Finishing Kit

August 13, 2011

More Canopy Trimming and Marking - 4.0 hrs.

Today I turned my attention back to the replacement forward canopy. I've been gradually trimming it to fit on the front end. You can see by the black sharpie mark where it used to be. I've been working on this curve to give it a good transition to the horizontal. It has to be trimmed to fit inside the "ears" on the canopy skin too, so this area can be tricky. It's best to take your time, go slow, and work in small steps. There aren't any real clear directions or instructions about this work. No dimensions, measurements, or anything in the drawings. It's all kind of intuitive. You just have to use your head and go slow, and do what looks right and looks good. I have more to cut from the bottom of the horizontal side, too, as you can see. But I wanted to get this transition area to fit good first.

Some duct tape over the ear will help this part lay flat for fitting and trimming and to help prevent scratches, because for now, the canopy is laying on top on the outside. I marked it with a black sharpie so it would be easier to see through the masking tape and see where any more trimming needs to be done.

You can see what I mean. It looks like at this point, anyway, this may fit inside the ears fairly well. At this point, the canopy has been on and off the frame quite a few times. The sharpie marks on the canopy skins' blue vinyl help me place it back in place quickly and accurately. As I trim the canopy, a rag with a little naptha rubs these marks right off the blue vinyl, and I can make new ones. You can also see that I marked the rivet holes with numbers. This helps me compare the left and right sides to keep things as symmetrical as I can with all this trimming.

With the front end finally fitting like a glove, pretty much right where I want it, I taped it down to the frame as tightly as I could. This will allow me to mark the horizontal sides for trimming, and for the "big cut" along the roll bar, too. You can see, if you look close, that the excess canopy extends back beyond the roll bar an inch or more. I haven't touched it yet. It's still as it came from Vans.

Here's the final "big cut" line. The aft edge of the masking tape defines the cut line. It's hard to see here, but it's right on the sharpie line underneath the canopy.

The excess that I need to trim off varies in length. At its widest point, it's probably 1-1/2" or so. But at the narrowest place, it's less than 3/8" to spare. Yikes!! The rough cut that Scott McDaniels made for me at Vans left barely enough room to spare here. He told me later that the cracks in the aft part of this canopy came that far forward, and he cut it as close as he could to the crack, leaving me just barely enough excess. He had measured carefully and was confident that there was enough material here. Whew!! I'm very relieved that this turned out okay. His careful measurements were right on.

It's evening and I won't be making these cuts tonight, but as long as I'm marking things for cutting, I may as well do the rear window as well. So I placed it on the roll bar right at the line and taped it in place.

As per the plans and Vans' warning, I used a red sharpie here and marked the skin line on the window with big red "Do Not Cut!" warnings on both sides.

Then I took it off and marked a cut line with masking tape. I left plenty of excess here, about 1-1/4", so I'll probably be doing more trimming after this cut. But for now, it will be close. I figured, I may as well get this done while we still have a bit of summer.

Now if the weather allows it to be warm enough, I'll be able to do these cuts very soon.

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