Balsa wood supplies UK and a couple of other questions

Hi all,

I’m just about to embark on my first IOM build (Bantock Vektor plans are in the post) I’ll be starting a proper build log post once I get cracking but I have a few questions before i get to that stage.

  1. All the balsa planks I can find are around the 90cm mark does anyone know a supplier in the uk that can either provide longer sheets or indeed ready cut planks that would be long enough for an IOM?? so far my searchs have been fruitless!

  2. If longer balsa isn’t available can anyone provide advice around scarfing the planks together to make them long enough? is this a viable method or should i hold out for the longer planks?

  3. Last question (for now) what is the best material to use for the hull shadows? I’ve seen lots of different materials recommended and wondered what people thoughts are?

Look at this constuction guide. It has instructions for scarfing and stripping planks.
I used old 1/8" wall panelling for the shadows.

Hi Tim -

over here we can purchase balsa in sheet strips of 1.2 meters (48 inches) in length from most of our well stocked hobby shops, but it does take some looking.

For the template/shadows - it depends - are you leaving them in the boat, or removing them later? If left in, I wouldn’t go thicker than 3-4mm and use balsa as it is lightweight and can be waterproofed. If you are going to remove the templates, pretty much anything from thick cardboard, foamboard, thin ply or even hardwood can be used.

You might email USBalsa to see if they ship internationally, as a possible source if you can’t find over there. At the 1.2 meter size, you will pay a premium for fregit because of length.

Good luck - and if you run out of sources, email or PM me.


cheers for the replies, I might have tracked down a supply of 48" sheets…

seems to have them will confirm when i try and place an order tomorrow!

Tim, you could also try my old stand by, Balsa Cabin in Essex. They have 48" sheet listed at

They will select light/med/hard for you too. They attend model flying trade shows so you might even get to see them somewhere, then you can see what you are buying too.


wow cheers graham that looks like the place to go! they even do strip balsa at the 48" which will be perfect.

hopefully the plans are waiting at home so I’ll work out exactly what i need and put my order in.

Thanks again.

just recieved my order from balsa cabin as recommended by graham.

Absolutely top grade wood, well packaged, quick delivery and it was a good price. I’ll certainly be doing business with them again.

so, they will delivered our order without fail right?