Balsa sheets

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Rktman

Eric
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I like that they let you specify density. Haven't checked, do any of the other vendors?
SIG also does.
I like that Specialized Balsa will let you specify both density and type (A, B, or C grain) but like SIG, there's a service charge for that and it can get expensive. But with Specialized Balsa, you'll get EXACTLY what you request (unlike some suppliers), it's quality stuff and they pack it well to avoid any possible damage. (I build primarily gliders so the right type and density is crucial).
 

Ez2cDave

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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.
My own personal experience with Basswood it that it tends to break easily, parallel with the grain ( gets worse, as you go thinner ). If I need strong fins, either thin aircraft plywood or home-made "balsa plywood" gets the nod.

Dave F.
 

neil_w

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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.
I have cut plenty of basswood by hand. The Ragnarok was all 1/8" basswood, which was indeed pretty hard to cut, but at least they were straight cuts. Since then, I've used 1/16" and 3/32" which cut without too much problem for me. Yeah it's a few passes but no biggie. When cutting basswood, I usually use my larger Olfa snap-off which gives a lot better leverage. I wouldn't normally use an Xacto #11 or anything like that.
My own personal experience with Basswood it that it tends to break easily, parallel with the grain ( gets worse, as you go thinner ). If I need strong fins, either thin aircraft plywood or home-made "balsa plywood" gets the nod.
I agree; basswood seems weak parallel with the grain. However, in a recent build I glue-papered some 3/32" basswood and man that felt *really* strong.

Other pluses and minuses for basswood:
1) It's harder to sand. BUT it's also harder to oversand, which is nice
2) It is MUCH more resistant to getting dinged up from handling. You don't have to treat your basswood fins with kid gloves. This include sharp edges (e.g. airfoils or beveled or whatnot). That makes it much less stressful to work with.

Overall, I still use balsa most of the time for LPR, but basswood definitely has its uses.
 

DeWain

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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.
In addition to the issues of weight and ease of cutting, it also depends on what kind of rocketry you are doing. My favorite part of rocketry is building clones of classic kits for when I was a kid. I want those models to be as close to the original as possible, which means the fins are made of balsa. If I am doing an upscale/scale-up of a classic kit, I sometimes use basswood, but other times I use thicker balsa or "balsa plywood" so that the thickness will be approximately scaled. When I do "balsa plywood", I will cut 2-3 fins out of balsa (often with the grain running in different directions) and then glue them together with wood glue (and with a stack of books on top while the glue dries). Very strong, but also light and easy to sand.

Also, if you do gliders, balsa is usually best.

DeWain
 

rklapp

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I asked Joe from Hobby Co about the balsa back order for the past three months. He said that Porsche has been bidding on the balsa trees in Honduras to make their cars so there's a backlog for balsa. If you want more balsa, don't buy Porsche (or cannabolize it from your sports car).
 

kuririn

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I asked Joe from Hobby Co about the balsa back order for the past three months. He said that Porsche has been bidding on the balsa trees in Honduras to make their cars so there's a backlog for balsa. If you want more balsa, don't buy Porsche (or cannabolize it from your sports car).
Heh, Porsches made of balsa.
Pros: Lightweight, great acceleration.
Cons. Watch out for termites.
 
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