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Jun 04, 2019, 02:13 PM
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smithdoor's Avatar
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Tools use for Balsa Building

This sticky is on Tools use for Balsa builders.

I use just few tools

1. Band Saw ( found a bandsaw w/ fence )
2. Belt Sander or Disks Sand (120 Grit Sanding Belt )
3. Knife Exacto I use #10 blade since the 1960's
4. Cork Pin board
5. Tee Pins
6. Close pins
7. Work bench use for everything (note cork board is remove for other projects)
8. Foredum flex shaft note can found at Harbor freight too.
9. Mill drill
Last edited by smithdoor; Jun 06, 2019 at 07:24 PM. Reason: Change to Data
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Jun 04, 2019, 02:49 PM
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Personally, I'd remove X-Acto and replace with a surgical scalpel and a selection of blades. Far sharper and, unless X-Acto have changed the handle design away from cylindrical, impossible to have roll off the building board and stab you in the foot.

I'd add several grades of garnet paper (it looks reddish-orange and the abrasive particles are apparently deposited via some sort of electrostatic method that ensures the sharpest points end up outwards). Wet-and-dry production paper is good too, but whatever you do, avoid 'sandpaper', unless you want small bits of glass all over the place. It's useful to make some sanding blocks, say, 6" x 2" x 1/4" thick; I stick the abrasive paper on the flat side and both edges using double-sided tape, but a 3Ms spray adhesive would probably work. You can tear the paper off when it finally clogs up.
Jun 04, 2019, 04:01 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Laser cutter.
Spindle sander (ask Bernard - he'll tell you how great they are!).
100-pack of #11 blades (I've been buying them for about $10 at shows for decades).


PS - it's spelled "clothes" for #6.
Jun 04, 2019, 04:38 PM
Registered User
A couple of good straight edges. 'C' clamps, cordless drill, sanding blocks, Zona or Xacto fine tooth saw, coping saw and you really don't need power tools to build model airplanes.
Last edited by JimboPilotFL; Jun 04, 2019 at 04:44 PM.
Jun 06, 2019, 11:35 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
I'd say it starts with hand tools and adds a few power tools.
  • Knives- #11 Xacto, small and large snap off "box cutter", heavier 3 and 4 inch swedish style fixed blade carving knives.
  • Hand tools- screwdrivers of all sorts and sizes. pliers and side cutters in small, medium and large sizes, scribers and awls.
  • Sandpaper in various grits and attached to basic blocks and a wide array of curved and specialty blocks. Including a 24" length of 1/5" aluminium angle with sandpaper on one side.
  • T pins and flat building board. Meaning to get a steel clad board and make some magnetic fixtures too.
  • Clamps- clothes pins and more recently an array of light home made F style clamps. Rubber bands as well. And strip rubber for binding. 1/4 model flying rubber as well as some wider rubber stripped from old bicycle inner tubes.
  • Measuring tools- various rules from 3" up to 4ft used for measuring and straight line cutting.
  • Drawing instruments like triangles, compasses and triangles.
  • My Razor Plane. Can't leave home without it.
  • Power tools- hand drill with both fractional and number drills. Dremel (of course), scroll saw. band saw.
  • Soldering supplies- 100/140W gun, 40W iron
  • Home made wire bender used for making landing gears that are too heavy to use pliers.
Jun 06, 2019, 04:36 PM
AutoPilot .
i love this one
Jun 07, 2019, 09:21 PM
Registered User
Byrne's table saw.
Jun 08, 2019, 09:05 AM
Registered User

Dremel Tool

Hard to be without a dremel tool. Here are my 2 favorite ones plus 3 favorite bits.
Jun 08, 2019, 10:01 AM
AutoPilot .
I wish I bought the dremel wireless mini pistol like tool. Can't find it anymore.
Jun 09, 2019, 09:34 AM
Modeler from 60's, 70's, 80's
lee taylor's Avatar

Building model planes in the 1960's

I am a great fan of having LOTS of tools. Now days I have a garage full. Looking back, I built my first model planes with:

X-acto knife
Jun 14, 2019, 09:10 AM
More Speed Indeed!
Hossinarizona's Avatar

MonoKote Cleaner/Polish

I am looking to buy MonoKote Cleaner/Polish, I am pretty sure it has been discontinued?
If anyone has an other products that are similar I sure would appreciate any additional information.
Jun 14, 2019, 09:23 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Hossinarizona
I am looking to buy MonoKote Cleaner/Polish, I am pretty sure it has been discontinued?
If anyone has an other products that are similar I sure would appreciate any additional information.
Search is your friend.
Jul 17, 2019, 01:36 PM
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nhk750's Avatar

Magnetic build table

I got rid of the T-pins a few years ago and never looked back. Magnetic building is so fun and easy, it changed the way to build a plane. Once in a great while I will use a T-pin for some odd reason, but very rare. Also, lots of 3m low tack blue tape for sheeting and to hold other stuff is a great tool and lots of clamps, you cant have to many clamps from cloths pins to large ratcheting clamps, and also lots of lighting. I got my magnetic jigs from Airfield Models.

Also I find that a Scroll saw comes in handy for modifying kits while converting to electric.
Jul 17, 2019, 02:12 PM
'Douglas' to his friends.
I have 'rusty' fingers, so I don't think that a steel work-top would stay shiny for
long with me..!I have to paint piano wire u/c, otherwise it goes brown and slowly disintegrates.
Jul 17, 2019, 03:35 PM
Registered User
nhk750's Avatar
Thats why I cover my table with Dollar Tree plain brown wrapping paper for $1 when I’m not building over plans. It is actually very durable and makes a great work surface while retaining the magnetic properties of the board because the paper is very thin. A roll is enough to cover the table a few times too. It’s the best dollar I ever spent!

I have also clear coated my steel boards before but with this new one I decided not too and it’s holding up great so far.

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