My Taylorcraft restoration project,  G-BREY
by Robert Lees

Fuselage Structural Work
Start
Skylight & Door Frames
Hatshelf
Fuselage rotating jig
Welding & beadblasting
Assembly
Painting
Trim
Floorboards

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StartNovember 2001. Aircraft taken out of the air.

brey_in_hangar.jpg (32177 bytes) Removal of the fabric whilst she is still in one piece allows photos of general assembly methods, cable routings and some details to be pictured.  This should hopefully assist in the putting-back-together stage!  Inside WWII T2 hangar at EGBG.
brey_outside_hangar1.jpg (21834 bytes) brey_outside_hangar2.jpg (24019 bytes) A little more light is required for some photos, so we drag her out for her last look at blue skies for a while.  Will those rib cap strips support flight?...perhaps only at Mach 1!
Breyloading1.jpg (31657 bytes) Breyloading2.jpg (33647 bytes) Our group member, John Heard, bless 'im, provided free transport to my house for the major components.  That's me on the right.  Andy Duke on the left.  John gets the free advertising in exchange.
hangar.jpg (11582 bytes) hangar2.jpg (12457 bytes) Ensconced in my garage, 8' wide, 32' long; a tight squeeze.  Firewall removed from cowl, cleaned up  & Cleco'd back on to renew rivets.  1kW of lighting!
aft_fus.jpg (12421 bytes) Fuselage condition OK, no major corrosion found, but much previous repair work identified, and a few tubes need straightening.

fairlead1.jpg (18385 bytes) fairlead2.jpg (34411 bytes) New fairleads (10 required), use one of the original wire clips to hold it in place.   51/64" outside diameter provides a nice snug fit.
fairlead3.jpg (13972 bytes) fairlead4.jpg (13470 bytes) .....and here are the finished articles.
hinge1.jpg (29056 bytes) hinge2.jpg (29784 bytes) hinge3.jpg (44224 bytes) New door hinges are made to weld on to the steel tube.   Previously they were screwed to the wooden frame, but I thought I'd revert to the better design seen in earlier (pre-1946) models.  No "wobble" or movement on the door now!

Skylight and Door Frames:

skylight_comlpete1.JPG (43139 bytes) skylight_comlpete2.JPG (36331 bytes) Ragged edges of plexiglass is the protective covering film.  Plastic clamps in the last picture are useful for trial fitting of glazing.  Black cable ties are to hold the wood down temporarily.  The wood is all screwed on, it will also be fabricked to the tubing.   All screws are stainless, and reinforced using stainless countersunk washers to prevent squashing of the wood.
Now the wood can be varnished and put away till the fuselage is blasted and painted.
The 51/64" diameter steel mandrel through the starboard aft fairlead is to repair the shape of the fairlead housing immediately forward of it; it got damaged on removal of the aileron cable.
skylight_complete3.JPG (40935 bytes) skylight_comlpete4.JPG (33248 bytes)

 

wood8.JPG (52021 bytes) wood7.JPG (50932 bytes) Some more views of additional work required on the skylight woodwork.  Upper pictures:  The plywood former sandwiches some balsa wood spacers between it and the wing root woodwork to maintain a pleasing line where the skylight joins the wing root.  Balsa is to reduce squishing when the whole lot is covered in fabric.

The two lower pictures, facing forward, show the new rear skylight fairing and two new brackets to hold the top fuselage stringers aft of the skylight.  Note I have installed slots in the wood in case in the future we wish to attach our shoulder harnesses here.

skylight-attach2.jpg (43240 bytes) skylight-attach1.jpg (26415 bytes)

 

skylight-attach3.jpg (41116 bytes) A third view, facing aft, showing one of the additional new tabs welded forward of the rear spar carry-through tube.  This and the L-shaped bracket above are duplicates of what was on the front spar carry-through tube, and in total they support the new rear skylight fairing (shown).  The block in the bottom left hand corner is a wooden spacer between the outer former of the wing-root wooden fairing and the inner plywood (not attached in the photo).
wood9.JPG (43555 bytes) All the woodwork in, now.  Here I'm tapping out the varnish residue from the threaded inserts that will hold the skylight down.
varnish2.jpg (64878 bytes) varnish3.jpg (59864 bytes) varnish1.jpg (79294 bytes) Time now to varnish all my new door frames, etc.  Use a pipe cleaner dunked in varnish to get it down the numerous holes.   Metal mesh holds the paper down; I will later be using this mesh as a screen for small parts spraying.  Recycle!

