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Hi all,

 

I am about to construct the monkey board and rail on my Bluenose. The monkey board is 3/64" x 3/32". I was wondering if there is any advantage or disadvantage to using balsa wood for this? Balsa is very lightweight and easily bent. I thought of using basswood which I would wet and then bend and fix using a heat gun. The balsa seems to offer an easier alternative but rarely is easier better.

 

Any thoughts? Thanks for any and all input.

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Hi Jim,

 

I'm with John (Jim Lad) and Jeff - Balsa is great for a lot of things (quick and easy Pincushions or Knife Blade Holders), but really has no place in ship modelling other than what they mentioned. A few years ago I used it for Filler Blocks but now prefer a timber like Pine or Basswood - a bit harder to sand, but they takes planking screws etc a lot better and are also much better to glue planks to.

 

The balsa seems to offer an easier alternative but rarely is easier better

 

You said it yourself  :D .

 

:cheers:  Danny

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Thanks guys! I'm glad I asked. I have bass (lime), boxwood and walnut so I'll use one of those - it is going to be painted so my choice will be whichever I can get to cooperate with me most easily.

 

Thanks again for the advice.

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Jim, if you're painting it I suggest the Limewood - a lot easier to get a lateral bend into than either of the others.

 

I'll also suggest you either make a simple jig in which to clamp the soaked timber whilst it dries, or else clamp it in place on the hull (whichever works better for your application). Make sure you leave it to dry overnight at least, depending on ambient temperature. The timber MUST BE COMPLETELY DRY before you attempt to glue it in place.

 

BTW - even though you are painting the timber I STILL wouldn't use Balsa.

 

:cheers:  Danny

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Thanks Dan. What I normally do when I'm bending wood is trace the curve from the drawing onto tracing paper then transfer that line onto a small piece of enameled steel. With the curve now laid out I start to clamp the wet wood to the plate. Once I'm satisfied that the bend is correct I use a heat gun (I think it is 750 watt) to dry the wood. With all the exposed wood dry I move the clamps to the dry areas so I can dry what was under the clamps. Chuck showed us this method at one of the SMS-NJ meetings.

 

Thanks again for your input.

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Hi Crackers,

 

You're not contradicting me - I used to use balsa for Fillers :

 

Balsa being soft, accepted the pins manually pushed into place.

 

The problem is the softness of the Balsa - pins don't always hold in it as well as they do in a harder wood, which is what I now use (actually I now use planking SCREWS instead of Pins).

 

:cheers:  Danny

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The problem is the softness of the Balsa - pins don't always hold in it as well as they do in a harder wood, which is what I now use (actually I now use planking SCREWS instead of Pins).

 

:cheers:  Danny

 

Hi, Danny, but balsa is easily processed and well holds a form  :) .

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Hi Jim,

Balsa is easier to bend, that is true, but it does not hold a nice round bend like the harder wood does. I just planked a ship with balsa for the first layer and found this out. I had to fill in several area where the wood took uneven bends.

 

Vince P.

Hi all,

 

I am about to construct the monkey board and rail on my Bluenose. The monkey board is 3/64" x 3/32". I was wondering if there is any advantage or disadvantage to using balsa wood for this? Balsa is very lightweight and easily bent. I thought of using basswood which I would wet and then bend and fix using a heat gun. The balsa seems to offer an easier alternative but rarely is easier better.

 

Any thoughts? Thanks for any and all input.

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Hi Jim,

Balsa is easier to bend, that is true, but it does not hold a nice round bend like the harder wood does. I just planked a ship with balsa for the first layer and found this out. I had to fill in several area where the wood took uneven bends.

 

Vince P.

Hi, Vince, balsa shouldn't be bent, it badly bends and thus easily breaks. Inserts should be cut out from blocks or thick boards of balsa, then they very well hold a form.

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One great use Ive found for balsa is in making wedges. Due to its soft nature it gives before the other wood, which helps protect the wood planking. Clamps both plastic and metal sometime leave indentions, especially if the wood is wet. Ive found balsa boxs and wedges very handy and no destruction/deformation in holding planking for drying or gluing.

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  • 2 months later...

balsa wood is only suitable for control line or remote control aeroplanes. Does anyone here remember flying control line aeroplanes as I did in the early 70's ?

Yes, but it was back in the 1950's  :)

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Ahoy Mates :D

 

My first endeavors into flying model aircraft were with control line.

 

I can still remember the fun I had, I was ten, and until I turned twelve, none of my planes lasted more then two outings

 

I am amazed I have all my fingers "lol"

 

Mark: Funny I feel the same why about this hobby

Edited by JPett
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There is alternative way to use balsa as  first  layer of planking (strips 2 x 5 mm) , if you are not familiar with classic way or you do not have proper tools ( bending long strips), and when your model allows that ( as for example Cutty Sark and similar ships which were coopered by default). On same places you must add extra ribs

 

Of course, there will be a lot of sanding and puttying. After that, when you reach proper lines, there comes second , very precise layer of planking with veneer and zinc/cooper foil

 

post-4738-0-39962000-1373350008.jpg

Edited by Nenad M
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