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Joining Balsa and Papering Balsa....as flat as possible

  • hermanjc
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8 months 1 week ago #11207 by hermanjc
Hi All,
A few meetings back there was a discussion on preventing warping when laminating build materials, all the way down to simply papering balsa. I mentioned a technique I have had excellent success with, and just wanted to provide a few photos. I use this technique for joining multiple balsa panels as well.

First I create a bed of popsicle sticks on a hard flat surface (in my case a cedar chest). Optionally you can put down wax paper to prevent any glue drips from ruining what's beneath.

Next I place the piece(s) to be dried on the bed of sticks. I think it might go without saying, but always paper both sides of the piece at the same time to reduce the likelihood the piece will warp while drying.

Now place matching popsicle sticks on top of the piece. Do not place them between the sticks below our you may end up with peaks/valleys (unless you want that wavey fin)

Finally, just find something heavy and flat to lay on top (in my case an 8lb book on Warplanes) and let dry as long as necessary. The popsicle sticks allow for airflow all around the piece to all for as uniform drying as possible while maintaining proper flatness.

I have used this very successfully, including on my F22 Raptor wings for both the panel joining and papering. The flatness of these is nearly perfect. (For reference there are 3 pieces joined and are about 15 inches in length, and 7 inches wide for the largest portion)

Hope this helps someone. Post here if you have another method for this.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tlainhart

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