the wood has high moisture content.

    Boracare does NOT interfere with later glue-ups of finishing, though sometimes (only if you over-apply it) you may get a white powder that can simply be washed off with water.

    Once applied, Boracare continues to work FOREVER.

    Glycol penetrates rapidly through all paint, varnish, and oil finishes (except epoxy and polyurethanes) without lifting or damaging those finishes in any way. You can treat all of the wood without removing any finish.
    ================================================== =======


    Boracare can be sprayed or brushed on.

    Itmust be diluted 50 / 50 with water, just before application.
    ## After diluting it, you must use it within 24 hrs !!!!

    You must coat EVERY bit of exposed surface on your lumber.

    Boracare needs to remain liquid as long as possible, so as to get deep into the lumber. Therefore, it’s best to apply it when ambient temperatures are not extremely high.

    note: Wetting dry wood before applying BoraCare is not recommended.

    Once the bare wood becomes dry to the touch, it can be finished or glued.
    It typically dries clear, however if over-applied it can leave a white borate residue on the surface. This can simply be washed off with water and the surface allowed to dry. Unlike Timbor, Bora-Care rarely deposits any residue after the first day or so, due to the binding power of the glycol.

    Once applied, Boracare lasts FOREVER. You never have to re-apply it.


    You will be making the same solution that they sell online. Both must be diluted 50 / 50 with water, just before application.

    1 gallon of pre-diluted Bora Care will treat 800 BF.

    ( One gallon becomes 2 gallons before spraying, still covering 800 BF.)
    ================================================== ====


    Bora Care is a 40% solution of sodium octaborate in ethylene glycol; 27% borate content. You can easily make your own:

    All percentages are by weight.
    60% borax - 40% boric acid (by weight) gives the maximum solubility of borates in water.

    A gallon of glycol weighs 9.3 lbs (confirmed) so that means:

    1 gallon glycol (9.3 lbs) + 3.72 lbs Borax, + 2.48 lbs boric acid.

    However, an internet formula has it different: (Possibly because some bound water in the borax gets boiled off) THAT formula says:
    1 gallon glycol, 4.5 lbs Borax, 3.5 lbs boric acid.

    To make a stable solution you mix the ingredients and heat till boiling gently.
    Boil off water until a candy thermometer shows 260F.
    This removes most of the water of crystallization in the borax.

    WARNING: If you use ethilene for a glycol do not breath the fumes as you boil the mixture !!!

    This solution has a borate content of 26%. It is stable at 40F
    Again, this is the same solution that they sell online. It must be diluted 50 / 50 with water, just before application.
    ================================================== ==========


    note: “Borax” is boric acid salts. Just buy “20 Mule team Borax” at the supermarket.

    Boric acid costs about $4/lb. online. / $3/ lb in 25 lb buckets.
    (sometimes boric acid roach poison, 99% boric acid, is cheaper)

    Ethilene Glycol costs ~$100 + shipping for 5 gallons. = $20 + / gallon
    Borax costs 54 cents/ lb. 3.72 lbs = ~ $2
    Boric Acid costs $3 - $4 / lbs, depending on quantity. = $9 - $12
    TOTAL COST FOR 1 GALLON: $31 - $34, + shipping.

    - OK, maybe with the powder added, it will equal a LITTLE more, but you re also boiling off some bound water in the Borax, so it will probably be close to a gallon.

    Again, this covers ~ 800 BF, once diluted with water.

    COST PER BF: About 4 cents.
    ================================================== ==============


    I DO NOT recommend using antifreeze for glycols. It contains antioxidants that will retard the absorption of the mixture & take MANY days to dry.

    Try to get pure Ethilene Glycol or Polietilene Glycol or Propilene Glycol for cheap.

    Ethilene glycol is not that bad as you will read on the internet UNLESS YOU EAT IT OR DRINK IT. The other two - Propilene and Polietilene - they are used also in the food industry, so they are safe. Also, since ethilene is a boicide it will add to the borates to control the pests, be it insects or mold & mildew.

    So, ethilene is the more effective glycol to use on INFESTED wood.

    WARNING: If you use ethelene for a glycol do not breath the fumes as you boil the mixture !!!

    BUY Ethilene Glycol HERE:
    5 gallons for $100 - It probably weighs about 35 lbs.


