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Future balsa supplies in UK

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Keith Berriman26/09/2020 10:41:36
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I once made a model from the SPAD range which was some corrugated plastic

Doc Marten26/09/2020 10:42:58
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Posted by Ben B on 25/09/2020 22:45:54:

It likely did but the "big one" Spanish Flu likely started in the U.S. so........

Off topic but for correction:

The origins of 'Spanish' flu are still unknown , the USA, Britain, Germany and France were the worst hit.

We know the origins of 'Wuhan' flu and will never know the true death rate.

One for a different topic maybe.

Edited By Doc Marten on 26/09/2020 10:45:15

MattyB26/09/2020 11:13:33
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No balsa, no depron, ever increasing regulation... Not exactly a rosy picture is it! Still there are always alternative ways of building - I guess home builders may need to get a bit more tech savvy in future...

 

Edited By MattyB on 26/09/2020 11:15:35

Doc Marten26/09/2020 11:20:38
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Posted by MattyB on 26/09/2020 11:13:33:

No balsa, no depron, ever increasing regulation... Not exactly a rosy picture is it! Still there are always alternative ways of building - I guess home builders may need to get a bit more tech savvy in future...

Edited By MattyB on 26/09/2020 11:15:35

.....using Chinese manufactured printers.

It's a perpetual circle.

Paul C.26/09/2020 11:27:29
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Regal Eagle from Paper Aviation was a large model from what I remember might be time to brush up on our origami skills 👍 . Back in the late 70's I remember Pilot did some quick build models that used a lot of light plywood in the build there was some balsa but the majority was ply if memory serves me correctly .

Doc Marten26/09/2020 12:12:22
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Posted by Paul C. on 26/09/2020 11:27:29:

Regal Eagle from Paper Aviation was a large model from what I remember might be time to brush up on our origami skills 👍 . Back in the late 70's I remember Pilot did some quick build models that used a lot of light plywood in the build there was some balsa but the majority was ply if memory serves me correctly .

Funnily enough I have just dug out my Pilot QB20H to refurbish prompted by MattyB's winter revival challenge, the wings and tailplane are balsa but the rest is ply, a relatively heavy but tough little trainer with a reputation for having decent flying characteristics, I flew it no more than a handful of times before it got damaged and I switched to the Flair Cub, again, foam and mainly lite ply, in fact I don't think there is any balsa at all in that!

Edit: Just remembered, the tailplane is sheet balsa.

 

Edited By Doc Marten on 26/09/2020 12:16:34

Matt Carlton27/09/2020 13:27:44
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I'm trying very hard to see any future for the RC hobby.

We've been fortunate in having a resurgence in building due to the availability of laser cut parts and suchlike, but that's now effectively over.

This isn't about a potential 150% rise in balsa cost, I think we could weather that storm. This is about the complete unavailability of balsa indefinitely and irreversibly. I can't see any way in which our 'small fry' market can compete for a limited resource against a background of worldwide government subsidised demand.

We've lost most of the glow engine manufacturers, we've lost most of the kit manufacturers, we lost Solarfilm, we've lost most of our local model shops. When the world turns over to purely electric vehicles, we'll lose affordable Lipo batteries due to limited availability of Lithium.

I honestly think that within a few short years, the only thing left will be cheap foamy 'toys' and plastic printed models. Maybe.

There might be some alternative materials at some point. Plastics, cardboard, paper etc. But in all honesty, most of them look awful. The only alternative is moulded composite, but that's way outside what most can achieve at home.

I'm just glad I have at least some memories of the hobby that I can look back on.

It's a sad day.

Danny Fenton27/09/2020 13:42:17
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9753 forum posts
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I placed a fairly large order (for me) from SLEC of 80 plus sheets, there was no problem nor inflated price. I would wait and see what happens.

Cheers

Danny

Matt Carlton27/09/2020 14:48:04
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90 forum posts
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Hope you are right Danny!

Apologies if my tone was a bit negative there. I have a spot of depression and sometimes bad news gets a bit overblown in my brain box 🤯

Ron Gray27/09/2020 15:40:17
2369 forum posts
965 photos

@Matt - not so many years ago a lot of manufacturers produced kits with veneered foam wings, they are still around and produce some nice (and strong) flying ‘planes. Yes, I agree that it reduces the amount of building skill required but I see no reason why these couldn’t take over the ARTF market if, and it is a big if, balsa availability dries up.

