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Author Topic: Best sources for contest balsa?  (Read 2165 times)

Offline kevin king

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Best sources for contest balsa?
« on: September 15, 2020, 10:38:09 AM »
I almost fear asking the question because I'm scared the answer will be 'There aren't any'.


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Offline Fredvon4

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 02:43:27 PM »
At the very top of this page on the left is the link to Okie Air Model Products

https://okieair.com/


pretty good wood...not sure how long his supply will last
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Offline Ken Culbertson

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 10:58:44 PM »
Who ended up with the MAL wood.  It was some of the best balsa on the planet.  Probably got split up when they went out of business.  He used to have a private stash that he saved for the Free Flighters.  Made great stunt ships.

Ken
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Offline Jim Svitko

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2020, 09:17:32 AM »
Too bad about MAL closing but times change.  Every time I went in there it was like I took a trip back in time.  Once I took a set of plans from one of Dick Mathis' designs (Coyote or Excalibur, can't remember which) to get some wood.  The guys running the place at that time told me about Dick Mathis and how he used to get custom cut wood from MAL.

The last time I was there I got some silkspan, the real stuff, still in an unopened box.  I bet this silkspan was made over 50 years ago.

I also wonder what happened to their wood supply when they closed.

Offline Steve Fitton

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2020, 10:23:51 AM »
My brother said there was three pickup truck loads full of wood taken out of there. Who got it?
Steve

Online Dave Rigotti

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2020, 10:37:04 AM »
Same guy who got all the Klett hinges?
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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2020, 12:02:04 PM »
Remove victim to fresh air

Offline Jim Svitko

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2020, 12:14:00 PM »
I remember going to MAL and looking at the balsa stash.  Big load of it in the back.  Unbelievable.  Also in there was an old car.  I am not sure what it was.   It looked old enough to be something you would see in a Humphrey Bogart movie.

Offline FLOYD CARTER

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2020, 03:55:44 PM »
I stopped looking for "contest" balsa, meaning something like 4 to 6 lb.  I found it too flimsy and lacking strength where needed.  My models do not come out heavy, and I use heavier stronger wood with great results.  The secret is in the basic structure being optimum without excess wood not under stress.  If your wood isn't under stress, its too thick!
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Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2020, 04:38:58 PM »
   What's the story on "MAL"??  What or who were they? Just curious.
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Offline Jim Svitko

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2020, 06:10:14 PM »
Dan, since I am not a native of DFW area, someone else might have more details.  But, this is what I heard:

MAL was the initials for what I think was Model Aircraft Labs.  It was an old, old hobby shop in Irving, TX.  I think the shop first opened around 1947.  By the time I got back into the hobby (late 90s) the shop was run by a father-son team.  Dad passed away and the son took over.  I am not sure if the son is still living or not.   I think they closed not long after my last visit.  I am guessing the shop closed a few years ago but not sure exactly when.

On one of my visits, the son told me that when he was a kid, they could walk out the door of the shop and there was an open field to fly on.  Of course, you can imagine what the area looks like now.

Offline Ken Culbertson

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2020, 10:35:52 PM »
Dan, since I am not a native of DFW area, someone else might have more details.  But, this is what I heard:

MAL was the initials for what I think was Model Aircraft Labs.  It was an old, old hobby shop in Irving, TX.  I think the shop first opened around 1947.  By the time I got back into the hobby (late 90s) the shop was run by a father-son team.  Dad passed away and the son took over.  I am not sure if the son is still living or not.   I think they closed not long after my last visit.  I am guessing the shop closed a few years ago but not sure exactly when.

On one of my visits, the son told me that when he was a kid, they could walk out the door of the shop and there was an open field to fly on.  Of course, you can imagine what the area looks like now.
They were still open in 2016 but it was not the same as I remembered.  It was where everybody that was anybody in the 60's and later got their wood and he knew all of us and what we liked.  His stock that we used for free flight was so light that you had to pump helium into it to weight it down and it wasn't that mushy stuff you get today.  They still had quite a stash of wood when they closed.  Someone bought the lot. 

