Carlson Skunk Works

August 23rd, 2010

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Construction Log August 23, 2010

Posted by Roger in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news


Well, just the right one for now. However, all the spars are complete and ready for ribs. So, here it is from the root end:

Right wing

From the wing tip end:

The ribs are not glued in place yet. They have just been slid onto the spars. But you get the idea and it looks quite impressive. My wife is impressed anyway.

Lets go back to a bit earlier and take a look at some of the details.

Here are the finished spars:

Well, three of the four. All four of the spars were done and had all of the holes drilled except for the root end holes for the fittings. At the time of this writing, all the hole have been drilled and the spars are sanded and ready to have the ribs glued to them.

Since all the ribs were built as if the spar was the same thickness throughout its full length, I glued in 2mm plywood fillers at all the locations where the ribs would be located.

This shows what I did at the places where the strapping clamps are located. At these locations I cut a single piece of plywood that covered both of the filler blocks. My reasoning was that it would be a good idea to tie the drag bracing together at least a little and this seemed to be a simple way to do it.

Nice tight fit

Each of the ribs fit just perfectly. The fit was nice a snug, but was still loose enough to allow the ribs to be slid on without too much trouble. Of course, the rib pieces just in front of an behind the front spar have not been glued yet. I will glue them into position on the front of the spar and then glue gussets on each side to connect them to the ribs. I think it will keep me busy for the rest of the summer.

August 12th, 2010

Epiphone EA-250 Repairs

Posted by ben in Guitars

Prior to moving down to Dallas, TX this spring, I started building a couple of guitars… an archtop in the Benedetto-style, and an acoustic, which is my take on the Martin OM. While we wait for our house in Minnesota to sell, we’re living in an apartment, and my tools are in storage… this doesn’t allow me to continue on my guitar projects, so in the meantime, I thought I’d do some repair work on a couple of guitars that I’ve owned for some time.

First up is an Epiphone EA-250, which I bought in 1994 or 1995 from a classmate in the same Audio Recording and Live Sound Reinforcement degree track I took at the Hutchinson (MN) Technical College right out of high school.

I bought the guitar for a small sum, as the body and sides had separated near the neck joint. It needs to have that repair done, along with a refret (all of the frets are flat for nearly their full width, and there is not enough height left to round them). At the same time, I’m going to probably put on a new nut, and re-fit the bridge to the body.

Here’s a photo (taken from the web) of a complete EA-250:

Epiphone EA-250

The primary issue with my EA-250, is that near the neck joint (note, this is an early 1970’s model, with a bolt-on neck), the top has separated from the sides. It looks like string tension has also sort-of “rotated” or pulled the neck block, where the neck bolts on, back towards the bridge, thus giving it ridiculously high action.

This must have been the case for quite a while, as even after removing the neck for many months, it has not returned to it’s normal location. I’m going to try to remedy this slowly with some heat, humidity, clamps, and (GENTLE!) reverse stress over the next days/weeks. I’m still coming up with a plan of action, and need to procure some new clamps (my good ones are all in storage) to use.

Here are some detailed photos of the problems:

As you can see, I’ve already removed the frets, and although I don’t have a photo yet, Emmett (my two-year old son) and I have carefully adjusted the truss-rod to flatten the neck, and sanded it down smooth (the Mother-of-Pearl inlays had been protruding, as the rosewood fretboard shrunk with lack of humidity and age, along with divots from hard playing for many years).

Here you can clearly see the separation between the top of the body, and the sides, near the neck joint. In reality (although it doesn’t show well in these photos) the sides (where they meet the top) have been pulled back towards the bridge about 1/8-3/16 of an inch!

A top view of the same, here you can see the crack in the top, between the neck and the first pickup opening, also, the mis-shaped pickup opening is not an illusion, the top wood has been curved back into the opening over time, so the pickup no longer mounts properly!

So, I have my work cut out for me, but it should be a fun project, and from what I’ve read, this is a really good playing, good sounding guitar, if it’s set up properly.

August 3rd, 2010

AMF 14H MARANDA SN:1026 Construction Log August 3, 2010

Posted by Roger in AMF 14H Maranda SN1026, news

Things are working again, thanks to my son, Ben. So I thought I would post a quick update about the plane and my trip to AirVenture. The AirVenture pictures are at the bottom, so if you are impatient, or get bored with my narrative, you can just scroll down to the good stuff.

There is not much happening on the plane right now because “we” are preparing the garage for the garage sale that my wife has scheduled for August 14th. However, I have the spars laid out in the basement and have been busy marking the locations of the ribs and fittings on them. I have figured out what materials I will need to complete the wings and have ordered them. These materials include the metal for the wing root fittings and drag/antidrag bracing, the strut and jury strut fittings, and the 1/8″ and 1/4″ plywood for the root end of the spars.

While at AirVenture I ordered some dehydrator plugs for the engine. After spending a bunch of money on the engine, I don’t want it to end up having it rust in place before I can mount it on the plane and run it.

AirVenture was GREAT!!!

This was my very first trip to Oshkosh and AirVenture and, even though I had read lots about it and watched a bunch of videos about it, I was not prepared for the experience. It is much bigger than I could ever have imagined. The number of airplanes was overwhelming! The EAA did a great job of organization and planning and compensated for the wet conditions very well.

AirVenture was WET.

We left Kearney as soon as I could get off of work on Friday, July 23rd. I had to pick up three of the guys from our local EAA chapter, so we didn’t really hit the road until about 7:00 pm. We drove all night and pulled into the main gate at about 8:00 am. The guy at the gate took a look at my pop-up camper and said that it was just small enough to be allowed in. We got checked in and headed for the highest ground that we could find. The camp site that we got was still very soggy, but it was close to the restrooms, showers and the bus stop.

