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Balsa! Whats Balsa?

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Old 07-16-2002, 07:57 PM
  #1  
Blackie
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Default Balsa! Whats Balsa?

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT
BALSA WOOD
by Sig Manufacturing
Model airplanes are no different than any other type of flying
machine, large or small - THE LIGHTER IT IS BUILT, THE
BETTER IT WILL FLY! With that in mind, it is easy to
understand why balsa wood has been the standard material for
model airplane construction since it first became readily
available in the U.S. in the late 1920's. Its outstanding
strength-to-weight ratio enables hobbyists to construct durable
models that fly in totally realistic manner. Balsa also absorbs
shock and vibration well and can be easily cut, shaped, and
glued with simple hand tools.
WHERE DOES BALSA WOOD COME FROM? Balsa
trees grow naturally in the humid rain forests of Central and
South America. Its natural range extends south from
Guatemala, through Central America, to the north and west
coast of South America as far as Bolivia. However, the small
country of Ecuador, on the western coast of South America, is
the primary source of model aircraft grade balsa in the world.
Balsa needs a warm climate with plenty of rainfall and good
drainage. For that reason, the best stands of balsa usually
appear on the high ground between tropical rivers. Ecuador
has the ideal geography and climate for growing balsa trees.
The scientific name for balsa wood is ochroma lagopus. The
word balsa itself is Spanish meaning raft, in reference to its
excellent flotation qualities. In Ecuador it is known as Boya,
meaning buoy.

HOW DOES BALSA WOOD GROW? There is no such
thing as entire forests of balsa trees. They grow singly or in
very small, widely scattered groups in the jungle. For hundreds
of years, balsa was actually considered a weed tree. They
reproduce by growing hundreds of long seed pods, which
eventually open up and, with the help of the wind, scatter
thousands of new seeds over a large area of the jungle. Each
seed is airborne on its own small wisp of down, similar to the
way dandelion seeds spread. The seeds eventually fall to the
ground and are covered by the litter of the jungle. There they
lay and accumulate until one day there is an opening in the
jungle canopy large enough for the sun's rays to strike the
jungle floor and start the seeds growing. Wherever there was
an opening, made either by a farmer or by another tree dying,
balsa will spring up as thick as grass. A farmer is often hard
put to keep his food plot clear of balsa. As the new balsa trees
grow, the strongest will become predominate and the weaker
trees will die. By the time they are mature, there may be only
one or two balsa trees to an acre of jungle.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A BALSA TREE TO
GROW? Balsa trees grow very rapidly (like all pesky trees).
Six months after germination, the tree is about 1-1/2 inches in
diameter and 10 - 12 feet tall! In 6 to 10 years, the tree is ready
for cutting, having reached a height of 60 to 90 feet tall and a
diameter of 12 to 45 inches. If left to continue growing, the new
wood being grown on the outside layers becomes very hard
and the tree begins to rot in the center. Unharvested, a balsa
tree may grow to a diameter of 6 feet or more, but very little
usable lumber can be obtained from a tree of this size.


Randy
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Old 07-17-2002, 01:11 AM
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Default Balsa! Whats Balsa?

And little did we know that all of us are on the "enemy list" of the
Earth First and Green Peace. Each one of our planes stole food
from the mouths of the endangered Balsa Monkey.

Randy
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Old 07-17-2002, 02:34 AM
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t_burley
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Default Balsa! Whats Balsa?

Originally posted by rreiss
And little did we know that all of us are on the "enemy list" of the
Earth First and Green Peace. Each one of our planes stole food
from the mouths of the endangered Balsa Monkey.

Randy

LOL
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Old 07-17-2002, 01:11 PM
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ReallyUglyStick
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Default Balsa! Whats Balsa?

and that's why i build from coroplast...i just can't stand the thought of a starving balsa monkey. i'm sure it won't be long before the coroplant is on the endangered foliage list...
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Old 07-17-2002, 01:51 PM
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Traxxas_Tech
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We better stop crashing, Or we'll depleat the balsa supply!
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Old 07-20-2002, 07:52 PM
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Default Balsa! Whats Balsa?

at least there considered "weed" plants, grow rapidly fast, and no one else has a use for them! Sounds to me like we have the perfect tree for us.
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