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99. Fraying Tapes


Fabric covered wings generally have to have extra fabric tapes glued over the ribs (to reinforce them where they would otherwise wear) and the joints (to seal them).


The trouble is that if you just use plain tape, the edges don’t stick down nicely and they tend to curl up.

The solution these days is to buy tape that has been cut with a pinked edge, but in the days before this was available, the standard procedure was to fray the edges.

You can see what’s needed on this photo of the Bristol Bulldog at the RAF Museum.

Bristol Bulldog wingtip fabric

Bristol Bulldog wingtip fabric

And everyone we’ve talked to has told us how appallingly time-consuming the process of fraying these edges is.

We’d managed to buy 2in and 4in tapes with frayed edges, but the specification calls for narrower ones – 1.25in and 1.5in, and so it was with some trepidation that I set out to slit and refray the edges.

But it was a doddle, as you can see below.

In the end, I’ve done everything we’ll need for the aircraft (except for a couple of rolls of 2in, which I’ve left original size just in case) in a day. And I’m very pleased with the result.


From → Building, Technical

One Comment
  1. This is great. I was also under the impression that fraying tapes was a tedious, laborious, time consuming process. Mainly (I think) because that’s what the Vickers Vimy replica guys had said.

    I’m really enjoying reading this blog and I’m delighted when it throws up something like this. Thumbs up to you, sirs.

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