After setting up camp we walked over to the bus stop, hopped on a bus and headed for the AirVenture grounds. Saturday was a setup day, so there was no admission required and we did not need to wear wrist bands. I thought there were a lot of airplanes along the flight line, but the guys that had been there before said that there were hardly any. As the week progressed and things dried out, thousands of additional airplanes arrived and filled the flight line. I was told that many planes were redirected to other airports to wait until the ground dried enough to support them.

The people attending AirVenture are the best! We did not have to worry about having our camp site invaded or molested. I even forgot to lock up the truck a couple of times and nothing was disturbed. Everyone was careful to keep things clean and we never saw any litter around the AirVenture grounds or the camping areas.

Have you ever gone on a trip and not forgotten something? I forgot my pillow! After driving all night, we all ended up sleeping for a while Saturday afternoon. In the late afternoon we we got up and decided that it would be nice to get some supper. We walked over to the bus stop and got on a bus that had a sign on it saying it was going to Target and Pick and Save. When we got to the bus park (where you could switch buses or walk to the main gate) we decided to stay on and see where it went. We go to the drop off point and saw a Fazzolie’s(sp?), so we walked over and had dinner there. Afterward I stopped at Target and got a pillow and pillow cases. That really helped me to sleep well the rest of the week.

Each morning I would sit down with the printout of all the available activities and decide what I wanted to try to take in for the day. I would write up a list and head out. The first stop was always the Tall Pines Cafe for breakfast. They had sausage, pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, orange juice, fruit cups, and milk or coffee for $7.00. The Tall Pines is located at the south end of the main runway by the ultralites. It was a fun place to eat and watch all the airplanes. After breakfast we would head out to see what was happening.

Sunday was a walk around overview of AirVenture and an orientation to the grounds. In the afternoon I caught the bus over to the museum and enjoyed a few hours of cool investigation of the exhibits. The EAA Museum is worth going to even if you do it at a time other than AirVenture.

Monday morning I wanted to check out some of the fabric covering demonstrations. I was primarily looking for techniques and ideas about how to install the fabric. I planned to start by watching the demo at the Superflite tent, but was surprised to find that it was a hands on workshop instead of a demo. The workshop was divided up into two parts: morning was gluing the fabric to the structure and heat shrinking it; afternoon was rib stitching and application of tapes. In all it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, too.

Monday evening was the Chicago concert. It was pretty much standing room only, especially if you wanted to see the group. I watched for a while, then headed back to camp.

Tuesday morning I was scheduled to do some fashion modeling for the EAA catalog. An email had gone out to members a couple of weeks before AirVenture looking for EAA members who would like to model EAA merchandise for the upcoming catalog. I responded and was accepted. So about 9:30 we walked out to the flight line and found some interesting airplanes to use as background for the pictures. There were about six of us in our group and they did several groups through the week. The temperature was about 95F and the humidity had to be at least 98%. The sun was shining and they handed me a bomber jacket. The photographer was good and got my pictures done quickly, so I didn’t have to wear the jacket very long. It is a nice jacket and I may have to get one for this winter. The catalog is supposed to come out in October. I will let you know when it is available.

Late Wednesday afternoon I attended the EAA Chapter Presidents reception at the Ford hanger. This is an annual event and there were about 600 chapters represented there. Ford sponsors the reception and provides food and beverages. Also attending the reception were Tom Poberezny, Captain Sully, Edsel Ford II and Kurt Russell. I stayed for a while, then headed back to the camp to go to dinner with the rest of they guys.

Just as we were finishing up our meal I got a phone call from work letting me know that the dev database was acting up and needed my attention. The EAA had installed about 50 wireless access points around the campground, so internet access was pretty good. However, the battery on my laptop had drained down to the point where I needed to plug it in. The showers have mirrors and outlets around the outside, so I grabbed my camp chair and hiked up to the showers, plugged in and got connected. It took only a few minutes to fix the issue and figure out what caused it. Things have been good since.

Thursday was our day to drive home. We were up about 5:00 and pulled out of Camp Scholler at 6:00. I pulled into the driveway at home at 9:00 pm. It was a long day, but a good drive. It was very good to be home again.

After reading all of this, I think you deserve to see at least a few pictures from AirVenture. Therefore, here are some of the things that I saw.

This is a DC 7B airliner.

This is the only privately owned Harrier in the world. It is owned by Art Nall and was flown at one of the AirVenture airshows. The airshows started about 3:00pm each afternoon. I really liked the warbirds. The aerobatic demonstrations were good, but got sort of repetitious after a while.

Here is the Terafugia prototype. This is a vehicle that can be driven on the highway, or flown from an airport. It is supposed to enable people to drive from their house to the airport, fly to another airport, then drive to their final destination. I wonder how the TSA is going to deal with them?

This is Goliath. He is an Erickson heavy lift helicopter. He was used to fly in the new Ford Explorer so it could be unveiled at the show. That happened just before the Chicago concert.

Here is a picture of some of the more impressive people who attended the EAA Chapter Presidents’ Reception. On the left is Tom Poberezny. In the center is Edsel Ford II. On the right is Captain Sully was the pilot of the airliner that hit the geese and ended up ditching the plane in the Hudson River. He is now the head of the EAA Young Eagles program.

Anyone who is familiar with Wisconsin legends knows that no major event would be complete without an appearance by Ole & Lena. Ole was having a bit of an issue getting his airplane to fly, but Lena was doing her best at wing walking anyway.