What happened to spruce sticks? - RC Groups
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Dec 14, 2009, 02:51 AM
Scott R/C Time Pilot
orange&white's Avatar

What happened to spruce sticks?

I have been away from building for a few years but I am starting up again. I cant buy spruce anywhere at all, what gives?


72.400 orange & white
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Dec 14, 2009, 06:27 AM
Still hanging on the Mt. wave
GDbot's Avatar

SIG has some
Dec 14, 2009, 06:29 AM
Still hanging on the Mt. wave
GDbot's Avatar
On the left, it's under building equipment, then wood, from the drop down list.
Dec 14, 2009, 08:45 AM
It's gonna be YUGE!!!
LVsoaring's Avatar
On a related topic, other than the obvious of being 2 different species of wood, what is the difference between basswood and spruce? I've read somewhere that basswood should be avoided for spars....
Dec 14, 2009, 10:04 AM
Hot Dawg Glider Pilot
schrederman's Avatar
Bass is not as strong as spruce. It is not as oily and takes some adhesives better (CA). If I have to use bass instead of spruce, I size it by a factor of 1.5. If it calls for 1/4' spruce, I'll use 3/8' bass, for instance... or cap it with CF. I've had problems finding really good spruce, so I'm just getting away from it all together. I am now using solid UD CF for spar caps in anything I build from now on... except for soundboards for guitars...


PS... Bass is really nice for capping trailing edges. It's strong enough and sands nicely down to a fine edge.
Dec 14, 2009, 12:54 PM
Dragons, WindMills, all Same
jcstalls's Avatar
Isn't the nice spruce preferred to use by our hobby called Stika, or sim?

Most of the spruce I have seen the past few years at local hobby shops I would not use for spars unless reinforced. large wild grain, not the tighter running grain for better strength.

Yet on spars that I have used a lot of carbon on and wrapped, I usually subsisted hard balsa.

Dec 14, 2009, 01:06 PM
Registered User
rogerflies's Avatar
It's sitka spruce that's used in wooden spars in full-size planes.

Dec 14, 2009, 01:13 PM
Registered User

Aircraft Spruce

I think you can still purchase high-quality spruce suitable for model aircraft spars, etc. at Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Company:
I haven't purchased from them in years, but at the time I found their quality to be excellent.
Dec 14, 2009, 01:17 PM
auto-tune remix
slopemeno's Avatar
IIRC isn't basswood Willow?
Dec 14, 2009, 01:28 PM
Registered User
Mark Miller's Avatar
Nope....Linden is the name I have heard before.


Most of the power planes have dropped Spruce and replaced it with Bass. Balsa USA doesn't sell spruce any more. They replaced it with Bass. SIG has the best spruce. Lots of the old kits were not really spruce anyway. Most were plain pine. Works fine for a high start.

Sitka Spruce (the best and used in real planes) is so expensive now that it is not in many kits. They will use other species of spruce.

Dec 14, 2009, 04:56 PM
Registered User
I noticed the lack of spruce as well.
Ive been using basswood and clean pine for a while and haven't had any problems.
If you want to do full pedal launches you better cap it with CF anyway.
I personally have not seen real Sitka spruce in hobby sizes for close to ten years.
Sig is the only place Ive seen who sells any kind of spruce.

What I like to do is use 1\32 ply for sheer webs combined with basswood and sometimes CF caps.
Dec 14, 2009, 06:30 PM
Scott R/C Time Pilot
orange&white's Avatar


Thanks folks, Sig looks like the way to go for me.
Dec 14, 2009, 07:16 PM
Registered User
northernlightsfl's Avatar
When I rebuild a full sized airplane with spruce spars I hang on to the old ones and cut them up for modeling use.

If in your aera there is a FBO check with them to see who is rebuilding and maybe you can get the non airworthy spars free or cheap.

Also there is another way too one of the lumber stores or home improvement stores usually have Douglas Fir is more dense and heavy but can be used as well

Hope this helps
Dec 14, 2009, 08:01 PM
Registered User
Mark Miller's Avatar
I got a box of wood from the old Marks Model's stock with some kit tooling and stuff I bought. Whenever I open the box of hardwood it smells like Christmas. It's marked Pine.

Dec 14, 2009, 08:34 PM
Hot Dawg Glider Pilot
schrederman's Avatar
There are several species of spruce trees. I know about these from making guitars. I prefer Sitka for aircraft work, but Engleman is a nice variety and actually within a few percent of Sitka's strength. It's what I prefer for guitar soundboards. However, for our work, as mentioned above, Douglas fir is a suitable substitute. Per cross section, it's stronger but heavier than spruce, if you can find a nice, straight, tight-grained piece with little or no run out. For something like an Aquila, you probably wouldn't notice the 10 grams of difference in the spars. You could use hard balsa for the outboard panels and get a few of those grams back.

Just a thought...


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