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Quality of balsa wood
15 replies to this topic
Posted 14 August 2004 - 10:11 PM
What grade of balsa do you use to make your baits??
Do you know the density??, balsa is measured in hardness
on a scale of 4 very soft to 24 extremely hard, lbs/Cu ft.
Where do you buy it??
Posted 14 August 2004 - 10:55 PM
I bought 40ft. of 3X6 wood. I knew that there were different grades but I did not know what they were untill now. I get mine from a hobby shop that sells balsa that is used to build RC planes here in my home town. I guess I got lucky and he has good quality stuff.
Posted 16 August 2004 - 08:21 AM
Coley, go to www.nationalbalsa.com, there is a 25 dollar min. order but the quality as far as density goes is better than Dick Blicks or any hobby store in the Little Rock area. The selection on size is very good and you can mix and match.
Posted 16 August 2004 - 08:36 PM
What density? Balsa is non dense . (WOOD)Its full of air voids and so its soft. Unlike wood density of hard woods and other solid wood. The more air voids > the more it can become damaged(dents,scars ect.) Other lower grade woods are full of sap voids (like broom handles)> the more sap the less strenth and more warping. What other density are you using besides AIR,SAP & WOOD. Just courious on what density balsa has . I only see what hobby shops offer.
Posted 16 August 2004 - 09:45 PM
Ok! I read it! What is the density messure for? To get more wood per ounce? Sounds intresting! And I thought balsa was just balsa. So do you special order balsa to get a heavyer grade for lure carving? I'm not a fan of balsa nor will I ever be but I'm sure others would like to know.
Posted 16 August 2004 - 10:25 PM
Ok, now we know the higher the weight, the more
dense the balsa is. So, the more dense it is the harder
it is. I have some blocks that range from 4.9 lbs/cu ft
to 11.08 lbs/cu ft. You can feel the difference just
by touching the block. The higher weight is much
smoother, and harder to squeeze. It's cuts extremely
good without crushing like the softer wood.
Here is why I prefer the harder balsa.
I made two identical baits, used the same
weight in each one. One was made from
soft balsa and the other from hard balsa.
I didnot paint either one and only clear
coated around the head with Devcon.
I smashed both down into the water as hard
as I could on the end of a fishing line and rod.
The nose of the soft balsa bait broke off and was still attached
to the lip, the second time it hit the water.
After 15 hits on the water the hard balsa bait was still
intact. I then proceded to smash the bait down on
my asphalt driveway as hard as I could swing
the rod. The lip came loose but, the balsa stayed
Posted 16 August 2004 - 11:44 PM
Lol, Coley I had to laugh out loud thinking about you swinging that poor lure into the pavement, stopping to inspect the damage, then slamming it again. I bet your neighbors were wondering what you were up to! The whole thing would have made a great "hidden video". Yikes!
I have never used balsa because it seemed to be so darn expensive. I will say tho there has to be a reason why so many companies used it in the past and still use it today. Sounds like the dense stuff is the way to go!
If you haven't tried it already western cedar is something you might consider too. A dry piece of this wood is as light as a chunk of foam, no kidding. You can shape it very easily and yet it holds together well enough to accept a screw eye. Western red cedar has a specific gravity of .34, from what I have read balsa is between .10 and .17. For comparison oak and maple are near .63.
Posted 18 August 2004 - 07:19 PM
I use a lot of balsa for my other hobby. I build model aircraft. We look for contest grade stuff between four and six pounds per cubic foot. THis would not be good for making lures, as it is too soft. THe good side to this is that the heavier wood for lure making is the stuff that the model builders aren't as interested in. You will probably pay a bit less than I do for the same sized block of balsa! (Maybe a lot less) Tell then that you want heavier balsa when you order it. Otherwise, they might think you are building flying things with it.
Posted 19 August 2004 - 08:26 PM
I see how this is used for flat lures but what about cylinder shape? Can a mini lathe be used on this denser balsa like we do with solidwood lures? I 'm courious of how strong it is . I'm not talking >chipping. Just sanding and lite shaping.Now If someone could just cut it in dowel styel from the Mfc. plant !
Posted 19 August 2004 - 09:18 PM
I haven't tried it on a lathe yet. Notice I say yet.
I believe you could turn the harder stuff, something
like 16-18 lbs/cuft.
Posted 19 August 2004 - 09:48 PM
I have turned the cheaper balsa on my mini lathe from Harbor Freight. It turns fine, Sometime coarse sanpaper works better than a lathe tool
Posted 23 August 2004 - 12:31 AM
The weight of wood you use also affects the bouyancy (sp?)of the lure.
Posted 23 August 2004 - 09:07 AM
WAY TO GO Coley!!!! That's the way to test them dude. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice hard work to find stuff out. I am using aircraft grade balsa. I will have to check the tags to see if there is a grade on it. Balsa makes good baits. Bagley and Rapala have made alot of money from them. I find this all very interesting. Maybe this is why I had the problem with my bait from last fall.
Posted 24 August 2004 - 09:30 AM
I am totally inspired Coley! I can see a lure "test track", with sections of boat sides to slap lures against, both aluminum and fiberglass; woody cover such as brush piles and standing timber; rock, from pea gravel to boulders. Wack each station and record scientific data. And of course it would have to be filmed!
Posted 24 August 2004 - 10:23 AM
Some of the talented folks here at TU claim to construct bullet-proof baits. Well, lets see some real testing at 10-yrds with various calibers and loads