- Kits and Plans
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Advanced Technique: Calculating the stiffness of your wood, most commonly balsa wood. The tips in this article will help you go to the next level in choosing good wood for your model bridges. Not only will you know how to choose good wood, you can pick wood with different qualities to fit different applications.
Balsa wood is unique from all other woods. Its properties make it valuable to bridge builders, wood carvers, surfers, and many others. Bridge builders have to be careful, however, when using Balsa. You can’t simply pick up two pieces of Balsa with the same dimensions and expect them to perform the same.
I have developed a system for bending wood for my arch bridges, and though I do not claim it is the best way, it works well. It does require some materials and equipment that hopefully you will already own and not need to get. I have a pot, or basin rather, that is about 18″ long and 12″ deep. I fill it with about two cups of water (I have found that more water just takes longer to start boiling, […]
Many people ask “Where is the the best place to buy balsa wood online?” The best website I know of is Specialized Balsa LLC. The owner, Jake Zimmer, has been in the balsa business for years and knows what he is doing. Once I had Jake cut me some 1/32″ x 1/32″ sticks of Balsa just to see if he could do it. He did, and they were absolutely perfect. He also cut me a 3″ x”1/64″ x 36″. I […]
There are several reasons you should cut your own strips of wood: It saves money It saves time Helps you get familiar with the wood Increases your skills as a builder Video Tutorial Video is about 4 minutes long. DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any injury caused by someone using this technique. I recommend that students cut strips of wood only under adult supervision. The Tools Here is a list of the tools you will need: Table Cutting board […]
Building a model bridge is one of the most rewarding hobbies I have done in my entire life . I have learned a ton about working with wood and tools. I have also learned the basics in bridge engineering, and have a greater appreciation for real bridges. Model bridge building has also given me a originative outlet that I can share with others. Not only does it give me something fun to do, I can show off my creations and attest to their abilities.
I am constantly asked whether Balsa is better than Basswood. Here are some of my notes comparing the two woods. Balsa is cheaper and more available than Basswood. This means you can buy more wood and build more bridges for the same amount of money. Hobby and craft stores seem to sell a larger selection of Balsa (Michaels, etc). If money is short but you want to build a lot of bridges or plan to constantly improve your designs as […]