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Something that is bothering me.


I see a great deal of correspondence regarding caulking the decks, various methods and preferences but nothing is said about caulking the hull planking.


Now I know,(think) that the hull planking was caulked so why is it not mentioned in the build logs? Is it because the decks were sealed with pitch (and therefore visible), and not the hull? But if that is the case what treatment did the hull have in place of pitch for sealing?


Patrick M

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Greetings Nigel,

Thanks for the reply. Given that the hull planks were caulked why then is there so little visual evidence in the many models we see here? It is no more difficult than the deck is it?

 Asking questions is my means of filling in time, and acquiring a little knowledge, until I get my, first, model kit. Hopefully in the next week or so. 

I'll probably be asking a lot in the near future.


Again thanks



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It's Captain's choice on caulking as well as everything else.  :)   I think some is stylistic choices such as dark wood for planking and then dark caulking wouldn't show up.   It can also be one of scale like treenails.  Some scales just don't look right with caulking and treenails.

"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 be honest Patrick.I really don't know.I can speak for everyone.Many modelers treenail the deck but not the hull,so a similar sort of thing.I have always been of the opinion it is a case of all or nothing.In actual fact the fixings in the hull and more than lightly the hull caulking(you can't pour tar uphill)are far more prevalent than on the deck.

You are ideally placed for a nice browse in Westbourne Model Centre.I am envious,I could spend several hours in there.Only been a few times as it is the wrong end of the country.

Kind Regards Nigel

Currently working on Royal Caroline

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I think there are couple of technical and stylistic reasons for not showing the caulking on the hulls of models.


Technically, the caulking is done a bit different on the hull and on the decks. The most visible feature on deck caulking is the sealing with pitch and this is what most people model. The seams outboard would not be sealed in the same way, but worked over together with the surface treatment of the hull, being it painting or oiling or varnishing, e.g. with harpeus. The result is that the caulking is not very visible, even when the surface treatment is not pigmented. On old ships' photographs, when taken at a glancing angle, one can sometimes see the caulking. On shots taken perpendicular to the hull, the caulking normally is not visible.


The stylistic reason is that many (if not most) shipmodellers actually do not build models of ships, but rather models of shipmodels. What I mean is, that they try to recreate an antique model as seen in museums and these not normally show the caulking, but rather have nice smooth and shiny wood walls.





panta rhei - Everything is in flux



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I don't know the reason.


But I think..... If we assume that water can pass between deck's wood, but also between hull's planking, it's obvious that caulking must be done also on the hull.

If so, caulking the hull is the only possibility.

Maybe that cauking is invisible, because the hull is varnished and/or plated with copper ?

current build:   USS Constitution cross section - U.S. Navy Frigate 1797

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