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Member postings for Steve Houghton

Here is a list of all the postings Steve Houghton has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
02/02/2020 14:04:47

Flappy Bits

Chris, and anyone who's interested in centre mounted servos. Here's Hannos's solution, snapped from the Super Sicroly plan (courtesy of Outerzone).

super sicroly.jpg

Questions, Questions

I'm scratching my head about the tailplane block fairings. If anyone can cast light on these, it would be appreciated.

1) The plan's side elevation shows the block fairings fitted below the top of F15, but the A-A cross section shows them to be level with the top of F15. I realise I could set them lower down and then fill over the top with more block, but has anyone any advice on the best approach?

2) Are the tailplane block fairings parallel on the outside, or do they taper toward the tail? This will affect how the tubes are glued into the tailplane halves. If parallel, the tubes will be perpendicular to the root of the halves. If tapered, the tubes will be angle forwards slightly to accommodate the sweep back. I can see from Martin's build notes that he fitted the tubes by clamping them against the tail, but I don't have confidence that I can get them straight by that method and would like to do them flat on the bench. Any advice?

31/01/2020 21:17:17

Hi Dirk,

Thanks for the warning. I won't do much with the wing seat until I have built the wing. A rather slow week for building this week, although I'm moving on with the tailplanes, fin and rudder. Will post pictures when I have made progress.

23/01/2020 22:50:26

Phil, Yes, I'm planning the same central servo arrangement, although still pondering whether to fit flaps as well. I keep having flashbacks to Hanno Prettner's flaps on the Super Sicroly, I think, where he used an aileron torque rod within a brass tube that controlled snap flaps, all housed within a further brass tube bearing. I've not figured out the precise details yet, or whether it's worth bothering with flaps - I noted your comments on your blog.

Thread: Phil's F-86 Sabre build thread
23/01/2020 22:22:21

Smart work, Phil. Now that all you experts have ironed out the problems with the wing build, I may be tempted to start mine soon - soon be June!

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
23/01/2020 22:16:11

Peter: I agree with your points 1 and 2. This also answers 3 - the wire is bent before insertion into the horn.

Chris MgG: Yes, I have followed Martin's procedures, except that I have now removed the bush (sleeve) from the rear wire.

Chris B: I think my use of 'bush' was incorrect. I have fitted the brass sleeve to the front wire, but no bushes (either side of the sleeve). I have made a new rear wire with no sleeve.

Thanks for these.

Forlorn Horn

My problem with the rear wire is best illustrated thus:

2001_2301 crooked rear wire.jpg

It's difficult to enlarge a hole in a plastic horn without the drill snatching on the plastic and being pulled off line.That above would give significant trimming problems, so I am ordering more horns. You can't see above, but this is an Acute angle horn (SL833) instead of an Obtuse one (SL834). Must order the right ones this time!

Take a Seat

I puzzled over how to cut out the wing seat quickly and accuratey, and decided to adapt the 'plan pricking' idea. Take a piece of 16g wire approx 5" long, with both ends sharpened. Rest it across the two F14 keels and gently push it from side to side:

2001_2201 side spike.jpg

Gradually the light dawns:

2001_2202 spiked holes.jpg

Then simply join the dots with a marker:

2001_2203 join dots.jpg

A little knife work and the cut almost falls apart. Extend the lines front and back to extend the curves beyond the curved parts of F14, and the rough outline is done. Saw off the bottom of the former to the same level, and that'll do for now until I have a wing to do the final trimming:

2001_2204 cut seat.jpg



Edited By Steve Houghton on 23/01/2020 22:17:20

Thread: Chris McG F-86 Sabre Dog build blog
23/01/2020 20:45:26

Hi Chris,

Your work is impressively neat and tidy, and inspirational to the rest of us.

Thanks for your comments on mine - will respond later on.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
22/01/2020 23:07:20

Out with the bush

I've been looking at the size of the SLEC 834 tailplane control horn tonight and don't think there's enough plastic around the rear hole to drill it out to fit a 10g wire plus brass tube bush. The plan shows a bush on both the front and rear wires, but I'm thinking the rear wire doesn't need to pivot freely and probably doesn't need a bush.

