Another RV-10 Site
Vert Stab &
Rudder Log



rv01 (6K)


rv02 (5K)


rv03 (5K)


rv04 (4K)


rv05 (5K)


rv06 (4K)


rv07 (4K)


rv08 (5K)


rv09 (5K)


rv10 (4K)


rv11 (4K)


rv12 (4K)


RV-10 Empennage kit ordered: 1/22/2008
Kit Received: 2/05/2008

Shipping was $240 to the door (no lift gate) or $160 if picked up at the service center.

Be prepared before it comes with shelving and parts bins to hold parts as you do the inventory. Dedicate a shelf to each of vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer, elevator and fuselage.


Inventory and Vertical Stabilizer



Dwg, Steps

Notes and Photos

2/5 to 2/8/2008



Kit received and unloaded. It took 6 hours to complete the inventory and sort parts into bins and shelving. I also took the shipping crate and mounted it about 4' off of the floor in a corner of my garage. I then put all the skins I won't need for a while back in it for safe keeping. The nose of the car still slips under the crate so no loss in floor space.



6-2, all
6-3, 1 to 3

Vertical Stabilizer: Finally building! Everything went per the instructions today. I did the rip cuts for the spar caps on the bandsaw using a taper cutting guide from my table saw. I did as much drilling as possible of the rear spar on the drill press to keep the holes straight. Most of the day was spent on the rear spar reinforcements and hinges. The finale was temporary assembly of the vertical stabilizer for final drilling of the spar to rib holes. Next step is fitting the skin on.

2/10 to 2/15/2008


6-3 Step 3,4,5

Vertical Stabilizer: Had to trim back the nose ribs to get them to fit in the skin. Took of about 3/8" of length and did quite a bit of filing and deburring. There are 236 holes for rivets in the vertical stabilizer.  Enough clecos arrived today from Yard Store to get the skin on with a cleco in every other hole. You then drill 118 holes to final size, move all the clecos over 1 hole and drill the other 118 holes. Then you get to remove all the clecos to take the skin off and deburr. Next step is to dimple the skin. The second photo shows my set up for dimpling the skins.

2/16 to 2/17


6-2, step 6 to 11
6-3, step 1 to 5

After dimpling the skin, you go after all the spars and ribs. The hand squeezer with dimple dies works best.  Some of the holes on the spar have to be machine counter sunk. These have to be made deep enough to accept the dimple of the skin which is about 0.015" deeper than the hole for a rivet.

Next was a chemistry lesson. Mixing the primer and curing agent together which can eat through chemical resistant gloves. Then spraying as a fine mist onto parts without breathing the vapors. I can see why people opt for the rattle can method even though it does not seal the parts like the two part epoxy. I'll leave this overnight to dry and then I can finally start riveting things together tomorrow.

Click any picture to enlarge.

2/18/08 to 2/22/08


6-4, 6-5, 6-6

Started by first attaching the rudder stops to the top lower rudder hinge. I had marked all the hinges and could barely see the marks through the too heavy coat of primer. Second was reassembly of the rear spar, spar caps and doubler shown in the first photo.

A front spar doubler was attached and then the structure could go back together. I made one last check to see that all the ribs and spars were facing the correct direction before riveting.

Then came the skin riveting. First cleco's everything back in place. All the countersinks between the skin and ribs fit well. I was worried about denting the skin while riveting and was very careful. Set compressor to 65 psi and the gun regulator to 2 clicks from off. That gave a reasonably light tap. About 8 air hammer taps and the rivet was set perfectly. Not a single skin dent in the 236 rivets I drove today.

The kit instructions for the order of riveting worked perfectly. The hardest part was the middle nose rib due to the confined space. Smallest bucking bar was useful here.

Holding spar in vise for riveting.

Final check before riveting ribs to spars.

Skin back on and ready for flush rivets.

236 rivets later....

Vertical Stabilizer Complete !!!!!!!

Rudder Log



Dwg, Steps

Notes and Photos

2/23 to 2/24


7-3, 7-5, 7-6

Started by deburring the rudder horn, cutting the stiffeners to size and deburring the spar doublers. Then cleco'd the rudder skeleton together. Final drilled all the holes.

Cleco'd the skins and trailing edge in place. Then final drilled the 325 holes. Once finished drilling you get to take the whole thing apart again. Deburr all the holes you just drilled and then start dimpling the stiffeners, spars, ribs and skins. No new skills involved this far, just more of what was encountered with the vertical stabilizer.

Rudder Skeleton.

New pin cushion.

2/25 to 2/29/08


7-6, 7-7, 7-8

Another chemistry lesson with the primer but things did go better. Managed to make a thinner coat which was good because I was worried that all the primer and dog hair going into the project was going to make the airplane weigh a ton.

Vans has you drill the trailing edge holes perpendicular to the cord line. Then counter sink perpendicular to the edge surface. How is the counter sink pilot supposed to go in at this angle?  Also these holes have to be counter sunk deep enough to take a skin dimple. By the time both sides are done, the original #30 hole is way oversized. The photo shows me holding a block of Aluminum in an angle vise to act as a support for counter sinking.

Used the back riveting technique to attach all the stiffeners to the wing skins. Used the same pressure settings as for skin flush riveting and everything turned out perfectly. Was the easiest 300 rivets so far.

Dimpling Skins.

Back Riveting Stiffeners.




Riveted shear clips to stiffeners and ribs to skins. Then back to that damn trailing edge.

Mixed the tank sealant per instructions and applied to the trailing edge. Stuff is thicker than roofing tar, sticky and very difficult to apply. It would pull the hairs out of the brush as I brushed it on. Had to use MEK to clean up excess. There has got to be a better glue than this.

Attached the left skin over right and blind riveted in place. Not difficult but time consuming. Then riveted the bottom rib in place. Set the rudder on the corner of the workbench and weighted the edge while the tank sealant takes two days to dry. I plan on building wing cradles while waiting.

...wait two days for glue to dry....

Joining Halves.

Glued Trailing Edge

3/3 to 3/6


7-10, 7-11

After the glue dries, the rudder spar is installed and riveted to the ribs and skin. Also the counter balance rib is riveted in place.

Then comes the long awaited riveting of the trailing edge. I drilled through the steel angle I mounted to the edge of my work bench and cleco'd every tenth hole to the bench. I then placed the rivets and taped in prep for back riveting.  I then riveted every 10th rivet down the line and repeated until complete. Then removed from jig and mushroomed from the shop head side. Rudder trailing edge came out absolutely straight.

The leading edge was more time consuming and drew blood. I used a pipe (no photos posted) to form the curves but they still had to be pulled together before riveting. Came out OK but difficult to do.

Last task is to mount the lead counter weight shown in the photo. Make sure you mark the top end of the weight because you will be taking it out and reinstalling a couple of times. Rudder flaps get bent down, drilled, deburred and countersunk. Then finish riveting the skins and we are done!

Rudder Spar.

Click any picture to enlarge.

Counter weight.

Finished Rudder!!!

Rudder Complete !!!

Mike Andresen
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