The Best Wood Types To Use For Wooden Aircraft Models

The Best Wood Types To Use For Wooden Aircraft Models

Are you looking out for wooden aircraft models? 

If yes, then you will find that wood is the best material used in the industry. 

There are, in fact, various reasons why wood is used over metal in the marking of model aircraft kits. For instance, woods are more tensile and lighter than aluminum, making it easier for them to fly. 

They are long-lasting, which means you can enjoy them for a long time to come. However, while wood is better for aero modeling, did you know that various kinds of wood that go into the making of wooden aeroplane kits? 

And as each wood type has a different role in air crafting, it's better that you know your wood well while looking for wooden airplane models. 

So to help you out, here is a list of the different woods most popularly used to make aircraft models. 

5 Best wood types used for aircraft models 

 1. Balsa

Balsa is considered the ideal wood to use for any model. 

The wood is from southern Mexico, and the good news is, it is available abundantly. So there is no need to worry about it running dry pretty soon! 

In addition, balsa is known as the lightest wood globally, weighing less than 10 lbs.

 Although it's so light, balsa is also known for its bending and stiffness strength. These characteristics make it a better choice than its other competitor's white oak and white spruce. 

To add to its list of features, balsa is also easy to cut, glue, shape, and carve. In short, it has all qualities you would want in the ideal wood for aircraft models.  

2. Plywood 

Plywood is another well-known aero modeling material and a wood practically everyone has heard about. It is prevalent because of its low moisture content, making it perfect for outdoor use. 

Plywood is usually used to make aircraft model wings along with wing ribs and fuselage structures. 

Bending resistance, fire resistance, sound, and thermal insulation are other plywood specialties, making it perfect for air crafting. 

3. Ash 

Ashwood is an attractive wood option popularly used for furniture modeling commonly found in the Midwest. 

However, people have also started using it in wooden aircraft modeling, and it has become everyone's favorite in a short time. 

Ashwood is preferable for the more rigid airplane parts like: 

  • Bearing blocks 
  • Glider skids 
  • Keel  
  • Longerons 

It is always better to use ash instead of any other wood for the wingtips' tough parts since it's toughly built. 

4. Birch 

If ash is no available in your area, then there is no better replacement than birch. Birch is a tough wood, also known as hardwood in most of Europe. It belongs to the family of plywood. 

However, unlike plywood, it's strong and durable and can be used in the same places as ash wood. Its durability is what makes it the perfect replacement for ash wood in wooden aircraft models.  

Birch is also ideal for laminating the wingtips of aircraft models. As the wood is difficult to split into two, it's essential to remember while building reliable aircraft models. 


5. Sitka Spruce 

This list can't be complete without the spruce family, a common wood used in aircraft modeling. Sitka spruce is the first wood used for making wood aircraft models. 

During the first World War, spruce was common in the making of planes, all the way till the end of World War 2. It has now become the most recognized wood in the aircraft industry. 

Sitka spruce has high stability, toughness, strength, lightweight, stiffness, and wrapping. It is all thanks to its multiple features, making it an ideal choice for wooden airplanes. So it means you can use this wood in almost every part of your model.

Even the first plane built by the Wright Brothers was using Sitka spruce! 

Unfortunately, the continuous use of Sitka spruce has led to its dwindling of resources, which is why it is so expensive now. But it does not mean you can't use it. There are still some places in the world where Sitka Spruce grows and is abundantly available. 

Aircraft modeling is exciting to work if you have a suitable kit. Plywood, birch, ash, and Sitka Spruce are some of the best woods for this work. It is left to you to decide which wooden aircraft models you are interested in based on your budget and preference.