My Taylorcraft restoration project,  G-BREY
Page 7, November 2005 - February 2006
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by Robert Lees

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November 2005: Now the wings are done, the fuselage comes back for doors and cowls:

fus-back-again2.jpg (39678 bytes) The fuselage comes back for final fettling & fitting of the cowlings & doors.  I do some fettling of the D window trim pieces.
fus-back-again1.jpg (55974 bytes) The engine gets reunited with the firewall...
cowl1.jpg (66562 bytes) To fit the new nosebowl concentric to the prop flange, I have made a collar to fit snugly between the two.
OD is 6" to fit inside the nosebowl hole, ID is 5.18" to fit snugly over the prop flange.
cowl2.jpg (55296 bytes)
cowl-lower-new.jpg (54631 bytes) I have had the lower bootcowl made deliberately oversize, so that I can incrementally trim it to fit in situ. cowl3.jpg (56377 bytes) I use Cleco's to hold the parts together...these holes will become holes for the Dzus fasteners.
cowl4.jpg (45986 bytes) I have had new stainless Dzus fasteners modified by drilling through... cowl5.jpg (75564 bytes) that a tool with a pin will prevent the scratching of the paint.

December 2005

cowl6.jpg (40925 bytes) After much fettling, I can start to look at the top cowls...I use my slip rolls to get the sheet to conform to the curve. cowl9.jpg (25131 bytes) I use my shrinker to bend some aluminium angle to the shape of the top cowls.  (This is the stringer in the middle of the top cowl).
cowl10.jpg (40716 bytes) Reinforcing the nosebowl where the top hinge meets, I use some stainless plate.  There are three screws which attach the front hinge where the 1/8 clecos are; I will open the holes out later.
cowl11.jpg (43069 bytes) Using the original cowl as a pattern, I joggle the lower cowl to take the thickness of the top cowl to provide a flush finish.  The stainless firewall has a recess to allow this.
cowl23.jpg (46632 bytes) I roll new top cowls using my slip rolls.   Final trimming will be done in situ.
cowl8.jpg (38410 bytes) As I progress, with constant trimming, things start to look good.  I use duct tape to hold things until I drill the Cleco holes.
cowl7.jpg (56204 bytes) The Cleco's mark where the Dzus fasteners will go.  I will drill these out as one of the last operations.  Note also I am leaving the bronze ring around the prop flange during the whole process, so that I can be as sure as possible of correct  alignment to the crank.

cowl12.jpg (44864 bytes) An aperture is cut for the exhaust...
cowl13.jpg (55658 bytes) ...and for the air intake. cowl14.jpg (36347 bytes) New skills are learnt; here I folded the cut edges over to make a little bit of reinforcing.
cowl15.jpg (45245 bytes) All in all, the progress is satisfying.

More cowling work:

cowl16.jpg (49126 bytes) On the lower cowl, I make new stainless reinforcing patches for the four corners
(the shrinking tool helps get the curve in the folded edge...
cowl17.jpg (40981 bytes) ...I do similar for the two lowest Dzus fastener reinforcing patches.  All of these stainless patches are flush-riveted on.
cowl18.jpg (46996 bytes) On the new top cowls, I add an additional stringer at right angles to the original. cowl20.jpg (36132 bytes) This will hopefully reduce the twisting of the originals.
Again, all are flush riveted.
cowl19.jpg (52881 bytes) I make new stainless patches for the new top cowls (why all of these were stainless is, I can only assume, to keep thickness to a minimum for a given strength). cowl21.jpg (37627 bytes) After alodining all components of all the cowls (except the stainless ones), I wet-rivet them up, then prime with etch prime.
Here is the two-pack epoxy straight on top of the etch prime.


cowl22.jpg (42208 bytes) All of the flush rivets were treated with a quick dab of "knifing putty" to seal the little circle of gap between the rivet and the skins; the excess gets sanded off.
If this is not done, then the paint will not stick to the very sharp edge of the rivet head.
I used JB Weld, a well-known Aviation two-pack epoxy product.
doors4.JPG (40311 bytes) I am working on the doors too. 
Here, I have added a stringer to the inside of the outer door skins, to reduce the pushing in of the bowed skin...
doors5.JPG (46152 bytes) ...I do the same to the new inner door panels, but this is to prevent drumming of the flat panel.
wing99.jpg (33540 bytes) While I am in the riveting mood, I rivet up the inspection covers.
This was another case of me hating those pesky steel rivets that manufacturers seem to love... I de-riveted the lot and started again.  It was an ideal time to bead-blast the steel spring & paint it front and back, separate from the aluminium cover.

January 2006

After priming all the cowling elements, I encounter some contaminated paint, unfortunately after I had sprayed the cowls.

BadPaint1.jpg (49182 bytes) BadPaint2.jpg (61334 bytes) BadPaint3.jpg (54800 bytes) BadPaint4.jpg (38447 bytes) The photos are self-explanatory, and are of samples I did after I discovered the problem.  Of fours tins of two different colours, purchased from two different suppliers at two different times, two tins of red and one of white were contaminated.
cowl24.jpg (28338 bytes) The paint appeared to curdle, and would not cure correctly.  Fingerprints would remain in the soft surface, even after seven days.  I have no choice but to laboriously wet-sand to remove the film on most of the components.

Poly-Fiber did replace the defective product, and also supplied materials necessary to get back to where I was.  They however refused my invitation to compensate me for the additional hours I needed to spend correcting the situation.  The UK agent, Tony Young, acted very admirably with his assistance, however, and I cannot fault his customer service.

But the experience has severely dented my confidence in their product, and in the factory quality control methods.

February 2006

cowl25.jpg (39034 bytes) I eventually get the white gloss completed, and mask off to paint the red.
cowl26.jpg (44257 bytes) cowl27.jpg (39228 bytes) cowl28.jpg (38200 bytes) Red top coat.  After the last coat of paint, I spray a very thinned down coat, mostly thinners, to increase the gloss level, but one must be very wary of runs!
cowl29.jpg (40972 bytes) cowl30.jpg (36853 bytes) cowl31.jpg (36219 bytes) After removal of the masking, the effect is very pleasing.
cowl32.jpg (57307 bytes) The old and new lower cowls side-by-side.

doors6.JPG (37885 bytes) I also paint the white on the doors first, then mask off for red... doors7.JPG (46338 bytes) ...and again I am now pleased with the final effect.

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A tally of my hours spent restoring is available here
Other restoration photos

Nosebowl Grille fitting problems. Home