List of entries for Empennage
Build Hours: 5
Finally put the tail back on the fuselage this weekend. Had to restring the rudder/tail wheel cables after reading an article on the EAA website. Ordered new cable and used the double crimp method recommended by EAA. After stinging up the cable, I saw the rudder cable tangeld up in the static port system. Luckily, the rudder was not cirmped and untangeld it from that side.
Build Hours: 4
Spent the weekend varnishing the finished tail. I found some epoxy varnish at HomeDepot. It's a pour on type but I bushed it with a sponge brush which worked great. Things I learned today. First, when the directions say the varnish gels in 30 minutes, they aren't lying. At 30 minutes almost to the second, I noticed some “stings” in the varnish. About 5 seconds later I found I couldn't use the bush very well anymore. I thought that I'd be smart and pour the remainder of the varnish onto the wood. This didn't work and I had to spend the next morning [Sunday] sanding it smooth again. I also leaned that epoxy varnish is very different from epoxy glue that I have and does NOT clean up with vinegar. I ended up getting varnish snot all over my hands and was very frustrated for about 2 hours trying everything to clean it off. I tried soap, lemon juice, vinegar, finger nail polish remover, and goop. None worked. Finally, hand lotion and time was the winner. The end result was I ruined my glass bowl I used to mix my glue up in. The solution was to use plastic disposable cups [5 oz.], craft sticks to stir the epoxy, rubber gloves, and a sponge brush. I would take some paper towels and wipe down everything. Then I'd mix up the varnish with some gloves I had on and throw the stick into a garbage sack I took with me. I had to mix small batches and work fast. I also discovered that epoxy varnish gets HOT. I discovered this when I made a batch too big and had to toss it. After a little while, it melted the plastic of the garbage bag. This also melted the plastic cup. That's why I needed to work fast before it started melting things. Once the varnish is used up and on the wood, keep the brush moving and try to wipe the drips away. Once the varnish sets, there is minimal drips. I was able to finish the horizontal stabilizer today and start on the vertical stabilizer.
Build Hours: 2
Finished with the tail section. I decided to not put the hardware on the horizontal stabilizer like I did with the vertical stabilizer. I had too many issues and I'm going to wait until I assemble the tail to the fuselage. I spent this weekend cleaning up some little issues with the other parts of the tail. Mostly, re-gluing gussets and such. One issue that I noticed was that the vertical stabilizer and the rudder were off horizontally about a 1/4”. I glued a scrap piece of lattice on top of the rudder and sanded it down to line up with the vertical stabilizer. I also reinforced some of the ribs and diagonals that look loose with extra glue. IMHO, the elevator looks the best by far. In hind sight ( and when making replacement parts in the future ), I'd recommend to use a jig. I'd take the drawing and lay it out on the sheet of plywood to work on. Then, take blocks of wood and jig up where the ribs and spars are to go. The leading edge curved a bit ( about a 1/4” over 5' ) and I had to fight that when gluing. I feel a jig would solve this by holding the parts together while I glued them together. Another thing I'd do differently would be to order spruce from Spruce Aircraft. I didn't save a lot of money by using local wood ( .72/ft. at Spruce Aircraft compared to .69/ft. at HomeDepot ) and I had to do extra researching and testing to feel comfortable with the yellow pine I used which was time and worry I didn't have to go through. For the record, the difference in the breaking is the spruce breaks at about 100 lbs. and stays together when suspension force is applied to the broken wood and the yellow pine breaks at a higher weight [more force need to break the sample wood of about 150lbs] and is more catastrophic [broke completely apart]. I was testing sheer force only and not compression or suspension.
Build Hours: 1
Glued together the elevator just like I did for the horizontal stabilizer. This section looks the best of all the parts I built so far. There was one little “woops” when I cut the center rib. I cut the offset to 1/4” instead of 3/8” wide. I think I solved the issue by gluing a couple pieces of 1/16” plywood along each side when I put the gusset on. Karin informed me that I'm getting obsessed with this and she's starting to feel I'm not spending time with her because I don't like her. We sat down and talked about how I do love her but I'm missing sending the right love language to her. I'm going to make a real effort to spend time with her every day.
Build Hours: 2
Build Hours: 1
Glued my horizontal stabilizer together. The mahogany plywood was delivered on Thursday and opened it up today and saw that the person that cut it took a chunk out of the side of it with the saw blade. Not only that, but on the other side, there was splintering. Now I have to redo my cut layout. I have more wood than I'll need but it's a pain to have to scrap a big chunk of that wood. I'm going to write Spruce and see that this doesn't happen again. When I drew out the horizontal stabilizer to full scale, I drew only half of it as shown in the plans. I was a little worried about how I was going to handle this. What I did was glue my ribs and diagonals on one half, turn it over and glue it for the other half, then glue my center rib with the mahogany gusset. Looks really nice. Didn't quite match up the leading edge at the tip and had to put a piece of 1/16” plywood shaved down to about 1/32” where the leading edge met and glued it in. Sanded everything down and it now looks nice.
Build Hours: 1
Build Hours: 1
Glued the rudder together and fit the hardware onto it. Discovered a problem with the hinges. First, it won't line up either horizontally or vertically. When I cut the slots, I didn't pay attention to what side of the line I was cutting on. So, one side of the rudder hits differently then on the other side when it goes back and fourth. Second, when I drilled for the bolts, I wasn't paying attention to the vertical alignment. Now, the rudder is about a 1/4” too low. To fix the first part, I needed to glue in 1/16” plywood into the slots, re-drill the holes, and then re-cut the slots very carefully watching what side the saw blade is on. I had to make the changes to the vertical stabilizer as the rudder had a diagonal that was in the way of the saw blade. Checked the alignment horizontally and it looks good there. I'll need to think about how to fix the vertical alignment later. I could either fill and the re-drill the bolt holes or add some wood to the top of the rudder. Or, I could just forget the whole thing and hope it's not a problem that the rudder is 1/4” too low on the vertical stabilizer.
Build Hours: 3
Cut the ribs, spars, and gussets for the rudder. For the trailing edge of the rudder, I took the strip of 3/8”X1” and marked a line 3/8” from the edge on the 1” side. I then sanded the remaining 5/8” on one side until I had taken off 1/8” of the wood. I then turned over the board and did it again. A lot more work but I think it looks better. For the rib, I needed to taper off the ends to the trailing edge. To do this, I marked a line 7” from the edge of the trailing edge. I then marked a line of the drawing and measured where that mark fell on the diagonals. I then marked a line on each of the ribs and diagonals according to the measurements determined on the drawing. I then found the centerline of each rib and diagonal and marked 3/16” off on each side of that centerline giving me a width of 3/8”. I then created a taper from the offset centerline to the taper start line. I then took my hack saw and cut outside the line and then sanded off the rough side.
Build Hours: 4
Glued together the vertical stabilizer. Came together faster than I expected and sturdier then I expected, too. When the glue dried, I took out all the staples and sanded off the rough spots.
Here is a picture of the anchor nut that will hold the vertical stabilizer in place. I had to try to find some wood screws to hold it in place. Found some #1 wood screws at Ace on Gilbert that had them.