February 6, 2010

Finishing up the Bow, Topcoat Painting - 8.5 hrs.

I had an opportunity to put in some real time today. So I worked hard to make the most of it. I started by sanding the filler spots on the forward half of the cabin frame, to prep everything for topcoat painting.

These parts don't look real pretty, but I'm pleased to have these holes filled in. This is going to look real nice with the topcoat paint applied.

Before moving on with riveting it all together, though, you need to drill the top support channel to the aft half of the bow.

Here I have the support channel clamped to the angle on the bow, and one of the side angles clamped for drilling as well. Below, a shot from underneath after drilling all the holes. If you look close at the channel, you'll see some holes for nutplates. The part didn't come this way. I'll get to that in a minute.

If you don't rivet these short angle pieces to the bow now, you'll be stuck with using pop rivets. I like this much better. NOW I'm finally ready to rivet the forward and aft halves together.

Riveting it all together was fun and straightforward. I clecoed every hole, started in the middle at the top and went back and forth side-to-side working my way down both sides to the bottom. I was very happy when finished, that it lays absolutely flat on the work surface. There's no twist! Below is a closeup shot of the pop rivets used to rivet the aft half in place. This thing is now ready for some JetFlex topcoat paint!

Next, I wiped everything down with naptha to clean the parts, and prepared to paint. The painting session took a while, but went well. Here are the results:

Above, the aft side of the completed bow. Below, the forward side.

I'm very pleased with the final appearance. I'm happy that I chose to fill in the tooling holes. This was a lot of work, but it feels rewarding to get this far.

Earlier, I alluded to some nutplate holes in the top support channel. I chose, like a lot of builders, to fabricate a cover plate for the underneath side of the support channel. So I grabbed a piece of .025 sheet from my trim bundle and fab'd the cover. I had purchased some #6 platenuts and screws from Vans, so I drilled and installed four of them on each side.

Not only does this give a nicer, cleaner, finished appearance, but it provides a way to enclose some wiring and install some interior lights for the baggage area, if I choose to. I may also install a coat hanger loop or ring on the aft end. I don't know, we'll see. It's nice to just have options. I can do something like that anytime in the future. The cover adds very little weight, but I can always choose to just leave it off, too, to save a few ounces.

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