My Taylorcraft restoration project,  G-BREY
by Robert Lees

Wing Fabric Work

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wing63.jpg (60375 bytes) The port wing makes a reappearance in my garage.  Both wings, ailerons and the fuselage and tailfeathers have been signed off by my beloved inspector Carl, so I can progress onto covering the wings.
wing64.jpg (30152 bytes) You may notice I am using rib bracing tape...I'm not convinced of the benefits for the relatively rigid pressed-aluminium ribs, but a consensus on the Taylorcraft forum was to use it.
I have also adopted an old Auster trick...that is, to use Selotape over the rib caps to allow the fabric to "slide" over the ribs as it is shrunk.
wing65.jpg (41411 bytes) I make sure the pitot (and static) tubing is installed before covering.  Here I use black tape, and also some tie-wraps to secure.   Tie-wraps are known to fail after many years (because the plasticisers contained evaporate out) so I make sure the tape is adequate.  The tie-wraps are there as a "back-up" during the fabricking process.
wing66.jpg (35435 bytes) The wing covering and sealing (pink goo) process goes relatively simply.  It is important to shrink the areas of maximum curvature first (i.e. above & below the main spar, and just aft of this area) so as to minimise any "scalloping" of the fabric, which would happen if shrinking each complete bay in turn.  Thanks to Jim Miller ( ) for the tip.

wing67.jpg (27256 bytes) After the pink goo has dried, I run over it with my iron set at 250 degrees.  This gets rid of minor bumps, hairs and general detritus that has settled into the wet surface.
wing68.jpg (39512 bytes) Opening out the clip holes with a soldering iron... wing69.jpg (34200 bytes) ...after which I smooth down the raised edges... wing70.jpg (32852 bytes) ...and lay the reinforcing tape and melt the holes through that.
wing71.jpg (22246 bytes) The  clips get installed (barbs towards the leading edge)... wing72.jpg (25690 bytes) ...and here is the result.  To install the clips on both sides took me a total of two hours.  Much quicker than lacing.
These are original Taylorcraft clips, not the newer Martin clips.
tank-ring1.jpg (39949 bytes) tank-ring2.jpg (34618 bytes) This ring is used to take the fabric tension loads around the filler neck.  It is important that the fabric is sealed around the neck to prevent fuel getting inside the wing.
wing73.jpg (71837 bytes) Taping.  Chord-wise tapes go on first, span wise after.  Except for at the aileron cut-out...the chord-wise tapes go over the span-wise tapes there.
The square wooden frame lying on the wing is for pre-shrinking lightweight fabric from which I make the doilies.
Aileron15.jpg (65579 bytes) Aileron16.jpg (66014 bytes) The aileron gets covered (using lots of clamps around the tip)...
wing74.jpg (77975 bytes) ...and then a final check for alignment on the wing.

wing78.jpg (58822 bytes) I add an inspection hatch on the upper surface of the wing.  Not absolutely necessary, and I hope I never have to cut it out, but it is there for access to the aileron bellcrank if required.
wing75.jpg (84376 bytes) wing76.jpg (58302 bytes) I finish off my wing rotating jig.  The jig screws into threaded inserts on the wingtip bow. wing77.jpg (92457 bytes)

wing79.jpg (71425 bytes) wing80.jpg (82530 bytes) Two spray coats of Poly-Brush...
wing81.jpg (71581 bytes) ...and then silver coats.

wing82.jpg (58854 bytes) After three cross-coats of silver (and wet sanding the first two coats), I spray white.
Although this photo shows the top surface (which will be red), I spray an undercoat of white first.  The underside will be all white.
wing83.jpg (44901 bytes) After masking off, a mist coat of red...
wing84.jpg (54508 bytes) wing85.jpg (65288 bytes) Followed by two full coats of red see the wing in her true colours.  Only the under-wing registration marks to do now.

wing86.jpg (54485 bytes) wing87.jpg (58086 bytes) A spray mask for the registration letters is applied...
wing88.jpg (58421 bytes) ...and a light mist coat is sprayed.
wing89.jpg (49099 bytes) After a full coat, the masking is removed to reveal the now completed wing.

wing90.jpg (74591 bytes) The next wing is prepared for covering.   One of the things very noticeable is a "set" in the wing, after nearly 60 years of washout in each wing.
Here, the wing tip lays on a trestle...but the root is free to rotate on my "rotisserie", and both wings like to settle with the wash-out set into the shape.
I can lock the root, which is what I do during the covering process.

Much of the time since July has been spent recovering the other wing (so not a lot to report).  However, a few things of note that I should have posted before:

wing95.jpg (35279 bytes) I used a chalk-line to "snap" the edges of the taping areas. wing93.jpg (42076 bytes) Excess chalk is first brushed off, then any remainder removed using a tack-rag.
wing94.jpg (42549 bytes) To get the correct length of rib wire, I stick the free end in a "start" hole, and unreel to the "finish" hole on all the ribs.
Aileron17.jpg (28534 bytes) I use the cardboard centre from a reel of reinforcing tape to mark the reinforcing "dollar patches" that go over the drain grommets.
wing91.jpg (53358 bytes) To make a neat drain hole, roughly cut out the 1/4" inner fabric (I use a scalpel), and then burn the excess with a small-tipped soldering iron.. .. wing92.jpg (49286 bytes) .. ..then use the scalpel again to trim off the black built-up edge.

wing98.jpg (40434 bytes) The other wing is finished. Home

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

Other restoration photos
Tools used