Congratulations on chosing the 8 - I originally went for the 7 however all flyers around me told me it was a shame to mar such a great airplane by adding a second seat next to the pilot, so I went for the 8. And real flyer
fly tandem tail draggers....As for the kits - they are truely excellent. I went for the standard kit as the French
autorities do not allow Quick Builds - they consider that it does not meet the experimental requirements.
Tools : As a first time builder with not sheet metal experience and limited mechanical experience I had to go through the same dilema. Here is my experience :
I purchased from Avery, Cleaveland and ATS - Spruce is also a good source but not necessarily for tools. All provide good service. Avery is flexible, you can switch and trade. Furthermore if you open up a line of credit by
advance paying the kits price plus some more, they'll grant you 10% ont eh credit line. And if you find that a specific tool is cheaper elsewhere, they'll negotiate.
Tool vendors will try to convince you that their source is the best quality - you'll find that the same tool is sold by several vendors. Hence price comparisons are warranted however go for single shipments as UPS, Fedex and others will be costly. Don't forget that you'll have to pay VAT. So your cost will be dollar cost + freight, add to this VAT and sundry charges + customs duties if any. In France we can apply for an import
license and thus not pay customs but you cannot get away from paying VAT except on very small shipments (<100$).
Avery has excellent service - they have an annex in the UK - small operation but could be useful in a bind - Harry is very friendly. You will have to check pricing though. firstname.lastname@example.org Gloster Air Parts - 80 Lansdown Road - Cheltenham - GLOS. GL51 6QW
Here is a list and the why :
Dimpling : Avery die set is satisfactory. I bought the pneumatic squeezer -real life saver - the hand squeezer also which I never used.
C-Frame is a must with a 1.5 lb hard rubber malletr which you can get anywhere.
Riveting - same as above except for the C-Frame. I got the 3x gun - as for bucking bars, the small rectangular one is great for the small 3/32 rivets, otherwise you'd need several different bars, 1.5 lbs being definitely short on weight - should be 2.5 to 3 lbs. for 1/8" rivets. Get the longeron yoke and a thin noze (2 or 2.5" should be OK).
Get a rivet cutter - I found that some rivets as indicated by the plans were a little short. Van says it is OK but I'd rather have a shop head which meets specs.
A punch is priceless - the automatic one. Have used it for rivet removal, and all sorts of drilling - enables you to mark a hole starter very accurately.
Wiss snips are great (right and left) - used it for stiffeners.
Get good files regular and needle plus a vixen file - got the file kit from Cleaveland -
include a special brush and BoeLube - will prevent aluminum from pilling up in the file thus prevent marring the work.
Drills - for a starter get #30, #40, #12 and #19 drills (from memory) plus drill stops. Later on you'll need other drills.
Pneumatic - you'll need air thus compressor, hoses, regulators and water trap. 360°
swivels w/o regulator are great. Better bget them locally in the UK so that the quick connects shoudl work. the 1/4 NDP of US connectors are universal - the French use the same so the UK should have ther same but best to double check.
Drill - get both a pneumatic (Sioux is great) and electric cordless.
Die grinder - very usefull for deburing lightning holes of ribs.
Pneumatic in general - be sure that you get ther CE approved paper work - my shipment was blocked at customs until I got the paper work in. Avery did an excellent job on this.
Scoth Brite wheels - get both medium and fine 6" - careful with the holes, they are not the same size.
ScotchBrite - get pads - two sizes and the small 2" and 3" wheels as well as the small mandrill to attach bits of ScotchBrite pads - great for corners which canot be accessed by wheels. Also purchased the 2" and 3" ScotchBrite disk pads. Have used them on flat surfaces for removing scratches.
Small T-square from Cleaveland is great.
Small Paint pistol from Van's ($20) usefull but nozzle is fragile.
Also got professional gravity fed paint pistol.
Hand seamer and fluting plier absolute necessity.
Lopck wrench hand dimpler (3/32) useful only if you absolutely cannot do otherwise as the dimple is not as good as with the C-Frame or Squeezer.
Although I haven't purchased one, Olivier (more below) says that a rivet removal tool is very useful. I developped the technique for removing rivets but could be more productive with such a tool.
Clecoes - get the quantities indicated by Vans ( 100 - 1/8" and 200 3/32 should be more than enough for the empennage). Also get 10 (1" and 1.5") each cleco clamps plus 4 cleco C clamps. You'll be glad to have them at some point during construction.
Tools I regret having purchased :
Rivet hand squeezer - never used it - just about finished the empennage, starting on the wings.
Alignment brackets - useless - built the empennage without a jig - matched holer technique really works.
My motto : ingenuity can help, improvisation can break - use the right tool for the right job.
If you read French you might want to go to my friend's Olivier Web (RV8 first time builder) site - he also explains in detail which tools to have and how to use them.
There are 10 RVs flying in France and 30+ under construction - I believe numbers for the UK are 4 times that.
That's it for my non exhaustive contribution.
And again congratulations for taking on a project which should prove extremely rewarding.
My second motto - RVs of the world, unite. You just cann't be wrong if you take on building an RV.Michèle Delsol (France).