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Bending balsa sheeting

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Old 04-21-2017, 12:44 PM
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F4 Phantom blue angles
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Default Bending balsa sheeting

Im shure everyone does this,but for new builders,if you want to make your balsa sheeting bendable,You will probbaly wet it with water . Thats a proven fact,However,I use my wife's steam iron,and I walk it back and forth on my sheeting useing hot steam as I go. Wow. it really works Great. Just thought I would pass this along.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:43 AM
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Thats interesting, how does the curve sustain or is it just to manage to attach the sheeting to a curved shape?
According to my old plans the damp with moist on the outside is just half the job, the other half is to apply Cellulose Dope to the inside first. I guess it should make a sustainable curved shape.

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Who doesn't have the wife but do have the steam iron.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:30 AM
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Depending how thick your planking is,Long enough to work with it. The thickest planking I ever used was 1/8" by 4" You could easily bend it to half a circle, But you really have to saturate it with hot steam. Both ways work,but I think the wife's iron does it alittle better. But thats just my opinion. As far as duration,I dont really know,but pleanty of time to work with. Onemore thing,With steam,your forceing the steam into your wood,rather than letting water soak into it.

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Old 04-24-2017, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by F4 Phantom blue angles View Post
. Onemore thing,With steam,your forceing the steam into your wood,rather than letting water soak into it.
What's the difference, as long as the moisture (water) gets in to the wood ? Why is forcing it, as you say, better than soaking ?
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Old 04-24-2017, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TomCrump View Post
What's the difference, as long as the moisture (water) gets in to the wood ? Why is forcing it, as you say, better than soaking ?
A little heat may help to relax the lignin in the wood. Through the years I've always seem water and household ammonia cited as being most effective. The wife probably wouldn't want that in her iron. Moisture does seem to be the main thing in relaxing the wood for bending and I have even used spit in a pinch.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:27 AM
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I'm not saying that my way works better. Both ways work fine This is just something I do. I thought that I would just pass it along. But I do know that forced hot steam loosens up the cellulose fibers alittle better than just hot water,Why? I just watch to much of the science channel. HA. I just try all kinds of ideas in this hobby.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:29 AM
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Yes Matt, Ammonia and water is probably the best way.
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