RagWing Special #312

Link to the RagWing site


A few things I am learning that you won't find in the plans!

Including a little boat I built for my wife, it was so much fun I built a slightly taller one for myself.. links to the plans included

Please mail me if you have any questions,  comments, suggestions or gripes!




This is what a finished RW2 should look like..  and it's in my color too!

Click the picture for the "official" "Ragwing Aircraft Design" (RAD) site. 

Some other builders "Specials" click for larger size

Rick Lapinsky's fine example

Tom Jeschke's nicely finished bird

Dennis Frey's "Reds Baron" has a style of it own

David Morrow shows us this plane is elegant in the sky too

jeff.jpg (11818 bytes)

And Jeff Faith does a low pass on a hazy still morning

Carlos Gurr has a pretty detailed log with plenty of step by step pictures, I quite often take a peek for reference

Suppliers Links


Aircraft Spruce
(Free Catalogue)


Page started 12/02/02

Last updated 07/30/11

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Progress Report

Click on the thumbnails for larger pics

I wasn't sure which way "up" to do this. Eventually I decided the last update would be on top to save everyone scrolling all the way down every time. First time visitors click here for a free trip to the bottom of the page

21st March
Not much
of an update, weather has been really nasty recently. I'm looking forward to making a little progress very soon. Meanwhile I'm adding a "Ragwing Cam" not sure how often it will get updated though but check in anyway

18th February
Going backwards.. 
Ah well, at least I'm man enough to admit it.. I was looking at my compression struts and the diagonals on the second wing +ed one out and it was far harder than I thought it would have been. I'm still having trouble though. I have it cut to the longest length that will fit and top and bottom are flat to the plywood. Now I'm not sure where I should put in the block supports. The plans are sketchy here as it shows no blocking on the front spar, but in the blow up it does state there is a block.? I guess I'll ask on the group.. I'll leave the answer here.

15th February
Well hey.. 
where did the time go to.?? I now have two wings like the one below  I'll spare you the pics as assembly is is basically the same (just remember to do one left and one right) basically I have been building wing kits.. and the fun part is putting them together and actually seeing a plane part appear before your eyes.. of course even that's part of a bigger kit.. and on it goes, but I don't like to get too far ahead of myself.. it makes my head spin.. one part at a time. Winter here is pretty nasty and its been below freezing for weeks now, snow is all around and I have to really blast the heating and microwave my glue in order to get anything done. I had to buy some new tools too.. (like THAT'S a chore) I got a cordless trim saw on sale from Lowe's and a Ryobi table saw on sale at Home Depot..   I seem to be outgrowing my workshop now!!  Spring is just around the corner and I plan to set about the lower wing ribs so I'll have to order some more spruce, then  I'll get them to the same point my upper wings are and then add the nose ribs and wrap altogether then start on the fuse..  or stab..  not sure yet. Anyway, keep checking back I hope to start making the lower wing "kit" very shortly. Please leave a comment in the guest book.. and thanks to everyone who has written to me directly, sorry if I didn't reply to a couple of you as I have had computer problems and I lost a load of email (hate that) please write again if you didn't get a reply.


29th December
12 Months
into the project and I have a wing and the tail section..  

 wing.jpg (46452 bytes)  fin.jpg (32862 bytes)
12 months of work.. one wing (90%) and one tail (95%)

But I did learn allot and hopefully the next wing will go a little quicker. I am constantly thinking about the lower wings and studying the plans when I have a spare moment.. they are a little daunting for me but the more I read and study, the more everything is falling into place.

Here are some shots of the trailing edge manufacture and compression struts being fitted. Making sure everything stays square and strait

trailedge.jpg (30686 bytes) tedge.jpg (13786 bytes) tedge1.jpg (34717 bytes) struts.jpg (33761 bytes) struts1.jpg (41335 bytes) 

23rd November
a rear spar with webbing today. I did the wing tips per plans, I liked the way Carlos attached his as it looked really strong that way, but I was too scared to cut the spars so did it per plans.. after the webbing went on I was convinced it would be plenty strong enough.

spar.jpg (19189 bytes)  spar1.jpg (18557 bytes)  spar2.jpg (25791 bytes)

20th November
that was a break! Still not done that much lately but I added a wing tip section to a forward spar and have cut a whole sheet of 3mm plywood for the webs. I got 8 for the rear spars.. (top and bottom) and 5 for the front set..  I will have to attack another sheet to get the other 3.  So 28" went to the rear spars and about 30" for the front ones that makes 58" out of the 61"x61" were used, so not much waste there..  probably 1 1/2" in kerf waste and I did cut them a little over sized. I slid on the wing ribs just to see what it would look like and I was pretty pleased everything aligned nicely, I also have an addition to my list of invaluable tools..  it's a 12volt car battery!!  excellent for keeping things really flat while the glue dries. As an afterthought, I think I may have cut too many rear ones, as on the lower wings I will be able to cover with three (1.5 sheets per spar) rather than four as  with the top wings.

trial.jpg (54534 bytes)
Just a trial..

