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I have searched MSW on stains for wood but not sure which way to go 

I have seen completed boats that were stained and I was some and impressed with the finish but it wasn't a realistic finish .

Some posts I have seen completed used a poly stains from MinWax and I was also impressed but other suggestions were Tung or Linseed oil .

My experience is with a few Midwest kits but come from a plastic modeling background 

Edited by kuya
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Hi Kuya,

judging by your post I am assuming Enlish is not your first language?

As I read it you are asking our opinion on staining wood?


If you want to have the wood resemble (= look like) the woods used in the construction at the time, you need to think about what each wood looks like when freshly cut, but also what it looks like after so many months at sea.  There will be a marked (= important) difference.  Freshly cut wood is lighter in colour, while wood that has been exposed to salty sea are will look darker and more grey in colour.


If you want to stain your wood for visual appearance, than artistic sensitivity (or feel) is more important than attempting to get the correct hue (= shade of colour).


For each option, trying different stains out on bits of spare wood will allow you to see how the stain reacts to the wood (= what is the exact colour). 

You may have to mix stains to get the exact colour you are wanting.  Leave the stain to dry for a few days - my experience is that some stains have a slightly different look after a few days (expecially if they get exposed to sunlight).

The same with using things like Miniwax.  Try it out on scrap wood. then you can make up your mind as to what you like most.


Hope this helps.


Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam

Slainte gu mhath


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Just to clarify your question, kuya, are you trying to mimic the finish on actual vessels? If so, what era and type of vessel?

Sorry for my English still in learning phase.

Yes I'm trying to duplicate a realistic finish, But being a plastic modeler we try to achieve realism with dry brush , washes and so on

What I see in wooden ships modeling usually is a factory fresh build, not a bad thing but I'm trying to duplicate a realistic grain finish and not furniture quality .

So I searched for a step to step process and what product was used and final completion then I would have some direction but found nothing.


The era I enjoy and now living in Massachusetts with having some great history in whaling era

and a recent trip to Mystic CT was fantastic. 

Edited by kuya
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Like many other things in ship modeling, much of this is a matter of opinion, and it depends on what you are modeling and what you are trying to accomplish.


Some modelers and even some museums prefer a natural wood finish. An expert in this type of modeling was Harold Hahn. See examples of his models elsewhere on this forum. He, however, was modeling ships a certain period (2nd half of 18th Century) and he used first class woods- boxwood, pear, holly and sometimes ebony. With these high quality woods, he did not have to stain, the woods could be left in their natural colors. He was also trying to achieve an artistic representation of these vessels, not their exact appearance. Also, These dense, tight grained woods can be very difficult to stain.


In my opinion, many of the models built from kits that furnish species of wood with oversized grain appearance would be better off painted. Also as you move from the 18th to the 19th century, I think that models of this period look much better painted in realistic colors. American working craft in particular look better to me painted.


Roger Pellett

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