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Is the future in Balsa?

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Airgear.com
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Is the future in Balsa?

Postby Airgear.com » Wed May 28, 2003 7:47 am

I am not a board builder, but I am curious if anyone has experience building bards with a Balsa core instead of divinicel of styro or any other foam. I would think that Balsa can be a great substitute.

So, my questions are?

1. Has anyone tried it (I guess the Hana Crew guys have but I doubt they'll share specific knowledge and tips - after all, this is their business)?
2. Is there a specific type of Balsa one should use, or is Balsa just Balsa with only one density?
3. What would you laminate the board with?
4. Would it be flexible?
5. Is it healthier for the builder - or is the hazard in the lamination more than the core?
6. Is it more expansive?
7. Anything else one could shed on this will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Boaz

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Postby urbanr » Wed May 28, 2003 8:16 am

All technical answers aside, I know for a fact that the threesixty boards are made with a balsa core. I was told the reason behind this is because foam looses its "springiness" after some time while balsa retains its flex properties much longer.

Here's a link:

http://www.360berlin.com/rubrik.php?rubrikid=1

The material write up seems to be identical to that of a foam board, the only differences may be in the type of epoxy resins used.. but hey... I'm no expert.

Check out the board-builder forum on yahoo... you'll find all the information you need there.

Cheers

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Postby Protos » Wed May 28, 2003 2:21 pm

Yes, the yahoo boardbuilding site will have the info. One of the guys there builds boards out of "Paulownian" wood, a bit heavier than balsa, but he seems to dig it. Check out the folder "addiction", it has pics of his sticks in there, very nice! :thumb:

It's difficult to get large sheets of balsa. I'd like to give it a try myself, but it's just as expensive as getting divinycell.

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Postby shunter » Wed May 28, 2003 3:15 pm

Boaz

I have built a board out of balsa. Laminated up strips of 100mm*5mm by 900mm long hoby shop balsa on the rocker table and then shaped and vacumm baged epoxy laminate over. balsas ok got couple of issues that stop it from been a great core. I think its also a slow growing timber as well.

The board will be as stiff or flexy as you like depending on core thickness and laminate make up.

It sucks water in if you get a crack or ding in the laminate. The dust is very fine when sanding and can cause some health issues. Balsa also tends to be a bit soft which means you need a heavier laminate over it than other light weight timbers.

The Paulownia cored boards are great because the timber will not suck in the water like balsa. The timber is very strong and flexible. Its a quick growing plantation timber (5-7 years) and cheap 1/4 the cost of H-cell and you only have to throw a thin light laminate over the top.

Western red cedar is another option though more expensive.

Got another board construction idea brewing in my head that will have to be built this southern winter (minimal finishing required and cheap)

Shane

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Postby Vega » Wed May 28, 2003 3:31 pm

shunter wrote:Boaz

Got another board construction idea brewing in my head that will have to be built this southern winter (minimal finishing required and cheap)

Shane
Well, lets here it then.... :roll:

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Postby Gogo » Wed May 28, 2003 4:29 pm

Boaz,

I ride the HanaCrew Balsa core boards and they are great. Very light, with great flex, and so far very strong. They also have great rails made out of very durable PVC. I am local so if you ever want to look / ride the board just drop me a line at gogolevy@yahoo.com

Golan.

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Postby zfennell » Wed May 28, 2003 6:12 pm

balsa is an excellant core material for composite construction.
however, in composite laminates, the function of the core is to maintain ths separation distance of the skins with sufficient compressive and shear strength.

the flexure stress is still best resolved by the skins.

that means the balsa should be used with an "end-grain" orientation (grain running from top surface to bottom surface)

this way it behaves like natures version of honey-comb.

for equivalent densities the material properties are similar or better than divinycell.......i think.

fiberglass supply co. lists material properties for both.
http://www.fiberglasssupply.com/Product ... talog.html

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Postby not annonymous » Wed May 28, 2003 7:48 pm

A lot of the boat wakeboard manufactures started using end-grain balsa in their high-end boards in 2002, including hyperlite and I think liquid force. They used weird names for it like "DNA-Core" - maybe their marketing departments decided that eveyone who has ever seen a toy glider would "know" that balsa wood must be too weak for a wakeboard core.

End-grain balsa is neat stuff and as the previous poster mentioned it is like a honeycomb core but much cheaper. It is less expensive than many of the foams commonly used today. It actually grows very fast, reaching maturity in 4-6 years and a height of around 25m before dying in 8-10 years, according to one end-grain manufacturer.

It has great compression stregnth on the end grain and should be relatively impervious to heel dents. Usually it is available in a variety of densities ranging from 6-15 pounds per cubic foot.

Probably the only real problem with it is that it will absorb water so if you put a crack or a hole in your board you can end up with a heavy board and a difficult repair. Also it has a grain to it so although the material is cheaper there will be more labor going into shaping the core than with foam.

End-grain balsa usually comes in 4'X2' sheets (122cm long) and there are two types. One is very commonly used in fiberglass boats as a core material and consists of loose squares on a flexible fiberglass scrim for bending it around tight contours. The other type is edge-glued flat pannels, which are less flexible but what you would want for a lightweight kiteboard shape.

I have been wanting to build a balsa core board for a while now, but one of the problems I have is that all of the suppliers I have found stock the scrim-backed sheets, but the flat pannels are special order and you have to order them in quantity so it is not inexpensive to try it out on just one or two boards.

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Postby qtybry » Wed May 28, 2003 8:32 pm

hi gogo!!!

where do you get your HanaCrew Balsa core boards??? thanx!!!

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Postby Gogo » Wed May 28, 2003 10:48 pm

you can get one at hanacrew.com


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