After a very busy summer hiatus, I am back to work on the L2-M.
It started off with research and help from friends. The instrument panel on an L2-M aircraft is sparse. When it came time to rebuild it, I thought it would be one of my easier projects. The main panel is made out of plywood. My late brother-in-law John Connell, who was very handy with wood, cut one out for me. That was about 5 years ago. As research continued I realized the plywood John used was too thick, and I could not find any of the right thickness. Bob Topper, a friend who had retired from Rutland Plywood, was able to get me a custom made sheet of maple plywood at just the right specs. As I pondered how to cut out the new panel accurately, up stepped my neighbor Mike Fritz – a carpenter set up with a very nice router table – who made quick work of a new panel. I have great friends.
To finish the panel, the blueprint called for painting the cut edges of the wooden panel with aluminized Lionoil and then dipping the whole thing in more Lionoil.
Next mystery…what is Lionoil?
After six months of web searches, and lots of questions to old timers, I still had no answers! Zach, not an old timer, but nephew and employee to Scott Draper, my A & P mechanic, saved the day. I mentioned my oil dilemma to him and he had a lead in 5 minutes. Using clues he got from who knows where, he found an eBay listing and an image for a Lionoil can. It was produced by Berry Brothers, a company that has been out of business for a long time! Lionoil was similar to boiled linseed oil. So much for old timers! I mixed aluminum powder with the linseed oil, and painted the cut edges, then painted the whole panel. It is now ready for the olive drab paint.
The Lord Mounts:
Lord Mounts, tiny and specialized, are what hold the the panel to the airframe. I had lost them! John had removed them when he cut the first panel, placing them in a little plastic bag, but over the years, I misplaced it, never expecting to see it again. I ordered new mounts and prepared to manufacture new brackets that hold the mounts.
Again friends came to the rescue.
On a visit from CA, Don and Peggy Gustavson (Elena’s parents) were helping me clean out the Catamount Airfield museum, a collection of favorite World War II memorabilia I had stored in a falling down addition in the hangar that was slated for reconstruction. Sitting on top of one of the moving boxes, they found a little plastic bag of tiny parts – the Lord Mounts!
In the log book I am keeping of this restoration project, I have a page of all the names of folks I have received help from. Eventually there will be a section of the airplane that will have a permanent list of those friends. Not only has this made the project much more enjoyable, but I could not have done it without them.