Rivet count: 779 + 32 = 811 rivets!
The family visitation is over (nephew and 3 friends plus brother-in-law and his family), so it is back to work on the plane!
With only a half day to work, I wasn’t sure I would get much done, but it was a pretty productive day. I started by priming the horizontal stabilizer skins. I ran a full coat over each rivet line and then a lighter coat of filler between. The hardest part was getting the blasted blue plastic off the skins.
The next step was countersinking the spars and the stringers. There were a lot of countersinks to do. 426 of them! I used a rivet to check the depth as I went. Even with the countersink depth set, you still have to watch it. The drill needs to be kept perpendicular and it can still be overdriven.
With all of the countersinks done, I added a light coat of primer on the flanges. Hopefully it will help prevent corrosion in the countersinks
So finally, assembly can begin. The first part to go together is the stringer assembly. This is the V shaped part that fits into the very end of the tail cone. The instructions showed assembling it separately from the spar, but I wanted to assemble it on the spar to make sure I got the orientation correct. The first part is a brace that goes between the modified intra spar ribs. I put the shop heads on the outboard side… probably would have been better to keep them on the inboard side. Next I had to cleco and rivet the stringers. A little bit of primer got in the holes, so I had to run my 1/8″ reamer through the holes to clear them. I was able to squeeze all these rivets.
Next up… I start assembling the rest of the skeleton and put the whole thing into the riveting cradle to get the skin riveting. I’ll have to shoot most of those, but I’ll finally crack the 1,000 rivet barrier 🙂