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Just wondering what wood, (balsa?), is used for building construction for dioramas. Do you buy sheets & cut to size,to make  2" x 4" etc., or buy pre-cut boards and such.

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I don't build model car dioramas, but I started building detailed model railroad buildings in the late 1950s, and was pretty good at it by the late 1960s.

There are two primary woods used for models, balsa and basswood. Balsa is softer, more open-grained. Basswood is harder, more close-grained (so it usually looks better as scale lumber).

You can cut your own strips, planks, any dimensional lumber from sheets, or buy commercially prepared strip-wood.

Just bear in mind what scale you're working in. For example, a 2X4 in 1/24 scale will measure .083" X 0.166".

A 2X4 in 1/87 (HO scale) will measure .023" X .046".

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As Bill mentioned the most used are Balsa and basswood. I have used both quite a bit in dioramas and I prefer the Basswood. You can get a much better, smoother finish. The Balsa may be a bit easier to work with but I think you will be happier with the Basswood. I used Balsa for fence posts and larger pieces to carve tree stumps because Balsa can have a rougher , weather worn look.

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It's similar to lime.  Close grained and easy to work.

Edit - you can buy basswood in Hobbycraft, probably other craft and model shops too. 

 

Edited by dodgefever

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3 hours ago, Anglia105E said:

Sorry to butt in on this topic, but is Basswood the same as Boxwood ?

David

Similar, sorta.

Boxwood is a little harder and holds sharp corners better. It's preferred by some modelers because of these characteristics.

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I use bass wood, as said it's a tighter grain and it doesn't shred like balsa.   Also it holds it's shape over years where I've had balsa warp.

MVC-009S

1/25 scale, built from basswood using a set of plans in Popular Science magazine.

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