Making Balsa wood stronger

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#1 CRMOD on 1 year ago

So I have read a ton of posts about balsa and how weak it is, but I already bought a plank before reading it since it was on sale during black friday.... I'd really like to try and make a katana from it for an upcoming cosplay. I've seen Kamui cosplay use worbla to cover it, however it's a bit too expensive for me. Could I just get away with using a few layers of paper mache? I've seen someone mention before that the watery paste would probably just seep into the wood and weakning it, but again someone else who said this would only happen in tropical and hot places. Would putting a layer of plastidip or glue over the wood help to prevent it from becoming soggy and weak? (If this even happens in the first place, I don't live in a tropical place)

#2 walkerofdarknes on 1 year ago

If you were going to reinforce balsa like that, I might try with either some thin Sintra sheets or some plastic (maybe even plexiglass, depending on how you want it to look). BUT I would go with the Sintra first.

Otherwise: Are you looking for a curved katana or more a straight edge one? I recall some video of a person making a straight katana using the carpet guides you get from a hardware store (they come straight and I think are heavy duty plastic or metal depending on which ones you want). Do you have a link for the source of the cosplay?

#3 CRMOD on 1 year ago

[QUOTE=walkerofdarknes;5063280]If you were going to reinforce balsa like that, I might try with either some thin Sintra sheets or some plastic (maybe even plexiglass, depending on how you want it to look). BUT I would go with the Sintra first.

Otherwise: Are you looking for a curved katana or more a straight edge one? I recall some video of a person making a straight katana using the carpet guides you get from a hardware store (they come straight and I think are heavy duty plastic or metal depending on which ones you want). Do you have a link for the source of the cosplay?[/QUOTE]

It's this one [url]http://typemoon.wikia.com/wiki/Sakura_Saber?file=SakuraSaberSword.png[/url] it's a bit curved.

But thank you! I'll try sintra! But would it still be possible to use paper mache? I just looked around in some (cosplay) stores and most of them in my country don't sell them or are currently sold out... I messsaged them if they'll be back in stock anytime soon but I'd like to have a backup plan if they're going to stock them up again next year :/ And most hardware stores that do sell them tell me I can only purchase from them if I buy a minimum of 10 m of sintra.

#4 walkerofdarknes on 1 year ago

You should be able to use paper mache, but I'm not sure how much extra durability it would give you. You're right in that you'd want to plastidip the balsa, and I think, each layer of paper mache. But I haven't worked with paper mache in nearly 30 years, so I don't know how it might work with a cosplay.

#5 Penlowe on 1 year ago

Paper mache has no inherent strength of it's own with which to reinforce a piece of balsa wood. It'll still snap like a twig if you hit it hard. If done well the surface will be harder, but there is no 'back bone' to paper mache or balsa.

I personally would use some other material and set aside the balsa for a later project.

#6 Dictamnus Albus on 1 year ago

if its not too late already give this a try

[url]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ9T0QrZlteHmTfQCpTp1eQ[/url]

you can make some sturdy stuff rather cheap
the costs if you need to buy "everything" is about 50$
(its the cutting mat and superglue that rack up the price)

but once youve got 1 pack of paper, 1 box of sticks
and 4-5 4oz bottles of regular white school glue
you can pop out 4-7 swords depending the size

1 2oz of satalite city "hot stuff" CA glue (optional) used as hardener
(use sparingly, and apply with a brush if available, get one from another superglue
product so it dont melt and catalyze your glue, ie use the hot stuff to refill an empty
gorrila glue brush and nozzel bottle)

#7 DarkCloudInc on 1 year ago

If you're dead set on using balsa wood, you could try the plywood concept and glue layers of it together crossing the grains. It'll thicken the blade.

Honestly, though, that saber can be easily purchased from any retailer and it'll be more durable. I bought one off of Amazon made of vinyl and it can be used for larping.