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Dare/Brodak Cessna 195

After much deliberating on which Tritle kit to build, I am finally gluing some pieces together. The Dare/Brodak kit is excellent. The laser cutting is sharp and the wood is decent quality. Not contest weight, but light enough to know it's not bass wood, and hard enough to be workable without constantly breaking things. I don't have a huge table, so I am contemplating cutting the plans so I don't always have plans hanging off the table.

Since the instructions start with the wings, that's where I will start as well. I started by making some tracings from the plans, for all the pieces that get formed. Wing tips are a formed piece, and since they go from leading edge to trailing edge, tapered parts are included in the laser cut parts for the wing tips. I used DTFB with the paper removed for the templates. I glued the narrow ends together, for about 1/2 inch, and soaked the assembly in hot water in a piece of PVC pipe. After about 15 minutes, I remove the part and spray the outside of each of the strips with glass cleaner. I have found this combination of water and ammonia makes the wood very pliable. I hold the wood on the template with masking tape and then microwave the assembly for 15 seconds, and repeat this 5 or 6 times until the wood is dry. After the strips are removed from the template I spread Titebond II between the strips, using a piece of paper to get the glue all the way down the end that was originally glued together. I use pins placed in the build surface to help hold the pieces as they dry. The formed strips are a lot lighter, and tougher, than cut pieces laid flat and cut to form the tip shape.



I made a small amount of progress today. I got most of the left wing dry fit. I also did some shaping on the leading edge stock. The pieces were originally 3/4 x 1/4 inch hard balsa. I have to say, I love using a razor plane. I have to be careful to not go too far. It's so satisfying to see big old pieces of balsa curl out of the plane. The fit on the parts is excellent. I didn't have to make any adjustments to any parts. Everything slipped together with just the right amount of friction. With a few pins to line things up and some strategic placement of some weights, this wing will come together quite nicely.

The first leading edge tapered, sitting next to some of the raw stock.

Both pieces tapered.

Much of the wing dry fit.

This is going to be a cool plane. I have three more Tritle planes in the queue after this one. I have a Grumman Agcat, a Highlander, and a Super Cub. I may also need to order the Luscombe.

The only problem with Tritle planes is that they don't do so well in the wind, and Idaho is very often windy.....


Biplane Guy
I've been looking at the Tritle line up as of late and I might jump in and build one. I've never really built a scale balsa plane, but Pat really seems to know what he's doing with these and everyone's reviews have been glowing. I want to build his Cessna 150 and add the split rear glass to make it a 152 like I learned to fly in.
They are a builder and a flyer’s plane. I love how slow a Tritle plane will fly. They are very relaxing to fly. While they are really close to the scale outline, I wouldn’t put too much scale detail on one; mostly because of weight. They are essentially electrified rubber free flight planes, that were never intended to be powered by a rubber band. The light weight can make building a challenge since the airframe can be pretty fragile. It’s not like handling a foamie or balsa and ply glow style plane. Even though they don’t lend themselves to panel lines and a ton of scale detail, I think they are perfect for me. I want to build, but I also want a plane that flys well. Plus, I am too impatient to add a bunch of scale stuff. I also love how the structure looks; it takes me back to when I was a kid, building Guillows and Comet planes. I always wanted to make them RC, but never had the equipment or the know how.
I made a little progress tonight. I managed to get the left wing glued up. Nearly everything fit pretty well. I did discover that there's one sheet of parts that pretty dang fragile! I would say this one particular sheet is lighter than the rest, by far. Luckily the parts are evenly distributed side to side, so I shouldn't end up with one heavy wing. There are an equal number of parts for each wing on this particular sheet. It's ready for sanding. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get the other wing glued up. Once both are done I'll build the tail surfaces. Like Pat, I am using almost all CA, we'll see how it goes. It worked well on my Dumas Bird Dog, so I don't see any issues here either. The flap is built up separately since it sits in a pocket in the bottom of the wing.

There are a couple parts missing in this picture, but I have since added those parts.
Just a brief update, I had some time tonight to do some sanding on the wing I have built. I'll get some pictures tomorrow. The balsa stock for the leading edges of the wings was quite dense. It was almost like sanding on a piece of bass wood!! I supposed if a piece of wood is going to be dense, the leading edge of the wings is as good a place as any!!

