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Planking my Charles Morgan with African Blackwood - am I crazy?


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33 replies to this topic

#21
mwb

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I just looked at the thin pieces I have and the surface is not sanded smooth, kinda rough. The wider pieces are smooth. I'm sending you a pm. 


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#22
Landlubber Mike

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If the African wood produces more problems than it is worth, you might consider a different tack.

Your original complaint is rooted in your choice to use a stain.  Stain is essentially a paint - it covers.

You could get to your original goal by using a wood dye.

Aniline wood dyes come in two flavors - water base ( aqueous ) and alcohol based.

The aqueous soaks in more than the alcohol and may be clearer when finished. The cost is that it takes

longer to dry and the first application tends to raise the grain of the wood.  The fix is to either fine sand

after the first application and then do another - which may produce an inconsistent finish -  or treat the wood

with water or water with 1:10 PVA added to lock down the fibers - sand after and then apply the dye.

Dyes come in several primary colors as well as various wood shades.  White is the one that will require a paint.

 

Jagger, thanks very much for these suggestions.  Sorry, I responded very quickly last night when I saw your post without fully reading it (had to put the kids to bed).

 

I've tried using black dyes and stains.  They certainly look quite nice on pear.  The issue with black though is that at least with the ones I've tried, they tend to almost have a paint like effect whereby although the grain may be highlighted, the figure is not (I'm probably getting my terminology mixed up here).  So, you sorta get a uniform color across the piece, unlike other colors which highlight the grain and figure.  It's hard to get the highlight/lowlight effect on black though - folks that paint miniature figurines seem to face the same issue when using black.

 

Generally though, using stains and/or oils on natural woods gives a really nice effect, as you sorta get more of an aged look with highlights and lowlights without really having to do much.  Some of the Eastern European masters use a bitumen type of finish (still not exactly sure that that is) which gives that effect in a really beautiful way.   It's that look that I'm trying to emulate.

 

I have to admit that I'm feeling my way through the wood/color issue, as I only have one model under my belt and have otherwise done no woodworking except to put up a decorative chair rail in my daughter's bedroom (plus, I'm not sure that I have a single artistic bone in my body).  What I'm coming to realize, at least for my own sense of aesthetics (or lack thereof), is that not only do I want to try to use complimentary colors on my models, but also, to the point possible, use similar "textures" for lack of a better word.  For example, on my Badger, I used a tung oil finish on the walnut upper hull, stern counter and tanganyika deck.  Elsewhere I used white, red ochre, and black paint.  When I look back at it, what I really like about it is the natural wood sections.  In contrast, I think the painted areas look plastic.  It certainly is the case that my painting skills aren't the best, but paint definitely covers up the character in woods.  

 

So, it seems like the better course would be to try to go all natural woods (maybe with some non-black stains) to keep the wood character, or use woods with very tight grains like pear and boxwood to go along with painted areas so that the "texture" is the same across all areas of the model.  I'm trying to do the former with my Pegasus (with stains thrown in) and the Charles Morgan.  I do think that when I eventually get to scratch building the HMS Lyme, that I'll stick with natural pear and boxwood with a tung oil finish, maybe with either ebonized pear for the black areas or ebony/blackwood.  

 

Anyway, it's been fun experimenting and learning about this kind of stuff and sharing it with everyone.  This is probably more than you were expecting - sorry, just some rambling thoughts on my end.   :rolleyes:  


Edited by Landlubber Mike, 16 August 2016 - 03:53 PM.

Mike

 

Current builds:  Amati/Victory Pegasus  MS Charles W. Morgan  Euromodel La Renommèe

 

Completed builds :  Caldercraft Brig Badger   Amati Hannah - Ship in Bottle

 

Terminated build:  HMS Lyme (based on Corel Unicorn)  

 

On the shelf:  Euromodel Friedrich Wilhelm zu Pferde

 

Future scratch builds:  HMS Lyme (from NMM plans); Le Gros Ventre (from Ancre monographs)


#23
Landlubber Mike

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After months of searching for a supplier of African Blackwood, I gave up and went with ebony.  Thanks to MWB's recommendation, I was able to source ebony sheets and strips to ship model specifications from Matt at Inlay Banding:

 

http://inlaybanding.com

 

Matt was really great to work with, and did a custom order for me to exact specifications.  He was even able to get ebony sheets down to as little as 0.7mm.  Matt most does work for inlays and veneers, but I think he would make a great resource for ebony and other exotics (along with ebony, he does holly, maple, boxwood, satinwood, maple and others).  Now that Jeff is retired, I would highly recommend Matt is you are looking for ebony or other woods.


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Mike

 

Current builds:  Amati/Victory Pegasus  MS Charles W. Morgan  Euromodel La Renommèe

 

Completed builds :  Caldercraft Brig Badger   Amati Hannah - Ship in Bottle

 

Terminated build:  HMS Lyme (based on Corel Unicorn)  

 

On the shelf:  Euromodel Friedrich Wilhelm zu Pferde

 

Future scratch builds:  HMS Lyme (from NMM plans); Le Gros Ventre (from Ancre monographs)


#24
mwb

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Glad that worked out for you Mike. Matt does some great stuff and I didn't know he did custom milling. Looking forward to the Morgan taking shape.

 

Mark


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#25
uss frolick

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Just be careful with any exotic wood. The dust can be irritating to some, or downright toxic, so wear a mask when milling. Padauk wood, for example, a beautiful red wood, is especially nasty, according to Father Bill Romero, who framed his 3/16th Essex in it. He had to stop building the model because of coughing spasms. I had heard that African Blackwood can be irritating to some, but not all, who use it. So be careful.


