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Old Oct 10, 2012, 09:30 PM
Kyle Clayton
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United States, VA, Dinwiddie
Joined Feb 2008
2,534 Posts
I want my trailing edge back!

I'm restoring an old glider I picked up this weekend. I didnt want to go this far with it, but after looking it over good it was apparent that it needed some TLC. The covering had to be completely stripped to get to the problem spots. Thank god this is an old 40" HLG because I HATE removing covering. In the process of removing the old covering, parts of the very fine and thin balsa TE left with it. Now the TE has a bunch of little chips in it and resembles more of steak knife than a filleting knife . I know this has bound to have happened to someone else before. Is there any way to get that nice straight TE back?
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 09:41 PM
Registered User
Pittsburgh, PA
Joined May 2008
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I've used a very thin dowel rod before to fix that exact problem. Glue to the intact TE and sand a little as needed. Then recover with solid covering back there anyway so nobody knows
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 09:47 PM
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United States, MA, Waltham
Joined Dec 2001
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If you cut it back to a straight line, you could then glue on a strip of balsa and then plane it down or take it down with a sanding block. This would work best with a flat bottom wing, set on a solid, flat surface with the trailing edge even with the edge of the surface. Use c-grain:
Another trick is to make the very last bit out of something a bit stronger and harder than balsa like spruce, fir, etc. This will be planed down until there's very little of it, but it will make those chips less likely

The plane is probably easier if you set it up carefully, but there's no reason, with care, that a sanding block wouldn't work just as well, and it's probably harder to have a real disaster with the sanding block.

This should be pretty easy if you cut it back straight and square.
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 10:15 PM
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Russian Federation, Sakha, Yakutsk
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What Lincoln said. Cut out old wood, glue in new, 'mask' old structure with blue painters tape and sand new wood strip to match contour.

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Old Oct 13, 2012, 04:10 PM
Mark LSF # 3792
United States, TX, Garland
Joined Nov 2008
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+1 on Lincoln's comments. I would use spruce. You can sand it to a very fine edge and have a TE that is almost a smooth knife edge. I you start with a warp free piece of wood you have a good chance of a warp free TE also.
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Old Oct 14, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Thomasville, GA 31792
Joined Apr 2002
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For a 40" HLG, I'd just put the covering over the existing ragged TE, seal it together, and trim it off straight. Leave just enough beyond the wood to seal the covering together. That's the lightest solution, and I think that is the important consideration. It's also easy to do, and easy to fix if it gets messed up.
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