Monday, April 15, 2013

Tools of the Hobby: Master Airscrew Balsa Stripper

So I have been throwing around ideas about what to write about for my second blog post. I am currently out of town, and seem to have forgotten the memory card for my camera that has all of the pictures I had taken for all of the various other projects that I had planned to write about. Instead I thought I would blog about one the most useful tools that I have come across, and is now an indispensable part of my miniature building tool kit.

What is this wonder tool you say? why it is the Master Airscrew Balsa Stripper.

I used to use an Exacto knife and a ruler but found that I am rather incapable of cutting anything in a straight line. Why is it I can imagine the Infomercial for this right now, and it has me cutting like a weak wrist-ed knucklehead in that "epic fail" infomercial moment.

This thing is really pretty simple. It consists of a bar and an exacto blade mounted on an extendable arm that you can move with a thumb wheel to set the depth from 1/32 of an inch (or less I suppose) out to a maximum of 1/2 inch.  If you already have a straight edge then it works great for cutting out rabbets and joining pieces of foam or for cutting out channels or long thin pieces for use as bricks and other building details. It also does fairly well at cutting through 1/2 foam sheets. I have found that it is easier and more versatile to not set the blade to deep, as I kept cutting my self with it. Instead I set the depth to just over 1/4" the cut one side, flip the foam over and cut the other. For larger pieces I use a couple of home-made cutters that are similar but do not have the adjustable arm.

The only real drawback is that the blade depth is not adjustable. You have to loosen the screws holding it and then adjust, hold and tighten the screws. This can be a pain and is why I rarely change the blade depth.

This little device is well worth the $8.00 I paid for it, and I'm sure you can probably pick it up online for less than that.

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