Wooden Rib Project Instructions

The purpose of the Wooden Rib Project is to demonstrate how an actual wing rib in a small general aviation aircraft is made by making one that is smaller in size.

This project originated with the Experimental Aircraft Association and is used with their permission.   Because the original project materials are no longer available, an alternative is needed for printed rib pattern and the precut nose blocks.

To replace the adhesive backed printed rib pattern, download and print the attached rib pattern and then plastic laminate it.   The purpose of plastic laminating the rib pattern is to keep the glue from sticking to it when the rib is made on top of it.   Then, attach this laminated rib pattern to a flat wooden board with double sided tape.   This becomes the basis of the wooden rib jig.

To replace the precut nose blocks, a nose block of the shape shown on the rib pattern can be cut from ¼ inch thick plywood with a band saw or a scroll saw.

The links to the EAA Wooden Rib Pattern and the complete EAA Instructions for this project are at the bottom of this Preparation information.

The wood that this rib will be made from:

can be purchased from many different sources.   My preference is to purchase it from Balsa USA (i.e. www.balsausa.com).   They are also an excellent source for the balsa that is used in the other projects.

To cut the basswood sticks, I have provided a razor saw and a cutting jig.   The razor saw has an Excel razor blade that is 5 inches long, ¾ inch DP and 42 teeth/inch.   The cutting jig has a ¼ inch wide slot to hold the basswood sticks when cutting them, an area for cutting the 1/32 inch plywood and two dowels sticking out of the bottom to allow it to be held against the edge of a table when cutting.   The use of this jig prevents the table that the rib is being built on from being cut.

To hold the gussets in place while the glue dries, I have used a stapler rather than a hammer and nails.   The stapler needs to be able to be able push the staple thru the 1/32 plywood and most of the way into the basswood without going all the way thru the plywood.   I have found that the Stanley Sharpshooter model T45 stapler does this well.   After the glue has dried, the staples can be removed.   The staples don’t need to removed but it does make the finished rib more attractive.   A long nose plier works well to remove the staples.

To finish the rib, the portion of the gussets that hangs outboard of the basswood stick can be removed by sanding this portion of the gusset away with a sanding block.   A lower cost alternative to purchasing a sanding block is to put adhesive backed sandpaper on a particleboard wood block.

Wooden Rib Pattern Wooden Rib Instructions