On Friday night, 9/22/17, I finished the Rudder (Section 7). It took me over 40 hours.I had to patch an area on the right skin because I creased it during back riveting (ran off the end of the plate as I merrily riveted away without thinking). I have a couple of minor flaws, but I think it is airworthy. Hopefully, someday the FAA will agree.
After two months of building, and I have two assemblies.
What I have learned so far:
1. Keep thinking during every step. The instructions are good. The kit is excellent. The process isn't that difficult, but if you let your mind wander while working (especially riveting), you will make a mistake that will cost you lost time. Stay focused. You can recover from mistakes, but it's much more effective to go at the pace at which you can maintain good focus and avoid mistakes.
2. Keep the rivet gun pressure low to start. It' easier to adjust upward than to make a big mistake because you had too much pressure.
3. Follow the directions. Look at the whole page. Look at each step. Look at each word.
4. This forum is great, but .... Van's instructions are the authority. I was so concerned about the trailing edge and double-flush rivets because of posts on VAF that I was concerned that by following the instructions I was headed for trouble. You can find of lots of over-the-top processes adopted using pro-seal or epoxy or specially made squeezers. In the end, I chose to follow the latest Van's directions using adhesive tape and a back-rivet process, and my trailing edge came out great.
5. I am all in. After two assemblies, I have too much enjoyment and satisfaction to quit.