More riveting, but with setbacks

I came into this evening’s work thinking we were on the home stretch. Maybe 40 or 50 rivets left to go, possibly doable in one session, or worst case surely doable over the course of this weekend, even allowing for short sessions. Most of the day was busy but we had some time after work to go out and get to it.

Things seemed to be going well – we had a good rhythm going, and took care of almost all the universal-head rivets along the lower longeron and center section in maybe 45 minutes. Unfortunately, when I came out from under the fuselage for a breather, I found that a lot of the rivets Josie had shot had their heads smeared to the side. This is easy to do when using the cupped set, a fact I can attest to because I’ve done plenty of these on my own. She just didn’t have the awareness to pick up in the issue early on, because I didn’t take the time to talk through what to look for.

So at that point the evening switched to me drilling out about half of the rivets we’d just shot. And this situation is about the worst for drilling the things out – carefully drilling off the rivet heads depends on using the rivet head ad a guide to drill on center, but if the head has been smeared sideways, then all bets are off. It takes some careful work to get the rivets out without causing damage to the holes.

I managed to get all the bad ones out on one side of the aircraft, but in the process I bent up both of the corner gussets that we’d been working on, so I’m going to replace those. I started working on the rivets on the other side, and got the heads drilled off, but was having trouble getting the shanks out – this is a common issue with rivets in thick material (like the longerons here). At some point I realized that I was getting injudicious in my application of force trying to drive the rivet heads out, so I decided to call it a night. I’ll pick back up tomorrow and hopefully be a little more circumspect.

Unfortunately this stuff happens with building – it’s the way things go sometimes – but it sure is a bummer to go from “on the home stretch” to “time to replace some parts.”

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