More Horizontal Stab and the Pneumatic Squeezer arrived.

So in the last post I mentioned that I needed to order a longeron or flange-nose yoke for my Main Squeeze squeezer from Cleaveland Tool. I got on their website Monday to order and realized that my arms and shoulders were still hurting from using the manual squeezer. So I took the plunge and bought their pneumatic squeezer kit. I emailed Mike and asked if they could substitute the flange-nose yoke for the 3″ yoke that comes standard with the kit, as I already had the yoke with my Main Squeeze. Mike emailed me back right away and said it was no problem. I completed the order with Annette, and everything arrived Wednesday. I’m 4 for 4 on great service by Mike, Annette and the rest of the crew at Cleaveland!

After getting things set up last night (Friday) I had a cinch job of finishing up the rest of the rivets in the front horizontal stabilizer spar thanks to the new squeezer. I’m looking forward to more rivets to squeeze.

I also countersunk the 400+ holes in both spars and the stringers and prepped both skins today with Prekote and maroon Scotchbrite. Prekote says to prime aluminum within 24 hours of prep, so I’ll warm up the garage first thing in the morning and prime the skins inside and out. And then use the leftover AKZO and a Q-Tip to touch up all the countersinks I made on the spars and stringers.

And my Amazon-provided torque wrench also arrived on Thursday, so I finished bolting the elevator center hinge bearing bracket onto the rear spar, then torque sealed it.

Priming first batch

September 14: Got all the parts for the vertical stabilizer and rudder prepped and ready for primer. I’ve waded through the primer wars for the four years I’ve been on Vansairforce.com, and I had primed my earlier RV-7 project with SEM self etching, which I discovered was not solvent resistant. So I decided to go with AKZO two-part epoxy primer. But I did choose to forego the etch and alodine steps that many others have promoted. I did like the idea of dipping clean parts into prep solutions, with minimal elbow grease required. But I wasn’t too keen on the logistics of disposal of acidic and hex chrome waste.

I prepped the parts of the RV-7 with Bon Ami and red Scotchbrite. But I found through the VAF forums and other builder’s logs that Prekote was an option to prep for primer. It seems to be just a glorified soap, at $40 per gallon, but it was non-hazardous and one step instead of multiple steps.

I chose a perfect late summer day to set up a plastic table in the driveway and get to work on all the parts. You have to spray the Prekote on, scrub with the Scotchbrite until you get a lather, spray again then scrub at 90 degrees to the first pass. Then you should get a water break free surface when you rinse. This indicates that the aluminum oxide layer has been broken. I had already built a spray platform from 1x6s and chicken wire, which I laid on a workbench and arranged all the parts on it.

For priming, I bought a cheap purple HVLP gun from Harbor Freight, which so far has done a great job.

And I know this will get gasps of horror from some builders, but I did research it on VAF, and decided to prime both sides of the skins with the AKZO. Other builders have gotten input from aircraft painters at some major airframe manufacturers, and they are fine with receiving an AKZO primed aircraft to finish paint. They wet-sand it then shoot their own primer that is compatible with the top coat. True, I will incur a weight penalty, but prefer having things protected inside and out, and especially at faying surfaces and lap joints.