Side Skin Install Part 3

After working on a lot of small prep tasks the last week or so, I’ve been anxiously looking forward to riveting the side skin to the fuselage. Today, my patience was rewarded and I was finally able to pull some rivets!

The last of the small tasks I had to complete prior to riveting was fitting the straps to the firewall. The engine cowling attaches to these straps. The straps are layered between the skin and firewall, and the fit is a bit tight, so it took a little bit of trial and error to get the holes to line up correctly. I had to drill one new hole at the very bottom, to match a hole in the skin.

I installed the flush rivets for most of the forward part of the skin. The flush rivets look nice, and I’m sure they’ll look even better once the skin is painted. I used AK41H rivets for the skin-to-longeron attachment. Where the straps meet up with the side and and firewall, I needed a rivet with a longer grip length — approx. 0.140″ by my measurement. I used AK43BS rivets in that location.

Riveting the skin and firewall straps
Closeup view of the sandwiched straps
Flush rivets installed for the forward part of the skin

I also fashioned some spacer blocks to put into the slots for the wing spar – other builders recommended doing this to make it a little easier to attach the wings later on. I measured the tabs on the wing spar to be 27.4mm thick – not quite a normal size for dimensional lumber. No problem though, I have a wood planer from other projects. At first I tried using a piece of solid pine, but after I planed it down to 28mm, I found it was too soft and compressed after I pounded it into the slot with a mallet. For my second attempt I glued together a few pieces of plywood and then planed it down to 28mm, that seemed to work better.

Harbor Freight wood planer in action
Solid pine planed down to 28mm
Laminated plywood block worked better

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