Author Topic: Cutting Balsa Wood  (Read 1155 times)

Offline Sproogle

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Cutting Balsa Wood
« on: May 27, 2006, 01:44:04 AM »
Well, technically, it's called poplar plywood. Quite thin, so I'm afraid of hurting it. Anyone have any ideas?

Offline Calvin

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Re: Cutting Balsa Wood
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2006, 06:22:03 PM »
Whenever I've worked with balsa I've been using thin strips and panels that are easy to cut with a sharp hobby knife.

Here is some more information that I found on this website:
"Balsa is a very "friendly" wood to work with -- so light, so soft, so easily worked into so many things. You don't need heavy-duty power saws and sanders like you would if working with a hardwood. In fact, even with an extensive power shop at their disposal, the professional model builders here at the SIG factory find that they still rely primarily on 4 or 5 simple hand tools for the majority of their work. If you are just starting out in the model airplane hobby, here are the tools that they recommend you get:
X-ACTO No. 1 knife with No. 11 blade for general cutting; X-ACTO No. 2 knife with No. 26 blade for carving; Razor saw for cutting thick sizes of wood; Razor plane for shaping; A knife or razor blade will work well for cutting balsa sheets and sticks up to 3/16". Always keep replacement blades on hand - blades do wear our and a dull blade can make it impossible to do a good job."
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Offline Melkor

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Re: Cutting Balsa Wood
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 05:35:37 PM »
If you have a very thin piece of poplar-faced ply, why did you ask about balsa. Balsa is NOT plywood, and it is NOT poplar/tulip. Ok, some modelling plys have balsa centres, but still, its a completely different technique recquired.

Anyway, for balsa, I would think a knife if its thin enough, or a small saw if the knife won't cut it easily (A fine toothed padsaw maybe).

For plywood, you do not want a knife. Use a combi-saw (Will cut both down and across the grain, essential for plywood, as the layer directions are alternated.) The finer the teeth, the better, for modelling purposes.

Oh, and today's fun fact: Balsa is not a softwood like most people think, its actually a hardwood, due to the classification being nothing to do with the relative hardness of the wood.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2006, 05:40:09 PM by Melkor »