Re: Rib Stiching

Guy Fawcett (
Fri, 13 Jan 1995 11:30:04 -0600 (MDT)

The WWI Aeroplane article I am reffering to is in issue #84 april 1981, is that
the same one your having trouble with?

I use a brand name called Coats (Koban Extra Strong) 68% polyester and 32%
cotton thread the biege colours appears to be the best.

>Do you use some special applicator so that the "stitches" are of a consistent

What I do is put a dollop of glue on a small lid and then using a wooden
toothpick dip it in the glue touch one side of the rib then draw it across to
the other side. Suprisingly stiches created this way are very consistent.

>This implies that the edges are NOT pinked. Which I would believe to be true.

Straight edged rib tapes appear to be the norm on Allied planes but at least in
the NASM Albratross the tapes were pinked.

>Since I will be doing some Rhinebeck models in the future I will need to check
and see if their replica's are pinked. I think they are. I know for a fact that
Brian Coughlin's D-VIII is. Thanks for reminding me!

Most modern replicas will have pinked edges unless the builder was being
extremely historically accurate.

>Terrific! I appreciate it! It makes sense that the number of stitches would be
increased in the slip stream area. As in most areas of aircraft manufacture it
does seem natural that stitching systems would vary from manufacturer to
manufactirer and from country to country.

The distance between stiches are 3 " and 1.5 " in the slipstream.

>Do you (or anyone else for that matter) know if the coverings were applied by
sewing a "bag" first or were they applied as one or two pieces and stitched as
they went?

Must have sewn a bag first for wings but most fuselages had laced on sections.

> He certainly advocates using scale construction techniques. This made sense
to me.

I agree that when ever possible follow the original structure!!!!!

> Do you generally (and I realize that each model is different)
use one piece longerons with cross memebers of spruce of hard balsa?

I always use spruce for the four main longerons and vary between balsa or
spruce cross members based on preceived load or stress.

> Do you use tension wires or balsa stringers? I have seen several techniques
and am not sure when one technique might be more appropriate than another.

The harder it is to get my hand into the fuselage the more likely I am to use
balsa warren truss style construction. For the bigger models, 1/5 scale and
up, I use nylon coated steel fishing line to sew the airplane together (hard to
describe with words).

>When you do wings do you use built up ribs, slab ribs with lightening holes or
some combination?

Slab ribs with same dimension cap strips running from leading edge out to the
tip of the trailing edge. ( ie. 1/8" sheet ribs with 1/8" square cap strips).

>Do you cover your wings in multiple pieces or use the sewn bag approach?

One piece lower covering and one piece upper sheet for each panel.