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Which wood for Noah’s Ark animals?

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Marineboy

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I’m in the process of making an ark and animals for my grandson’s Christmas present. I’ve made the ark from plywood, nicely sanded and rounded off and finished with Polyvine and wax.

I plan to make the animals from solid timber using a thin blade on my bandsaw and then sanding to final shape. I intend the look to be simple and naive (also with the benefit of not requiring too much skill while still being recognisable as the species they are supposed to be).

I’d be grateful for advice on which hardwood to use. I’m tending towards cherry or sycamore, as I want the overall look to be no darker than light brown. I believe that both are reasonably easy to work with an uncomplicated grain structure which will cope with the small protrusions on the figures. Or is something else more advisable (though not beech, may look a bit boring).

Also, does anyone know of nice templates to use? I’ve looked online and nothing I’ve seen really catches my eye in terms of simplicity yet easy recognisability.
 

Marineboy

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Thanks Pete, yes I have made stuff from beech, and it works well, but I was looking for something with a bit more interest in the grain while retaining strength in all directions.
 

sunnybob

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I've used cherry a few times and although the colour is good it has been remarkable for its lack of grain. It has also faded to darker brown with time.
 

sunnybob

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What scale are you making them to?
If they are palm sized youre not going to get much grain at all, in which case
Beech is very cheap, and easy to shape. It also has a mild antiseptic reputation.

I think different woods would help distinguish them, walnut for elephant rhino and hippo, beech for more common animals, even bubinga for a few exotics and of course zebrano for tigers.

Its a shame I am so far away, I have a couple of crates of exotic hardwood offcuts that should produce many shapes, but shipping from Cyprus would kill the deal. :roll:
 

Marineboy

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I did think of lime, will revisit that idea. I must say I never thought of poplar though, I do have a couple of bits knocking about so will have a play before I start making in earnest. The suggestion from Sunnybob also is worth considering.

Thanks to all for your ideas.
 
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