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Old 09-19-2018, 07:10 PM
ColoCardinal's Avatar
ColoCardinal ColoCardinal is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Morrison, CO
Posts: 350

A pneumatic squeezer is not needed unless the builder has a physical limitation or you're in a hurry. They are faster and easier. The manual squeezer easily delivers enough pressure.

If your local chapter has a tubing bender and a flaring tool, you won't need those either. Tubing is a relatively small part of the project. Not necessary to spend $100 on a tool you'll need for just a few days.

As Vlad says, you may be able to find someone who started a kit and is selling it, tools and all, for a nice discount. If you go that route, take a knowledgable person with you to check out the build quality. Many tech counselors will help with that. Here again, your local chapter is a great resource.
Carl - - Morrison, CO
Airworthiness cert issued 12/24
best X-mas present I could have hoped for!
paid 'til 10-19
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:10 PM
DRMA DRMA is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 298


Where in Houston do you live? I attended one meeting each at all 3 of the EAA chapters in the greater Houston area and decided to join EAA 302 which is located in Conroe. This isn't the closest chapter to my home in Sugar Land, but it seemed to me to be the largest and most active chapter. Lots of RV owners in this chapter, with several RV's under construction and a large number finished and flying. The chapter meets on the second Saturday of each month at the Conroe airport. Additional info can be found at the chapter website at

As for tools, I ended up buying a kit from Cleaveland Tools, and then adding additional tools as my project progressed. I was told by several experienced builders that Cleaveland's dimple dies are preferred over the other brands, and I found them to be extremely helpful and pleasant to deal with both on the phone and in person at their tent at OSH. I've used almost all the tools provided in the kit, and have purchased a lot of additional tools as my build has progressed and I've found I needed them.

I highly recommend the DRDT over the C-Frame and hammer. It is a much easier tool to use for dimpling large skins, is more consistent, and doesn't require hearing protection like the C-Frame. I also like the pneumatic squeezer, which I purchased used (don't remember if I found it on VAF or eBay). But while I try to use the pneumatic squeezer when ever it is possible, I still find the need for the hand squeezer on occasion.

If you are new to sheet metal and riveting, you might consider taking the EAA 2 day class to get you started. There is one being offered in early December at a school across from Hobby airport.

If you would like to discuss this by telephone, or are in the area of Sugar Land and want to see my tool collection and in-progress RV-10, just let me know. I'll send you a private message through this site with my email and phone number.

Dave Macdonald

RV-10 Finishing Kit & FWF in-progress
2019 VAF Dues Paid
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:11 PM
RV7ForMe RV7ForMe is offline
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Europe
Posts: 430

Originally Posted by jmw116 View Post
Overall I like the Brown kit the best but find it disturbing that they do not offer easy upgrade options to the kit like Cleveland. I should add that I did not have a pleasant experience with the sales person on the phone with Brown.
Just FYI if you call brown tools they will add and substract anything you want and still apply the kit discount. At least they did for me. The guy on the other end also knew his tools. So that helped.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:40 AM
GeoffP GeoffP is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Warrimoo, NSW, Australia
Posts: 25

Hi all, just my view on tools considering I'm from Australia. Personally I've only just started on an RV-9, but I bought a lot of tools through Brown. I found them to be relatively cheap, with a really big range, and fast shipping to me here (latest package arrived 1 week after I placed the order). Having said that I bought a Main Squeeze kit from Cleaveland, and it's a beautiful tool, with really nice rivet sets included. Similar to you Justin I'm learning as I'm going, but I've also done enough with some of the trial kits from Vans & playing around with other aluminium to learn that some of the tools are just what you need for a certain task. Don't be afraid to try things or make tools as you need - I'm thinking of crafting up some custom bucking bars for some tricky locations. A lot of "standard" type tools (files, deburrers, drill bits, pliers)you can buy from normal tool or hardware shops.

Finally, the last thing I did was compare the tools I had bought to the standard Van's kit from Brown, and just ordered the other tools on the list that I'd missed. My logic here was that I figured it was on the list for a reason, and would be needed sometime.
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Old 09-24-2018, 07:52 AM
6 Gun 6 Gun is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 846
Smile Tools

No expert here only built one RV6
I would start out with battery drills had air drill never used it ended up with 3 battery drills to save time.Started out with cheap rivet squeezer and it did not do the job buy the best hand squeezer money can buy ended up using the cheap one to dimple a lot of stuff.One tool that was cheap and handy was the dimple tool that's made for a pop rivet tool.The next tool that's in need of good quality is a good rivet gun and a couple of bucking bars.A good tape measure and caliper 12" I used the caliper a lot and a repeating punch.You will need a few more things but that will get you started cheap.
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:09 AM
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dave4754 dave4754 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Edson, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 447
Default Tools

Bought my first from Avery. No longer in business. Those Sioux drills are amazing, still don't have one though. Bought most all my tools from EBay or Napa.

Good tools have no equal. But at first you only need a few and like Vlad said many unused new tools have been sold with unfinished kits!!

Tungsten bar
C dimpler
Soft blow hammer
Drills #40. #30
Clecoes. Buy used!
Clecoe pliers
Air compressor

Start there. One of these planes were built or started in an apartment!
Enjoy, say goodbye to life as you know it for a few years and ANY spare cash. Lol

Dave Cobb
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:53 PM
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Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 1,943

Don't forget Harbor Freight for some not-often used tools. However, as another once mentioned here, their wrench sizes (and some other tools) are more of a suggestion.
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