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That's an awfully nice looking deck, and personally one I would be very happy with as is. That's probably not helpful though. 


Have you applied any finish to it so far? If so, I expect that would have to be removed/ sanded out first. Do experiments off model of course, but you might find tung oil would make the colors and the seams a little darker and richer. 

Edited by whitejamest
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Your choices will depend on your goals and focus. 

From an academic and historical focus and in the realm of wooden sail ,  weathering and "pop" are factors to be avoided.

Glue a series of three or more short strakes of your planking material to a flat piece of scrap as test subjects.

After giving the deck a light scrapping using something like a sharp high quality single edge razor blade and a light 91% alcohol swab,

a coat of 1/2 strength clear shellac (or if you "really" want it darker- garnet shellac).  When dry, a Scotch Brite rub down and a tack rag. 

0000 steel wool works the surface as desired, but the steel fibers that are shed are prone to oxidation and staining the wood and they very difficult to completely remove to avoid this..

Stop here or follow with a rub on coat of full strength.

Make that all of the glue on parts ( hatch comings, bitts, deck houses, etc. are either in place, or their bonding surfaces are masked after scrapping and before the shellac.


If you intend to continue with a follow on ship model,  you might read this post Looking for the Correct Sequence and Terminology for Deck Plank Butt Shift

It is a discussion and not a definitive "answer to it" but it servers as a gateway to the deeper aspects hovering over all this.

Edited by Jaager
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Thanks for the input everyone!


I definitely did not want a weathered look, but was hoping to darken the seams to get the look of caulking. This is my first wooden ship model, and _after_ I installed the deck planking I found a tip about rubbing the sides of the planks with pencil lead before gluing them down.


There is one light coat of wipe-on poly which does produce a very slight amber tint, but the lighting was poor in this photo and it is no where near as yellow as this pic makes it appear.


I was thinking a dark wash of some sort might darken the seams a bit.

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I'm not sure you can do the caulking at this point.  Most of us use a #2 pencil or an old black felt tip pen on one edge of the plank.  Many lay in construction paper or even thinner paper.  Or... we don't it at all.  

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I DONT SUGGEST YOU DO THIS But if you are really after getting a caulked look run a blade - or i use a thin feeler gauge along the joins and  any finish over that will show the joins better  - but your hand would need to be MUCH steadier than mine to do that !!!

Leave it  -its a nice job - and next time ..

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