Hand-crafted Giant Scale R/C warbirds & Golden Age Racer kits!  Racers : Gee Bee Z, sport scale model, GeeBee, R-2, Super Sportster, GeeBee Y, R2, R1, Z, Y, Foam building techniques & technology, sheeting techniques. 
Warbird models: F-4U Corsair, F4-U, P-51, Mustang, P51, P-47, RC, Thunderbolt, P47, F8F Bearcat, PT-19, Fairchild, kit, 
Focke-Wulf, FW-190A, Sea Fury, A6M3,  Zero, P-40 Warhawk, P40, B-25 Mitchell, radio control .
 

Joining Balsa Sheets

An easy way to keep this building page is to print it out!  Just set your printer properties to 'Landscape', and then print a set of full-width color instructions to use at your building table!  

    This is not foam technology, it's balsa sheeting and building technology, so it will have it's own page. Sheeting with balsa, although pretty easy, is an art in itself. And if done correctly, the results are nothing short of amazing. So follow along with me here, and soon youíll be sheeting your Jack Devine models like a real pro! Once youíve built one of these planes, and seen how light and strong they are when finished, youíll wonder why you havenít been building and flying them for years!

The first thing I do is sort through the stacks of sheeting, and one-by-one, I take the sheets and lay them edgewise on the tabletop, and see which way they bend. They ALWAYS bend one way or another, some more, some less, and the secret is not to fight that. The average large balsa sheet you will be building is 6 to 8 sheets wide, depending upon the model you're building and what surfaces you'll be covering with that sheet. So, find the correct number of sheets that have about the same amount of bend to them, and lay them all together on the tabletop facing the same way. The best description I have for this is to take that many rainbows, and stack them back-to-back, and that's the general idea of what you're doing here. You'll have minor gaps, but just a little sanding will take care of that. This is a big time saver, and you don't waste good balsa material. Once you have them so that there are no real gaps to speak of, then start at the first row, top or bottom, hold them together firmly, and every three inches or so tape them firmly together with Lacquer Tape strips about three to five inches in length.

    This is the part where you shouldn't get any better ideas. PLEASE use ONLY 3M 2060 Lacquer Masking Tape. It's PERFECT for this, and it may look like regular masking tape, but it's NOT. Yes, it's about $3.50 to $4.00 per roll.  You buy it at your local Sherwin-Williams paint store ( item # 155-3874), and it's worth every single cent. We also recently got a tip that it's at this web address for sale, so we'll include that here:    http://doityourself.com/store/6954028.htm     If you use masking tape here, you will either be buying more wood, or you'll end up with a model surface that looks like the surface of the moon. Masking tape doesn't respond well to being wet and drying.  Don't do that to yourself!  

Okay. Make sure you hold the sheets together firmly as you tape them, you want them to seal seamlessly when finished. This will go very fast, you'll be surprised how fast. Once you've done this part of the taping, it will look like you're looking down a six-lane road with green dotted lines! Now, follow this up by taking more strips and filling the gaps between your first batch.  Two reasons for this step;  first, it seals the entire seam so no glue squeezes out the back.  Second, when the glue is dry and you are removing the tape, those tape-lines will peel off in one long strip, every time!  (Oh, what a happy guy this step made me once we started filling the gaps, it wasn't always included as a step!  Try peeling up one or two hundred separate pieces sometime!  T.E.D.I.O.U.S.....)  Okay, you've finished taping that sheet, so put the sheet aside, and make up your next sheet the same way. Make sure of the size sheets you're going to need, that's determined by the model you're building. Jack Devine can help you with these numbers, and the video can too. Youíll need about six-together for a wing-chord like my GeeBee Z, you'll need to make up FOUR of these big sheets of six-together for all the tops and bottoms of the entire wing.

    NEXT. This step is SO easy! You'll need your bottle of SIG-Bond aliphatic resin glue with the pointed tip, a pile of old sport socks or a bunch of absorbent rags, a bucket of nice warm water, a 1-1/2-inch puttyknife, and a flat tabletop with a square edge to do this.

    Lay the sheet on the tabletop, the side with the tape on it should be placed facing DOWN, so you don't see the tape. Slide the piece toward the edge of the table until each of the balsa sheets hang downward, finally leaving only ONE sheet laying flat at the top. This opens up the seam between the top sheet and the next sheet hanging down. Secure the top sheet whatever way you can, I use a long, fairly heavy weight.

  

    Using the pointed tip of the SIG-Bond, squeeze a small amount into the gap you've opened along the entire length of the sheet. You'll get better as you go. Just make sure you leave NO gaps in the glue line. Try not to overdo it either, but you can always wipe away extra if you need to, so no big deal.

