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Thread: Rebuilding a 1956 Certified Cub

  1. #1

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    Rebuilding a 1956 Certified Cub

    I am beginning (have already started) rebuilding a cub project with the help of my Dad that I bought in November . We have gotten so much good information off of this site by reading the other build/maintenance threads, that it seemed to be least I could do to add another so that there would be some more stellar advice for others to see.

    I am a 19 year old UAF engineering student and I consider myself blessed beyond anything I could imagine to have bought a plane at all, let alone a cub, but long story short, I will be paying for the whole thing (somehow) and have my hands on at least 99.5% of the work with the oversight of my Dad who is an A&P and built himself a cub when I was just starting school. He may be reading this, so I hope I can honor the positive influence he has had on me.

    Between his experience and all of yours we have gotten off to a great start!


    After bringing home the plane in November we decided that the fuselage which had been modified (and powdercoated) by the previous owner needed to go on a massive diet, some of the ideas were welded on with tubes with .049 thicknesses and beyond. When my semester ended in December we put the fuselage in the garage and started whittling. After some serious work we got all of the kinks worked out (we thought) and after it was all said and done I weighed the box of scraps and it came in at 17 lbs, and the stuff we swept off of the floor probably added some more. The end of Christmas break came so the work stopped.

    After a few days my Dad called me with bad news. The gear legs don't fit. We had already stared at the wing fittings wondering how they would be and this didn't exactly ease our minds, I had read through a big portion of the thrustline thread and saw what Mark E. and others were saying about cubs with angles of incidence that didn't match on either side and other horror stories so we decided to borrow Atlee’s jig (pays to have connections). I went home for a few days in February (a positive to online classes, I get to work on the plane!) and we discovered that the fuselage was seriously off. After some guessing and a second opinion from our IA we cut out the top deck x brace and removed all of the gear fittings. With some pushing and pulling it now fits and the x brace is back in.

    Now we are approaching the present, and over spring break we installed all of the fuselage STCs and mods that I decided on that were not already there:
    Atlee Dodge Extended Baggage
    Performance Airmotive Baggage Door
    Sullivan 3rd Seat

    Before installing these we weighed the fuselage at 105 lbs, and afterwards it came in at 115lbs (still lighter than when I bought it!) With all of these completed. It will be blasted and re-powdercoated, and then put back into storage until May when my semester is over.

    I'll post some pictures soon.

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  2. #2

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    Don't blast and power coat until you have completely finished the plane, that means full interior, headliner, panel, boot cowl, Doors, battery, seat belts, shoulder harness, tabs for brake lines, ski pump, floor, ELT, tail cleanup, old man handle, tie down loops in baggage compartment, headset hooks, ect,(hang engine on when fitting boot cowl because it will flex the frame). Assemble everything!! Put the wings tail and engine (or box of weights), then fully rig the wings/tail. That way you will spot any problems or extra tabs you need. If not you will be burning off a bunch of new power coat to fix all that stuff you missed. Sounds like a lot of extra work but it will pay off in the long run because you can fix any problems when everything is raw and unpainted. DENNY
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  3. #3

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    1-Early stages of fuselage grinding, you can see the field approved extended baggage on the floor and a lot of tubes in the tail cleanup area.
    2-Rotten door-post!
    3-Fuselage Before Jig
    4-Box of scraps
    5-Baggage and 3rd seat installed!
    6-Baggage door, its huge!
    Last edited by WayneK49; 03-21-2021 at 01:07 PM.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Don't blast and power coat until you have completely finished the plane, that means full interior, headliner, panel, boot cowl, Doors, battery, seat belts, shoulder harness, tabs for brake lines, ski pump, floor, ELT, tail cleanup, old man handle, tie down loops in baggage compartment, headset hooks, ect,(hang engine on when fitting boot cowl because it will flex the frame). Assemble everything!! Put the wings tail and engine (or box of weights), then fully rig the wings/tail. That way you will spot any problems or extra tabs you need. If not you will be burning off a bunch of new power coat to fix all that stuff you missed. Sounds like a lot of extra work but it will pay off in the long run because you can fix any problems when everything is raw and unpainted. DENNY
    Thanks for the advice, pretty much everything has been on it already since it had the interior assembled and was nearly ready for cover when I bought it, some of the floorboards and interior panels will change but it won't be that huge, we did add and subtract some tabs. I am slightly concerned about the wings since they were already built and covered by the previous owner but on the plus side they are Dakotas and he appears to have gone by the book.

    My dad's cub has no headliners and we have not had any problems in the last 10 or 15 years of fishing and hunting out of it so I'm planning to go that route.

  5. #5
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Weld steel lock nuts on each seat belt tab. That way you can remove/install belts without having three hands. Also reduces the number of hardware items to be lost down the belly.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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  6. #6

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    Web,

    We did! Dad's cub doesn't have them and he wasn't going to let mine go without them.

