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Thread: Rib stich or rivet

  1. #1

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    Rib stich or rivet

    With metal ribs, is there a preference to rib stich or rivets?

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    Bugs66's Avatar
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    Hi Paul,

    With stamped ribs fabric rivets are the way to go. Otherwise you have to put anti chafe under every rib stitch location or along the edge of the ribs to keep them from slicing into the cord.

    I believe all the manufacturers do fabric rivet (CC, American Champion, Aviat etc). Might as well jump on the bandwagon. If you have truss ribs, then you have a choice. Most purists will tell you to rib stitch. Go ahead but you can really cut the time down on installation with fabric rivets.

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    Steve's Aircraft (Steve)'s Avatar
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    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    Rib Stich.

    Fabric retention is better with stitching. Pop rivets are faster, especially with a pneumatic gun, but I do not like the look or the idea of the fabric being held with just the rivet head on one side of the rib. With stitching, you get fabric retention on both sides of the rib via the cord running though the wing. If one side starts to pull, the other side tightens up and vise versa.
    Don't know how else to explain with out drawing you a picture so hope this helps.

    Brian

  5. #5
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Do the pop rivets ruin the ribs when you go to take them out?

    Tim

  6. #6
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers
    Do the pop rivets ruin the ribs when you go to take them out?

    Tim
    yup (actually they ruin them when you put them in)-- shouild never rivet or martin clip a truss rib. If you've ever seen how bad it screws them up, you'd never do it again. One area the FAA should issue an AD on. (just my opinion, do whatever you feel comfortable with)
    AFNB

  7. #7
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    You pretty much have to rib stitch on a Piper rib.

    On a stamped rib like the Dakota, Univair or Smith then rivets are a good option. I guess I really don't mind riveting them at all given that it takes 45 minutes to do a wing compared to mucho time with the stitching. Wham Wham Wham Wham goes the pneumatic puller (plus it saves your fingers - I stitched the tail feathers on the Smith Cub that Craig built and was very thankful he decided to rivet the wing). You can drill them out easy enough if you need to and it doesn't ruin the rib. I like this though a purist may blanche white at the thought...

    Brad

  8. #8
    SuperCub MD's Avatar
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    Only Univair ribs are stamped, Dakota and Smith are not. The T section on the Dakota is centered so drilling holes in them does not work. The Smith T is offset so drilling will work. Univair ribs are predrilled. I can rib stitch a wing faster than someone can lay out, drill and clean the holes and pop rivet a wing. I'd rib stich any wing because the finished product looks better and is stronger, however, I have never seen mice eat pop rivets.

  9. #9
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    CubMax, Dakota aren't stamped and I'd not rivet them if they said it were okay.

    As far as riveting Univair, it takes less time, for sure.

    The statement that one doesn't need to provide chafe protection when rivetting should be taken with caution.

    If a person is gonna take the time to put fabric on an airplane, do yourself and the rest of us a favor and do the absolute best work you can, and don't try to cut corners.

    How long do you want it to last? How long do you want your family to feel safe from lawsuits due to your workmanship.

    I'm not saying rivetting is wrong, I'm just saying to do your best whatever method you choose.

  10. #10
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    you're both quite right of course and I typed in haste without thinking in the presence of those who do think. I should have said Univair has stamped ribs, it and the Smith have nice fat tops to rivet on - duh! ignorance exposed!

    And Mark, I haven't looked closely at a Dakota rib despite staring at them now and then with a blank look. I didn't realize they were a T rather than an L like the Smith (which haunts my dreams). My gaze is usually at the cool slotted wing section. Had a local T-Cart recently get mice amongst the strings

    Notice I didn't say - you don't need chafe protection on the ribs, you still have to lay that on, but it's no big deal to do. There's some very nice tapes out there to work with. And ALWAYS use fabric rivets - they're smooth on the sides so as not to cut the fabric around the head. Check out the gazillion pictures of the wing construction I threw on here somewhere.

    Brad

    I still like rivets! And square tail feathers! But draw the line at toe brakes...that is a mod to far...

  11. #11
    Bugs66's Avatar
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    I have D&E ribs and they are stamped like Univair. The edges are beveled to assist in anti-chafe. You can use a Whitney punch to make quick work of making the holes. Underneath the rivets you lay down 1/2" reinforcing tape just like rib stitches.

