Bottom line, for a B-Div tower, it should come out about 1.5gr heavier with the 3/32 bass (vs 1/8 balsa).

As we’ve discussed, for legs, its all about buckling under axial compression loading. So, let’s look at some more numbers than in the discussion above, for clarity and a deeper analysis.

The buckling strength range for bass, at 3/32”, falls within the buckling strength range for balsa at 1/8”. So how do these sizes in balsa and bass compare? Balsa at 1/8 runs (can be gotten) from about 0.7 to 4.7gr for a 36” stick, and 0.4 to 2.2gr for 3/32 36” stick. Bass is typically found in 24” sticks. But to compare apples to apples (i.e., at a 36” stick length), bass can be found from 2.10gr (=1.4gr at 24”) to 2.85gr (=1.9gr at 24”). The median weight we’ve seen in 24” bass sticks, btw, is about 1.55gr.

Buckling strength data from axial compression (buckling) testing over the years, again comparing at 36” lengths:

-3/32 bass ranges from 63gr (for 2.1gr at 36”) to 95gr (for 2.85gr at 36”)

-For 1/8 balsa the approximate stick weight to get a 36” buckling strength of 63gr is 1.22gr, and to get a 95gr buckling strength at 36” is approximately 1.71gr. A 36” buckling strength of around 60gr means that braced at 1/5 intervals, you’ll have a buckling strength around 4,800gr, which gives you a bit more than a 20% safety factor over the buckling strength needed to carry a 15kg load on the tower.

That gives you leg weights (for a B tower) in 1/8 balsa of 2.71gr, and in 3/32 bass of 4.52gr. Add bracing at 4.71gr for balsa, and 4.44gr for bass, we get total wood weights of 7.42gr (balsa) and 8.96gr (bass)- a difference of 1.56- factor in a bit less glue weight with the smaller wood size for the bass = about 1.5gr difference.

Based on these numbers, no surprise, we’re going with 1/8 balsa this year.

One other comment, again from significant testing, balsa is

*significantly*more efficient in tension applications than bass