One downside of using model airplane irons to smooth covering imperfections is that they really aren’t designed for that kind of pressure. I’ve damaged a few of them now. This wooden handled iron failed right in the very thin spot where the shoe top joins the handle.
To reinforce that area, I brazed in a small piece of steel tube that would fit inside of the cheap stamped and rolled handle.
I spent a little bit of time at the grinding wheel to clean it up:
Then I reassembled the iron and tried it out. It works much better now, since I can transmit plenty of smoothing force onto the covering without worrying about damage to the iron’s neck. Next I installed and top coated the few remaining fuselage reinforcement tapes. The next important task was to come up with some way to support the back end of the fuselage. So far I’ve just been resting the back end on the strong structural points, but that’s not going to be an option when I start spraying the covering products, since those areas will be wet. Instead I used some scrap 1.5′ square tubing to make a stick that will bolt to the tailwheel spring attach points.
This little tailspring substitute looks like it will work quite well.