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Thread: Wood rib stapler needed

  1. #1
    bigdog's Avatar
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    Wood rib stapler needed

    I'm spooling up to build a set of ribs for my L-2 and need to buy a stapler or nail gun. I've seen recommendations elsewhere for a Senco SFW10XP-A/D Fine Wire Upholstery stapler. They are expensive at ~$200 but in the whole scheme of things that's not a problem. But if there's a cheaper or better alternative I can certainly spend the money on other things. They had a hand stapler to use in the rib building workshop at Oshkosh but I didn't get the brand/model. The material is the same thickness as used in the workshop, i.e. 1/4" thick cap strips and 1/16" gussets, so I need to shoot 3/16" or 1/4" length staples. I'd prefer an air or electric powered unit as hand squeezing anything is getting real old. (Two RV's = too many clecos) Any suggestions?
    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - 90% done, 90% to go
    3.5 L-2 projects

  2. #2
    Guarantee you won't like this suggestion. Cowboy up, grab a pair of needlenose or better yet a hemostat, a tack hammer and a handful of Brass aircraft nails. Building ribs is fun!


    I made a little tilt table to sprinkle the nails on so they would all line up in the same direction. You can see it atop the coffee can in the first picture. I could move it around to be in the most efficient position to pick up the nails. Each small gusset took five nails. One rib a day for 28 days.



    The chair on wheels was used to scoot to and from the vibrating scroll saw which I used to cut the gussets. Each rib had only one mate (for the other [elliptical] wing). Every two ribs I had to change the plans on the table, cover them with wax paper, then build a new jig on top.

    Last edited by Clark Savage Jr; 11-16-2012 at 02:03 AM.

  3. #3
    bigdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Savage Jr View Post
    Guarantee you won't like this suggestion. Cowboy up, grab a pair of needlenose or better yet a hemostat, a tack hammer and a handful of Brass aircraft nails. Building ribs is fun!
    Don't get me wrong, I'm excited and looking forward to building the ribs. But I've also learned to take advantage of convenience gadgets when I can. I'm going to try some nails on the first rib just to say I did it. Who knows, I may like it. I've got a lead on another pair of L-2 projects so I may wind up building more than one set of ribs and will need all the aids I can get. I really shouldn't be starting the L-2 until I finish my RV but I've been chafing at the bit to get it started. Oh, and I have to make room for that pesky "work, make money" thing too.
    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - 90% done, 90% to go
    3.5 L-2 projects

  4. #4
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
    Oh, and I have to make room for that pesky "work, make money" thing too.
    I've got that problem - I've gotta get a 914 in the shop so I turn it into airplane money.

  5. #5

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    Greg, please don't staple or even nail any gusset, it damages the rib fibres every time. I used weights to build all 30 of my ribs, at first 1 used the smallest size of barbell weights as per photo and later ammended by making my own from lead shot tipped into aerosol can plastic caps which was better as slightly smaller diameter.
    Weighting works real good, why damage wood?
    John

    Weights on rib gussets (Medium).JPG

  6. #6

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    Have you looked at the Wright flyer? They pounded nails through the wood and bent them over on the other side. Not advocating that! Just sayin'.

  7. #7
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    I have the video EAA put out on wood construction, I haven't watched it in a while but it clearly shows them diving some sort of tack or brad into the gussets.

  8. #8
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    By the way, if you ever want to make weights for just about anything, I've found going to a plumbing supply house (and you may need to try a larger one or one on an older city) and get sheet lead. They use that to form shower pans (now they tend to use some rubbery plastic, but you can still find the lead).
    I remember cutting up a sheet to make weights for my son's soapbox car the years he competed.

  9. #9
    bigdog's Avatar
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    I decided to get the Senco stapler. Thye have a bunch of models. I got the SFW10XP-A/D which shoots 3/16" narrow crown (width) staples. I'm using 1/4" long galvenized. They work great once I modified the nose and found the right air pressure. I picked up a tip from a biplane forum (I think it was from Jim Kimball) to grind down the anvil. Out of the box the anvil will prodrude about 3/32". That will drive these little staples all the way thru the 1/16" plywood gussets. So pull the trigger and hold it against a belt sander and grind it flush. Then I turned the air down to ~40 psi. The result is the staples go in hard enough to hold the gusset firmly but not enough to break the wood under the crown. I did my first rib today and it was a delight to use.
    IMG_0693sm.jpgIMG_0692sm.jpgIMG_0699sm.jpgIMG_0701sm.jpgIMG_0702sm.jpgIMG_0700sm.jpg

    The original rib shown is one of the better ones. Is there any wonder why I want to make a new set?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - 90% done, 90% to go
    3.5 L-2 projects

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