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how do you replicate wood


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#1 doug2013

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:15 AM

i need to know how you do that i have always wanted to know please help if you can

#2 sjordan2

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:10 AM

i need to know how you do that i have always wanted to know please help if you can


A lot of guys around here have some excellent paintbrush techniques, which I hope they'll share here, but I'm not good enough for that. I prefer to use wood grain images I've downloaded and shrunk to scale, then print them out and cut them to fit, based on templates I make from the area to be paneled – but I generally work on simple surfaces for larger 1/16 or 1/12 vintage cars (this is VERY tricky when it comes to cutting around things like instruments, door handles and shifters, and takes quite a bit of preparation). One of the best modelers I know does it this way and prints out the wood pattern on decal paper.

Maybe a better approach would be a combination of both techniques – print out the wood pattern to approximate scale, or refer to pictures of the 1:1 car you're working on, then carefully copy what you see using a paintbrush and whatever wood colors are necessary. It's like anything else. Just practice a lot. You might want to Google around for something like "faux finish wood grain" for technique pointers.

Some people like to use real wood where possible and paint it or stain it, but I think that's very out of scale and hard to work with for anything but 1/8 models.

#3 crazyjim

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:15 AM

I have a collection of Testor's bottle paints in various shades of tans and browns. Ibrush a coat of flat tan and let it dry. Then I'll open 2 or 3 bottles of wood, dark brown, and cream and get out a fine brush. I kinda sorta make lines and a dipple (knot) here and there andd blend the colors together. Yeah, I know, not the greatest directions. Just get some tans & browns and play on some scrap pieces.

#4 Harry P.

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:20 AM

The best way to replicate wood in 1/24 or 1/25 scale is by using either decals that are to scale, or by using paint and drybrushing techniques.

Drybrushing wood grain is sort of an involved process that takes practice and skill to do well. Basically what you do is lay down the base color... say a light tan for "oak" wood... then using a fairly dry brush, you add the wood grain using both lighter and darker tones than the original base color.

Getting a convincing look takes practice, but if you do it right you can get the "wood" looking very real. Try doing a google search for a picture of the type of wood that you want to duplicate, match up your paint colors to the photo (base color, lighter and darker tone for the grain detail), and give it a shot. Most woods can be replicated using three colors: the overall base color (reddish brown for mahogany, tan for oak, a lighter yellowish tan for maple, etc.), and a darker and lighter shade to create the grain pattern. Use the photo as your reference as to how the grain looks. Try practicing on some scrap styrene first.

#5 Nick Winter

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:01 AM

Call me crazy but when I want to replicate wood bed floors I chop out the plastic and make planks from dollar store stir sticks, you get 1000 for $1 up here.

#6 Harry P.

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:06 AM

Call me crazy but when I want to replicate wood bed floors I chop out the plastic and make planks from dollar store stir sticks, you get 1000 for $1 up here.


That works great for flat surfaces like truck beds... not so much for curved surfaces like some woodies, or dashboard and interior trim.

#7 Modelmartin

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:12 AM

With a little searching you can find very thin wood veneers. I found some that are .005 inch think!! Most are a little thicker like .020 and up. Nothing looks like wood like wood. The french decal maker Virages made a great burlwood decal. I have a little bit of that left. I need to loan it to my ALPS guy one of these days.

#8 Harry P.

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:30 AM

With a little searching you can find very thin wood veneers. I found some that are .005 inch think!! Most are a little thicker like .020 and up. Nothing looks like wood like wood. The french decal maker Virages made a great burlwood decal. I have a little bit of that left. I need to loan it to my ALPS guy one of these days.


The problem with using real wood veneers is that while they are thin, the grain pattern is still "full size"... not 1/24 of that size.

Sometimes you can get away with a thin veneer that has almost no grain pattern visible (like basswood) and stain it to look like "oak" or "walnut" or whatever... but you won't get that in-scale grain that makes oak look like "oak," for instance.

I used real veneers on my Mercedes (it's actually birch, stained with oak stain). It "works" because the birch has a very small, tight grain pattern that will pass for "real" in 1/8 scale.

Posted Image

#9 Nick Winter

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:33 AM

then again if he has the skills he could print a decal of the wood of his choice.

