Building Seamaster Day 40: Covering Stab Top

Top of Stab Covered

On Nov 24th I finished covering the top of the stabilizer. Since I already had the center piece with the convex curve completed it was a matter of cutting two pieces of caution yellow covering (over-sized) for each part.

The process was completed similarly to the bottom in that I started by ironing down the straight edge along the middle of the stab and then working my way around the edges, as well as rounding the covering around the shaped leading edge. I then cut the excess off of the trailing edge and cleaned up any of the other edges as necessary.

Once that was done I used the heat gun to shrink the covering, making sure now to spend to much time in one spot and to keep moving with the air blowing towards the center. I needed to make sure that I didn’t heat up the glue of the covering creating the seal around the edges as well as making sure I didn’t heat a hole through the yellow covering or the orange covering that was previously applied. Hence, keep moving and checking to make sure surfaces are not getting to hot, pausing as necessary.

You can see the completed look in the pictures at the top and bottom of the post.

Top of Stab Covered
Top of Stab Covered

Building Seamaster Day 39: Covering Stab Bottom

Bottom of Stabilizer Covered

On Nov. 20th I focused on covering the bottom of the stabilizer.  You can see the stop point for the day with the bottom of the stabilizer covered in the featured image above.

Trimmed and Ready
Trimmed and Ready

Above you can see the top of the stabilizer (bottom of the covering) I ironed in place.  Below you can see the bottom of the stabilizer (one side) covered).

The first step was to measure it all out and cut a piece of fabric over-sized with a straight edge I could put the the inside along the triangle block to have a cleaner finish.  I then worked the covering around the leading edge (which was previously sanded to be rounded).  You can see me doing this in the picture at the bottom of the post.  I made sure to iron from the inside out towards the leading edge and rounding out around the edge to get a smooth finish.

Once that was done I tacked the edges to the bottom of the stabilizer and worked my way around the outside ironing the covering to the balsa of the stab, ensuring I pulled the covering tight as necessary.  This left me with the finish below.

To Be Shrunk
To Be Shrunk

Not quite done yet, now that I had the edges of the covering sealed (ironed to balsa) I used the heat gun to shrink the covering.  This was done by starting at one of the ends and ensuring I’m always blowing towards the center (away from the covering stuck to the balsa already) and constantly moving and working my way around.  You do not want to stay in one place to long or else you will burn a hole through the covering and have to start over.  This provided the ‘crisp’ finish you see in the image at the top of the post.

Ironing Covering On
Ironing Covering On

Building Seamaster Day 37 & 38: Tail Covering Started

Covered control wire guide and stab trailing edge

On Nov 17th I finished covering the wing and started covering the tail of the aircraft.  You can see in the image below that I covered the seems (joints) along where the triangle stock is in place helping support the stab to the fin.  I do the seems first to help keep fuel, etc. from getting in and eating away at the glue, damaging the wood, etc.  I also try and do it strategically to limit the places where air can get under the covering and peel it away.

Covering Joints & Trailing Edges
Covering Joints & Trailing Edges

Once the joints were covered I wrap the excess around the leading edge, see aforementioned point about air movement and then trim it from the trailing edge since this has already been covered.

Covering Joints, Fin to Stab
Covering Joints (Fin to Stab)

You can see the in feature image of the post that I have started covering the stabilizer.  I focused on the convex curves this day (Nov. 18th).  This is slow meticulous work as it involves a lot of tiny cuts of the covering along the curves so that you can get it all covered and limit (in an ideal world eliminate, lol) the wrinkling of the covering.  I did the outer edges in orange to match the bottom and I did the convex curve on the top of the stab (which will be for the control wire to fasten to and flow over for controlling the elevator) in yellow to match the top.  Top and bottom of the stabilizer are going to match the top/bottom of the wing.

Top Left Wing Panel Covered
Top Left Wing Panel Covered