My Wooden Airplane
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2/20/2010 - 2/21/2010

Planing the Front Spar Frames

This weekend we planed the front spar frames. I say "we" because fellow EAA Chapter 1300 member (and master woodworker) Dave Wiseman stopped by. Although things didn't go perfectly, I'm still very pleased with the results. The frames are nice and smooth on both sides, and are exactly the right thickness. The only bad thing that happened was several of the spar stiffeners got ripped out as they went through the planer. If I learned anything about the experience this weekend it's that you need to proceed SLOWLY when planing against the grain! My planer has a blade-height adjustment handle. One turn of the handle lowers the blade 1/16 of an inch. We ended up running the spar frames through several times each, lowering the blade about 1/6 of a turn each time, and that still might have been a little too aggressive. When it comes time to do the rear spars, I'm going to try 1/8 of a turn each pass. (That's 1/128 of an inch!) So, the next step is to glue the frames to the plywood webbing, and then replace the missing stiffeners.

I'll say something else, too. It sure is comforting to have an expert nearby who can tell you that it's not time to panic yet, just because something didn't work right the first time. It is a real confidence booster when he says that he would have rejected the same parts that I rejected, and kept the same parts that I kept. Thanks, Dave!

Total Time: 3.5 hrs.