Mahogany Finish on a Scale Model Boat
I am building a 1/8 scale Chris Craft model boat. This is my first attempt at any type of woodworking. Based on my work so far, I definitely do not need to quit my day job to pursue woodworking as a profession. 🙂 However, it has been a fun experience.
The hull is planked with thin mahogany strips secured to a plastic inner hull with CA glue. My original plan was to only use varnish on the hull because I liked the color it produced. I completed the boat’s inner panels using this approach and turned out great.
I won’t bore you with details but I have had to use wood filler in a few large spots on the hull sides. I chose to use famowood latex mahogany. Of course, the match is not perfect and the situation is further complicated because the filler covers the join points between planks (maybe those can be scribed but I am not sure if that will look right).
My question is what finish options do I have at this point?
I suppose, the worst case option is to paint the sides once they are smoothed and just hide the mahogany.
Is there a mahogany finish that I could apply that cover the wood filler and be deep enough to fill the join lines between planks?
Thanks in advance for your help. I can add photos later if that helps.
Am I right to assume that the filler used is darker than the bare wood ?
Actually, the filler is lighter.
I just checked and yes, their interpretation of dark mahogany is not the one I and Chris Craft have but it also says it’s stainable so you may be able to recover.
The 1960’s mahogany boat finishes were as follow, everything was oil based, the imperfections were filled with a thick dark brown/red paste, dried and sanded flush. Then a wiping stain was used , we had two choices, mahogany brown or mahogany red, I always preferred red and in todays products, General Finishes oil based Georgian Cherry is my go to stain for mahogany. Then several coats of spar varnish until all grain is filled and the surface is glossy enough so you can see yourself in it. You can varnish over water based stains but you need to allow a long cure time. The trick was that the filler used was as dark as the finished stained wood, in your case, since it is light, your only hope is that it accepts stain as well as the surrounding wood.
Here is a picture.
Should I mix some of my water based stain into a small amount of wood filler and use that to apply my final coat of the filler. As you can see in the picture, I have not filled the holes completely yet.
I don't like stain on filler. It may say it's stain able, but the color is always way off.
I would try some artists oil paints on the filler. Give the whole thing a coat of shellac first, and try to get the paint over the filler tomato the mahogany. Don't try to make it a solid color. Try to paint in grain lines
Thanks for sharing the picture, it’s not what I expected, it’s complete planks, not just gaps. I would carve away the putty and insert wood in its place and only use putty for imperfections.
I appreciate the responses. I was originally going to replace planking in damaged areas but lost confidence that I would be able to create a finish that would be acceptable to me.
I’d go with new hull planking in place of the filler. Finish over that much filler never quite turns out right.
Any chance a gel stain would sit on top of the wood and filler and create an opaque cover?
It will not work for the large areas that you have applied filler, but you should be aware of mixing fine saw dust with glue for repairing minor imperfections. Use the saw dust out of the dust collection bag on your sander.
Be aware Titebond III dries darker than Titebond II
Dig it out, replace the wood, enjoy the ride. Use it as a learning experience. Your skills will not expand by painting it.
I agree with removing the filler if you are going to leave it natural looking.
I have had a lot of success with using acrylic paints over filler to hide worm tracks and such in architraves, but making it look good over such a large area would be challenging. It would not hurt to try though - you will need a blob of red, yellow, black and maybe some brown and dark green. Blend on a palette until you get a good colour match. Cover with your final finish.
It would be a reasonable plan to paint the boat, and it would look better for longer. Paint is a great finish for wood that is going to get wet.
It will not be a Chris Craft if it gets painted.
Ok, I have dug out the filler and will insert planking. You all shamed me into it! I guess I needed a motivational speech.
I am not confident I can get the finish to my perfectionist level but that is another topic😉.
BTW, this is a display model and will not hit the water.
Regardless of just exactly how good your end result might be, your efforts are inspiring, to me, at least! You were bold & brave enough to get started on a difficult project, and then more of the same in undoing some of your work to try to make things better. I am absolutely convinced you can get to the results you want, though it may take more time and effort than you had initially planned. FWIW, any really good results I’ve ever had took much more time and effort than I planned or expected, especially as I’m learning a new skill.
I'm looking forward to the same photo after the repairs.
How would you all suggest I achieve a yellow color on a couple of the mahogany deck strips as shown in photo attached. The wood on the deck is not yet stained and has been sanded smooth.
Enjoy the ride ! let me check on that amber yellow wood , can you post a picture of the wood piece that came with the kit ?
Nice boat! Yours?
No, 1960 18 ft found in a garage that my boating friends and I gave some attention so we could take her for a spin when there was no wind.
Well, I feel silly for not searching YT. It has the answers to most things. Thanks for sharing those. That looks like a pretty easy process.
Phase 1 of the repair is complete. Attached pics show before and after. I will now use sanding dust and white glue filler in gaps.
Suggestions welcome. Your help and encouragement has been great.
It looks much better. Infuture,use liquid hide glue. It's more invisible to finish than white or yellow glue.
I am not familiar with hide glue. Is this it?
Do you thin it before mixing with sanding dust?
Re: hide glue for a model boat hull:
Is this thing gonna sit out for display only, or is it gonna see time on the water? The reason I ask is that hide glue is of course reversible with water. Of course, in this case, the glue lines, like the entire hull, will be under a substantial waterproof finish, so it may not matter, but I bring it up to see if someone more knowledgeable than I can shed some light on this.
In post #15 he says it is for display.
Thanks! I missed/forgot that. Which is kinda embarrassing, since I'd responded to that very post. Now, where'd I put my eyeglasses?....
This is what JC2 was talking about...
Well, the picture below shows my progress to date on the repair. I am not encouraged. While the plank inserts at mid hull are smooth, the look is bad. At the forward hull, the white is the plastic beneath the planking. The poor planking job I did in this area has required me to sand to such a thin point that the planking does not adhere.
Not what you want to hear, but what you already know... If the wood is gone, it's gone. I think you are looking at a restart, at least on the starboard side. Without images of the deck surface it is tough to say if the issue wraps that corner.
Was it a kit, or can you mill new material? You're doing well, push through it!
I'm not sure how thick the mahogany strips are or how you're cutting them to fit the damaged areas, but the "fit" looks a bit "rough" You might have better luck if you make a rubbing (think graphite pencil) sort of like a tracing, of the voids and use that outline to re-cut the mahogany patches for a better fit.
Just a thought, and good luck!
This is a Dumas kit.
Jk, I agree fit was rough. However, even bigger problem is where the planking needs to be so thin near the bow. I really don’t want to rip off entire side of planking as it is attached with CA.
Rather than painting, what about planking over the existing hull with new planks? It would create an issue on the sheer because new planking would extend edge of sheer but it could be managed.
The decking, transom and starboard hull don’t have any issues of these on the port hull.
I really appreciate all the thoughts and advice.
I had the boat upside down in my pathetic little brain..port side indeed...you last image shows the bow.
Planking over might throw off the boat's visual balance, but until you point it out to someone it may go unnoticed. Too much work in to paint it.