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

Monday, April 09, 2007

Fuselage Steam Box

After a bit of frustration - I'm ready to steam bend the ash longerons!

Some background information - I tried building a steam bender out of aluminum down spouting from a local home improvement store. It seemed like a good idea. Cheap. Simple. Effective. Right?

Well, I fought with it, trying to seal the ends and getting the whole thing to work properly. When the frustration reached it's peak, I put down the tools and went to work. Perhaps a nice long flight would give me time to think about it.

By chance, I was scheduled to fly with Walter Ivey, who is not only a consummate aviator, but a darn good woodworker as well. Walt had built a steam box while making a water ski for his son. With a little modification, he reasoned that the box would be exactly what I needed. Needless to say, I took him up on his generous offer.

I named it "The Ivey Steamer"

Now, how to make all that steam. I looked into many options - electric kettles, bathroom steamer, wall paper remover.....I kept looking for several things: large water capacity, large volume of steam, and small price.

What seemed to fit the bill was a big roasting pot I found at Walmart. I drilled a hole in the lid for an AN12 sized fitting. The hose will run from this fitting to another AN12 fitting in the Ivey Steamer. Inside the box, there are a few wooden pieces glued across the box to keep the ash elevated. Sometimes, you see dowels in a steam box to keep the wood off the bottom, but Walter's wooden ridges work the same way.

See below:

Don't forget to drill drain holes in the bottom!

You only have a few minutes to form the hot, wet ash, I plotted the points for the upper and lower longerons on the jig table. The forming blocks were once again attached to the table with screws.

Tomorrow, I hope to fire up the steamer. Since I had a little extra time before the kids came home from school, I assembled the rudder bar hardware. Looks a lot better now!




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