Saturday, January 25, 2014


The last of November and most of December was a busy time with travel to Okinawa (Kadena AB) to visit family, plus several trips with Delta. This winter has been a cold one and that makes it very difficult to work in the unheated part of my hangar.
There was quite a bit that could be accomplished in the confines of my toasty-warm shop, however. I finished fabricating the lower baggage compartment and varnishing the plywood. I braved the cold one afternoon and installed all those pieces with the brass hardware that looks period-correct (round head slotted screws). I also mounted the upper bulkhead/stringer assembly which is finally all finished.

 The curved supports that fit inside the first two bays to prevent the stringers from sagging were giving me fits. I had a very hard time bending the strips of fir that I used initially. Finally, after several breaks, I decided to laminate them in place. That worked nicely. I've seen several different methods of joining these with the stringers and I've yet to decide how I'm going to do that. No hurry.

I also cut the access door for the lower baggage compartment and attached the hinge. I have another of the little brass "finger-pull" door latches, but considering the problems with the last one, I've decided to use some kind of friction latch instead.

 There were a couple of engine cylinders that still needed bead-blasting, and that is a slow process. I don't want to use too much pressure which might damage various surfaces that need to maintain a micrometer-fine dimension, so the result is that the cylinder fins have to be done very slowly in order to remove all the old paint and accumulated rust. They are all finished now and look good. Now to choose the right ceramic heat-resistant paint for the barrels. I plan to paint the barrels black and leave the heads natural aluminum, or with maybe a touch of silver.
With the cold weather, I've been doing a good bit of study with the drawings. There are still quite a few items to fabricate, like the control sticks and control wires. I also need to make a trim ratchet. Luckily I have a good drawing of one in my set of plans. All that study makes one a bit thirsty at times. Nothing better than a fine Belgian ale to quench the thirst and fortify the blood.