Building Seamaster Day 48: Wet Sanding Edges

Sanded Bottom Fiber-Glassed Edges

On January 20th, since the fiber-glass placed around the edges of the bottom of the aircraft was dry it was time to prep for the next phase.

If you look closely at the fiber-glass along the edges in the previous post you’ll notice some really rough spots where glue pooled and dried.

This involved wet sanding the roughness out of the fiber-glass as well as any excess that was hanging over the edges, namely off the bottom over the drop between the front half and back (tail) half.

I also applied the fiber-glass to the seam where the light balsa curves up under the trailing edge of the bottom balsa piece. You can see the excess handing out past the sides.

Sanded Bottom Tail Fiber-Glassed Edges
Sanded Bottom Tail Fiber-Glassed Edges

Building Seamaster Day 47: Fiber-glass Bottom Edges

Bottom Front Edges Fiber-Glassing

On January 16th I continued work on fiber-glassing the bottom of the fuselage. This day was focusing on applying fiber-glass all around the edge of the bottom of the fuselage as well as on the nose. This ensures the seams, spaces between where the bottom connects to the sides, are thoroughly covered.

Also fiber-glassing of the nose of the aircraft to help ensure water tightness there too, preventing the balsa from getting soaked since this will be in the water, partially, and leading the way.

Once this was done had to leave to dry.

Bottom Tail Edges Fiber-Glassing
Bottom Tail Edges Fiber-Glassing

Building Seamaster Day 46: Fiber-glass to Keel

Fiber-glass Keel

On January 14th I continued with the fiber-glassing process. This time, seen above, I applied fiber-glass to the keel of the fuselage. The process was similar to before, this time cutting strips that would wrap over the keel and about equal parts on each side. This is done prior to the remainder of the bottom to ensure there is good coverage along the joints / corners where the keel is attached to the fuselage.

Afterwards I started wet sanding the wing tips. For this I used special sand paper that I dipped into a small bucket of warm water. This keeps the fine fiber-glass particles being sanded away from becoming airborne, you want to avoid breathing these in!

You can see the finished sanded product of one of the floats below:

Sanding Fiber-glass Wing Tip Float
Sanded Fiber-glass Wing Tip Float

Building Seamaster Day 45: Fiber-glassing floats

Rotary Cutter used for cutting fiberglass

On January 13th the fiber-glassing process started with the wing tip floats. This is my first experience working with fiber-glass.

Peter has a big sheet of the stuff. The first step was to cut out the pieces for covering the floats by creating the least amount of waste possible, it’s expensive stuff!

The pieces need to be over-sized so you have enough to work with. Looking at the image below, from left to right, the pieces are:

  • Two for the back concave curve of the floats
  • Then the pieces for the sides
  • Then pieces for the top & bottom of the floats
Preparing Fibre Glass For Floats
Preparing Fibre Glass For Floats

Once you have all the pieces for the day ready you mix up a batch of epoxy and stir it well to ensure the chemical reaction is complete.

After picking a starting point you lay a piece of fiber-glass across the appropriate float surface and brush the glue on ensuring to cover the entire surface area prior to moving on to the next piece.

Once all pieces are glued on you hang them to dry, not worrying about any excess, as seen in the pictures below.

Initial Fibre Glass of Float Tip
Initial Fiber Glass of Float Tip
Initial Fibre Glass of Other Float Tip
Initial Fiber Glass of Other Float Tip

Building Seamater Day 44: Gluing Hinges / Control Surfaces

On Dec. 18th I could really start to see things coming together as I worked on putting the bondages for all the control surfaces into place.

The first step was to ensure the hinges fit into the slots off the main surfaces (wing for ailerons and fin & stabilizer for the rudder & elevator respectively). Once confident of that and also checked with placement of the corresponding control surface attached as well along with their range of motion it was time to mix up a batch of glue.

Gluing in Hinges
Gluing in Hinges

Prior to gluing the hinges into the slots I prepped them by spreading Vaseline onto the hinge joints to ensure no glue gets into the join, which would prevent the hinges from working properly, don’t want that! I then applied glue into the slots as best I could as well as onto the hinge and then placed them into the slots.

Gluing in Hinges
Gluing in Hinges

Once that was done I applied glue to the other end of the hinges, seen above. I kept the container below to try and avoid making a mess from excess glue dripping from the hinge as I applied the glue. Before connecting the control surface I did my best to run glue into the slots on the ailerons, elevator & rudder pushing it in with the stick / using gravity to let it seep into the slots.

I then slid the control surface onto the hinge and confirmed all hinges were in place, movement was there and then left them to sit and dry. This concluded another building session and you can see the result below.

Note: I did one control surface at a time, applying glue to the hinges and connecting using the process above prior to moving on to the next control surface.

Been on a hiatus over Christmas which has allowed me to catch up on my blog posts. I am now all caught up and am hoping to get back to building this week! With luck I won’t get this far behind again, lol. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know you are out there 🙂

Seamaster with Wing & Control Surfaces
Seamaster with Wing & Control Surfaces

Building Seamater Day 42 & 43: Covering Rudder & Elevator

Elevator & Rudder Outer Edges Covered

On Nov. 27th I started the process of covering the elevator and rudder for my Seamaster. This day consisted of covering the ends and trailing edges of the two control surfaces. This is done first in order to ensure the edges are properly covered and ensure there is no exposed balsa in the end.

In the next session on Dec. 5th I finished covering by cutting two rectangular pieces, one big enough to wrap around the elevator and the other around the rudder. The key here is to make sure it is big enough to cover the widest/longest part (the leading edge in this case) with enough to wrap around the surfaces beyond the trailing edge.

The covering process is similar for both. Starting with wrapping the covering around with the leading edge aligned somewhere in the middle you tack/iron down the covering to the leading edge.

Next you pick a side and iron the covering around the leading edge and to the side of the control surface making sure to work your way from the centre out to the three remaining edges. When ironing at the edges make sure it’s securily ironed at the edge itself and be careful not to have the excess covering touch (cut excess as you see fit). Once done the one side you can trim the excess covering along the edges before proceeding.

Next, flip the elevator or rudder over and repeat on the other side. Starting with rolling the iron over the leading edge and continuing to iron the covering to the other side of the surface starting at the centre of the leading edge out into the middle of the side and working your way out to the three remaining edges. Then trim excess covering. This process left me with covered control surfaces.

Elevator & Rudder Covered
Elevator & Rudder Covered

Building Seamaster Day 41: Covering Fin

Covered Fin Side Profile

On Nov. 26th I covered the fin of my aircraft. This entailed cutting to pieces with some excess for each side of the fin. I ensured a straight edge was used along the bottom and top. I ironed along the top edge first and then worked my way across the surface and folded the one side around the front.

I incurred a few more wrinkles then I would have liked, but pick my battles I must, lol. You can still see bits of balsa sticking out at the bottom, but this will be covered when doing the top of the fuselage as it will be cut around the fin and will go up a bit as well as down each side, tapering off.

I do apologize that my last few posts haven’t been ‘as good’ as past ones but I have been playing catch-up while I’ve had some down time.

Please feel free to leave a comment to let me know you’re out there and even start a dialogue 🙂

Covered Fin Front Profile
Covered Fin: Front Profile

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