Edited by uss frolick, 26 October 2016 - 09:49 AM.

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#26
SpyGlass

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Mike - quicky - I am sitting clutching a few strips of pear which I am going to use for my wales .

 

Just saw your comment - what black dye did you find successful on pear ??


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#27
Landlubber Mike

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Hey guys, sorry, been busy and haven't been on MSW much recently.  Sorry to have missed your posts.

 

USS Frolick, thanks for the warning.  I started using ebony on my Charles Morgan, and have been very careful to the point of using dust masks, vacuuming constantly, dust collector running, etc.   Frankly, I should be as careful milling any kind of wood, but you certainly should be careful working with exotics.  Getting ebony milled to exact specifications is really going to help minimize the sawdust too as I won't have to use my thickness sander much.  It's a really beautiful wood though, and just having the stem done in ebony so far encourages me that using it will make for a very unique build.

 

http://modelshipworl...e-164/?p=444511

 

 

SpyGlass, I'm using General Finishes products on my Pegasus. Here you can see the tests I ran using GF black stain and GF ebony dye stain:

 

http://modelshipworl...e-164/?p=227035

 

 

For my Pegasus, I went with GF black stain on the wales.  It went on very smooth and evenly, and although it's a bit tough to tell from the pictures, unlike using paints, it went on thin and kept the definition between the planks.  The GF ebony dye stain is a bit different in that it seems to go on thinner.  I was worried about using different woods and having different "blacks" on the model, so went with the GF black stain which seemed to produce a more uniform color.

 

http://modelshipworl...e-164/?p=378715

 

 

As a word of caution, you hear that people have used Fieblings shoe leather dye on pear.  The effects look great initially, but I've heard from multiple sources that it starts wearing off over time.  I've had no such issues with the GF stains.


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Mike

 

Current builds:  Amati/Victory Pegasus  MS Charles W. Morgan  Euromodel La Renommèe

 

Completed builds :  Caldercraft Brig Badger   Amati Hannah - Ship in Bottle

 

Terminated build:  HMS Lyme (based on Corel Unicorn)  

 

On the shelf:  Euromodel Friedrich Wilhelm zu Pferde

 

Future scratch builds:  HMS Lyme (from NMM plans); Le Gros Ventre (from Ancre monographs)


#28
SpyGlass

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Thanks - I would still love to know what the black wood is in the Unicorn kit - anybody any ideas ?


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#29
DocBlake

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I've used Fiebing black leather dye on pear.  If you topcoat it with poly, there is no risk of it "wearing off".  Like any pigment, it my be subject to degradation by UV light, but that holds true for multiple stains, dyes and tints.  It looks great on pear...mimicking ebony!


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#30
ChrisLBren

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Agree with Doc Blake here - my dyed Pear with Fiebings on Confederacy has looked great for its 7 years - its all top coated with Danish Oil.  I cant even comprehend the thought of trying to plank a bluff bowed ship like the Morgan with Ebony....


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#31
Chuck Seiler

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Does anybody have any experience with TransTint wood dye?  I have heard good things about it.


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Chuck Seiler
San Diego Ship Modelers Guild
Nautical Research Guild

 
Current Build:
Continental Sloop PROVIDENCE
Continental Gunboat PHILADELPHIA (1/2" Scale Model Shipways Kit)
Colonial Schooner SULTANA (scratch from Model Expo Plans)


On Hold:
Colonial Pinnace VIRGINIA (1607)(scratch)
18th Century Longboat (Model Expo Kit)
 
Completed:
Missouri Riverboat FAR WEST (1876) Scratch
1776 Gunboat PHILADELPHIA (Scratch 1/4 scale-Model Shipways plans)


#32
Landlubber Mike

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Agree with Doc Blake here - my dyed Pear with Fiebings on Confederacy has looked great for its 7 years - its all top coated with Danish Oil.  I cant even comprehend the thought of trying to plank a bluff bowed ship like the Morgan with Ebony....

Ebony is very flexible at 0.5-0.7mm thickness.


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Mike

 

Current builds:  Amati/Victory Pegasus  MS Charles W. Morgan  Euromodel La Renommèe

 

Completed builds :  Caldercraft Brig Badger   Amati Hannah - Ship in Bottle

 

Terminated build:  HMS Lyme (based on Corel Unicorn)  

 

On the shelf:  Euromodel Friedrich Wilhelm zu Pferde

 

Future scratch builds:  HMS Lyme (from NMM plans); Le Gros Ventre (from Ancre monographs)


#33
Dan G.

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as others have mentioned, exotic wood dust can be a real issue.  I make a lot of knife handles and have experienced blisters in my nose from sanding cocobolo, rosewood, bubinga, paduak, ,etc.  Even when wearing a dust mask, just enough dust/oil gets by the seal around the face to cause the problem.  Everyone has a different level of "allergic" reaction and I've found I'm pretty sensitive. I've had to put the shop vac's nozzle right up to the piece being sanded to prevent problems.  However, I'm not allergic to my wife's cats...darn!


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#34
DocBlake

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Chuck:  I've used Trans-Tint in the past.  It generally works well.  The only drawbacks are :  1)  It is water or alcohol soluble, so application on wood can raise the grain, especially with soft woods like pine or basswood.  2)  It's a concentrate, so you add a drop at a time until you get the shade you wand.  That makes it impossible to exactly duplicate a batch after you use it up (varying size of each drop, etc.) so mix up enough beforehand to finish the job!


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