CHAPTER 7 - Judi Gets Involved

With no Steve available, I prevailed on Judi to assist. We did the first side with her bucking and me riveting. Judi quickly discovered that she did not have the necessary strength to hold the bucking bar in place while in a strange pose and unable to see where her hand was. As a result, the bar slipped a few times and I have a couple of dings on that side of the fin.

On the other side, I handed her the gun and took the bar. What a difference! I can attest that bucking in this manner is difficult, but I seem able to ignore my discomfort enough to keep the bar steady. Judi came up with the idea of taping some cloth at the corner of the skin (visible in the photo) to keep me from stabbing myself.

The other surprise is that Judi is a crack riveter. She seems less heavy-handed than I am, and is better able to keep the gun from walking. In any case, we managed to do a whole side with no errors and Judi was justifiably proud. Now she really feels involved in the project. And I discovered that switching roles can really pay off. Sure, we always assume that we will do the riveting and the spouse will do the bucking, but this turnabout has worked well in my favor, both in quality of product and in spousal relations.

By the way, I should not have been surprised. Judi had graduated from the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and served in the Pacific as an Engineering Officer on a fleet tender. She had just left the Merchant Marine to begin her pre-med studies shortly before I met her, so she is no stranger to things mechanical. In fact, at Oshkosh she grabbed a TIG welder at a demo and proceeded to amaze the demonstrator; she was a little rusty but was soon laying down quite nice welds. I hadn't even known she could weld before that.

Well, we got all the riveting done, so now we could look forward to Spring and the absence of the jig that has been such a major presence in our living room for so long.