Balsa Sheet Prep
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Last update, December 27, 2001

Preparing The Deck Balsa Sheeting



This section is to precut the deck balsa sheets and moisture protect the underside. Water and balsa do not go well together and will dry rot almost over night. Often it will disintegrate when water logged.

Supplier Internet Information



12 by 36 by 1/16 balsa sheet, Lonestar Balsa

12 by 30 by 1/16 balsa sheet, Lonestar Balsa

West Systems resin or West Marine

.5 ounce fiberglass tissue, CST


MEK or Acetone

Razor knife


Paint Brush

Balsa Prep

The balsa sheet is placed over the deck frame and held in place on the station 24 rib. Trace a line, from underneath, around the hull so that it will be about " or so off the gunwale. Do this for both pieces of balsa sheet. Trim off the excess with a knife being very careful not to tear the balsa. Test the fit to make sure, marked side down, that all the edges extend over the gunwale. Trim the stern till it is very close to the flush part of the transom. This effort will make finishing in that area easier. Even with that, it will be a pain in the bippy.


Cut two pieces of fiberglass tissue to fit. Prepare and mix one pump of resin with about 20 percent MEK to thin it out. Paint the resin onto the tissue while on the balsa sheet. This will glue the tissue to the wood and protect the balsa. Lift the pieces and place them on some wood blocks so they will not bond to paper on a flat surface. Let this dry overnight. The next morning trim off the excess tissue.

If you have considered sealing the wood with Aerogloss and then paint the balsa before the resin process, think it over. Here you will see the results of painting before gluing on the balsa. You can use it as a dog food kibble scoop. It is suggested that the above underside process is completed and then glue on the sheets to the deck. THEN apply the sanding sealer and paint. Then you can resin the deck to protect and stiffen the sheets.


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