# Balsa sheets

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
I placed a small order with erockets a couple of days ago, and I noticed that I was running low on 1/16" balsa sheets..
So I added it on to my order. Got an email notice today that they were out of 1/16" balsa stock and due to the balsa shortage have no idea when they will be getting new stock. So they refunded that part of my order.
No problem, I went to my other go to vendor for wood products, Hobbylinc.
Every size of 1/16" balsa sheeting showed "Currently Unavailable".
Fortunately I had a third vendor bookmarked:
Balsa Wood - Balsa Wood Products, Birch Plywood and Lite Plywood. (balsawoodinc.com)
They still have all sizes of balsa, basswood, and lite ply sheet available.
They are an adjunct company to an R/C model airplane company. This way they can CNC and laser cut their own parts in house.
I have ordered from them before and was pleased at the product and service.
$20 minimum order. An unexpected bonus was that I found out my Shop Rewards points on my credit card covered the whole order. So it's like getting the sheets for free. So if any of you are looking for balsa sheets, you know at least one vendor who has them. #### Mugs914 ##### Pardon me for talkin' while you're interruptin'... Good tip! I wasn't aware of that vendor. I order my balsa and 1/64" ply from SIG Mfg: #### Zeus-cat ##### Well-Known Member Randy from eRockets mentioned the shortage months ago during one of our Zoom meetings. #### kuririn ##### BARGeezer TRF Lifetime Supporter TRF Supporter I order my balsa and 1/64" ply from SIG Mfg: Looks like SIG and BMS both have the same price for 1/16 X 4 x 36" balsa sheets @$2.77 per.
Balsa Wood Inc. has them at $2.21. Shipping is a little more but Balsa Wood still nets lower by$3 and change for my order compared to BMS.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
Randy from eRockets mentioned the shortage months ago during one of our Zoom meetings.
Yeah, I heard about the balsa shortage months ago but never had a problem ordering sheets before.
Who knew.

Last edited:

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
Received the shipping and tracking notice this morning.
Shipped by Priority Mail.

#### NOLA_BAR

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Maybe try Balsa Machining. I have ordered from them before.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
Maybe try Balsa Machining. I have ordered from them before.
A little more expensive than Balsa Wood. See post #4.
They used to carry a launch controller a few years ago.
I ordered it, they emailed me back and said there would be additional charges.
The shipping was just as much as the price of the controller.
Haven't ordered from them since.

#### NOLA_BAR

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
A little more expensive than Balsa Wood. See post #4.
They used to carry a launch controller a few years ago.
I ordered it, they emailed me back and said there would be additional charges.
The shipping was just as much as the price of the controller.
Haven't ordered from them since.
That’s a bummer. I ordered the 1/32 balsa sheets some time ago. Only place I could find it at the time.

#### NOLA_BAR

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Lucky I have a LHS with a great supply of balsa and basswood. The inventory gets hit every now and then.

#### Mugs914

##### Pardon me for talkin' while you're interruptin'...
I have had good luck with sheet balsa and basswood at my local Hobby Lobby or Michael's. You have to go through it and be a bit selective (there can be a few clangers in there), but most all of it is good enough for sport rocket use.

#### shockie

##### High Plains Drifter
Good tip! I wasn't aware of that vendor.

I order my balsa and 1/64" ply from SIG Mfg:

Unfortunately they have been out of contest grade 4-8 lbs for awhile.

I found some 4 to 6 lb c grain at another company for +\$9 per 1/16 × 3 x 36 sheet....ouch...

Easy built models has some 4-6 lb in 18" lengths at reasonable prices and 6-8 lb c grain

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
Sheets arrived today.
They were rubber banded together and put in a box. No other packing material.
I would have liked to see it wrapped in bubble wrap, but no damage other than a crack along the grain on one end of one sheet.
These will be put under weight on a shelf to prevent cupping and warping.
Now I can start building again.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
Sheets arrived today.
They were rubber banded together and put in a box. No other packing material.
I'm glad they were OK, but... that strikes me as terrible, and would make me hesitant to purchase from that vendor.

