Tag Archives: Building Seamaster

Building Seamaster Day 1: Fuselage Sides

Seamaster Fuselage Sides - Front

Woot, woot!  Wednesday this past week I got to start another build.  This time around I am building a Seamaster.  This build has taken some time to get started with all the major life changes that happened over this winter and some hiccups in the creation of the kit itself.  This kit is no longer manufactured so someone Peter knows out of Winnipeg cut the kit for me, so a big thank-you to him!  I got to see the pieces for the first time Wednesday.

Peter put together a manual for constructing the kit, which I am reading through to get a general understanding of the overall process and also in being a guinea pig on the thoroughness / ease of use of the manual. 😉

This will be my first seaplane and I’m excited to experiencing taking off / landing and flying over water.  I’m getting ahead of myself though as I need to build the aircraft first!  To start I read through the introduction of the manual Peter wrote up along with the first bit on the fuselage.  I then laid out the plans on the table, covered it, and pinned it all in place.  I found the 6 pieces making up each side of the fuselage and laid them out.

You can see the front portion laid out in the image at the top of the post and the back portion of the fuselage sides in the image at the bottom of the post.  Due to the kits being laser cut the first step is always to do lots of sanding!  Which is what I did most of this day, was sanding all the edges to get rid of the ‘laser burns’ and give a better edge for the glue hold and allow the pieces to stick together (as shown in the top 3 pieces).

That sums up the first day of this build and am looking forward to Day 2!  I hope others will be interested to follow along on yet another build by yours truly 🙂

Now to reading the manual I go!

Seamaster Fuselage Sides - Back
Seamaster Fuselage Sides – Back


Building Seamaster Day 2: Stab & Doubler

Stabilizer Glued

Playing catch up on my blog posts here as been busy!  Last Saturday, Feb. 17th, was a building session that focused on getting the 3 pieces of each side of the fuselage glued together and stabilizer.

In order to glue the pieces of the fuselage together you mix up a batch of glue as it is made from two equal parts.  Once mixed you glue them together and place weights (with wax paper between the weights and the wood to ensure nothing gets accidentally stuck together that could tear away the wood) to hold the seems together.  The reason for the ‘cartoon teeth’ like look is to provide some interlocking which adds strength as gluing to flat ends together would not hold up well!

In the picture below I’ve glued the doubler to the fuselage making sure the curve lines up with the side of the fuselage.  This piece is on the inside of both sides of the fuselage to provide support for the wing.  You need to make sure that it is flush with the top (as the bottom is right above where a tab for one of the formers fits in) and lined up properly front and back too as there are tab holes there as well that if it covers you’ll be loosing support from where you need it.

Doubler Glued w/ Weights
Doubler Glued w/ Weights

For the stabilizer (shown at the top of the post) used Sig Cement to glue.  The only reason why I’m mentioning this is because the next time I went to Peter’s I discovered the sides didn’t hold, dun dun dun.  But I knew my stab was still OK as I used a different set of glue all together.

For the stab I had to find all the pieces, do some light sanding to remove the laser burns, and then line them up on the plans to ensure everything lines up and lightly sand where necessary.  I then glued and pin the perimeter pieces together followed by the center piece.  I then has to measure and cut all the individual pieces for reinforcing the stabilizer.  This involved cutting and sanding to make sure my angles were right to get a tight fit where the individual pieces of the ‘inside’ touch together along with where they touch with the perimeter of the stab.

Side Glued Together & Weighted
Side Glued Together & Weighted

That wrapped up another day!

Building Seamaster Day 3: Pylon

Re-gluing the sides

Monday the 19th was a day of dang’s and backtracking before nicely getting ahead.  When I first got there and was working discovered that the sides of the fuselage hadn’t stuck together well enough.  Bad batch of glue!  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it… the only other evidence I have is that Peter tossed both parts for mixing it up and the fact they didn’t stick.

To rectify the sides coming apart I had to re-glue it (seen above) and thankfully this time it stuck!  Same process as before (without all the sanding), but unfortunately means not as much progress was made this day.  Also did a lot of sanding (John helped as well) due to the excess glue around the top of the doubler as you want to make sure the wing will sit nicely within the ‘saddle’.

What was suppose to be the main focus of this session was building the pylon, pictured below.  This is the main support for the fuselage and the engine mount (that will be above the aircraft mounted onto the piece of wood sticking out, plus other pieces I’ll get to later in the build).

For this I had to find the 4  pieces that make up the pylon (two of them are formers, F4 & F5).  The front is the smaller of the formers.  I then went to sanding the sides of all the pieces, followed by gluing the pieces that will help hold the main support for the engine (or so I’ll call it) and complete the pylon connecting F4 & F5.

Pylon with spacers all glued together
Pylon with spacers all glued together

That was it for this day as needed to wait for everything to dry before proceeding.  Also to make sure everything stuck together properly as well!

Building Seamaster Day 4: Pylon and Side Meet

Gluing Pylon to Left Side

February 21st was about finishing off the Pylon and starting to get the fuselage sides attached.  The first step was ensuring the seems of where the spacers meet the formers are secure by applying a bead of medium CA glue long the seems.  This was done for all four areas, inside and out, making for eight beads of glue.

Medium CA Glue
Medium CA Glue
Glue Along Seems
Glue Along Seems

After that was done, this type of glue dries fast!  I did a trial fit of the pylon to each fuselage side.  While doing this I made a line along each side to determine where I needed to apply glue (seen below).  After that was done I placed glue along the left side of the pylon (ensuring sufficient glue on the tabs) as well as on the fuselage side and then put the pieces in place and clamped them together as seen in the picture at the top of the article.

Marking Glue Lines For Pylon Placement
Marking Glue Lines For Pylon Placement

That wrapped up another day as couldn’t go any further until this dried.  Once dried Peter did the same for the other side so that the project wasn’t held up to much as that needed to be done before anymore formers could be trial fitted and glued in place.

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!

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 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 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 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 10: Fuse Nose + Wing Panel

Main Spar & Trailing Edge Glued

Well, do to life’s circumstances I have gotten very far behind on my blog posts for this project.  I’ve gotten married, bought a house, done a lot of painting and packing, moved into said house and have done a lot of unpacking and organising.  This meant that over the course of the Winter and Spring I haven’t been working on my aircraft as much as I would have normally and also started work on the aircraft a lot later than normal too.  So lets start by getting caught up on posts, even if due to the time lag they are not as high quality as they should be…

On March 14th I worked on the fuselage and the wing.  Seen in the picture above I glued the main spar for one of the wing panels in place and used a piece of wood I waited down on the trailing edges of the ribs to help ensure the ribs stayed at the correct angle while the glue dried.  I made sure there was excess wood on each side of the spar, which we can trim off at a later date, to make it easier to fit and adjust later.

Seen below we braced the front former’s in place and steamed the wood to do our best to get the wood to curve to the nose.

Unfortunately, since I know how all this goes, the fuse didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked; however, I’ve been informed it should still be flyable.  Stay tuned to find out what exactly I mean!

Steaming the front of the fuse to work in the curve to the nose
Steaming the front of the fuse to work in the curve to the nose