Glider Restoration Part 2 - Finishing the wings

To finish off the wingtips, I cut off the spars at an angle and cut some tip skins based on the plans. These were glued and pinned into place then sanded to provide a smooth finish and to blend in with the leading and trailing edges.

Wingtips sheeted and sanded

With the tips finished I drilled holes into the inner three ribs of each wing. This was a process that would have been much easier earlier on, but would have resulted in the ribs being delicate and fiddly until the skin on this section was added. The first wing went fairly smoothly, but the spars on the second were slightly closer-spaced, resulting in my drill bit catching and breaking one of the ribs. This was easy enough to repair but frustrating.

I couldn't find any tubing exactly the right size to take the wing joiner, so I settled for taking some undersized tubing and cutting a slit in it to allow it to expand slightly. Cutting this with a rotary tool worked but was messy and went through several cutting discs.

Slotted aluminium tubing

I first test fitted the tubing to make sure it the wing joiner would fit. Then I wrapped it in tape to make it easier to remove should I need to, before epoxying it into the slot in the wing. Once both wings were done I installed the joiner as a test only to find there was a slight misalignment that I'd missed. I was glad of the tape at this point as it made it much easier to remove the tubing before re-drilling and refitting the tubing!

Wing joiner tube

Once the joiner tube was in place and both wings lined up I cut some wood for the sheeting on the inner section of the wing. This was quite straightforward as the shapes were simple and the dimensions could be directly taken from the wing. Once these were cured I glued on the 1/32" ply faceplates to the root rib, using the wing jointer to align them.

Finished wing root

Finished wing structure

With the wings complete it was time to cover them. As usual I used an iron on film, in this case LightTex. I prefer to tack the film to the trailing and leading edges first, to avoid it moving about. After this, I worked from one end of the wing to the other to avoid the shrinking film creating too much tension and pulling a warp into the wing.

Original decals

I kept the original decals from the previous model when I removed the covering, and my initial plan was to reuse all of these on the new model. Unfortunately the covering that the second of the larger decals was attached to began to disintegrate when I attempted to remove it so I was left with only one good decal.

To deal with this I decided to trace out the lines of the decal and create my own from some left over red and black covering film that I had. This worked surprisingly well and I decided to remove the other of the larger decals and use the same technique on the first wing also.

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After tracing, I transferred the lines onto some paper and cut them out neatly. This provided a template that could be taped to some covering film and cut out with a sharp craft knife. I did this for the swirl and the individual letters, then arranged them on the wing. To iron them down I covered the sealing iron with a sock. This was to prevent the small pieces of film from shrivelling and attaching their adhesive side to the iron.

Finished Swirl Decal

I lost some detail in the decals by using this method, but it still looks good. The original decals looked quite messy due to air bubbles under the transparent parts and dust getting stuck to the adhesive around the edges.

Wings with decals

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