After finishing up the Rudder, I earnestly began the next section of the empennage, the horizontal stabilizer. It’s pretty tricky as you have to rivet all the spars to the skins without a lot of room to maneuver.
What I think will be the hardest tasks of this assembly, the two middle nose ribs, were fraught with tribulations. At first, the rivet gun was hitting too hard causing some denting. I kept playing with the air pressure and could not get results I was happy with. So I ended up ordering a second rivet gun that was less powerful (a 2x versus my existing 3x gun). After getting it all set up (keeping it at 35psi), the results were much better, while still challenging.
On the last rivet of the last nose rib, the head of the rivet wasn’t perfectly flush with the skin. So I drilled it out. After snapping off the head, I went to punch out the body of the rivet (per normal procedure). However, when punching out the rivet the small flange of the nose rib got pushed in. I could not get that flange flush with the rib, after trying to use gorilla tape to pull to the skin, when re-riveting and the disappointing results are in the picture below.
I’ve reached out to Van’s to see how they advise I proceed. I’m hoping i don’t have to replace the nose rib, which would involve drilling out all 10 rivets very carefully, and putting in a new nose rib.
The obligatory time-lapse of the work so far on this part, 43 hours reflected in 6 minutes: