Balsa wood airplanes

Fun & Games
Balsa wood airplanes

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From the the NYC Toy fair 2008 — Guillow has been making balsa wood planes since 1926, just about everyone I know has made one of these at some point in their life or have bought them for their kids. The blue rubber bands, the red propellers, these bring back a lot of memories – it was great to see not much has changed for over half a century, they’re still popular. They also have complete lines of model planes and foam flyers, out of all the toy makers I think the crowd was the biggest around Guillows, not for demos but men and women talking about how they all grew up on these planes.

(Made is USA!)


  • Guillows – Link.
  • More photos of Guillows @ Flickr – Link.
  • Giant set of NYC Toy fair 2008 photos @ Flickr – Link.
  • MAKE’s coverage of the NYC Toy Faire 2008 in one place! – Link.

4 thoughts on “Balsa wood airplanes

  1. Orlando Esperanto says:

    A great case was made last week for saving these airplanes even after a wing has broken. My son and I built a weather vane (for a science project) using the left over propeller, body, and stabilizers from a previously crashed balsa wood plane. That, along with a bead, a t-pin, some scrap wood and a compass to give us NSEW made for a nice little weather vane. If we had more time maybe we could have figured out how to get it to measure wind speed, too.

  2. DF says:

    It should be noted that the Build-N-Fly series of kits pictured above were originally offered by Comet, and are actually well designed and can fly very well if built properly. The formed balsa “kits” on the other hand are a good source of propellers and prop hangers, but don’t really perform all that well.

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