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

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Upper Control Horns

Had a chance to drill the holes for the left elevator's hinge fittings. The elevator is now ready for the copper sheet (soon)

Also sanded the left elevator's side blocks. Here'n an AN3 bolt in place to hold the hinge.

Now, back to the upper control horns - The top .125 fittings were given a 10 degree twist to line up with the elevator cables and wires.

Then the top fitting was welded in place and ground/sanded smooth.

Here's the second upper horn.

The bottom of the horns were cut to the 25 degree angle (the lowers were 10 degrees, remember?) then welded to the base.

In this photo, you can see the anglular difference. I'll give it some temporary primer until it's time to blast/paint all the fittings. Plus, the holes have to be drilled.



Friday, August 25, 2006

Control Horns

The base of the control horn was cut to the 12 degree angle, mated with the lower plate and given a few tack welds.

I decided to gas weld the base. The original Jenny was brazed, had a fold up tab inside the horn with rivets for strength. I felt a simple weld would suffice.

Here's the finished lower horn next to the original. The holes were drilled and the horn was given a temporary coat of primer.

Next step will be fabrication of the upper horns. I made the rest of the pieces today. Just need to weld everything together.

Till the next shop day



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Control Horn

Had some more time today to work on the elevator control horns.

As seen above, I took the top piece of steel and welded it into the horn. Brazing was used to smooth out the transition on the sides where the horn met the bracket. After that, I cut out a piece of .040 sheet steel into the base size. Hope to weld this next time.

Here's a picture of the upper horns. Notice that their angle and length are different. The lower horns are 12 degrees of sweep and the upper ones are 25 degrees. Thanks to Paul Daugherty for explaining this one!

More to come this weekend.



Saturday, August 19, 2006

Control Horn

Sorry I haven't posted much lately - out a town for a spell - but I did bend the rest of the control horns on the jig (awaiting welding) and began building the top of the horn.

The pieces were cut on the bandsaw from .125 sheet steel, ground to shape and filed. You can see the progress above. They will be welded in place during final assembly.

More soon


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Control Horn Jig

Back to the shop - here's the control horn jig. After looking at the original horn, I decided to cut the 3/8th vertical tube half way to the top and weld in a piece of 1/4 in tubing flattened even thinner at the top. I measured the original horn and these values are pretty close. Then, I welded a piece of 1/4 in tubing on the spine.

It's easier to pre-form the .025 sheet steel on a piece of 3/8 in tubing.

Then form it on the jig. If you clamp the sheet metal firmly at the bottom center of the jig (on the streamlined tubing) it will hold the sheet metal in place while you curve and flatten the spine against the 1/4 in tubing. Lots of soft taps!

Here's the spine after some tapping.

When the spine is formed, run a bunch of tack welds along the edge, remove the clamps and weld. Here's a picture of the horn after welding and a bit of grinding and sanding. I'll smooth it out later.

Leave the horn unwelded at the top. We will insert a piece of .125 steel there later to make the fitting that holds the shackles. See below.

Till tomorow



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Elevators and Control Horn jig

Made the twelve gussets that go above and below each elevator hinge. As you can see, the gussets near the trailing edge need to be tapered for the fabric covering.

Now, the fun part. Making the elevator control horns. Since I only got one original horn with the project, I need to make three more for the tail and four more for the ailerons. So, a sturdy jig is in order.

To begin, a piece of streamlined tubing is cut and welded to a piece of .050 sheet steel.

I noticed that the streamlined tubing was close to the dimention of the control horn base.

Then, the front bending post was welded vertically.

Out of time today. Kids came home from school. Next time - the rear bending post will be welded to the jig and the fitting at the top of the horn will be made. Til then....


Monday, August 07, 2006

Tail comes together

Drilled all six tabs today. Here's one below. Just a simple AN3 bolt holds it in place temporarily.

Also installed all six hinges. This was fun. I cut the slot with a dremel tool and a narrow cutting bit. This way, I could follow the curve of the hinge (see previous blog in the archives). Still have to glue the top and bottom re-enforcing blocks and drill the hole to hold the hinge in place.

Here's a hinge working as it should.

Alas, the elevators met the stabilizer for the first time. The hinges lined up well and I was pleased.

Interestingly, I had the opportunity to go to the Seattle Museum of Flight while on a Seattle layover. Aside from being a great museum, they had an uncovered Jenny and I had a zoom lens camera. For those of you who are contemplating building a Jenny someday, notice that this one has the trailing edge brackets made out of 10oz. copper. Every Jenny I've seen has been a bit different. So be it. Other Jennies have steel brackets like the way I made them. Hmmm...

More tomorow. Never did get to start on the horns like I promised....


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Elevator construction

Well, the number 10 ferrules arrived yesterday. At the top of the picture, you can see the difference between to two ferrules. The number 10's are bigger.

Thankfully, Doc Hood of Camarillo CA (soon to be Oregon) was smart enough to make up a few gazillion of these things and made them available to us "wire guys" who need them. Thanks, Doc!

Back to the shop. Made the last four tabs on elevator #2. Here's a picture of one of them. They were brazed and given a trial fit as well. Sorry I didn't take more pictures, but you have seen enough of the tabs on elevator number 1.

Back at it tomorow morning. Plan on cleaning up the tabs and primer painting everything. Then the fun begins - making the control horns.



Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The ferrules have arrived! Here are the #12 size ferrules made by the A.V. Webber Company of North Wales, PA. I was pleased by the quality of the work and they were done before the quoted time. You will see them being used later in the restoration.

All the elevator wire fittings are now completed. I spent the last two days just grinding, filing, sanding, fitting, grinding some that order. I was not expecting them to take so long, but they did. Here are the three fittings for elevator #2

Another view. There will be two more fittings made for the rudder when the time comes. You can see the patterns I made from the Curtiss drawings.

Also, I had a chance to fit the cross braces on elevator #2. They will be sanded to fit later. Then the metal tabs can be brazed in place.