Balsa wood Strenghtening

I'm using balsa wood for a long highway bridge on our HO layout. Not
for the road bed or piers but for the railing and the 'carriers' or
concrete beams below The bridge has several curves and elevations and
the balsa is easy to soak and shape.
Balsa is easy to work with but not very strong. I wonder if a coat of
varnish would soak in to the porous wood and strengthen it Or perhaps
some other kind of paint
Ben and grandson Mitchell
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On 5/3/2010 1:03 PM Ben spake thus:
Wouldn't hurt, but probably wouldn't have much effect.
You might consider adding some structural supports made of basswood or birch, which are both stronger than balsa. Maybe behind the beams or inside the structure where it wouldn't be seen. Even pine would work if you could rip some small pieces yourself.
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David Nebenzahl
Perhaps mixing some white glue with your soaking solution that would stiffen it up as it dries? Just an idea; have never tried it.
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Rick Jones
Slight worry it might cause the wood to warp as the glue shrinks as it dries, and goes on shrinking for an awfully long time. I think the basswod suggestion was probably the way to go..
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Mike Smith
Model aircrafters use acetate, nitrate or butyrate 'dope' to strengthen balsa structures and shrink coverings.
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Or use the Dope used by model aircraft builders. Mix some talcum Powder in it as a filler to remove the grain.
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