#10 Jordan White

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:50 AM

I have two techniques which are a bit more primitive. The first is I paint a medium to light brown base coat to start. Once it dries, I use a thin dark brown Sharpie to draw in some lines and knots. From up close it looks ok, but from farther away it looks pretty good.

The second technique, for smaller surfaces, is to paint the area with a silver Sharpie. Once it dries, I use a dark brown Sharpie and basically color in the area. It gives a nice wood grain look.
Here's a pic of my second technique on my '75 Int'l Scout II dash:
Posted Image

Edited by YJIslander, 26 April 2010 - 10:54 AM.


#11 VW Dave

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:09 AM

I have an even more primitive method, yet it works well in most cases: a brown 'Sharpie' marker. After a little urging, my friend Matt used this 'quick & dirty' method on his '37 Ford pickup bed
Posted Image

I had him go and reapply the marker in a few areas to make the 'grain' appear more random, and he used BMF for the strips afterward.

#12 Jordan White

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:35 AM

Was that in reply to me? If not, then great minds think alike! :lol:

#13 vaughn

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 11:49 AM

Was that in reply to me? If not, then great minds think alike! B)

those are some terrific ideas, guys !!! i will have to try them...again and again and again....they all work !!But to the original inquiree.....just try different things, those included and some of your own !! a stain miniwax........mixed with thinner and a tad of glue. Be very careful !!!! SPOON !!!!!

#14 plumnuts

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:19 PM

I have been happy with a technique tought to me a while back. lay down a coat of testers wood color. let dry and then a messy coat of clear orange. used it on a build called heavy chevy in this forum.

Edited by plumnuts, 26 April 2010 - 01:20 PM.


#15 VW Dave

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 06:19 PM

Was that in reply to me? If not, then great minds think alike! :lol:


It was, in a way....I'll admit I didn't fully read your second method until after posting my reply, however. My method is more primitive, as it utilized just the brown Sharpie(over white plastic in that case). :lol:

#16 Jordan White

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 06:59 PM

It was, in a way....I'll admit I didn't fully read your second method until after posting my reply, however. My method is more primitive, as it utilized just the brown Sharpie(over white plastic in that case). :lol:


Yeah it would probably work fine on white plastic. Of course, the Scout II kit is in gray plastic, so it probably wouldn't have turned out as great. :lol:

#17 showrodfreak

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:53 AM

I use balsa wood. There are different thickness for bending also. Check your LHS

#18 Ddms

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 09:24 PM

If you want to try using real wood, check out model shipbuilding sites. They use a lot of it, so they know what works well in small scales. I think it's best to use a fine grained wood; the open grained woods (like balsa and pine) look out of scale and it's hard to get a smooth finish. The finest-grained woods are fruit woods like apple, pear and cherry, and some of the exotic woods. Wood needs to be aged to prevent warping, so cutting a branch off a neighbor's pear tree is not a good idea, unless you're willing to wait a year or two to actually use the wood. To flatten out any grain, it's also a good idea to use some kind of clear wood filler.

You can see and order pre-cut fruit and exotic woods at Model Expo, http://www.modelexpo...ge.asp?lp=8000.

If you know what you want, there's a shop in my city that carries exotic wood. They have some very strange and exotic stuff, like Purple Heart. Scraps are available. It comes in fairly small pieces, mostly chunks, but you'll still need the right tools to cut it. Let me know what you need, and I'll see what they have available. Their stock changes frequently. It's usually sold by the pound.

#19 camaroman

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 03:25 AM

I have an even more primitive method, yet it works well in most cases: a brown 'Sharpie' marker. After a little urging, my friend Matt used this 'quick & dirty' method on his '37 Ford pickup bed
Posted Image

I had him go and reapply the marker in a few areas to make the 'grain' appear more random, and he used BMF for the strips afterward.



Hey guys Sharpie offers a three piece set of "touch up" markers for wood. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40 off coupon. I think the run about 5-6 buck at regular price. The set contains a dark, medium and light marker. Used together the look pretty convincing. I'll try to post a picture of my test subject later.


ps Look for them in the craft wood section, not in the marker aisle.

Edited by camaroman, 30 April 2010 - 03:26 AM.