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I have a kit still in the box that I am thinking about duplicating. I would like to use choice wood and just trace and copy the original exactly. Can anyone tell me the best choices of wood to use for each part? What would be your dream wood for the keel? What would be your top choice for the bulkheads etc..I just want to make an exact copy of the kit , but use the best wood possible is what I’m getting at. The kit I want to duplicate is the Drakkar Viking ship by Amati . Thank you so very much.

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For the framework, if you wanted to use plywood, then aircraft grade ply such as Baltic birch is a good choice. It has a lot of plys and few very voids in the plys. It will be stable and should not warp or twist much. 


You can always use basswood or poplar if you are going to paint the model. No sense using a fruit or nut wood only to cover it with paint.


If you are going with a natural finish, then cherry can be quite attractive, especially if you use the heart wood which is darker than the outer sap wood. Boxwood is a good choice also. In fact, any fruit or nut wood will have good working characteristics for scale modeling. 



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First decide what you want the finished model to look like.  Your artistic vision should determine your wood selections.  The original ship was probably treated with a preservative like pine tar.  If you are trying to reproduce this look choose a wood that will take a dark stain or choose a wood that gives an impression of the color.  Cherry or Swiss Pear come to mind.

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The tight grained fruitwoods like cherry, apple, and pear as well as the classic boxwood can be difficult to stain.  Ordinary oil based stains sold in hardware and home improvement stores are pigments suspended in oil, and often do not penetrate the wood well.  I have had much better luck with analine dye stains.  These are sold by specialty woodworking businesses and come in small bottles.  To use, a small amount is mixed with either water or alcohol.  A bottle goes a long way.  Don’t worry too much about the name instead look at a color chart.  I have some “Colonial Maple”. That can yield light to quite dark results depending on concentration.



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I use dye stains. It's what guitar makers use because there are no pigment blobs, it doesn't obscure their fancy 5A bookmatched flame maple tops.


So go to Luthiers Mercantile Internationale. I recommend alcohol-based as that means no raised grain of the water-based. Get the 6 color set plus maybe a few other browns, with those you can mix anything you like and that supply is enough to last many, many ship models.

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On 2/24/2019 at 7:08 AM, irishrover1970 said:

Very interesting Vossiewulf. I looked at your link and this stuff sounds like a great idea. Do you mix it with  lacquer ? Or how do you use this? 

What Roger said except I don't generally let it sit on, I wipe on, clean dry cloth wipe off. Repeat as necessary. Although it looks like it penetrates deeply, it generally does not, and therefore another nice thing about dyes is that if you screw up and don't like the color, grab a piece of sandpaper and it's gone very shortly and you can try again.


Get some mason jars. When you mix a color, you'll never use it all and there's no reason to throw it away, put it in a mason jar, label it, and use it again later. I always mix up enough to fill up a small mason jar, doing that you rapidly build up a library of stain colors and the cost is just a bit of denatured alcohol.


This is just a plain old piece of maple, see how dyes enhance the grain rather than obscure it:


Edited by vossiewulf
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