A horizontal stabilizer emerges from the pile of parts

Rivet count:  811 + around 4 hundred = lots of rivets! (I totally lost count)

I really hate reading builders logs where they jump suddenly from a pile of bare parts to a finalized shiny component… Alas, I’m going to do exactly that.

The last two months have been rather scattered…. Our 2 month remodeling is now in its 4th month and we still have a lot to go.  I was dragooned into doing a lot of painting (confusion with the contractor on the provisions of the contract. Sigh.) and getting my daughter off to Ireland for school AND getting my wife out to Ireland to join her (with the drama of a missed flight to London, a lost passport, and missing the flight home).  This took a toll on my build time, but my wife now owes me big time!

So, I’ll add a running commentary on the photos that are roughly chronological:

Dimpling the rib flanges.  The vice grip dimpler from Cleaveland Tools is really nice for this.

2014-06-07 09.26.39

Attaching the ribs to the front spar.  Beginning to look like an airplane part!2014-06-07 11.00.09

A rare shot of me working…   You can see the rough cradles clamped to the bench that will hold the stabilizer for riveting.

2014-06-07 11.46.55

The nose ribs slid into place pretty nicely and clecoed in with little effort.

2014-06-07 13.01.38 2014-06-07 13.01.54

These rivets needed to be bucked. So slide a rivet in on the outside…2014-06-07 14.01.08

Use my tungsten bucking is taped up and wrapped in a shop towel in case I drop it (I did)   2014-06-07 14.01.35

Shooting some rivets!

2014-06-07 14.04.11


Some of the rivets are pulled down inside to make the final connection to the nose ribs.  The rivet puller has a rotating head.  Wasn’t sure at first how to get the puller in there, but clearly the engineers had thought this through for me.  It all fit.  I have a snazzy pneumatic puller, but it did not fit inside the stabilizer body.

2014-06-07 15.03.50 2014-06-07 15.04.28

Suddenly, this is looking like a real airplane part!

2014-06-07 15.11.09 2014-06-07 16.46.11 2014-06-14 11.01.29 2014-06-14 12.16.44

To get the rivets in the web assembly, it seemed easier to take things back out of the cradle.  You have to use some very long dome rivets.  They are (unsurprisingly) in the “Misc Rivet” paper bag.  Some rivets I shot because space was tight.  Some I was able to pneumatic squeezer, but a couple, it was just easier to get the hand squeezer in there.2014-06-14 15.45.52 2014-07-20 12.00.17 2014-07-20 12.13.48


Putting the rear spar on was a joy with the pneumatic puller.  I find that I tended to mess up rivets with the hand puller (its embarassing to have to drill out pull rivets, but I had to do that multiple times).  Either the final snap catches me off guard or I let the rivet ride out of the hole.  No problems with the air puller.  One quick trigger pull and it’s set!2014-07-20 14.02.29

Once the rear spar is in, it is just a matter of hitting up the 200 rivets holding the skin to the spar.  Pneumatic squeezer, I love you!

2014-07-20 14.34.14 2014-07-20 14.45.56



A new trophy for the wall!

2014-07-26 14.06.00

Next up, the elevators (and some cleanup work)


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