7.8.22-25 Rivet bottoms skins onto wing structure

As I trundled up to the workshop today I did not have a clear plan. Should I start assembling the ailerons? I’m not sure 24 hours is enough time for the primer to fully cure in this cold weather, so maybe not. As I looked around the workshop I saw the wings staring at me. I decided that, following yesterdays successful inspection, to prepare the wings for riveting. I thought I would need a hand with this so I started laying everything out ready. I got the rivet gun ready and the correct rivets lined up in order. I then put JC5A jointing compound on all the mating surfaces and clecod the inboard skin on with a few clecos along the rear spar (top).

I then read the plans countless times and stared at the wings for what seemed like hours. What would be the best way to tackle this? In fact, would my arms even reach? I put my arm in the main structure with the inboard skin on and was surprised to see that I could reach all the way up to the top (rear spar). I grabbed the bucking bar and could also reach. Hmm! Could I still reach while holding the rivet gun? I tried and I could. So I put a rivet in and bucked it. Well that was easier than I thought. I did another one too as I was so excited!

So I carried on. I riveted in between the wing walk ribs and then about 4 rivets down the wing walk ribs. I then started riveting along the rear spar towards the next rib.

I persevered rivet by rivet and by lunch I had the entire inboard skin riveted on. Hoorah!


Buoyed by the mornings success I decided to have a go with the outboard skin too. This skin is a lot longer and more cumbersome. The first two columns of rivets overlap and were fairly easy to do as they were accessible from the access panel in the inboard skin. Then it got interesting. With the first two columns of rivets done, I had to roll the skin away from the structure and stand in between the skin and structure. I would rivet and then roll back a bit. It was too risky for me to hold the skin and buck and rivet all at the same time. I decided to use my workshop chair as a third arm and arranged it so the chair was supporting the skin and holding in place as well.

Again, slowly slowly I worked my way along the wing, one rivet at a time. This outboard skin was definitely much easier to do than the inboard skin, for sure. Hours later it was time for dinner. My back was on fire, my arms aching and my hands scratched to pieces.

And what was my reward for all this pain? Well, the left wing bottom skins are pretty much riveted. There is only the bottom row of rivets to do on the main spar.

Well what a day! I was not expecting that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: