Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A few tips

A year ago at this time, I was struggling -- and I mean struggling -- with the fiberglass fairing around the front of my RV-7A's canopy. Fiberglass was a foreign land to me. All that sanding, and to what end?

This has been a weird summer for me in many ways. Most notably, however, is that of all of the around-the-house chores and the RV-7A airplane project goals I had for the summer, I've now completed all of them. Mostly, anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Fiberglass is a warm-weather activity and the hangar is not heated for winter work, so this summer I tackled the fiberglass work on the tips.

This evening, I finished the tip of the vertical stabilizer. Can you find the seam between the fiberglass and the metal here?

It's not clear to me just how perfect I'm supposed to get these. I'm trying to get rid of every pinhole but how much of this is done now, and how much is done when I'm -- or someone else is -- preparing it for painting? I'm choosing to get them as nice as I can.

When I started on the elevator tips a few weeks ago, I think it took me at least two weeks.

I moved onto the horizontal stabilizer tips, and that probably took a week:

The vertical stabilizer tip probably took 5 days.

I try to stop off at the hangar for an hour in the morning and an hour or two in the evening.

But now I'm working on a fairly major part, the rudder. It has a fiberglass tip on the top, and a fairly large one on the bottom, that also houses the wiring for the tail light and strobe.

I started that on Sunday, today -- after spending two days getting the joint smooth, I added the fiberglass.

The hardest part about glass work now is keeping my epoxy-laden fingers off other parts of the rudder. I've generally failed in that so I'll have to sand it off.

It'll probably be mid week next week before this part is finished. But that's it for fiberglass work for the "season." I still have plenty to do. The wheel pants and fairings haven't been done yet, and the cowling hasn't been fitted, let alone fiberglassed.

This evening, by the way, I passed 2,000 hours of construction time on the project. There's still plenty of work to be done.

Oh, did you figure out where the seam was? Maybe this will help. Here's what the part looked like a few days ago.

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