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Posted by CGordon | Apr 17, 2019 @ 07:07 PM | 1,019 Views
I wanted to try a darker hardwood and much thinner balsa than the last experiment. This time it is 1/16" balsa with teak veneer. The strips were glued with yellow glue and pressed overnight to dry. The teak was surfaced down to just a few thousandths on each side.

Next, a strength/weight test. I cut a very narrow strip and a wider strip of balsa of about the same weight. The balsa was slightly heavier and slightly stiffer, but I'd say these were fairly matched. No question that the teak was doing the work of carrying the tension and compression loads nicely.

There's probably a geometry of teak/balsa which exceeds plain balsa, but hard to optimize at this tiny scale.

I love the look of teak and I could create a slab fuselage with this technique that would look really cool. Tail pieces too. And I've proven I can do this without a weight penalty (especially if factoring in a lack of covering material).

As always, fun experiments with little need to have a practical application.
Posted by CGordon | Apr 10, 2019 @ 10:56 PM | 841 Views
I wanted to see if a small balsa square stick could be strengthened by a tiny amount of basswood on the outsides - much like a spar.

I glued thin (think veneer-like) strips to a balsa stick, and then I reduced the thickness of the finished glue-up the next day using my surface sander. I only left about .010" of basswood per side, which you can see along with the dark glue bands in the second photo. (Not the large balsa grain in the middle)

Results - this is much stiffer than plain balsa, but adds little weight. I went ahead and failed it, and predictably it failed in compression. The failure was much more friendly than the twig-like snap! you get from a balsa stick. If forces were coming from one direction, the optimum structure would have one side of basswood twice as thick as the other.

You could make a really strong truss with this material. It would also be good for tail construction, being both stiff and light.
Posted by CGordon | Apr 02, 2019 @ 09:04 PM | 877 Views
I enjoy preparing sections of material and surface sanding them down to see the unique resulting properties.

Typically with these tests I remove a huge amount of material because otherwise the material(s) would be too thin to hold together for sanding, or be glued with integrity, or with a perfect finish, etc. In the end something comes out that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts.

I have no practice application for this one in mind but thought it was interesting. Just sharing here.