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Model Materials

Discussion in 'Scale and Miniature Canoe Models' started by samb, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    During the cold weather (by UK standards) I've been making a scale model of my Rushton Navahoe. (More photos to come when painting is complete)

    One difficulty with scale models is that materials can't be scaled: Small bits of ash will always look like small bits of ash rather than big bits of ash; you can't scale down the grain on the wood. How do you get round this? Are there other, finer grained timbers that could be used the represent the traditional canoe building timbers? - or do I need to search for examples of tightly grained authentic woods?


    1905Gerrish likes this.
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It looks like you are off to a great start. I am not a model maker but my understanding is that woods with a heavy grain like oak are typically not used for the reasons you cited. The other challenge is that mechanical fastenings don't always scale well either so glue is commonly used instead. You may have noticed that the manufacturer's models like the one at were not made completely to scale for these reasons. Chris Pearson is a professional model maker and may be along soon to offer some better advice. Good luck and please keep us posted here with your progress,

    samb likes this.
  3. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    You could consider basswood (lime or linden on your side of the pond). It's often used by modelers due to its fine grain and ability to hold detail. You can stain it to represent the wood you want it to.

    I'm looking forward to Chris Pearson chiming in, too.
  4. OP

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Benson and Dan.
    I've used red cedar veneer (which I had to buy) for the ribs and planking, then all the other timber was from off cuts in the workshop. Although I tried to be true to original materials, I ended up using yellow cedar for the rails instead of spruce, ash for stems instead of elm, and after a lot of swearing at bits of ash, I used lime for the side rail caps.
    The top caps, thwarts, decks and seats are all ash as on my full size version. IMG_20210227_165138.jpg
    1905Gerrish likes this.
  5. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Very good. Much better than my Indian Girl from a kit. I found getting the ribs to take an even curve was always an issue. Oh and walking away finding you have a rib stuck to your cuff too. Sausages fingers do not help.
    You can bring it on the launch day.

    Nick DA59D662-03AA-4837-9553-64BB5D4A9290.jpeg CAE2D3B8-9A16-4B15-B973-B038DE8434DE.jpeg
  6. OP

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Not sure I can get two boats on the car, Nick. :D
  7. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Andy Hutyera, samb and Blott like this.
  8. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    The thing is though, at scale, you have the luxury of picking through and finding wood with tighter grain. I have found that when using spruce, and here's one of my secrets, that I order aircraft grade spruce from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. Aircraft grade spruce has aviation tolerancing and has requirements on grain runout etc.. The grain is super tight and allows for good bending. It's pricey but I have found its worth having great stock to work with and not have to worry about breakage. And yes, stay away from "open grain" stuff like oak and ash. Check out the link below for August Crabtree, his model ship building work was unreal. His work is on display at the Mariners Museum in Norfolk Va. His work was among the best in the world. He made use of apple wood and other fruit woods for a lot of his model work to give that scale appearance you are looking for. Enjoy.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  9. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    Great work!!!!!!!
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  10. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

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