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Which Timber Should I Use

Which Timber Should I Use

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Angus Taylor02/10/2010 08:31:31
7 forum posts
Deck planking on a WW2 warship. The ship used Borneo White Hardwood. Should I use Mahogany, Lime Strip or what> Any ideas which would come closer?
Colin Bishop02/10/2010 10:39:32
4966 forum posts
6089 photos
410 articles
Do you have any photos of the decks from which you could estimate how light or dark the planking was? Mahogany would be too dark almost certainly.  White hardwood sounds like Ramin which is the white hardwood used for mouldings you can buy in DiY stores. Lime would be the nearest modelling equivalent colourwise but the wood wouldn't have stayed that very light shade, apparently it weathers to straw colour so some exterior varnish on the lime would give you a similar effect, just add coats until you get the shade you want.
However, during wartime, some ships had their decks painted but I suppose that would depend on where it was.
Using Ramin for decking sounds a bit surprising to me as it chips and splits easily - maybe it was just a cheap local option for heat insulation in a hot climate?
Angus Taylor02/10/2010 11:07:48
7 forum posts
No. The Ship was a WW2 Cruiser HMS Glasgow. I have a copy of the original Ship Plans (my grandfather was the foreman at the time). It specifies Borneo White Hardwood 7' by 2.5ft on the lower deck and 5' by 1.5ft on the upper. What photos I have (there are very few) are black and white and too difficult to tell the tone. I was planning on buying timber strips from Model Dockyard as they sell a fair range. Looking now at it I guess mahogany would be too dark, leaving Lime or 'Tanganyka' as the choices. Never having worked with either I am not sure which one to use. If anyone has built the Belfast can they tell me what timber they used as I believe that had similar timber used in it.
Colin Bishop02/10/2010 12:10:09
4966 forum posts
6089 photos
410 articles
Yes, the colour can be difficult to make out from photos due to the film emulsion used, the angle of lighting and whether the deck was wet or not! The photo below is of the quarterdeck of Belfast as she is today. It is the only remaining planked section of the ship. If I were you I would go for the lime and varnish it as suggested above. The final coat would need to be matt of course.

Angus Taylor02/10/2010 12:59:37
7 forum posts
In anticipation I spent a few hours on the Belfast earlier this year photographing th etimber section and joins!
Kevin Bellman05/10/2010 21:26:05
68 forum posts
2 photos
Hi Angus,
Have I miss understood your post? Deck planks 7' x 2.5ft and 5'  x 1.5ft sounds a bit strange to me.
I would have thought width of plank to be in the order of 5 to 7 inches. Lengths probably would have been variable, using up what was available in wartime.
Possible Reference colour
extract from Richard Potter timber -
Jelutong (Borneo, Sumatra, Malaya.)
Usually white to straw coloured, finely textured with a straight grain. Not naturally durable, Jelutong lends itself well to carving and model making.
Having said all that I agree with Colin it all seems to end up as per pic of HMS Belfast due to weathering.

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