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Author Topic: Balsa Safari  (Read 1523 times)

Online Bob Hunt

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Balsa Safari
« on: May 01, 2024, 08:59:27 AM »
Even though I have probably enough good, light balsa to get me to the "finish line," I'm always on the lookout for more. Can you relate...? (Actually my son, Robby refers to the balsa supply here as "his inheritance.")

I just returned from a "honey-do" trip to the local mall, and after getting what Marianne wanted (dish clothes and shower curtains...) I went into the Hobby Lobby store. I very often go there in search of the odd light piece of balsa. Imaging my surprise when I found several really great sheets of wood. More surprising was the fact that a couple of the sheets had some very minor damage to one edge and the manager (I guess) was more than happy to mark the prices on those pieces down significantly (try from $7.00 to $1.47). The damage was very minimal and the vast majority of the sheets in question can be used. Nice find!

So, the moral is, if you are out shopping and there is a Hobby Lobby store near where you go, stop in and check out the balsa bin; you might find a gold mine of light wood, and you just might get a discount on some of it.

Note: I also check the local Michaels from time to time for light balsa, but in recent years the pickings there have been slim.

Happy Safari-ing - Bob Hunt

Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2024, 09:10:12 AM »
   You're kind of late to the party Bubba!! That's been SOP for me as long as Hobby Lobby has been around these parts. I know where they all are around town and work in a visit if my routine takes me near one. I have found other good deals there also on occasion and well worth a quiet walk around the toy, art and crafts departments. Revell is known for plastic models, but they also ventured into the dime store glider and rubber powered airplane market for a while. Hobby Lobby carried those for a while and one summer they put them on clearance for a $1 a piece for the larger rubber airplane. They are ugly as sin, but were made from excellent grade balsa and flew way better than most Guillow's dime store airplanes do right out of the bag. I loaded up on them at that price. They don't spoil sitting on the shelf you know!! Hobby Lobby used to put a 40% off coupon in the local paper every Sunday in their full page ad, but in this day and age that went by the way side a long time ago !!

  Type at you later,
   Dan McEntee
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Offline Dave_Trible

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2024, 10:44:43 AM »
There is only one within reasonable distance from me these days but I also have gotten lucky there with a few good balsa finds.   I also get basswood strips there for flap and elevator trailing edges (keeps the knicks and dents down).   I get knife blades,  copper tubing,  some epoxy,  stencils, ink line pens and all sorts of goodies there when they can't be found elsewhere.  It's where you go to pick up one thing and drop $$ before you leave.

Dave
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Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2024, 11:27:53 AM »
Yes it pays to look around any store that has arts and crafts.   I too picked up on sheets that had a little damage and got a discount.  I have piked up glue bottles and other stuff you don't find in the local hobby shop. D>K
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Online Ken Culbertson

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2024, 12:00:58 PM »
I just had the same experience as Bob.  I hit the local Hobby Lobby about once a month. (Wish I knew their restocking schedule!) Their prices only *border* on outrageous and the manager has been more than willing to discount damaged sheets.  I got a sheet of 5lb 1/4x 4" with a corner damaged for $.95 and on another occasion two sheets of nice 6lb 1/16 for $.50 each.  Cap strips and wingtips for Endgame IV for $1.95.

It is rare that they get wood in that light.  Normally it is 7-8lb.  They had more undamaged sheets of 1/4" at around $11.00 but I didn't need.  We have three known Hobby Lobby scroungers that I know of so I passed it on.

Ken

Oh, one thing that amazes me about them is that they routinely have several hangers full of Bob Smith CA Accelerator and de-bonder which is great except that they do not carry CA Cement.   I have brought that to their attention and they told me that they, as store managers, have no input as to what they carry are not allowed to pass on things like that to the buyers.  And I thought Stunt fliers were crazy....
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Offline Dave_Trible

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2024, 12:42:19 PM »
I just had the same experience as Bob.  I hit the local Hobby Lobby about once a month. (Wish I knew their restocking schedule!) Their prices only *border* on outrageous and the manager has been more than willing to discount damaged sheets.  I got a sheet of 5lb 1/4x 4" with a corner damaged for $.95 and on another occasion two sheets of nice 6lb 1/16 for $.50 each.  Cap strips and wingtips for Endgame IV for $1.95.

It is rare that they get wood in that light.  Normally it is 7-8lb.  They had more undamaged sheets of 1/4" at around $11.00 but I didn't need.  We have three known Hobby Lobby scroungers that I know of so I passed it on.

Ken

Oh, one thing that amazes me about them is that they routinely have several hangers full of Bob Smith CA Accelerator and de-bonder which is great except that they do not carry CA Cement.   I have brought that to their attention and they told me that they, as store managers, have no input as to what they carry are not allowed to pass on things like that to the buyers.  And I thought Stunt fliers were crazy....
Stunt fliers ARE crazy.....We can be pretty loopy at times.
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Offline Motorman

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2024, 06:35:48 PM »
They have some nice building/cutting mats there too.

Offline Air Ministry .

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2024, 09:43:54 PM »
ACTUALLY , was trying to find a M'cycle joke Id found in a Model Aero Mag . ( cartoon / picture )

Two Scotsman on a street . a cottage & picket fence . Sign on the gate " used engine oil , 2d. " ( two pennies )   " So , Mc Gregors taken up motorcycling , then " . says one .  SORRY CHAPS . probably needs the picture .
« Last Edit: May 02, 2024, 10:00:07 PM by Air Ministry . »

Online EricV

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2024, 12:37:45 PM »
Under the category of strange but true:

Every year, Charlies Hobbies in Tampa had a huge shipment of balsa... I would go in there and cherry pick the light stuff and go home thinking how great that was. I finally got curious enough to ask Charlie back when he still owned the place "what's with the huge balsa shipment? Surely none of the R/C guys are scratch building THIS much locally? (it was a HUGE shipment)

Charlie just chuckles and replies "You are going to hate my answer..."

