Friday, May 11, 2007

AV - N666RH

Guy comes by the shop hoping to bum me outta some ammo for his machine gun and finds me stitching a spar together with a gnu-matic brad-driver & foamy glue. He's okay watching me smear on the glue. And he's still happy when I put the plywood into place, aligned by a couple of 3/4" #20 nails previously driven, now with their heads snipped off. He even helps me clamp it to the bench. But when I pick up the pneumatic brad-driver and start to stitch he begins to frown, as if he's never it done before.

"I've never seen it done like that," he sez.

"Saves a buncha time," I say as I shoot 5/8" #18 brads about every inch and a half. It's the spar for a horizontal stabilizer, sorta-copied from Pete Bower's 'Fly Baby.' It's about six feet long and
three inches deep in the middle, tapering to an inch and a half at each end. The spar caps are 3/8" square Western Hemlock, ripped out of a 2x4. The plywood shear-web is a piece of doorskin; 1/8" Luan. It's the third one I've built, the first two having been destroyed in
various tests. Not counting the glue and brads, each cost about a dollar. Plus a few hundred hours of design time.

"Is that an Approved Method?" he asks.

The brads are tacking the assemblage to the work bench, which is protected by a layer of waxed paper. (Live & lurn :-) I'll leave it to cure for a couple of days then pry it off, at which time it will
look like hell warmed over. But it cleans up nice with a disk sander. Then comes some filler blocks to be fitted and interior varnish before I can apply the closing face, which is left a bit over-size and malleted down onto the exposed tips of the brads.

"Beats the hell outta me," I tell him. "But it seems to work pretty good."

"Jesus!" he shouts, jumping back and making the sign of the cross. "You... you're EXPERIMENTING!"

That's when I turned slowly toward him and smiled, showing him my pointy teeth and red LED's for eyes. He gave a tiny shriek and ran off, shouting: "Pope Paul! Pope Paul!"