My Taylorcraft restoration project,  G-BREY
Page 1, November 2001 - December 2002 
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by Robert Lees

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November 2001.  The rebuild starts proper.

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.
[edit: 10 Nov 2003, have a look at the new fuselage paint scheme]
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.

November 2001. Fuselage condition, doors. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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, November 2002
doorhingecorrosion1.jpg (19274 bytes) doorhingecorrosion2.jpg (22915 bytes) The steel door hinges were attached to the aluminium doors with no paint or other corrosion protection between them, so dissimilar metal corrosion has occurred, hopefully repairable.

January 2002.  Wing fuel tank.  New threaded fittings (for filler neck, outlet and fuel drain) are welded in.

wingtank2.jpg (21879 bytes) wingtank3.jpg (21558 bytes) wingtank4.jpg (31397 bytes)  Reinforcing plates are welded at the same time to spread the load when connecting up.  Filler neck screws in, I didn't like the glued-in original.
wingtank1.jpg (20791 bytes) All tanks are leak-tested after welding in new fittings.  Also tests condoms.  Pumped up, remained up for 24 hours, only wish I could say the same!  One of four tanks leaked at a hairline crack on one weld, I used gas-fitter's spray to find source of leak.  Interestingly, all the condoms never leaked or burst.
Inflation was through Schraeder valve connected into fuel drain hole.
trim_mech.jpg (42615 bytes) Trim mechanism, ready for disassembly
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!

April 2002.  Woodworking. And more door work.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

wood1.jpg (33422 bytes) wood2.jpg (36543 bytes) wood3.jpg (41408 bytes) 3 views of the new door woodwork going in.  I lost count of the number of times this wood has been on and off, in order to get a better fit than was there.  Wood is American White Ash. 
wood5.JPG (24998 bytes) wood6.JPG (21916 bytes) More hours spent on the skylight woodwork.   Lightening holes to reduce the weight of the heavier (and stronger) ash.
doors1.JPG (24322 bytes) doors2.JPG (27877 bytes) The doors cleaned up nicely, despite the corrosion seen in earlier pictures. Note the spot-welded construction.
New interior aluminium panels are made, the old ones were well knackered.
Some reworking of the shape required, especially around the window aperture, using a shrinker/stretcher.
The hardest part was removing the magnesium door handles!  All rivets to be replaced.
doors3.JPG (25199 bytes)

End May 2002. All skylight woodwork now finished and 1/8" acrylic fitted to suit.   Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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)

June & July 2002, largely spent flying in G-BRPX, including a trip to the Le Mans 24-hour race, also flying in T-Rex to the
Alliance Taylorcraft reunion in Ohio.

But during this time, I made the fuselage rotating jig (or at least the front part of it).  

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.

August 2002.  Fuselage work.   Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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)

October 2002  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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!

Late October 2002  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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).
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.

November 2002    Busy month.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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.

Late November 2002   Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, use the browser's Back button to go back.

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!

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!

drift-control-bushings1.jpg (53875 bytes) drift-control-bushings2.jpg (63382 bytes) The tail control surface bushings are driven out using a drift.  The same drift will safely insert the new ones.
door-handles1.jpg (61262 bytes) Magnesium door handles after bead-blasting and IMMEDIATELY treated with Stits magna-dyne, this converts the surface to a grey-coloured inert coating, but must be over-painted within 8 hours.
spraying-parts.jpg (101953 bytes) Remember that mesh?  Spraying small parts over a mesh stops them blowing away.
H-frame1.jpg (34542 bytes) A filthy but necessary job, stripping parts prior to bead blasting (the bead is too soft to remove this two-pack enamel that the previous rebuilder used).  But take a look what the H frame looks like after completion!

fairlead3.jpg (13972 bytes) fairlead4.jpg (13470 bytes) A great achievement, exactly 13 months after BREY was taken off the road, the first components are fitted that won't be removed again!  We are into REASSEMBLY!!!  [Go to what it looked like]

December 2002:   Reassembly continues (and discontinues again) with various works, largely involving a continuation of the oiling of the internals of the fuselage frame, in response to emails on the Taylorcraft Email List.

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.

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