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Economic Grade Balsa?

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Economic Grade Balsa? Empty Economic Grade Balsa?

Post  Levent Suberk on Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:17 am

SLEC company in UK announces about balsa prices:

Important information regarding future balsawood supplies
September 2020

The Papua New Guinea mill that we have been buying from for over 30 year has new owners and at the moment there is no agreement for future supplies.

Since being aware of these changes I’ve been in touch with all the plantations and mills around the world that I know of for fresh supplies, unfortunately the Chinese have beaten me to it offering greatly increased prices over market value to meet the big demand in core or end grain production that’s used in the building of wind farm blades.

The few suppliers that have answered my enquiry are quoting prices that would increase the balsa raw materials by around 150%. (1.6 x 100 x 915mm Price £1.40 Possible new Price £3.48)

I’m still hoping that the PNG mill will get back to me with more reasonable pricing.

We still have some balsa raw material in stock but mostly in a harder grade. I don’t how long stocks will last and I will keep you all up to date about future supplies and prices.

Ian Hull Director


https://www.slecuk.com/important-information
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Post  Oldenginerod on Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:06 am

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Post  sosam117 on Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:50 am

Oldenginerod wrote:https://www.wrcestates.com

I think I'm pretty lucky here in the USA.

I have Sig Mfg. for Balsa wood.
https://sigmfg.com/collections

Midwest Products:
https://midwestproducts.com/collections/balsa-wood

Balsa USA:
https://shop.balsausa.com/category_s/1005.htm

and National Balsa:
http://www.nationalbalsa.com/Balsa_Wood_s/22.htm

To choose from for my balsa wood projects.
Anything from light "contest" grade wood to super "hard" balsa wood.
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Post  Oldenginerod on Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:29 pm

I've never purchased from these folk but here's their website (for any southern hemispherians out there).
https://www.balsacentral.com

I've "inherited" a lot of balsa but if the need arises, my only real option is a local Bunnings Warehouse (A huge hardware warehouse in AU). They stock a good range of "craft" type balsa but I've found the quality pretty good. Obviously no aerofoil sections, or leading and trailing edges.
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Post  roddie on Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:34 pm

FWIW..... Two Cents  Smile If you ever come upon a WWII era Naval lifeboat/raft.. chances are; it uses balsawood for flotation. One complete raft would yield quite a bit of wood.. but would need to be milled and graded. Having connections has always been key in our hobby. Find a guy that knows a guy who can mill the wood into useful sizes.. then grade it. The "Big Picture" is always dramatic.. but there's always a way to source what you need.. without having to pay a premium.

I have experience with laminated balsa, sourced for dimensional-signage. I worked in the industry running CNC machines. Panels were 96"L. X 24"W. X 1.75" thickness. Laminated in 6"W X 36"L solid balsa pieces; finger-jointed and edge-glued. The 6" X 36" pieces were comprised of widely-varying grain-types/weights. I know this only from salvaging scrap.. which was to be thrown away. I used a panel-saw to rip strips for rough-sizes (thickness) of 1/4" 3/16" and 1/8". Or; 6mm, 4.5mm and 3mm.

I was fortunate to have access to the scrap.. and the means to at least rough-mill some strips. I knew that I'd want to build model-airplanes with it.
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Post  aspeed on Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:20 am

roddie wrote:FWIW..... Two Cents  Smile If you ever come upon a WWII era Naval lifeboat/raft.. chances are; it uses balsawood for flotation. One complete raft would yield quite a bit of wood.. but would need to be milled and graded. Having connections has always been key in our hobby. Find a guy that knows a guy who can mill the wood into useful sizes.. then grade it. The "Big Picture" is always dramatic.. but there's always a way to source what you need.. without having to pay a premium. .
If someone knows a guy that knows a guy, I bet there is a source with the windmill blades. Around here there was a design that was not as effiicient as a newer model. They just changed to the new blade. Bet there was a lifetime hobby supply for a whole country in the wasted blades.Might be a hassle to remove from the site and cut into bite size pieces. They are likely laminated or whatever too, but who knows. I'm sure there is a lifespan on those wind generators that will be coming due soon. I guess there is always foam and coroplast for backup with a minimum of balsa if the cost goes really crazy.
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Post  fredvon4 on Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:09 pm

The Windmill blades burn in place and abandoned or reach their service life...Like ALL PROPELLERS...and are stacked in Landfills and dirt dozed over. None of the balsa is of any use to us...First it is all Epoxy impregnated, and second the strength VS weight comes from use it as END GRAIN slabs in the molds

IF it was recycle-able they would....The growing balsa is becoming a market commodity as fast as lithium is and an ever dwindling supply (balsa) due to extreme weather, fires, and probably some deliberate sabotage by rival growers
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Post  aspeed on Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:51 pm

Too bad about the landfill. Kapok/balsa trees were considered a weed a few years ago in Costa Rica and places like that..
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Post  roddie on Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:28 pm

..and there are other materials. I like balsa though.. It's so easy to blend-sand into shape; whatever you want.. and in short time. The guys who make plugs for molds like to use balsa.

Maybe the Forestry Stewardship Program could shed some light on the balsa dilemma?
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