Hatshelf:

hatshelf1.jpg (67648 bytes) New hat shelf has a trial fit.  Two pieces, to be reinforced with light stringers to minimise drumming.  At the left and right upper extremities of the back piece are new, welded fittings for the shoulder harnesses.
hatshelf2.jpg (40443 bytes) Hatshelf detail
fus-reassembly3.jpg (60467 bytes) fus-reassembly4.jpg (63158 bytes) fus-reassembly5.jpg (64139 bytes) The varnished frames, painted D windows, hat shelf.  Some of the fairing pieces are held on temporarily with black cable ties until I fabric them on.

Fuselage rotating jig (front part).  

fuselage inverted.jpg (31062 bytes) Having finally sorted out the woodwork, and other bits, I was in the position of being able to turn the fuselage upside down to check on some things there.
front rotate jig1.jpg (34137 bytes) front rotate jig5.jpg (29016 bytes) The jig bolts on to the engine mounting bolts. 
front rotate jig2.jpg (36774 bytes)
front rotate jig3.jpg (27553 bytes) front rotate jig4.jpg (22558 bytes) Because the fuselage needs to tilt as well as rotate, a swivel is incorporated.  A bolt is used to lock the fuselage in the position required.

Fuselage rotating jig (rear part).  

The addition of the aft one will enable the fuselage to rotate like a pig on a spit.

aft-rotate-jig1.jpg (76824 bytes) aft-rotate-jig2.jpg (46776 bytes) aft-rotate-jig3.jpg (51604 bytes) Components are made up, and where appropriate, bolted up prior to and during welding.  I use some old AN3 bolts, tack welded underneath the flat plate.  They do not support the weight..they are for location only...
aft-rotate-jig4.jpg (50420 bytes) ...and it is important to ensure that the fin top will miss the floor when deciding the height of the upstand...
aft-rotate-jig5.jpg (39659 bytes) aft-rotate-jig6.jpg (46883 bytes) aft-rotate-jig7.jpg (50017 bytes) ...and on assembly, the whole fuselage sits in neutral balance; with nothing to prevent rotation (apart from the un-clamped rotation clamps), it will turn on my fingertips.  How I wish my barbecue spit would work as well!

Welding & beadblasting:

fuselage to beadblasting1.jpg (39802 bytes) Fuselage leaves my home to go to John Pitts' house for me to use his beadblasting compressor and for some welding mods.  Thanks for the transport, Eric! fus-welding.jpg (40369 bytes) Welding!

beadblasting5.jpg (69986 bytes)

beadblasting2.jpg (52086 bytes)

beadblasting6.jpg (66027 bytes) These photos show me beadblasting the fuselage, after all the welding is done.
Done in sections, each section followed by a painting session to cover the area just blasted.
2 days got me to completing the forward section, to just aft of the bit above your head, so a ways to go yet.

(the horizontal ladder supports black plastic sheeting to limit overspray)

Folks, get this done professionally, it's not worth the grief! (but I'll do yours for 1M)


Andy, bless 'im, did the necessary fettling and filing

beadblasting3.jpg (62298 bytes) beadblasting4.jpg (52747 bytes) beadblasting1.jpg (80867 bytes). beadblasting7.jpg (62718 bytes)
beadblasting8.jpg (81721 bytes) small-parts1.jpg (94970 bytes) small-parts2.jpg (147726 bytes) Bead blasting those smaller components.   Parts which need to be identified for location were stamped upon removal so that I know where to fit them back!

