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Spurce vs Basswood

Old 11-14-2011, 07:26 AM
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Default Spurce vs Basswood

I'm getting ready to start a project, 1/3rd scale Champ, that calls for mostly spruce sticks from 1/8 sq to 3/8 sq.
I haven't built in a while, so when I went to SIG's site I found they no longer carry spruce, just basswood, same at BALSA USA.
I know basswood is a little easier to work with and glue but I don't think it has the strength of spruce.
Just wondering if any one has used basswood and any comments, pro or con.
Old 11-14-2011, 07:40 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

see this thread.
Old 11-14-2011, 09:01 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

Wicks or Aircraft Spruce has spruce. Depends if you want to resaw or not. If you just want to buy the sizes needed you can buy the pre cut capstrip material. That big a plane I think Basswood would start getting heavy.
Old 11-14-2011, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood


Sig used to have a chart to help with wood selection and applications. Here it is:

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Old 11-14-2011, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

Hi, I have been using doug fir flooring from my local lumber yard (tightly grained) and ripping it to the size I need in place of spruce, this is also done quite a bit with full scale hombuilders as fir is roughly 23% stronger than spruce and alot cheaper,just my 2 cents
Old 11-14-2011, 10:46 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

I've used douglas fir as well. But I found that it does not have the same suppleness as spruce or bass. The extra brittlness led to problems when using it in areas which needed to withstand some shocks.... namely control line combat models...

While bass does not have the strong fiber content of spruce I'd say that it's not a bad substitute for spruce other than the smaller sizes. With those you'd want to slightly increase the depth so that handling the model won't result in the stringers being permanently bent inwards. For example if the design calls for 1/89 sq spruce for a stringer going with 1/8 x 3/16 bass should provide the same resistance to being deformed inwards. Alternately do not discount the idea of going with something like 1/8 x 1/4 very hard balsa. The harder and heavier grades of balsa are actually very strong. And a stringer of this size would easily withstand the same loads as the 1/8 sq spruce.
Old 11-25-2011, 07:27 PM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Look for fencing 1x6 or 1x8 spruce. select best boards with the least amount of knots. cut them on your table saw to the size you want.
Select the bestpieces for your build.
Old 11-26-2011, 06:25 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

I have access to a lot of Basswood so I can cull it looking for "arrow straight grain" pieces.
I often enough find 10 ft. pieces where the grain goes end to end without dropping off the side.

Those straight grain pieces of Basswood are gold, and are always my first choice for spars and any stick parts on my giants.
The significant benefit of Basswood over Spruce is it's ability to take glue. IMHO, the finished structure of glued Basswood ends up with more strength integrity overall than does a glued Spruce structure.
Old 11-26-2011, 06:48 AM
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Default RE: Spurce vs Basswood

I'm going to test out the 20% rule for balsa replacement of spruce on my models this year.

On the giant sweet'n low stick I'm using ½" x 1" laminated spars from four layers of ¼" x ½" balsa strips capped with ½" carbon fiber strips.

I saw this method used on a 96" flying boat model years ago and have always wanted to try it.

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