Work on Kurki wing is well on way
Sunnuntai 1.10.2017 - Member of Tuesday Club
So far the main emphasis in the refurbishment of I.V.L.K.1 Kurki has been in repairing the fuselage and in building the missing wing struts. As this work is now nearly finished, the repair and conservation of the right side wing has been started. In early autumn the wing, which has up to now been waiting in the mid hall of the Finnish Aviation museum, was brought into the conservation room in the museum basement where the Tuesday club members started working on it. Some preliminary work had already been done in spring when some of the rotten wing covering was dismantled.
The main phase in the restoration of the wing is to renew the plywood board covering and the rotten parts in the inner structure of the wing and to patch the holes in the covering. The rotten covering plywood had to be dismantled between the backmost spar and the trailing edge, covering almost the whole length of the wing. Also in the mid-wing section dismantling was necessary from the trailing edge up to the foremost spar.
Rotted and damaged ribs and their plywood sides were revealed when the covering was peeled away. All the plywood sides of the ribs between the backmost spar and the trailing edge were badly damaged and needed to be replaced. The shape of the rib was drawn on a piece of new plywood and this piece was glued onto the side of the rib. The rib sides between the backmost and foremost spar, made lighter with holes, needed to be only partly renewed. In addition the frayed upper edges of the ribs were repaired with glue.
At the same time also the holes in the upper surface covering of the wing were patched either by using pieces of new plywood or by using intact pieces dismantled from the old covering.
When the plywood on the upper surface of the wing had been taken away, damaged and partly rotten plywood on the inside of the lower surface of the wing could be seen. Especially in the area between the backmost spar and the trailing edge the veneer of the plywood board had come apart. The top veneer was also cracked and frayed. The whole plywood board was soft and buckled. In unfavorable storage conditions humidity had taken its toll.
The first idea was to dismantle the damaged covering of the lower surface of the wing. However, the Tuesday club team decided to try and save the covering by using repairing conservation, which meant by trying to fix the plywood board with glue.
The team debated whether to use epoxy glue or to experiment with Casco Outdoor glue diluted with water. The fixing of the plywood was started in the area between the first two ribs of the trailing edge. The area was cleaned and the cracks in the topmost layer / veneer of the plywood were lifted by using the tip of a screwdriver, in order to make space for the glue under the top veneer. Then the diluted wood glue was spread on the plywood, making sure that it went also under the separated material layers.
When the glue had been applied, a layer of bakery paper was placed on top of the glued area in order to prevent the compression plate from sticking onto the glued plywood surface. A supporting plate and a layer of bakery paper were placed also on the other side of the plywood. The glued area was then pressed tightly between the plates by using several clamps.
After a couple of days the clamps were removed. The former soft and frayed plywood had adhered into hard and intact plywood surface. This method will be used to fix all the rotten and decayed covering plywood areas between the backmost spar and the trailing edge.
When the damaged plywood covers of the lower surface of the wing and the rotten ribs have been repaired, it is time to begin with the new covering on the upper surface where the old plywood has been dismantled.