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"

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Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Minnesota History Museum Jenny

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting a special group of guys in Minnesota who built a Curtiss Jenny replica from scratch! Even though the Jenny was finished, they still get together twice a week and build airplane parts.

I first met Ken Rovie (third from the right) during my search for a Hisso spider plate drawing a few months ago. Since then, Ken and his crew have been an invaluable source of Jenny drawings for me.

Here's a picture of their Jenny hanging in the rotunda of the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. If you're ever there, check it out. It's worth seeing.

Here's a group shot around their Jenny.



fin coppering

Here are a few pictures of thr copering process. The 10oz. copper is very easy to shape. As a matter of fact, most of it is bent by hand. Like below, the "Z" bend was made by tapping a piece of .040 sheet steel about an inch wide and three inches long with a tack hammer. The copper just flows into shape.

Another detail shot.

One more. Copper will go under the hinge bolt in the future.

Kind of like this below.

I was amazed by how the copper really made the joints quite solid. Light, Strong, Simple...I like that.



Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fin details

While Richard Epton is spraying all the metal parts for the tail, I decdided to take advantage of the 67 degree weather and give the fin the second coat of varnish. Before doing so, I drilled the hinges (see below).

Notice that I left the lower fitting undrilled. When the fin meets the stabilizer and the entire assembly meets the fuselage, (and I'm happy everything lines up) - then I will drill this fitting.

Here's the top of the fin. I decided to make a little change. Normally, the bolt that you see here holds the hinge in place and also a bracket for the bracing wire. When you stretch this wire to the stabilizer, it interferes with the rudder cable when the rudder is fully deflected! Paul Dougherty pointed this out to me when I was visiting his beautiful Jenny restoration this summer. So, I decided to leave the hinge alone, but move the bracket higher. That's the reason for the upper hole. I will put the bracket here as soon as I build it. Come to think of it, the Canuck has a bracket mounted on a post at the top of the fin, so I guess it's all right.

Here's the fitting in the middle of leading edge. As you remember, this was a modification ot the Jenny back in 1918 to strenghten the fin.

And, of course, the front attach bracket in place.

Next step - pulling this stuff off and adding the copper. Stay tuned. Have a good Christmas and Holiday everyone.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

tail breakdown

Just one picture today. I took off all the steel parts from the tail group - leading and trailing edges, hinges, wires, control horns...getting ready for the final paint. Richard Epton has offered to spray them this weekend, so I'm going to take him up on his gracious offer.

I finished the last 20 dimples (see last blog) on both elevators. When the paint dries this weekend, the tail will be assembled for good!

till then


Friday, December 15, 2006

rudder dimples

To attach th rudder brackets to the wood, I drilled holes and used a 1/8 in dimple die to make room for the brass screws.

Here's another view. Each tab is drilled and dimpled this way.

More to come.


Monday, December 11, 2006


Since it was pretty warm out today, I gave the fin it's first coat of epoxy varnish (thinned of course).

Brazed the last three tabs, too!

Also welded the last hinge. Here's a picture of the rudder after a temporary coat of primer. Have a few tabs!



Sunday, December 10, 2006


Had a good four hours of shop time today. Made the rudder post brackets from .025 sheet steel. Once they were finished, they were brazed into place. I learned something about brazing today. You don't need a ton of rod to do the job. If you heat the bracket rather well, the heat will efficiently pull the molten metal underneath and you don't need to do much more. I found that I was worried about adhesion and kept adding rod. All it did was give me more material to grind away!

Here's the famed curved bracket. I made it the same way as all the others - in two pieces. You can see the hammer marks fron shaping the metal to the curve. The two pieces were brazed to the trailing edge and the gap filled in with rod material. Everything was then ground and sanded smooth.

I had a chance to weld three of the four rudder hinges as well. Here you can see one of the finished hinges as well as two of the brackets.

Alas, here's the rudder as of today. I have one more hinge to weld and three more little brackets.

Till then,


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Elevator brackets

OK - time to make the trailing edge stick to the framework of the rudder. Out of .025 sheet steel, I made a bunch of the brackets like shown below. Each one is a little different. I started with posterboard templates and transferred the pattern to the steel.

Here's one that will support a fitting and a turnbuckle later.

All the fittings were then attached to the trailing edge tubing by brazing.

Here's a shot of the bottom of the rudder post after the .025 sheet stock is bent over to hold things together. Next step here is a lot of filing and sanding.

Here's Nicholas and Geoffrey (kids #2 and 3 respectively) holding things together for the camera. You can see the five brackets made today. There are four more on the trailing edge and four more on the rudder post itself. Gives me something to do tomorow!

Till then