Re-covering a Balsa Model


Junior Member
Hey Flitetesters,

I have a balsa Tigermoth RC plane that I bought from a friend and have decided to turn it into a bit of a project by re-covering it.

Question I have is..... Any suggestions for removing the control surfaces?

The elevator is attached with piano type hinges and presumably CA glued in. How can I separate the elevator from the horizontal stab with minimal damage to the balsa? The rudder and ailerons are a bit easier given they just have CA hinges that can be sliced through.

Also how to remove the glued (presumably epoxy) horizontal and vertical stabilizers from the fuse, again with minimal balsa damage?


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Well-known member
cut the hinges and re hinge. If you're going to recover anyways you can take the covering off, cut blocks of wood out that contain the hinges and reglue wood into the area for new hinge blocks, probably want to dovetail those in. First though, I'd just try pulling on it, hard. They might just come out with a good tug.


It shouldn't do that....
Don't pull too hard! You could cause undue damage to the plane. If they are pin type hinges, (the ones that look like little door hinges) the pin can be removed assuming they are not the type with a 90 degree bend on one end. If they are not, twist a slotted screwdriver under the head of the pin, then once you have some distance between the pin head and the hinge, pull it the rest of the way out with a pair of needlenose pliers.

I can't give you any advice about the tails other than careful surgery with sharp knifes and a dremel. You could try some sort of debonder but that could damage the wood and other good joints.

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Then again, pull hard enough to find any bad glue joints, broken balsa, etc that might have been hidden for years. The Cub I'm rebuilding had a few spots like that, which I only found by putting some stress on the joints. A couple split ribs, bad glue joints, etc. If it's going to fly again, best to stress it and find the weak links now!