Ted's Aircraft Shop
Step 4. Assembling the Wings, page 1
Step 4.   Assembling the Wings

Assembling the wings took a long time.  I started assembling the wings in late August 2001 and finished the wings prior to fabric covering in mid-November 2003.  John Waltrowski finished the precover inspection and logbook signoff on November 11, 2003. The basket of parts came with new wood spars, drilled and finished lightly.  I carefully remeasured the spars, the bolts holes, and sanded the spars.  I set up the spars for spraying in the spray booth.  I sprayed Randolph spar varnish using the Graco and ended up with a mess.  The heat from the turbine was too high and the varnish cured almost as fast as it landed on the spars creating a crinkle finish.  I had to start over with sanding.  I added 20 feet of air hose to the Graco air hose and that solved the problem. 


I made two plywood saw horses with slots for the finished spars—to hold the wings securely as they were built up. 


I had nearly 30 original Piper wing ribs.  What was confusing was the variety of rib types. It took many days to figure out that Piper used different type ribs for each “station” along the length of the wing.  Some are short in front of the false spar.  Some are long and connect to the trailing edge.  Some have flanges at the tail end for holding the wing bow.  Many of them needed repair to fix cracks or loose rivets.  I made two rib fixtures out of ¾ inch plywood and wood blocks glued to the plywood.  These fixtures held the ribs while being repaired.  That made certain all of the ribs had exactly the same shape and basic length.  Some of the spar openings in the ribs had to be reworked, and that proved the worth of the fixtures.  The Cub Clues had detailed instructions for repairing these old Piper ribs.  FAA AC 43.13-1B has instructions as well.  This is where I learned to use a rivet squeezer.  Nose ribs also had to be repaired. 


Next Page
Previous Page
Restoring a Piper Cub J-3
1.  Picking a  Project
2. Organizing and Planning
3. Overhauling the Engine
4. Assembling the Wings
5. Covering the Wings
6. Covering the Tail Surfaces
7. Repairing the Ailerons
8. Painting the Wings
9. Build Out of the Fuselage
10. Covering the Fuselage
11. Assembling and Rigging
12. Flight Testing