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After seeing the rather erm, creative prices for good plywood (bad one is the devil i tell you, bought a relatively small plate for almost 12€ and the stupid stuff splintered at the edges...grrr...) i wonder if basswood is a suitable substitute. I have seen it's use for bulkheads once ( Gene from MSB built his Maggie Belle's bulkheads from basswood) but before i start to buy any wood i would like to have some aditional opinions.

Good old Pear might be a suitable alternative but since all kinds of frames usualy need lots of sanding, l am somewhat uncertain about using such a hard wood for them.

Edited by Redshirt
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It would be tough to get pieces large enough if you are building in a larger scale.    But I have used hard maple from Home Depot or lowes that was 1/4" thick.   It worked fantastic.  The stuff is rock hard though so be prepared to sand and sand....its tough to cut as well as the blades will get dull quickly.



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I'm fairly certain that the bulkheads in the Model Shipways AVS kit that I'm building are basswood, and they seem to work just fine for that.  I could be wrong, but the bulkheads have the exact same color and work (cut and sand) the same as the basswood that I've gotten, both in the kit and in the local hobby stores.

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Hello redshirt,


My experience is that it mostly depends on the scale at which you're building. I've built ships with MDF, ply and basswood bulkheads - in various thicknesses. For smaller scales (and smaller overall models), either MDF or basswood works reasonably well. For large scale (3/16' and up scales), choose quality plywood every time - if you can - preferably 3/16 thick. Any of the "finish" hardwoods are completely inappropriate for the structural work as the fairing required for most models will make this task much too arduous and overly-complicated.


I am building a model now that has a 1/8" keelformer with the same thickness bulkheads - in basswood. Both are too thin for the job and create numerous, unnecessary build issues. This model is large (lengthy) and would have been considerably easier (and better) in 3/16" ply for both components. Be aware that a "keelformer" (the backbone that the bulkheads slide onto) is nearly as critical as the ship's shaped bulkheads.


Good Luck!




Director, Nautical Research Guild

Secretary/Newsletter Editor, Philadelphia Ship Model Society

Former Member/Secretary for the Connecticut Marine Model Society


Current Build: Godspeed 2, (Wyoming, 6-masted Schooner)

Completed Builds: HMS Grecian, HMS Sphinx (as HMS CamillaOngakuka Maru, (Higaki Kaisen, It Takes A Village), Le Tigre Privateer, HMS Swan, HMS Godspeed, HMS Ardent, HMS Diana, Russian brig Mercury, Elizabethan Warship Revenge, Xebec Syf'Allah, USF Confederacy, HMS Granado, USS Brig Syren


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