Assembly:

fus-reassembly1.jpg (40586 bytes) fus-reassembly2.jpg (51808 bytes) The fuselage made it back home again, etch-primed.  Some trial fitting of the remaining components not already tried, pending the final coat of two-pack epoxy primer.
elevator-straighten.jpg (41567 bytes) elevator-straighten2.jpg (52392 bytes) Some straightening of the stabiliser butt rib achieved using brute force!

 

pulleys-control-cables.jpg (25458 bytes) Existing control surface pulleys were serviceable, but needed re-bushing, since the original bushes had worn loose in the pulleys.  Therefore pulley bore opened out and new phosphor-bronze bushes   turned and press-fitted in. The bush rotates around the bolt, not the pulley rotating around the bush.
Bush is slightly wider than pulley, so preventing the side of the pulley interfering with the bracket..
rubber-bumper1.jpg (24447 bytes) rubber-bumper2.jpg (47001 bytes) Replacement gear bumpers...supplied courtesy of my local (3500 miles) hardware supply house, thanks, Jon.  Modified in accordance with a certain sketch in a certain Owner's Club newsletter.

Painting:

fus-biw1.jpg (64616 bytes) fus-biw2.jpg (53507 bytes) Car manufacturers call this "Body-in-white" or biw.  In my case, 2-pack white epoxy primer, over the green 2-pack etch-prime.  The last close-up view is of the full gloss 2-pack acrylic top coat in those areas in the cabin that will be on view.  Spraying white on to a white primer is difficult!

Unfortunately, my nice grey epoxy painted floor is now also white!  B*llocks.

fus-biw4.jpg (48243 bytes)
fus-biw3.jpg (47984 bytes) fus-gloss1.jpg (31440 bytes)
fus-waxoil1.jpg (28932 bytes) fus-waxoil2.jpg (32260 bytes) After the gloss coat, all crevices are injected with waxoil (using a hypodermic syringe) to exclude air & water to eliminate any corrosion.  The excess will be wiped off with white spirit.
fuel-tank1.jpg (55015 bytes) spraying-parts1.jpg (54447 bytes) More spraying!  Note on the fuel tank in the left picture the reinforcing plates welded in to prevent strain & cracking when tightening the fittings.
wheel.jpg (36100 bytes) More small parts get the white gloss...in this case the wheels.  The same 2-part Acrylic used on the cabin tubes.
rudder-bar1.jpg (35635 bytes) The rudder bars & brake pedals are gloss-coated white and finished off with some 3M grippy paint, which I acquired from unnamed sources, but some sand mixed in with regular paint would do equally well, I'm sure.

stab-fit1.jpg (47841 bytes) stab-fit3.jpg (59180 bytes) Three views of a trial fit of the horizontal stabiliser.  It encroaches onto the kitchen, and makes a convenient saucepan holder next to the oven.  I will be making a jig to hold the fin and stabilisers all square for the re-drilling of the stabilise attachment holes in the fuselage stubs, and later for alignment for the fin covering.
stab-fit2.jpg (54844 bytes)
linseed1.jpg (37364 bytes) linseed2.jpg (31675 bytes) linseed3.jpg (32663 bytes) Injecting linseed oil into the sternpost, using a vetinerary  syringe, with the wickedly sharp point removed.  The last picture shows the stuff unexpectedly pouring out of an aperture at the "H" frame (control column) fitting, to prove that at least some of the tubes are connected internally.   Mopping up on my new white floor required!


