Finishing the Empenage
by Frank Justice
Fiberglass Elevator Tips
- Obtain enough lead to almost fill the counterweight boxes on both
elevators. If you plan to melt and pour it any old lead will do;
wheel weights, fishing sinkers, plumbing lead, or used solder.
When you melt it any dirt will rise to the top anyway. Melting
and pouring is not difficult, but if you don't want to bother
the next best thing is to buy lead shot from a gun shop, mix it
with epoxy, and pour that in.
- Move two of the brackets used on the jig to hold the horizontal
stabilizer over to the side of the jig crossarm at one end so
you can attach an elevator horizontally to them. Set up an elevator
on the brackets and put lead onto the end of the counterweight
area until the elevator will sit level by itself.
- Take the elevator off the jig and set it up with the counterweight
end on the floor and the root end up. Block the gaps in the counterweight
box with aluminum foil.
- Melt the lead along with a little bit more (about 5%). A tin can
with a piece of wood for a handle nailed to it will work. Put
a big flute in the can rim as a pouring guide. A camp stove or
electric burner will povide enough heat to melt the lead. Pour
lead into the counterweight box until it is just even with the
counterweight skin edge. When this cools turn the elevator over,
block the gaps with foil, and pour the remaining lead into the
the tip side counterweight box.
- Repeat for the other elevator.
- Put each elevator on the jig and drill out lead from the tip side
until the elevator will sit level by itself.
Horizontal Stabilizer Tips
- Fit a tip to an elevator. Get it to the exact shape needed to
conform to the skin lines with a combination of clamps outside
and newspaper stuffed inside; then heat with a hairdryer to get
it to stay in that shape.
- Close in the tip end, being careful not to alter the shape to
where the tip does not fit the elevator anymore. Suggestions for
this abound; wooden plug with Bondo over it, foam plug with fiberglass
cloth and resin over it.
- Do a final fitting of the tip to the elevator and rebalance it
- Attach the tip to the elevator with Pro-Seal or a good structural
epoxy adhesive. Add a few pop rivets on the bottom side if you
are the nervous type.
- Spend the next five hours filling the gaps with Bondo and sanding.
empfinsh.doc 6/8/94 Frank Justice
- Set up the Horizontal Stabilizer on a table and attach the elevators
- Trim the stabilizer if necessary to allow the elevator tips to
just clear it as they move up and down.
- Fit the stabilizer tips on and shape as necessary to conform to
the shape of the elevator tips.
- Shape the stabilizer tips until they conform to the shape of the
elevator tips, then bond them on and finish. It is not necessary
to close the rearward opening in these tips although you may do
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