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This is the hardest decision yet.  Which woods go good together for an unpainted model? I was thinking mabye a holly deck with boxwood hull above the wales, or does pear look good costello boxwood. After i realised how expensive those woods are I found maple and like it.  but a maple deck goes good with what for the hull? ( it would be for the AL 1:48 Surprise, huge and alot of wood, the kit supplies sapele for the hull below the wales, everything else is basswood)  I don't know I guess im just brain storming outloud.

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Why would you want to substitute another wood for the Sapele? This is a beautiful wood when finished with a natural finish like clear satin poly. It's not a cheap wood either. I can see the deck wood maybe being replaced but not the Sapele. Now if this was a Model Shipways kit or one of those others that don't supply such an exotic wood I could understand it.




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Take a look at my Pegasus if you'd like to see what a maple deck looks like.  I like maple a lot - it's a very hard wood, works and finishes very nicely.  Some people prefer holly for decks because it is whiter and without grain, while maple (at least the maple I have - which I think is hard maple) has amber waves through it.  

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Thanks Doc I'm going to as soon as I'm done mowing the lawn and have time with this forum.


Mike I really like the sapele I would keep it and replace above the wales, the 2 decks and maybe even deck fittings. Syren Ship Models makes really cool grates lanterns carrages etc in boxwood. Though i have no idea yet what to replace the basswood with, or what looks good together as well as with the sapele.


Thank you Landlubber I'm going to look at that as well! Yes maple definitly...definatley...deffinitly...ugh it really catches my eye. I have maple guitars and it's beautiful! and I think its cheaper than holly too. maybe maple decks and boxwood fittings? Oh that reminds me I have ash guitars and it's lovely.  Is ash used in model shipping at all? I havent seen it yet.


look at this... this is so beautiful to me. Holly decks and costello boxwood fittings then you have the black brass that makes it pop...WOW


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Sapele is an excellent wood , finishes well I would find a use for it. I tend to use walnut, maple & mahogany for hulls, railing est.   But honestly box wood and simple basswood works great.  I don’t paint I stain and oil to get the look I want. it’s all about trial and error with different types of wood, test on scarp until you get the tone  or look you want. Everyone is different. Given all the time maybe years we spend on a build  I think it  should to reflect the builder  Have a look at my build Rattlesnake by mog,   I attempted to get a different look blending woods and stains It will give you an idea of what I have come up with using trial and error top get the right look. Also take notes on what you’re doing, so when you do find the look you can repeat it, and at some point you will always have to go back and redo something so the notes will help you get the right match.


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Hey Mog. I to don't really like painting. Wood is so beautiful I want to show off it's beauty. I'm will absolutely go check out your log right now as it sounds like you did exactly what i'm trying to do. In a perfect world i wouldn't even use stain, natural stain if anything. Oooh Good idea on the notes, it never even crossed my mind.



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Found a nice color scheme in this beautiful cross section, made by Maurys.

Darker wood above wales (looks like pear), lighter below. With a subtle colour variation where lighter pear goes lower, and darker pear is higher. Or it is just a lighting? Anyway:


Link to his build log with the rest of the photos:



Another one is Naiad by Albert. Careful mix of lighter and darker pear in the deck framing:


The full log: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/3443-hms-naiad-1797-by-albert-148

Edited by Mike Y
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When I built my Bomb Vessel cross section I used a technique called "painting with wood", where I used different spieces of wood instead of paint to achieve the same effect. Link to my build log in the signature block below if you're interested. I've described where I've used each timber spieces within the log.

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Mikey thats a beautiful cross section.  I hope i will be able to achieve somthing like that. It's perfect.


Gjdale in my head I was saying "I dont even wangt to stain, different woods are different color, can i use that concept?" I didn't think it was a thing. Then boom you told me about painting with wood! I'm going to view your log asap.


Jax I was just researching cherry actually I have a big cherry tree in my yard that is coming down in the next few weeks...I wonder.  I cant seem to like basswood at all, I dont know why though.

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If you like the grain of a wood but not the tone or color, you can always dye the wood.  Dyes penetrate deeply into the wood, unlike stains.  Dye also brings out the grain of the wood and helps make it pop.  I prefer TransTint dye because it can be mixed with water, alcohol or into a finish.


As far as finishes, I prefer nitrocellulose lacquer.  Nothing I have found brings out the beauty of the wood like NC lacquer.  One of the other benefits of NC is you can lay down several coats in a day without having to sand between coats.  A new coat of NC will melt into the previous coat.  And it can be polished to a mirror-like finish if desired.  Repairs are easy to do too.


Another trick for making grain pop is boiled linseed oil.  Wipe a coat of BLO on the wood, let it set just until it begins to dry and wipe it off.  Then seal it with dewaxed shellac and finish with whatever you prefer.  Here I used curly maple to make the neck then BLO, shellac and NC lacquer.  This picture was taken immediately after spraying.



Typically, I spray 10 coats of NC, let it de-gas (about 3-4 weeks) then wet sand and polish.



And if you like the aged look, BLO is great because it imparts a yellow tint to the wood. But it must be sealed with dewaxed shellac unless you are finishing with an oil.

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Ahoy Mates


Here's whatbasswood for the deck planks,boxwood for the hull planks and swiss pear for the gun port line planking and the lap planking on the upper hull looks like on a Mary Rose build in 1/80 looks like. I have done it in admiralty style to show down thru the decks to the main gun deck. I have the main deck cross beams in boxwood and the smaller beams in swiss pear. The finishes are a Minwax oak for stain and Testors Dulcote to seal all the surfaces.







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I don't think ash is used much because of it's pronounced grain.  It would look totally out of scale.


While we're discussing woods....  Here's my list for my current build.   I should note that I have planked a hull with cherry and it came out well.


Framing and waterways:  Cherry


Hull... Swiss Pear with ebony wales 


Keel, stem, and stern post/rudder, and all carvings and the quarter galleries:  Boxwood


Deck planking, deck beams:  Boxwood


Deck clamps:  beech


Ceiling and grating:  Silver Maple


Misc furniture:  Pear


Masting and yards... I haven't a clue yet but I'm leaning towards black yards (ebony stain) and whitish wood (silver maple or boxwood maybe?) masts

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One error and one caveat.....


The error is that my gallery drops are pear.



The caveat....


Laser cutting castello is great. Only some char and smoke that is easily cleaned off.   Engish boxwood however, seems to be oiler or something else maybe.  The char is a hard glaze that takes some work to remove.   

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