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Finishing Estes Saucers?

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Kruegon

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My wife and I picked up a set of Blenders and I'm looking at a Quinstar. Both seem to be made of balsa. I do like a nice clean finish. And wood grain does not make for nice or clean finishes.

What method would you recommend for finishing these? I like using wood filler, but I'm worried about how much weight it would add. And I've never papered balsa before, so not sure I should start here for a first try. But I will if it's the best option.
 

K'Tesh

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For color you might try RIT dye that is mixed with rubbing alcohol instead of water... If you use a Sharpie, know that the alcohol can make it smear (as does Aerogloss)
 

JohnRE

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Tissue, cellulose dope or sanding sealer and off you go. Weight should not be a worry as these are the traditional materials for old stick and tissue aircraft. Adds strength too.
 

neil_w

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I sprayed my Quinstar with Rusto 2x right on the bare balsa, something I would never do except that John Boren recommended it. I have to say it really looks fine, although obviously not like the fully sealed and primed (and papered) jobs I do on other rockets. My finished weight came out quite close to the face card spec.

Dyes and Sharpie will show the grain much worse than a good dose of rattle can paint.

Papering the entire Quinstar would not be practical, but you definitely *could* paper the top surfaces that get the decals. I thought of doing that but ultimately decided against it.
 

hcmbanjo

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On my Quinstar I compromised.
All the surfaces that face up got the grain filled. This requires that you fill those areas before assembly.
Filling the face up pieces did strengthen them a bit.
The face up "flats" were also the surfaces that get the decals.

The sides and interior vertical cage pieces were lightly sanded between paint coats.
I should say, all the areas I could easily reach were lightly sanded.
The estimated weight (from the Estes website) says .8 oz. My Quinstar weighs .85 oz.

I also launch mine with D12 engines so I really concentrated on fillets.
There are a couple areas where the cage sides could feel loose.
Here's the entire build: https://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/search/label/E Quinstar
 
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neil_w

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I also launch mine with D12 engines so I really concentrated on fillets.
There are a couple areas where the cage sides could feel loose.
Yeah, I filleted the heck out of every spot where two pieces of wood came anywhere near each other, in anticipation of D flights. We'll eventually see if it was enough (still sitting on 0 N/s for this year, which means my Quinstar and Cyclone and Diamond Cutter are yet unflown and I think my head is going to explode :bang:.)
 
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