Aircraft Finishing Techniques

(Source Unknown)

I came across some items this month that will be of interest to many of us.   First off, in the C/L section of the April issue of Flying Models magazine, Bob Hunt relates how Steve Busso has come up with a novel way of putting on a relatively light weight super finish.   According to the article, he starts with a coat of K&B Superpoxy clear paint over the entire plane, including the sheeted foam wing.   He then sands to break the glossy glaze of the epoxy based paint.

Next, he brushes on a coat of Aero Gloss clear (I don't know why he didn't use Sig clear at this point).   Then he mixes up Dap Spackling Compound and water into a slurry consistency and applies it with a foam brush.   he then lets the dap dry thoroughly for about a week.   Then he sands the surface with #180 grit paper to bust the surface, followed by #320, and finally #400 paper to achieve a very smooth surface.   The advantages, according to Steve Busso, are that you get a completely filled surface that will not sink to show grain.   You are also able to skip the process of covering the airplane with paper.   Steve follows his Dap sanding with a clear coat of Sig clear dope, and then follows the normal routine of color, trim, detailing, and top coats of clear.

According to the article, steve says that this yields a lighter finish, and cuts down dramatically on the time.   Apparently it is very important to put on the epoxy base coat first since it waterproofs the balsa, and prevents the Dap/water slurry from raising any grain.

It's interesting that last winter, John Miller from our club proposed to several of us a very similar thing using his secret formula of filler (for those of you who do not know, John is an ace wall board contractor, and he buys his filler by the buckets full).   John didn't say anything about putting on the epoxy, but he was at that time just guessing that this would give him a pretty slick finish.   In looking at John's beautiful looking airplanes, I guess we should have listened to him and tried it first.   Oh well, we'll just have to let it be that the East Coast boys were quicker on the draw on this one.

In looking at one of Pete Mick's great looking new airplanes, he told me that he also did a finish very similar to the above process.   He didn't do all of the epoxy and that, but it sure did fill in nicely and it gave him a very nice finish.   Maybe we were not so slow here after all.   Maybe we should have had the Wednesday night building sessions this winter to share some of the great brain power that is abounding around here.   Some of us really need all the help we can get.

Seeing as we were able to benefit from the article in Flying Models, we might as well give them a free announcement.   Quite seriously, this is a very good magazine, with monthly columns on stunt and combat.   Windy and Bob alternate the stunt column, and they do an excellent job.   Lots of great hints, sources for parts, and items that are necessary for the C/L crowd, and just all around great reading.

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