View Full Version : Wood for half hull model
01-22-2007, 03:07 PM
I'm planning to build a half hull model this winter. For a painted model, I would use basswood for ease of working and finishing. For a bright-finished model, I would probably still use basswood for the topsides. What other woods would you suggest for a contrasting boot stripe and bottom? Looking for fine grained woods that carve/sand easily and would be a good match for the basswood topsides.
01-22-2007, 03:17 PM
Basswood came out too white in my varnished half models. Sugar pine darkens nicely and yellow pine with the resin stripes can look like planking and becomes a rich gold color. I prefer cherry for the waterline.
Thad Van Gilder
01-22-2007, 03:44 PM
I am making a half hull right now from the milled down remains of H. Mohagany from the planking of a cut up sloop.
It was free and looks damn good.
01-22-2007, 04:58 PM
For painted model anything w/out knots and not too hard to carve.
01-22-2007, 05:21 PM
H. mahogany is extremely difficult to beat.
01-22-2007, 05:55 PM
Also, if I were to make another one, even if planing to paint it, I'd do the contrasting color wood LWL instead of trying to mark it afterword.
01-22-2007, 05:58 PM
I have only once used a contrasting wood in a half model.I used a thin piece of mahogany as a bootstripe on an otherwise pine hull.I would happily do so again.My most recent effort,which was painted was carved from lime.Not all that different to basswood.If you could find a piece of Gelutong it would also be an easy wood to work.
Planning on painting it? White pine glues well planes easily, if you're going to build the model in lifts.
In Maine, Bass wood is a specialty wood and wicked expensive, white pine can be picked through at the local lumber yard and is relatively inexpensive.
01-22-2007, 06:08 PM
If you use pine, I'd just make sure to use something like white pine, which is pretty uniform in color, rather than some of the other pines that have a much stronger grain which would distract from the shape of the hull...
01-22-2007, 06:21 PM
Both Bass Wood and Jelutong are too soft for my liking. Jelutong has latex pocket holes in the wood that make it less than ideal for half model making.
My two favorites are Patternmaker's White Pine and Alaskan Yellow Cedar. Cherry is nice for water lines. It has a fine grain and darkens with age.
i've made a lot of half (and full) hulls out of basswod with Honduras mahogany water lines. I started with pine (white and sugar) but I like the basswod much more. It carves easily and very crisply enabling nice sharp chines, gunnels, rudders etc. It does have some brown spots in it that are less than perfect for varnishing, but it's perfect for paint. It makes darn good plugs for fiberglass molds too. And it's really cheap when you by it from a lumber yard.
01-23-2007, 12:51 PM
I've made about seventy half-models over the past twenty-five years and my first choice for wood is gelutong. It is a beautiful wheat color with no grain except for some occasional sap rays that are easily avoided. I just finished a NY-32, finished bright with a black waterline...Apply a thinned out coat of varnish to the bottom of the first lift above the waterline. Sand lightly and apply a coat of black paint. (The varnish prevents the paint from soaking into the wood, resulting in a sharper line when finished.) Gelutong works like basswood but a lot better looking. It is also known as rubber tree.
01-23-2007, 01:27 PM
Some good advice already, so I won't chime in with species types.
One different thought is to choose a wood that has meaning for the 1/2 model maker, vessel design, or recipient.
For example, my students build 1/2 models of the AMISTAD, using (as the bottom piece) Angelique left over from the ship's construction in Mystic -- so it is easily concievable that the other end of their 1/2 model piece of wood is sailing on the boat. (along the same lines [no pun intended!] my pinky half model is made from the planking stock for my pinky boat).
Once you set to thinking, there are dozens of possible tie-ins -- sentimental value (I harvested apple tree trunks that my dad planted 40 years ago), Eastern White Pine for a Maine boat (EWP is the state tree of Maine), etc.
03-04-2007, 02:02 PM
Thanks to all for the input. I decided to go with pine for the topsides and mahogany for the bottom. Threw in a piece of walnut for the boot top:
03-04-2007, 02:17 PM
Is that Berber for the backboard?? ;)
03-04-2007, 02:30 PM
Jelutong would be my choice for painted hulls. For bright hulls my choice would be mahogany. OH YAAA half hulls are so much fun!
Thad Van Gilder
03-04-2007, 04:07 PM
Is that a Marco Polo?
03-04-2007, 05:35 PM
WB did an article about building Half hull models about a couple of years ago. It was quite detailed with many pix.:)
03-04-2007, 07:33 PM
I believe Maine Maritime Museum still prints a monograph out of the Lance Lee days that's about as good I've seen. Simple, straightforward, this is how you do it.
EWP and mahogany is what I've used on the two I've made. Easily worked, and if you aren't painting it they make a nice contrast. I've heard basswood is good, too.
03-04-2007, 08:26 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Poplar. I have made quite a few half models myself and the wood has little grain to deal with, is hard and glues well. It is also available at Hope depot or lowes in those specialty sections. I use it for painted hulls and it seals easily and as the models age, they do not expose the glue lines easily if you take care to varnish and seal the back of the model also.
03-04-2007, 08:47 PM
Is that Berber for the backboard??
Actually, rbgarr, it's nylon plush.:)
Is that a Marco Polo?
Thad - it is a Paul Gartside design.
WB did an article about building Half hull models about a couple of years ago. It was quite detailed with many pix
JD - That article was a great help, but I used waterline lifts instead of buttock sections below the waterline
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