Balsa wood has it's place in model building but it is not all that useful in period model ships. It is very soft, whitish in color, porous and just a very fragile wood. It also does not hold nails very well. While it is easy to work it does not really lend itself well to model ships. If used at all you should probably only use it for fill-in pieces at the bow and stern and only then when other more suitable material isn't at hand.
Basswood is an excellent all-around wood, readily available in hobby shops. White and very fine-grained. Easy to work with and bends freely, but too soft to turn.
Beech is a medium-hard long fibered wood. Typically it is light reddish brown to brown in color and has a very plain grain. Because it is a tough wood and long grained some of it's uses could include masts and yards as well as frames.
Boxwood is a hard wood, yellowish in color. It is close grained with a plain grained pattern and is very strong. Even though it is very hard, it is a nice wood to work and carve. It is ideal for all small parts, especially for carvings, blocks, deadeyes, as well as visible frames, planking and similar parts. It does however tend to splinter when nailed so one should always consider drilling pilot holes.
British Columbia Douglas Fir is a soft wood with an extremely fine and straight grain pattern. Retains its shape and size without shrinking, swelling, cupping, warping, bowing or twisting.
Lime has a soft, white, tough, long-fibred, plain grain pattern. Lime is easy to work and does not splinter. Highly suitable for planking, deck strakes, wales, decorative strips, etc. Somewhat overrated for carving, as lime does not work very cleanly across the grain, and breaks easily along the grain when used for very small parts. Quite unsuitable for parts which have to withstand any strain, such as blocks and deadeyes.
Mahogany is a hard, red to brown, long-fibred wood with a plain grain pattern. While it is used heavily for full-size ship building it not really all that suitable for period ship model building because of it's coarse structure.
Oak is a hard, light to medium gray-brown, tough, short fibred wood with a distinctive grain structure. Like mahogany, because of it's coarse grain structure is it not all that suitable for model building. Most modelers avoid its use.
Obechi is a tough, but soft yellowish open-grained wood. It is extremely easy to work and holds nails well when compared to Balsa. It is also a more preferable wood in all respects when compared to Balsa by most modelers. It is ideal for the keelson and the in-fill pieces of fully planked hulls and is commonly used as base planking on double planked hulls because it is tough and does not splinter easily.
Olive is used primarily in Southern Europe (having similar properties to boxwood), Olive wood is yellowish to white, short-fibred with a plain grain pattern. It is also very strong.
Pear is one of the ideal woods to work with in model ship building and is used for virtually everything on the ship from visible frames, to planking, deck strakes, deck furniture and fittings. It is excellent to carve as it hardly splinters at all. It is a medium hard, light to medium brown in color with short fibers and a plain grain pattern.
Pine is medium hard, whitish to yellowish in color, long-fibered, tough with a plain grain pattern. It is suitable for masts, yards and planking.
Sitka-spruce is a soft wood with an extremely fine and straight grained pattern. Suitable for masts and yards. For optimal visual effects when using sitka-spruce for deck planking it should be quarter sawn.
Walnut is another of the ideal woods that is widely used in model ship building. It is a hard wood that comes in a wide variety of colors from light brown to dark brown. It is short-fibred, tough and has a plain grain pattern. Because of its relative ease to work with it can be used for virtually everything, and despite its hardness even carvings.
Model Ship Kits, Model Boat Kits, Model Ship Kit Supplies
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MODEL SHIP KITS and MODEL BOAT KITS - Welcome to Historic Ships,
specializing in Wood Model Ship Kits, historic scale wooden model
ship kits and model boat kits from around the world. At Historic
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builder. You will also find Model Ship Kit Fittings, Model Ship Kit
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so that you can see the detail of these beautiful Model Ship Kits
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