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Worthwhile to Replace Kit Wood on Painted Model?

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I have a couple of Model Shipways kits that are all basswood.  (Niagara and Glad Tidings.)

The hulls will be painted, they are single planked.

Is there any advantage to replacing the wood that is to be painted with something else such as Alaskan cedar or Swiss pear?

Will proper priming/sealing/sanding make up for the "stringy" look of the basswood?

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With proper attention to priming and fine sanding, I am pretty sure that you can get a base for your finish coats that

can look as though you are painting over glass if you wish to go that far.  Before you do that though, given that you

are asking the question, you should do the boring, nerdy, and teachers pet thing of practicing on scrap wood first - a lot.

Even to the point of getting some additional Basswood planking size material and gluing it planking style on a flat piece of scrap plywood.

If your practiced priming and painting result on that is acceptable, then use that on the hull.


I would not use exotic or expensive wood species, that are best used natural or dyed, as a base for a painted finish.  If you were in the

Pacific Northwest and could get the Cedar from a local mill, it might be cost effective.  Since you are in Arkansas, the commercial

species from your region that have the tight grain and closed pore traits that you need and come as veneer include Black Cherry and Hard Maple.

It is a crime to cover up Cherry, so that leaves Maple.  While Maple is certainly suitable in a natural state, it is light colored.  But it is also on

the low end of cost.  I looked and you seem to be in a desert as far as walking into a local WoodCraft and pulling a pack of veneer off the shelf.


Your kits are POB, planked with Basswood, and with the wide spacing of the molds, you can get a smooth hollow free hull with a single layer?

You might could consider covering the Basswood layer with a second layer of the thinnest Hard Maple veneer to be had.  The planks can be 

spilled using a steel straight edge and a #11 blade or knife with a similar shape.  With the Maple, you can go much lighter on the priming and

have a finish that looks like there is scale wood underneath. You could also experiment with using a black dye or India ink on the Maple and

clear finishing that.  If you copper the bottom, given that copper sheeting is already thicker than scale, over the primary Basswood planking,

you might could do an intermediate layer of bond paper, under the copper, to shim it out to match up to the Maple veneer.

Edited by Jaager
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good advice and will be interesting to do some experimentation.


Woods harvested here in commercial quantities are bald cypress, red and white oak, Eastern cedar, hickory, and pine.  Occasionally a cherry, maple, locust, black walnut, pecan, etc.  Have made some small tables from the red cedar.  It is very prone to splitting, pilot holes are a must for wood screws.  


So far have only done double planked models.  First layer using the simplified method that Mr. Mastini describes in his book where planks going down to a sliver are allowed; second layer making an attempt at scale planking using stealers and drop planks.


Doing a second layer of veneer and covering up any filler putty most certainly sounds like a good idea.

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Of your local wood species, only Cherry and Maple would interest me.  Black Walnut is a beautiful wood,

but it is open pore.  If the part is totally hidden, Oak, Hickory, Walnut, and Pecan are hard enough and tight enough.

I got some rough 2" stock from a local guy who sourced an estate sale.  I got a lot of Maple, but I also 

bought a bit of what I thought was Cherry.  It is actually Elm, I think, not sure of the species. Great color,

grain contrast is more than I like and it is moderately open pore.

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