Alternative to Balsa Wood

By Jerry Garner

Balsa wood is a strong and durable material, but it is becoming a little short in supply. That is leaving various manufacturers looking for alternatives to this wood to match its strength and other qualities. They have successfully come up with a few of these that work well, and may even be cheaper.

Paulownia

This wood can match the strength of balsa wood and may actually be stronger. It can be cut as thin as 3/16 inch and still retain the same strength and support the same weight as the 3/8 inch of the wood it is replacing. This means that you can purchase half the amount of Paulownia wood for it to be just as durable as balsa wood while saving money.

There are lighter grades of Paulownia wood available. These grades are also excellent to work with as it holds screws and nails with spitting them back out, and it is carved through easily as well. This wood is often used for moldings, cabinets, furniture, musical instruments and many more items.

Eco Foam Board

Eco Foam Board is a lightweight, economical alternative to balsa wood created by Ecolink. It is a composite foam board that uses a combination of natural resources with natural filler and resin to create a substitute or alternative to wood products. It is fire-retardant, which gives a safety boost that wood products cannot offer, plus it is environmentally friendly.

Eco Foam Board can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes regardless of dimension or thickness. It is strong and durable like Balsa wood, but cheaper. It is used in the wind-power industry to make blades for windmills, and it is also used in the transportation industry as flooring panels on buses and more. Eco Foam Board replaces coated balsa wood and gives the same lovely look as does wood.

Albezia Wood and Carbon Fiber

Albezia wood may be considered an alternative to balsa wood because it is strong and has similar density. However, because Albezia trees do not grow quickly and to the size of balsa trees, they may not be suitable for many industries.

Carbon fiber is made in nine different grades, and so offers a variety of strength and durability. There are two main categories of this alternative. The first is carbon—a composite material made from carbon fiber cloth and epoxy resin. It is vacuum consolidated and cured to give it its strength.

There is also another type called "CSC," which is made from carbon fiber, glass fiber and epoxy resin that is also vacuum consolidated and cured. This is heavier than the previous one and its weight is in better proportion to its strength.

About the Author

I am also the publisher of GlobalGamingNews.com, and hold a position at the local newspaper.