Gluing the Rudder Trailing Edge   August 20th, 2006

It’s been in the 100’s here for the last few days here, so I haven’t been too inclined to go into the garage and work on the plane.

I finally got around to gluing the trailing edge of the rudder. I bought the fuel tank sealant that comes in a tube dispenser. I quickly realized this was a mistake. I probably used 5% of the material in the tube, and the rest went to waste. If was to do this again, I’d want to buy the 1 ounce bottle instead.

Anyway, the stuff is gooey and nasty. The only way to to this is with a helper and lot of disposable gloves. I got my brother to help, and it wasn’t too bad. He applied the sealant to the wedge, and I smeared it more or less uniformly over the wedge. When we had one side covered in sealant, I turned it over and held it up with one hand while he applied the sealant to the ‘other side’. I used my free hand to smear it.

We then slid the wedge into the rudder and started putting a cleco in every hole.

To keep the clecos and the aluminum angle from sticking to the rudder, I used petroleum jelly (i.e., vaseline) on the surface on the angle, and on the clecos.

Here’s the rudder all clecoed and waiting to cure. There is about half an inch between the topmost hole and the tip of the rudder, so I used a clamp to make sure the skin stuck to the wedge.

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I started to rivet the right elevator stiffeners while I wait for the chip chaser for the rudder. The only thing to note there is that the last rivets closer to the trailing edge are a major pain to set. You basically have to hold the skin open at near 90 degrees while riveting. I was wearing latex gloves mainly to keep sweat/grease/etc away from the nice white primer. As you can see in the picture below, I was holding the gun in such a way that my knuckles rested on the open skin, to prevent the gun from rubbing against it. This worked out pretty good as there were absolutely no marks on the skin when I finished. The knuckle on my middle finger, however, didn’t fare as well. The vibration against first against the skin, and then against the stiffener, basically rubbed the skin off it 🙁 . While this technique definitely works, I would use my thick rawhide gloves instead of latex gloves next time around.

Also, notice how the skin gets badly distorted as I’m riveting in the picture below. I didn’t really notice this until I saw the picture.

As you can see in the next picture, the skin turned out just fine. I think I’ll do the stiffeners for the left elevator next.

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