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what types of wood were used on 49 mercury woodies

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  • Member since
    October 2013
what types of wood were used on 49 mercury woodies
Posted by MR. ME on Monday, December 21, 2015 1:50 AM

what kind of wood was used on 49 Mercury woodies???

  • Member since
    September 2011
Posted by Arthur Anderson on Thursday, January 19, 2017 4:17 PM


what kind of wood was used on 49 Mercury woodies???


First of all, Ford, unlike every other maker of "woodie" station wagons, harvested and milled their own wood, from their own Upper Peninsula Michigan forests, beginning in 1929,  finally taking over the construction and finishing of wooden station wagon bodies in-house there from 1940-51.  Starting with native hard maple for all framing, and using furniture-grade birch plywood, by 1940, their supply of suitable birch had been depleted to the point that they began using "Southern Gum Wood", a reddish brown wood that could be veneered over otherwise unacceptable birch, for the panels.  Post WW-II, they began using Honduran mahogany for the surfaces of the still-flat plywood panels, while retaining hard maple for all structural framing and moldings.

For the all-new 1949 Ford and Mecury station wagons, Ford went to a pressed steel body structure, with wooden inserts for the body side, doors upper side window framing and the complete tailgate.  Interior panels were plywood faced with mahogany veneer.  Due to both the curved, full-width body contours and a diminishing supply of adequate hard maple lumber in their forests in Upper Michigan, Ford's Iron Mountain MI factory used the then-popular steam and heat molding process, whereby the layered hard maple strip were glued, then pressed into the shapes needed in order to match the curves of the sheet metal front fenders, using the same technology to mold the mahogany coated plywood to the same contours.

Hard maple is a very, very light or "blond" wood, mahogany is a rather dull medium brown, but it was the varnish used to seal and finish the wood that gave those bodies their rich, deep colors--ordinary "Spar" varnish (AKA Marine Varnish), which is a golden color out of the can, and darkens somewhat over time and exposure to light.  This is what gives those bodies a rich golden shade to the maple framing and a deep reddish brown color to the molded mahogany plywood.  For 1949 to late 1950, the two piece tailgates were made in these woods as wel--with stamped steel tailgates coming on for early 1951 models, painted to look like their real wooden-panel body sides, but very quickly, due to the Korean War and steel rationing, Ford's Iron Mountain factory went beck to wooden tailgates for most 1951 station wagon production.

This is my Revell '49 Mercury Wagon. The wooden portions were airbrushed with Testors  #1141 Tan, then the framing detail was "streaked" with Burnt Umber artist's oil color using little foam eye-shadow applicators from Walgreens cosmetic department.  After the mahogany panel decals were applied and dry, I gave the entire set of wooden panels a brushed coat of Tamiya Clear Yellow Acrylic, which gives this model very much the look of real wood finished in Spar (Marine) Varnish.

  • Member since
    January 2018
  • From: Riverside, Missouri
Posted by Stephen82kck on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 11:02 AM

Here is the 49 im doing. All wood done by hand .  basically its a trial and error on doing the wood if never done before. 

I started by using a matte acrylic paint ( territorial beige ) in all the panels. Then dry brushed enamel gloss dark brown in them, followed that up by actually using a black ink pen to draw in the knots and then i thinned down some enamel flat red  into a wash to finish them off. 



The outer wood is an enamel wood that i did 2 coats on the mixed up some of the wood and brown to almost patina it as well. I used thinned down enamel flat black to do all the inset lines to separate the wood pieces.






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