At SCALEDECKS.COM we know that actual ships used a variety of woods for their decks, and that modelers have a variety of tastes. As a result, we offer a variety of different materials when we manufacture our decks. And for some models you have a choice of different woods to suit your taste. Whichever material you choose, SCALEDECKS.COM always uses a two-step process to print the planking pattern in accurate colors before cutting - with long separator lines printed in grey, with either slightly lighter "butt cuts" at the ends of the planks, or "implied" end cuts that occur when the individual planks are rendered in slightly different colors. Other manufacturers simply burn in the plank pattern using the laser at lower intensity, resulting in chocolaty-brown lines that are much thicker and over-scale. Ugly! In the extreme close-up photos below, notice the thinness of our printed plank lines, versus the width of the laser cuts. (The ruler is showing millimeters, NOT inches!)
Maple is a very light wood, and very translucent. This allows the modeler to paint an underlying tone to change the overall depth of tone of the wood that is laid above the underlying surface. For example, painting white under the deck would make it very light, and painting black under the deck would make it much darker. This gives maple great flexibility, and it is able to mimic the "sun-bleached" effect when rendered in scale.
Our original offering was to use genuine teak for our wood decks. Teak is a beautiful wood, and it is the actual type of wood used on most ship decks due to its great resistance to weather. If you want "the real stuff" then you want genuine rich teak. Teak does have a prominent grain, and it is a fairly dark wood, so some modelers prefer lighter woods such as maple.
Another option is to do a special color printing of individual plank color variations on a very light wood, separated by grey plank lines. In this case we still get the plank variations showing, but we also get the natural variations in the underlying wood. Used in combination - natural wood and ink tinting - we believe that we can get the closest-to-real-life effect that many modelers are looking for. The wood tends to absorb the ink slightly below the surface. This gives depth to the detail that a camera cannot really pick up. This sample shows "normal plank spacing" as would be rendered on a 1/350 model ship - which is still slightly over-scale, but finer than other manufacturer's. Notice how the planks, less than 1mm or 1/32 of an inch wide, have slight color variations, with some planks lighter, some planks darker, some planks slightly more brown, some slightly more yellow - which looks better on your model versus having a reflected light source in an extreme close-up photo.
For Scale Modelers, BY SCALE MODELERS.
Laser Cut Wood Decks For Model Ships