Saving Balsa Scraps: OCD or not?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Kirk G, Feb 20, 2016.

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  1. Feb 20, 2016 #1

    Kirk G

    Kirk G

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    It's a warm February weekend here, and the wife has started spring cleaning. (It doesn't matter that I told her this is an aberration and the warmth won't last. She's into it.)

    Now she's looking at my work pile and "suggesting" that I straight it up or get it out of the living room. I tell her that I intend on building two rockets over the next month, and not to touch anything.

    So now she's looking at the pieces of balsa that I have cut off from various fins and things, and saved in large and small zip-lock baggies. "Can't you at least throw these out", she says.

    What do I tell her?

    Is it a symptom of OCD that I want to hang onto my scraps of balsa flashing that have come off earlier lazar cut fins and kits?
    How often do you find or even look for a piece to repair, shape or make do, from your earlier scrap wood?

    (I'm not talking about something the size of your fingernail... but maybe something as large as your longest finger or a length of a ruler or something triangular like a protractor?)

    Help! She's getting closer with the vacuum cleaner as I speak....
     
  2. Feb 20, 2016 #2

    ericclinedinst

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    Nope I hold onto mine as well. I keep all of the leftover parts from my Estes sheets or scratch builds. Who knows when you're going to need to sliver off a splinter from a sheet to fill here or there.

    Also trace all the balsa sheets incase I break a fin or something. Who knows. Also nice to have the template for an upscale later on.
     
  3. Feb 20, 2016 #3

    RFMan

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    Once in a while I have let a scrap get away, but if this is OCD, then I've been OCD since the early seventies...
     
  4. Feb 20, 2016 #4

    BEC

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    I'm with RFMan....and as a builder of lots of model airplanes I have LOTS of balsa scraps. And they do get used from time to time. Whether that justifies how many scraps I have or not is probably not for me to judge :)....
     
  5. Feb 20, 2016 #5

    georgegassaway

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    So let me get this straight..... you have them saved in ziploc bags, and she wants you to throw them out???

    Does she know the price of good balsa and what it costs?

    It'd be different if you literally had random scrap pieces scattered all over the place. Like I often do. :)

    I do save a lot of leftover pieces because eventually I'll have a need to cut out some small piece for a project and it would be silly to cut it from an intact sheet of balsa when a scrap would do. Also the scraps are of various hardness and weight so I have a good choice fit the purpose of the project. And sometimes it's just used as "scrap" period, like a shim or to hold small pieces for painting, or whatever. Purposes for which I would never cut pieces out from an intact sheet.

    Now, if you save them in the ziploc bags, but never USE any of them, just collect and save, then yep, that's OCD. :)

    A story from long long ago, when I was a kid and a friend of mine and his brother got into rockets. He had bought his first 3 x 36" sheet of balsa. His little brother asked if he could cut out a replacement fin from the sheet. He said OK. Later, he found his sheet of balsa, with a fin-shaped HOLE IN THE CENTER OF THE SHEET! No, not near an end, not along a side, his brother cut it dead-center. "You can't fix stupid".

    - George Gassaway
     
  6. Feb 20, 2016 #6

    markkoelsch

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    Save a few but not all. Just say no to OCD- control yourself.
     
  7. Feb 20, 2016 #7

    Trident

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    I have some that are decades old. I prefer "old growth" scraps to the new stuff.

    I did cull some of the tinier scraps this winter. It was painful, but I had enough to use as kindling in the fireplace. :wink:
     
  8. Feb 20, 2016 #8

    KarlS

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    I keep a lot of balsa pieces for spreading glue in hard to reach places, shimming, stirring paint, etc.
    There are many reason one would need a piece of balsa.
     
  9. Feb 20, 2016 #9

    BABAR

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    I throw away the stuff that is too small to make fins out of, but if there is enough for a LPR (not micromaxx) fin, it goes in the box.
     
  10. Feb 20, 2016 #10

    JoeG

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    Every person I know who builds balsa models, not the ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) versions that are prevalent today, has a box of scrap balsa. Most of these are boxes that are 4" x 12" x 36" or larger and are full. If this is OCD then we all are suffering from it. The contents in the boxes tend to grow rather than be used up but it seems a wasteful to throw away a perfectly good piece of balsa wood no matter the size.

    Just say "NO!"


    My job here is done. Oh by the way, if she asks, tell her you came up with that answer on your own. ;)
     
  11. Feb 20, 2016 #11

    K'Tesh

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    Add another person to your list that qualifies for that list (including the box dimensions (I think mine is 6"x12"x36" though). I'm trying to figure out how to get it, and the rest of my stuff shipped to me here in China.
     
  12. Feb 20, 2016 #12

    Kirk G

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    Do they not MAKE balsa wood in China???:confused:
     
  13. Feb 20, 2016 #13

    terryg

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    Scrap balsa is useful for things like filling in holes in clusters, etc. Save the bags, if you do not use any of it in a reasonable amount of time, then pitch them. However in the short term, move them to the garage or deeper storage. There is no real need to keep them in the living room.
     
  14. Feb 20, 2016 #14

    Marc_G

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    I'm a balsa scrap saver, but within reason.

    I have box something like 18" long, by about 6 inches wide, and maybe 3-4 inches deep. Scrap goes in there. When it gets too full, I get rid of the least desirable stuff, saving the better bits. Different hardnesses, thicknesses, and such are in there. It's a gold mine. Not just for LPR fins, but for thin strakes, standoff backings for launch lugs... you know, STUFF.

    Soon, though I'm going to have to part with some of my LPR engine casings. I have bags and bags of spent casings. They are very useful, but when you've got maybe 4-5 gallon Ziploc bags of them, that's a bit much...
     
