Head over to www.drydockmodels.com
, then on the left side of the page is tab for hull planking, it is a 30-odd page document outlining how to plank a model hull. Most are double planked, a thicker basswood layer with a very thin walnut layer on top, which allows the modeler to get a nice smooth hull shape to put a walnut (or other material) laminate over.
Balsa is not used too often because of its softness (except for filler blocks at the bow and stern.) As for putting resin over the hull to build a more modern vessel, try www.seaways.com
(they publish a magazine called Ships in Scale), and in the latest magazine a gentleman scratchbuilt a modern sailboat.
Hope these links help, and welcome to the great hobby of model ship building!