I’ve knocked out a few more aileron ribs, two at a time. I’m about halfway through them and trying to speed things up a little, so I don’t die of old age with a half finished airplane.
Yesterday I decided to use up a piece of obviously bad capstrip Aircraft Spruce saw fit to ship me. This piece has a large chunk missing out of one edge, part of a knothole or pitch pocket or something. Part of it is in no way suitable for aircraft use or much else for that matter. But – there’s enough good wood there to use it for false ribs, so I made one of those. That went OK, but it’s apparent that I will need to soak the top capstrip in HOT water for the false ribs.
I’m looking forward to starting work on the tail surfaces. I’m planning to get out to the garage and clear off the workbench this week, lay out the plans and see exactly what I will need to get started. The wood called out is white pine, so I’ll start checking the local places for suitable pieces of white pine or Douglas fir… a little heavier, but I know Menard’s sells some good boards from which I can cut suitable pieces for the laminations.
Five down, eleven to go. Cutting the geodetic braces individually is really not as much of a chore as I thought it would be. I am finding that I’m going through the 6′ lengths of stock quickly, though — I figure I have enough shaved down for the next 3 ribs, maybe 4, then I’ll have to fire up the drum sander again and make some more. Not that it’s stupidly tedious work or anything, mind you.
In hindsight, it would have been a whole lot less work and actually less expensive to have bought 3/8″ thick spruce spar stock and just ripped it down to 3/32 strips, losing half the board to saw kerf. I am at a loss to explain why that little bit of math didn’t make itself obvious. Of course, I thought at the time that shaving 1/32″ off those strips would be quick and easy. Not so much. So… if you’re building a Celebrity from plans, you’d be better off doing that.
It’s a little early for this debate, but given the long lead times for ordering wood… not too early. I could possibly be done building the wing ribs in a month or two, if I get on it with a purpose. If I’m going to need a bunch of spruce, I probably need to get the order in now. So the question becomes — what next?
- I could build the wings. It looks like the wood for the spars will cost me around $8-900, plus substantial shipping. I’d also need to extend my workbench by at least 4 feet, so that’s another project in itself. But I’d have wings, man, which would look bitchin’ cool hanging in the garage or hangar.
- I could start on the fuselage. It’s a big piece that would be a huge leap forward. I haven’t calculated the wood cost yet, but it’s a significant amount of birch ply and spruce. Again, I’d have to build another workbench to extend what I have by 8 feet or so (and rearrange the garage).
- I could start on the tail feathers. I could do all the work on my existing workbench. After looking at the parts list, most of the wood specified is pine; I’d need some aircraft ply as well. The elevator & stab. spars are specified as spruce, but I could source suitable quality Douglas fir locally and substitute that. I’ve seen boards at Menard’s with growth rings and grain slope that meet specs, with enough defect-free wood to be usable. That means all I would need to ship from Aircraft Spruce or Wick’s would be a couple sheets of plywood. Plus, building the tail would give me some valuable experience with large/long glue-ups that I’ll need to do for the wing spars, and if I screw it up it’s relatively cheap pine instead of very expensive spruce.
So… tail feathers it is. Now I just need to consult the plans and see what size sheets of plywood I will need to order.