Bob Smith Industries 900x250 v2

Model Airplane Shop Tips (including a new use for straws!)

Model Airplane Shop Tips (including a new use for straws!)

Who doesn’t like turning an ordinary household item into a useful tool? These tips all use items around the house or shop, so they won’t cost you a dime. Have another use for a common product? Send your tip to and you could be featured in the magazine!



Do you have to carve some balsa, but you’ve lost or misplaced your razor plane and the hobby shop is closed? Here’s an alternative that’s as near as the gadget drawer in your kitchen: a vegetable peeler! This handy tool works great to carve leading edges, turtle decks, and other areas where you need to remove balsa quickly and easily. Don’t let your wife in on the secret or you’ll be peeling potatoes!



Over time, most modelers wind up with a collection of propellers that usually end up stored in a box. To retrieve one, you have to rummage through the entire box. Here’s a clever idea: Use some screw storage tubes, which you can purchase at your local hardware store. Available in a number of sizes, these plastic tubes have clear sides and rubber ends that grip tight. One of the ends has a slit that can be opened when squeezed. Load your props in a tube and then label it. You can then dispense the props



Whenever you have to run servo wires or extensions in your model or field box, there is always a chance that they can end up a tangled mess. An excellent way of keeping them untangled or held in place is by enclosing them in a rigid conduit. A plastic straw with a slit cut along its length is a great conduit for the servo wires. Just press the wire into the straw along the slit; the slit snaps back into shape, and presto… you have a nice straight run of wires. To remove a wire, just pull it back out through the slit. The straw can be left loose or spot-glued to the fuselage to hold a fixed position.



Need a simple, inexpensive tool to install a nut in a hard-to-reach place? Take a length of 2-56 rod that’s threaded on one end, and attach a plastic or nylon clevis. Remove the part of the clevis without the pin, and you’ll have a small “finger” that will hold a nut or blind nut. You can bend the rod to almost any shape to get the nut where needed.




Add a Comment
  1. To Neatness;
    I like the rudder and elevator servos in the rear on .60 size and up planes.
    I secure a light cardboard tube inside the fuselage to keep the servo wires from flopping around.

  2. To Workbench;
    I used a solid core door supported by two Craftsman tool cabinet bases.
    Secure the bases together at bottom and only use four wheels (with locks).
    Based on the price of birch plywood and other quality lumber, I bet mine is less expensive,plus you get lots of drawes for neatness.

  3. I really like the one using straw’s.

  4. Being in this hobby for over 50 years, it’s not often I find a novel idea. But the modified nylon clevis for positioning threaded nuts is certainty one that I’ve never seen before…after 50 years, duh, why didn’t I think of it?!! Thanks. It’s a keeper!

  5. I have been using straws for conduit for years. I cut them in a spiral direction and wind them on the wires. They are flexible and can stretch to fit as many wires that you need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Air Age Media © 2021
WordPress Lightbox