    Whenever I have mentioned rib stitching a stamped rib I always get the strangest looks "why in the world would you?". If the manufactures have certified with fabric rivets then it should be plenty good.

    I don't disagree that rib stitches come ahead in appearance, but not enough to justify stitching a stamped or L-shape rib in my opinion. Food for thought.

  12. #12

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    The CAA approved pop rivets on the PA-19. We know that because there is a Cub hereabouts with just such rivets. Price was reduced $7000 because the ribs are worthless now, and must be replaced at the next cover job. Still, it flies, and we keep that CAA letter in the logbook. Yuk!

  13. #13

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    Legend does not ever pop rivet wings. All are stitched. Takes about 3 hours for them to do a wing.
    Gene Herzog
    Texas Smith Cub Builder

  14. #14
    Randy's Avatar
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    rib stitching

    My PA-11 has Piper ribs and was recovered in the 1960's.
    They got a field approval to drill the ribs and use small screws (pk?)to hold the fabric down.
    Definitely was mouse proof...but did it destroy the rib for rebuilding?
    Anybody have any luck with re-installing the screws and having them hold properly
    Also....are the ribs compromised structurally (strength) now?
    Thanks
    Randy

  15. #15
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    This has been discussed before but I can't find it at the moment. The problem I have had with pop rivets and screws is the next cover job. I also like the look of nice straight hidden rib stitches. It has been proven that the Piper truss rib is stronger when rib stitched. The whole rib is carrying the balloning effect of the fabric rather than just the cap strip. Call me old fashion but I like original Piper ribs and rib stitching.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    Taledrger's Avatar
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    I find it interesting that Aviat uses rivets on the Husky. While it maybe cost affective during purduction I would think, if it's as bad as ya'll say, it would hurt sales.
    Also used Husky wings are a premium. If riveted ribs were throw away why are "used" wings only slightly cheaper than new.
    Bob D

  17. #17
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Aviat pop rivets everything. Leading edges are pop riveted to the spars etc. Nothing on the wings I have were primed and it looks pretty bad. Granted they are all twisted up and laying outside but what are the good ones gonna look like when they get as old as some of these Super Cubs?
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  18. #18

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    No- you missed it. The stamped ribs are just fine with PK/Pop rivets. Piper ribs are worthless once drilled. They don't seem to fall apart in the sky, but they are indeed seriously weakened. Yes, OK on Husky, all ACA and maybe Taylorcraft, but no on Piper and Dakota.

    A line of rib stitching properly done is a work of art, and now with approved flat synthetic cord, the rat problem is not much of a problem and you can darn near make them disappear. I only wish I could rib stitch the Super D next time.

  19. #19
    Taledrger's Avatar
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    Didn't mean to sound like I was contesting what you guy's were saying, just curious.

    Bob - Thanks for clearing that up..

    Steve - You got to quit holding back..tell us what you think..
    Bob D

  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I liked flying the Husky. I just hope you can rebuild it without breaking the bank. Do they have any good deals on the new wing conversion?
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  21. #21
    sekps's Avatar
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    As a beginner when it comes to recovering Cubs I never really considered anything else than rib stitching. Some friends tried to scare me with how time consuming it is and how hard it is with "the Gordian Knot", but I had heard similar stories before - and they couldn't really present a good alternative...

    I made my very first rib stitch on the rudder one evening after work and three evenings later I had marked, attached reinforcing tapes and rib stitched all tailfeathers and both wings by myself. That means a lot of running back and forth, so with a helper it would have been done in less than two evenings. I can't really see how it can be done much quicker than that with rivets, unless you're in a production environment.

    It's actually very easy to rib stitch. For the first 6 or 7 stitches you need to look in the manual all the time but then suddenly it's all in your fingers and after a while you'll make a stitch in half a minute.

    /Mattias

  22. #22

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    I like to lace with the wing, rudder etc laid flat. I made some raised saw horses, to lay the piece upon, so I'm standing straight then I just bend over to retrieve the needle. Lacing the wing solo does indeed produce a lot of running around the wing.

  23. #23
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    You can save alot of running ( not all the running, but alot of it) buy buying enough needles to have one for each rib.

