Friday, July 23, 2010

last ribs in left wing

Got the tip bow bolts out one at a time, applied varnish to the inside of the holes and the threads, to protect the wood against degredation and moisture. Started putting on the butt rib, one section at a time. Yes, it's a post-WWII butt rib on a pre-WWII wing. It's also an approved substitute (thank you, Civil Aeronautics Board), and a darned sight easier than building two new old-fashioned butt ribs which would still need to be modified to accommodate the Post-WWII addition of gas tanks in the wings.

I thought the plumbing from the gas tank fit. I was wrong.

Caffeine and chocolate: solution to impending tension headache and desire to thump one's head against the spars.

Can't hide out in the break room reading a gunsmithing catalog too long - not only will I find a tool I need for the plane, but the resident bundle of cheer with begging eyes and empty stomach will come see what I'm up to.

The gas tank has been welded and pressure-tested; it's not a good idea to bend or twist it to straighten it, since any leaks that'd create would only show up after it's installed in the wing and full of gas. However, it'd be a bad thing to let those hard metal edges wobble against the spar. The graceful solution: shim it with very soft wood, so it is supported and immobile. This elegant solution brought to you by 5-gallon paint stirrers from Home Depot, and tongue depressors, assembled and attached to the spar with Elmer's wood glue. Except for the orange printing on one side, it's not only elegant, lightweight, structurally sound, and stable, it's also period-correct for the plane. The nice shiny led brick is being used to weight the tank and shims overnight as the glue cures.

Tomorrow: Fabricate & attach doubler to reinforce the rib. If nothing else gets in the way, will start on leading edge and trailing edge. Maybe. Hopefully. Possibly. I promise nothing; this is a discovery process for me.

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