I've therefore bent up a bushless rear 10g wire instead. I was also unable to keep the rear horn hole horizontal when drilling out, so I now need to order a replacement (or two)!

21/01/2020 13:30:39

Thanks, Martin.

I am definitely aiming for removable halves. I'm just aware that if the wires drift sideways, even when pushing the halves onto the wires, then the bends in the wires could bind in the central tubes. Time will tell whether this ever becomes an issue.

The pritt-stick sounds useful - I'd heard that before but never tried it. Thanks.

Thread: Alaskan Air National Guard Version
20/01/2020 22:51:48

Good to see you ticking over, Steve. Neat as always. Happy planking!

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
20/01/2020 22:37:01

Thanks, Phil and Chris. I'm following both your builds with interest to compare notes.

A Bender

I don't know about others, but my pet hate in any build is bending wire, so I wasn't looking forward to the tailplane joiners. That's probably because a small bench vice is my only bending facility, and it's a struggle with anything thicker than 12g wire, because the whole table tends to move or lift when I put my weight behind it:

2001_2001 bending vice.jpg


Hence, I went through several rejected attempts before I achieved a successful set of front 8g and rear 10g joiners complete with embedded tube AND the correct angles. I usually managed to bend the central part, so that it wouldn't rotate in the tube, or I flattened the tube itself. The final best results came from using the smallest possible wooden lever (see above), and much brute force (Anyone know the best treatment for pressure blisters on fingers?):

2001_2002 bent wires.jpg

How have the rest of you expert benders accomplished this daunting task?

I was intending to fit brass tubes into the tailplane halves, to make them removable, but I saw that some builders are planning to glue them in place. My worry with removable halves is that the wire joiners can slip sideways and the bends can bind on the central tubes, preventing rotation. Not sure how to prevent this yet.

18/01/2020 16:59:05

Chris, thanks for the reply.

A quick update from today's progress, although nothing that hasn't been covered elsewhere.

Give me your support

The tubes for the closed loop rudder wires are supported quite high up by the addition of a filler into F8, to keep the runs as straight as possible:

2001_1801_f8 tube support.jpg

The remaining supports won't be fitted until after joining the fuselage, as they will be accessible from the wing seat and I'll be able to see better where they need to be. I like to connect the wires to the servo via a 180degree belllcrank so that the wires can be tightened without straining the servo bearings. Mounting this will need better visibility of the equipment bay layout later on. The wing bolt mounting plate has been fitted to one side, using a dry assembly of the two halves to ensure it was aligned:

2001_1802_tube and bolt plate.jpg

The battery box was glued into one side, using a couple of scrap balsa supports to hold it still:

2001_1803_battery box.jpg

Join me now

Finally, the grand fuselage joining ceremony, with support from the faithful Irwin clamps and some scrap balsa blocks, tapered to accommodate the fuselage taper:

2001_1804_fus tail join.jpg

Ssssteam Heat

Dry assembly revealed that both halves had banana'd slightly outwards during the planking phase, especially at the nose. Before joining, I therefore steamed the sides a little to allow them to bend in before clamping:

2001_1805_fus nose join.jpg

That'll be left to dry overnight to ensure the glue can hold the tension.

17/01/2020 19:41:51

Running (walking!) Again!

Following an unexpected delay to building, my progress continues slowly. Both fuselage halves are now planked apart from the gaps for joining, and the wing seat. The photos show my tapered planks, seemimgly much narrower than other builders have used, but it worked for me.

The tail end:

2001_1701 tail planks.jpg

Wing Seat:

2001_1702 wing seat.jpg

Lower nose:

2001_1703 lower nose.jpg

Upper nose:

2001_1704 upper nose.jpg

That sinking Feeling

A few planks sank and ended up looking 'starved', so I just layed a few strips of 1/16 to fill the depressions:

2001_1705 sunken plank.jpg

Making two halves into a whole

I'm thinking through the fuselage joining phase. I plan to use closed loop for rudder control and will install a couple of tubes to guide the cables, once I decide where the servos will go.

