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I have the plans for the six-masted schooner Wyoming, and would like to build a half-hull model of her at 1/8"=1' scale. This will be quite large (about 43" long x 3" thick x 3 3/4" tall). I've made several solid hull kits, most of basswood, one of some sort of pine, which have turned out well, but the largest hull was only about 18" long. I have read the Half Model tutorial, and several of the forums, and am seeking advice on the proper wood (poplar seems popular) to use. I plan to paint the hull, so staining is not a consideration. 

Any suggestions?  Any concerns about warping or twisting of such a long, narrow piece?

Thanks. 

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While I have not used any I was told that wood seasoned at the bottom of fresh water for many years is the way to go. By the way, the bottom of the Great Lakes is a gold mine with such wood.

The individual who informed me of such season wood was a craftsman for a high end bamboo fly mfg. that used such wood for their high end fly rod handles from their own creek.

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50 years ago the wood of choice of professional model builders carving models for the University of Michigan's ship model towing tank (now called their Marine Hydrodynamics Lab) was "pattern makers pine."  This stuff came in beautiful, long, clear, straight grained lengths. The models towed in the tank were large- 8 or so feet long.  Today, the models are styrofoam core fiberglass made by outside contractors.

 

So what is pattern makers pine?  One Internet site that I looked at said that Northern White Pine was used for patterns.  This is the stuff being recovered from the bottom of Lake Superior near Bayfield WI.  Living in Maine and Illinois you should be able to find some at a small mill.

 

The other possibility would be western Sugar Pine.  Our local Menards store has been carrying some nice 5/4 lumber that I believe is sugar pine.

 

The preferred way to build a large solid hull is from laminations to minimize chances for warping and cracking.

 

Roger

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

I wound up using poplar obtained at a local woodcraft shop, primarily because it was readily available, dry, square, and the thickness (1/2") was same as the waterline spacing on the drawings. It works quite well with hand tools. I think it turned out OK. I think because of the many layers in the glue-up it will be pretty stable. When I mounted it on the oak backboard, I secured with wood screws, but used slotted holes to allow for any differential expansion between the model and backboard. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have used sugar pine and it is a delight to work with if you can find it. Try the west coast lumber suppliers for musical instruments. If you can afford it mahogany carves beautifully as well and is quite stable. It too was used by pattern makers.

 

Joe

Edited by Thistle17
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I had another though,t although I have never used it. I just received a sheet of Alaskan Yellow Cedar. It is beautiful with little to no grain and seems to be another candidate for carving. I would imagine it can be purchased in billets. You might query Wood Project Source (Roman) as to availability.

Joe

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