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I have some basswood/limewood leftover for my kit days. Believe it or not, some of what I have has a really nice color grain to it. It would make a really nice looking deck; but the wood is too soft. I know it will not pass the thumb nail test. but I was wondering if any one has tried to make the surface harder. Maybe like several coats of varnish??? Or even diluted white glue?? Any one??


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Greetings Frank,


If it is honest to goodness basswood, I have no problems at all using it as deck planking. Basswood has a very tight grain. In fact, at least two kit manufacturers that I am aware of (Model Shipways and Blue Jacket) supply basswood for decking material on many of their kits. I have used it many times and prefer it to some of the stuff supplied with European kits. Limewood is another story - OK for the first layer of a double planked kit but, in my opinion, the grain is not right for decking. I know that some folks think basswood and limewood are interchangeable, but they are not the same the wood.



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Basswood quality seems to vary quite a bit.  I have some that is almost as soft as balsa and some that is pretty hard (for basswood that is).  The harder pieces have a very dense, close grain while the softer pieces are a bit fuzzy.

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Basswood and  European Lime actually are from the same species of trees (linden). They are both tightly grained and relatively soft compared to other hardwoods, but somehow, European lime seems to be a bit harder than the usual basswood found in the US. Not sure if it's the climate, soil components etc that cause the difference but I generally find European lime to be marginally harder.

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Basswood and  European Lime actually are from the same species of trees (linden).

Actually the genus is tilia  the main species of Tilia are T cordata from Europe, T americana  American Basswood or Linden.

T cordata is a small leafed lime and T americana has big leaves, these are the two main sources of wood. the lime timber is also used in the making of Charcoal for drawing.


references "The Oxford Encyclopedia of TREES OF THE WORLD"  ISBN0517616734 published in1981


One of the interesting things about organic materials like wood is that they are adapted to their environments.The wood from a tree that grows in one locale can be exactly the same species as that of tree and in a different locale and the wood from the second tree could be completely different to work because of the soil conditions and mineral content affect the growth and thus the texture and properties of the wood.



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