Welding on Earl Brown’s gear.


A week ago, Earl Brown was here, and we worked on the gear for his Pietenpol. This is the fifth or six set of Pietenpol gear I have welded. to learn more, please read: Pietenpol CG and gear welding. and Pietenpol Products, Motor mounts, Gear and Instalation Components.



Above, the gear on Earl’s inverted fuselage back home in Pennsylvania. It fit like a glove, because Earl had made a very exact wooden fixture, and because I have been welding since 1979, and aircraft parts since 1989, I understand weld sequencing to hold shrinkage and distortion to absolute minimums.


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Above a shop photo from last week, Ken Pavlou, Kitty Politi, and Earl Brown, who Ken has re-named “Sig-Sauer Bratten” (even though he is a Walther .40 kind of guy)



Above the joint between the axle and the front gear leg. This is quality Tig welding. I am 56, and part of being middle aged is having a bit of difficulty producing the weld beads above at the same rate as I did when I was 36. I drink too much coffee, and my hands are no longer perfectly stead for hours at a crack;  I wear progressive lenses to correct my vision, but weld beads like the ones above require depth perception to 1/16″ of an inch on the height the tungsten is above the puddle, and this requires a bit slower work than uncorrected vision.  Even so, this gear was made in three casual days in the shop.


I have heard some really stupid things said about aircraft welds, but the dumbest was a guy who said “These are like a gorilla, ugly but strong”.  If a weld is ugly, it wasn’t done correctly, and if it wasn’t correct, it isn’t strong. If you hear anyone talking about “Gorilla welding” be polite, its the classy thing to do around mentally ill people.


To get a look look at Earls gear in video, look at our new youtube channel under “Parts”





About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

4 Responses to Welding on Earl Brown’s gear.

  1. Andrew Seth Elliott says:

    WW: I am not a fan of progressive lenses for close up work (or for flying, for that matter). The technology behind progressive lenses gives you a narrow field of view in focus. Instead I wear bifocals and keep a number of “readers” in the hangar at various strengths for close-up work. You might want to get a some inexpensive readers and try them. I think you’ll find they are much less fatiguing if you are doing consisten close-up work, especially inside the helmet.
    (Note that I have a special set of flying bifocals with the tops at infinity and the bottoms at the panel distance instead of at reading distance. And a special set of computer bifocals with the tops at screen distance and the bottoms at reading distance. )

    • Good points Andy. Years ago I used readers for welding, but as middle age set in, they don’t cut it anymore.

    • Joshua D Rimmer says:

      I’m a machinist, do a lot of close work, so I actually had a set of lenses made that only have my close prescription. Really handy for bench work, my progressives are a pain when looking down at the bench.

  2. David Latour says:

    I TIG, but there isn’t enough life left for me to become this good

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