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scratch build using wood

a tanker which reflects a lot of ships

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james henderson21/12/2012 20:52:34
11 forum posts

Hi you experts out there.

After completing two scratch built 1200 mm (46" for modelers my age!) grp boats I am now moving to the clever bit - building a 1250mm (4ft & a bit ) model of a tanker.

I have researched details of a number of Clelands ships (not tankers) which was built in the propa north.My finished model is sure to give show judges a few heart stopping moments!

Research was done at the tyne & wear discovery museum -( do visit if you travel north from the deep south (i.e anywhere south of Leeds! ) it's a fab. place.with wonderba archives of northeast shipyards. - anyway less the sales patter!!

I am building in wood with final cover of grp resin - as a lot of people do.

Question - what are the best woods to use for frames. planks and assorted internals. Then hints on preparing the hull surface for the resin. + adhesives?

Any other tips would be welcome. I've read up loads of articles with loads of different view points - seems fair to me - and I will eventually take what I reckon are the tips that suit me ( and my knobbly fingers! the best).

Thanks people I have a very open mind on this hobby so fire away!

Paul T22/12/2012 07:11:41
7340 forum posts
1229 photos
2 articles

Hello James

The subject of material choice eventually boils down to how much you are willing to spend as there are many exotic hardwoods that are perfect for model building but cost a lot more than a softwood like pine.

For me its a trip to the local B&Q and buy some 3mm birch faced ply for the skin, 5mm ply for the main frames/keel and 5 x 5 strip pine for the stringers. Waterproof PVA works very well as an adhesive.


ashley needham22/12/2012 11:26:53
7640 forum posts
159 photos

What Paul suggests sounds good to me.

Almost anything is fair game if you are covering it in resin and glass cloth, no special prep needed for the glue or resin. I would use ordinary PVA myself. Colin I think likes that yellow PVA stuff (name escapes me).

Are you going to resin AND cloth?? Myself I think that it is not worth JUSt resining, but there again some people I know do just resin. Personal preference, and unless you smash it into the dock side at full speed, it will probly make no difference.

HOWEVER. Resin takes a lot of sanding to get a good finish, or wet`n`dry perhaps better.

Eze-Kote and glass cloth is a good alternative, dries quickly and without odour and is v easy to sand.


geoffrey yarham22/12/2012 20:41:25
42 forum posts
77 photos

Ply for the frames with a pine or hard wood keel best. Then it depends on the shape of the hull, straight surfaces can be ply with balsa blocks at the bow & stern. For shapely hulls my favorite method is one layer pine strips about 3/23" x 5/8" fix with brass pins & glue. Next mix sawdust with glue to make a paste & fill any cracks and hollows. After rubbing down smooth, add a layer of scale planks. Fix these with tree-nails (tooth picks) & glue. Alternative for a quick build strips of 1/8" (sides) & 1/4" (bottom) balsa. this is easy to rub smooth. Coat with 3 coats of resin rubbing down between coats. I have also covered balsa hulls with metal plates with rivets pressed from the back first, stick on with contact adesive. All these methods have lasted years.

Telstar24/12/2012 14:47:33
323 forum posts
32 photos

Hi James, As an expat. now down south. I know where your coming from.

I scratch built a 5ft liner using ply , 3/8" for the frames and 1/8"ply cut to planks to go round the curves.

You could literally stand on the hull without damage.

Living in the north, you should have a visit to the boating pond on the front at Tynemouth some of the chaps there are very friendly and very proficient modellers the regular sailing day is Sunday morning

cheers Tom

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