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An alternative to Balsaloc

I need one

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Erfolg09/08/2016 15:19:49
10823 forum posts
1031 photos

Now that i life in the sticks, it is even harder and more expensive than ever to get to a model shop.

I have a problem in that some of the film on a number of models is coming away from the airframe and will not reattach by ironing.

In the past i have used PVA as an adhesive, by wetting both surfaces with PVA, allowing to dry, then using my iron to reattach. Unfortunately this is not working with the current brand of PVA.

I am looking for a product that will substitute for Balsaloc which i can purchase from a DIY or Builders Merchants that can be used as a substitute, as we do have these retailers near by.

Any Ideas?

Jack Banner09/08/2016 15:28:48
332 forum posts
43 photos

Thinned PVA.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator09/08/2016 16:05:14
15187 forum posts
1407 photos

Yeap - another vote for watered down PVA.


PS The cynic in me suspects that there isn't a lot of difference (except in price) between watered down PVA and Balsaloc anyway!

Robin Etherton09/08/2016 17:55:14
238 forum posts
39 photos

There are hundreds of different formulations of PVA.

Any particular brand recommended?

Erfolg09/08/2016 18:04:28
10823 forum posts
1031 photos

Robin, I think you have hit the nail on the head.

I am using a product called Resin 502, water resistant, which once set seems to stay set.

I am also getting to the bottom of the bottle, so a new purchase is imminent. As I no longer fly what ever the weather, as competitions are well behind me, a water resistant adhesive is probably not as important. In fact a std, adhesive could be better in that if and when i get some on my clothing it will come out in the wash. Water Resistant does not, being pretty much water proof, I found this out when getting some adhesive on a good jumper. I did get a good tongue lashing, which I want to avoid in future.

So which PVAs are known to be suitable.

flight109/08/2016 18:26:24
514 forum posts
32 photos

Tite bond 1 11 and 111 can be used . veneer instructions from tite bond

Thing to whatch out for

failure to heat the glue to the correct temperature and 2) exceeding the reactivation window. Most instructions on the net just say “let dry completely” but say nothing about any activation window. For Titebond II and III, this reactivation window is only 12 hours

flight109/08/2016 18:29:32
514 forum posts
32 photos

for got to put see info here   table of correct heat is interesting

Edited By flight1 on 09/08/2016 18:29:51

Edited By flight1 on 09/08/2016 18:30:39

Martin Harris09/08/2016 20:36:08
7548 forum posts
188 photos

Several years ago, I bought a half gallon of PVA from one of the builders merchants for not much money at all. It's still going strong and I use it as glue, for applying brown paper to foam models and reattaching covering.

I was interested to see from Flight1's link that Titebond describe one of their glues as PVA and that it has an unlimited reactivation window.

Edited By Martin Harris on 09/08/2016 20:39:09

Erfolg11/08/2016 13:33:35
10823 forum posts
1031 photos

After viewing Flight1's post and the link, I spent some time trying to locate Titebond in this area, totally unsuccessfully.

I then pondered the Martin Harris contribution.

After which I spent some time viewing adverts for what is available around here and finally the glue I am currently using..

It has struck me that more often than not, I would apply the PVA, one evening, then it would be left almost certainly to the following evening, when Eastenders would be on, before attempting to reattach. This is pretty much 24 hrs.

Again referring to the data sheet for the glue I am using this is when it is stated the adhesive will be fully polymerised and cured. Which could mean that the polymer is fully cross linked. and the application of heat would not necessarily break the bonds. Not being very good at chemistry I decided to try a practical experiment with the adhesive I currently use.

So as BEB suggested, I thinned the glued down by 50% and mixed well. I then applied the mixture to both surfaces with a brush. I then left it, until the glue looked dry, a hour or two. Using my iron (tacking) I tried to attach the film back on the model. Much to my surprise, it seemed to work.

So the secret is, if that what it is, is to thin the adhesive, which gives a good coverage of a thin film of the adhesive. Allow to dry, although for not to long. Use your iron as normal and Bobs your uncle.

i12fly12/08/2016 00:26:32
489 forum posts
21 photos

I use Fast Tack -in the gold colour squeezy bottle (made by Hi Tack). It is a heat reactive adhesive for fabric and is every bit as good as Balsaloc in my opinion. I did test pieces comparing with Balsaloc and both performed the same when ripping away the film (the balsa pulled away with the film). Get it from your local dressmaking/ haberdashery/ craft shop.

