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  1. #26

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    i don't know what is more fun, receiving a new engine in the mail or a big box of balsa.[X(] i guess receiving both in 1 day would top that.
    David

  2. #27
    Moderator w8ye's Avatar
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Receiving a box of bad balsa is not fun
    Attended the CutFinger Institute of DirtNap University for years but never did graduate....
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  3. #28
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    ORIGINAL: sqeakalong

    Just curious: went to the Tower site and noted they sell both the Midwest balsa and the Tower brand balsa with the Tower prices quite a bit less expensive i.e. 3/32"X4"x36" as an example.

    Where does Tower get their balsa from...just whose balsa are we buying when we purchase Tower balsa?

    Thanks,

    Joe
    Midwest Balsa of Hobart, Indiana is the ONLY saw mill that imports, saws and sands balsawood that I know of in the USA.

    I would NOT be surprised if they are the only US manufacturer. More than likely they grade it in lots, and sell to the highest bidders/retailers on end quality (Sig, Tower, Balsa USA, ect.) Just like meats are sold.

    This is also probably the reason they only sell to wholesalers or distribute to retailers under their own label. The public cannot buy directly from Midwest.

    At one time I think Lonestar used to show pictures of their mill but since it burned down I don't know all this for sure.

    Anyone know of any other lumber mills for balsa? Sig might be and USA Balsa might be their own mills but never have seen any proof of that.
    Contains only the finest ingredients, Methanol, Castor Oil and Nitromethane

  4. #29

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    I think BUSA does there own; they are in a ship building town so that is probably how they started by using left over balsa used for flotation for big ships which is where 90% of balsa is used. Sig use to, but they seem to be slowly changing there company. A guy in our club is trying to fill in some of the lonestar gap by setting up to cut balsa; has the tools ready and bought a shipping container of balsa at $20K and they wont ship it to him. He told me there are only 2 balsa companies that sell balsa to the world and you pretty much have to bribe them to get anything.

  5. #30
    Moderator w8ye's Avatar
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Lone Star was nothing more than a wood shop. They obtained their rough balsa lumber from a sawmill like was mentioned above.

    Like mentioned earlier, BUSA is located down near the water front at 201 3rd Ave Menominee, MI 49858 906-863-6421. This would be an old intercity location and was the Joy Products Co who made some model kits among other things for some 22 years before it became BUSA in 1968. Google maps is not very detailed in that area and I cannot see the building. He has the mailing address listed as POB 164 Marinette, WI. Those two places are actually twin cities across the state line from each other. There's possibly some mail routing advantage of running the mail order out of Wisconsin as that part of Michigan is remote from the main part?
    Attended the CutFinger Institute of DirtNap University for years but never did graduate....
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  6. #31

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Getting tougher and tougher to get balsa...not just good Balsa. BalsaUSA been backordered on balsa wider than 3" for a while and will be till after Feb. 1 is what they told me. Currently they are backordered on all balsa blocks as well. They have 6" width but it's multiple pieces edge glued together.

    Bought from National Balsa once before. Never again. Contest/aero balsa paid double the price for nearly $400 of it. Got it and it looked like it was laid against a fence and shot with a shotgun. So many holes it was totally unusable. By the time they answered my calls/emails about the complaint I had already had time to order from BalsaUSA and have it delivered.

    Even Tower who resells Midwest Balsa (which I've never been much of a fan of) is backordered on several widths/thicknesses atm. Not to mention their "standard" balsa is more than many places contest/aero balsa by a widge marge - like double.

  7. #32

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Hi All,

    There seems to be a shortage of balsa. Could it be that most of it is ending up in China for all the ARF builders? They are buying in bulk I imagine and milling their own for ARF production. I bet the balsa is going to where the money is and not to small mills here in the USA.

    Just a thought to mull over...

    My last major order was from Lone Star and it was of good quality. I have ordered from BUSA in the past and their wood was also good. I've not done any with National and so I cannot comment one way or the other.

    Best Regards

    Carlos G.
    Sig Kadet Brotherhood #84

  8. #33
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Part of the problem with wide balsa in one piece, is there are no large trees anymore. Balsa grows fast, but it gets cut when its not very large.
    The wood I just received from BUSA is multi piece, but it does not appear to be edge glued. Looks like it was large boards of 2" wood, stacked, glued, and and then cut, and planed to 3/32. All the pieces look identical in make-up.
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    Terry
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  9. #34
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    I think there are some growing problems with large balsa too as far as our needs go.

    The older the tree the harder the balsa

    Balsa density can vary in a tree so we can have a more evenly dense sheet for less price if it is a glue up
    Attended the CutFinger Institute of DirtNap University for years but never did graduate....
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  10. #35
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?




