Elevators!

I spent about 7 hours in the shop yesterday for what seemed like very little progress. I cut and shaped about 30 elevator stiffeners. They were all primed and back riveted. Today I built a brake with 2×8 lumber and door hinged. I then put a nice crease in the elevator skins. It worked VERY well.

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Rudder Riveted

Tonight was very productive. I got the rudder parts primed. Then assembled the skeleton and riveted it together. The skins went on and were riveted as well including a few REALLY difficult areas to reach. Cheryl lent a hand for a few minutes. Vans says the trailing edge of the rudder is the hardest part of the empennage. It’s crucial to make it straight, within .10 inches variance over a four foot length. The method is to clamp the edge to a piece of aluminum angle to keep it straight, then apply epoxy to fix it in place before setting any rivets. So, the epoxy is done, just needs to cure for a couple days. No big deal so far, and it’s very straight so far. I hope my clecos aren’t ruined by the epoxy though!

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Rudder Assembled

Last night I had the entire rudder assembled. Then disassembled to dimple the skins, ribs, and spars. I was using the tight fit dimple fixture when I snapped the shank off of the dimple. Called Cleaveland Tool and they’re sending me a replacement gratis. They’re an awesome company and I am SO glad I bought from them!

So, I can prime some parts, but then wait for a new dimple die to work on the rudder skins.

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Vertical Stabilizer Complete

Tonight I finished the vertical stabilizer. Went very smooth, maybe three rivets drilled out and replaced. I also received my replacement rudder stiffener. I cut that to size, primed all the stiffeners and primed the interior of the rudder and back riveted them together. Back riveting makes incredibly nice looking rivets and is very easy to do. The construction of the rest of the rudder is the most difficult of the tail section it looks like and errors can affect the way the plane flies too. Time to study some previous builder’s blogs for some tips…

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