In the restoration of Annie 7481, we have always tried to keep as much original material as possible. Towards this purpose, when an old derelict remnant of a tailplane was offered to the museum, we jumped at the chance. While we were not 100% ready for the tailplane when it arrived, we knew that one day it would become the first and a major steppingstone towards a completed tailplane. To safety store the tailplane until its time would come, we hung it on the wall in behind the Anson. When the time finally came to start on the tailplane the derelict remnant found its way down to the building table.
The first step in restoring the tailplane was to remove what was left of the plywood skin so we could see what damage existed. Half of the wing was already taken apart and dismantled, the ribs were missing and some of the spar covering was gone. Carefully the skin was removed from the other side to reveal the ribs.
The skin was removed by carefully pulling each little nail up and then slowly separating the skin from the cap strip underneath. Even after 60 some years, the glue was holding well, this became a slow and exacting job. Careful notes were taken regarding where the tailplane skins were joined as eventually new skin will need to be added.
With plywood removed and the spar exposed we could see that the tailplane had been stored so that stress had deformed the spar near the tip. Closer inspection also showed that many of the internal “Formers” inside the spar had started to separate and come loose. Restoration of the spar would have to come first as everything is built around the spar.