For elevator control I'm planning to use a solid pushrod. I've done a few dry runs and believe I can install it after joining the two halves. There is enough wiggle room to poke the rear end up through the slot for the bellcrank, couple it up and then fix the crank into position. That's the theory! If not, I'll need some surgery to open a hole in the fuselage.

Thread: Dave's F-86 build
13/11/2019 21:28:40


My wood order from SLEC (excluding horns, wire, magnets and accessories) was £58 incl post. That included 48" sheets and strips for the fuselage, and spruce spars. I normally buy a couple of extra strips, in case of breakages or very bent stock.

12/11/2019 13:29:14

Hi David,

I've chosen the Spirit 78 scheme, but please feel welcome to join me with another one so that we can make a team. It's only a colour scheme - no one has ownership of any one in particular, and as Phil (I think) said on another thread, it's good to see multiple examples of one scheme as it gives a sense of cameraderie.


Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
11/11/2019 13:06:20

You experts all make it look so easy!

Martin, I note that you have left the wing seat unplanked - I was wondering about that, and precisely how to cut out the wing seat area. Perhaps you could elaborate on the Gamma build blog, when you come to it?

Thread: Canadair F4 Sabre XB812
11/11/2019 13:01:52

Chris, a handy set of tips, especially about the starved horse - one that I have been looking out for particularly, but quite difficult to achieve without very careful eye-balling of the edges.

Thread: F-86A Sabre Montana Air National Guard
11/11/2019 12:56:43

Harry, another meticulous build on its way, I see. Thanks for the R1 tip, to be noted when I start my wings.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
11/11/2019 12:53:28

Chris, Thanks for the 10 planking tips - very useful.

I've planked as far as the edges of the tight corners, and not sure I can twist the planks round without tapering. It may be a case of much narrower planks, almost strips, to negotiate the curvature.

10/11/2019 20:20:06

Thanks Phil,

Yes, the fuselage is a very satisfying build, which I am really enjoying. Great design work by Martin and Gordon.

In case the message is hidden in my last post: I recommend builders to check that F14 is the same length on both fuselage sides, after you've fettled it to fit the slots in F4 and F7. I'm not suggesting any problem with the kitted parts, just my finger trouble.

Phil, I'm jealous of your masterful work on the JP canopy. I've revisited my Zlin 526 canopy recently, without much success yet - I'll post an update when I can (completion will soon be as late as your Hog!). Perhaps you should offer an article to RCM&E about your method - it always seems to achieve stonking results.

10/11/2019 17:16:44

Dry Bones

The basic frame of the RHS fuselage has been assembled and dried overnight without any planking. I couldn't resist a dry fit of the two halves to check the match.

The top of the nose looks OK:

1911_1001 dry fuz top.jpg

The cockpit area is reasonable:

1911_1002 dy fuz cockpit.jpg

F1 and F10 are nicely square and in line:

1911_1003 dry fuz f1.jpg

1911_1004 dry fuz f10.jpg

Overall, the wing seat is acceptable, in that the centres of the formers line up:

1911_1005 dry fuz wing seat.jpg

However, F7 and F4 are slightly angled. I think I was too zealous in sanding the ends of F14 on the first half, resulting in shortening it a fraction. I didn't notice during the dry assembly of the second side, but the second F14 must have been a fraction longer and caused F4 and F7 to be slightly splayed apart when I aligned their inner edges with the tracing of the first side. Here's the backwards kink in F7:

1911_1006 dry fuz f7.jpg

Similar kink forwards in F4:

1911_1007 dry fuz f8.jpg

One side of F4 is therefore a little crooked, where the light is shining through below. I might have to apply a thin shim of wood to level the rear edge a bit, but that'll come later.

1911_1008 f8 alignment.jpg

Work Assessment

Overall, 7/10 so far for effort, but could do better.

I'll return to planking for a few days now.

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