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Balsa Wood

Balsa wood comes from the West Indian Corkwood tree (Ochroma lagapus). It is used in the construction of model aircraft as it is a very light and easily cut and formed. When selecting balsa wood it is important to consider the intended application as it varies considerably in density and hardness.

What not to do?

The following two pictures show a piece of balsa wood with the grain aligned in the wrong direction with respect to the curvature of the wing.

The result is that the wood does not take the correct form and there is sinkage in the centre of the panel.