were to find balsa wood in NZ

hey guys i am just starting to plan a new 10ft HWS and an looking for a good place to buy balsa from in the north island NZ, i am not that keen on buying small bits from the model shop, was planing to have balsa skins, nose/tail blocks and rails and a redwood internal frame.

any you guys got any ideas or places to try


cheers antony

Go with Paulownia!

You have a great plantation right next to you, out in Newstead. www.paulownia.co.nz. You’ll have to cut it though.

Or you could try http://www.balsacentral.com/epages/auszacdb.sf/?ObjectPath=/Shops/balsacentral I gather they ship to NZ for a reasonable price, but never tried them my self.

True. Getting paulownia is easy, balsa is harder.  I don't remember the source but Roy Stewart posted where he bought balsa way back.  Probably in the archives.  I never bought anything from them but got some prices that were double what Paulownoa was going for.  Paulownia is a bit heavier but much stronger. 

Paulownia is lighter than redwood.  If you did the internal frame and the skins out of it total weight might be the same or lighter.  Never made a hollow so maybe I'm talking out of my ass.  Paulownia is great wood for compsands though.

thanks guys will pop out and see them


thanks guys will pop out and see them


Paulownia Enterprises put me on to one of their customers who sold me six sheets of their 2000 x 150 x 2mm sanded timber. Still trying to decide what sort of board to build with it.

I think the log that produced it worked about about $400, and another $400 to have it transported to the Sth Island, milled and dried, which came out considerably cheaper than balsa per square metre. But it's a bit of an outlay if your making just a few boards for yourself.


How much would you get out of that log?

How much did you buy those 6 sheets for?


Man, i’m tempted to offer a re-sawing service… it would earn me a bit of extra cash for my upcoming trip!

Let me know what price you guys can get Paulownia cut, planed to exact thickness and delivered, and i’ll beat that price! 

I paid $11 per sheet, which was cost (plus $25 freight which was the killer), so I think they got around 70 odd sheets at 2mm out of the log - they make kiteboards out of it.



I got a bunch from Balsacentral in Australia and it was awesome stuff but probably would not do it again as it cost too much, it was mainly the freight and of course G.S.T which I hadnt thought of that really maxed the price out! Also was a real hassle clearing it through customs and MAF and so on…

Definitely use local timber, Paulownia is great and you can go and pick your own pieces, I think your in Hamilton, Paulownia Enterprises are just around the corner.

I phoned AIRSail which is a modelling company , im led to believe that they have pieces of Balsa if your really keen to get some but the biggest pieces they have I think are 1200longx 100 wide. They are supposed to call me back about that so will let ya know when I hear, I quite like the look of joined pieces on the deck, you can make a feature of the joins!

Good luck,