Trumping the Oil

Posted February 2015

Back when I was a kid, tape was a major structural component of any project.  This was before duct tape hit the open market; I tried to make do with scotch tape or masking tape.  Neither of them worked very well.

Now that I'm older... well, tape *still* wafts around the construction-portion of my brain.  Surprisingly, I just had a case where it *wasn't* the first thing I thought of.  But it should have been!

When I modified my cockpit coaming a couple of years back, I re-used my nearly-new vinyl snap-on-coaming cover.  The trouble was, the change in the coaming lengthened the distance the cover had to run.  It left a ~5" gap at the front of the cockpit.

I'm not much for aesthetics, but that gap bugged me.  It was bright beige, same color as the airplane, while the coaming cover was black.  The gap was QUITE obvious.

What I needed was a new coaming cover.  But the one I had was new...hated the idea of just throwing it out.  Yeah, it didn't fit that great, but like I tell my wife, wrinkles just add character.

In art, there's a technique called "Trompe-l'oeil".  It means, "Deceive the Eye," by using techniques that make something look like it's not.  The artist might simulate 3D, fake foregrounds or frames, etc.  I needed to Trompe-l'oeil (or "Trump the oil," as us midwesterners pronounce it) my cockpit.

Initially, I was just going paint the gap area a semi-gloss black to match the vinyl cover.  But the gap area is part of the airframe, not the removable turtledeck.  I would have had to mask off a wide area, with the risk of overspray or running.

My childhood construction background finally stepped up:  Tape!  Find some wide black tape and cover the bad area.

Found some black duct tape at the hardware store today.  It was perfect...its amount of gloss almost perfectly matches the vinyl cover.   I had some un-used snaps in the way, but I just covered around them. After all, if it's a bit just looks even MORE like the coaming cover.

This picture show before and after....

"Fools the eye" pretty good, I think.

Ron Wanttaja

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