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Curving Balsa Strips With Heat – Beginner’s Corner

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2013 by nicholasandrewray

Curving Balsa Strips With Heat

Beginner’s Corner

#1  Curling Iron with ¾” barrel

#1 Curling Iron with ¾” barrel

#2   Mono coat heat gun

#2 Mono coat heat gun

#3     The top three outlines are done on the ¾” Curling iron with the top one rolled to make a larger radius. The bottom one was made using the heat gun.
#3 The top three outlines are done on the ¾” Curling iron with the top one rolled to make a larger radius. The bottom one was made using the heat gun.

I have been doing a little experimenting on an easy way to form balsa around a tight curved outline. I used a hair curling iron mounted in a small table vice or you can duck tape the handle to a table. The barrel must extend past the end of the table, and set it on its highest temperature. When a drop of water sizzles, it’s ready. To practice, take a sheet of .025.-.030 balsa, 4-5# and strip several square pieces. Make up a balsa template of the outline and pin it to a building board. Lay several pieces of the stripped wood on a counter top and puddle water on each side of the strips and let them soak for about five minutes or less. At the half way point of the balsa strip, lay it over the curling iron and pull down on each leg so that it forms a ninety degree bend.  You will be able to hear the wood sizzle for a second and let it remain on the iron for about five seconds. You can roll the wood back and forth to make a larger arc or use another heating device that has a larger diameter. Use the heat gun with extreme caution and do not move your hand in front of the nozzle while it is on.  As soon as the wood is removed from the iron, move it over to the template and trap it against the template using pins and small balsa wedges.

Larry Coslick

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3 Responses to “Curving Balsa Strips With Heat – Beginner’s Corner”

  1. Check Goodwill and you’ll probably find a few curling irons to choose from for very little money. I’ve been using irons of different diameters that I salvaged from the garbage years ago. They work great.

  2. Hi Nick, I have lots of things that can be published and will send more in the near future. Larry

    ________________________________

  3. Hi Larry.

    Would wetting and baking around a form accomplish the same thing?

    Mike Kirda

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