As we have introduced in our previous articles, balsa is the most light wood actually. It is soft, lightweight but very durable and strong. It is the selected origin material for models and dolls and surfboards etc. In order to fit for different manufacturing requirements, balsa wood should be bent into different shapes or angles sometimes. Here we will give you a brief introduction on how to bend or arch the balsa wood.
You should be very carefully when bending the balsa wood since it is very expensive. You should ensure that there is no splitting and breaking when you bend it. There are some things that you will need, like balsa wood, container of appropriate size, warm water, ammonia, arch template and masking tape.
First of all, you should fill the container with the mixture of equal ammonia and warm water. As we have introduced above, the container should be of appropriate size to fit the your expected balsa wood in. The container should be large enough to hold the wood.
Then, you should submerge the balsa wood in the container which has ammonia and warm water in to soak it for about one hour. You may be confused by the question why should we use ammonia, right? Well, it is one of the chemical substance which can make the balsa wood become more soft and flexible. The ammonia will break down the balsa wood at a cellular level actually.
Then, you should adjust the balsa to your desired arch or angle by placing the soaked balsa wood on the template. Use the masking tape to tape it down firmly. You should always bend the wood to make the grain run the length of the piece. This step will make your bending word much easier and make the finished piece stronger. Leave the balsa wood to rest for at least 24 hours until completely dry. Remove the dried balsa from the template. Then your bending work has been finished.
Do you remember that there are three types of balsa wood as we have told you in our previous articles? You are advised to choose A-grain balsa wood since it is very soft and flexible. It is much easier for you to curve. It is normal that your balsa wood will back a little when removed from the template. You are advised to work in the well-ventilated area when you use the ammonia to soak balsa.
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