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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Station 3

Welded the tabs on Station 3 today and put it in place for a trial fit. So far, so good. Next step is to add the curve in the center to clear the Hisso accessory pad.

I'll post more pictures showing tab detail next time. I still need to drill the tab and clean everything up.

A box showed up today with two more needed instruments! Mike Cilurso sent this period water temperature gauge and oil pressure gauge. Once again, it never ceases to amaze me how many great people I've met through this project. Mike is restoring a 1918 Standard J1 in central Pennsylvania. He has helped me many times in the past. Especially finding vintage instruments!



Friday, June 22, 2007


I've said this before on this blog, and I will say it again - It never ceases to amaze me how many nice people there are out there in the world. Case in point:

The other day, I had a trip to San Antonio, Texas. On the layover, I called fellow Jenny restorer Phil Mintari and he invited me to see his airplane.

Phil and Vern Hatch (who also restored a great looking Curtiss Canuck) met me at the shop. Boy, were they helpfull! I had a chance to look over their Jenny and photograph every fitting. Many unanswered questions were answered. They were very helpful.

Phil then took me to his home where he and his lovely wife Patricia made me feel like visiting royalty! I spent the evening with them, swapping stories and generally enjoying each other's company. By the end of the evening, I felt like one of the family. I hated to leave, but it was a long drive back to San Antonio and I had an early takeoff the next morning.

Before heading down the road, Phil loaded up my car with a few Jenny parts! Four wing struts, two new stick socket castings, the fan shaped casting where the aileron cables attach, a tail skid and a bag full of strut end fittings. I was speechless. I had been searching high and low for these parts. I promised Phil and Patricia that the parts would fly again. Little did they know, I was talking about the next day!

This picture proves it! Nylsa King, Gordon Clement (who owns a Bucker Jungmann as well) and myself ham it up for the camera after flying back to Atlanta. Gordon remarked that these wing struts had probably never traveled so fast in their entire lives.

Gordon also came up with an idea for mounting the tail skid!

Anyway, back to work on the Jenny this weekend.



Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Well, they're done. Here are the completed universal fittings prior to painting. I still have the lower ones to make yet, but this will get me going.

I had time to cut out the Station 3 brackets that hold the cabane wires today as well.

Here is how they will go. There are two pieces (front and back) and they will be welded together. Then the entire fitting will be bent to a 45 degree angle.

Probably won't get to it until Friday.



Monday, June 18, 2007

Universal fittings

Lots of repetition today, but the upper fuselage universal fittings were completed.

Here you can see the three pieces being brazed together.

After brazing, I drilled a small countersunk hole in one end of the fitting. A screw will be inserted here to hold the fitting to the longeron during assembly.

Here are all the fittings built today.

Now the fittings had to be bent to shape. I used the 1 1/4 in. X 1 1/4in. bending block, clamped everything in a vice and bent away. No need to heat here. The material was pretty thin and bent around the form easily.

A finished fitting....Nine more to go....Tomorrow!



Friday, June 15, 2007

Station 3

As previously discussed, Station 3 is part of the engine mount. I decided to make a jig with the exact inside dimensions of the fuselage (24 inches). I used ordinary 2 X 4's.

One thing, though. The tube fits inside of the Station 3 fittings, so the inside diameter is really 23 13/16 in, to make up for the width of the fittings. I cut the tube to length on the bandsaw and ground to final shape.

Also, notice the block of wood in the center of the jig. The tube does not touch the engine bearers. A bracket will be welded on for that purpose. So, I made a 15/16 in. block to take up the space. This makes the tube more stable in the jig.

First step after measuring - clamp the side brackets in place.

Here's the tube ready for welding. Unfortunately, tack welding the tubes burned up the side pieces of the jig! I'd like to save the jig for future Jenny builders, so I'll make new side pieces when I get some time.

Here's a close up of the tube after welding. I held it up to the Station 3 fitting so you can see how it goes. It will make better sense soon. Hang on. Next I have to weld the Center Section Wire fitting and the bearer bracket. Plus, the middle of the tube must be cut out and replaced with the curved piece. Such a complex simple piece! Should be back at it early next week. Till then....



Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Time to bend fittings! Here are the blanks about to be bent. The small fittings have the outer tabs bend upwards 20 degrees and the center tab 45 degrees. The main fitting has the tabs bent upward at 90 degrees.

I used a 3/4 in bending block and tapped the edges into place.

Then, the pieces are mated and brazed together.

Here's my friend David Daugherty taking his turn brazing.

Here are all the fittings for the lower part of the fuselage bent and ready to be brazed. The Universal fitting is used at every station from 6 to 10.

So, a total of 20 fittings need to be built.

Next shop day, I'll bend the fittings to fit the longeron.

While I had some time, I made the side brackets for Station 3. I cut the fittings out of .10 steel. Here is the evolution from plate to fitting. That's an original OX-5 fitting (cut off) on the left. The tubes bent in the previous blog will be welded to these brackets (so the Hisso will fit).

This will come together next time we meet.

Until then



Sunday, June 03, 2007


The fittings arrived from the lazer cutter today. Here are the universal fuselage fitting blanks. Hope to start bending and brazing on Tuesday.

Till then.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bending tubes

Sorry for not posting anything last week, but I took the wife, kids and dog on a vacation to visit my folks in Pennsylvania. We had a great time, but one of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel, PA.

Paul Dougherty and his father are doing a masterful job restoring an OX-5 powered Jenny and I had the privilege to see it up close. Paul is sparing no expense making the Jenny as original as possible. Trust me when I say that it is a thing of beauty!

Sorry for the old photo, but I forgot my camera that day! Anyway, you can see the quality of workmanship. I lost count of how many times I've called Paul about some vexing Jenny problem and he has been a life-saver for our own restoration.

If you're ever in central Pennsylvania, stop in and see the museum. Or, check out

OK - back to work. Here is Upper Station 3 on Paul's OX-5 Jenny. Since we're using the Hisso, the metal arch seen above would interfere with the magnetos of our engine.

Instead, the Station has an angled tube with a rearward curve! I was able to get a drawing from Frank Shelling. Plus, Hugh Schoelzel was kind enough to photograph Old Rhinebeck's Hisso Jenny and help give me a better understanding of the piece.

Here is the drawing. The fitting on the right is part of an original OX-5 station 3. That's all I have and I'm using it for a pattern. Not only does the tube hold the longerons together, but it has two cabane wire fittings to hold the center section in place!

Now, how to make the tube.

First, I got Robert Rust's 3 die tubing bender. After making a layout on a piece of plywood, I heated the tube with a torch and made the bends.

Here's another shot. I also bent a piece of tubing in a 10 in. radius. In order to make the rearward curve, I will cut out the center and weld in the curve. You'll see this making sense when I do it. Also, the tube will be cut to fit the 24in. wide fuselage and welded to the brackets.

It's always nice to have shop help, and while my father-in-law came for a visit, I put him to work. We decided that since the tubing bender was available, we should bend the control stick torque tube. Below is a picture of the process. We found that it was actually easier to heat the tube red hot and bend it around the top die. It keeps the tube from kinking and makes a nice bend. Patience is required here. Heat a little, bend a little, check the plywood jig, repeat many times.

Here's the bent tube. The curve allows the torque tube to clear the rear rudder pedals. This, too, will make sense when I start making the control stick assembly.

More to come.