On Monday, June 4th I went down to Ocean Air Flight Services with my classmate Rob where we took our General and Airframe knowledge tests passing them both handily. With that behind us the next step is to head out to Byron Airport, again with Rob, and take the practical for General and Airframe which we already have scheduled for Tuesday, June 12th.
Today I took the day off from studying, got side tracked by a little “work”, then got to take a few hours of mental relaxation and headed down to the shop to work on the Stearman wing rib jig I started working on back on May 29th.
I started off by trimming the blocks I milled the other day down to the right size. After trimming things down a bit, I gathered the rest of my materials. With brass tack nails, glue, and a couple of hand tools on the jig board I got started nailing the blocks into place.
After a few hours of tacking and gluing the blocks in place I had almost all of the inside blocks in place and nailed down. There are just a couple of blocks left on the interior to install then I get to extrapolate the nose-block and figure out how to block the furthest aft vertical truss piece. That last item is going to be interesting because there is no room to block in the piece with the gussets in the way on the sample rib I have.
I learned a few things while doing this today; the most important of which is to not hold out on the good lumber for the jig blocks. Another thing is that lots of small blocks is much better than fewer large blocks. While your at it, if you use a good medium/hard wood, take the time to pre-drill the blocks. As it is, there are 73 blocks on the inside (or will be anyway) and I am estimating 60 blocks on the outside, that’s a total 133 blocks for this wing rib jig.
Were I to start over on this one, I would take a lot of time to pre-cut, pre-drill, sand, and set nails in 250 or more 3/8″ x 3/8″ x 5/8″ long blocks of Douglas Fir. In fact, I am sure I will be doing another jig sometime in the near future so I think once this jig is done, I am going to prefab a box of 500 or more jig blocks. Of course to fabricate that many blocks I will need to build a jig-block jig to make all of them. 😉
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