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General / organisation of wood

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Hi there,

 

I went through the topics of the board and saw that there are general issues in getting the right wood for building your ship model. My recommendation is to go to your local carpenter and see what kind of wood he is using in his daily work and which comes from the area you life. You can spend a lot of money in ordering wood via a retailer and get a glossy and nicely wrapped material. I believe that the beauty lie's in a non perfect wood.

 

All of the woods I use are mainly out of the area where I live: Swiss pear, cubed pear, walnut, plum, boxwood (mainly from old graveyards) and many more. On the pictures which are attached you can see three different kinds of wood: Swiss pear, boxwood (approx. 450 years old) and Argentina Lapacho which I got from a turist who visited my Museum (e.g. the Lion is made from this wood).

 

What are your suggestions?

 

Best regards,

Ivan

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Stoyne, janos, BANYAN and 6 others like this

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nice work.  In many areas pear and fruit woods in general are hard to come by.  However I have found that many woods that a woodworker would reject can be great for model building.  I read an article years ago by a gentleman that regularly visits the green waste facility at his local trash dump.  He wrote that he finds many pieces of wood that work very well but are not in general use.  Pyracantha was one he mentioned and star fruit was another.  Star fruit is a tropical species so I assume he was down in south Florida or some other warm place.  The point of his article is to not rely on the conventional wisdom and experiment with what ever you can find.  From personal experiance I can say that gardenia and dogwood are both good sources for hard, close grained wood.  Neither gets very big but you don't usually need large pieces for model building.

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Following my last post attached some pictures of the wood I will use for my next project. My experience regarding the box tree is that there exist only a white and a black box tree (colored bark). Sometimes they sell lemon tree or wild orange tree as box tree. In the attached pictures you can see the box tree which I will use. The pictures of the woods have been made here locally at the Lake Constance. If someone have specific questions he can contact me directly.

Best regards. Ivan

 

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Box tree which is over 160 years old
 
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Part of the Box tree
 
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A black Box tree
 
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A white Box tree
 
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Prepared Box tree
 
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Prepared Box tree

 

 

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Prepared Box tree

 

 

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Prepared Box tree
 

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Prepared Box tree

 

 
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Prepared Box tree and Elder

 

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Elder

 

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Prepared Hawthorn

 

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Prepared Hawthorn

 

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Prepared Hawthorn

 

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White Box tree

 

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Hawthorn bark

 

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Red beech

 

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Swiss pear
 

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Original plan as basis for the model ship 

 

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Original plan as basis for the model ship 

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Edited by merchen

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Ich bin etwas enttäuscht über die Interesse von den Schiffsmodellbauern!

Ich habe erwartet, dass mehr Anfragen und Diskussionen über die Holzarten, über die Werkzeuge und über die Technik wie das Holz bearbeitet werden soll, kommen wird?!

 

Zu den Bildern:

Der schwarze Puttenkopf ist aus Bruerée-Holz geschnizt, das Schild mit dem Löwen ist aus einem Buchsbaum geschnitzt, das 450 Jahre alt war. Und dieser Buchsbaum ist nicht weit weg von meinem Hause gewachsen.

 

Ich freue mich über jegliche Kommentare und Anfragen!

 

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Vielen Dank fuer die Bilder!

Bitte schreiben Sie auf Englisch, als meisten Personnen nicht Deutsch verstehen.

 

Thank you for the pictures.

Please write in English as most people do not understand German.

 

The carvings are extraordinary, almost beyond belief.  WOW~!

 

Duff

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Because you do need hell lot of big, expensive and otherwise useless tools (big bandsaw, big tablesaw, thickness sander). Not everybody have a workshop ;)

What is the use for that tools after you finally cut your very local tree into pieces? They will just collect dust.

 

While a perfect quality wood is just a few clicks away. It is smooth, has no defects and do not require any tools to start using it.  You only need a small tools that you need for actual modelling. 

Actual wood selection is frequently done by reading others build logs, and thinking "wow, I also want a wood like that". 

So instead of saying "swiss pear" or "holly" one can say "that white crisp wood I saw in Remco's buildlog", but it will cause some confusion, isn't it?

 

If a lot of people are willing to pay for "pear,box and holly" instead of buying big tools to cut the wood themselves - that only means that they are not smart enough, and not making a rational choices, of course. And not a real builders, obviously. It is just like building a lego bricks, if you do not cut your own wood out of the log.

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Hi Merchen: I have just recently found this topic and I can say I am really impressed with your wood supply. I would like to ask what the history is on that boat and even the table it is sitting on. The boat is absolutely beautiful and the carvings are fantastic are these something you have made? 

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Daves makes the critical point: harvesting one's own wood does not mean one is a better builder or carver.   It does increase one's control of the medium, and increases one's option by getting non commercial wood.

 

I harvest dogwood here in Connecticut because it is a very good wood for model ships and other objects, it is common here, non woodworkers use it for firewood or throw it away so it is free for the asking, and it is very difficult to buy from the usual suppliers.  Since some else already cut it, I do not need a chain saw.  I hand saw the logs into 18" pieces, coat the ends with parafin, stack them in my shop for 3 or 4 years, then saw them into billets with my 14" band saw. I like doing this.  

