CHAPTER 28 - Parts Primer
I'm including this chapter as a tribute to my painter, Ed Glaser. Ed is semi-retired, running Ace Aircraft Finishing from his home. Occasionally, he and his wife will disappear to a distant location to tackle the job of painting an aircraft, usually of commuter size. Before he retired, he had worked for Kalitta Flying Services, the parent company for American International Airways - my employer.
When not running around painting planes, the Glasers can be found at their home working on their hobby - restoring tractors. Ed's barn usually has one or two partly disassembled tractors inside and more tractors in the driveway. In many rural homes, this would mean a junkyard, but Ed has turned out show quality restorations, for themselves and others.
I had decided that I needed a painter because there was no way I was going to be able to set up a booth in or near the apartment. Besides, my painting skills are not the highest. I located Ace through the yellow pages and took my first group of empennage parts to Ed for an estimate. Ed was understandably not interested in painting a small aircraft, preferring to reserve his home shop for tractor restorations. However, when he found that I only wanted small parts alodined and primed, he agreed to do the work. His price would barely cover his labor and the cost of paint; I think he viewed it as knock-off work.
In time, he has become invaluable to the project. He has been able to advise me as to the finish of many parts, as well as being a source of information about building procedures. In turn, he has become interested in the project, and each visit to his shop includes time to catch up on the latest on my project as well as the interest I show in his tractors. I thought I was finding a painter and found an advisor and friend as well.
As far as the finishing, he etches and alodines the aluminum parts. I am not sure how he prepared the steel parts. The primer he uses is a two-part epoxy; again, I am unsure of the brand. He has patiently put up with all my requirements for numbered pieces, special markings (this end up, etc.) and has been good about quick turnaround. For my part, I have tried to plan it so that I can keep working should he be called away to paint a plane. After all, the big money comes first.
I highly recommend this approach. If you can build a good relationship with a painter, you won't regret it.
November 2002 - New home, new painter. I talked to the local aviation shop, Wiseman Aviation, and the owner had me talk to his Director of Maintenance, Mark Naumer. Turns out Mark and I both attended Sierra Academy for flight school, though at different times. He also has an RV-7 empennage kit which he says he has not had time to work on - I hope to revitalize his project... Anyway, he has plenty to keep himself occupied, as you can see from the photo, but he and Wiseman agreed to squeeze my parts in on a spare-time basis. Fair enough, since they have quite a workload being the only shop at Pulliam. I'm sure I'll find things to do while I wait; like I said before, this approach requires a little patience and planning. Mark uses a two-part PPG primer, so my parts will now be gray instead of green. That should work well on the fuselage interior, anyway, so no problem.