Ken
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Offline De Hill

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2020, 08:49:57 PM »
The owner of MAL was Mister Seay. He used to come to the Tulsa MECA Collecto every year. He was in his late 70's when He last came to Tulsa, and was quite a talker.
De Hill

Offline Bob Hunt

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2020, 06:41:45 PM »
I remember going to MAL's with Bob Gieseke during a visit to Bob's house to do some taping for my Robin's View Productions' Stunt Flyer Video Magazine. I was overwhelmed by the amount of great balsa there.

Bob Hunt

Offline Randy Powell

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2020, 09:07:01 AM »
I miss Lone Star Balsa. Riley was great.
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Online Howard Rush

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2020, 01:08:18 PM »
Same guy who got all the Klett hinges?

I know who that is.
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Online Dwayne Donnelly

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2020, 03:38:23 PM »
Bud Nosen still has some.
http://budnosenmodels.com/
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2020, 11:25:49 AM »
When did MAL close shop.  Seems like it was not that long ago when I was there.  The son was only person there as he said his Dad passed away some time ago.  First time I was there the Dad had the airplane and balsa section and the son had the train section.   If I remember right I think the car was an old Studebaker the Dad was working on.  He also showed me the balsa area and mentioned cutting balsa for Bob Geiseke. D>K
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Offline Ken Culbertson

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2020, 12:25:03 PM »
They closed sometime in  2019.  July or August if I remember right.  My office is only a couple of miles from there.  I had called about getting wood for a new stunter and he said he would call me back with what he had cut.  After a week I decided to just drop by and found them closed.  July or August if I remember right but it might have been sooner.   Hard to believe that this "hole in the wall" was the center of model aviation in DFW for at least 40 years.

Grabbed these off of the internet.  I don't remember the place ever being that organized.  Behind the counter near the center is the door to Balsa Heaven.  You walk through the door and there are two big racks of some of the finest contest balsa you have ever seen.  That was his so-so stuff.  The real stuff was in the back room.

Ken
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 12:49:28 PM by Ken Culbertson »
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Offline Mike Griffin

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2021, 09:58:41 AM »
Kevin, your fear may be justified.  Contest grade balsa is not readily available as it once was.  When I was producing kits, I bought all of my balsa from Bud Nosen up in Minnesota.  RSM and Tom Morris also bought balsa from them.  Some of the contest that I bought was actually to soft to use but most was very good grade.

I have not bought from them in a couple of years now so I do not know what the availability and price would be but you might give them a call.  The last batch I bought it had gone up 150% in cost.  That is an unprecedented jump in price.

Mike

Offline Randy Powell

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2021, 10:53:30 AM »
I just got an order from Specialized Balsa. Nice stuff overall. And not horrifically expensive. Like half of what National Balsa is charging.

https://specializedbalsa.com/products/

Jake is a good guy.
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Offline kevin king

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2021, 12:03:20 PM »
Fortunately I found a local supplier.  Also found out he flies control line airplanes. He has alot of contest C grain balsa which he will cut to any size, he said the free flight guys don't want it because it has some discoloration. I asked if that effects the strength of the balsa, he said no. I said no problem, all my planes are painted opaque so it doesn't matter! https://www.modelaviationproducts.com/products/map-contest-grade-balsa-wood/15

Online Craig Beswick

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2021, 01:54:14 PM »
Kevin,
his contest grade, sub 6lb, wood is only 24" long and 2" wide. Unless I missed something.

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Offline kevin king

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2021, 02:47:24 PM »
He told me he would cut anything I Want, but it may  be different when it comes to having to shipping it.  I think he mentioned the cost would be to high. Me, I would be meeting him face to face. I could be wrong to, but I'm pretty confident he will do favors. My best friend taught him how to fly. I met with him and he didn't want any money, he just gave it to me. GREAT friend to have!

Offline RC Storick

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2021, 01:29:40 PM »
I just got an order from Specialized Balsa. Nice stuff overall. And not horrifically expensive. Like half of what National Balsa is charging.

https://specializedbalsa.com/products/

Jake is a good guy.

I just called there and placed an order online. 6 lb wood is a 100% upcharge and A grain is a 200% upcharge. I canceled the order.
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Offline Randy Powell

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Re: Best sources for contest balsa?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2021, 04:10:45 PM »
Well, I did fine with him. I just ordered wood. It came. Very well packaged. Some was sub 6lb, some was more like 8lb a small amount was probably 10lb, but all can be used. Jake was fine with me. No issues. I'll order from him again. But hey, all can do as they please, obviously.
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