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alternative spar materials

Old 04-17-2002, 05:31 AM
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Default alternative spar materials

I do a lot of scratch building of mostly large stuff. Since Sitka spruce is not available, I have found that pine is almost as good. It is hard to locate boards with good close grain and straight grained wood; but, I can usually locate some with a diligent search thru the stock at local lumber yards. You may have to sort thru about 50 to 100 boards to find good ones and you can usually only get about 50% of the board as usable. Still it is less expensive than balsa or bass wood and, in my opinion, just as good or better. You do need a good table saw and sharp blade but I can cut down to 1/16 inch with no problems.
Old 04-17-2002, 01:45 PM
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Default Sitka Spruce

Couldn't you get spruce from one of the full scale suppliers and cut it to the size you need?
Old 04-18-2002, 10:13 AM
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Default alternative spar materials

There's no significant difference mechanically between basswood and spruce. Either will work fine for spars, in the same sizes.
Old 09-08-2018, 07:11 AM
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I know this is an old thread, but I thought i'd add a bit of my 40 + years of experience in wood working of just about every level . in regard to spar streangth vs. weight. I found that I would rather use a piece of nice straight grained Douglas Fir with a high ring count for spars. the good stuff is just about as strong as typical oak, although just a bit heavier than Spruce, Pine or Bass. for a spar, I just size it the same in height and about 2/3 the thickness as a spar of the softer wood. weight ends up about the same with a measureable increase in shear yielding a stronger wing.
Old 09-08-2018, 01:32 PM
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Iíve been building with Poplar. It is just about equal in compressive and bending strength, stiffness and hardness to Sitka Spruce. Just a very slight bit heavier. It exceeds Basswood in all parameters. Douglas Fir exceeds all these parameters but weighs more. I have a 6í piece Iíve been using for a few builds now. I just cut to size.

Old 09-13-2018, 06:11 AM
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yup poplar will work, too. what I like about Doug Fir is that it's weight to strength ratio allows smaller dimensions with similar strength. I have some old Doug Fir telephone pole cross ties that have 26 and 28 rings to the inch. I cam make tiny little spars that have the strength of "fairly large for the wing" Spruce, Pine or Bass spars, or beef a wing up considerably by adding just a small increase in dimension and weight..

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