The Spar is made up of two webs that are spliced together. The inner-most spar web is a little over 72" long and the outer spar web is a little over 92" long. so I started with four 96" long blanks to bend into spar webs.
During the spar web bending process, I had cut some pieces off of one of the 8' blanks to be bent as test pieces to make sure we had the correct dimensions. Since the blanks were 96" long, I figured I could safely trim 12" or so off of one of the inside webs, and still have plenty left over, since they only need to be about 73" long.
Well two months later I had forgotten all about the 12" or so that we had cut off of one of the spars. I started cutting and putting the spar webs together. After I had cut the first three to the proper length, I grabbed the last piece which of course was an outer spar and therefore needed to be about 93" long. Well the last piece I grabbed off the shelf was the one we had cut 12" from - and guess what? You got it, to my horror it was too short!!! My spar that is supposed to be 167" long is only 161" long - a full 6" too short:
The first thing you do in a situation like this is go inside, grab a beer and start writing an email to the Bearhawk Email Group, looking for advise. My first thought was to simply splice on a 6" piece. I had some spar cuttings that were at least 12" long and I could actually overlap one about 6" and splice it using a double or triple row of rivets. The splice would be out at the wing tip were there is very little stress on the spar. Some folks on the group said that it would be fine to splice it, especially out there at the tip. I also checked the books and with my EAA tech counselor and all were in agreement that this would be an acceptable and airworthy repair.
A couple of others advised that I should just cut 6" off the other spar and just build both of my wings 6" short. I really didn't want to do that since I need all of the weight carrying capibility that I can muster.
Several advised getting a new piece of aluminum and making a new spar web. One problem here is that you must buy a 4' x 8' sheet which is $123 at the time of this writing (Nov. 2003) and I would only need a piece 1' x 8'.
Well, I slept on it that night and made my decision by morning. At the beginning of this project, I had vowed to build my plane as perfectly as possible, getting in no hurry, taking no short cuts, and no "that's good enough" attitudes. I elected to order some more .032 aluminum and make a new spar web. By doing it the right way, I can sleep better at night and like Budd Davisson said in one of the email replies, "You don't want to be flying along in turbulence and start thinking about that splice on your spar."