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

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.




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