Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some
form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle
my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD
One of the best ideas in this installment of Sketchbook, IMHO, is a method to quickly select balsa sheets of
approximate equal density. It involves a flashlight and a light intensity meters (a phone app for the meter can be
downloaded for that these days). Another neat suggestion is a way to make simulated rivets in thin aluminum foil.
There is a list at the bottom of every Sketchbook page that has hyperlinks to all other Sketchbook editions
published thus far.
This page has links to every edition of
Sketchbook that I have so far.
Got a new idea for construction, adjustment, or operation of model planes or R/C? "AM" pays $10 for each "hint &
kink" used. Send rough sketch and description to Sketchbook, c/o American Modeler, Potomac Aviation Publications,
Inc., 1012 14th St., Washington, D.C. 20005.
Beginner's control line model can be fitted with adjustable wing guide to increase or decrease "pull." Kenneth
Ries, Baltimore, Maryland, screws metal guide into hardwood inserts.
Quick supply of balsa dowels can be made from square section balsa strips tapped through nut held in vise. Light
sanding finishes dowel says H. Muller, Danboro, Pennsylvania.
Utmost realism in simulating rivets in aluminum foil covering is knack of Michael J. Kiley, San Diego, California.
Rivet bulges are flattened with eraser tip for authentic appearance.
Quick booster starts can be made by rigging contacts in finger and thumb of glove. Grasp glow plug and engine
during cranking for contact. Idea from William Franco, Waynoka, Oklahoma.
To uniformly sand thin sheet balsa parts, Jerry Wagner, Tallahassee, Florida., uses two blocks, one with fine
sandpaper, one with medium grade. Latter holds part in position.
Handy buffing wheel for polishing model parts is made of felt discs cut from old hat. Arrange on bolt, use in
hand drill says H. Josephs, Gardenville, Pennsylvania.
Dependable, easy method of selecting balsa sheets of equal lightness is suggestion of Mike Dudeck, Harvey, Illinois.
Meter readings indicate weight; uniform readings mean uniform weight.
Back when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info
columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not
as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were
still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked
on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have
distractions like Nintendos and X-Boxes. Remember that plastics were not common
material until the early 50s and the transistor wasn't invented until late 47. Enjoy
the tips. Some of you will no doubt wax nostalgic over the methods, since you can
remember the days when you did the exact same thing!