A/C nail supplier

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abaham5

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I am a new builder that is planning to build a Christavia. My goal is to start building the wing ribs this Fall with my teenage son. However, it seems that the supplier for the 1/2" X 20 gauge and 1/4" X 20 gauge cement coated brass nails are no longer supplied anywhere. Where can I get some nails for building the wing ribs? I plan on using T-88 epoxy as well. Any suggestions are appreciated.
 

Kyle Boatright

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Many people use staples and remove the staples after the epoxy has hardened.

Many other people completely skip the mechanical fasteners and just use epoxy.

But to answer your question, look on Amazon for brass nails (or tacks). You'll probably be able to find something suitable.
 

Hot Wings

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Take a look at this thread for some alternatives:
 

TFF

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Airplane nails were coated with copper not cement. They stopped making them. You can find 3/8” and 1/2” bright if you look hard enough. Round wire staples are what a lot of the pros use with an air stapler. Just as many leave them in as take out.
 

Cubman

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I have used nails and a stationery stapler, I preferred staples as I could take them out and they were quicker and cheaper to use. Both are used to provide clamping pressure for the glue; some people use weights.
Univair in the US or Light Aero Spares in the UK still sell nails.
 

abaham5

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I wanted to thank everyone for the input. You have given me some alternatives. I had already reached out to Aircraft Spruce in Europe and they said that they were out of stock and additionally would not ship to the U.S. I placed an order with LAS Aerospace in England and was notified yesterday that they were out of stock as well. Once again, this is my first build and did not want to miss anything that may not have the same structural sheer strength.
 

BJC

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Any suggestions are appreciated.
The most experienced builder of E- aircraft that I know uses staples with T-88. He leaves them in. If you use staples, be sure to adjust / modify the staple gun for the correct stroke and force.

Here is a photo of one of his airplanes.

1632314055811.jpeg


BJC
 

TFF

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They stopped making them a while back. The Air Force stopped flying SPADs and don’t need them anymore.

I think it’s a supply and demand thing. To set the machines up to make a small run is just not worth it anymore. You might find an old timer with a bag still.

To throw another spin in, most people building wood wings today are not using aluminum leading edges, but thin ply glued down. Stiffer and tougher to hangar rash.
 

Hot Wings

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I had no idea aircraft nails were hard to get, much less no longer made.
A quick search turned up 20 ga stainless steel staples in the ubiquitous T-50 size that might be an acceptable substitute for those that leave the nails/staples in?
 

Jim Chuk

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I had a Christavia project for a while and even though the plans say the plane will weigh about 750 lbs, it seems like 950 would have been a much more accurate number. After I got mine, I did some more checking and most finished ones were 950 or more. Don't know how far along you are, but something to consider. There is one that just popped up on barnstormers yesterday for $20,000. It's in SD and was in Mn near me the last time I saw it listed for sale.
 

Pops

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Friend of mine in WY built a Christavia 1 in 1992 and flys it often. Loves it. EW with the Cont-0-200 is 950 lbs. If you go to a heavier engine you will have W/B problems and most end up with lead weights in the tail :(
 

Victor Bravo

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Logic tells me that the smallest possible diameter staple will do the least possible damage to the structural integrity of the wood, compared to a larger diameter nail or tack. Logic also tells me that the staple or nail is not carrying any significant load after the glue is set, and will not add any really useful strength to the rib. The weight is perhaps significant on some extreme Part 103 airplanes, but is probably negligible on most. The time to put them in and take them out, however, is probably significant.
 
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TFF

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There is always a drag out fight on removing or not, on the Biplane forum. One of the pros does not. Lots of planes he has restored were only held together by the nails when he cut the covering off. Granted it was old glues , but some were fliers like that.

The nails are the prettiest. Inspection time looking inside a wing, it looks good. A friend pulled all the staples in his Legal Eagle. It’s not like he had anything better to do and the thought of a quarter pound of extra weight he needed to save was too much. I on the other hand would just leave them in. I’m a what if person. There is the change digging them out with do some small damage.

The best rib jig I have seen was plexi or similar. Glue did not stick to it. Wing nuts and plates to hold it together. Set up to put ply in the base, capstrip, and then other side ply. Screw it all down and pop it out when ready. Not for speed, but even one rib a night, they are done in a month. Not that taxing.
 

Bill-Higdon

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There is always a drag out fight on removing or not, on the Biplane forum. One of the pros does not. Lots of planes he has restored were only held together by the nails when he cut the covering off. Granted it was old glues , but some were fliers like that.

The nails are the prettiest. Inspection time looking inside a wing, it looks good. A friend pulled all the staples in his Legal Eagle. It’s not like he had anything better to do and the thought of a quarter pound of extra weight he needed to save was too much. I on the other hand would just leave them in. I’m a what if person. There is the change digging them out with do some small damage.

The best rib jig I have seen was plexi or similar. Glue did not stick to it. Wing nuts and plates to hold it together. Set up to put ply in the base, capstrip, and then other side ply. Screw it all down and pop it out when ready. Not for speed, but even one rib a night, they are done in a month. Not that taxing.
If you lay a strip of plastic strapping down under the staples one side of the staples pulls up then you can get the other side with a pair of pliers
 

Pops

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If you lay a strip of plastic strapping down under the staples one side of the staples pulls up then you can get the other side with a pair of pliers
I did that for my nailing strips installing the plywood on the fuselage sides of the KR-2. Makes it a lot easier to remove the staples without damaging the wood.
 

TFF

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Yes, if you want the staples gone. If I had something visible I personally would pop them out. Covered , they are staying in. No matter how easy you make it, it’s a step I’m willing to skip. This is similar to one I saw except the plates were 1/2” plexi the rib was built in. Still this is pretty good. Super Rib Jig - Chris' Acroduster Too
 

Turd Ferguson

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Anything made from plain steel will rust forever, stain the wood and maybe the fabric. Stainless steel wire staples are easily obtainable.

Something an old wood worker showed me years ago: Don't put a sharp nail, tack or staple in wood. It will part the fibers and cause splitting. Instead, dull the point to a round shape on a grinding wheel. That will cause the wood fibers to be crushed while the fastener is driven and reduce splitting.
 
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