Wing stands, part the first

So I settled on what my evening project would be this week: getting the wing stands ready. It would seem that I’ll have one skeleton riveted within the next ten days or so, and I’m going to need somewhere to hang it. Enter the wing stands.

I’m taking something of an independent approach here. The plans call for a fairly simple stand setup; just buy a couple 4×4 posts, attach them to the floor and ceiling, add crosspieces to hold the spars, and you’re done. But there are a couple problems with this approach for me. First off, running the posts from floor to ceiling would mean making one of the garage doors INOP for the duration of the wing build. Not a huge deal, but annoying. More importantly though, we’re renters, not owners, which makes me hesitant to go making holes in the floor and ceiling for something like this.

But I got a bonus a few months back anyway. Some other builders have made floor-anchored wing stands out of steel channel (I think Rudi Greyling may have been the first person to do this). It just so happened that one of these builders was a guy I knew in Atlanta, and when he finished the wings for his RV-7, he offered to give me the stands. His only request was that I give them to another builder when I finished, which I’ll be happy to do.

But there’s still a problem; the “normal” use of these stands involves setting anchors in the garage floor and bolting them down, which takes us right back to that “renting” thing. So my solution to this problem is to construct a base out of lumber, onto which I’ll mount the stands.

I’ve been sporadically mulling over how to design these things for a few weeks now, but last night I went out and started measuring things, then sat down with a pencil and paper and went to town sketching. About an hour later, I had a solid design and a materials list. Today, after work, I ran out to Home Depot and picked up the necessary lumber and hardware. After dinner, I set about making all my lumber cuts out in the driveway (it’s so much nicer to not blow sawdust all over the garage).

I finished up the cutting around 9:30 or so and decided to call it a night, but not before laying out the parts to one base on the garage floor. One problem immediately presented itself – either the garage floor isn’t level, or the 10’ 2x6s that run the length of this contraption aren’t straight. Probably a little of both. I think I’ll take a page from my workbench builds and use tee nuts and carriage bolts to make adjustable feet for the bases. I guess I’ll be making another hardware store stop tomorrow…

No pictures tonight. There’s not much to see anyway, just stacks of cut wood.

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