    I do not think American modelers ever have to worry about the Chinese ARF's grabbing all the wood.

    Americans ALWAYS are willing to pay the most for anything in the hobbies. I have had direct quotes from China plants for our common ARF's. Price difference ? [X(]

  11. #36

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    I hope to end this problem. As I have started a new company www.thebalsastore.com

    China is buying almost all the balsa coming out of South America for very high price with there buyers right there. 90% of the balsa right now is going to China. I have been waiting a year for my order. My order has been shipped and hope to recieve it around 15th March and will soon be taking orders. Contest grade is almost impossible to get I will have to weigh out some of mine to see what weight catigory it will fall into.

    Check out the website. www.thebalsastore.com
    The Balsa Store

  12. #37

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Lonestar is getting back into the business. I'll be buying from them again.

    Speak for yourself cyclops2. I'm pretty cheap. My flying budget is about $1000 a year. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. But we have a jet guy that will spend about $20k a year, and he seemed pretty proud of that. I dont doubt there are some that go nuts with spending though. <g> Most that I know have to keep the budget on the low side.
    Edwin

  13. #38
    Moderator stuk_at_work's Avatar
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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Lonestar balsa appears to be back in business: LoneStar Balsa
    -Stu

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  14. #39

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    With a very limited supply do paln on them getting much forr at least six months
    The Balsa Store

  15. #40

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    I dont know about that. Check out the pictures in this thread. Looks like he's got an order of wood in.
    Edwin

  16. #41

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    i usually order what i need. what are the recommendations for placing a large order. lots of everything?
    David

  17. #42

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    I usually buy 6"wx48"l in 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4 balsa. Lots of 3/32 and 1/8, makes ribs and fuse formers. Then 12"x48" lite ply, and 12"x48" 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, and 1/2 ply. Thats if I'm totally out of stock. Sometimes some square stock, triangle and such, saves a little time (makeing my own strips). Its expensive but it lasts me a long time. Those big orders generally cost me around $400. Restocking is usually around $50 to $100. I currently have enough to build a couple giant scale or 4 or 5 .60 sized. I also get a lot of use out of my cut scrap pile. Hmmm! maybe its restocking time.<g> But thats just me, I hate running out of wood.
    Edwin

  18. #43

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Update www.thebalsastore.com


    Good quality balsa at a reasonable price. fast shipping of in stock products. two additional sjipments on the way one to arrive around 20th May and the other 15th July.
    The Balsa Store

  19. #44

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?


    ORIGINAL: Deadeye

    Don't forget SIG!
    Almost all balsa suppliers in the U.S. get their stuff from SIG. Sig has their own balsa tree farms . Not sure where they ( farms) are located outside the U.S. But a quick phone call will get you that answer. If you are trying to get "Contest Grade) balsa then SIG is about your only source for it.
    I too have used Balsa USA for my supplies.... it is good stuff and I have never had any problems with these folks. I get my contest grade from SIG only.
    Let\'\'s be open minded.... But not so open that your brain falls out
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  20. #45

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    LONE STAR is back in busuness. assume that their quality will as it was before the fire. getting the new list together, so I can try them out. not too satisified with the other 2 suppliers. dick
    dick/rcflyer

  21. #46

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Just recieved my order from lone star.they have some good prices on salvaged balsa sheets from the fire,sizes are a tad smaller than normal but they worked fine for what I am building.

  22. #47

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Lone Star is back in business and takeing orders. new supply and quality not known, but will find out as new order going in to day. keping fingers crossed. dick
    dick/rcflyer

  23. #48

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Lone Star Balsa is back up and running. I just got wood from them a few weeks ago, Not sure if they have everything yet but give them a look.

  24. #49

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Dynamic Balsa owned by Brian just told me when I asked him to compare his balsa to BUSAand he told me that BUSAwas very good and his was about the same. But the thing he said that convinced me to go with BUSAwas he is not really into balsa anymore because he is to busy with his scale products like the cockpits and guns, etc. He is a great guy but I think he would just as soon not have to mess with it anymore. I buy cockpits and other things from him but my wood will always come fom BUSA. Ijust thought I'd fill you in on DBalsa.

    Barry
    www.canopyrailsforwarbirds.com
    Barry - Owner of Canopy Rails For Warbirds

  25. #50

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    RE: Wood Source, National or Balsa USA?

    Two other sources of wood are Specialized Balsa out of Colorado (good quality wood-some prices are lower than BUSA) and Lone Star Balsa is back in business but with limited selection at this time.


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