I think, how bad can it be, scratch building stuff is great, right?

he goes on "... the local college kids taking one of the art courses have to build a diarama every year as part of their final grade and it uses a ton of balsa".

I just stared at him dumbfounded.  Charlie goes "Told ya you'd hate the answer". LOL! Good ol' Charlie, I do miss him, heh. The new guy who bought the store was into model RC Cars more than anything else, and the change in inventory reflected that. Shame...
Eric

Offline Air Ministry .

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2024, 10:38:57 PM »





Goes to show what a few hours of sun & sea will do to a man . Maybe the polititions should try it . Remember , No radios ! .  ;D

Somebodys having a go building another one , so , if you found a sponcer ,you could ' accidently ' get blown ' up the coast ' . If you whipped it through a sawmill before anyone woke up to it , you should be right for a while .
https://vadebarcos.net/2014/10/12/la-kon-tiki-de-thor-heyerdahl/

kontiki II . lets see . how many trees . Would they grow in the back yard ? .

Online John Park

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2024, 06:30:07 AM »

Goes to show what a few hours of sun & sea will do to a man . Maybe the polititions should try it . Remember , No radios !
[/quote]
More like a hundred days - that's how long it took them to get to Polynesia.  By the way, the radio operators (Knut Haugland and Torstein Raaby) actually managed to work a radio ham in the USA from the middle of the Pacific!
You want to make 'em nice, else you get mad lookin' at 'em!

Offline Steve Dwyer

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2024, 07:03:51 AM »
Hobby lobby also has a great selection of wide soft bristle paint brushes to use for pretreating wood with clear.

Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2024, 09:07:44 AM »





Goes to show what a few hours of sun & sea will do to a man . Maybe the polititions should try it . Remember , No radios ! .  ;D

Somebodys having a go building another one , so , if you found a sponcer ,you could ' accidently ' get blown ' up the coast ' . If you whipped it through a sawmill before anyone woke up to it , you should be right for a while .
https://vadebarcos.net/2014/10/12/la-kon-tiki-de-thor-heyerdahl/

kontiki II . lets see . how many trees . Would they grow in the back yard ? .

     Supposedly, the original Kontiki raft is in the St. Louis Museum of Transportation here in town. I remember Bob Underwood telling me a story that he received a call from the museum asking for suggestions on how to help prserve the wood. I haven't been there is ages, but it's very near Buder Park  and I'll have to make a stop there someday and take a tour.

   I have been  building models for many years using wood from balsa life preservers that were on the river boat SS. Admiral here on the St. Louis river front. It was an excursion boat that cruised the river for many years, but finally was docked because the hull was too deteriorated. Several attempts were made to turn it into a destination venue or casino. At one time, the construction company doing some renovation work filed a lawsuit against the then owner for non payment on the contract. They won and were awarded everything that was on the boat, including these 2" by 12" by 36" life preservers. I saw an ad in the local paper for them, went to their yard/office to investigate, and came away with 640 of them for the princely sum of $200 !! They were manufactured in the early 30's and some have a date embossed in the end grain. They were on the boat from the very beginning in 1939 and may have been on the railroad car ferry that was cannibalized for the hull to build the admiral on. I had to cut some of them up right away because there was rot on parts of them, but once that was cut away, it was good wood. I tried cutting sheet wood and such with minor success but just stuck with using the wood for blocks and such. i sold off much of the cut up length, and sold whole life preservers every now and then to collectors of Admiral memorabilia. The boat was rammed by some runaway barges in 1996 and it broke loose from it's moorings. People were on the boat gambling and they had to be rescued by fire department boats once a local tug boat operator managed to catch and stabilize the boat. That raised the question on the local TV news and talk radio station on why there were no life preservers on board, even though the boat never cruised any more. I called the local radio talk station with the story, and was interviewed by them, and then on Easter Sunday a few weeks later, local Channel 4 News came by and did a feature on me and the planks that lead off the news that night and was almost 4 minutes long!!  I still have about 150 or so. The Admiral, unfortunately was finally scrapped about 10 years ago I think it was. Such a sad end for a grand old lady!!
  Type at you later,
  Dan McEntee
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AMA 480405 (American Motorcyclist Association)

Offline Rusty

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2024, 11:04:11 AM »
I'll tell you another good place to get things that are helpful is estate sales.   I go to estates all the time.  About 3 weeks ago I went to one and they had model airplane stuff.  I bought a good OS 52 four stroke, 3 feet of fuel line, exacto knife, heat gun, 3 foot metal ruler, 1 foot ruler, electric motor, esc and servo, ALL for $7.00. 

Other sales I have bought sand paper, drills, band saw, dremel tools, soldering irons, etc.

You guys should try them too.

Rusty

Offline Steve Dwyer

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Re: Balsa Safari
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2024, 12:29:47 PM »
Garage sales are big head turners for me as well. It's always good to have a few extra bucks with you if you pass by a GS to quickly brose what's there. The best opening question is "have any tools or hardware for sale". You never know what you'll find, it's worth a 5 min stop anytime.


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