Balsa Wood Projects

By Larry Simmons

Balsa wood is a versatile material that’s lightweight, durable and easy to work with. As a result it’s used in countless projects, three of which you can try with no experience necessary in building with balsa. These projects invite you to build a model airplane that can actually fly, a wooden bridge that can support any model train that passes, and a model tower that’s strong enough to support a weight. Along with building with nothing but balsa and glue, some projects allow you to compete against others, comparing building skills while gaining ideas.

Balsa Wood Airplane

Balsa wood is commonly used to build model airplanes designed for display or for flight. You can build a balsa airplane entirely from a kit, removing precut strips from sheets of the balsa wood, and gluing the parts together to create the airplane. Or you can build the airplane from scratch, cutting the balsa wood to specifications laid out in the airplane plans, and assembling the aircraft piece by piece, finishing the construction by applying an airplane skin. You can access a large pool of helpful tips and techniques on the Internet for building a balsa wood plane. Both kits and plans are available for a wide variety of plane models. Add an engine and remote controls, and you can fly your model airplane, expanding upon the building experience.

Balsa Wood Bridge

Build a balsa wood bridge to put a bit of engineering know-how into your balsa wood project. To successfully build your bridge requires combining basic knowledge of physics, engineering and building techniques. Creating your bridge from nothing more than balsa wood dowels, planks and glue can stretch your imagination, especially if you choose to approach the project in the form of official balsa bridge competitions held the world over. These competitions set certain support goals while restricting you to the total weight of your bridge. By competing against others, you gain a bit of incentive to approach construction in a realistic fashion, using real-world bridge building techniques in your project.

Balsa Wood Tower

Create towering structures made entirely of balsa wood in another competitive building hobby. Like the bridge building, people come together to compete, tower to tower, determining who can build the strongest tower from balsa wood. Build your tower to specific length, width and height parameters in an attempt to create a tower capable of supporting the most weight. Building a balsa tower, like the bridge, requires you to combine hard science with aesthetic design to create a structure that’s both light and strong while gaining points in attractiveness.

About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.