Exotic Hardwood - Balsa
- Selects: various sizes & widths
- 75 to 100 lbf (pounds force)
Basic Specific Gravity (oven dry weight/ green volume)
- West Indies, Central America, and tropical South America. Balsa is also plantation grown.
- Most Balsa sold is from the sapwood part of the tree, which is a white or oatmeal like color with a yellowish or pink hue. The heartwood is a pale brown or a reddish brown color. The lumber is medium to coarse in texture with a generally straight grain that is without a distinct odor or taste.
How well does it work?
- Balsa is easy to work with sharp, thin-edged power tools. If the cutters are dull or thick-edged, a fuzzy finish may occur when planing. The lumber is not recommended for screwing or nailing because of the softness of the wood. When joining, gluing is the preferred method. While Balsa can soak up large quantities on initial coats, it does stain and finish well.
Seasoning and Durability
- Wood is perishable and vulnerable to dry-wood termite attack. Lumber is prone to blue-staining if it is not converted and dried rapidly.
Other notes on Balsa
- While one of the softest woods available, Balsa is actually considered to be a hardwood. This is because the tree has broad leaves and does not have cones, evergreen needles, or scale-like leaves found on softwood trees. The name Balsa is Spanish for “raft”, this is because the wood is also very buoyant. Balsa also has great heat, sound, and vibration insulating properties.
- Balsa has been reported to cause skin irritation, but severe reactions are considered uncommon.
- Buoys, rafts, model airplanes, surfboards, instruments, and fishing lures.
- * Stock is currently available in limited quanities. This generally means we have less than 500 BF, or the stock is either all narrow or an odd length.