Making Wooden Pier Bases using Balsa

Here’s another quick tutorial on making bases. This time I’m making a wooden pier base. This approach can be used to create bases that look like ship decks or tavern floors too. The materials are pretty straight forward too. You’ll need a base of the appropriate size, a small coin (preferably one with a smooth edge), a piece of 3mm balsa wood and some Super Glue. You’ll need a hobby knife too.

Make sure the base is cleaned of mold lines and venting, then start off by gluing the coin to the base. Use the hobby knife to cut a 1cm wide strip that is about 2.5/3cm long. If you cut along the grain the knife will go though it like butter. 3mm is a little thick for the wood, so take the blade and use it to slice the strip in half. This gives a rough finish and it perfect for the exposed wood. Make as many strips as you need to finish the base.

Glue the strips to the coin and cut a small piece of balsa to represent a spot for tying up boats. You could leave it there, but it might be worth coating the wood in heavily watered down PVA glue (1:1) to toughen it slightly. If you’re doing a ship deck you should cut the wood so that it looks like planks and fit them inside the raised edges of the base.


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