No special tools are necessary to make the outlines. Shown here are a few of the basic items required, including several suitable types of glues and
adhesives needed to make the bowing patterns and bowed outlines.
Left: The bowing patterns can be made up from artist’s foam board. The
pattern from the plans is glued to the foam board and the pattern is cut
out using a hobby knife, band saw, or scroll saw. The sticks are cut 2
inches longer than the face of the pattern.
Above: The sticks are glued together at one end and placed in water to
soften the wood.
One question I frequently hear is, “How do you make bowed wing and stabilizer tips?” What I’m referring to is the laminated, preformed outlines used on wingtips
and tail section outlines on model airplanes—both scale
The advantage to using bowed outlines is twofold. First,
they’re stronger than conventional segmented tips because the
balsa grain is always running in the right direction, and there
are no glue joints to fail. The second advantage is that the bows
are lighter because of the reduced wood volume required to
make the parts. Making the outlines is not difficult, but it takes
practice to master, and after you’ve made a couple of sets and
learned some tricks along the way, you can do it like a pro.
The best part of this process is that there are no special tools
required to make the patterns or the bows. All you’ll need is a
hobby knife, a soaking pan, which can be found in the kitchen
(cookie sheets and bread pans work well, and I’ve even used
wallpaper-soaking pans), along with a measuring tape, and
The bowing patterns can be cut out using a band saw or
scroll saw if you have one handy. Because I make bowed
outlines for almost everything I build, I made a 24-inch
soaker tube from 3/4-inch inside diameter Lexan tubing with
a removable plug at the top to load and unload it.
35 Model Aviation JULY 2017 www.ModelAviation.com sponsored by HOW-TO issue