Horizontal Stab 20 (6.5 hrs)


Previously, I’d completed riveting the rear spar and front spar assembly.  After three weeks without touching the kit, I came into the weekend with one goal: finish the horizontal stabilizer.  I completed all of the internal riveting on the left stab, and got a really good start on the right stab.  Tomorrow I will just have to finish the right stab’s internal riveting, and then rivet the remaining items.  The final items will be quick and easy as all of the rivets are on the edge and can be squeezed by hand.

Before I forget, here are a few quick thoughts on tools.  Tungsten bucking bars are awesome.  They are expensive, but absolutely worth it, I cannot recommend them highly enough.  Additionally, the hand squeezers with cams in them (Avery and Cleveland Tools sell these) are another absolute must have.  Digital calipers, and clear plastic rulers are a few other great items that I’m glad I got. Lots of small containers for rivets and clecos are a big help.  The previous owner of my kit bought portable storage containers with separate compartments for each rivet.  He even labeled each container, and this has been a huge time saver.  I can just grab each individual container and take it to where I’m working.  Lastly, Jack’s bag of lead shot has been more useful that I could have imagined.  It takes the place of clamps constantly.  With the lead shot, making things stable for riveting is as easy as throwing the bag on it.  So what tools suck?  Well, I haven’t used my pneumatic squeezer yet.  Not that its a bad tool, but honestly I find it much easier to make a mistake with a power tool than a hand tool.  With the great hand squeezer I have, even big rivets don’t require much muscle, and its really hard to make a major error.  Pneumatic cleco tools are also, IMHO a waste.  Unless you have bad hands, the cleco pliers are just as quick.  If you’re working on the kit enough, your forearm will be in “cleco-shape.” If your hands get tired or sore from cleco pliers, thats a sure sign you need to spend more time working on the kit. 🙂

So here are photos from today and a quick step through. Riveting the 707 to the front of the skin.  This step is a bit of a pain in the ass.  Getting the first and last rivets to remain flush is challenging.  I used some weight to hold the skin at an angle that allowed everything to line up.

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Here you can see my weight (clecos) technique.

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I wasn’t exactly sure how the riveting was going to go as I’m still a beginner, so I riveted every hole when attaching the front spar assembly to the skin.  After cleco-ing both sides, I found this little gem!  Somehow a hole escaped my eagle eye during dimpling.  I was able to un-cleco a section and use one of Jack Savage’s tools to get the dimple done without taking it all apart.

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Hmmmm… this is strange.  Another part that evaded my eagle eye during the dimpling process.  Someone must have distracted me….

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Here are my first blind rivets that link the 708, 702 and 707 ribs and spar.  It was pretty easy.  Glad the second hand pop rivet tool I bought still has instructions on the inside of the handle.

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The yellow container is one of the rivet containers I mentioned above.

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I knew I’d make a mistake on a rivet somewhere and this is it.  Not sure what happened exactly, but I couldn’t ignore this one.  Time to check Hints for Homebuilders and drill this out.

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Here is the end result after successfully (never thought I’d be saying that) drilling out the bad rivet.  I had a few scratches that were a little deeper than I liked, so I had to do a little sanding / scotchbrite touch up.  The new rivet looks just fine on both sides.

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Here’s wehere I am at the end of the day.  I wanted to keep going, and finished all the rivets that required the gun and bucking bar, but I just didn’t have the energy.

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