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Old Aug 13, 2004, 06:15 AM
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Near Muncie, IN.
Joined Aug 2004
152 Posts
Lite-ply vs. Balsa...

When constructing a hull assembly, can the keel and bulkheads be made of Balsa or is it best to make them from Lite-ply? Just wondering how much stronger the Lite-ply is than Balsa and if an all Balsa hull would be weak. Been doing some reading and have seen a few folks say that Lite-ply is no stronger than Balsa and harder to cut/clean up. Any opinions on building an all balsa hull for something in the 30" range?
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Old Aug 13, 2004, 08:38 AM
If it ain't broke, fix it
Cambridge
Joined Aug 2004
433 Posts
i recently boat a boat. which is made from balsa and cardboard for the details on the deck. looking at the construction of it seems to be made with bout 3mm balsa sheet. and it is plenty strong enough. aslong as you don't expect to be hitting any iceburgs or anything. lol. providing ya strengthen it enough balsa should be fine i would think. mine has now been coated in fiberglass resin. which is tough and waterproofed the base aswell
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Old Aug 13, 2004, 08:57 AM
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Australia, VIC, Cranbourne East
Joined Apr 2004
10,484 Posts
There are some grades of balsa that are stronger than oak.it is a very variable material,can recomend a small book called the story of balsa,if its still available.
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Old Aug 15, 2004, 12:26 AM
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Grafton, Ohio
Joined Sep 2003
760 Posts
I generally use lite ply/1/8" for stations/bulkheads when constructing a scratchbuilt hull. Planking generally is balsa in either 1/16" to 1/8" thickness. Ca'd to the stations as they lay. With this method, you generally will have some areas in the planking that need filled and i usually do so with the new light fillers. Then once the stern and bow blocks are faired in and everything is fair to my likeing, i then will proceed with the fiberglassing stage. Hull sanding/fairing and attachment of the bilge keels or any other items needing sealed in place by the final resin coat stage. Then removal from the building board and ultimately removal of those light ply bulkheads for the most part, except for those that will remain in place. Some people i know use the light ply for superstructure construction and then cover this with styrene(.020 to .040) or aircraft ply(1/64 to 1/32nd inch.). Gives a smooth surface and sharper corners. Hope this helps.
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Old May 18, 2012, 05:51 AM
Balsa builder and balsa basher
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Joined Apr 2012
683 Posts
balsa all the way but i do use lite ply for my formers. balsa is just so easy to shape
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