December 9, 2005 - January 15, 2006
12/9/05   Got a late start tonight finishing priming the VS ribs. Everything is ready to start riveting together but it's late
 and riveting can get pretty loud so instead of waking up the neighbors, I figured I'd get a head start on  the
 rudder. After reading the instructions a few times, I figured out the stiffeners on the left side skin are upside
 down compared to the right side stiffeners according to the drawing on the plans. (The left side stiffeners are
 not shown, and there is no mention of how to install them in the instructions) I figured it out by process of
 elimination. The pre-punched holes will only line up one way... upside down. With all that figured out, I began
 trimming off the excess material off the stiffener brackets using the belt sander. All in all, it went pretty quickly
 once I figured out the process. Not going to be up until 2am this morning again. I am ready for a nice relaxing
 weekend. Getting to bed early tonight... midnight   ; )

12/10/05  Completed the
Vertical Stabilizer  today!  Will continue working on the rudder again tomorrow.

12/11/05  Took the day off today. Took my
Harley out for a ride for the 1st time in over a MONTH! In the evening, my    
                wife and I took our little girl out to a birthday party. After the party, I came home and finished building the        
                website for my contracting business. Check it out!  Let me know what you think!

12/12/05  Finished preparing the stiffeners for both sides of the rudder. If you look closely at the photo to the left           
                above, you will notice that the top of the flange sticks up about a 1/4" from the skin. After analyzing the plans  
                several times, and eyeballing the edge of the ruder skin at table level, I came to the conclusion that the          
                stiffeners would interfere with each other when assembled. That meant that I needed to file the stiffeners        
                down to just over 1/16" above the bottom flange. I was only able to put an hour or so in tonight so that's all I   
                was able to accomplish tonight. The stiffeners are ready to be match drilled.

12/14/05  Match drilled all the stiffeners today. Nothing really exciting. Had a lot of work to do in the office today. At        
                least I did my one thing today ;-)

12/15/05  Deburred, sanded, dimpled and primed all stiffeners today. Deburred and dimpled both rudder skins as well.  
                Ready to start back riveting the rudder stiffeners to the skins. Made an important discovery today... actually   
                my brother,
Jeff Roberts pointed something out to me... My C-Frame bench was just an 1/8" too tall when I   
                was dimpling the VS skins and it distorted the skin ever so slightly around the dimples. He made the                
                discovery while checking the photos closely online. (He lives 700 miles away in Indianapolis, IN) After              
                adjusting the C-Frame bench just an 1/8" lower, the dimples on the rudder skins came out PERFECT! No       
                distortion around the dimple whatsoever! (Thanks Jeff) I'm glad Jeff made the discovery before I began           
                working on the wings. By the way... I ordered the wing kit today! Since I am moving along at a faster pace       
                than I originally thought I would, I figured I'd better get them ordered soon so I don't have a lot of down time    
                waiting for them to arrive.

12/16/05  Installed backriveting plate into work bench. Need to let compound set up before I start backriveting.
      Just received notification from the FAA that N35DR is MINE!

12/17/05  Completed backriveting the stiffeners to both of the rudder skins. Backriveting is SO easy! Every rivet came   
                out perfect! No skin distortion whatsoever. Too bad the whole process can't be done that way! Began             
                assembling the rudder skeleton. More tomorrow.

12/18/05  Completed the 1st assembly of the rudder today. All components match drilled and ready for disassembly,      
                deburring, dimpling and priming.

12/20/05   Sorry, no exciting photos today :-)  Disassembled the rudder and began the whole deburring, sanding,          
                 dimpling and priming process again. Most of the skeleton is ready to prime. Another hour or so and               
                 everything should be ready to prime.

12/21/05   Well... someone broke into my shop and stole about $3,000 worth of tools last night. Among them was my      
                 squeezer and yoke, my souix drill, my 3x rivet gun with the back rivet set attached, a new die grinder, a          
                 brand new bandsaw (I just set it up last week... haven't even used it) my STIHL chain saw and a STIHL Gas   
                 Pack leaf blower, all my cordless drill and attachments... and more misc. stuff. Spent the day inventorying      
                 the rest of my tools, repairing the garage door, talking with the Wake County Sheriff Dept and insurance        
                 company. Not much I can do except order new tools. Dwight is going to loan me a squeezer and rivet gun      
                 tomorrow so I can keep working. He is one of the guys building an RV7 that has been a big help to me.
       Well, it's been a long day. More tomorrow... I hope...

12/22/05  Finished getting the shop back in order again. Dead bolts on the doors and an alarm system installed.            
                Probably going to take the next several days off for Christmas. Spend some time with the family and enjoy a   
                short vacation at home.  Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!

01/01/06  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  Started the final assembly on the rudder today and messed up my 1st part... when I     
                was drilling the hole to mount the counterbalance weight to the rib, the drill bit walked on me and I didn't          
                catch it until it was too late. Miss-drilled the hole off center by half a bit. Ordered a replacement rib along with
                some dimple dies for larger screws. (The larger dimple dies do not come with the empennage tool kit and you
                will need them to dimple the counterbalance rib for a #6 screw) Anyway... since I am going to be down for 3-4
                days waiting for my replacement rib and dimple die set to arrive, I figured I might as well start on the                

1/5/06     My new rivet gun, C-Balance Rib and dimple dies came today. I should be able to be close to finishing the       
               rudder by this weekend.

1/7/06     Began final assembly of the rudder today. Prepared the counterbalance rib for installation and primed. Also    
               countersunk the trailing edge and began riveting the braces and rudder horn to the spar. Finished too late to  
               begin riveting the counterbalance skin to the rib... as you probably well know how loud riveting can be.             
               Tomorrow's another day...

1/8/06     Nearly completed the rudder today... everything but the leading and trailing edges. Probably will need a little   
               help with both of those. From what I understand, these items are the most time consuming and difficult steps   
               of the whole empennage.

1/10/06   Bought a 5' piece of heavy gauge angle iron today and match drilled it to the trailing edge. Cleko'd it together
               and began riveting the trailing edge. Turned out PERFECT! I placed a straight edge to both sides of the          
               rudder skins along the stiffeners and found absolutely ZERO gap from the front spar to the tip of the trailing    
               edge. No bows, warps or errors whatsoever! That was awesome! When I heard what everyone was saying       
               about how difficult it was to back rivet the trailing edge without any warps or bows, I was really worried about    
               how it would turn out but it went much more smoothly than I ever imagined it could. All there is left to finish the
               rudder is to roll the leading edge. I will do that this weekend. WHEW! Glad the trailing edge is BEHIND me!

1/15/06   Rolled the leading edge today. Went pretty smoothly. No creases along the spar.  Another step completed!
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