Well I never! Just when I think I am back in a sensible frame of mind with some definite projects I can progress with and complete something comes in from the left field to upset the proverbial apple cart. I am talking about biscuits - and not the edible variety either. I mentioned in my previous post that I was visiting the local timber yard for the wood for the frame of my folding 6ft by 4ft gaming table. This was duly obtained (at a cost of £7.50 for the three 14 ft lengths) and as I was waiting to pay the man my eye was drawn to a bag of shapes hanging above the counter. These shapes were roughly 2 1/2" long and in a rough oval shape. My first thought was - ship hull shapes! The shapes are called biscuits and are used in biscuit joints (where dowel pegs used to be used) for joining panels and such like. The idea is that a hole is cut into either piece of wood requiring joining and the biscuit is placed in between and glued. The biscuits are made from wood and designed to expand when in contact with PVA, thereby filling the join. My subsequent research has shown they are available in different sizes (from around 3" downwards) and appear to have a width equal to just under a third of the length and usually with a pattern embossed on them - this is to provide a 'key' for the glue to adhere to. Cost wise you could probably get a bag of a hundred or so for around the £6 to £8 level.
So what has this got to do with anything?
Well, the shape is virtually ideal for the basis of a ship model although I suspect they will need to have some work on them before use. I would have to see what effect PVA has on them when used as either a sealant or to assemble a model with. The embossing present could probably be filed smooth - at least for the areas of the ships deck that are exposed. They are quite thin but I reckon that they could be doubled up is need be. The sides would need to be sealed as they are not smooth and the plywood effect is quite noticeable. I would suspect that one end of the shape would have to be sharpened to get that pointed bow effect
I am quite excited about this because it could be the answer to the problem of uniform hull shapes and the cost is such that they will certainly not break the budget. I intend acquiring some of these to experiment with and will of course post the results on the blog in due course.