Firewall Support Structure

Time: 4 Hours

I got all the countersinking finished up today. I need to get better at reading the plans and the orientation of how parts line up. I spent some time trying to figure out two parts before I finally understood. This is due to the couple of months off if building I think. When I finished up that task I got right to scuffing all the surfaces for priming. I then cleaned all the parts and placed them in my painting table.

IMG_3585.JPGA couple of coats on all the sides and these will be ready for paint.

IMG_3587.JPGI will let the primer dry until tomorrow and get to painting. While I was cleaning up I decided to try to find all the parts for the next two steps in the build, the forward floor and gear towers. I found all but one part for the floor and gear towers. I will have to go through the parts to find that missing piece in the piles of aluminum that I have. I assembled the 2 gear towers to see what they look like.

IMG_3588.JPGI also received a couple of tools from Cleaveland tools and Avery tools. The really important one is the tungsten bucking bar! This is a really dense metal, more than gold, and makes for easy riveting according to everyone who uses them.


More Firewall Work

Time: 2 Hours

I try to get a little work done in the Hangar any chance I get. Today I spent a good part of the day visiting with some fellow builders over lunch and then to a visit to my friends shop to see the progress on his -8. It also have me a chance to take some more photos of some areas that I will be working on shortly. So when I finally got home I wanted to do a little work which only consisted of countersinking all the holes that match up to the dimples on the firewall that I did yesterday.


IMG_3578.JPGI decided that would be enough today as my lower back is a little sore from sitting at my workbench. I guess I need to recondition it like I had it all winter, having a couple of months off from building didn’t help I guess. Next up will be scuffing, cleaning, priming, painting and finally riveting all these pieces I have been working on.

Firewall Work

Time: 5 Hours

Today started out with a few necessary errands that I had been putting off for a few days as I was too busy with the arrival of the fuselage. Once those were done I got right to work in the Hangar. I spent about an hour finishing up the edge deburring in the stainless steel firewall this stuff is pretty tough and requires more elbow grease to get the job done. After that I reassembled the firewall, stiffeners, spacers and engine mount brackets to match drill all the #30 holes as well as the 6 nutplate’s #40 holes that pass through the firewall.



IMG_3557.JPGI then disassembled all the parts and final drilled the nutplates in the stiffeners that don’t pass through the firewall. The plans then call for a 8° forward bend in the top of the firewall.

IMG_3565-0.JPGI took a measurement from the plans and marked a reference line on the flange side of the firewall. With a couple of 1×6″ boards cut to fit I clamped one to the lower side of the reference line and to the workbench. The other I just clamped to the firewall. This have me a leverage point to make a nice clean bend.



IMG_3560.JPGI then zeroed out my digital level to be able to tell when I hit 8°.


IMG_3562.JPGAfter a little pressure and tweaking I was able to get it spot on 8°.

IMG_3563.JPGNext up was to deburr all the holes in the firewall. Since the stainless steal is so hard you can wear out drill/deburr bits pretty fast. To help out you can use a lubricant like BoeLube, a Boeing made lubricant, to keep the bits cool and sharp.

IMG_3564.JPGI then marked off all holes in the firewall that I don’t want to dimple and dimpled the rest with the DRDT dimple machine.

IMG_3566.JPGThat’s where I called it a day, next up will be to countersink all edges of the angles, supports and spacers for the firewall to accept the dimples. Then my first test at priming/painting to the final interior color.

Fuselage Start

Time: 4 Hours

I spent the morning finishing up the inventory process. All I had left was the large bag of hardware with all it’s small bags inside. Everything made it! I ordered another 64 drawer cabinet like the other one I have for all the other hardware, unfortunately it didn’t show up today so I had leave some of the hardware in their bags. After I got the inventorying done and cleaned up the Hangar I started reading the manual and got to work. First task in the fuselage is to work on the firewall and it’s associated stiffeners, spacers and engine mount brackets. It took a while to find all the parts since I don’t have any organization of all the parts yet. I started by cleckoing all the stiffeners and spacers to the firewall to make sure I had everything laid out correctly.




IMG_3552.JPGI then removed everything and started the deburring process on all the stiffeners, spacers and brackets. After those were all done I moved on to the edge of the stainless steel firewall. This firewall is very sharp and very strong. I started at one end and made it about half way around the edge before calling it a night. I ended up using some 180 grit sandpaper and it worked pretty well but slow. I have to think ahead as I start this fuselage as some of these parts will be visible in the cockpit and I will need to prime and paint before riveting. Pretty excited to get this fuselage under way!

Fuselage Arrived!

Time: 4 Hours

Today I had an appointment with Old Dominion Freight Lines to deliver my fuselage crate between 8am and noon. The truck arrived right at 10am and had the friendliest driver. He told me that he would drop the crate right in my garage with no problems.





IMG_3529.JPGI had to take care of a couple tasks at the hangar until 3pm but made it back to the Hangar before 4pm and started to unload and inventory the contents of the crate. I’m always amazed at the skilled packing job that Van’s does as well as the huge amount of paper they use.







IMG_3539.JPGThe packing list is very detailed and makes this job fairly easy. I just located each part number and highlighted it on the sheet to keep track.

IMG_3540.JPGI left the firewall out as I know that is one if the first tasks of the fuselage build.

IMG_3541.JPGAll I have left to inventory is this huge bag of hardware and all the little bags inside it.

IMG_3542.JPGWell I now have all my shelves full of beautiful aluminum and parts! I moved the roll bar and gear legs indoors to get them out if the way since they are big and heavy.




IMG_3546.JPGI cut up the crate and loaded it up in the truck to take to the dumpster. So it took me 4 hours to get all this done and I was only missing 2 parts, one of which is back ordered and will ship when they get it. I would call that a good day! I am so excited to get started and do some building.