Slower than a speeding glacier

If you’ve followed this project for any length of time, you’ll be aware that it’s been going extremely slowly for some time, mostly because I have very little time available to dedicate to it, and also due to me being rather lazy. Sadly this trend continues, and indeed I’ve slowed down so much now that I’m doing about an hour’s work a month on the project. While I plan to change that soon, that translates – for now – to very few, and very short, updates here.

Thus, all I have to talk about at the moment is the next step of work on the cockpit shrouds, which – if you can remember that far back – I made out of doped blackout cloth stretched across a wooden frame.

Having put the shrouds in place, I then needed to trim them, in two senses – first, I needed to put in wooden moulding to cover up the staples that hold it in place, as well as stretch it further across the frame, and second, I needed to trim off the excess material that was left. I had to do the first before the second. This was a relatively easy, if time-consuming job. Measure a few lengths and angles, cut the moulding to size – easier said than done, because my mitre saw often takes chunks out of the finish, or worse, just rips it apart altogether – and screw them into place through the fabric into the frame underneath.

It’s worth saying here, that if you’re planning on putting screws into mouldings – it’s more commonly just glued in place, but I needed something to hold the fabric in place – you should make sure to drill pilot holes no less than 1/2 a mm smaller than the screw size, and countersink the holes, before you try to put it on. Driving a screw straight into a fragile moulding like this is very likely to just split it, robbing you of any structural strength at all.

Here’s what the trimmed interior looks like:

The left hand shroud with trim in place

The right hand shroud with trim in place

And with that done, I could then trim off all the excess cloth, making the exterior aspect look a lot better. You’ll see some staples left in place, these are just awaiting me popping to the stationery store to pick up a staple remover. You can pick them out with pliers and a screwdriver, but it’s never as neat.

The trimmed left shroud before painting

There are lots of imperfections, dints and gaps in the trim. There are also some areas where the frame meets at odd angles where it just wasn’t possible to cut the moulding to fit. All of these will be taken care of with filler or some moulding clay. After that’s done and dried, the shrouds will be ready to paint when I come to paint the interior, and the shrinking effect of the paint will provide the final tightening the surface needs to stop looking like cloth and start looking like plastic. Fingers crossed 🙂