    Wayne
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  7. #7
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I like your Dad already.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WayneK49 View Post

    After a few days my Dad called me with bad news. The gear legs don't fit. We had already stared at the wing fittings wondering how they would be and this didn't exactly ease our minds,

    Ha! Dragged my fuselage 1300 miles for repair. Got it home and my IA looked at me and said “I hope the wings fit”. I don’t think I had a full nights sleep until we hung them! Looks like you’ll have a great airplane and great times with your dad! Congratulations!
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by WayneK49 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, pretty much everything has been on it already since it had the interior assembled and was nearly ready for cover when I bought it, some of the floorboards and interior panels will change but it won't be that huge, we did add and subtract some tabs. I am slightly concerned about the wings since they were already built and covered by the previous owner but on the plus side they are Dakotas and he appears to have gone by the book.

    My dad's cub has no headliners and we have not had any problems in the last 10 or 15 years of fishing and hunting out of it so I'm planning to go that route.
    Once you started cutting tubes everything changed. If any hole lines up it will be just blind luck. Assemble/build everything before any paint or fabric is applied to anything! Making one simple change to a covered aircraft can take days, been there done that. Any surface rust that happens in the year it will take to complete everything will be taken care of with the sandblasting. Seatbelt tabs for the 3rd seat? can be used as tie down spots with a eye bolt, Don't pop rivet the extended baggage, you may need to get in to replace that trim indicator cable when it breaks. You moved the top deck so good chance you will need to redo boot cowl/gingerbread/both
    DENNY

  10. #10

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    Denny,

    I definitely will not be covering the fuselage until at least next winter or later. I can't think of any of the old interior panels I have that are going to be reused, I mainly meant that since they had been installed, the tabs were sufficient. I'll be using cardboard for patterns for new ones. For example: he used diamond plate for the floorboards which weighed in at 13 pounds for the cockpit only, I'm going to switch to wood so all new holes. No pop rivets for sure, I don't think we have had to take any of the panels off of Dad's plane yet! But it is an option. There are plenty of tabs and I'm planning on screws for just about everything. Good idea on the 3rd seat seatbelt tabs, I'll probably use that one day. We did check on the gingerbread and had to replace a little of it. Most was OK. My Dad and a friend of his actually designed the current stainless boot cowl that you can buy from Atlee (https://fadodge.com/boot-cowling-assemblies-2/) and he had built one of those for the previous owner who is a family friend. It hasn't been fitted since the guy had already pretty much lost interest at that point.
    Last edited by WayneK49; 03-17-2021 at 05:34 PM.
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  11. #11

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    X or box brace on the tail?
    Denny
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  12. #12

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    Went with the X, I don't think you can see it in any of those pictures but its there.

    Wayne
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  13. #13
    jrussl's Avatar
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    What a great project, Wayne. You are very fortunate. I look forward to seeing more updates from you.

    Jeff


    Sent from my iPad using SuperCub.Org
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  14. #14

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    Cool project for Dad, too. Win-win.
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  15. #15
    aktango58's Avatar
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    So cool! How great to see a young person building their dream, and learning all that goes with it!

    Don't let us old farts get to you, we have OUR ideas, but it is your plane...

    And one though- my idea: Consider instead of the Atlee extended baggage, look at Carbon Concepts. It is super light, and does not take any welding. His floor boards are also very nice and light!

    Once it is done you will be the envy of all, might be now also!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  16. #16
    KJC's Avatar
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    I’d tig the holes for the rear seat springs and install an under seat tool box. Utilitarian and removable.

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    PA-12 N418BS

  17. #17
    KJC's Avatar
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    I’m pretty sure Carbon Concepts doesn’t have an actual STC for an extended baggage. However he does make floorboards for the Atlee or Willow Mountain STC. I really like his stuff but it’s really expensive. I think .025 is plenty. The STC calls for .020. Powder coat for the prettiness factor. Atlee STC comes with several D rings for tie downs. Folding seat back is an easy sheetmetal project.
    Attachment 54806Attachment 54807
    PA-12 N418BS

  18. #18

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    Thank you all for the well wishes!

    As far as the baggage goes I had looked at potentially going with one that airframes has on their website as an "ultralight extended baggage" (https://www.airframesalaska.com/Fuse...-p/fm-uebs.htm) which seemed like a good idea, but I didn't want to bother with the field approval and I live much closer to Atlee. Dad's cub has the Willow Mountain style floor and he carries a wooden wedge that we made to bridge the gap between floor and rear seat to sleep in the plane during hunting season which I didn't really want to mess with either. I didn't know carbon concepts made one but its too late now! I have emailed Randy and I think the baggage will have his floorboards, his price wasn't too much to swallow for that much material.

