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Aluminum leading edge nail removal

 
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DHonkomp



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Euless, TX

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:19 pm    Post subject: Aluminum leading edge nail removal Reply with quote

Does anyone know of a good way to remove nails from aluminum leading edges? I need to open some up, and I hope not to damage the skins beyond serviceable condition in the process. Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Marl



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 509
Location: Georgia, Albany/Dawson (16J)

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got an old, cheap-o wood chisel that I filed a "nail-puller" in one edge of----it is sharp enough to get under most nails and can get them started out eonugh to grab with needlenosed pliers to finish the job (although, the brads used in aircraft construction have very little holding power---if you can get them to move much at all, they will usually slip right out)

I used a small file and filed a notch with the corner of the file, with the file almost parallel to the sloped face of the chisel, cut back about 1/16 inch into the chisel---works well. Plus, the chisel itself (which is really dull for chiseling!!!) can be used to slip under the aluminum and kinda work a couple of nails up at a time in places that you can't get the head to pull up---just be careful about prying on the wood. A little wiggling and bumping goes a long way....
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Marl Halbrook
Albany, Ga
Starduster Too N88GG
BK-13005
http://websites.expercraft.com/halbrook/ (Starduster Too Recover)
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John Singer



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 131
Location: New London, NH

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Removing Leading edge aluminum

When I was nailing on my aluminum leading edge, I accidentally hit the head too hard with a flat punch (Used to be sure the nail heads were flush).

The punch pushed the small nail head thru the thin aluminum. There was no damage to the plywood wood rib and the sheet aluminum was also undamaged except for an extra hole.. If you try to pry the metal off you will have a bent or damaged cover. The final dacron cover won't notice the nail hole.
Incidentally, this is the standard method a carpenter uses to remove wood nailed in place with 'finish' nails.

John Singer
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planebuilder



Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Midland Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a cheap pair of side cutters, like you would use to cut wire with. Grind the side closest to the cutting edges so that the cutting edge is at the side, not inset ~1/16" like it was made. Grind some more to taper the side surfaces away from the sharp edges. With a little down pressure you
can usually/sometimes get the thin cutting edges under the head. Donít squeeze too hard, you will cut the head off. Place some scrap thin birch ply ( 1/16" ?) Under the cutters Ĺ" from the nail and pry up gently. Itís almost impossible to not have some local distortion of the aluminum
but often a LIGHT tap from the backside against a block will level it. There are times that nothing works and you may have to live with extra holes or replace the metal.
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Starduster History



Joined: 30 Nov 2006
Posts: 735
Location: St. Helens, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject: Alum Leading Edge Nail Removal Reply with quote

My advice is exactly as planebuilder described. Small pair of side cutters a flat screwdriver with a small sharp vee cut into the middle just like and the same idea as a big nail puller. Wood works fine under the dikes and screw driver but a thin piece of 4130 will also work. The idea is to keep from distorting the 016 aluminum that most leading edges are covered with. I have removed a lot of sheet metal this way, but it will eventually wear out the dikes. As always this is only my opinion. Dave
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Starduster History
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DHonkomp



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Euless, TX

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice guys. The modified side cutters was my first course of action, and it worked great. I've had good luck removing my leading edge nails without any skin damage. I have to admit I was really overly concerned about this easy task. Thanks again, Dan
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DHonkomp



Joined: 22 Apr 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Euless, TX

PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some pictures of the modified dikes/wire cutters I used, and progess I've made.







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davet



Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 588
Location: Indiana, Trafalgar

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please post some more pictures of your fuselage cover. That's my next project, and I would love to see several pictures from different angles.

What did you paint the tubing with? Is it primed only, or painted?

Thanks!
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Dave Tharp
Cardinal RG
Starduster Too (building)
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