Practice makes perfect, right?

Vans Practice Kit Toolbox – under construction

Tempted to start inventorying the empennage kit, I knew I needed to practice basic skills first … so I resolved not to start into the empennage until I finished the Van’s Practice Kit Toolbox that I started 2 years ago (when I was deciding whether or not this was something I really wanted to do). It was a good decision to complete the toolbox, as it’s forced me to get into the hands-on, make mistakes, fix my mistakes, and just figure stuff out. I didn’t take any builder’s classes, and don’t have any background with this stuff. In fact, I had hardly anything that was workshop-worthy, so it’s been a whole lot of learning for me in the last few weeks. Besides acquiring a band saw and drill press, aircraft building tools, and building 4 EAA 1000 worktables, now I’m learning to put it all together. For example, I needed to match-drill some holes on the toolbox – I had not put together my lightweight air hoses and used my new Sioux air drill, so it took me 30 minutes to get to the point where I could use the drill. Each new skill being exercised is forcing me to setup shop a little more. The toolbox has been a great way to break myself in to the scene.

My first challenge was a botched rivet … figuring out how to extract it without enlarging the hole. After a poor job of trying to drill it out (note to self: keep the drill bit centered next time), I managed to extract the rivet with no damage, and you can’t even tell afterwards I ever made the mistake.

Kudos to Cleaveland Aircraft Tool – their RV-14 tool kit is complete, I’ve not found anything that I needed that wasn’t included in their kit. And, they included some really great stuff like their lightweight air hose kit … it’s really made things easy for me as I start off on my own. And, it helped me complete the toolbox …

I’m glad that I didn’t spend a lot of money on traveling somewhere for an expensive builder’s class … it’s been easy enough figuring this stuff out. And, that’s coming from a guy who’s had no practical experience with this type of work in the past. All you need is YouTube, the right tools, a buddy you can call when you get stuck, and a lot of patience.