How to Get Started With Wood Model Ship Building

Written by eric cedric
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How to Get Started With Wood Model Ship Building
Start with easy model ships and progress to harder level ship models. (model ship image by maya from

Building wooden ship models is a pastime with deep nautical roots. Model ships are available in all sorts of styles, from Viking ships or schooners to sloops and sea dories. Many models are rated, with Level I being the easiest, up to the advanced Level V models. Getting started in wood ship building means having a properly equipped hobby table and starting with the easy levels of models. Avoid the trap of trying to start at too advanced a level, such as an intricate wooden schooner in a bottle.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Model glue
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Toothpicks
  • Work bench
  • Magnifying glass lamp
  • Level 1 model ship
  • Hobby knife
  • Fine sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Set up your hobby table with the necessary glues, sandpaper, hobby knife and magnifying glass. A lamp with a large magnifying glass helps, as the light is directed onto the small and intricate pieces under the magnifying glass, making it easier to assemble the small bits of the model. Set the table up where it is safe to leave the unfinished work in progress with no disturbance from kids or pets.

  2. 2

    Go to a hobby shop with a large selection of wooden model ships. Look for ships with a Level I rating. Choose one or two different Level I models to begin with.

  3. 3

    Trim the small wooden model pieces using the hobby knife. Many model pieces come stamped in balsa wood and have tabs sticking off the sides as a result. Sand down the tabs and use the hobby knife to trim them down.

  4. 4

    Apply glue to the small and delicate pieces using toothpicks. Dip a toothpick end into the glue and dab onto the pieces. Use tweezers to hold the glued pieces together.

  5. 5

    Paint the model using wood paints found in hobby shops. Research your ship and use authentic colours for the paint job.

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