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The traditional boxwood is buxus sempivirens.  It is the ornimental shrub often seen in formal gardens.  It is slow growing, 30 foot tall and 8 inch dia would be a rare find.  The wood is very hard, tight grained, very little contrast, and usually a light yellow.  Everything else is an attempt to cash in on the demand for something that is now hard to obtain.


Doing a trip back in imagination, the old guys were probably using the best wood they could get that was available.  The wood was probably sawed out of round stock using hand saws and hand planes. They were probably a minor market for cabinet makers and instrument makers. (rulers and such). If they had our selection, I wonder if they would be as limited in their choice of wood variety?

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From a practical standpoint (cost and availablity) I choose to use Castello ( Costello) for the bulk of the pieces that go into a model for the many good reasons given in a number of previous posts and topics.  I do prefer European boxwood for carvings.  Even small (2" diameter) logs can be used and two or three short pieces can last for  years.   The yellow will darken over time as will most of the woods used in our models. 



Edited by allanyed
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Fam:  I'm not sure that both of the woods labelled "boxwood" are really boxwood.  I suspect the uppermost piece is castello boxwood, virtually the only kind available readily these days.  The lower piece appears to be a different species.  From the looks of it, I would guess it is yellow heart (euxylophora paraensis).


Yellow heart is much yellower that boxwood.  I used it to plank the outer hull above the wales on my Armed Virginia sloop.  It would be a good choice for the yellow outer planking on HMS Victory also.  Here is a comparison of samples of the two woods (boxwood northeast, yellow heart southwest)







Edited by DocBlake
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