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Skill Collector
Looking good! I'm happy to hear you like the quality of the Dare/Brodak kit too - I've heard a lot of shade thrown at them over on other forums. I picked up my first Tritle design - his Fokker D.VII - also kitted by Dare/Brodak. Fingers crossed the wood and cutting quality is up to par with yours...
It’s definitely better than the Dumas kit I built. There’s one sheet of parts that’s pretty soft, but only one. Hoping to get a little more done this weekend. Work has been crazy, and when I have had time, I’ve been exhausted. This weekend looks better, shouldn’t have to be on the phone all hours of the day and night with work. Hopefully I’ll have more pictures to post soon.
Well, the right wing didn't fit up quite as well as the left. I think the main spar was actually a little bit out of tolerance. It shouldn't be an issue, but the two wings aren't exactly the same. I laid them together, bottom to bottom, and the main outline is good, so they should be fine. It was really more a matter of the notches in the spar being spaced ever so slightly different. I'll get some pictures snapped after it's sanded.
Here's a couple pictures of the right wing. As you can see, I succumbed to cutting up the plans... I was unwilling to fight folding it repeatedly. I'll save the bits so I can build pieces if I need to rebuild some things.


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I ran into a little issue with the wing joiner tubes. The plans showed using a 1/4" carbon fiber tube that was supposed to be glued into the wings, which would then insert into some 9/32" aluminum tubes glued in the fuselage. However, the instructions said to use a 5/16" tube in the wing, and a 5/16" carbon tube was included in the kit. Needless to say, a 5/16" carbon tube doesn't fit inside of a 9/32" aluminum tube.... I tried to find an aluminum tube the 5/16 would fit into, but no joy... I contacted Dare and they did know about the issue, and were ready to supply new parts. Instead of a carbon tube, they were providing a thick wall 1/4" OD aluminum tube. Sadly, the postal service didn't like the tubes and did a stellar job of smashing the box and kinking the tubes... I managed to get the tubes mostly straight, but they did crack at the bends. To counter this, I had some smaller diameter carbon tube that would fit fairly well inside of the thick wall aluminum tube. I used some white Gorilla Glue to bond the carbon inside the aluminum tube. I only put the carbon into the tube in the front. Since the ribs were burned with 5/16" holes, I used the 5/16 inch carbon tube to bush 1/4 inch aluminum tube into the ribs. All in all, I think it's a good solution. The customer service from Dare was great. I still need to build the flaps, and get the hinges slotted for flaps and ailerons. Once that's done on the wings, I'll put the tail surfaces together.

The smashed box and kinked tubes:

The end of the wing with the tubes glued in. I think this will work pretty well.

I got distracted by a slope soarer ARF assembly as well, so between the wing joiner issue and the slope plane assembly, the train was off the tracks for a bit, or at least sitting in a siding while other trains went by.... With the spring winds coming, it wouldn't be right to not have a slope plane ready to rip!
Made a little more progress. Flaps are mostly assembled and the outline of the vertical has been bowed. I sure enjoy working with balsa, it’s definitely therapeutic. Work’s been super crappy lately. I am going to try to use this build to de-stress a little. I also just had a good friend die, and we all talked at his funeral about how he was a doer and not one to sit around. I am going to make a hard effort to be more like him!


Aviation Enthusiast
Sorry for your loss, we just lost a friend a few weeks ago also in a kayaking accident.

The wings are looking good, I cant believe how light this plane is and the wing loading is so low for a 60" wingspan.
Thanks, it’s defintiley a reminder of how fragile we really are.

I am expecting this plane to be a real floater! There’s a lot of wing! Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be done with all the flying surfaces, and ready to start framing up the fuselage.
Progress by inches. I made a little headway on the vertical. Still quite a few pieces to add, but I’m moving ahead. I’d work longer, but the alarm goes off a little more than 6 hours from now, so time to hit the rack.
Sanded to shape, with one final sanding to go, but that one will wait until the whole plane is done. Not quite enough time tonight to bow the elevator outlines. I am thinking fuselage this weekend! Like I said, progress by inches.

And now the horizontal is done!! it's amazing how quickly bowing can be done when you use the microwave to dry pieces. I used to leave stuff taped to the form, or pinned down to the table for 24 hours before I'd pull it up. I bowed both sides of the elevator in just a little over an hour with the microwave technique, and the bulk of that time was soaking wood!! I'll sand everything one more time prior to covering, but for now it's done.


Now I need to clean off a larger spot on the bench and get the fuselage sides laid down. Closer and closer....