Resawing Balsa?

I was wondering about the difficulty of resawing balsa? I found a great deal on bulk balsa, but I would need to resaw it. I only have a 1/2" blade for my band saw but I worked okay when I tried resawing 2x4’s. After you resaw it do you run it through a planner? Benny, I know you have experience resawing. Do you still resaw your balsa?


What are the sizes of your “bulk” Balsa? Large dimensional sizes are hard to come by. Is it in raw log form?

They are roughly 4"x4"x48"

Yes, it’s easy. You want to get a ½ blade made up w/ 2, or 3 teeth / inch, so it will let the re-sawn material move easily out of the way. Also, you want to cut about a ¼ wider than your finished desired width. This will allow you to surface plane your boards for a good fit. I use a different kind of fence set up that is more of a pivot point, to allow for slight movement of the blade. The steel blade costs about $20.00 @ the saw shop, probably a little less. Two people also make this easier, one push one pull.

use push sticks!!! to push the pieces by the blade.

After I cut resaw can I run the wood through a tabletop planer to clean up my cuts? I was hoping to do my cuts at a strong 1/8". Do you see any problems with this?


After I cut resaw can I run the wood through a tabletop planer to clean up my cuts? I was hoping to do my cuts at a strong 1/8". Do you see any problems with this?

Yes. A jointer is preferable before thickness planing, but you can get away w/ just the planer

There can be problems. In a perfect world, Yes.

I have both (love my toys). I think I see where you’re going with this. When I get little waves going in the main piece I can true it up using the joiner. Thanks!

Woodworking 101…flatten one side using the jointer.Next rip to desired size leaving 1/16’’ or so.Last run the sawed side through planer.A planer itself won’t take warp out of stock.For a surfboard you then band saw the rocker in to each board and the stringers.Glue it up.If you want to channel the balsa glue the blank up with few dots of 5 minute epoxy (so you can take it apart) and foil the board (preshape).Take it apart…route the channels and glue it up for the last time.Thanks to Diff and Jim Phillips for that one. RB

1/8" x 3" x 42" balsa strip 77 cents each

1/8" x3" x 48" strip 85 cents each

1/8" x 4" x 48" strip $1.40 each

What will the final size be after cutting? What will the the volume of strips per 4" piece be after cutting?

I am just asking, because you might have a more valuable solid balsa blank than making sheets. I am not sure how much you paid for your blocks, but the waste of the wood with each cut from the blade and the amount of work necessary to get to the final product might not be worth it. Solid balsa blanks start at $500. Do you have enought to make a full blank? Add some trick different type wood stringers with the glue up. Solid wood tow boards Start at $1000.00. Only need 6’ length and 16" width and 2" thick. Chambered balsa long board are fun projects and bring big $$ if you are selling also.

Just a thought for you

I’m trying to decide if its worth it to buy it in bulk and resaw it. Your prices seem really good. Its rare that something on the islands is cheaper than on the mainland. I don’t think that I have the ability (yet) to make a board that anybody would pay big bucks for, but who knows down the line.

I agree with just about everything here…

I buy mine 4" x 4" x random length (mostly around 6’). I resaw on the bandsaw. I have a really wide (7/8") blade with 4 tpi. The wider the blade, the less it will wander away from the fence and the cooler it will remain. Attach a 10’ very straight piece of fir or something to your fence so you have a good guide going in & coming out. Use a featherboard in the miter guage slot.

Cutting to a fat 8th is fine. Then run it through the surfacing planer (I can do 3 pieces at once in the 13" planer - saves time) to come down to just under an 8th. You only need to plane one side :slight_smile:

I read a lot of your old posts today trying to figure out how you cut the balsa. I knew you must of had a good technique by how good the fish looked. I was really hoping to make use of my 12" planer to clean things up. I’m glad to hear it is possible.

lone star balsa . com

bundle packs

here’s the idea of my resaw fence. Mine is higher than the work I’m cutting

this is what a good bandsaw can do


I like bandsaws, old ones and new ones. Big and small. Though I have to say big and old together are a winning combination for me.

As for blades - - call 'em and explain that you are resawing balsa and they will have/make the right combination of blade length, width, tooth profile and teeth-per-inch for you. I have used their blades exclusively for the past several years, good cuts and better blade life than any others I’ve tried. Prices are in the same range as most hardware store/tool supply blades. They are, at the moment, running a ‘buy 3 get a 4th free’ deal.

I get something like 2-3 times the usable life out of Suffolk Timberwolf blades that I do out of ‘other’ brands like Starret and such. Sold/distrubuted worldwide. They also carry bandsaw tires and such, also reasonably priced.

hope that’s of use


Thanks doc – I e-mailed for their catalog. They had good info on adjustments and blade selection.

check this out-

sidebar -

De nada - I forgot to mention the information pages, which are maybe the best info on the care and feeding of bandsaws that I know of.

Someplace in the bowels of the site was ( recently redone, I see) a bit by the company president, Art Gshwind, on how he was introduced to bandsaws by his father on a lovely old Walker Turner, and that definitely struck home.

And now, drat it all, I’m thinking about looking for another bandsaw.Maybe a nice 16" or larger model, old iron… I know of a big old job that’s just gathering dust now that a friend finished building his boat…

Interesting links too, thanks once again. Have to re-read 'em and think some more…

best regards