Finishing Kit

March 1, 2012

Back to the Canopy Latch - 4.0 hrs.

I decided to get busy and wrap up another loose end that's been bugging me. I've GOT to get this canopy latch finished. I finally decided to just polish the handles. At least for now. If I change my mind later, it's easy enough to take them off and do something else with them. So I've been looking around trying to figure out the best way to finish them. I put a rough finish on them earlier just using my scotchbrite wheels and some files and emery cloth. But to get a good polish you need some Nuvite polishing compound. From what I've been reading, that's the stuff. But as I shopped around, the smallest container I could find was WAY more than I need for a couple of canopy latch handles. And more money than I'd like to spend at this point. So I went with some stuff that I have on hand here. I took the scotchbrite wheels off my bench grinder and temporarily replaced them with some 6" cotton polishing wheels I have on hand. I use one of them with some black emery rubbing compound that I have on hand, and the other one with some white polishing rouge. Both are in a hard stick form, and you gently rub the stick on the spinning wheel to get some of the compound into the wheel, then you go at it with your work.

I also have my Dremel tool, so I got it out and found some small felt polishing disks for getting into the tighter areas, and I used the same rubbing and polishing compounds to work the aluminum with. Boy, what a job this turned into. You can spend hours and hours doing this kind of thing. It worked surprisingly well and it's enjoyable enough. Especially when you see good results right before your eyes. But to get it all looking really good takes a lot of elbow grease and a significant amount of time. Here are the results I have achieved so far: The latch pieces have a pretty nice shine.

They're not perfect, and if you look close you'll see areas for even more improvement. But one has to ask, how much more time am I going to invest in this, for a very small improvement? The hardest parts were the lightening holes. The round ones were bad enough, but the odd-shaped openings are very difficult to work on and find something small enough to get in there. I used my Dremel tool with a hard felt pad that had become worn enough to fit in there, to finally get a satisfactory job done. Not real good but satisfactory enough. I'm going to call it quits for now, at least. Here are the latch pieces, mounted back in the angle brackets:

And finally, put back in the plane. Looks good enough for me! At least for now.

As you can see, I also finally got around to cutting the white tube to length, and drilling and tapping the end of it so I can finally put it all together. I'm real happy with how this is all turning out. I'm not going to rivet the latch angles to the fuselage, though. Not yet. I'm still looking into a way to be able to lock up the airplane, trying to decide if that's something that I want to do, or whether to bother with it at all.

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