    You'll still never win a race with the pop rivet gun, though. DAVE

  24. #24

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    I lay the wing horizontally on sawhorses. When I was young, I could look through the adjacent hole to accurately position the needle; now I simply look for deformation of the fabric to get the needle through a pre-punched hole. Over and under is a lot of bending (good for you) but not much walking (time consuming). And rib stitching is a very satisfying art form. Do make them all in the same spot; sighting down a wing from any angle will thus make straight rows. Good luck.

    Don't forget to tie the knots inside the wing, so those big bumps do not show!

  25. #25

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    I happen to own and operate a 2005 CC TOP CUB, The wings are most definitely rib stitched and the workmanship is top notch. I believe that rib stitching is the best way to go as it helps distribute the load between the upper and lower portion of the rib. Also, how many times can you put holes in a rib recovering with rivets? AS is often the case in life, the fast way is not always the best way. MY two cents...

  26. #26
    Bugs66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by green horn
    I happen to own and operate a 2005 CC TOP CUB, The wings are most definitely rib stitched and the workmanship is top notch. I believe that rib stitching is the best way to go as it helps distribute the load between the upper and lower portion of the rib. Also, how many times can you put holes in a rib recovering with rivets? AS is often the case in life, the fast way is not always the best way. MY two cents...
    Probably depends what kind of Top Cub you have. Was it originally a Piper that was rebuilt? New CC Top Cub? I doubt the Sport Cub is rib stitched. Anyway it's neither here nor there, for stamped ribs pop rivets are great.

    Hey Paul, what did you decide? Get an earful? :P

  27. #27
    polarpete's Avatar
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    I would go with rib stitch, rivets are faster but next time you cover you have to drill out all the rivets and could damage rib and make holes bigger.

  28. #28

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    Bugs, I am going with rib stich. After all this knowledge, on the subject, I got a head ache. My Top Cub is stich, and looks so good and I know it's got to be stronger with more support. It may take more time, but I like it better. Thanks for the info.
    Thanks Bushmaster1 thanked for this post

  29. #29
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    Paul
    You will figure this out eventually. If you prepunch the hole for the stitching, you can turn the needle around and feel for the holes you can't see in the middle. The rounded end slips into the hole. The pointed end makes a new hole.

  30. #30
    George's Avatar
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    My PA-11 has Martin Clips installed in 1982 by a previous owner. Now, I don't argue the aesthetics and security of rib stitching and when the time comes to recover I will stitch. But, I would like to use the original Piper ribs I have now.

    Knowing the difference between a stamped rib and an original Piper rib, I am baffled when "they" say that rivets or martin clips ruin the Piper rib on installation. I agree that a hole looks bad but if there are no cracks emanating from the hole, how is the integrity of a truss rib compromised? Is there an instance of an original Piper rib failing due to the holes drilled for rivets or Martin Clips?

  31. #31

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    George,

    Just wait until you you decide "it's time to recover". After you have removed the fabric and the Martin Clips, you will see what people mean!

    As an aside, I have heard Clyde Smith, Jr. comment several times about the use of Martin Clips/screws/rivet's to attach fabric to Piper wings. In attaching the fabric this way, all the stress of the suction on the top of the wing is transmitted only to the cap-strip of the ribs as opposed to the entire rib with rib stitching going completely under the the rib. Piper NEVER approved any method other than rib-stitching for the original Piper ribs.

    John Scott

  32. #32
    Steve's Aircraft (Steve)'s Avatar
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    another small problem with pop rivets is reveled in time when the reinforcing tape compresses, it allows the rivet to get loose, then migrates through the finish tapes. Started seeing it on Citabria's in the 70's, especially in the prop blast area. The "pull" of the air over the wing in flight is up, and with nothing but the heads of the "pop" rivets holding the airfoil in shape has always kind of bothered me. At least, the rib stitching keeps the complete rib in play. I know Aeronca series with screws, or rivets, Cessna's with their clips, Taylorcrafts with their Martin Clips and various other aircraft makes have all worked. But they are all light and relatively slow airplanes. You do not see any thing but rib stitching on the heavy or fast stuff.
    Running at least six needles keeping the run around time down, I can average 5 to 5.5 hrs. on a cub size wing by myself. With help sending the needles back, stitch both wings in under 8 hrs.

