Balsa Wood Properties, Uses and Advantages

Balsa Wood Properties, Uses and Advantages
Balsa Wood Properties

Balsa wood is very famous for its own Properties which are used for many works. Different countries also go by different names to Balsa. This wood is also known as Ochroma. It is a large, fast-growing tree that can grow up to 30 m tall and 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter in 10-15 years. Balsa wood is soft and lightweight so that it can be used in many things. Balsa trees are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Whichever wood lighter their water content is higher. 

Balsa wood was initially found only in southern Mexico to southern Brazil but now it is also found in other countries such as (Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Solomon Islands).

According to Wikipedia, the Balsa tree has flowered since the third year and it blooms in the afternoon and survives till the next morning.

Density Around 160 kg/m3
Janka Hardness67 lbF (300 N)
Toughness Low – up to 15 Nm
Maximum Crushing Strength4.9- 17.6
ColorWhite, yellow, pale straw,  light brown
Durability(in-ground)In-Ground
Tree Size: 60-90 ft (18-28 m) tall, 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter
Elastic Modulus: 538,000 lbf/in2 (3.71 GPa)
Balsa Wood Properties

Balsa Color and Apperance

The heartwood color of Balsa Wood turns pale reddish-brown. And Its sapwood color is off-white or tan color, sometimes it is pink or yellow hue color. Balsa has a straight grain. So that it gives a uniform look.

What is balsa wood used for?

Balsa tree is very soft and lightweight as well as it is coarse. The density of Balsa wood is around 160 kg / m. The weight of Balsa is light but it is very strong. So balsa is a very popular material for model building.

Model Building

Balsa wood is mainly used in bridge tests, model aircraft. where strength and bending properties are of most importance. In aeronautic modeling, Balsa Wood is very much in demand as it is a perfect wood that can easily withstand crash landings and does not cause any major damage. it also is valued as a component of full-sized light wooden airplanes.

Aircraft and Boat Industries

Balsa wood has been used in construction since the second world war. During the war, balsa was one of the timbers used in building the de Havilland Mosquito aircraft. 

Balsa wood being lighter, it is used in boat construction to reduce the weight of the boat. Today, balsa Wood is used in plywood by using Modern Technology. Which is stronger as well as lighter, which makes it much easier to use plywood than pure Balsa wood for many purposes.

Balsa is used to make wooden crankbaits for fishing, especially Rapala lures. 

Insulation

Balsa wood acts as good insulation. Wood is used in houses with damp walls and ceilings. So that it keeps the house warm. It is also used to insulate refrigerators due to their thermal properties.

Furniture

The film industry Balsa Wood is extensively used. In which the table and chairs are broken for film filming so as to minimize damage.

Apart from this, karate experts practice by breaking Balsa Wood with hands.

Sport parts construction

Balsa Wood is the perfect wood for the racket of table tennis and badminton rackets, which is light and strong. Being lighter, the player is very easy to use.

Carving

Balasa can be a choice for carving because of its softness. So that carving can be done easily. Carving can also be done with light hands to be soft of wood. However, the detailing does not come very well in this wood. If you want perfect carving wood, then I will recommend you to choose basswood. Which comes from a family of hardwoods, where carving is better than balsa.

Musical string instruments:

Wood may never be replaced as the material of choice for Musical instruments. Balsa wood is used to make a violin and other many Musical instruments.

The physical instruments used to become any musical instrument affect sound quality. Choosing wood is chosen not only for sound quality but also for carving instruments that give a different look.

In earlier times when no commercial metal was available for pen nibs, Balasa Wood’s Sticks were dried and used for calligraphy.

Balsa wood advantage  and disadvantage

Advantage 

  1. The wood of Balsa is light, making it the perfect wood for model making.
  2. This wood is lighter and can float in the water for some time so that this wood is made using fishing lures.
  3. Balsa tree naturally grows very fast. It completes the length of 27 meters in 10-15 years so that more wood is available in working time.
  4. This wood is easily found in the form of blocks and blocks at any store, whose price is not too much so that everyone can take it. 
  5. It retains a lot of water in it, making it very strong.
  6. Being a low density, it is quite easy to work with. Balsa stains and finishes well.

Disadvantage

  1. The durability of Balsa wood is not very much so that we cannot make the furniture used in our house from this wood.
  2. If this water gets spoiled when there is too much water, then we cannot use it even outdoors.
  3. This wood is light as well as highly flammable so that it soon burns when exposed to fire.
  4. The sapwood of Balsa wood does not have rot-resistance. So this is susceptible to insect attack. Therefore it’s required more care.

It is very important to dry them before using them. If we use any wood before it dries and then after some time the wood becomes dry then it can spoil our work. Because wood size decreases after drying. It takes 2 weeks to dry in kiln-dried.

Balsa’s propriety depends on its drying process, which affects wood’s lifespan. How to cut the logs of Balsa Wood also depends on the properties of the wood. Such as Tangent cut or A-grain has the best bending properties. Quartersawn or C-grain balsa offers stiffness.

Conclusion

If we look at the properties of Balsa Wood, then we understand its usefulness.

It has a special place in the field in modeling being a softwood. If you are crazy about art and model making, then this wood is perfect for you. But if you are looking for wood for carving, then basswood can be a better option.

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