squeegee or similar tool (see Photo 07).
If an area dries out before you can get
to it, reapply acetone as necessary. To
check your progress, peel up a corner
and see how the transfer looks. Rarely
have I had a perfect transfer, but most
of the time, I can get more than enough
toner to stick to the wood. When
satisfied, remove the paper and tape,
and you’re ready to cut out the pieces
(see Photo 08).
It’s worth noting that this process
transfers a mirror image of the template
to the wood. For the purposes of making
these ribs, I printed both a normal and a
mirror image on my printer. The reason
for this will become apparent when it
comes time to glue them into position
(see Photo 09).
After the glue has dried on the
laminations, it’s time to cut the 3/8 x 3/8
strips to make all of the crossbracing.
Take your time because no two pieces
are quite the same length or angle. Cut
the LE filler piece from a piece of 3/8-
inch sheeting. Glue all of these pieces in
place between the laminations and take
extra care to make sure the twin vertical
pieces that make up the shelf pockets
are parallel to each other, and 90° to the
Again, I used wood glue for all of the
following steps, but you could use epoxy
or a gap-filling CA glue if you’re in a
hurry (see Photo 10).
After the adhesive has cured, it’s time
to glue one set of the doublers into
place. Here’s where having two sets of
printed doublers, one a mirror image of
the other, comes in handy. This way you
can attach the printed side to the rib
itself, essentially hiding the printing from
view. Without it, you’d have to sand the
printing off, or use dark stain or paint
to hide the numbers. After the glue has
cured, remove the rib from the jig and
attach the second set of doublers to the
A gentle sanding is next for the
assembled rib. I made sure that the outer
surface where the covering or sheeting
would have attached was smooth;
however, I didn’t do too much sanding
on the sides and crossbracing because
I wanted a vintage, handmade look. I
simply made sure that any extra glue
was removed (see Photo 11).
To finish the ribs, I gave each a few
coats of wood stain. I chose a lighter
color for the ribs, attempting to replicate
the color of the replicated rib at the
museum (see Photo 12).
You might have noticed on the
original rib that there was a series of
small nails (brads) that held the doublers
in place. Although they aren’t needed
for the purposes of this shelf, they do
add much to the authentic look of the
finished rib, so I wanted to find a source
for the brads.
I ended up finding 100 sawtooth
picture hangers being auctioned on
eBay— 100 including 200 brads. If
memory serves, the cost was less than
$10 shipped and gave me more than
enough brads to complete this project.
The 1/4-inch brads were the perfect
length (see Photo 13).
Before pounding them in, I drilled
a series of pilot holes into the rib. I’ve
noted typical spacing on the plans, but
use your own judgment and try to make
them fairly uniform. Remember, they
don’t have to be laser-perfect because it
should look handmade when finished.
Each hole was drilled completely
through the rib because the brads need
to be installed on both sides of each rib.
After the holes have been drilled, it’s
time to tap in the brads (see Photo 14).
This completes the assembly of a
single rib. I made two other ribs to
support the length of shelf that I needed.
The shelves are the easier parts of
the construction. They make up what
we’d consider the spars in a wing’s
construction. You can use any thickness
up to 1 inch with the way the ribs
are designed. Note that the depth of
each shelf is different so they’ll have
to be sized accordingly. Also, the front
edge of each shelf is cut on a different
angle to match the curvature of the
top lamination. Once cut and sanded,
I choose a darker stain to contrast it
from the ribs.
So at this point you should have
everything needed to assemble your
shelf. Simply slide each of the three
shelves, evenly space them and hang
them in the proper spot on your wall.
Oh, remember those picture hangers I
mentioned? I repurposed two of them so
they could be used to hold up my shelf.
So, there it is. Certainly this isn’t the
typical Model Aviation build, but I hope
you’ll give it a try. It can give a unique
look to any room and there’s no reason
why you couldn’t enlarge or shrink the
design to fit your needs.
For that matter, there’s no reason
you couldn’t make the shelves longer
or shorter. Longer shelves would just
require more ribs, evenly spaced, to give
the appearance of the O-38F’s wing
31 Model Aviation JULY 2017 www.ModelAviation.com sponsored by HOW-TO issue