Covering the wings took much longer than I was expecting. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but there are a lot of details to tend to and each task takes time. This is the third post dealing with covering the wings. But now they are covered and I am on to painting them.
Rib stitching seems to be something that people are very hesitant about. So was I to begin with. However, after doing a couple of ribs things started developing a rhythm and went pretty fast. I thin the first short rib took over an hour, but by the time I got to the final long rib in the slipstream, that long rib only took an hour and short ribs were taking about half an hour. I used my lunch time to go to the airport and do a rib or two each day during the week and it only took two or three weeks to finish all the ribs.
The rib stitching technique that I used is available on YouTube:
Once the rib stitching was complete I marked the locations of the surface tapes and applied them.
I used the Stewart System process where glue is applied to the fabric over the ribs, then the tape is placed onto the wet (well, not yet fully dry) glue, and glue is applied over the top of the tapes and wiped off to smooth it down and get rid of any excess glue.
Reinforcement “doilies” were made for anyplace where something has to go through the fabric. This included the strut fittings and pitot/static tubes. I made 8″ diameter doilies for these areas, but I was not fully pleased with the result. I must have cut things a bit too loose; i.e. I cut holes a bit too large. I went back to the places that I wasn’t satisfied with and added in some short pieces of tape to bridge the openings, then cut 4″ doilies to go over the tapes. I liked the final result and I don’t think the extra tapes will really show once the wing is painted.
I also put an 8″ doily over each of the mounting blocks for the wing tip lights.
Ben helped me move one of the wings to the workbench so I could apply the leading edge and perimeter tapes.
After cleaning up my work area and putting the covering materials away, I washed the top surface of the first wing to get any debris off of it that was picked up during covering and tape application. I just used a paper towel that I dampened to wipe the dust and dirt off of the wing.
Then I went home and got the painting supplies to start applying the primer.
Zinsser Bulls Eye latex interior & exterior primer in gray. This is diluted with water to approximately 75% primer and 25% water or maybe a bit more dilute. Then I used a foam brush to apply the primer to the wing.
The first coat of primer is being applied parallel to the ribs. The second coat will be applied perpendicular to the first coat.