On the other hand, I've never mail-ordered balsa before, always purchased locally. What sorts of densities did you get? I'd always worry I'm gonna get something light and spongy or rock hard. When I buy locally I have my trusty scale in hand, and can always be sure to get at least approximately medium density.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
First thing I checked was for spongy wood. I've gotten those with some TLP kits.
Densities appear fine for hobby work, but I don't have anything to measure or give a # to.
Still waiting for a nose cone and tail ring from erockets, but at least now I can start on a build.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
First thing I checked was for spongy wood. I've gotten those with some TLP kits.
Densities appear fine for hobby work, but I don't have anything to measure or give a # to.
Still waiting for a nose cone and tail ring from erockets, but at least now I can start on a build.
You don't have a little scale? Man, I couldn't live without mine.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
Oh! Like this?

or this?

I get 32.5 g. for a 1/16 X 4 X 36" sheet.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
Somewhere around 13.5 lb/ft^3, slightly on the dense side but fine.

I keep a table of target weights for different sheet sizes on my phone for quick reference in the store.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
slightly on the dense side but fine.
Yeah, I hear that all too frequently.
Somewhat surprised to hear it coming from you though, buds.

#### Ez2cDave

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I get 32.5 g. for a 1/16 X 4 X 36" sheet.
4 X 36 X .0625 = 9 cubic inches

32.5 gr = 1.14638448 oz. ( using 28.35 gr / oz. )

12 X 12 X 12 = 1728 cubic inches ( 1 cubic foot )

1728 / 9 = 192

1.14638448 X 192 = 220 oz.

220 oz / cubic ft. = 13.75661376 lb / cubic foot

So, the density of that sheet of balsa wood is 13.75661376 lb / cubic foot.

https://www.modelaviation.com/balsa

Dave F.

#### Attachments

• 951.1 KB Views: 4
• 111 KB Views: 4
Last edited:

TRF Supporter
Try Balsa USA.

TRF Supporter

TRF Supporter

#### rklapp

##### NAR# 109557
TRF Supporter
The LHS, Hobbyco has been low for the past two months. I asked the lady if she’s having trouble ordering more balsa. She said no but not sure she knew what I was asking. I bought several strips of Revell from what they had at the time. It does seem to be rather spongy.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
The LHS, Hobbyco has been low for the past two months. I asked the lady if she’s having trouble ordering more balsa. She said no but not sure she knew what I was asking. I bought several strips of Revell from what they had at the time. It does seem to be rather spongy.
I've had sheets that were easy to cut through in one section then a few inches down were very dense and hard to cut. Being a natural product I guess that's to be expected.
Midwest balsa from Hobbylinc had been my go-to vendor but they were out. Balsawoodinc was actually my third choice, but they delivered a decent product.
Spongy balsa can be hardened by painting with thin CA. Cut first, apply the CA then sand smooth when dry.
Buying from the LHS has the advantage of letting you see in advance what you're buying. Like picking a wood plank from Home Depot that isn't warped or crooked or full of knots.

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
With all this talk about balsa, unless you going for altitude isn't Bass wood better. I always assumed it was stronger since TLP used it for their Mid Power kits.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
With all this talk about balsa, unless you going for altitude isn't Bass wood better. I always assumed it was stronger since TLP used it for their Mid Power kits.
It's also heavier, so... good sometimes, not others.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
I like that they let you specify density. Haven't checked, do any of the other vendors?

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
With all this talk about balsa, unless you going for altitude isn't Bass wood better. I always assumed it was stronger since TLP used it for their Mid Power kits.
TLP used balsa for their mid power kits. And frequently it was spongy balsa.
That was one of the biggest knocks against them.
That's why they recommended in their instructions to paint the fins with thin CA.
You're right, basswood is stronger. Also a bit heavier.
I find it easier to cut with a power saw or oscillating blade. An Xacto blade will wear your fingers out.

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
So it is too hard to cut with Xacto?? Bummer.