    For anyone installing the Atlee baggage this isn't in the drawing but they say to drill a few drain holes in the angle in the back so that water can't sit back there.

    For the rear seat my dad's cub has a removable seatback that I really like in place of the folding one which I will probably go with, especially since with the large door I can get by without removing it most of the time. I do have a fiberglass toolbox that was on it when I bought it so I won't have to build that.

  19. #19

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    2 Questions so far: Has anyone put the airframes aluminum struts on an -18, or would you have concerns with the strength? I only have the original piper struts from the plane so I will be buying either way, I did the math and it is only about $800 more compared to airframes HD struts and an easy 16 lbs sounds pretty good but saving 16 lbs isn't worth a bent airplane to me, you won't see me at competing at Valdez.

    I got a good deal on a Dakota fuel valve but I don't currently have the STC, if I call them should I be able to get it? And if I buy their gascolator rather than Steve's I have heard on here that they have an STC for a headerless fuel system but I haven't been able to find any mention of it, would I just call and ask about that as well?

  20. #20
    KJC's Avatar
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    Yes. If you buy a new fuel valve and gascolator they will give you the headerless tank STC free of charge. YMMV.
    PA-12 N418BS
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  21. #21
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    What KJC posted on the fuel valve and gascolator. I have read and was told that the Airframes struts were stronger when they were tested than the standard steel struts. I want to replace my sealed Univair struts with the Airframes aluminum ones to offset the 12 lbs. I gained installing the Performance STOL Flaps.
    Steve Pierce

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  22. #22
    txpacer's Avatar
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    I have the aluminum struts. My only concerns are rock damage and keeping the mud daubers out. The struts have open ends.
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  23. #23

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    Stick in that little tube by the seat in case you want the 2000 lb gross weight upgrade.
    DENNY
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  24. #24

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    Well I tested positive for COVID and I'm locked down in the spare dorm at UAF, luckily I don't feel too terrible so that means more time to daydream about my cub. Thanks to great sites like john2031.com and the home page here, I have been able to look at the paint jobs on a lot of different cubs, -12s, and otherwise. I think it is one of the Breeden's cubs that comes up on the front here pretty often and I really like it! I changed it up a bit and this is what I've got. For a paint job the most important things for me are 1-Looks: I have to like it. And 2-Visibility: We fly with some guys in black cubs, white cubs, and some navy blue as well and some guys airplanes just disappear as soon as you look away, on the other hand my dad's cub is yellow and bright blue and you can't miss it against the sky or the ground, that kinda limits my color choices.

    While there is something to be said for the anonymity of red and white or the lightning bolt, I am not as big on those schemes and I guess if it makes me a little more careful that would be good for my safety and standing with the FAA.

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    On another note this is Stu Ramstad's old cub and I believe he used it when he built the Little Mulchatna Lodge (the same one John Denver sang about), maybe I'll make it out there in it one day! I never met him but someone here probably did. I have been enjoying reading some of the old flying stories on this site while I have been locked away.
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  25. #25

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    Yep, I fly with two white wing cubs and they are very hard to keep track of!!! Alaska camo red or yellow very easy to see.
    DENNY
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  26. #26
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    That's a great color scheme! Classic Piper elements with enough updates to make it more modern. Plus the red wings with black leading edge should melt ice off nicely in the sun.
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  27. #27

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    Semester's over! We got the fuselage out when I got home and have been slowly adding on. I have been training in my dad's cub in the last week and I'm starting to feel like a real pilot now! Nose wheels are boring!

    When I bought the project it had diamond plate floorboards in it and I weighed one of them at 13 lbs. We had a 4x8 sheet of suitable plywood sitting there and the entire thing weighed 13 lbs... So now I have wood floorboards. We just finished cutting them yesterday and they're ready to be sanded and finished. I don't envy anyone who has to do that job without a pattern!

    I installed the jackscrew and trim cable as well, and a stiffener in the last turtledeck arch so it doesn't get pushed over.

    Up next are the baggage floorboards, control cables, fuel lines and so on.

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  28. #28

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    More progress, the floorboards are stained and varnished, they look great and came out about half of the weight of the old diamond plate ones. We just finished putting in rudder pedals which was just as frustrating as expected until we figured out a system for doing them. I am working on getting the stick in and a couple other things at the moment.

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  29. #29

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    We used a small piece of titanium with a nutplate/camlock on it glued and PK screwed into the bottom of the floorboard for the third bolt on the brake cylinders and the rear stick cover.

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    For anyone who has installed a Trig radio where have you put the box?

  30. #30
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    I like mounting a panel to the aft side of the tubing that lays against the firewall. Brake the edges to give it some stiffness and attach it to the tubes with steel Adel clamps. Anything that gets mounted to this panel should be mounted with nut plates. Keep the panel high enough so that your toes don't bump it.

    Web
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