I dilute it with water to make it easy to apply with a brush. A bottle lasts for ages because with a fine nozzle and a cap it doesn't allow air in so stores well, it is readily available and also cheap too.

There is only one disadvantage I find, it is a bit more difficult to remove when you get some on the sealing iron than Balsaloc, I use meths and it comes clean OK.

Erfolg16/09/2016 19:10:19
10823 forum posts
1031 photos

The PVA I use is called 502, unfortunately it does not work with film and an iron. The film peeled back in flight.

I have now used Aleenes "TackGlue", which was sold as a cheaper (on offer) alternative to Fast-Tack. It certainly does work.

At half the price of Balsaloc, and available from many outlets, such as Hobbyworld, far easier to obtain.

Edited By Erfolg on 16/09/2016 19:10:34

Lee Damms24/05/2018 14:04:09
225 forum posts
64 photos

Hi all, Just come across this thread and panicked, I'd run out of balsaloc. Now I did have some Screwfix No Nonsense PVA . Well on trying it 50 50 mix with water that was a no go. Mixing with a little water so that it's not too gooey worked after leaving it to go tacky or very nearly dry. Obviously not all PVA's are the same.

Regards Lee

i12fly24/05/2018 21:58:02
489 forum posts
21 photos

I use Fast Tack in the gold tube from any local haberdashery. Squirt some onto your palette, dilute it with few drops of water, mix, works fine.

Low cost, sticks well under heat, that is what it is made for, handy tube with pointy nozzle and a cap. A bit more difficult to remove from your iron than Balsaloc -I use a few drops of meths on a tissue -best done cool/cold!

Denis Watkins25/05/2018 07:32:16
2709 forum posts
137 photos

Adequate glue can be made and mixed up and

We don't like over paying for simple ingredients, but

Balsaloc is just not the same as watered down PVA. It feels different on the wood, where PVA dries hard and brittle, and very smooth,

Balsaloc is still tacky, and holds the covering ready for heat.

Use it or loose it lads.

Cuban825/05/2018 07:46:33
1943 forum posts
3 photos

Fast Tack looks interesting **LINK**

John Lee25/05/2018 10:48:00
512 forum posts
42 photos

Balsaloc is still available direct from Solarfilm by mail order. I bought a tub a couple of weeks ago to keep in stock.

Erfolg25/05/2018 11:41:18
10823 forum posts
1031 photos

Tacky Glue and presumably Fast Tack, are products intended for the clothing manufacturing industry or the home dress makers.

Tacky Glue will stick film or cloth just by contact, although much better when used in conjunction with an iron, preferably with both surfaces touch dry.

Balsa Loc works OK, as do the fabric tack glues. With the slow disappearance of LMS many of us have to look for non modelling alternatives. Mail order can be surprisingly expensive from model shops or even wholesalers. Perhaps not surprisingly many of the non modelling marketed products can be much cheaper, also perform equally as well and can more often than not bought locally, such as Hobby World, Haberdashers, at the local Retail Park etc.

Edited By Erfolg on 25/05/2018 11:42:48

Edited By Erfolg on 25/05/2018 11:43:49

Martin McIntosh25/05/2018 19:43:36
2419 forum posts
935 photos

Wickes PVA, watered down, works well for me. Can make good rivets too.

John Laird28/05/2018 20:26:49
416 forum posts
38 photos

I have been using Impex Hi tack as a substitute for balsaloc. Easier to apply with the thin spout on the bottle- smear down flat with wet finger and leave to dry. Then apply covering and apply tacking iron to activate glue as you would with an adhesive backed covering. cost is £3/bottle but lasts longer than balsaloc as easier to apply.

Engine Doctor28/05/2018 20:49:25
1946 forum posts
19 photos

Deluxe materials "Covergrip" IMO far better than Balsaloc or  PVA ,far more expensive than PVA but goes a long way.

Edited By Engine Doctor on 28/05/2018 20:49:54

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