    Glycol's toxicity to humans is low enough that it has to be deliberately ingested (about a half cup for a 150 lb. human); many millions of gallons are used annually with few precautions and without incident. It should not be left where children or pets can get at it, as smaller doses would harm them, and they may be attracted by its reported sweet taste that I have confirmed by accident. The lethal dose of borates is smaller than of glycol, but the bitter taste makes accidental consumption less likely.



    Tim-Bor: Solid sodium octaborate; dissolves in water to make approx. a 10% solution containing 6.6% borate. (B2O3) It's basically the same as Bora Care, but without the glycol. The real stuff costs about $3/lb. plus shipping.

    Home-Brew Water Solution of Borates:

    All percentages for this recipe are by weight.
    (60% borax-40% boric acid gives the maximum solubility of borates in water)

    65% water, 20%borax, 15% boric acid

    Borax costs 54 cents/lb. (supermarket),
    boric acid costs about $4/lb. in drug stores (sometimes boric acid roach poison, 99% boric acid, is cheaper in discount stores);

    total cost ~ 30 cents/lb.

    To make this solution mix the required quantities and heat until dissolved.
    The boric acid, in particular, dissolves slowly.

    This solution is stable (no crystals) overnight in a refrigerator (40F.), so can be applied at temperatures at least that low.
    Last edited by Allan Speers; 07-08-2015 at 10:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    I've seen it, and do appreciate it. I use a lot of Boracare, but clients probably wouldn't break even paying me to make it versus buying it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Pleasanton, CA
    Good info!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Northern Neck Virginia
    does this work to prevent other insects beside ppb?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by David Hawxhurst View Post
    does this work to prevent other insects beside ppb?

    It's hard to find much data on this. (If you do, please post it here.)

    Borate solutions definitely kill PPBs, ants, termites, carpenter bees, and roaches, so it's likely that it kills anything with an exoskeleton. What I've read is that they don't even have to ingest it, just come in contact with it.

    One big unknown is Ash borers. One study tested Timbor, but not Bora Care. It found Timbor fairly useless against borers, but that's probably because Timbor can't penetrate bark very well. (I am guessing now.) Glycol-based Bora Care penetrates hardwood much better than Timbor, so maybe can also get through bark. I dunno. Someone should test this.

    It has also been suggested to mix in some sugar, which evidently entices borers to eat the stuff. This is not necessary with PPB's.

  6. #6
    Thank You,
    I will be making this in the future. I have a 100 year old farm house I need to protect.

  7. #7
    I want to thanks the mods for making this a sticky!

    Hopefully we can add more information & ideas as they become available.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Chappell Hill, Texas
    You've typed ethelene, ethilene and ethylene. Which is it?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Burch View Post
    You've typed ethelene, ethilene and ethylene. Which is it?

    Ethylene glycol.

    Some folks use Propylene Glycol instead, because it's completely non-toxic. However, it also doean't penetrate as well. Ethylene Glycol is toxic, but as long as your are reasonably cautious there's no danger. Plus, it bio-degrades very quickly into harmless components, so it won't poison your ground water.

  10. #10

    I've submitted a revised set of documents about all this to the powers-that-be. It explains a few things more clearly, and also has some important updates which I added after recently making my second batch of Bora Care.

    Hopefully, they can find the time soon to re-do this thread with that new info. In the meantime, if anyone has specific questions, feel free to ask here.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Chappell Hill, Texas
    How about it mods… Let's see the new updates! I need to make some bora care.

    Thanks, Todd

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    I am building a new tractor shed 20x 45 it will be made of ruff cut red oak and hickory do you have any suggestions on what I can spray on it before I put on the roofing that would be a long term ?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SF Bay Area, CA

    What is it that you would like done? I can easily just make THIS thread a sticky. Does that work or do you need a way to constantly update/modify your post without rewriting it every time? As you might be aware, there is a time limit in which a non-Admin/Mod (i.e. you) can edit a post. I believe it is 24 hours. As a Mod, I can edit any post any time. Let me know. Post in here or PM me or whatever. Happy to help!

    Wood: a fickle medium....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  14. #14
    just came across a product called solubor made by 20 mule team. it has 20.5% boron and is 98% disodium octaborate tetrahydrate. from the msds it is exactly the same as timbor. the msds for timbor dose not list the % of boron. i ca get solubor for $75/50# localy. anyone heard of it or tried it?

  15. #15
    Could you post a way to measure the boric acid and borax with a measuring cup? Don't have a scale that will measure accurately. Also, cooking up the mixture, do you just heat till it reaches the temperature listed, or does it have to boil for a certain amount of time?

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