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Al Schwartz
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I have used balsa foam - If I dig far enough back in the debris in my shop to find the data sheet, I'll be able to identify the grade - It is, indeed, easy to carve because it has no grain and cuts equally well in any direction - sort of like carving soap (come to think of it, has anyone tried.....?)

A Google search for "balsa foam" will yield a lot of information. One issue I do recall is that one of tthe compositions (the more rigid of the two, thus more suited for pattern making when fine detail is required), is chemically aggressive and will corrode any tools used to carve it if they are not carefully cleaned.

The strength was not an issue for me as my purpose was pattern making. With all of the craft material commonly available today, it is no great trick to pour a rubber mold over the finished body. The mold can then be used to slosh cast a resin body or lay up laminate one.

EM
 
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