Busy Busy weekend – Living and Breathing Oratex – Start Body covering

Full on weekend ahead of the Jersey Air Display this week (in the static display – flying next year 🙂

Lots and lots of covering bits including the first AND THE MOST AWKWARD piece … the dreaded bottom of the fin curve to the longerons / turtle deck !

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Roll out the material across the top of the tail end and loosely clamp to give some basic form

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Now start to pull the shape and bring clamps more into play …. I noticed that the tail end of one of the stringers was protruding and making a noticeable point in the material… so took around 20 mm off the end and curved more.

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Decided to start ironing from the lower centre forwards and rearwards .. small iron set at 150 (as metal bars) Trying to get as tight as I could on the first pull.

The complex nature of that lovely curve from fin leading edge to the top of the body is frightening to try to get the material to follow. Even just offering up the material is ‘fighting’ to stay straight !

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Slit to follow the strake lines BUT make sure the hotmelt glue is on all the parts that you might wish to secure it to ! Once the se cuts go in the whole thing starts to ‘behave’ and follow the lines .. but don’t cut too much as it will affect the relatively narrow surface area it grips to.

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I have learned that having an initial run through with the heat gun around 130 starts to take up the slack gradually .. rather than just blasting through on 150+. Also, my very good friend and fellow builder Danny (Baker) kindly advised me on cut patterns for the body and care on this curve .. too much rapid shrinkage could distort the underlying framework

The bit securing to the fibreglass decking was easier than I thought .. again complex curves and adverse cambers but it looks neat once done.

Returning to a previous awkward ripple once cooled a bit brings much more control to the phased tightening and even look ensues !

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Second run through and have had to crank up from 130 to 150 to encourage that latter (now small) ripples to flatten out in a curved way !

Very pleased (and HUGELY relieved) at the result !

The ‘other’ side should be somewhat easier as its simply overlapping .. already templates based on this first side (reverse image !)

Aim was to cover one piece in Cub Yellow on top deck and then paint it green .. but I kinda like the two-tone look at the moment !

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