I decided to build 3 more Stearman Biplanes. Two for Christmas gifts and one to keep. I made the two gifts from mape, and the keeper I tried something new, South American yellow heart wood from Rockler.
On the first biplanes I built, I sanded to 220 grit using the lathe on low speed, applied polyurethane to the fuselage. I repeated this process 3 times or for 3 coats. The fuselages really looked smooth and very nice. I repeated this process on the fuselages, and to all other parts. It takes more time for drying, but the finshed planes look and feel much smoother.
The first time I made the biplanes, it was a dirty and nasty job to qualify or make the front end of the rectangular bland round, so I could chuck it into the lathe. To make this qualification process easier, I decided to make a wood piece for the lathe faceplate that would drive the rectangular wood blank. I added a live center on the tailstock of the lathe to support it.
Here is the Sketchup design of the wood faceplate:
And here is concept drawing of the lathe set-up:
The build sequence is very important. First I glued up the rectangular blanks, making them 1/2" taller than finished dimension. This gives Forstner bit some stock for the center to work in. Then table saw the blank to finished size.
Below is a photo of drilling out the yellow heart. Note the bright yellow chips!
Next cut out the rectangular notch for the wing. Cut the 2 vertical notches with a bandsaw, then use a 3/4" router bit to clean out the notch. You can not get a consistent depth notch using the bandsaw.
Next, put the blank into the lathe:
I turned the right hand side from the end back to the center of the rear cockpit to qualify it:
Once the front end is qualified or turned round, then the taper cuts must be made first vertically then horizontally. You must tape the pieces back on so the blank has a place to rest during the horizontal cuts:
The first biplanes I made, I struggled with setting up the drill press to drill the 30 degree angles for the struts in the strut support. This time, I designed up a jig so no angle adjustment of the drill press was required:
I first made the strut support pieces using the table saw and a clamp:
Then I used my new jig in the drill press:
The new jig saves a lot of time and frustration!
Here are parts drying in the drying rack:
Here is assembly of the motor to the fuselage:
I made a jig to set the height between the biplane wings when being assembled:
I had trouble with the glue working between the dowels and the wings. Next time, be sure and coat both sides of the joint before assembly. The thickness jig worked great.
Here is the armada of 3 finished biplanes:
Here are some other shots of the yellow heart wood plane:
I really like the yellow heartwood plane
The new faceplate set up really worked nicely in the lathe. The wing strut jig and wing thickness jigs also worked very well.
Even with these jigs, these planes are very labor intensive to build. There are roughly 30 parts in each plane.
The South American yellow heartwood machined and finished very well. It did give off a strange odor during machining. It really finished nicely as you can see in the photo.