Ted's Aircraft Shop
Step 6. Covering the Tail Surfaces, page 1
Step 6.   Preparing and Covering the Stabilizers and Control Surfaces

Preparing and covering the stabilizers, elevators, and rudder are not difficult tasks.  Mine were in good shape.  I had to check that the hinges lined up and that the stabilizers and rudder fit the fuselage.  Different models had different tail surfaces.  I took the old fabric off the tail surfaces exposing glue, zinc chromate, and some corrosion.  (These were some of the only parts that came off the original aircraft that crashed in 1995.)  After scrubbing, I chose to sand blast down to bare metal.  This is a dirty job and not terribly pleasant.  I found it easier to do outside.  Since steel will corrode again almost immediately, the next job was to spray paint a fine coat of white two-part epoxy primer.  All of this took some time.  


With fabric left over from wing covering, I was able to cover the tail surfaces with fabric using the same Poly-Fiber processes—even down to “rib stitching”.  The only difference is the reinforcing tape.  Instead of a line of tape along the top of a rib, I used a short piece of tape directly over the area where the stitching would occur.  Small round gussets are cut out of the fabric and used to cover the stitches.  The Poly-Fiber leaves the tail surfaces as pink as the wings. 


After a spray cross coat of Poly-Brush, the surfaces are checked for raised tape.  Then two or three cross coats of Poly-Spray are applied with wet sanding between each cross coat.  (Cross coat is two coats applied within minutes of each other, one sprayed left and right, the second sprayed up and down.)  The silver color is aluminum powder added to protect the fabric from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. 

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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