Balsa sheets

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kuririn

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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".
Wow, I had no idea that the balsa shortage was this bad.
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. :D
So if any of you are looking for balsa sheets, you know at least one vendor who has them.
 

Mugs914

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Good tip! I wasn't aware of that vendor.

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

 

Zeus-cat

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Randy from eRockets mentioned the shortage months ago during one of our Zoom meetings.
 

kuririn

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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

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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.
Didn't realize it was this bad.
Something about giant windmill turbine blades using up all the balsa?
Who knew.
 
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kuririn

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Received the shipping and tracking notice this morning.
Shipped by Priority Mail.
 

NOLA_BAR

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Maybe try Balsa Machining. I have ordered from them before.
A1827207-42D5-4895-8F90-34E83322CB8E.png
 

kuririn

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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

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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

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Lucky I have a LHS with a great supply of balsa and basswood. The inventory gets hit every now and then.
 

Mugs914

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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

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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

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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.

0104211448[1].jpg
 

neil_w

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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

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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

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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

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Oh! Like this?
0104211711[1].jpg
or this?
0104211711a[1].jpg
I get 32.5 g. for a 1/16 X 4 X 36" sheet.
Is that good or bad?
 

neil_w

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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. :)
 

Ez2cDave

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I get 32.5 g. for a 1/16 X 4 X 36" sheet.
Is that good or bad?
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.

1609908618918.png


https://www.modelaviation.com/balsa

Dave F.
 

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rklapp

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 

kuririn

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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

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So it is too hard to cut with Xacto?? Bummer.
 
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