Jump to content
Gerarddm

Question about Madrona wood

Recommended Posts

Is Madrona a good wood to use for plank-on-frame models? It is not mentioned in any of my books. It is native to the Pacific Northwest in the US.

 

I have used it for my art boxes, and it handles and machines very well, having little to no grain to speak of with a nice creamy color. It occurred to me it might make a decent alternative to Pear or Boxwood.

Any advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never heard of Madrona, but if little or no grain, works well and isn't too brittle, it should be fine for model making.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah... Madrone not Madrona.

 

The problem is it's tough to find straight pieces and it requires a very slow, controlled drying process.  If you can find some good Madrone, go for it.  I had two small pieces I got from a friends tree and it's very nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have used Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) and it is very nice for carving. No pores, polishes very smooth, and finishes with True Oil (purified linseed oil) in a beautiful color that looks like honey you could dip your finger into. It does have annual growth rings that are quite apparent. It doesn't chip or fuzz when carving it. It has been compared to European pear, and is possibly superior.

Madrone.jpg.73a9fbfd3e6a9134212f8dd852ce0903.jpg

However, as said above, it is very difficult to dry. Large pieces split radially along the grain the full length. I have never tried working with long thin strips so I don't know if it is brittle and prone to splitting.

 

It has a few distinctive features. The bark is very smooth and thin, like deep red paper, and it peels off every year, leaving pale green limbs and trunks that start a new growth of bark every spring. It produces many pale whitish-green flowers at the very top - you usually can't see them from the ground, but from a distance a hillside with many madrones may look white as if it was covered with snow. It also produces a lot of bright red seed pods.

 

I got my pieces out of clearcuts in nearby forests. Foresters/loggers try to eliminate the madrone because it is a non-commercial "weed" species. Some of it is cut for firewood but most is burned on site or left to rot. Fortunately, the US Forest Service has a practice of trying to maintain a viable population of all native species so it probably won't become extinct. There are a few giant madrones (5 feet/1.5 meters diameter) in some natural reserves near my home, but most of what we have now is 1 foot/0.3 meters or less diameter.

 

Consequently, there aren't many commercial sources and it is relatively expensive - $30 to $40 per board foot (12x12x1 inch/30.48x30.48x2.54 cm).

Edited by Dr PR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Madrone, madrona, either is acceptable usage according to Wiki. And then there's the Madrona section of Seattle. 😉

 

I have a couple of well-dried chunks of the stuff, I need to cut it open and see if the splits have rendered it unusable. 

 

BTW, Edensaw Woods in Port Townsend WA supplies it in 13/16" billets, S2S1E. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talking about madrone makes me nostalgic for my native Northern California, where it is common in mixed forests with redwoods and Douglas fir. It's a highly-esteemed fuel for homes with wood heating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked into Madrone as a framing wood.  I am on the wrong side of the continent for the cost to be reasonable - the shipping cost is absurd.

I found a source that has solved the drying problem and uses kiln settings that produces usable timber:  Sustainable Northwest Wood

If I lived near Portland OR  I would pay them a visit and pick over their stock for the color and grain.  They have 4x4 and 8x4 by 8' on hand. 

They sell it for flooring and furniture use. 

The Wood Database information for Madrone reads like it would be excellent for hull fabrication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

About us

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research

SSL Secured

Your security is important for us so this Website is SSL-Secured

NRG Mailing Address

Nautical Research Guild
237 South Lincoln Street
Westmont IL, 60559-1917

About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

Our Emblem

Modelshipworld - Advancing Ship Modeling through Research
×
×
  • Create New...