This phase of construction took me a little over one year. I’ll not go through all the fine details here, but I will simply point out some of the process as well as the finished product.
For starters, I needed to start building wing ribs… 32 of them to be exact. I’ve done similar construction on scaled flying models (R/C), but for this I will need to shape, fit an cut thousands of parts in order to complete the necessary assemblies.
Shaping the top capstrips required soaking for several minutes in hot water.
Then shaping to a form and allowed to dry overnight.
Once they were shaped I could place them into the wing rib jig that I constructed according to the plans.
When all of the parts were perfectly shaped and fitted for the first rib, I removed everything from the jig in order to mass produce exact replicas of each part. This would give me a consistent airfoil from tip to root on both wing halves. I had eight bins filled with parts.
Once everything was lined up properly, I could mix a batch of T-88 epoxy and start gluing and nailing the birch gussets to the spruce sticks. This is my first completed rib.
I used AC nails to secure the gussets so that I could immediately remove the rib from the jig and proceed to work on the other side. Some choose to clamp the gussets, and while it makes for a lighter assembly, it also requires an overnight curing time in order to hold things together while working on the other side. 1/4” AC nails don’t weight much… so I chose this method.
I also organized stacks of gussets ready for the assembly line.
Once I finished building the ribs it was time to give them a good sanding to make them equal and symetrical from the leading to trailing edges. In order to support and align the wing spars, I constructed a jig and used a water level to square it up.
Then I was able to slide on the necessary ribs for the wing panel (I built two… left and right).
Starting to look like a wing.
There were lots of other steps to complete a full wing panel… ~1600 gussetts, over 3000 1/4” nails (about 1/3 of a pound worth), aileron hinges, drag/anti-drag cables, lift strut attach points, wing tip bows, leading edge, trailing edge… you get the idea. Anyhow, many months later I ended up with a completed wing panel. A couple of months after that, I had the other one completed.
-- Mark - Working on a 1930s wood and fabric airplane.