I finally got into the workshop to build in earnest… But before I could dig in, I had a few nagging tasks left over to finish. Here’s my dimpling station. It’s at a convenient standing height and I can do large sheets with it. I kept the 45 degree angle so I can do the bent sheets like the vertical stabilizer more easily. The carpet should keep the skins in good shape.
With the side show out of the way (I still have to fix one of the overhead lights, but I’ll wait for a warmer day (20F today) when I can open the garage door and not freeze to do that), it was time to actually think about building!
The first step was to dig out all the parts for the vertical stabilizer. I pulled some of the parts out during inventory, but had trouble locating some of the other parts. The VS-0401 was hiding in a bag labeled “miscellaneous parts.” That one I found quickly enough because I read about someone else’s travails in finding the part. I had more trouble with the hinges, parts VS-410PP, VS-411PP, and VS-412PP. I combed through the 10 pages of inventory sheets, but couldn’t find them. They were in bag 1901 labeled “empennage hinges”. Duh!
The instructions start innocently enough. Cleco on a doubler plate, do some match drilling. The next step though, is to trim the VS-702 front spar. I bought a Ryobi band saw at Home Depot last week in preparation for the aluminum cutting. The experienced builders at the workshop last month said that a bandsaw made it all so much easier. So, I had to take a break and set that up. I used one the “Hints for Homebuilders” tips to cut through the spar with a wood backing piece (the wood cleans the blade of aluminum chips after making the cut). It worked like a charm.
I deburred and smoothed the spar and plate. The last step on the first page is to rivet the plate on. Time for my first rivet! I had to prime the mating surfaces before doing that, so I sprayed on some green self etching primer. It was a rough go with the cold. I’ll have to bring a warming box of some sort in the future. I set up the squeezer, and voila! The first rivet went in.
It was nearing the end of the day, but I wanted to push on and get the rest of the plate riveted. Five of the six flush rivets went in fine. I bungled the last one. Alas, when I drilled it out, I made a figure-8 hole.
Not sure what the best course of action is. I’ll post on VansAirForce and ask Vans directly. It’s either no big deal, or I’ll have to make and replace the double plate.