New plywood surfaces of Kurki wings and wing struts painted

Tiistai 9.10.2018 - Member of Tuesday Club


The restoration work of I.V.L.K.1 Kurki has been almost completed at the Tuesday Club. The painting work of the partly replaced plywood areas on Kurki’s wings and of the new and repaired plywood surfaces on its wing struts remains to be completed. On both wings several square meters of rotten plywood had to be dismantled, mainly around the national emblems. Now the new covering areas are painted using a method similar to the original one.

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First the new plywood areas had to be buffed out to remove the “lint” on the surfaces. The plywood surface was moistened using a spray bottle and dried using a heater fan, to make the “lint” stand upright. Then the surface was buffed out using 320 sand paper.

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This procedure was repeated several times so that the plywood surface became very smooth. Chemical wood was used to putty the seams between the new and the original plywood sheets, then the seams were honed. Finally, the plywood surfaces were vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth, dipped in a solution containing 50 % Sinol and 50 % water.

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Some expert advice for the Kurki wing painting was provided by the surface finishing teacher of the Tavastia Vocational College. A brief painting course took place at the Finnish Aviation Museum and the wings of Kurki were used as an example when discussing the treatment of new plywood surfaces and the painting work itself.

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One of the key issues in successful painting is to keep dust away from the painting room and the surfaces which are being painted. After the wings had been vacuumed, they were covered using a thin film of plastic, which was cut open at the areas to be painted. On the edges of the painting areas the plastic film was taped tightly onto the surfaces.

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The plywood surfaces of Kurki had originally been painted by first applying clear varnish on the clean plywood. On top of that a varnish tinted with silver bronze colour pigment was applied, and finally a layer of clear varnish added on top. A similar method is being used in the restoration work. Instead of clear varnish a corresponding modern material is used: La Tonkinois -lacquer, which is a mixture of varnish and Japan tree oil.

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Before the Le Tonkinois-lacquer can be applied on the surface, the amount needed has to be filtered, in order to remove possible “bits and nuggets” in the lacquer. Then a clear base layer of Le Tonkinois was applied on the new and clean plywood surfaces on the Kurki wings and wing struts. A narrow and thin foam rubber roller was used, because fluffy mohair rollers aren’t suitable. When the lacquer had been applied using the roller, the surface was smoothed with a paint brush using long, parallel and light strokes.

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When the lacquer had dried, the surface was buffed out with INDASA Fine and Super Fine buffing pads, vacuumed and wiped using the sinol/water-solution. When the plywood surface had dried, a new layer of lacquer was applied. This procedure was repeated so many times that the clear base lacquer layer was so smooth that the tinted layer of Le Tonkinois could be added.

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Now the Le Tonkinois lacquer tinted with silver bronze could be applied on top of the clear and smooth base layer. A similar method was used to add the tinted paint layer as described above.

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Photo: Jouni Ripatti.

To reach a good result, it is important that the foam rubber roller is moved only in one direction, not back and forth as usually when painting with a roller. After several layers of tinted lacquer and honing the surface between painting the layers, a very smooth silver bronze surface was ready. It had almost a metal shine. Finally, a top layer of clear Le Tonkinois lacquer will be added.

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The Tuesday Club has established “a painting factory” in the Mid-hall of the Finnish Aviation Museum. The aim is to finish the painting of the new plywood surfaces on Kurki’s wings and wing struts before the end of October.

Photos: Lassi Karivalo except if separately mentioned.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoring, old aircraft, I.V.L. K.1 Kurki


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