Today I’ve been back-riveting the right and left rudder skins in preparation for attaching them together.
I explained back-riveting in a previous post – in short, it’s where the bucking bar is a flat plate rather than a solid block, and the rivet gun is used on the ‘shop’ head of the rivet (whereas most commonly the gun is used on the manufactured head).
Back-riveting gives a great finish when there are flush rivets that will be on show at the end of the build, as it sets them really smoothly and avoids any marks from the gun being visible once it’s finished.
We’ve been de-burring like crazy since my last post, J primed the rudder parts earlier this week and we blitzed the dimpling last night, so everything was ready for me to get cracking on the rivets today.
I have been focusing on the skins and strips of metal called ‘stiffeners’, which are riveted to the skins to give them their shape and strength and provide a means of fixing them together at a later point. The rudder gets smaller towards the top, so each of the stiffeners is unique and has a set number of holes that corresponds to its position on the skin.
There is a right and left skin, and each has corresponding stiffeners, so the name of the game has been ‘check, check and check again’, to ensure I’m riveting the correct sets of pieces together – we would be quite fed up if we came to attach them and found we had the fixings the wrong way around, as that would mean chucking the lot in the bin and starting again!!
The back-riveting itself has gone well – the finish on the outside of the skins is really smart so I’m happy with it and hopefully our inspector will be too! I had one moment of panic when I bashed a rivet that wasn’t properly on the bucking bar and it shot clean through the rivet tape – thank goodness I hit it squarely otherwise it could have completely ruined the hole and thus the skin! Otherwise no drama. I’m sure there will be plenty to come!
Here are some pictures taken as I went along: