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Thread: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

  1. #1

    Default Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    So my manual states rib lacing is optional - but has anyone actually taken that option? Has anyone used alternate methods of securing the fabric to ribs? Just curious.

  2. #2
    Senior Member aviator79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    If I recall correctly, the manual hints that it may not be required, but strongly recommends that you do it. There's no good reason not to do it.

    I've taken 2 Poly Fiber classes and read the manual about a thousand times, and the advice is always the same: You should mechanically attach your fabric to the ribs no matter how wide your capstrips are or what the manual says. Having done this, I'll say it was not difficult, and didn't take that long. It took me about 15 minutes per rib, including threading the needle and transitioning between ribs. In my opinion, once you get going, it's actually one of the more enjoyable parts of the build. Don't be intimidated. Just get some practice and do it.

    Edit: watch this about 17 times while sitting with some kind of practice rig. You'll be growing palm trees in no time.
    --Brian
    Building SS7

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    N981MS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    My build manual said that too.

    However, the Polyfiber manual says you must mechanically attach because the force that will remove the fabric from the rib is a peeling force and the width of the rib is irrelevant.

    I agree that the riblacing became enjoyable once I got the hang of it and it really did not take that long.

    I saw one Kitfox years ago that did not appear to have any lacing but I know nothing about the owner or how it held up.
    Maxwell Duke

    Kitfox S6 IO-240 Built it (Flying since 2003)
    Maule M7-235C Sold it (liked it though)
    RV-10 IO-540 Bought it
    Zenith CH-750 Built with 7 friends (DAR Vic Syracuse)

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    Senior Member efwd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    Google Steve Wittman. Wikipedia states his wings were improperly built. It is my understanding that his fabric was not laced. Don't hold me to that piece of info though. None the less, Brian is correct, no good reason to leave out the laces and I agree it was fun. If your going to build an airplane yourself, build an airplane and do it with safety in mind first and foremost.
    Eddie Forward
    Building
    SS7, 912iS, Garmin G3X

  5. #5

    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    Right, mechanically attached. Has anyone tried alternates to stitching? It's not about the time or anything. I'm just curious.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    The Avid Magnum used staples that curled as they went in so they would hold more. No doubt, that would be fast and easy. Maybe not near as good the second time around with a bunch of holes in the capstrips, and it would probably be hard to get the staples out when you are stripping the fabric. Probably most of the early Avids and Kitfoxes did not ribstich. I've had 4 Avids and one Kitfox that weren't ribstiched with no problems. I did ribstich the Avid and Kifox 4 wings when I recovered them though. Partly because I already had the materials from when I bought a bunch of left over stuff from some one else supplies. It also does take the worry out of things, and maybe would help in case of resale. Besides, as others have said, it's not that hard or time consuming once you get at it. JImChuk

  7. #7

    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    Thanks.

    I guess to be honest, some of my curiosity comes with taking on Oratex as my fabric of choice. Wondering if gluing to the ribs would be just as good. It would be a cleaner look. I'm not sure I want to be the first to test that though.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    To be legal, on a certified aircraft, Poly Fiber says you have to mechanicly attach the fabric. Oratex is not Poly fiber though, so I would ask, What does Oratex require you to do. They should know their product. JImChuk

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    Oratex states if rib stitching is required by manufacture of aircraft then you need to.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Has anyone used alternative methods to rib lacing?

    If you look at some older aircraft - by that I mean 1930's and on - some used to use a rounded bead of wood "U" shaped if you will - and they nailed this to the rib cap once the fabric was applied. For mine, you're building a rag and tube airplane and aside from the potential safety issue which I think is important, seeing rib stitching is part of the fabric covering "look". I didn't stitch my empennage surfaces but stitched my wings.
    David
    SS7 Builder

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