Balsa Wood is a very soft and lightweight wood which makes it ideal for uses in many applications and a variety of tasks.
IN THIS BROCHURE…
Typical users of Balsa Wood
Common tools for cutting and shaping the Balsa Wood
Sanding blocks for shaping and finishing Balsa Wood constructions
Products available for easy gluing of Balsa Wood
Products available for painting and finishing Balsa Wood constructions
Other interesting facts about Balsa Wood
TYPICAL USERS OF BALSA WOOD
Moms and Kids – ideal for school projects or making simple homemade wooden models. Balsa also floats well so kids can make model boats that will certainly float.
It is soft enough for younger kids to cut without the need of razor-sharp tools and it is easily sanded into shapes.
Arts and Crafts – Balsa Wood is very suitable for all forms of Arts and Crafts, from woodcarving to shaping and even wood burning art
Hobbyists – Balsa wood is used extensively in making flying model aeroplanes and in sailing ships. Due to its strength - along with its light weight - it is perfect for model aeroplanes.
Architectural Students – Perfect for making model structures as required by students studying architecture.
Engineering Model Builders – Engineering students can easily and effectively use Balsa Wood for making model structures such as bridges and trusses.
COMMON TOOLS FOR CUTTING & SHAPING
Balsa Wood is a very "friendly" wood to work with - so light, so soft, so easily worked into many things. You don't need heavy-duty power saws and sanders as you would if working with a hardwood.
A simple sharp knife (blade) will suffice for many basic construction models, but a careful selection of only 4 or 5 simple hand tools will greatly enhance one’s ability to work very easily and effectively with the Balsa Wood.
A small sharp hobby (craft) knife for general cutting or a medium knife with a larger blade for carving and heavier duty cutting
A razor plane can be used to for shaping of larger pieces while a razor saw is best for the cutting of sheets and strips.
Always keep replacement blades on hand - blades do wear out and a dull blade can make it impossible to do a good job. As always, and very importantly, maintain careful oversight of younger children as they work with sharp tools.
SANDING BLOCKS FOR SHAPING AND FINISHING
In addition to the cutting tools, it may be useful to have an assortment of different size sanding blocks on hand. These are indispensable tools for model construction.
You can buy ready-made sanding blocks or make your own by gluing sandpaper onto different sizes of scrap plywood sticks and round hardwood dowels.
These are handy for working in tight places and for careful shaping where a big sanding block is too hard to control.
Balsa can be glued with a variety of different glue types such as:
Wood Glue – gives medium bond but takes many hours to dry
Aliphatic Resin – gives high bond and dries within 20 minutes
Cyanoacrolate or “SUPER” Glue – also high bond and dries instantly
Hot Glue Gun – medium bond but not ideal for smaller pieces
Epoxy Glues - excellent bond and available in different drying times
PAINTING AND FINISHING
Balsa wood can be painted with almost any form of paint ranging from water based acrylic paints right though to enamels, inks and even wood stain.
Due to the structure of Balsa, it does tend to suck up the paint so it will probably need a few coats to achieve a good coverage.
Another method is to paint w coats of a sanding sealer onto the wood and then apply your final colour coat.
DID YOU KNOW?
Balsa comes from the humid rain forests of Central and South America.
The word Balsa is Spanish and means ‘raft’ with reference to its flotation qualities.
Balsa grows singly or in very small groups of trees.
Balsa trees grow rapidly in 6-10 years and reach heights of 60 to 90 meters with a diameter of 30cm to 1 meter.
60% of freshly chopped Balsa is made up of water so newly chopped trees are kiln dried for about two weeks to evaporate the water in them.
Surprisingly Balsa is only the third or fourth lightest wood in the world, but the other woods are very weak and unusable.