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This fall we bought a new house, and with it a garage that’ll make a perfect workshop. At our old house we had a classic Chicago-style, detached 2-car garage with an alley behind the property and no driveway. We needed both ports for our cars, and were not allowed to park in the street so the garage could never be used for the plane. Our new house has a 3-car garage and driveway, so I just leave my truck in the driveway, 2 garage ports are used by Cara’s car and miscellaneous tools and junk, and one port entirely dedicated as a workshop.

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Holding short

The project is on hold for now, and all the airframe parts are stored in the shed. This past summer we had a new son (our first!), and I left my job to start my own business. Free time was pretty scarce early on, and we’re trying to be more careful with finances now that our income is down quite a bit until business ramps up. On top of this it was proving impossible to build the wing in our house.

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Cara and I built the Zenith binder for the airplane plans in early December. It was a quick and fun project that’ll protect the blueprints for years to come.

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I picked up this California Air Tools (10020C) “ultra quiet” compressor earlier this summer, and absolutely love it! The name isn’t an exaggeration; it is the quietest compressor I have ever heard. Given that I am working in a spare bedroom upstairs, that’s fairly important. I’m already thinking of adding another tank to it though, but that’s something for another day. Unfortunately today after I charged it up, I found the regulator would start leaking if the regulated pressure was slightly below the tank pressure.

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Workshop setup

Now that the shed is built and the materials are safely at home and stored, we finally had time to get the workshop setup in our extra bedroom, formerly an office. We put down some thin, cork underlayment we found for $30 at the Restore. It should keep the floor protected from dropped tools and other mishaps. Dragging a table across it will definitely rip it, but otherwise it seems fairly sturdy, and we have plenty of leftovers to replace it if needed.

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Sunday after bringing the kit home, we primed and painted the shed, as well as repainted the garage door to match. Monday we installed locks, and bolts inside the doors, and a couple more hinges in the middle of the swinging doors. I put a round vent, in addition to the already-installed soffit vents, above the swinging doors. It came in a pack of 4 so I will probably put one on the other side as well.

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We drove down to the Zenith factory in Mexico, MO Friday night. This was the weekend of their annual open hangar days - a great opportunity to meet some Zenith enthusiasts, see some other homebuilt 750s, as well as pickup on a Saturday rather than taking a day off work. There was an incredible turn out for the event. Here's a shot somebody took Sat morning with a drone We pulled the truck up to the loading dock where the fuselage and dozens of boxes and paper-wrapped parts were waiting.

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Mark A. Stratman

Mark (& Cara) are building a Zenith CH 750 STOL aircraft, and this site shows the progress and acts as a builder’s log for the FAA airworthiness certificate.

Feel free to contact Mark at [email protected] or visit stratman.pw.


Illinois, USA