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Brian100

Using Hawthorn

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Has anybody tried using Hawthorn for modelling, according to Wikipedia it is a fine grained hard wood. The reason I am asking is that some Hawthorn trees are being heavily cut back in the area where I live and if it is alright to use I can get some logs.

Many thanks

Brian

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Brian,

 

If the hawthorns there are like in the U.S. they bear little apple fruit like  crab apple trees.  As it is a fruitwood, it may be a good wood to use as many fruitwoods such as apple and pear make great carving and other model building materials.  I hope someone has experience with this wood tpo share with you as you may have a nice store of wood available.

 

Allan

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Hi Brian, interesting question. I live in  Devon and there is an abundance of hawthorn in the

hedgerows etc. The local craft/woodworker uses hawthorn for making models of birds and

carved objects. I have not really had a good look at the objects he makes but they have a

beautiful finish. So it may be well worth grabbing some of the wood.

 

I'll try to contact the chap and ask him a bit about whether he processes the wood himself

and what finishes etc. This may be an opportunity I'm missing!

 

Best wishes, Nick

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I have been looking for a commercial source for Washington Hawthorn ever since I found out from the Mariners Museum ( Newport News, VA ) that the "white thorn" that August Crabtree used for the carvings on his collection of ship models was this species of wood.

 

In your position, I would get as much as is available and not let any go to waste.

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Jaager, I'd like to pop in here. I remember an article in Model Shipwright, probably vol 2 or so. I think it

was about 1977.

 

It was about Crabtree and that he had to source and season his own woods. The wood mentioned (again all from memory)  was Fire Thorn,

this in the UK is called Pyracantha. One of our members is an expert on plants etc. and I'm sure he can perhaps tell us any differences

in the names in the US and the UK. Pyracantha is often used as a hedge and has a wonderful red colour In the Autumn.

 

The hawthorn we are discussing is a hedgerow small tree with the most distinctive beautiful flowers in May.

 

I'm sure someone will have the original article, would be useful to see whether my memory is working still,, both age and time of night!

 

Nice to clear it up though, regards, Nick

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I thought that Pyracantha was what Crabtree used also. I collected some cuttings. It is hard and dense.  It is in the Apple family and Apple comes larger. 

I wrote to the Mariners about which species Crabtree used, and the reply sourced Washington Hawthorn as what he used.  I don't think Pyracantha is often available as large as would be useful.

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Sorry Brian if your original question has been hi-jacked a bit.

 

Jaager, I am sure  you are right regarding Pyracantha, as the problem is naming trees and

plants over continents. The pyracantha in the UK is really a climber with shiny leaves and

red berries in the Autumn.

 

I also suspect we may be confusing hawthorn as well. I had decided to be a City of London

banker in my next life, I may change that to a botanist, on the other hand......

 

Someone must have the original Model Shipwright, not that that really sorts the problem.

 

Cheers, Nick 

 

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I have Model Shipwright - up until they went bankrupt . I also have a publication of The Mariners' Museum:  The Ship Models of August F. Crabtree  John A Tilley, 1981.

 

In the description of English Royal Yacht circa 1670

"His models' encrustations of delicate carvings probably are their most distinctive features. Here again the selection of the proper wood was crucial. After a long search in his native Oregon, Crabtree discovered a species called "white thorn" which, when properly seasoned, was capable of producing the results he wanted, It has a light color and a grain so fine as to be barely visible."

 

I have never gotten hold of any Hawthorn to evaluate,  but light color and nearly invisible grain sounds like an ideal wood for our uses.  The key is how large the logs are.  If large enough, the wood should be useful for most any part of a ship.

 

Crabtree used Pear for frames and Apple for planking. 

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Thanks for the replies guys. The hawthorn I am talking about is the common hawthorn or may tree. The logs I have collected are about 2 to 3 inches diameter so I am looking at 2 years minimum seasoning time.

Brian

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We have lots of hawthorn hedgerows around Ballarat as well, and I'd been wondering whether the timber would be useful for modelling. Thanks for bringing up the subject, Brian.

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Scientific name of Washington Hawthorn is Crataegus phaenopyrum.  Tree grows to 25' or so and during the early years grows from 13" to 24" a year in good soils.  I have seen speciments in the Willamette valley of Oregon that appear to be taller than 25' and were 12" to 14" in diameter.  I don't know how old they were but assume they must have been there a long time.

Edited by grsjax

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Yep. Same as ours. It's regarded as a bit of a weed nowadays, though it was used by the early settlers for hedging paddocks (presumably to keep animals from straying) and we still have many hawthorn hedges on the roadsides at the edge of paddocks near Ballarat where I live, where they probably still do good service. 

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