Finishing Kit

April 16-17, 2011

Finishing Kit Inventory - 6.0 hrs.

Well, over the weekend I went through all the inventory and packing list for the finish kit. As fast and easily as we were able to load it all up, I was thinking that the inventory would be a snap. Boy, was I wrong. Here's the deal.

It's kind of deceiving when you glance at the kit and then actually start on the inventory. The packing list is 5 pages long. There's more to this kit than meets the eye. The big stuff is marked off right away, but there are a lot of little parts, hardware items, and miscellaneous things that really add up to a lot of stuff. And then you get into the bags of hardware.

The one thing that really frustrates me about Vans methodology is the way they mix up the hardware in all these little plastic and paper bags. It doesn't make any sense. I know there's a method to their madness, but you have to wonder why things are done the way they are.

Why, for instance, must they put a batch of AN326AD3-3.5 rivets in the same bag as a bunch of AN326AD3-4.5 rivets? And then throw a bunch of other stuff in with it? I'm talking loose rivets! Now, if you're building an RV, you know these two rivet sizes are identical except one size is 1/16" longer than the other one. You don't want them mixed up. The sensible thing to do is to separate them, sort out all the hardware, and put it all away in your organized bins and storage containers. But this is easier said than done. You nearly need a magnifying glass to examine them and tell these little tiny rivets apart. And some tools more suitable than your big fat fingers to sort and separate them.

So the last thing I expected I'd be doing this weekend was sitting there tediously separating rivets from one another, sorting out washers of different sizes and thicknesses from each other, along with cotter pins, all kinds of bolts, screws, and other hardware of all kinds. The instructions tell you that you don't have to count the rivets, but count everything else to make sure it's all there. Well, by the time you get done with this tedious task, it's almost as though you HAD counted every rivet. Half the battle is just identifying each item by it's part number and knowing what's what. And then, just when you think you have all the -4.5 rivets separated from the -3.5's and safely tucked away in their containers, you open another bag that has another batch of the same rivets. Mixed up with a bunch of other items, of course. It's crazy. Why can't they put all of one rivet size in one bag? We're living in this marvelous world of high-tech computers and software and engineering wonders. Wouldn't you think that a company like Vans could put a software guru to work for maybe an hour or two and come up with a consolidated list of hardware, separated by type and item, and bagged accordingly? That's my note for the day, for the suggestion box.

Well anyway, I finally made it through the last bag of hardware and I have everything neatly put away. The good news about the inventory is, not one item was missing. It's all here! I also spent time over the weekend cleaning up the shop and clearing stuff out of the way. It's amazing, when you aren't working on the project for a while, how fast other stuff accumulates in your shop. So I cleaned a bunch of stuff out of here. Then I took some of the big stuff that I won't be using for a while, like the engine cowlings and the engine mount, tires and tubes, etc., out to a storage shed in the back. They're safe and out of the way until I'm ready for them, and that frees up some much-needed room in here.

Now this was the most exciting part of the whole weekend. We gently lifted the canopy up and placed it on the fuselage, roughly where it will go when it's all trimmed up and finished. Just looking at this really got me pumped up! Wow! It's a real nice hint of what this will look like down the road when it's all finished.

<< Previous | Home | Next >>

Contact me: swayze "at" (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)