May 20, 2005

What a day! The fuselage wood for my Falco has arrived. The spruce is absolutely beautiful. The grain is so clean and unblemished. It's so light and it smells wonderful. Western Aircraft really did a great job of milling and organizing the wood. I've never really seen such good spruce. It's so similar to balsa wood, just a little heavier and more dense. Now for the tale of how I got this lovely wood from Vancouver to Los Angeles...

The wood was shipped from Canada by truck to a freight facility here in Los Angeles. I really had no idea what to expect and the freight company doesn't usually deal with personal shipments. It was going to be an interesting experience. Because of the length of the 2 tubes, I had to rent a Uhaul to get them home from the warehouse. In the morning I picked up a 17 foot Uhaul and VERY carefully drove 15 miles down the 405 to the warehouse. The diesel engine didn't sound so good and I was half expecting a breakdown along the way. I finally made it do the warehouse in the middle of Hawthorne (not a good place to breakdown). I found my way to the loading area and parked the Uhaul with all the other giant shipping trucks.

The guy inside had no idea what I was talking have a Uhaul? you have a package? where is your paperwork? I was petrified that I wouldn't be able to pick the shipment up today and rented a truck for nothing. I finally got to talk to the supervisor and made him look up my name on a list of shipments, where he found my documents that came with the shipment. He explained that I needed to pay $50 to get the documents to take to customs to get the packages approved for release. Of course I couldn't pay with a credit card and I had no cash so I would have to drive the uhual to a bank and get some cash. I convinced the supervisor to allow me to take the documents so I could get the cash and the customs approval all in one trip.

By a small miracle, I made it to the customs office and the bank without destroying my Uhaul or getting lost. The customs guy just stamped a piece of paper and said they should release my shipment now. I went back to the warehouse and gave them everything they wanted. Finally I got the tubes loaded into the Uhaul and took off to drive back home in Friday afternoon LA traffic. I dropped off the wood at my place and returned the Uhaul, happy to go back to driving my little fast compact car.

After a brief interruption to see the new Star Wars movie (awesome!!), I got back to the wood and unpacked the tube which held all the laminations. Much of the wood I won't be using until I have a place to assemble the airplane, so I just separated out the lamination wood. I may unpack the rest of the wood at some point and put it up on some shelves but for now I just needed the wood strips.

I'm kind of worried about screwing up while doing the gluing and ruining this great wood but I guess I'll try to plan out as much as possible to try to make the gluing process as smooth as possible. I'm mainly worried about the unknowns, things I'm not expecting. We'll see how it goes.

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