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Repairing Thwing!

May 03, 2015

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Airfield Models ( Thwing!'s Sheeting and Lattice Work

This is the fourth part of an article describing the repair of Thwing! due to damage caused when the motor came loose from its mount in flight.

Repairing the sheeting was the most difficult part of the repair mainly because I was trying to find a way to make the repair invisible.  After a lot of thought I could not think of anything that would work.

The repair itself wasn't difficult once I resigned myself to what needed to be done.

A joiner piece is added to support the new sheeting and lattice work. Prior to repairing the spar, a joiner piece was glued under the existing sheeting and lattice work.

Its purpose is to add support to the sheeting in addition to the butt joint.  The joiner was added before the spar was repaired because the spar would interfere with clamping.

A second joiner is added for additional support of the sheeting. A second supporting piece is added under the existing sheeting.  The grain direction matches that of the sheet so that it will not change the airfoil shape.

The root rib was too ragged to glue new sheeting to.  A thin strip of balsa has been cut and glued to the rib to support the new sheeting and lattice.

New lattice is joined to replace the damage lattice work. Leftover pieces of lattice from the original construction are joined over size and then trimmed to fit.
The new lattice work glued and pinned in place. The new lattice glued and pinned in place.
The new wing sheeting glued and pinned in place. The new sheeting is trimmed to fit and then glued and pinned in place.

Note the gap between the sheeting and the leading edge inboard of the leading edge splice.

A gap between the leading edge and sheeting is evened so it can be filled. This is a neat trick for making gaps disappear.  First open the gap so that it is even along its length.
An over size strip of wood cut to fill the gap. Cut a piece of wood that is about 3 times wider than the gap from wood that is the same thickness as the sheet adjacent to the gap.
The wood strip is flattened to fit in the gap. Flatten the strip using something hard and smooth such as a knife handle.  It should fit into the gap easily.

Trim the strip to length.

The gap is filled with water base glue which will expand the wood strip to fill the gap. Fill the gap with water-base glue and then place the strip in the gap.

The water base glue will cause the strip to expand and fill the gap.

Miscellaneous pieces are added and the wing is sanded smooth. After the glue is dry, sand the joint smooth and flush.

Also note the triangle piece in the center section sheeting and the filler pieces between the lattice at the wing root.

At this point the wing is completely repaired.  All that is left to do is add new covering and repair the cowl.



Repairing Thwing!'s Spar
Recovering Thwing!

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Copyright 2004 Paul K. Johnson