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Old Mar 07, 2012, 01:52 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Livermore
Joined Jan 2005
129 Posts
Building board recommendations?

Getting ready to build a balsa sailplane and was wondering what you guys are using as a building board these days? I used to build and pin over a door but the pins wouldn't go in as easy as I would have liked. What other super flat material can be used to build on with pins that won't break the bank?
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Old Mar 07, 2012, 06:33 PM
Registered User
United States, FL, Gainesville
Joined Jan 2002
235 Posts
Check with your building supply and see if they have Homasote. Not normally carried by the big box stores!
It is a paper based insulating material that comes in 1/2 x 4 x 8 sheets. It holds pins very well.
I've been using it since the early sixties. There was a short period that I used a smooth ceiling tile but it is not as dense as the Homasote.
You can also purchase a balsa building board but it will cost yah!
Good luck.
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Old Mar 07, 2012, 06:47 PM
the flying is good
dephela's Avatar
USA, CT, Hamden
Joined Oct 2002
2,138 Posts
+1 on the homosote.
BTW, use the backside not the hard side you would see if it were installed.
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Old Mar 07, 2012, 07:30 PM
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United States, OK, Perry
Joined Jun 2006
193 Posts
another board is to get a 2'x4' piece of good 3/4" 9 ply plywood at the local home improvement place and a a smooth finish celotex ceiling tile also 2x4. glue the tile to the plywood and you have a nice, easy to pin to, FLAT building board. I've used them for years.

Kevin O'Dell
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Old Mar 08, 2012, 05:25 AM
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R.M. Gellart's Avatar
Joined Nov 2005
3,646 Posts
Glass and celotex. Glass stores usually have some 1/2-3/4" scrap around or stuff used for shelves. No way this warps.

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Old Mar 08, 2012, 11:40 AM
Unrepentant Paragon addict
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United States, OK, Moore
Joined Jan 2006
2,799 Posts
+1 for the ceiling tiles. You can use them till they are no longer smooth enough for your liking, then simply replace with a new one. I fix them to my work table with double sided tape.
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Old Mar 08, 2012, 01:56 PM
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Vince Herman's Avatar
United States, OH, Strongsville
Joined Nov 2000
2,710 Posts
+1 ceiling tile
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Old Mar 08, 2012, 01:59 PM
spinolio's Avatar
United States, MI, Kentwood
Joined Apr 2005
374 Posts
+1 for Homasote. I got mine at Menard's.
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Old Mar 08, 2012, 03:04 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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Montrose, NY
Joined May 2003
1,444 Posts
I'm all for Homasote however due to the limited building area here is what I did. I found a hardwood step which was about 48" long and 12" wide. I made sure it wasn't warped. I then took 2 pieces of foam project board and contact cemented it into place on the plank. Since my "building board" has to be stored away (under my sofa) this worked out perfect. It was real flat, but provided me the ability to stick pins into it. I'm able to staple my plans down then cover it with Press N' Seal.

If I had a place to build I'd use Homasote, but since I had to comprise and keep the other half happy, I resorted to the plank.

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Old Mar 09, 2012, 01:07 PM
cq cq de kr4is
flexsphincter's Avatar
USA, VA, virginia beach
Joined Jan 2011
277 Posts
old door and ceiling tiles,,,use a "dead man" under the middle of door too keep from sagging in middle.,,,i check b4 each build with a straight edge to be sure there is no warp/sag and shim if needed,,,,ceiling tiles are flat and cheap throw aways after build so you have new table surface for next time.
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Old Mar 10, 2012, 08:57 AM
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Mark Miller's Avatar
United States, WI, Waunakee
Joined Oct 2002
2,770 Posts
Homasote rocks. I have been building on it since the 60's and it really fits the bill. Ceiling tiles are not as dense and do not hold pins as well. Harder things like wall board are to hard plus when you pus the pin in it causes the paper to rise up around the pin pushing the part from the board. I have an old metal top office desk that I put the Homasote on. Stays flat and I last bought a new board about 7 years ago From Menards when I lived in Wisconsin. There are no Menards here in St. Louis. Or goto www.homasote.com to find a source.
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Old Mar 10, 2012, 07:10 PM
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Joined Jul 2002
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1/2" foam board from a local sign maker. It has a plastic skin on both sides that holds pins well. Mounted on a 15"x 7' piece of 1" cabinet grade plywood. I change the foam board about every 3-4 years or when I spill too much CA on it.
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Old Mar 10, 2012, 07:55 PM
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Steve Bailey's Avatar
United States, IN, Mishawaka
Joined Sep 2009
223 Posts
Go to Menards and get the Homasote. $26.65 for a 4x8 sheet. I just bought one today and I gotta say, this is the looks like the best stuff I have ever seen for building wooden model airplanes. I have used ceiling panels for 30+ years and this stuff smokes that.
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