Balsa wood is one of the ideal material for making various kinds of models for its strong, affordable and lightweight, soft characterisitcs. Generally speaking, balsa has an exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio. And it can be cut, sanded and shaped very easily. It has been very popular among people who loves the hand-crafted models. Do you know that balsa wood has been used as the material of aircraft during World War II? This can be the best proof to prove its lightweight actually.
Frankly speaking, balsa wood comes from the magical balsa tree which is native to South and Central America. And more than 95% commercial balsa wood comes from Central and South America. Balsa trees grow very rapidly. Well, the lightness of the wood promotes its growth speed actually. It also has the cellular structure. And only about 40 percent of balsa is solid material, and other percent is water actually. It contains five times water by weight than the actual wood materials. And the green balsa wood undergoes a rigorous 2 weeks kiln drying process to lower this excess water level to around six percent.
Generally, the sizes and ages of balsa tree can have great influence on the weights of balsa wood. What's more, the weight of the balsa wood is also affected by the location of the trunk cut and the kiln drying process. Generally, the commercial balsa wood used for model airplane construction typically weighs between 6 to 18 pounds per cubic foot. And the most common weights are different from eight to twelve pounds per cubic foot.
However, the balsa wood is not the most lightweight actually. There are 3 to 4 wood varieties that are more lightweight than the balsa wood actually. But balsa is more durable and strong actually. That is also the reason why balsa wood is the ideal choice for making model airplane. And the balsa wood varies in three types actually.