  33. #33

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    No cracks anywhere? Then they are as safe with rib stitches as they were with the Martin strips - perhaps a lot safer, because the entire rib is bearing the load as was pointed out a while back.

    That said, I would reduce the price of any Cub I was buying by the cost of a new set of ribs, if they had holes every two and a half inches. And new ribs are heavier, so a pox on those who messed up the original ribs.

  34. #34
    Bugs66's Avatar
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    Last I checked CC, American Champion, and Aviat all pop rivet. If you have stamped ribs that is the way to go. Truss ribs, I would stitch.

  35. #35
    George's Avatar
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    There are two points here 1) dynamic loads on covering/ribs during flight and how those loads are transmitted and 2) integrity of ribs after installation of Martin Clips.

    I asked Clyde the question at Sentimental Journey and acquired a copy of his article in Cub Clues #121. To me it comes down to this: An engineer told Clyde that " ... %70 of the lift on a wing is done by the upper curved surface ...". If that is accurate in ALL attitudes (angle of attack and air speeds) then anything but rib stitching would not work. But this gets into the classic Newton vs. Bernoulli argument.

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...ds/angatt.html

    The other issue is rib integrity. This is addressed in the article " ... inspect the rib thoroughly for signs of elongated holes or any cracks emanating from the holes, and if none are found and your IA approves the pre-cover inspection, then continue to use them." It goes on to not recommend using the wire system again.

    I am pursing the issue because I want to be safe but at the same time not feel the covering is going to come off or my ribs will collapse next time I fly. When I recover I will use rib stitching and reuse my original Piper ribs provided they are in good shape. If they are not I'll buy two $1013 PA-ll rib kits from UNIVAR and be done with it.

    Thanks for the responses.

  36. #36

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    George,

    I think the problem will become self evident when you remove the fabric and attempt to remove the clips from the ribs. I think this is when the majority of damage is done to the ribs.

    You may want to go ahead and invest in a new set of ribs at today's prices instead of waiting for the inevitable increase. You can always sell the new set if you think your ribs are re-usable.

    John Scott

  37. #37
    George's Avatar
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    Scott: Good point and one that has recurred on this thread and others. I need to search someone out who has removed clips.

  38. #38
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    A small pair of dikes to cut the wires or a small pair of needle nose pliers will keep from further damaging the ribs while removing the wires.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  39. #39
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    There are two points here 1) dynamic loads on covering/ribs during flight and how those loads are transmitted and 2) integrity of ribs after installation of Martin Clips.

    I asked Clyde the question at Sentimental Journey and acquired a copy of his article in Cub Clues #121. To me it comes down to this: An engineer told Clyde that " ... %70 of the lift on a wing is done by the upper curved surface ...". If that is accurate in ALL attitudes (angle of attack and air speeds) then anything but rib stitching would not work. But this gets into the classic Newton vs. Bernoulli argument.

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...ds/angatt.html

    The other issue is rib integrity. This is addressed in the article " ... inspect the rib thoroughly for signs of elongated holes or any cracks emanating from the holes, and if none are found and your IA approves the pre-cover inspection, then continue to use them." It goes on to not recommend using the wire system again.

    I am pursing the issue because I want to be safe but at the same time not feel the covering is going to come off or my ribs will collapse next time I fly. When I recover I will use rib stitching and reuse my original Piper ribs provided they are in good shape. If they are not I'll buy two $1013 PA-ll rib kits from UNIVAR and be done with it.

    Thanks for the responses.
    George-

    I have had several people tell me the way to go is a univair butt rib, and Dakota Cub for the rest of the ribs,FYI.

    If it were my PA-11 I would probably just put my current wings up for sale, and buy brand new wings and cover them. It all comes down to what you plan on paying yourself or your IA to clean everything up, dissasemble/reassemble, you may come out close to equal with a new set of wings. Cub rebuilding is quite an economics lesson....

    Tim

  40. #40

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    Learn something every day! Steve - your point about pop rivets and reinforcing strip collapse is well taken. Now I know why all the pops in the slipstream on the super D have cracks in the finish around them.

    On the other hand, reinforcing tapes look to me like they have taken a giant step backwards in terms of strength and the ability to hold a shape. Even with pre-punching, we get wrinkles around the pop rivets. What we need is an STC for rib stitching on the Decathlons. I wonder what it would take? They ought to simply make it legal. Opinion.

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