November 2018 Update

It’s been about a year from my last post. It’s been quite the hectic year between raising our son, selling our home, and building our new home.

Declan is now almost 16 months old. He’s now walking around (okay running most of the time) getting into lots of trouble. He really is a pretty happy guy most of the time and is developing well. His length continues to be in the >97th percentile. He says lots of words, and even has started putting 2 words together. He’s also started daycare part time so my wife has been able to increase her work hours from 2 days per week up to 4 days.

We de-cluttered and listed our home, put the airplane project in storage :(, and sold our home on the first weekend it was on the market in Mid-May. There were a bunch of delays actually closing with a couple of home sale contingencies,  which worked out in our favor seeing we had no place to live otherwise. Eventually though, we closed on September 17th and now have that chapter of our lives behind us.

As I write this, we are still in between houses. The new house is done and we are just waiting on the “Cleared to Close” indication from the mortgage underwriters. It’s been very frustrating to have a house ready to move into and we can’t close for a number of reasons. The first was there is a law that says you have to be given the Closing Disclosure at least 3 days prior to closing, the other is that due to all the delays, our file with the mortgage company had expired and it seems they had to re-review everything again, taking some additional time.

We should be closing this week (week of Nov 4th) either on Tuesday or Wednesday. After re-reading some of my blog, and hanging out at the airport yesterday and talking about RV building, I remember just how much I miss actively building. I’ll be very much looking forward to getting settled in our new home and get building underway again.

New House.. Almost done.
Declan’s 2018 Costume

Halloween 2017 Update

Our son, Declan, was born on July 13th.. He’s now 3.5 months old and doing well. Jeanine and I are adjusting well to parenthood.


Since then it’s been pretty difficult to find time to work on the plane. So there’s really no update on my plane progress. This was part of the reasoning for going the Quickbuild route. I’m way further along than I would be otherwise.

I’ve recently have felt like I could have spent some time here or there on the plane, but have been a bit distracted by house projects and getting it ready….

Ready for what you say???

Jeanine and I have always talked about moving to a new house. Specifically, we don’t like our lot. It’s more of a side-to-side lot, with no back yard and near a busy main street with little privacy. If it were just us, we’d probably just stay where we are. We like our neighborhood and neighbors, but with the addition of Declan, we’ve started thinking about it more again. We really weren’t thinking of looking seriously until spring at the earliest, but we found some new construction in our town about 5 minutes away from where we currently are. The timing of such works out that it wouldn’t be done until spring anyways. That’ll give us time to finish a couple of outstanding projects and literally “clean house” prior to putting  it on the market in the early spring.  Some of those projects are done or in process. We’ve been working with an architect to come up with a design, which is now finalized. We’re waiting on the builder to provide the final pricing based on the plans and get final financing commitment prior to breaking ground sometime in late November or early December. The new house will have a 3 car garage; 34’x24′ in size, of which 2 bays will be my new airplane factory. That’ll provide much more space than the single bay I’m working in now, and should allow me to keep the plane at home until much later in the process.

So very exciting (any busy) times ahead, so plane building will take a back seat for the next few months so that we can work on getting this house ready, planning finishings etc… for the new house, as well as care for an infant. 🙂 In the end it’ll be a welcomed delay to be in our forever home. After that, the airplane build can commence.

Here are a couple of profiles from the plans…

Practice Projects

Spent some time this weekend doing the airfoil practice project. It consists of 2 basic projects; An angle frame attached to 2 skins that overlap each other, the other is a miniature section of an airfoil. The whole point of doing this was to get familiar with my tools on something that isn’t the real airplane. Better to make mistakes on this, and mistakes I made. Even though I was frustrated, they were all things that I took note of for next time, and the projects didn’t come out all that bad.

A picture of the first project:

I thought this came out pretty good with the exception that the overlapping skin wasn’t aligned perfectly with the inner skin. I think I didn’t clamp things down enough to prevent movement. I’ll know better next time.

Then I moved on to the airfoil kit and made quite a bit of progress. I was able to do some back riveting and got to use my pneumatic squeezer.


Stiffeners clecoed onto the skins    

 Stiffeners back-riveted on. A lot of these are over driven, and should have been replaced. Air setting was too high on my gun.