25th September
Shame on me..
not done as much as I should have done.!  Wing spars are completed and await the plywood surfacing, but I don't want to add that until I decide what type of wing tip I want. After much debate and soul searching I think I will be boring and stick to the plan design, the more I read about Hoerner tips the more I feel I would be adding more work and maybe risk doing something untested. This aerodynamics site finally put me out of my misery. So I guess I move on.. keep checking back.!

6th August 2003
to check out the guys building the Zenith tonight, it's really coming along. No building was done as the talk was all about Oshkosh and how everyone is going to build everything..  I got back late-ish so no building for me too, I just thought I would size 12 new pics for the page and add them below to go with the blurb.

5th August 2003
I constructed
a makeshift extractor fan as the sawdust was getting allover the house, it seemed to work pretty good. I made the wing attach and cable attach blocks the nice rounded shape tonight, I used a whole cutting saw in a kind of jig that did a pretty good job. The closest points are 3.5" per plans and the rounded peaks are extra, a little more weight but adds strength and safety. Dry fitted another dozen time.. no glue yet though. 

  badidea.jpg (17107 bytes)  blockjig.jpg (18792 bytes)  extractor.jpg (21791 bytes)
The router was a bad Idea, but the hole saw worked great, makeshift extractor works (sorta)

3rd August 2003
seems to be flying..  Today I bought another wheel (have two now) a plank for the spar intercoastals, also a steel rod to line up the hinges (when I install them) and some straight 2x1 to screw to the front of my bench. I snapped a chalk line down it and held it tight.. Oh Ho.!!  looks like my bench isn't as flat as I thought it was! I packed the center legs but the surface needed packing to get it exact. I unscrewed the 3/4 chipboard and used Iced lolly sticks I had bought from the dollar store for mixing the glue. Table is now dead on!!  Onward...  I cut all rear spars to length and 24 x 5/16ths x 2" and clamped them up to see what a dry fit would look like.  I'll cut enough wood for the front spar intercoastals then see what I have left for the attach blocks..  I may have to do another wood trip.. I still have $8.00 on my Lowes card.

oh-ho.jpg (15540 bytes)  flatop.jpg (16254 bytes)  dryfitspar.jpg (19609 bytes)  nicefit.jpg (19127 bytes)  nicefit2.jpg (17221 bytes)
I discovered the table was a little off   ...ok now though      Then dry fit the wing spar, and everything came together quite nicely

27th July 2003
Went to Chicago
to swap out the old plywood and get it replaced, the people at Plywood and Door were (once again) fantastic and everything went smoothly. The wood was sat on the fork truck and they used a sheet of .8mm ply to save it getting damaged on the forks, they said it was a scrap piece and I asked if I could have it, they agreed, so I came away with a big smile on my face, probably enough for the aileron nose wrap! Also my Brother in Law gave me a gift certificate for Lowes which I will use to get another wheel.. plus some wood for the spar intercoastals.

25th July 2003
I now
have all the blocking in place and fabric attach points glued in place. I have feathered the edges and am quite happy with the smooth finish. I bought hinges from Lowes and next thing is to install them. It seems a shame that some of my finest woodworking is all going to be covered up!

joint2.jpg (11475 bytes)  joint.jpg (23536 bytes)  fabattach.jpg (18790 bytes)  smooth.jpg (18551 bytes)
I'm pleased with the way things are turning out..

9th July 2003
while I wait for a good time to go to Chicago to get the plywood swapped out I thought I would utilize the good plank I found at Lowes..  I bought a piranha blade for my saw and cut my plank into 1/8th strips (9) and decided to make the tail fin out of it (rudder) this is not a task to be taken lightly and believe me I sweated a bucket or two whilst putting this together..  I have to say the new blade was really good and left a really good, smooth surface.

