Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959)


Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959) by John Jennings 2020 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Balsa Notch Cutter.

Quote: "The plans show bulkheads with neatly cut notches all the way around the edge for the fuselage stringers. You dutifully begin cutting these notches with your trusty exacto knife, only to have the bulkhead split with the grain of the wood. Finally, you skip notch cutting and just glue the stringers on as best you can. There has GOT to be a better way!

I was plundering through an old catalog and there was a picture of a brass notch cuttet that would solve the above problem for me. The only problem was, the item pictured may have predated the Wright brothers and is unavailable.

Staring at a cutting mat covered with split fuselage bulkheads, I was inspired! Okay desperate.

Brass is kind of hard come by and can be challenging to form. I decided to use PVC tubing instead of brass. The design is simple. The cutter descends into a slot that supports the bulkhead and prevents splitting.

The cutting blade I used was hacksaw blades glued together to form 1/16 inch width. Other widths can easily be achieved by gluing more blades together. One could as easily use another type of saw blade or a piece of plywood with sandpaper glued to the edge. The blade is used to cut the slot in the cutng surface.

The only other element is the return spring. I used the compression spring from a toilet paper holder. The diameter of the spring dictates the size of the PVC tubing. Compression springs can be found in many pump dispensers. Use the product save the spring.

Between the plan and the photos a model builder can easily duplicate my result or custom design a notch cutter to suit your own needs. When planning it might be helpful to know that the nominal size of PVC tubing is for the inside diameter.

In use, the edge of the bulkhead is fed into the notch cutter as the blade descends. A stop can be, temporarily, glued to the surface of the cutter or a mark can be used to limit the depth of cut. The size of the bulkhead supporting surface is determined by the size bulkhead one is likely to use.

A careful examination of the plan and photos will show that the blade also limits the upward travel of the device when the return spring is in use..."

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Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959) by John Jennings 2020 - model pic

  • (oz14959)
    Balsa Notch Cutter
    by John Jennings
    clean :)
    formers unchecked
  • Submitted: 16/11/2023
    Filesize: 81KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: JohnJennings
    Downloads: 750

Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959) by John Jennings 2020 - pic 003.jpg
Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959) by John Jennings 2020 - pic 004.jpg
Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959) by John Jennings 2020 - pic 005.jpg

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User comments

Definition of an Ingineer - someone who uses Ingenuity.
I love your work, Mr Jennings. Respect Sir.
Roger T - 01/12/2023
Roger T.
Thank you, Sir!
John Jennings - 01/12/2023
I have been vexed by this problem many times.
I may have come up with a simple solution. Instead of a ' U ' notch it is easier to cut a ' V ' notch to fit the half cross section area of the intended stringers. Two blade cuts at right angles are easily done and quick ! Glue in the stringers and then sand the outer points to a uniform width around the fuselage. Then cover as you would have with 'U ' notches.
The stringer notches required for an Ethereal Lady gave me this idea !
Allen Wale - 01/12/2023
Simple and effective, now we have two elegant solutions to an ancient problem!
GY - 01/12/2023
Brilliant! about time some genius saved us all.
I haven't got to Building it yet but I'm just starting to do so immediately after reading your post. I'll let you know how I like it. Thanks.
Nabil - 06/12/2023
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Download File(s):
  • Balsa Notch Cutter (oz14959)
  • Plan File Filesize: 81KB Filename: Balsa_Notch_Cutter_oz14959.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 77KB Filename: Balsa_Notch_Cutter_oz14959_article.pdf
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* Credit field

The Credit field in the Outerzone database is designed to recognise and credit the hard work done in scanning and digitally cleaning these vintage and old timer model aircraft plans to get them into a usable format. Currently, it is also used to credit people simply for uploading the plan to a forum on the internet. Which is not quite the same thing. This will change soon. Probably.


This model plan (like all plans on Outerzone) is supposedly scaled correctly and supposedly will print out nicely at the right size. But that doesn't always happen. If you are about to start building a model plane using this free plan, you are strongly advised to check the scaling very, very carefully before cutting any balsa wood.


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