A view of the plans and the spar, plates, and ribs laid out.

  Top and Bottom skin clecoed on


Skins mostly riveted on.

I still need to set the last couple of rivets at the trailing edge of the ribs. These are in a tight space, and I didn’t have much luck with a couple of the techniques I tried today. I ended up drilling them out. I also attempted to rivet the trailing edge, but didn’t do it right. I should have paused and read the section on double flush riveting again. So I will drill out the rivets on the trailing edge and try those again.

Inventory is Done

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally got some time today to finish taking inventory. Van’s gives you 30 days to report any discrepancies and fortunately I didn’t find any.

Last weekend we spent some time with friends up north, and then I spent a day and a half getting the flooring completed in our master bedroom. So working on plane things got delayed a bit. It’s amazing the amount of stuff that they package into the crate.

I was then able to organize all of the hardware into a storage bins, hang up my air compressor hose reel, and organize the workbenches the way I want them.

Tomorrow I’m off to Vermont on an annual ski trip. I’m now in a position to start actually working on the plane. I do have the practice airfoil kit that I will spend some time on getting used to my new tools and air compressor setup. I’d rather play around on that for a day or so then to damage real airplane parts. Seems like the month of March will kick off the actual build of my RV-10.

Benches are done!

This weekend I set out to complete some standard EAA benches for my workshop.

Standard EAA Bench plans

Saturday, I grabbed my fathers truck and grabbed the lumber needed for 4 benches. I plan to use 2 of them for the majority of my work, and the 2 others will house some tools (bench vise, bench grinder, etc… ), airplane plans, and anything else I need.

I ended up doing 2 benches with locking caster wheels and 2 benches without. I’ll use the benches with casters to be able to move them around easily as the situation dictates. The other two will be staying in one place, for the most part.

Some pics of the assembly process.



A Productive Weekend!

It started by cleaning out our master bedroom and ripping out the rug and padding. I was also able to pull the baseboards. It’s now all prepped for painting and the eventual hardwood installation. My attention then shifted to all the work I need to do out in the garage.

I was able to install an electric heater to help heat the garage, a couple of additional electrical outlets on their own 20A circuits, hung 6 flourecent shop lights, put together a shelf, and started some inventory.


Up next is to build benches, get the shop air plumbed, and finish the inventory.


Have some tools

Today the initial shipment of tools finally arrived after UPS “missorted” my package and took an extra week to get here

Still waiting on the DRDT-2 dimpler and the back rivet set, which was on back order.

I also received notification from Van’s that my tail kit shipped today. Should arrive in about a week. Then the inventory can begin.

Making Space and Tool Purchase

In order to transform my garage into an airplane factory, I needed to clean all the crap out of it. It’s a wonder we’re still able to fit both cars in there. There’s a motorcycle, generator, lawn tractor, snowblower, and numerous rakes, shovels, etc.. Not to mention, I could really stand to get the enormous pig roaster out of my basement.

So I went ahead and ordered a humongous shed. A 20’x14′ Cape Ann style shed, vinyl sided to match the house. There should be more than enough room to store a ton of stuff (yeah, I say that now…) and clean out the garage and basement.

Today (the day before Christmas) it got installed. Merry Christmas to me. 🙂 Some pics below:

 Also, yesterday I placed my order for a full RV toolkit. I have tons of tools, but none of the specialty tools that I’ll need for metal work and building an airplane. There are a few different vendors to chose from, but I ended up going with the full kit from Isham (


My main attraction to this vendor was the fact that their kit includes the very nifty DRDT-2 dimpler (shown here with a small “table” built around it to support metal skins, while using it):


This tool seems to be much easier to use and produces more consistent results compared to using the more traditional c-frame tool where you have to hit it with a hammer until it’s right. Isham’s tool kit also comes with what some would call a luxury item; a pneumatic squeezer. This will help make squeezing rivets much more consistent and easy (hopefully)


Based on reading some builder blogs, I decided to get the following add-on options to the kit:

an angle drill, adjustable set holder for the squeezer, both the longeron and 4″ thin nose yokes for the squeezer, and the RV-10 package (which gives you some special shaped bucking bars, additional die sets, and more clecos).These seem like things that I’ll need relatively early on in the build, so might as well get them now.

