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Oct 02, 2013, 02:05 PM
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Steve Merrill's Avatar
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Balsa Suppliers


I'm going to place a fairly large Balsa order for a new plans built plane. Should I order from Balsa USA, National, or somewhere else??
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Oct 02, 2013, 05:57 PM
TLAR Aviation
Harry D's Avatar
I bought over $600 worth of balsa from National about 18 months ago. Never again will I even think of dealing with that outfit.

Most of what I got was so hard that I used a lot of it for building doll houses for my granddaughter - literally.

It was poorly cut and sanded too. Just a total disaster all around.

Being in Canada it would have been a major hassle to pack it all up and return it, so I didn't bother. And I also couldn't be bothered dealing with any outfit that could ship junk like I got.

I mentioned that experience with National in a thread from earlier this year: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1890643.

It seems that the whole business of buying balsa is a real luck-of-the-draw thing, with guys having very different experiences from any given place.

Good luck with your purchase. By all accounts, luck is the most important thing, unfortunately.
Oct 02, 2013, 07:50 PM
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dion9146's Avatar
LOL. National was what I was going to recommend. I'm building a quarter scale glider and have been very happy with the selection and what I have received. I also built my wood wing Genie sailplane and an Allegro Lite with wood from National. All good stuff.
Oct 02, 2013, 10:34 PM
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portablevcb's Avatar
We have bought balsa from just about every supplier out there and they are all about the same unless you buy enough to be able to get Sig wood.

Lone Star is another one to consider.

Standard run balsa will be anywhere from 8 to 20lb/cuft. If you need lighter or heavier you should call them and talk to them about what your needs are. They can select a weight range for you....but....it may cost you more.

We use mostly contest weight balsa just for this reason. We at least know it will be in a narrower weight range. We still throw out about 25% due to various issues.

charlie
Oct 03, 2013, 06:12 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb
We have bought balsa from just about every supplier out there and they are all about the same unless you buy enough to be able to get Sig wood.

Lone Star is another one to consider.

Standard run balsa will be anywhere from 8 to 20lb/cuft. If you need lighter or heavier you should call them and talk to them about what your needs are. They can select a weight range for you....but....it may cost you more.

We use mostly contest weight balsa just for this reason. We at least know it will be in a narrower weight range. We still throw out about 25% due to various issues.

charlie
Lone Star isn't an option at the moment apparently. I asked this very question several months ago and at that time nothing came up for Lone Star when I did a search. I used them years ago and was very happy with them. But I just did a search and found their web site which says they are currently closed until further notice and apparently have been since February.



Mike
Oct 03, 2013, 10:03 AM
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portablevcb's Avatar
Mike,

Thanks for that. I have not followed them much after they recovered from the fire. Guess they lost too much business from that event. Too bad cause they were good people.

charlie
Oct 03, 2013, 10:19 AM
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Steve Merrill's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks for the input guys. I'm surprised no one has said anything about Balsa USA. I put a shopping cart together using their web site, and then shopped the same order at National. Balsa USA was a couple bucks cheaper.
Oct 03, 2013, 11:33 AM
Registered User
Here's the link to my balsa question:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=1963714

The weird thing about Lone Star is that I remember searching for them in July and came up with nothing but according to their website, which comes up now, they are currently not open for business but apparently had been recently. The fire was in 2007 apparently and the message on their site says orders placed after February won't be able to be shipped. Too bad, I liked them.

I haven't decided where I'm going to be ordering from. I have several projects planned for winter so I need to figure it out too. I like the idea of being able to specify the weight or grain, Places like Tower, while they have good prices, don't allow you to do that. The ones that do charge a pretty penny for the option.


Mike
Oct 03, 2013, 12:28 PM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
To specify a weight you have to call the mfg. In the US looks like it is down to BalsaUSA and National since Midwest and Sig have HUGE minimum order amounts.

Even if you do call and ask for a specific weight range, and you pay the extra price, do not expect every piece of wood to meet your criteria. Order at least 10% extra. I'd order 30% extra if I were going to be really picky about grain and weight.

And, yes, you'll pay more for the sorting.

Or pay a cheaper price, order much more than you need, sort it, and sell it off in batches for those who want a specific weight/grain. Some people like the heavy/hard stuff, others like the lighter/softer stuff.

charlie

Meanwhile, every time you see another wind generator go up think of all the balsa in those blades
Oct 03, 2013, 01:08 PM
Play that funky music right
kenh3497's Avatar
[QUOTE=portablevcb;26275136]Sig have HUGE minimum order amounts.


charlie

QUOTE]

From the Sig web site, unless I'm missing something...


US Ground Shipments:
The shipping and handling charge is $14.95 which is reduced to $9.95 when invoiced if the order total is between $25.00 and $149.99 or is reduced to $0 when invoiced if the order total is over $150.
The USA shipping surcharge for large box items (noted on the order) will be added when invoiced.



International Shipments:
The shipping and handling charge is $9.95, plus the actual postage amount.



Gallon size containers of hazardous materials such as SIG fuel and Supercoat Dope products, will incur a $27.50 per carton "Hazmat Fee", which will be charged to the customer.
Oct 03, 2013, 01:31 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb
To specify a weight you have to call the mfg. In the US looks like it is down to BalsaUSA and National since Midwest and Sig have HUGE minimum order amounts.

Even if you do call and ask for a specific weight range, and you pay the extra price, do not expect every piece of wood to meet your criteria. Order at least 10% extra. I'd order 30% extra if I were going to be really picky about grain and weight.

And, yes, you'll pay more for the sorting.

Or pay a cheaper price, order much more than you need, sort it, and sell it off in batches for those who want a specific weight/grain. Some people like the heavy/hard stuff, others like the lighter/softer stuff.

charlie

Meanwhile, every time you see another wind generator go up think of all the balsa in those blades
Some of them you can specify it as you shop. If memory serves, the upcharge was highest for grain which on one site at least was a 100% upcharge. Weight was I believe 50% upcharge.

Like you say, if a person needs large amounts of balsa (like me) just order a bunch and sort it yourself. I'm usually not that picky except when it comes to things like sheeting over sharply curved surfaces where it needs to be softer or for spars or the like that need to be stronger.


Mike


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