  15. Feb 20, 2016 #15

    neil_w

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    I save it all and then periodically look at the pile and wonder why the hell I'm saving it. I do try to toss the really small scraps though.
     
  16. Feb 21, 2016 #16

    JJSR

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    do you mean like this one box of 4 I have.
    Here I thought I was the only person that saved the scraps
    rockets 107.jpg

    Nice to know I'm not alone !!!
     
  17. Feb 21, 2016 #17

    Vethen

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    I use the thin long balsa scraps as mixing sticks or to brace fins when building a rocket with multiple sets of fins all in line with each other..

    I did have to make a replacement piece out of balsa for my friend when he broke a part of the fin of his mercury red stone while sanding too vigorously..
     
  18. Feb 21, 2016 #18

    nute

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    I generally keep the larger pieces for mixing sticks, braces, etc. or to make small fins or stuff for scratch builds.

    Nate
     
  19. Feb 21, 2016 #19

    mikemech

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    Of COURSE you save balsa scraps! I keep mine in plastic shoe storage boxes. One each for 1/16, 1/8, 3/16 and 1/4. Longer pieces are in a body tube shipping box.

    ericclinedinst mentioned that he traces the fin patterns for possible repair. I used to until I got a printer that is also a scanner. I scan the fin sheet before I cut the fins. If necessary I make multiple scans for large fins. Saved as a .pdf you can print fin templates for any size. e.g. I have Big Bertha and Der Red Max in 42, 24, 18 and 13mm.

    BTW, it's CDO, in the PROPER alphabetical order, like it should be.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  20. Feb 21, 2016 #20

    Vethen

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    I thought I was the only one thinking that!
     
  21. Feb 21, 2016 #21

    mkadams001

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    I tend to save only during the build for glue sticks and such. When I am done building I toss the scraps. There is always more coming.
     
  22. Feb 21, 2016 #22

    georgegassaway

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    FWIW, for those who do not know where Balsa comes from, or just want to know more about it, here is a link to an excellent article from Sig Mfg and a brief quote from it:
    http://www.mat.uc.pt/~pedro/ncientificos/artigos/techbal.html


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is why it is so lightweight, it has a lot of air gaps:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  23. Feb 21, 2016 #23

    jadebox

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    I'm reminded of something I used to do as a kid. I'd make tiny gliders out of the left-over balsa pieces. I think they were more darts than airplanes, but they actually (sort-of) "flew" pretty well when launched with a rubber band.

    Basically, I'd cut one of the balsa pieces into a strip about 1/8" square and an inch or two in length. I'd glue a delta-shaped wing on the bottom of the strip at one end and a smaller delta-shaped "canard" near the front on the top of the strip. On the bottom under the canard, I'd glue a small block to use as a hook for a rubber band to launch the glider.

    BTW ... an interesting bit of trivia ... balsa is a hardwood.

    --Roger
     
  24. Feb 22, 2016 #24

    Daddyisabar

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    I have heard that large amounts scrap balsa is good for making charcoal the can be used for something we can't talk about here. I have also heard used Estes (NOT QUEST) motor casings can be used for things we can not talk about here. So saving both is not a bad idea if you eventually want to do those sort of unspeakable activities. . . so I have heard. I have seen old dudes digging through the trash at the launch collecting used High Power STARTER wires and the tubes they come in. Environmentalists? Crazy? Cheapskates? Recyclers? OCD? Bums? Pyros? I can't figure it out and maybe I don't even want to, the real answers may be a bit too scary. I have just been giving away my spent 24 and 29mm BP motors so the somewhat embarrassing, "rush at the end of launch trash digging," can be avoided and kept as much as possible out of the public eye.
     
  25. Feb 22, 2016 #25

    Sooner Boomer

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    I save a lot of the scraps of balsa left over. Not only do I save scraps of the more "exotic" woods from my woodworking projects, I also save the sawdust! A pinch jammed into a nail hole or crack, then dabbed with CA forms an invisible patch.
     
  26. Feb 22, 2016 #26

    o1d_dude

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    Quit holding on to useless scraps of balsa. You can always buy another piece if you need it. Rocketry is not about being economical...it's all about "MONEY GOING UP IN SMOKE".

    That being said, I have boxes of balsa planks and sticks dating as far back as 1971...ordered from Sig for stick and tissue model aircraft...received as prizes at AMA Free Flight competitions and championship...purchased at local hobby shops because "straight C-grain is SOOOOO hard to find."

    I feel your pain.
     
  27. Feb 23, 2016 #27

    JoeG

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    I know what you mean. I tend to go overboard myself. Here is a photo of PART of my balsa backup supply. This is a balsa display rack I purchased from the hobby shop where i work. Remember i bought it empty. This is in the corner of my rocket/airplane workshop. Keep in mind I have been doing this since the 70's also. It's not so much an addiction as a........well....I guess it is an addiction. ;)

    balsa.jpg
     
  28. Feb 23, 2016 #28

    jqavins

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    I have a roughly 4" x 4" x 24" box that some kit(s) or part(s) came in, about half full of scraps. (And the other half full of tools and other small items.) The scraps are good for glue spreaders, non-marring clamp faces, temporary supports and shims, and occasionally small bits of something permanent. So yes, they do actually get used. When the box gets too full, I get rid of some. Never get rid of them all.

    Then there's a different box with good size "left-over pieces" that are too big to call scraps, along with salvaged rocket parts and other bits and bobs. That's not scrap at all, it's material.
     
  29. Feb 23, 2016 #29

    Swissyhawk

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    It's really only OCD if you start numbering the scraps and cataloging them in a spreadsheet.
     
  30. Feb 24, 2016 #30

    Kirk G

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    Should I be upset or relieved that I don't know what you're referring to here?:blush:
     

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