 

Some day my building skill may increase to the level of Hahn, Ronnberg, Froelich,  Anrscherl/Herbert, Tossti, McArdle, Hoving, Napier and many others.  I doubt I will attain the level of McNarry or McCafery.  But all these Gentlemen have taken the time to share their knowledge by writing books that outline what and how they created their beautiful works of art.  They and others have given me inspiration, hope and a drive to at least try.  

 

The point is not how we get our wood, but how we create our master pieces.  There are many paths to this and as artists we choose the paths.  

 

Keep building, and above all, have fun~!                     Duff

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For city dwellers, a possible source of stock lumber = your local tree service companies.  I think the wood is mostly junk to them, something they have to dispose of.  You may be able to get some interesting stock for little or no cost.

Edited by Jaager
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The concept of harvesting, curing and shaping of ones own wood is very admirable for those who have this ability and there are many rewards for doing so. First there is the knowledge which is gained concerning the different woods as to properties such as grain and other attraibutes. Second is the total start to end story which can be related to the finished product. As for the tools they are the  choice of the modeler based on ones budget.

 

There are those who order, receive, and create models and those who truly start from scratch.

 

I feel that both approaches should be applauded for they  have a basic goal and that is to produce a finished product which represents their labor of love.

 

Dan

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So I'll go one step further for those that still seem to think that I should 'collect my own wood' rather than purchasing what I need. 

 

I have exactly zero interest in doing that.  I like building models.  I have no interest in acquiring the large tools needed to break down the parts of a tree into piles of wood that have to sit in storage for years before I can use it for modeling ships.  

This is a hobby that I enjoy, and wood harvesting, cutting, and aging is not a hobby that I have an interest in.

 

For some people those are two facets of the same hobby.  For me, that's like telling someone who makes plastic models that they need to make their own plastic and pour their own molds.  It's two completely separate hobbies that just happen to flow one into the other, and in my case (and I'm sure the vast majority of ship modelers) that first hobby just isn't an interest for me.

 

If you think that my models are 'flat' or not 'artistic' or whatever because of that, well, that's perfectly fine, because I'm not building my models for you, I'm building my models for me, and I'm perfectly fine with buying my 'fake' boxwood or whatever else I deem to look nice for the model that I'm building.

Edited by GuntherMT

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I understand your point so this topic is of no interest to you it is not a debate on how a model is built from collected wood or pre milled wood. This is a topic for those interested in collecting wood and processing it. Thank you for your input and your point of view,  but it does not apply here.

 

 

I'm glad you know what topics are of interest to me on an internet forum.  

 

You might also notice that I did not add anything to this thread until it left the topic as you list it above, and went into the "why doesn't everyone else do it this way" area, with more than a little bit of derision implied for those who are foolish enough to simply buy their wood to build a model, and the implication that their work will never "stand out", or they aren't an "artist".

 

I was simply providing some input from the (apparently) non-artistic side.  I'll go back to building my ugly boats out of lego bricks now.

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Wood is such a precious commodity which comes in all shapes sizes and species from the simpilest bounty of pine to the rare Huanghuali.

 

What is done with these woods is in the eyes and mind of the beholder.

 

To look at something in its raw state and see the beauty of a finished piece is truly a God given talent for which we are not all blessed, I included, but it does not mean that I am incapable of appreciating the their artistry. 

 

Every piece of wood which I have for modeling has come from a kit or supplier but this does not mean that i have to defend my source of aquisition nor will I do so.

 

Dan

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Hi there,

 

I went through the topics of the board and saw that there are general issues in getting the right wood for building your ship model. My recommendation is to go to your local carpenter and see what kind of wood he is using in his daily work and which comes from the area you life. You can spend a lot of money in ordering wood via a retailer and get a glossy and nicely wrapped material. I believe that the beauty lie's in a non perfect wood.

 

All of the woods I use are mainly out of the area where I live: Swiss pear, cubed pear, walnut, plum, boxwood (mainly from old graveyards) and many more. On the pictures which are attached you can see three different kinds of wood: Swiss pear, boxwood (approx. 450 years old) and Argentina Lapacho which I got from a turist who visited my Museum (e.g. the Lion is made from this wood).

 

What are your suggestions?

Ivan I have just finished reading through this whole thread, and the side comments about why different people choose to use the woods they do. so to bring us back to your question.

 

You ask what are our suggestions.

 

As has been pointed out by a few, woods vary a great deal depending on where they grow.

You make the point that you use Swiss pear, boxwood, walnut which grow near you. we are not all so lucky to have dense fine hardwoods growing locally.

 

With respect to visiting the local carpenter to see the sorts of woods he uses. Where I live the local carpenters throw spruce and fir 2x4's together to build houses as fast as they can before the wood winds into a propeller. Fine cabinet work is of the plywood and moulding attached variety. There are a couple of hardwood stores that sells rough lumber in the city 50 miles away.

