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help staining masts and spars - moved by moderator

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There will be a lot of different suggestions. I have had good results using a pre stain conditioner right before I stain. If it is any kind of soft wood, it will have some areas that will absorb more stain than other areas, leaving you with a blotchy appearance. The pre stain conditioner is colorless and will soak in and provide for a more even distribution of the stain so that the finish will be more uniform. I use Minwax pre stain conditioner and then their oil based stains.


Hope this helps.



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I also agree with Russ on staining softwood dowel its very hit and miss, had no end of issues trying to stain a birch dowel, I gave up and painted it instead







Current build Trumpeter Arizona 1:200 with White Ensign PE and a Nautilus Wooden Deck.

Built Caldercraft Convulsion, HM Brig Badger and HMS Snake.

Awaiting - Zvelda HMS Dreadnought planning to get the Pontos Deck and PE Upgrades, Panart 1:23 Gun deck model and couple of the cannon kits Manatu - French siege mortar, and American coastal cannon.

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Janet, Norman's spot on with birch dowels. Even if you use conditioner or etc. with birch, it still is very hit or miss. I recently had some birch dowels that I conditioned and then stained--they came out blotchy and looked awful, so I painted over these. If your kit has birch dowels that you want to stain, you may want to use a different hardwood. Since you're in the UK, Cornwall Boats will be an excellent resource for replacement dowels.



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In case of paint: waterbased paints tend to raise the fibers. So, painting is also not without "danger"...

However, I got a reasonable result using a diluted waterbased acrylic paint, giving it a light sanding after drying, and afterwards repeating the pint (sagain dluted).

The first coat of paint tended to keep most fibers in place, the second coat of paint was needed to staint the uncoloured spots due to sanding down unwilling fibers. As you need more coats of paint, some testing is needed.




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Thanks guys for all your help. I have already made all of the masts for my A-L Red Dragon ,i have decided to paint them

i have spent many hours building this boat and have included many alterations because i wanted to practise as many

different methods as i could. I have not heard of Minwax pre stain over here in U-K sounds interesting,hope to post photos

but i am not sure how to go about this .


                                                    By for now Janet b

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Yesterday I stained the masts for the Lobster boat, 3 birch ones.  The Boom and the Gaff look great but the main mast unfortunately looks terrible.  Of course the most important one would be the problem!  Luckily it's only the top 1/3 so I will be grabbing the paint brush tonight!



"I drank what?" - Socrates


Current Builds:  


Finished Builds: 


Future Builds:        

  • Mamoli Golden Hind
  • Mamoli Black Prince
  • AL Swift


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If you want to add photos to your post then next to the "Post" button below the text area there is a "More Reply Options" button. Select this and an Attach Files option appears at the bottom of the text window with a "Choose Files" button. Click on this and you will be able to submit some photo files (keep it below 2MB per submission). One icon per submitted file will appear in the Attach Files area. You will notice that against each icon there is an "Add to Post" and "Delete". Position the cursor in you text where you want the photo to appear then click on "Add to Post". (If you don't do this last action the photos appear as thumbnails at the end of your posting).


You will also notice at this point that the pictures only appear as a name in the text box. If you want to see what your photos look like in the text before publishing then hit the "Preview Button" just below the text box.  


It would be interesting to see how you are getting on with your build so it would be great if you started a build log in the kit build area which could include your photos. There is a posting about how to go about this at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/53-before-you-post-your-build-log-please-read-this-starting-and-naming-your-build-log/


Hope this helps.



Ian M.


Current build: HMS Unicorn  (1748) - Corel Kit


Advice from my Grandfather to me. The only people who don't make mistakes are those who stand back and watch. The trick is not to repeat the error. 

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