    Okay, got the seam filled with glue? Take the sheet, and pull it up and over the edge of the table until the next seam comes up and opens at the edge, just like the first was. The glue seam you just laid in is now laying flat and has now closed on the glue, which should squeeze into the sheeting on both sides, and some will squeeze out the top. Secure the sheet with your weight. Take the puttyknife and hold it at about a forty-five degree angle with the beveled edge of the puttyknife's edge down.  Smoothly and firmly run down the length of the glue seam, and it will pick up virtually all of the glue above the seam.  You can save the glue you've collected on the puttyknife in a separate glue bottle or just wipe off the blade.  I wouldn't recommend putting the reclaimed glue back into your fresh glue bottle, but it's certainly still good for general applications.  Take a damp (NOT dripping) rag and wipe the length of the glued seam, removing excess glue. Turn the rag frequently or use fresh rags as needed, throw the gooey ones into the warm water in the bucket where they can soak off the glue so you can keep using them. Just remove the excess, don't go after the seams too much right now, wait until you've finished the entire sheet. Then you'll want to go over it with the whole sheet laid flat upon the table, making sure that you get any glue off that's still showing. Follow this up with a soft dry cloth to pick up glue residue in the excess moisture there.  This will leave you with a nice smooth sheet that should not require any sanding!  And once again, we've followed our cardinal rule of not sanding away at our good balsa material.

    Now, at some point here, with the dampness and the grain of the balsa the sheet may look all warped to you. IGNORE THIS.  Later on in here I'm going to show you an EASY way to make sheets lay flat whenever you need them to!

    What you want to do right now is to take the sheet, tape side DOWN, and put something long like a 2X4 under each outside edge to apply some extra pressure to the seams by gently closing them even tighter together than when they're laying flat.  Let it dry.

    After a couple of hours it will be dry.  You can lay the sheet on the table again, tape side UP. Remove the lines of Lacquer Tape covering the seams slowly and steadily.  Lacquer Tape doesn't glue itself down to the spot after it has been wet, and it doesn't stick to the aliphatic resin, so it will come off without a hitch (I love this stuff!)! 

    Okay, almost for sure right now, your sheet will have some kind of warp to it, and you're worried that when you start sheeting it won't lay on right. Relax. Once you're ready to lay things out for marking and cutting to size, take the sheets and decide which side will be the outside surface (the better side). We're building sheets to cover wing surfaces thus far, so I'll proceed along those lines.  I usually take the four wing sheets, pick out the two best sides of the two best sheets, and make them my wing-tops.

    Once you've chosen the best sides, mark the insides so you know. Now, just before you get ready to lay pieces on to mark them, spray the OUTSIDE of the sheet with a 50/50 mix of ammonia and water lightly. Within seconds, you'll see whatever warp you were worried about just melt away. Once you lay it back down, that sheet will lay so flat on the table you'd think you glued it there! Go ahead and mark it to size, and cut out your pieces using your X-acto knife.

    From here on the sheeting is covered on the Foam Building Technology page of this site. More to come about attaching the 1/4" runners alongside the fuse, however.

  
I gathered together the items I needed to go and buy to build my Jack Devine model.  Some of them are standard tools we often use in stick-building.   Because many of the building techniques are substantially different from other kits, I had to pick up some other items.   

   Most of these items can be found at your local hobbystore.  But others can be found at Wal-Mart & Home Depot, which I found to be a nice change.
Wal-Mart Items : Elmer's water-based Interior Wood Filler (awesome for boo-boo repairs!) Exterior type smells nasty!  Sanding blocks & sandpaper.  Tite-Bond or other Aliphatic Resins.
   
Home Depot items:  A coping saw, a puttyknife, a long aluminum ruler, and a formica countertop roller.  From the paint aisle came the 3" knapped roller (NOT FOAM), various sanding sponge-blocks and sandpaper,  Tite-Bond or Elmer's Wood Glue (Aliphatic Resin) and some denatured alcohol.
   
 
The Tupperware tub for overnight storing and rolling on of the Foam Bond came from the supermarket.  I just cut a small slot at the center of one end for the roller handle!  VERY handy!

    The Hobby store provided 5 minute,15 minute, and finish-cure epoxy, a little bit of CA, X-acto knives, one  long  and one short sanding board, Sig-Bond (Aliphatic Resin), SIG Epoxo-lite, SIG sandable filling sealer, and the Monoject 412 syringe for tight-quarters epoxy injecting work.  Your local surgical supply store can provide these syringes as well.
   
Sherwin Williams paint stores have the 3M #2060 Lacquer Masking Tape.  They're a national chain, and the stock number they use is # 155-3874.  If they don't have it on a shelf, ask them to order you this stock number.  We also recently got a tip that it's at this web address for sale, so we'll include that here:    http://doityourself.com/store/6954028.htm                                                                      


  

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