Sam Buchanan's RV6

Painting the RV6

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Panel Page

Firewall Forward

Interior Installation


6/25/99; 4.5 hrs; buffing tail section.


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It ain't over 'till its over...

If you have bug legs, tree sap, and the occasional sag in the paint, there is still hope. This photo shows the necessary implements to turn a mediocre paint job into something approaching acceptable.

The first step is to carefully sand out imperfections with 1500 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper using lots of water to keep the paper clean. Care must be taken when sanding over rivets to prevent going through the paint. Auto finish shops will have various sanding blocks that can used with the paper. Sanding should be done in straight lines, not a circular motion. I sanded at a slow pace, with frequent washing and drying cycles so I wouldn't take off too much paint. It is easy to sand orange peel down to a smooth surface, just don't get in a hurry.

On the Workmate is a bottle of 3M Finesse-It II finishing compound. This is a non-abrasive silicone-free liquid that will polish out the sanding marks when used with a buffer. Next to the buffer is a little gadget, known as spurs, that is used to frequently "fluff" up the polishing pad.

Also shown is a can of Lipton Brisk. This is poured into the buffer operator at periodic intervals.

I was quite pleased at how the buffing process finishes the paint surface. It is a lot of work, but most of the boo-boos are now history. The buffing process could be continued until an absolute mirror finish is achieved or all the paint is gone. I suspect I will just enjoy all I can stand then say "enough of this, lets take the plane to the airport".

I haven't yet worked up the nerve to try buffing the black surfaces.

6/26/99; 2.5 hrs; more buffing.

6/27/99; 2.25 hrs; buffed rudder; installing pinstripe trim tape to paint cut lines.

7/1/99; 2.0 hrs; installed more trim tape; installed elevator trim tab; fabricated and installed inspection cover.


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Here is how I secured the hinge pin for the trim tab; Simple and easy.

Pin was bent and secured with a short length of safety wire.


7/3/99; 8.0 hrs; prepped cowl, emp fairing (#*&@$%?!), wheel pants, and spinner; sprayed epoxy primer on same.

7/5/99; 2.75 hrs; completed prepping of cowl and pants; sprayed black paint on cowl and wheel pants.

7/7/99; 3.0 hrs; sprayed white on wheel pants, upper cowl, spinner, and hardware.


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A block of floral foam holds the screws and washers for the spinner, wheelpants, and oil door.





7/8/99; 5.5 hrs; painted emp fairing, trim on pants and cowl; hooked up elevator trim tab; applied trim tape to wheelpants.


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Wheel pants have had black sprayed on bottom half, then the black is covered with paper and the top half is sprayed with white. This is followed by masking for the red trim and covering the remainder of the white as shown.....




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The ugly blob on the right is the pant after the red is applied. The beautiful hatchling on the left is what we got when the paper was removed!

Probably not visible in the photo is the black trim tape on the top edge of the red, and the gold tape at the edge of the black.


7/9/99; 4.25 hrs; installed emp fairing, installed gear leg fairings; buffed top cowl and emp fairing.



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7/13/99; 1.5 hrs; detail work. Here is the 1/8" black trim tape applied to the red borders, and the 1/4" gold tape separating the black and white areas. The "RV-6" is computer cut vinyl from a sign shop.




7/14/99; 2.5 hrs; prepped and primed wingtips and root fairings.

Transported fuse to airport!

7/15/99; 2.5 hrs; painted wing tips and root fairings.

7/17/99; 3.0 hrs; buffed wing tips and installed AeroFlash nav lights/strobes.

7/19/99; 4.5 hrs; built fixture to hold wing during painting; ScotchBrited right wing and sprayed primer on wing.


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Pipe flange, 12" x 1.5" pipe nipple, and 2x4 scraps were used to assemble a fixture that would rest in vee-blocks. The spar stub rests in a vee-block as well. This allows the wing to be rotated as necessary during prepping/painting.







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7/21/99; 2.0 hrs; sprayed white on right wing.





7/22/99; 3.0 hrs; painted leading edge of right wing; repainted wing root fairings.

7/23/99; 2.5 hrs; prepped and primed left wing.

7/28/99; 2.5 hrs; painted white on left wing; painted inspection covers and screws.

7/30/99; 4.5 hrs; completed painting left wing; dismantled paint booth.


Painting is complete!! Total time for painting...124.0 hrs.


Here is the rundown on the materials that I used for painting N399SB:

               One gallon of epoxy primer (makes two gallons sprayable)

               Two and 1/4 gallons of paint (this makes 4.5 gallons of sprayable material)

               One gallon of degreaser

My objective was to apply as little paint as reasonably possible. After all, any paint job is going to decrease the performance of the plane due to additional weight. I don't know how much the paint job weighs since so much of the paint ends up on the floor and in the back yard. The primer was applied very sparingly, just enough for coverage.

(Note: I suspect the primer could be omitted with no adverse effects. I think the color paint would stick just fine to a well-ScotchBrited and cleaned surface.)

The bottom of the wings, fuse, and horizontal stab received just one medium coat of color. The remainder of the plane got two coats, the first light, and the second medium. A close look at the rivets will indicate that there is not much paint on this invisible rivets on this plane! I am very pleased with the amount of gloss that resulted from the PPG Concept system, and several compliments have already been received.

The Concept paint sands and buffs very nicely which makes it a very forgiving system for the novice painter. Obviously, the very dark colors are much more challenging to finish than light colors, but I recommend this system to the RV builder who doesn't want to fool with a two-stage system. Total cost of all painting materials came to about $900.00.



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Table of Contents

RV6 Home

Who is Sam? 
The Hangar 

Getting Ready to Build 
     Odd 'n Ends 

Building the Tail 
     Horz. Stab Log 
     Vert. Stab Log 
     Rudder Log 
     Elevator Log 

Building the Wings
     Wing Spars
     Wing Assembly
  Fuel Tanks

Building the Fuselage

The Finish Kit


  Flight of  Rediscovery 

  The Beat Goes On 

The RV Journal
Front Page 

Talk to Sam


Van's Aircraft