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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Right Wing closed

Yesterday Leah and I made an attempt at epoxying the new upper piece of plywood on the right wing.  It didn't really go so well.  I was hoping that I could force the wood to shape. I was dreaming.  So today I cleaned up the epoxy mess that I had made and started over.  I needed to steam the plywood so that I could bend it to shape.  I've never done this before.  A steam box would be the ideal setup for this sort of job but I don't have one or the materials to build one.  So I bought a clothes steamer at Wal Mart and decided to give it a shot. Amazingly with my thin 1.5 mm plywood it worked pretty well.  Although I did burn my hand a little.  After boiling about a quart of water the plywood had a decent curve bent into it. Things looked like they were going to work!

I killed a little time waiting for the wood to dry out.  Then added a new layer of wood sealant to the inside of the new wood.  Waited for that to dry.  I did unroll the rest of the carpet that I bought when I was building the wing stands.  This turned my garage floor into a nicer floor than my apartment!  Nice plush carpet!  With varnish dry I mixed up epoxy and set the wood in place.  I had a little time to actually think about it and worked out a pretty decent method for holding the wood in place and tight while the epoxy cures.


After I took the picture I added a few more Bungee's and a couple of 1 inch wide canoe straps.  With the new plywood securely in place I moved that wing back into the cradles and hung some blankets over it and the heater under that to keep some warm air on it.  Then Leah helped me lift the left wing onto the benches.  Moved my wing root stand onto the right wing and generally re-arranged the garage. It's looking alright.


 With the left wing on the bench I got a new piece of sandpaper on the sander, donned my personal protective equipment, and went crazy.  By about 6:30 when it's dark and starting to get cold I had all of the top wing skins sanded.  Tomorrow I hope to start working on the bottom and maybe do the ribs, which have to be done by hand.  After yesterday which was a bit discouraging it was great to make some progress!


  1. You may also find that soaking the wood in a warm tub of bathwater will allow it to conform to shape. Remove from the water, dry off with towel to get the excess off the surface, and strap to the curved surface securely. Let it dry overnight, and it will be good enough to then epoxy into place without fighting it into position. If you use a polyurethane adhesive like gorilla glue, that activates quickly with water contact too.

  2. good suggestion Rob! Now I'll know for next time...