|June 14, 2004
Yes, it's been almost 2 weeks with no progress. Today, I pulled out the fiberglass elevator tip. I cut reinforcing strips to hold the rivets that will hold the fiberglass tips in place. Rivets will work through the fiberglass if you don't reinforce it. I cut some .025" alclad and sanded one side. Then I sanded the fiberglass area. I mixed some T-88 structural adhesive (some folks use tank seal or even household glue, but T-88 is flexible, sticks to fiberglass and aluminum and I was just more comfortable with that). I smeared the T-88 along the reinforcement line and laid down the aluminum strip.
I used these special high-tech space-age aeronautic clamps (available at any office supply store) to hold the aluminum in place until the glue dried.
It's important to measure the relationship between the pre-punched holes in the elevator and the fiberglass recess. In my case, the rivets would fall about 1/8th inch from the edge of the glass. That's too close, even with the aluminum backing. So, I set the aluminum strip out a little farther than the edge of the glass as you can see below. That will allow the needed 1/4" from the rivet to the edge.
Here's the whole thing, clamped up and waiting to dry. Next, I'll have to match drill the fiberglass to the pre-punched holes in the elevator. This is an area where I will have to settle for pop rivets. There's no other way...
Oh, one thing I forgot to mention, before you glue on the aluminum strip, it's a good idea to cut out the relief for the counterweight. There isn't enough clearance around the counterweight for the fiberglass. This is one area where Van's could have done a better job. If they had made the counterweight narrower, it would have saved work and improved the integrity of the fiberglass elevator tip. It's not a big deal, but an area that could be improved.