So, whilst I monitor the balsa situation, I have my usual stock which will keep me going on the plan builds I intend to do, I also look forward to seeing how the manufacturers will adapt because you can bet that they won’t all roll over and die.

Matt Carlton27/09/2020 15:59:02
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90 forum posts
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Foam veneered wings are fine, I can see that working. Foam veneered fuselage decks, tailplanes, etc. It's all possible. We used to get FG or ABS fuselages as well, so it's all possible. I was being unduly negative I realise, it's just a crying shame that the rug is potentially being pulled from under all the hard work that 'cottage industry' manufacturers are doing to bring 'old fashioned' builders kits, plans, plan packs etc back to the market. Those smaller companies can't invest in new manufacturing or outsourcing like the 'big boys' can, so it feels like just as they start to get going, there's another mountain to climb.

 

 

Edited By Matt Carlton on 27/09/2020 16:02:52

Bruce Collinson27/09/2020 16:06:27
568 forum posts

Paper Aviation? Oregami? I was sure they’d folded up.

Ray Wood 427/09/2020 16:26:37
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243 forum posts
44 photos

It's being so cheerful that keeps us going 😎

Panic buying going well 100 sheets 1/16" yesterday 👍

Regards Ray

Matt Carlton27/09/2020 17:32:30
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90 forum posts
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No more balsa sheet available from SLEC. Just tried to buy some and it all got removed from my cart at the checkout.

Geoff S27/09/2020 17:53:22
3827 forum posts
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Posted by Doug Campbell on 26/09/2020 10:14:09:

There was the Regal Eagle by paper aviation. I am not sure of the materials but it involved some paper or carboard.

Doug

I haven't got a Regal Eagle but I have the similarly constructed Ezee Pezee from the same source. It's largely made from paper covered foam board that I think was (is?) intended for art/display use.

ezee 7.jpg

Not a very pretty model. In fact one of our members is sufficiently ungracious as to burst out laughing whenever he sees it

Perhaps increased demand for balsa will promote growers to increase the supply by creating new plantations. Moreover it's a fast growing plant and the light stuff we need is harvested early.  After all balsa is technically a hardwood.  I have a sheet that came from an unknown source (I certainly didn't select it) which is unbelievably hard and very heavy.

 

Geoff

Edited By Geoff S on 27/09/2020 18:09:35

Matt Carlton27/09/2020 18:27:30
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90 forum posts
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I think the issue will be that no matter how much Balsa is produced, it will be pre-purchased in vast volumes and at prices the modelling market won't be able to compete with.

Trying to find some alternatives is difficult. It should be possible to use thinner stock of a heavier, stronger wood, but I'm not sure how well that would work. In a larger model possibly.

Not sure that panic buying is particularly sensible. Had enough of that with toilet roll recently.

Jeffrey Cottrell 227/09/2020 19:32:56
213 forum posts
33 photos
Posted by Matt Carlton on 27/09/2020 17:32:30:

No more balsa sheet available from SLEC. Just tried to buy some and it all got removed from my cart at the checkout.

Hi Matt

Not quite sure what happened here, but I've just placed an order with SLEC and it's gone through fine.

Could it be that you tried to order a massive quantity?

If not, try again. Could just be a website glitch.

Good luck

Jeff

Matt Carlton27/09/2020 19:46:34
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90 forum posts
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Hi Jeffrey,

It wasn't a massive quantity, probably about 20 sheets I guess, including some ply. All the balsa got removed apart from the strip. I'll have another look and maybe try to split the order down.

Edit* That seemed to work. Not sure what the issue is but I'm guessing they've had to put a limit on order size? Either that or I screwed up somewhere which isn't altogether unlikely...

Thanks

Matt

Edited By Matt Carlton on 27/09/2020 19:59:04

Doc Marten27/09/2020 19:50:13
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872 forum posts
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Posted by Ray Wood 4 on 27/09/2020 16:26:37:

It's being so cheerful that keeps us going 😎

Panic buying going well 100 sheets 1/16" yesterday 👍

Regards Ray

I'm not sure that bragging about hoarding is going to attract any back slapping or enamor many people Ray.....

Edited By Doc Marten on 27/09/2020 20:04:34

Eric Robson27/09/2020 20:29:28
366 forum posts
79 photos

Is the E bay sellers thread now  going to have balsa at silly prices? I shall continue to build but look for alternative materials.

Edited By Eric Robson on 27/09/2020 20:29:49

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