There has got to be an easier way

Does anyone know of any good tricks to getting the bottom level on a balsa wood board. After roughing it out with the planer and belt sander I had to resort to old fashioned hand sanding. I build a sanding board by gluing an old belt sander belt to a 2x4. It worked well, but was a lot of work. It probably took me about 45 minutes per side.

FYI

After sanding, I shaped the top rails and busted the boards apart with a rubber mallet. Here are the latest pictures.

I don’t know about you, but hand sanding is one of the things I like about building a board. . . . and 45 minutes is fast in my book.

Nice looking board btw.

:slight_smile:

Hey Swied

I may have come into this thread a little late but why did you bust the board apart?

I thought it looked sweet!

Mooneemick

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why did you bust the board apart?

probably to chamber some of those inside pieces…cut back the weight a bit.

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I may have come into this thread a little late but why did you bust the board apart?

I tacked the boards together with little dabs of Elmer’s glue so that they would come apart again after shaping. Now, I’m going to attempt to hollow out some chambers with a router. This should significantly reduce the weight. There was a discussion about this last month that was very informative, and greatly influence my methods. It was titled Chambered Balsa Questions. When I saw Bill Thrailkill the other week he gave me a tip on how to break the boards apart without damaging the wood. As shown in my above picture, you put a piece of wood over the spot where the glue dabs are located. Then, give it a good whack with a rubber mallet. This method worked great. I had four joints and only had to hit the board four times: Whack - crack, whack - crack, whack - crack, whack - crack.

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I don’t know about you, but hand sanding is one of the things I like about building a board.

I’ll agree it was kind of enjoyable. It was definitely a good work out. I was just wondering if there was a another method that was more commonly used. I came up with the 2x4 & sand paper idea on my own.

You can use about anything after planning to level a blank,block or board sander,power or hand.

The trick is to plane out the harder woods with a handplaner,after each session of sanding.

In other words , the balsa will sand quicker,so the more sanding you do,the more planing you do.

Howzit swied, I used to use a board like that for sanding Q-sel on broken boards that had a lot of glass torn off the bottom, made for nice flat surface to laminate. What I am wodering about is why do the flat sanding before undoing the spot glue ups since when you reglue the board after chambering you will have to sand it again. Every shaper I’ve seen do chambered balsas waited til after the final glue up to fine tune the shape.Aloha,Kokua

great thread, keep posting pics! I want to build a balsa board one of these days and this provides more incentive.

You could try building a sanding block out of plywood that will take two full sheets of sandpaper. Then screw on two handles. I make mine out of 2x4 scraps. We used these sanding blocks extensively at the boatbuilder I worked for.

The bigger block has two effects- #1- more sanding surface should lessen the time sanding. #2- The larger flat surface will do a better job leveling out the hills and valleys.

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What I am wodering about is why do the flat sanding before undoing the spot glue ups since when you reglue the board after chambering you will have to sand it again

This is my first board (wood or foam), and my planing technique was pretty bad. I wanted to get the top and bottom sides close to the final shape, so I could do the rails evenly. The sanding board brought me to a point where I felt comfortable cutting into the rails. I still have more sanding to do when everything gets glued back together again.

Hey Swied

Ok thanks for the info . I’ll check out that discussion and look forward to the rest.

Mooneemick