Curtiss Jenny Restoration

Welcome! We hope you enjoy following the restoration process of a 1918 Curtiss JN4D Jenny. Once completed, the aeroplane will be flown and displayed at the Candler Field Museum in Williamson GA (30 miles south of Atlanta). You can contact me below by clicking on "VIEW MY PROFILE"

My Photo
Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

elevator construction

While I had the jig set up, the second trailing edge was bent into place. That way, both elevators will be the same.

The elevator spar has two tapers - one on each end. Holes were drilled to accept the trailing edge tubing. Once the holes were drilled, they were cut on the line.

You can see the finished result below. The birch plywood was cut into strips for the ribs. Each rib tapers from the spar thickness to 1/8 in at the trailing edge. The two large ribs taper on both ends! 1 1/8 in at the spar, 1 3/8 in the middle and 1/8 at the end.

Most of the ribs are cut. I'll have pictures when they are done on the next blog. I ran out of time today.



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stab finishing touches and Elevator construction

Had a few hours in the shop today. It's amazing how lots of small things add up quickly.

Here's the stabilizer strut upper brackets being built. Pretty simple piece made of .10 in sheet steel and 1/4 in holes.

Next, the tail wire bracket was bent into the 30 degree angle, and the forward tab was bent slightly downward.

Then, the tail hinges were installed. First a 1/4 in hole was drilled through the rear spar. To accept the outer hinge, a bigger 1/2 in hole was drilled into the spar far enough to accept the hinge. ( about 1/4 in deep). As for the rear part of the hinge........

The original 1/4 in hole was made slightly square at the end (with a small chisel) to accept the rear hinge piece. This prevents the piece from rotation. Then, the front and rear pieces were inserted into the spar and threaded together. You can see this design on an earlier blog. Brass screws also keeps the rear fitting in place.

Now that the stab spruce was varnished, the leading edge was temporarily attached with brass screws. This enabled the final cross brace to be glued into place and the reenforcing blocks made. The cross brace attaches to the wooden hold down blocks (under the clamps). This attachment was temporary, for the leading edge will have to be removed for painting and the blocks would make that a rather unpleasant task.

So, it will be glued and nailed together when the leading edge is painted and permantly mounted.

While that was drying, I started building the first elevator!!! I bent a piece of 3/8 in .058 tubing with a simple pulley wheel from an old washing machine pump. It worked perfectly and my wife was happy because I repaired the washing machine. Sorry for nothing more fancy or scientific, but it works and I'm happy.

I used the Curtiss drawings to set up the elevator outline. Better yet, I was able to trace an original elevator at the Golden Age Air Museum and these patterns were invaluable! Thanks to Paul Dougherty for this.

Hope to build more tomorow. Enjoy.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Stabilizer fittings

Had a few hours at the shop today. Got to make the two upper stabilizer fittings. The one AN4 bolt will go through the stabilizer and hold the fitting while the other two holes will hold the clevises for the tail wires.

First, I started by cutting some .100 sheet steel and drilling the 1/4 in holes.

Then grinding and filing to shape.

The finished fitting. Now, all that has to be done is bend the fitting at the proper angles (yes, there are two bends - one for each wire) beadblast and paint.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Varnished the stabilizer today. I decided to use good ol' Marine spar varnish. It worked for all these years...and besides, the smell is more pleasant than the polyurethanes out there today.

It was nearly 90 degrees in Atlanta today, so my oldest son Graham helped me move everything outside to speed up the drying process.

Primed all the hinges as well. They look alot better than they did last week!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Stabilizer / Fin attach block

Built the fin attach block on the center rib of the stabilizer today. The block was cut on the bandsaw to the 2 1/2 in by 3/4 in by the rib profile. Then, a 1/4 in dado was cut to fin underneath the capstrip and against the rib.

Then, the block was cut to shape and given a slight taper on the top. The leading edge of the fin bolts on here and will be drilled later.

Clamping and glueing.

Also, finished the leading edge today (no picture). The final holes were drilled and countersunk. It's in primer awaiting the epoxy finish coat.



Friday, June 16, 2006

Stabilizer work

Made the second bracket today. Both were fitted, brazed, cleaned up and primed.

Also, flipped the stabilizer over and made/glued the bottom plywood pieces. This is where the fin attach bolts go through. They will be drilled eventually when the fin is built. Don't will all make sense...eventually.....!

Here are a few more gussets. This piece attaches to the top and bottom of the spar. A plate will be made for the top and bolts will go through to hold the lower stabilizer strut. The other two are reenforcements for the tail wires and hinge points.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Leading Edge hold down blocks

Today's Progress - with some .035 sheet, The curve was bent on a scrap piece of leading edge tubing.

Then, the piece was cut out to the dimentions shown in the Curtiss drawings. Notice the tabs that hold the wooden block in place.

Here's a trial fit. As all the other leading edge fittings, it will be brazed in place. The final drilling of the bolt holes will have to wait until the fuselage is built to ensure accuracy. U-bolts will go around the upper longeron through these blocks to hold the stabilizer in place.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Stabilizer progress

The last twenty five gussets were cut out today.

Each gusset is used to keep the rib from splitting across the grain.

Here are the original hinge fittings for the tail. They are pretty ingenious - on the stabilizer side, the fitting is two piece screwed together while the elevator side has a regular hinge with a bolt. They will be bead blasted and painted soon.

The gussets were glued and clamped in place. Had to bribe my wife to use her clothes pins, but she acquiesced......


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here's a picture of the new stabilizer. I have the leading edge tubing clamped in place while drilling the countersunk holes for the brass screws.

Here's a picture of the entire project (less wings). When my oldest son asked "Dad, where is the fuselage?" I pointed to a big bucket full of the precious fittings. "In there!"

The stabilizer and ailerons are from a Canuck, which differ from the JN4D. But, the methods of construction are similar.

The project comes to Atlanta

Well, after a 900 mile journey, the Jenny has come to Atlanta.

Here's a picture of the rental van with the wings on the roof.

That's Ron Alexander and my son Nicholas unloading the wings


Curtiss Jenny SN 6062

Curtiss JN4D with an OX-5 engine similar to the one that will be displayed at the new Candler Field Museum in Williamson GA (30 miles south of Atlanta)