Well, 24 days after placing my order Aircraft Spruce finally shows a tracking number for my capstrip stock. We’ll see if it actually shows up this week. For a while there I was afraid this would just be a blog about how difficult it is to obtain spruce… maybe eventually I will get to actually build some airplane bits.
So, note to self: Lesson learned. Always order wood at least a month ahead of needs, preferably two or three months. Looks like it’s time to start on the spar stock and the stuff I’ll need for the tail surfaces. That order might be here by the time I finish the ribs. There’s a time scale that obviously applies to wood construction that is quite different than what I’m used to. And it’s not like I can just run down to the lumber yard and pick out some suitable spruce or Douglas fir.
So today, more than two weeks after placing an order for wood from Aircraft Spruce and five days after contacting their customer support to ask where the hell my order was, I finally get a response that they will be shipping three more days from now. That will be a full three weeks from the time I placed the order, and also means I go yet another weekend without any supplies.
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.