Thursday, October 7, 2010

Progress Post - Finishing rivets

Monday, I lost my patience. The rivets in the middle of the stiffener are too far back for me to reach with the hand-squeezer, and with spraining a knuckle (don't ask), even the ones that I could reach with a hand squeezer were a little too painful to rivet. So, I waited three days for someone else to rivet them with the impact riveter and a bucking bar, along with the last nutplates on the tank cover. Okay, Sunday and two working days. They got the nutplates, but did not get the stiffener - and I, wanting to cover last weekend, finally grabbed the impact riveter and said "this can't be too hard!"

If I had been wise, I would have tried it on a test piece first. If I had been wiser, I would have set it up, pulled an A&P off another plane, and had him shoot eleven rivets. I was not wise. I got the six that could be gotten with a handsqueezer fine, and then proceeded to make a mess of the others. Well, of the five, three went in fine, and two were such a pain that after damaging the rib, I gave up and asked for help. Then, I went home, because I was mad, frustrated, tired, and in no good shape to work on my airplane any further.

My IA fixed it so you can barely even tell I messed up and dented the rib - this would be an excellent example of the difference between my apprentice A&P self, and decades of experience. May I grow to be wise as I gain experience!

Yesterday, when I came back, he wanted me to put two extra stiffeners in, to ensure that the butt rib would not flex against the rear spar. So, I fabricated two 90-degree angles, nailed to the spar and riveted to the rib. Given hardware, attachments, and room to move the tack hammer to nail them in, one fit better with the tab inside the rib, and one outside. The clamp in the background is holding the felt to the spar as a touch-up spot of glue dries - the felt will keep the gas tank cushioned but firmly in place.

After that, major progress was made! Cables are in (Bellcrank needs a final check, a sleeve, and a bolt to be fully installed. Fabric on the back of the aileron cove is in, too - the first step of covering is down!

Meanwhile, my brakes should be well-adjusted tomorrow, and the wheels with their new bearings should be back on soon! I scrubbed the N-number for privacy, then scratched my head and muttered to myself about the rejuv spots being a unique identifier like tiger's stripes. Ah, well, here's my plane.


  1. It's beginning to look like an airplane :-) Keep hanging in there Wing!

  2. Mistakes come with the territory. There are moments when we want to do things ourselves but it doesn’t come out as expected. Maybe next time when you do this job, ask a friend to help you out. It would be easier and having a companion will surely help make the work fun. :)