Balsa wood (Ochroma Lagopus & Ochroma Pyramidale) is the world’s lightest commercial timber. It has been commercially logged since the 1900’s and sourced for its exceptional qualities in strength to weight ratio, its outstanding buoyancy properties and its thermal and acoustic standards.
Our balsa is sourced from Papua New Guinea where it has been successfully grown in plantations only no forest sourced trees are used. These areas support the rapid growth rate of the balsa wood tree with its constant warm temperatures, rich soils and high rainfall without a noticeable dry season.
Working with Balsa Wood
Balsa is a lovely looking wood,and is so easy to work with! Our collection of wood craft Squares, wood craft Cubes, wood craft Spheres and balsa packs are a great addition to your craft supplies.
Our Balsa is kiln dried, with no toxins or splinters. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Cutting Balsa
A sharp craft knife, razor blade, or Stanley knife is the way to go. If you use a dull blade the wood tends split or tear so be sure to keep some replacement blades handy.You can use use scissors, however this can crush the soft balsa wood.
Gently score the balsa several times, adding a little more pressure with each turn. The sharper your blade, the cleaner cut you will make. DO NOT force the blade right through, you will just crush the balsa.
If you’re cutting odd shapes, cut the more complicated sections first.
You should always try and leave some wood around the shape you’re trying to cut out. If you then cut out the more complicated pieces first the balsa will be more stable and less likely to break. Cut the curves in smaller sections and do each section separately. Try not to pull too hard on the piece of wood when you are going around a curve, especially on thinner pieces.
Use very fine sandpaper to smooth off any furry edges, or an emery board for smaller pieces.
Balsa wood is really porous and soaks up paint easily and can tend to warp when painted. Use as dry a brush as possible and be sure to paint both sides to minimize the warping.
6. Food Colour
A fantastic alternative to add colour to your balsa wood project is to use food colouring. Available in a dry powder, simply mix with water to get the strength you require, and either paint or dip your projects.
7. Permanent Markers
Permanent markers are a great way to colour balsa wood. It’s so quick and easy, but be sure to test them out on a scrap piece before you go ahead and colour in your entire project.