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What is the Best Wood in bending for hull planking

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I have just finished by first build (HMS Bounty - not perfect but learned a lot  and will do better on this next build) and have started my second build the San Ildefonso.  When planking the hull for the Bounty, I used the wood strips provided in the kit which were Saplli.  It was difficult to bend the Saplli and the San Ildefonso kit also has Saplli for planking the hull.  Is there a better wood for hull planking that is easier to bend but still has a good look? 

thanks for the help.





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Since, no one seems to want to touch this;


It is not a contest or a race.  These is no "best". 


I prefer hard, closed pore, tight grain, low contrast. 

If I have looked up the correct species in the data base, what you were provided in the kit would be high on my reject list.

The exact species depends-  what color?, what scale?,  bare wood or painted? 

can you mill your own wood? 

You do not list your location.

I think a locally available species is more cost effective.  This is especially true for framing stock. 

A full size 1st rate took a forest to build it.  A model of one can require a lot of wood - especially 1:72 or larger.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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Sappelli (I think there's 10 or 20 ways to spell it) is, as Jaager says, not a great wood.  It can be worked with heat and steam/water (lots of ways people use).  The biggest problem with any kit wood though is they don't usually get the wood cut parallel to the grain so it splits and breaks. 

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



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To me, the best choices are easy, Castello boxwood and Swiss pear, the primary deciding factor being which color you like better. Although I haven't used the latter, I've watched Kortes bending it about into noodles with steam on his Dutch boier model, and it's a preferred wood of many builders. The only downside is that both are relatively expensive. Look at Crown Timberyard.

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Thank all of you for taking time to answer my question.



very helpful tip and thank you for the URL for Crown Timberyard. I want the best wood available for the hull of the San Ildefonso ( she is a large model and I want to showcase the hull planking) and cost is not a problem. Since you mentioned Swiss pear, I did some research and found that it might be a great fit for my model. Much nicer than what the kit provided and it appears to be a wood that is easier to work.

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Similar in some ways to pear in terms of workability, but somewhat less expensive is cherry.

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