While waiting (still) for my spruce to be shipped, I did some figuring…
Building from plans means not getting the wood factory cut and grooved. There are just some pieces that you can’t buy off the shelf. The Celebrity plans call for rib geodetic braces made of 3/32″ x 3/8″ Sitka spruce. ACS and Wicks sell spruce capstrip down to 1/8″ thickness, but not 3/32″. So the choices are to plane or sand down the entire length of the 1/8″ x 3/8″ strips, or use them as is and just sand the ends to fit the grooves in the top and bottom capstrips. So how much extra weight will we end up with if we just use 1/8″ thick pieces? It’s 1/32″ thicker, so we’ll do the math…
1/32″ x 3/8″ wide x 1464″ of capstrip = 17.25 in3 of extra spruce. Sitka spruce weighs about 28 pounds per cubic foot (or 1728 cubic inches), so 17.25 / 1728 = .009928 ft3 x 28 lb gives us a little over a quarter of a pound, less whatever gets sanded off on the ends and scrap, etc. So… around four ounces or less; I can live with that. Still, I’m thinking I may set up a spindle sander with a 3/32 gap to do the ends. If it works well enough I could run the entire lengths of the strips through it, then so much the better. Of course that would probably mean having to buy a new power tool. Oh, no! 🙂
Well, I placed my first order for wood from Aircraft Spruce. I ordered what should be enough spruce capstrip stock to build all f the wing ribs. Should be here in a couple of weeks. I guess I wasn’t thinking… maybe I figured they kept this stuff in stock. If I’d known there would be a 10-day lead time, I’d have ordered it two or three weeks ago. Live and learn.
In the mean time, there’s not a lot to do. If it warms up at all I may try to rip some 1/2 by 1/4 stock out of pine and get the saw set up to groove the rib capstrips. I’d love to finish up the rib jig before the wood gets here.
I did some additional work on the rib jig yesterday, including installing the main spar locating block and cleaning up a few nail points that were poking out the bottom. I cut a bunch of blocks to locate the outer shape of the ribs, but did not install them yet. I want to wait until I have some spruce stock to put in place, so I make sure it’s all in the right place. I really want these to turn out as close to perfectly consistent as possible. I had planned to use some pine cut down on the table saw to set up and test the jig, but it occurred to me that I had no way to know for sure my pine strips would be the exact same size as the capstrip stock supplied by Aircraft Spruce. So, it’s time to order some wood.
I spent some time yesterday working on the first wing rib jig. The workbench needed a new top surface, so I picked up a sheet of 3/4″ MDF at Lowe’s. They were nice enough to cut it for me. I ended up with one piece 3′ x 8′ for the bench, and two 1′ x 4′ chunks for rib jigs. Nice how that worked out.
I marked a center line on the MDF and laid out the rib setup from Sheet #1 of the plans over it, then trimmed the paper to fit the jig. I hate cutting up plans, but there’s an extra copy of that page for this reason. I made all of the little chunks of plywood for the locating blocks, and cut a few small pieces of pine stock as needed. Then I cut out the places where I would need holes to accommodate clothespins, marked those on the MDF and cut them out with a scroll saw. I used some spray adhesive to stick the plans down to the MDF. So far so good.
Next I had to find some clear poly to cover the plans sheet. I finally remembered the nearly 4′ long bag in which the plans were shipped; it fit just fine. With that in place I started nailing the locating blocks in place over the plan sheet. I got most of them done before knocking off for the night. I still need to make one more plywood block for the main spar locator, and make the blocks for the top and bottom capstrips. I haven’t decided for sure how to do those. I had thought about using a couple pieces of pine bent to fit, but that seems like a great way to mess up the jig trying to get them perfectly in place, and the jig needs to be as close to perfect as I can make it. I’ll probably go with closely spaced pine blocks, nailed in place.