 

I just happen to like processing my own wood and have been doing so for 40 years, and also salvage old furniture when the wood is appropriate for a project. My local woods i.e. native ones are Aspen, Hawthorn, Pin Cherries, Saskatoon berry, Poplar, Birch, Willow, Spruce. Lodge-pole Pine. imported or non local varieties include Caragana, Lilacs, Apples, Mountain Ash, Elm, the non local varieties are generally not readily available unless you happen to be where some pruning is happening.

 

I particularly like the color and density of the wood from white lilac, I pruned a 4 inch tree 30 years ago and am still using small pieces from it.

sometimes I find a particularly dense piece of Spruce or Fir, these are generally from areas that are high altitude and very slow growing or starved for water.

 

Michael

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Thank you for all your replies. I am glad that this topic is of interest. Maybe there is a misunderstanding. I do not cut by myself the trees and are waiting till I can use it. 

 

Meanwhile I have a good network of carpenters, furniture producers, lumber mills and farmers around my village. They know me and my work and are proactively offering me their material. Furthermore I use the wood of old furniture as source for my models. I rarely use exotic wood from other countries and never ordered something via internet. Why should I, when everything is around me. 

 

Usually I get a whole branch which I can cut with my band-saw or by hand. And of course, sometimes the carpenter in our village is cutting it in the sizes I need. You do not need that much large tools.

 

 

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This is my most important tools preparing the wood

 

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This my favorite knife to grave cherry stone

 

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Here you can see how I work with the cherry stone

 

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A finished antic with more material to use

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Merchen

 

Most interesting, and very fine work.

 

Thank you for including the photo of yourself holding the knife with the handle resting on your shoulder.

 

Looks like it helps steady the tool for the small, precise carving you do.

 

Richard

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An alle Bekannte und Freunde in diesem Forum, ich lade euch herzlich ein am Freitag, dem 03. Juni um 18.00 Uhr zum Stapellauf vom neuen Modell, dem Maerchenschiff. Dieses Modell wird ab diesem Tag zu der Sammlung im Msueum mit ausgestellt.

 

Wer Zeit und Moeglichkeit hat, dabei zu sein, wird sehr herzlich begruesst.

Das wird ein Spektakel der Superlative dieses Jahrhunderts!!!

 

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Google translates Merchen's last post to:

 

"To all friends and acquaintances in this forum , I invite you cordially on Friday , June 03 at 18.00 for launching the new model , the Maerchenschiff . This model is issued to the collection in Msueum from this tag.

Who has time and opportunity to be there , is warmly welcomed .

This is a spectacle of superlatives this century !!!"

 

 

The translation looks like it needs a little work, but the model is absolutely exquisite!  What is the scale, or overall length of the model?

 

Thanks for sharing your work,

 

Richard

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Merchen

 

Last year you complained that there were very few responses to your post.  Most members probably see your German post and tune out immediately as they do not want to take the time to start getting a translation,  which you should be doing.

 

Regardless, the work is remarkable and a joy to see.   Can you post (in English please) more about the tools and methods that you use  Seeing the finished work is great, but many of us are interested in learning how to do this and showing your tools and methods would be very welcome and much appreciated.

 

Thank you for sharing

 

Allan

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Hi there,

 

coming back to the question of Allan.

Some of my tools I created myself or used existing and individualized them for my needs. Larger tools or specific tools I order from fischer-pforzheim.de (specialized on watchmaker and goldsmith tools).

 

Think it would be quite a challenge to write down the process and methods how I carve the figures and build the ships. Could do some short movies and upload it on YouTube. Nevertheless everyone is also invited to visit me here in Germany so that I can give some advice and watch me working on my newest ship model (Funurela Gondola). 

 

Best regards,

Ivan

 

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Greetings Merchen;

 

Thank you for posting the pictures of your model.  She is a fantastic-looking vessel.  Is she your own design,  or is she based on an illustration somewhere? The carvings are beautifully executed,  and the overall impression is really eye-catching.  I could spend a long time looking at your model,  and admiring the quality of the work.

 

I am also greatly impressed by the size of the knife you use,  and the idea of using cherry stones as raw material. 

 

Could you tell me where I might be able to find the picture you posted last year,  the engraved views of a vessel which seems to have been part of the basis for your design.  This is in post number 3,  the one with all the pictures of box trees and planks,  etc. 

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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Merchen, That is truly remarkable, to come visit and watch you create these beautiful works of art would be inspiring. The only problem would be is getting me to leave :). What part of Germany do you live?

Take Care and please keep posting

Edited by donrobinson
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Your choice of ship modeling subjects certainly showcases your extraordinary carving talents, Ivan. I wonder if our readers are aware of the beautiful book published featuring your ship models or you website?

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Your choice of ship modeling subjects certainly showcases your extraordinary carving talents, Ivan. I wonder if our readers are aware of the beautiful book published featuring your ship models or you website?

 

Book?  Website?  Do tell.... 

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