Building Seamaster Day 9: Fuselage Woes + L Wing

Warping of Fuselage Discovered

On March 6th not a whole lot of progress was made and some backtracking and discussion occurred.  Discovered that the fuselage had warped.  Looking down the fuse you could see that at the tail it curved inwards instead of ‘straight’ back and at the nose it was not curving properly either.   This lead to much discussion about how to fix this, which due to time I left in the hands of John & Peter.

The next session Peter informed me of what he’d done to start fixing it.  He built a contraption to hold the fuselage in place after steaming it to make the wood malleable.

The only other thing I got done this day was a start on the L wing panel, seen below.  I pinned the main and rear spars in place on the plans along with the cutting and pinning the bottom trailing edge in place.  I then went to work on cutting and sanding the sheeting for the wing.  This went way more painfully then I care to admit as I had to start over a couple times due to over sanding (the first time by quite a bit and the second time by just enough such that the sheet wouldn’t work).  There were also a couple times at the beginning where I didn’t measure right and thus cut it to short.  I was clearly tired this day as I measure 2 or 3 times before I cut, but I was measuring consistently wrong, oi.  I eventually got my 1/4, 1/8th,  & 1/16th of an inch sorted out and got the sheets to the right size and glued into place.  What you see in the image below are the sheets glued and weighted down for drying.

L Wing Panel Started
L Wing Panel Started


Building Seamaster Day 8: Fuse Bottom Edge & Wing Panel

Sanded Excess Bottom Edge

Made it to Peters March 5th to work on the fuselage a bit and really get the R wing panel moving along.  You can see the image above that I sanded, using an electric sander, off the overhang of the fuselage bottom I previously installed to ensure a smooth finish with the fuselage sides.

Next I moved to building the wing.  This involved ensuring the ribs fit (making sure I was using inner and outer ribs in the respective locations) before applying glue.  Once I had the ribs glued in place I glued the main and rear spar in place across the top of the ribs and then weighted everything down as shown below:

Wing Ribs Fitted & Glued
Wing Ribs Fitted & Glued

Unfortunately, the above weighted situation wasn’t working for us as it was to unsteady causing the spars to shift throwing off the ribs (angling them) due to the weight.  Thankfully we noticed this before leaving the project for the evening when we checked over things a bit later and were able to readjust as the glue hadn’t set yet.  We added support (i.e. the triangles and wood block) to prevent the spars from shifting left and right as well as to prevent the wood from sliding off the trailing edge of the ribs, seen below:

Main & Rear Spar Glued in place
Main & Rear Spar Glued in place

That wrapped up another building session and leads us to the day we made an unfortunate discovery, but good we did at this phase of the project…

Building Seamaster Day 7: F1 Former & Mid-Bottom Sheet

Center Bottom Section Installed

On Feb. 28th I continued work on the fuselage and unfortunately didn’t discover an issue that will come to light during an upcoming session.  Perhaps it hadn’t fully presented itself at this time, or perhaps I was just oblivious.  Either way this day was about continuing work on the fuselage.

To reinforce the nose of the aircraft a second F1 former needed to be attached.  This was the first task that required to do some light sanding to remove the laser burn marks and then applying glue to the side edges as well as covering the back surface with glue to ensure all surfaces that will be in contact with wood will have been glued down.  I then clamped this into place for it to dry, seen below.

2nd Former F1 Installed
2nd Former F1 Installed

The other task for the day was getting the middle section of the bottom glued in place, seen in the top piece is oversized.  I still had to make sure I got the sheet in the correct place as there were spots where not much overlap was present no matter the positioning of the piece.  I sanded the front edge of the piece that buts up against the fuselage. There was no need to sand the other edges as no wood would be touching and in the case of the two sides it’ll be sanded down once the glue dries.

To complete the day I got the piece I. Place and traced with a pencil along the fuselage to mark the sheeting, knowing the glue would have to go along the inside of that line. Peter than applied glue on the sheeting while I applied glue along the edges of the fuselage and back of the former the front edge of the sheeting buts up to.

We then clamped the sheeting in place to hold it while it dries. Had to get clever with clamping the former to the front edge of the sheeting as no clamps were long enough. We used a clamp as an intermediary to place our other clamps on.

That wraps up another building evening.

Building Seamaster Day 6: Front Formers + Wings Beginning

Formers F1-F3 Installed

On Feb. 27th worked on the fuselage and started the wing!  It was at this point I really felt like progress was heating up 🙂

One of the tasks for the evening, now that the front of the aircraft is shaped and dried was to install the front formers (F3 to F1, that’s the order of installation).  You want the bigger one, that is further back on the fuse, installed first as that starts bringing the sides together and helps ensure a proper shape.

Then proceeded to start work on the wing, specifically the right wing panel.  For this needed to get the trailing edge cut and Peter already had the spruce rear spar made (smaller rectangular piece of wood).  Once that along with the main spar were pinned securely in place, ensuring some overlap on both sides I cut the balsa sheeting to size such that it fits snug between the main spar and rear spar as well as between the rear spar and trailing edge sheet.

Wing Center Sheeting
Wing Center Sheeting

That was as far as I could get this day.

Building Seamaster Day 5: Sides Attached & Nose Shaping

Formers 6-10 Attached to Sides

Another great building session took place Saturday February 24th.  The first thing, as seen in Fig. 1 and 2 below is that the screw hole for anchoring the engine support post (is what I’m calling it) to the fuselage was drilled.  The groove carved into the ‘post’, seen in Fig. 1, Peter had done at another builders place.  This groove is where the wires will run down from the engine (i.e. for the throttle servo).  While Peter held the support in place I drilled a hole between the two bottom tabs (ensuring I was in about the middle and below the hole where the wires will be routed for the control services via the groove) a bit smaller than the screw being used as this is what will hold the post in place.

Drilled Whole For Screw
Fig. 1: Drilled Whole For Screw
Fig 2. - Screw hole drilled
Fig 2. – Screw hole drilled

Once that was done I glued formers F6 through F10 in place connecting both sides of the aircraft.  This was done with Sig Cement and each one was clamped in place to hold everything tight while the sides dried to the formers.  All the formers were previously sanded.

The last item for the day was to start shaping the front of the aircraft.  The prep work for this was having two pieces of wood with two notches made in them.  I then soaked the wood using a spray bottle and carefully bent the two nose pieces inwards and placed the sticks in place, top and bottom, to hold the pieces in place while the water dried.

While waiting for the wood to dry we chatted and then about an hour later sprayed the wood again and move the nose pieces in further. Then cut new notches in the wood to hold the pieces at the new closer position.  At this point I had to go home, but Peter repeated this process a couple more times until the two pieces were close enough together such that the F1 former would fit snug at the nose of the aircraft.

Shaping Nose of Aircraft
Shaping Nose of Aircraft

Wasn’t concerned about the wrinkle because if necessary can slit it with a knife and glue it smooth.  That concluded another building session!