Tiger Cub the Story part 26

The “hump” progresses…

The plywood section has the glue set and feels pretty rigid as I plan and shape up so that everything is nicely aligned. I carefully saw the balsa infill and sand it to a good tight fit and glue it into place

Then out of the blue I get an offer that I’d not expected, a genuine Tiger Cub Propeller, make me an offer the man says. It seems that it was given to him by Tom Wright the designer and producer of the Tiger Cub the prop having been fitted to his own G-MBUE the first to be built, it would be hard to have better province than that Having no idea of the right price I go on a fishing expedition and check what such things are fetching and come up with a price that seems to satisfy both of us. Mark, the man with the prop, says that he would like to see how SP is progressing and bring the prop at the same time, and maybe Tom himself may also come. A chance to meet the man himself, now that would be quite something, I hope he likes what I’m doing. Given the chance I like to take him to Jenkins and show him Katie (G-MMKT) as well, I still have the ambition to have them both flying.

Then a bit of a disappointment, the nice new dual CHT gauge I’d ordered arrived and it is damaged, a pity I had been looking forward to having a complete panel. Well complete that is apart from the placards, I know I can do without them being SSDR but I want it to be right and look it. Never mind I ordered it from Skydrive so I’m sure that they will sort it for me.

Back in the workshop the balsa I’d glued into place is trimmed with a very sharp knife and sanded to the required profile and is looking good. The next job will be to glue on the very thin ply covering prior to gluing it the blue foam section and sanding the whole thing together to form a smooth shape.

As expected Skydrive didn’t let me down and a replacement CHT was delivered with the minimum of delay and the panel, now supplied with all the required nut and bolts is ready for a trial fit. My idea for brackets works out a treat and the panel now sits proud in the airframe again, the first time in many years.

The next move with “the Hump” is to steam the ply covering to get it something like the bend needed. It’s pretty thin stuff so I try steaming using an ordinary kettle and leaving it tied to the inner section, I’ll find out when I release it how well, or otherwise it has worked.

While this is left I start cleaning up the top engine cowling that I got from Bob Adams. It is quite thickly coated with black paint but in places the small areas, almost pinpricks, showing the underlying alloy. This makes me suspect that there is under the paint there is corrosion forming, so it’ll need cleaning back to bare metal. The paint proves to be tough stuff and the first application of paint stripper has a very small effect; the next one is rubbed down to allow the stripper to penetrant the surface and does a better job. Just as I thought, there is a surface corrosion lurking below apparently good paint, well that was well worth doing.

The paint on the cowl may have corrosion forming below but it’s tough stuff and is taking many applications of stripper to shift it. Nothing else to do but work away at it, I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end.

Yes!, I now have a prop, unfortunately Mark and Tom were unable to come to see what I’m up to but we met up with Mark near Peterborough and had a decent natter. The prop is one of those fitted to the first Cub, G-MBUE that now hangs from the ceiling of Newark museum and is a beautiful thing.

It seems a little small for a Robin 440 but when it comes to it engine runs will tell all.When I put it on a shelf in the workshop, specially cleared for the purpose I checked the balance and although slightly out it seems within the range of varnish to one tip.

The steaming of the ply for the “hump” seems to have worked well and it now has a definite curve of its own and very little effort is needed to get it to shape. So, out with the epoxy and knock up glue and bend it around the structure, it takes a bit of positioning as I’d not reckoned on how slippery it had become. Then lengths of soft string and many wedges so that it eventually stops sliding about and conforms to the structure nicely.

When this is all set it’s ready to glue to the blue foam part so I make a bit of a jig to hold things, fit it together with more glue and “G” clamp it to the bench. The next day I remove the clamps and the jig and there it is in one piece at last. Now to sand the foam to a profile the matches the ply section a simple but time consuming job with frequent stops to use a straight edge. It is surprising how easy it is to sand a dip into the foam, but as the piles of dust grow so the technique improves and in the finish I am quite pleased with the outcome. Now all that is needed is to make a small balsa piece to fit to the rear inspection panel, this proves to be easy using the same methods as shaping the foam and I can lay it in place and finally see that it does look the way I had planned it, at what feels a long time back.

(Written in May 2015)

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