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"Clothespin" HS Skin Clamps

This idea was contributed by Russ Christopher ( ).

This idea may not be new to some, but it is to me so I thought I would pass it along.

I did not care for the wooden "clothespin" idea to hold the HS skins tight to the spar/ribs. I thought I could figure out an easier, faster to build tool.

I tried cargo straps wrapped around the skins, as I had seen on someone's web site as a technique used on the wing skins. This did not work on the HS skin, as it pulled down on the leading edge and tended to bow out the skin, rather than press it in.

What I did that worked great for me was to take some 1/4" steel rod, and cut it to proper length (depending on where on the HS it would be placed). Then, I put on my Superman cape, took the rod in hand, and bent it in the middle roughly to the shape the wooden clothespin would have been. I now had a rod that would slip over the HS, and reach to aft of the fwd spar on both sides.

To prevent scratches, and provide a more even pressure, I slipped some foam water pipe insulation over the two "legs" of the clamp. In about ten minutes, I had two clamps that held tight, were easy to adjust, and cost next to nothing.

The steel rod was from Lowes, cost about $4.50 for a six foot length, which was enough for two clamps. I had the pipe insulation on hand, but it is also pretty inexpensive, especially if you "borrow" it from a handy water pipe!

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