After picking up a bunch of straps to hold the leading edge in place while gluing I got to work finishing the leading edge. I was very nervous about this process and did a bunch of research as to how others were doing it. I saw a lot of different processes some of which were very complicated with elaborate jigs and what have you.

After some thinking, I decided to stick to the basics and what others were doing and just used tie-down straps along with clamps and staples.

For my process, I started out up-side-down gluing, clamping and stapling the sheets of ply along the entire length to ensure the plies were lining up correctly. In order to keep sheet material consistent, I ended up ripping them lengthwise to the correct width using my table saw with about a half-inch of excess. This turned out to work really well.

I did have a couple of issues with plies not quite lining up quite right and in one case the bottom of one-ply did not pull into place on the rib correctly. I have found that straps work well but they do not quite push the ply into place along the bottom curve of the rib, as you would want. To resolve that I just used additional staples along the ribs on the bottom side while adding them.

I also found I needed to be careful sanding around the rib joints – it was easy to sand too much and get the leading edge very thin in that location. I ended up having to put some backing material in place to fix one of the locations where this occurred (lessons learned).

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