Toy Boeing Stearman Kaydet Bi-Plane #2: Layout and drill holes

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Blog entry by RandyMorter posted 10-11-2011 04:01 AM 2038 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Initial Body Glue-up Part 2 of Toy Boeing Stearman Kaydet Bi-Plane series Part 3: Cutting the tail slot »

When I made my first one of these I created templates out of some hardboard. I used them to lay out the hole locations (except for the hole for the propeller which I just center on the front end).

I set up my new (at the time) Grizzly Drill Press Table Top to align the fence and stop for the cockpit holes. I drilled all of the front holes on each of the 5 pieces using a 7/8” Forstner bit, drilled to 1-1/8” deep from the top. Then I repositioned the stop for the rear cockpit and drilled all 5 of them. Having the drill press table with the fence and stop for making the same hole on a number of pieces was wonderful! Such a time saver!

I then set the fence and stop to do the propeller hole using a 3/16” bit. Again, the fence and stop made this set of operations very quick. Removing the tedium of laying out hole centers on each piece was worth the $35 or so that the table cost.

Another Lumberjock member, “nitewalker41” had made his own version of a Stearman using my plans ( but improved on the landing strut (as well as the engine, which I’m still not attempting). He used 1/2” dowel set at 30 degrees to the body. I decided to use his version of landing gear.

To accomplish this I decided to tilt my drill press table. I marked the holes, tilted the table one direction and drilled the holes. It was during this operation that I ran into a problem with my new Grizzly drill press table and had to take some time to figure out how to fix it (see my review,

I also had an issue that during that process when the table slipped, my landing strut holes ended up not all being in the same place. I hope they work okay in the end! I drilled them using a 1/2” Forstner bit at 1-1/4” deep. It may be deeper than necessary but I knew I was going to round the body edges and wasn’t sure if that would cut into the hole for the landing struts.

The four wing strut holes in front of the cockpit are all drilled using a 3/16” bit. I wish I had a brad point set of bits. The strut holes had a bit of tear out. I found as I worked on them that using a very slow feed rate until the bit was completely past the surface prevented the tear out.

One change I wanted to try this time was to angle the wing strut holes so that the strut would point away from the body. I (of course) didn’t take the time to actually calculate the angles (if I had, I would probably have the front holes pointing towards the front of the body as well as outward). I just guessed that a 5 degree angle away from the body would work. But how to get the 5 degree angle from the drill press?

Instead of tipping the table again, I decided to make a wedge with a 5 degree angle. I took a piece of 1”x4” pine, jointed a flat face and squared an edge to it. Then I angled the fence of the jointer at 5 degrees. Keeping the squared edge against the jointer face, I passed the piece over the jointer until it had the 5 degree face with respect to the other face. Cool!

Then, using that wedge, I could angle the body with respect to the drill press table. I drilled all of the holes as before, aligning one hole on my fully marked up body, then repeating the process for the same hole on the rest of the bodies, setting up for the next hole, and repeating until all 4 holes were drilled in each of the 5 bodies.

I had to be sure that I had the wedge fully aligned with the fence to make the hole angles as accurate as possible. I also intentionally did NOT mate the front of the wedge to the stop on the fence – I want to make sure that the work piece was actually butting up against the stop and not the wedge.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

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