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All model-building fans know that balsa wood is an essential material for their craft. Sourced from the eponymous tree, this wood is lightweight, showcases minimal grain, and is favored for its softness—this is the easiest wood to carve and shape. Its firm-like-butter surface also makes it a great choice for pyrography. Given its widespread use as not only a commercial material but a crafting material, balsa wood is readily available in a range of precut shapes and sizes. From sheets to strips to a variety grab bag that’s ideal for elementary school crafts, we’ve found five of the best products to fill your every modeling need.
1. Bright Creations Thick Balsa Wood
If you’re on the hunt for a basic set of balsa wood sheets, this is a great option. These pieces have uniformly smooth surfaces and come in a pack of 12, each sheet measuring approximately 4 by 8 inches. They are just 0.06 inch thick, yet they are strong enough not to break or splinter when being lightly varnished, sanded, or trimmed. They offer a good amount of flex and are an excellent weight for many model vehicles and architectural projects. Use these wood sheets in laser-cutting, carving, building, and more.
2. BeaverCraft Basswood Carving Blocks Set
For carving balsa wood into a small figurine or any other shape, consider shopping for precut blocks. This pack comes with 10 pieces of unfinished balsa wood in two sizes. Proportioned to sit comfortably in your hand as you whittle away, these uniform, lightwood blocks have been manufactured without knots to ensure the cleanest surface for your artistic endeavors. Pair with BeaverCraft’s beginner-friendly knives for the best experience.
3. Sax Midwest Balsa Economy Bag
If you are a beginning balsa wood user, this selection is for you. The economy-size bag contains ½ board-foot of material in an array of sizes and shapes, from thin sheets to chunky blocks, with lengths generally between 5 and 8 inches. The large selection is ideal for the classroom, giving young crafters a variety of construction and carving options. Users will enjoy working with the smooth and knot-free material.
4. Pitsco Education Balsa Wood
If long rods of wood are what you’re after, this pack is just the thing to help you with that modeling project you’ve been working on. Their faces measure ⅛ by ⅛ inches, and their length is a generous 36 inches. These batons are strong yet can be easily cut with a hobby knife or other hand tool. They are produced with grain, so each one is different from the next, but they can be easily painted or dyed to create a uniform look. Don’t be swayed by appearances: these are tougher than they seem.
5. Fogawa Balsa Wood Sheets
These wooden sheets are ideal for artists who need something larger than our top pick to use for making mini models, doll houses, and the like. They measure 8 by 12 inches, are about as thick as Bright Creations’ offering—0.06 inches—and feature slightly curved corners so they are safer to handle. They are easy to cut with knives, shears, or lasers. Each sheet is light in tone and unfinished, taking to paint and stain quite nicely.