Today stared with cleaning up the fuselage and vacuuming up all of the dust as well as cleaning off the canopy. The canopy had quite a bit of dust on it form all the sanding going on. All of this was in preparation for Sean, of Top Stitch Upholstery, to come over to work on the seats.
I am so glad I found Sean. He is enthusiastic about the project, has a lot of experience, and great ideas. His willingness to come to the project has been so beneficial. Especially on a Sunday, the soonest day we could get our schedules to match. When he got here we further discussed and refined the plan and the vinyl choices. He brought scraps which reaffirmed my choices. Then we got down to business.
Sean started measuring and chopping up the confur-foam with his electric turkey carving knife. We started with the most firm foam on the bottom, the green, then put the medium foam in, the blue, and the top layer is the softest foam, pink.
After each piece was rough cut, we started trimming away little bits of foam here and there. There were a few tapers to make the foam layers laminate well together. We also cut out some foam under the knees at the very front of the seat to maximize the leg hole height in the instrument panel. As you may recall, I had to add panel space for the intended avionics, so we reclaimed area from the seat cushion, and it is still very comfortable. Ingress and egress is not adversely affected at all.
Of course you have to check comfort, so it was time for me to sit on the job. Let me say, this confur-foam is very comfortable and your body just melts into it. In order to verify that I was in the proper sitting position, critical for forward visibility, I had to put the canopy on. The goal is to be able to comfortably see over the nose without the forward canopy frame blocking otherwise visible space. All this while not being too high in the canopy as to cause inadvertent headaches in turbulence from slamming your head against the canopy. I think we hit the mark.
Once all the layers were cut and shaped appropriately, we used contact adhesive to laminate the layers together. This was done in place so that the seat cushion holds the required shape to fit the fuselage well.
If you recall, the fiberglass piece that makes my thigh support is removable. It is this way to allow access to the fuel selector, fuel pump, and fuel filter, which are all placed under the thigh support. Since it is removable, we decided we were going to glue the seat right to the thigh support and upholster it as one piece. This will help the cushion maintain its shape and should give a more finished look. Here it is, in all its glory. There may still be some tweaking to do, but we are just about there. Sean had another customer for the day who was going to a car show and needed something last minute, so he will be back next sunday to build up the seat cushion for the rear seat. He plans to start upholstering next monday! 🙂
We got all of this done by about noon, so it left me with the afternoon to go after some less interesting things…. more sanding. I spent a few hours contouring the micro on the inside of the canopy. We are just about there. I was getting sick of hunching over the canopy sanding micro, so I switched gears and sanded more of the primer on the fuselage and strakes. I have most of the big areas contoured, and after some detail sanding, I should be ready for the next round of primer on the fuselage. The strakes may only take one more round, but the fuselage will take a few more.
Now I want to finish by saying in my defense, Sean suggested I spend some time sitting in my seat to ensure it is comfortable. I think his exact words were something like, “Sit in it for 30 or 45 minutes and see if there is anywhere you need more support. Take your phone and your morning coffee out there and spend some time just sitting in the seat.” Well after dinner, I did just that. What builder doesn’t want someone to tell him to sit in his magic carpet, making airplane noises. Of course, I did a bit of a modern twist on this. I sat in my airplane and watched youtube videos of Long Ezs flying. If you haven’t seen the LongEz over the Golden Gate, you are missing out! Of course, during this, you should also be wearing your Catto Prop t-shirt! 🙂