tube-sealing-test.jpg (87477 bytes) drive-pin.jpg (63672 bytes) I decide to seal some tubes not otherwise showing signs of having received previous oiling efforts   The far left photo shows a test of the re-sealing drive pin   inserted in a test piece, to make sure I can re-seal the hole.  On the right here is the finished article. drive-pin2.jpg (21168 bytes)
Duralac.jpg (52207 bytes) I am using Pigeon Poo (my colloquial term for "Duralac" barium chromate paste) to seal the drive pinion.  This paste is also very good for sealing rivets, screws, and any other application where dissimilar metal corrosion may occur, and also between wood and metal components.  I will be using it to protect all my steel bolts through wood spars, aluminium, etc.  Available from Aeronautical or Nautical suppliers.  Excellent stuff.
varnish2.jpg (64878 bytes) Also going on is a re-varnish of my beloved woodwork, after the Randolph one-part varnish decides to react with the fabric cement after I tested it.  So I purchase some 2-part epoxy varnish from my local boat yard, sand off much of the old stuff, and re-apply in 2-part epoxy varnish.  An industrial sander works well here!  I think I'm up to the 150 hour mark on just the new door frames, but they'll be worth it.
fairlead-aft-trim.jpg (29096 bytes) I remanufacture the broken aft trim cable fairlead, using solid copper.  The original was exemplary in its lightness, but made of fibreboard with copper inserts must have been very expensive to make, but bless CG for his attention to a light design.  But I cannot afford the tooling or time, so I have ventured for 1/16 oz extra weight and gone for the easy option.  I got the copper from an electrical supplier (it's a standard bus-bar section).
Note: I have still not drilled the welded-up stabiliser holes in the cross-tube...
stab-jig1.jpg (41257 bytes) stab-jig2.jpg (42749 bytes) ...because I am still working with my alignment jig.  Made from one long piece of random box section, and one long piece (84") of 5/16 bar welded as one, which is then sawn at the appropriate positions to fit into the stabiliser hinges.  This ensures the 5/16 stubs are in line, good and true.   Photos will follow with it all fitted into the stabilisers and made square and true with a similar fin/sternpost jig and the tailbrace wires.
harness-att-port.jpg (21853 bytes) harness-att-stbd.jpg (21770 bytes) 3 views of the shoulder harness attachment lugs welded into the cluster aft of the headliner.  Thank you Bruce for issuing the details in the Taylorcraft Owner's Club Newsletter.  The first two photos are viewed from vertically above.  The third photo is of the starboard attachment, viewed from the port side. Note the trim cable string lines, no reason, just there!
The tube marked "FWD" in each case is the upper longeron.
I found that I had to modify the approved Taylorcraft drawing for the port (left) side because the top diagonal tube got in the way of the hole.  The first of these 3 photos shows this.  Make cardboard templates first!
harness-att-stbd-side-view.jpg (36029 bytes)
yoke-guides.jpg (25437 bytes) Control column shaft bearer is cleaned up.   These were replaced many years ago, and are still serviceable.

 

JonJason&Rob.jpg (58654 bytes) JonJason&Rob2.jpg (31865 bytes) JonJason&Rob3.jpg (53088 bytes) Jon Timlin and his son Jason pay a brief visit to inspect progress.  Jason is conscripted to help make a new fairlead.
Check out Jon's Taylorcraft website.

Trim:

fairlead-aft-trim1.jpg (50741 bytes) fairlead-aft-trim2.jpg (37247 bytes) Views showing two different dummy rigs for aft trim pulley, so as to set up the correct operating system of the trim.  The first shows the fuselage uncovered; the second a modification to permit the dummy pulley to be installed after covering.....
trim-pulley-fwd.jpg (50957 bytes) trim-pulley-fwd1.jpg (24783 bytes) ...and here's the new forward pulley, in the process of setting up the trim indicator.  Much maintenance work was done over the decades in the past  to get this operating correctly...perhaps one of CG's mistakes was to have an overly-complicated indicator.
Both fore and aft pulleys are new, manufactured from 5mm thick Tufnel.
[Right-hand photo shows new spindle also made March 2004: Thanks, David.]

Floorboards:

Floorboards2.jpg (34063 bytes) New floorboards made, using the old ones as a pattern.  5-ply, 6mm-thick Baltic birch ply used.
Floorboards1.jpg (83908 bytes) Applying a pre-set bend to the ply required soaking in water and using weights to form a curve until the wood is dry.
Floorboards3.jpg (51541 bytes) Floorboards4.jpg (53036 bytes) The boards are secured with load-spreading countersunk washers, recessed into the surface of the wood, and a new central aluminium strip to cover the join.

Taylorcraft.org.uk Home

Fuselage structural work
Fuselage Fabric
Wing Structural work
Wing Fabric
Ailerons
Cowls
Tailfeathers & Gear Legs
Doors Control Column & Panel
Final Assembly

Other restoration photos
Tools used