Elevator tip shaping

The day after doing a layup is always fun – it’s time to rip off the peel ply and see if you did something right, or if it’s gonna be do-over city again. In my case, there was the additional mild concern that I’d epoxied the tips to the elevator in spite of taping up, but once again both tips popped right off with no drama. After removing the peel ply and putting them back in place, the front-end profile matches up far better than last time:

Next up was cleaning things up. The ragged edge where I cut the wet cloth got sanded to a nice straight line, and then I went to work sanding along the joint to remove the excess cloth and make a nice smooth scarf joint. With that done, the tips look a lot better already:

The next step is to slop on some micro and work on the final contour for these guys. Most of this will involve shaping the front end I glassed over, but I also want to fill the gap between the fiberglass tip and the aluminum skin. The photo above in particular shows one of the unsightly gaps that I want to take care of. Before doing this, though, I wanted to tighten up the glass-aluminum interface; right now the edge of the elevator skins want to curl up a bit. That just required a bit of work with a hand seamer, and eventually things were looking much more flush, and thus conducive to adding micro.

I also temporarily added the stab tips to get an idea how things will line up. Interestingly, whereas on the vertical the rudder tip needed to be built up to match the stab, here I have the opposite problem; I’ll need to build up the stab tips a bit to match the elevator. I’ve also got a bit of refinement to do between the tip and skin contour there, so overall there’s gonna be a decent amount of micro applied, which in turn means a good bit of sanding.

Initially I’d thought I might get to doing micro tonight but I ended up just doing prep work instead. I sanded all the tip pieces down to remove the gloss from the gel coat and promote adhesion when I add micro. I also sanded the epoxy skim coat on the rudder bottom that I added previously, so that piece should be ready for primer once I get the tail light fitted. Though as I type this I’m remembering my intent to add some more glass to the open part of the front end, so never mind that last part…

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