Rib Stitching 101

Please note, this was written before Pink-it. If using Pink-it tapes please use method one when applying stitch strips.

I have tried about four or five methods that all had good results but I will describe the method that works best to me. This method involves simulating stitches and doses not pierce the covering. This method works on fabric covering, after all who would cover a scale cub with film. I use dope to seal the strips to the fabric covering. You could rely on the adhesive of the tape to hold the strips on, but you will be on your own as that I have never done this. This method assumes that after you do all the stitching and pinking the entire model is to be painted. I used this method in 98 when I recovered the Cub and yet to have any of the details to come up.

Stitch Dimensions
The following is based on a 1/4 scale J-3 Cub, you may have to modify measurement to fit the plane that you are building. The rib cap strips on the model are 3/16 inch wide so the stitches are 3/16 wide. I use 1/2 inch wide pinked tape on top of the stitches, this lets 5/32 inch overhang on both sides of the stitch. On the real J-3 the stitches are every 2 inches , so in 1/4 scale that is 1/2 inch space. You may want to put some guidelines on model to help with installing the strips.

Supplies that I use
The following is a list of supplies that I use

  • Curad wet-proof adhesive tape. This comes in a metal can in two sizes. 1 inch wide by 5 yards and 1/2 inch wide by 10 yards. This tape to me is the best. I used 8 rolls of the 1/2 inch and 1 roll of the 1 inch on my cub. The only place that has this in my area is Walgreen’s.
  • Johnson 1 inch wide paper medical tape. This comes in a paper/plastic case
  • Shakespear Omniflex 12 lb fishing line. This has a diameter of .013, and I got it at Wal-Mart.
  • Dope and thinner
  • 1 x 6 x 24 pine board
  • Small nails, finishing nails preferred
  • .3 or around the thickness sheet of plastic. I use the clear plastic from SIG
  • Rotary Cutter preferred or a sharp hobby knife
  • Small roller wheel (I believe that this is used for seams on wallpaper) you will need to wrap 10 to 15 times with the paper tape.
  • tools

Building a stitch bored.
The board I use is a 1 x 6 x 24 inches pine board. I used 24 inch because I had to have 16 inches of stitches for the wing and the extra left can be used on the tail. On both long sides of the board 1/2 inch in from the edge I have drove nails in every 1/2 inch. Now cut a sheet of clear plastic that will fit between the two rows on nails. When looking from the top with the board laying flat on the table you will see the long board with nails heads sticking up at you on both sided and a strip of plastic to fill the center Below you will see a drawing of what the board should look like.

Making the stitches
This section i recommend you read a time or two to understand it. Using the 12 pound fishing line, tie it to the first nail. Now bring that line across the board to the fist nail on the other side. Wrap the line around that nail starting at the bottom and wrap around the nail so that the line will exit the nail from the side up to the next nail. Start this nail by wrapping around the top of the nail so the line will exit the bottom of the nail and will run across the board to other side. Continue this all the way up the board and then tie it off at the top. To finish this step tie the line off on the top nail. Now looking at the board you will have several lines running across the board. As you can see in the correct way drawing the lines are evenly spaced up the board. In the wrong way you can see that the lines are not evenly spaced up the board.

I now cover the plastic sheet in which the strings lay across with a thin paper medical tape, this tape is so thin that you can see through it. With this done, now cut the line on both side along the rows of nails. now you may remove the plastic strip the stitches are attached to. I now use a rotary cutter (hobby knife can be used but use caution when cutting the strings as they will move under the tape) and cut 3/16 strips the length of the board. We will call the strips just made a “Stitch Strip”

This is the plastic that is on the board when you put the line down.  Only a few strips are left on it. At the mark you can see the end of the fishing line peeping out from under the paper tape.
This is the plastic that is on the board when you put the line down.
Only a few strips are left on it. At the mark you can see the end of the fishing line peeping out from under the paper tape.

Applying the stitches
Now there are two options to go from this point. One is easy and the other is hard. Each has their goods and bads. Second method to me is the best

stside

 

Take a look at this, it will clearly explain what I’m saying below. This is a side cutaway view of a stitch. The dark blue is the covering of the plane, the light blue is the fishing line or stitch, and the red is the tape applied over the stitch. You want the tape to come up off the covering and around the string or stitch and back down on the other side

 

 

Method one
This is how I did it the first time. Pull one stitch strip off the plastic sheet on the board. You will now hold a 3/16 inch wide strip that will have the fishing line every 1/2 inch for the length of the tape. Apply this over the rib or area to be stitched. Start at one end and work the tape on the covering. Do not pull tight, you want the tape to come up off the covering and around the string and back down on the other side. If the tape is pulled tight on the stitch it will not look good. After an area of stitch strips is applied I brush a coat of 50% thinned Nitrate Dope on each strip. As the dope dries I roll the stitch strips a few times.

Now apply the pinked tape like you did the above stitch strips over the stitches DO NOT PULL TIGHT apply somewhat lose. After a few stitch strips are applied I brush a coat of 50% thinned Nitrate Dope.

Method two
This is how it is presently done on my J-3 and I like this method the most. Take a 1-inch by 18-inch strip of clear plastic and apply a strip of masking tape to one side 5/32 in from the edge. This is a guide that will be used to make the strips. Take a strip of pinking tape a little longer than needed and applies the stick side down against the masking tape. 5/32 of the taped will be on the plastic and the rest will hang over the edge. Now flip this sheet over so that the sticky side of the tape is facing up.

guid

Now pull a 3/16 stitch strip off and apply stick side down on top of the stick side of the pinked taped. Do not let one end of the stitch strip come in contact with the pinked tape. Now using a toothpick start slowly pulling the thin paper tape back over itself at an angle and transfer the stitch to the pinked tape. Do this slowly, as a stitch come up use the toothpick to hold the stitch down to the pinked tape as it separates from the paper tape. Now apply this tape like you did the above over the stitches DO NOT PULL TIGHT apply somewhat lose. After a few stitch strips are applied I brush a coat of 50% thinned Nitrate Dope.

Conclusion
This looks very good after all is done. If the edge of a strip start to lift apply a little thin ca and this will stop it. This is a lot of work but the end results are worth it. I put in about 10 hours total in making and applying the strips to a 1/4 scale Cub. Let me know if you need further help on this

www.thecubden.org

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