     Firstly I drew in the critical dimensions and tested one strip of 1/8th strip of NWP (Northern White Pine) I got the curve I wanted and left it at that over night. Next evening I changed the location of the fin on my workbench and made everything 'firmer' and more distinct..  I reproduced the curve and drew in all the cross braces and critical measurements, I don't have any actual pictures of the lamination process because believe ME I needed every second to mix and spread the glue, and I was a blur as I needed to mix more glue 3 times during the procedure.. MAN this was nerve wracking.!! but eventually it all came together and I just had to go and get beer to celebrate. WOO HOO..!!!
Here are the pics that I managed to take..

                   tail3a.jpg (18328 bytes)                              tail3.jpg (96866 bytes)                    
laminations were bolted together..        and dry fitted 

No gluing pics available due to  total panic, and MAAAN did I use more glue than I thought possible..!!   but it was a blast.!!

                     tail4.jpg (33713 bytes)                             tail5.jpg (116381 bytes)                   
 glued, then flattened laminations        then I used one or two clamps to keep it all together..!!  :o)

                   tail6.jpg (22397 bytes)                             tail7.jpg (39605 bytes)                  
getting there...                        I'm very pleased with the shape

I'm very happy with the shape of my rudder after all the frenzied moments I had putting it together..   not really looking forward to the elevator and tail surfaces as there are some really MEAN bends to make..  ...fun all the way though.

16th June 2003
Good news..!!  the nice people at Plywood and Door have offered to exchange the wood for me, even though I had it cut, I think that is a great gesture and they deserve a pat on the back. Their

7th June 2003
Disaster strikes.!! 
I needed the 3mm ply for wing spars bringing up from Illinois, a friend was to pick it up, saw it in half (to fit in his car) and drive it 6 hours up for me.. they only gave him the wrong stuff didn't they!!  So I have some excellent GL ll spec Aircraft grade 7ply 5mm plywood (6 sheets) that is 30" x 60" (just over actually) if anyone needs some.. price is $20.00 a sheet and believe me that is a bargain and it really is good stuff. But it also means I am broke again as I expected to be completing my first wing whilst saving for the next task I find myself just saving. I suppose I could utilize that good plank I got from Lowes and set about the tail feathers?

2nd June 2003
Wood arrived,
wow.. that was quick!!  enough spruce for the top set of wing spars, leading edge and trailing edge. Also 3 sheets 1/16" plywood and 1 of 1/4"  (2'x4')
I weighed each spar strip and separated them into two bundles of 4 strips weighing equal amounts, then chose the lightest two from each set for the rear spars. But I am NOT looking forward to cutting the trailing edge..  I think some serious table saw jigging (of sorts) will be required and a few practice runs on some old scraps.

16 May 2003
some more wood from Aircraft Spruce today, I can build wing spars when I get the order. I'm still concerned about the aileron ribs yet. I had Ideas about building them differently than shown in the plans but now I'm resigned to doing it per plans. I was thinking lazy thoughts.. !! 

16 April 2003
is completed, check out the work area/bench button on the left ..or click here

23 March 2003
the ribs for the top wings..  and  wood supplies need replenishing, I estimate I have spent 30 hours constructing 18 wing ribs so far. I'm impressed at how well the glue (T88) sticks as all test joints have failed in the wood first. And what's more, I have only used a fraction of what I expected too. I don't like the way a couple of ribs sit on my test spar so they are candidates for the "destruct a rib" fest. Stay tuned ..pics to follow... I just need a PRIME rib break.   :o)

glue and ribs.jpg (21074 bytes) 18ribs.jpg (28470 bytes)
18 ribs and the glue used..   not bad eh?

15 March 2003
7 down - 27 to go.. 
I seem to be making 1.5 ribs per day, I thought I would be doing more and the only thing stopping me is the amount of clamps I have. Funny really, I thought I had tons. Here is my procedure. I will number the braces from 1 - 8. #1 being at the leading edge. All uprights and diagonals are cut first. 
Upright number 1 is cut 90 degrees to exact size. 
Upright number 3 (skipping diagonal #2 for a moment) is cut at 1 degree top and bottom to follow the aerofoil shape.
The other uprights (5,7 and 8) are cut at 4 degrees top and bottom. I did a few at 5 degrees, although they came out good I thought it was too steep. The diagonals are cut a little over size and I cut away the corners as needed.
I cut 8 small plywood triangles all the same size and cut the corners off two (top of upright 3 and bottom of upright 5) Once glued and  for the want of a better phrase "plywooded" I staple everything together and remove from the jig. I use a bar clamp on the upright 1 so it doesn't drift apart. Then I flip it over and glue and add patches to the other side, clamp it all up.. I found the smaller clamps work best.. then wait for it to dry. ..wonder if the wife would miss the clothes pegs??

staple.jpg (13697 bytes)

13 March 2003
I have given up on the knife to cut the plywood, it's just not worth the trouble. I fired up the table saw tonight and ripped a few strips off WAYY too easily..  I am now using a sharp pair of scissors to finish the triangles off, works great.! 4 down 30 to go.. I better start building that bench too

cut ply.jpg (23883 bytes) 