I’m sure that I’ll still need to buy some additional things as I go, but this kit should hopefully get me most of the way to having the right tools for the job. They certainly aren’t cheap, but I’ve learned long ago that I’ll end up being 100 times more frustrated and probably just end up damaging parts if I try to do something without the proper tool for the job.

Below is the complete list of tools that I’ll be getting in the kit:

Commercial Quality Dimpler
Pneumatic Rivet Squeezer
3″ C-Yoke Installed on Squeezer
Adjustable Set Holder for Pneumatic Squeezer
3600 RPM Palm Air Drill, fast, smooth & quiet like Sioux
3X upgraded Rivet Gun with excellent teasing trigger
EZ change spring for straight rivet sets
EZ Change Spring for flush sets
Swivel and Air Flow Restrictor with fine precision adjustment
1″ Diameter Flush Rivet Set
3/32″ Cupped Rivet Set 3.5″ long
1/8″ Cupped Rivet Set 3.5″ long
3/16″ Cupped Rivet Set 3.5″ long
1/8″ Double Offset Rivet Set
Back Rivet Set (Special cut on one edge for close edge work on RV parts)
Tungsten Bucking Bar
Microstop Countersink Unit, needle-bearing, non-chattering with nylon foot
#40 Countersink Bit, 3/32″
#30 Countersink Bit, for 1/8″ & #6 Screw
#8 Countersink Bit, #8 Screw
#10 Countersink Bit, #10 Screw
Left Cut Snips, easy to use offset type
Right Cut Snips, easy to use offset type
Straight Cut Snips, easy to use offset type
#40 Aviation Cobalt Drill Bits for 3/32″ rivets, 8 each
#30 Aviation Cobalt Drill Bits for 1/8″ rivets, 6 each
#27 Aviation Cobalt Drill Bit
#21 Aviation Cobalt Drill Bit
#19 Aviation Cobalt Drill Bit
#12 Aviation Cobalt Drill Bit
1/4″ Aviation Cobalt Drill Bit
12″ Aviation Extra Long #40 Drill Bit
12″ Aviation Extra Long #30 Drill Bit
Deburr Tool, Speed Handle Type for small & large holes
Cleco Pliers
4 Cleco Clamps, 1/2″
4 Cleco Clamps, 1″
Pop Rivet Tool, Professional Heavy-Duty unit with Swivel Head
3/32″ Universal Cupped Squeezer Set
1/8″ Universal Cupped Squeezer Set
5/32″ Universal Cupped Squeezer Set
3/16″ Universal Cupped Squeezer Set
Flat Squeezer Set 1/8″, 2 EACH
Flat Squeezer Set 1/4″
Flat Squeezer Set 3/8″
3/32″ Rivet Dimple Die
1/8″ Rivet Dimple Die
5/32″ Dimple Die
3/16″ – #10 Screw Dimple Die
#8 Screw Dimple Die
#6 Screw Dimple Die
Squeezer Set Organizer
Squeezer Set Adjustment Washers
Stainless Steel Rule, 12″
Unibit 1/4″ – 3/4″ by 1/16ths,
3 Permanent Markers, Sharpie
3M Cut & Polish Wheel 6″
1/2 x 1 Reducers for 3M Wheel
325 Cleco Fasteners, 3/32″
175 Cleco Fasteners, 1/8″
10 Cleco Fasteners, 5/32″
10 Cleco Fasteners, 3/16″
Edge Deburring Tool, Hex Swivel type
2013 Updated High-Leverage Fluting Pliers
Rivet Cutter
Air Tool Oil
Drill Stop Set of 4
Rivet Set DOTS, Easier than Rivet Tape
3/32″ Pop Rivet Dimple Die,
1/8″ Pop Rivet Dimple Die,
Hand Seamer
3/32″ Drive Pin Punch
1/8″ Drive Pin Punch
Scotch Brite Hand Pads, 4 each
Rivet Length Gauge
Rivet Shop Head Gauge, 4-piece
Technical Resource Manual
RV-10 Option adds 175 3/32″ Cleco Fasteners and 125 1/8″ Cleco Fasteners, Special Bucking Bar and additional Squeezer Sets