12 March 2003
Ok, so
progress is slow, but at least it is progress.. The way things are going I expect I will manage a rib an evening. I kinda have a production run going now so maybe that will increase soon. I didn't really do anything on the weekend as I had other commitments but there is no rush. BOY is it tedious cutting all those little triangles out, I'm doing mine with a knife rather than a saw because I can get more from my plywood that way. I have some pics in the cam.. I will post them soon. I think I might re-arrange this page too, I might try and break it into individual sections, a bit like Carlos has done. ...maybe!

cutting.jpg (19636 bytes)               triangles.jpg (26978 bytes)

06 March 2003
Great News!!
rib stock arrived from Aircraft Spruce today, I checked it over and although some pieces were not too hot there were extra ones in there to make up for it so that was pretty good.  Plywood was good too and my T88 glue was.. well... it's T88 glue, what more can I say.!!  apart from the fact I am really happy that I feel I'm on my way AT LAST!  When I think of all the things I am going to need to finish this project it almost seems an impossible task, but one step at a time and I keep looking around at everyone else who was once in my situation but are now asking questions on covering their planes, it is good inspiration. One day someone in my position right now will be reading these scribes and I will hopefully be giving them the inspiration they will need to strive for their dreams.

28 Feb 2003
some good news!!  Aircraft Spruce sent me an Email stating my order had been cut/picked/packed and shipped, at last I can start building my dream.!!  I'm sad that it came to this but really happy things can now begin.

16 Feb 2003
I manage to get the post office to track down the details of my US Postal money order and it seems no check has been cashed!!  I try and contact Ted again and explain my anguish, this time I get a reply. I cancel the order but am now afraid to send money by this method and order from Aircraft Spruce via credit card.

11 Feb 2003
Sirius group has been dead for a few weeks now until yesterday..  now an influx of mails are coming through again. Don't know what the problem is or was but I will mail Ted again tonight to see if he knows where he is up to with my wood and glue...  still straining at the leash here..!!

1st Feb 2003
waiting for wood.!!  several mails to Sirius Aviation all resulting in no replies (except a test mail that was replied to by telling me off for posting test messages!) After all the communications we went through to set this order up I am surprised at the apparent lack of interest being currently shown. I am always inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt but my patience is wearing a little thin. Lets hope I hear something soon.

25 Jan 2003
Still waiting for the wood

13 Jan 2003
Two things
happened today, firstly I got a nice chunk of Fortal aluminum in the mail from "The Mousebar Company" I think it was $20.00 and that included shipping, great sale on at the moment.. anyway, this (after much work) will be my tailspring. The other cool thing is I sent for enough wood to build half the total amount of wing ribs (17)  so that should get me started while I save for the rest.. It should be here for the weekend..

04 Jan 2003
Rib jig
was completed last night, I never thought it would be so much work. Hopefully I will only have to do that once. I see some people made one for the top and one for the lower set of wings to speed things along, but I'm in no hurry. I completed the dummy rib to get all the piece sizes I need, I will measure angles and lengths then multiply by 34 ..add a bit of cash and will have 4 wings in no time..  pfft !!

dummyrib.jpg (32515 bytes)

Just getting a little OT for a moment though here..
I was out with some friends earlier in the week and they showed me a Zenith Zodiac they were building and an old Pietenpol Aircamper  that was uncovered and having some work done on it. All in all I had a great evening, they were a great bunch of guys and had a ton of tales to tell. I hope to get to know them all better in the future.


31 Dec 2002
New Years eve.!
  and I just ripped a couple of strips 1/4" x 1/4" from a shelf in the bedroom (don't tell the wife) and I transferred the rib pattern and started setting up my jig I really don't expect to get much more done this year so it looks like I will have to wait to try out my new miter saw as I plan on being drunk for a while (oops there goes the budget)  The good news is I got some money for Christmas and gift token for Lowes which is a great start!  So Happy New Year to all builders and would be builders, 2003 is going to be quite a year. :o)

jig.jpg (26957 bytes)

15 Dec 2002
  Woo Hooo let the clock start now.!!    er and promptly stop it again as Christmas is going to sap my funds until 2003 I think.! Ah well, It will give me plenty of time to look over the plans and get everything else in order. I have been talked into building the experimental version so now I can build wider and stronger for my 5'6" 190# modest (HA) frame. I can't wait. Just want to say a quick thanks to Dennis and Cliff here.. THANKS.

I will worry about the license at a later date...

Wed 12 Dec 2002
All great journeys
start with one small step, and my Ragwing Special project is no exception. I have just sent off for a set of plans from a builder who chose another project (it was another Ragwing design) This way I get a good deal and am assured of getting the plans relatively quickly (fingers crossed) He didn't build anything from the plans so everything is legal as far as Roger is concerned.

Both check and plans should cross in the post which is a very gentlemanly way of doing things.

Have also spoken with a few of the guys on the builders list and am already picking up useful things (like plans for one) I must say everyone is being very tolerant of me so far, thanks folks.