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, July 30, 2007


There was a lot of "hour here, hour there" type of sporadic shop work done this week. For example, I made ten more universal fittings for the bottom longeron. For the sake of repetition, I'll leave it at that! Here's a fitting about to go into the bead blaster.

Now, for the fun stuff. I routed the inside of the station 5 vertical pieces with just a simple 1/4 in round bit. I used a router fence and set it up to cut on the line. It worked really well. Notice how the router bit left a rather abrupt end to the cut.

Some people choose to leave it that way. That's fine, but I went for originality. The cut tapers gently over about an inch or so.

Paul Dougherty showed me how to use a nifty ramp setup for this, but I found that with the small pieces, I could just sand the taper with a Dremel bit.

Here's Station 5 so far. I must cut the half round holes for the spar carry-through assembly next. It is nice to have an original for a pattern....irregardless of the shape it's in.

The left and right upper longerons are joined bu a 1 1/4 X 1 1/4 piece of ash. I did not have any scrap from doing the longerons, so a call to my friend Walter Ivey (remember when I needed a steamer?) and he found some ash for me. He was kind enough to plane it to size as well. It's nice to have friends like that.

Anyway, here is where the piece will go. I have to build the steel fitting and strap yet.

Walter also planes some ash pieces for the engine bearers. Two pieces of spruce are sandwiched between two pieces of ash. Here is one of the new pieces next to the rotted original.

Till next time. Enjoy!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Station 5 vertical

Drilled the holes to size in the Station 5 fitting and gave them a temporary coat of primer.

Started building Station 5's vertical piece. You can see the progression here - the top piece is the raw spruce. In the middle is the spruce after cutting the taper and the 6 degree angle on each end. Below is an original Station 5 that came with the project.

The routing is next and the edges need to be beveled. Tomorrow's agenda!



Friday, July 20, 2007

Station 4/5 Fittings

I finished making the front and back pieces this afternoon. They were simple bends in .060 steel, however one top bend went 9 1/2 degrees upwards and the other went 9 1/2 degrees downwards. Two of each had to be made.

Then the front and back pieces were clamped in place.

And brazed together. Here's the first one after brazing and grinding smooth.

Looks like the original on the right. I must drill the holes to size yet.

The second one was finished as well. Now I have all the fittings for Station 4 and 5.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Station 4/5 fitting

Finished the last rear vertical pieces at Station 11. I put a temporary brace where the tail skid assembly will mount (until I make it later).

Before moving forward, I need to make two Station 4 fittings. I have two original fittings with the project. Here is one of them. Notice it consists of 4 pieces brazed together.

I started making it tonight. The pieces on the left were water jet cut. I started making the front piece this evening. It is a piece of flat stock bent on three sides. Next blog I'll show more detail of that process.

Until then, enjoy!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

More verticals

Made a few more vertical pieces today. There are only two more to go! Hope to make them tomorrow.

Till then, enjoy


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More work on the vertical pieces today. Geoffrey decided to help. He liked the sanding, but didn't like the router. "Too noisy".

Here's the progress so far. Five verticals done. Also, you can see the next ten upper vertical fittings on the table. I started making them as well. They were bent into shape, now all I have to do is braze them (like the others) and bend them around the longeron form.



Monday, July 09, 2007

Vertical Braces

Made the first three vertical posts today. The method was the same as the horizontal pieces - bandsaw the taper, sand to the line and rout the edge - with one exception. Only the top end gets the angled cut.

Here's Brighton offering to help.

Looks like an aeroplane,

Here's the beginnings of the tail post.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tail Post area

More fittings cane back from the water jet cutter. I used a local guy in Newnan, GA and he was very reasonable on price. Plus, he surprised me by calling the next day and saying the parts were done!

Anyway, I had the upper tail post fittings made, two engine bearer support plates and Station 4 fittings cut. Here they are:

Now, to make them work. The upper tail post fitting was...shall we say...interesting. If you follow the drawings closely, it works out pretty well. I used heat with this fitting and bent it over some block steel. Watch the 14 1/2 degree angle pretty closely and the rest works out.

Here's the finished part in temporary primer. The finish will get scratched as I build the tail post area anyway, so no use wasting good paint.

To cut the ash pieces, I used a simple coping saw.

After several cuts, I put a scrap tail post in place. This one came with the project and was no good. But I found a great use for it as the tailpost template! I can tap it, twist it and move it around to get the end straight without worrying about damaging it. I'll make the new tailpost later.

Till tomorow


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

upper cross pieces

Had a good shop day yesterday. It didn't start out that way, but turned out all right.

I headed out to the shop on Monday with the intention of cutting most of the upper horizontal pieces of the fuselage. But, then Cricket came out to the shop - the in-laws elderly dog (which we were babysitting) wasn't doing very well and passed away a few hours later. After dealing with this, I went back to the shop only to cut Station 6 too short twice! I put away the tools and walked away. It was one of those days.

I returned to the shop yesterday and resumed work. I started with Station 6 again ant worked my way aft. I'm really amazed by how the Curtiss engineers were so weight conscious. Each horizontal brace was tapered on both sides and routed to save weight!

Anyway, the 1 1/8 in. spruce was cut to length and the taper was cut on the bandsaw.

Then the drum sander was used to sand to the line. The taper goes from 1 1/8 in. in the middle to 3/4 in. on the ends.

Finally, I used the router table with a 45 degree block to rout the edges.

Here's a completed brace. As you make your way rearward, the pieces also taper on the ends to compensate for the curved longerons. By station 10, the taper is 6 1/2 degrees.

Here's a close up of the brace in the universal fitting. This end will eventually get coppered and drilled for an AN3 bolt.

Here's the day's progress - Stations 6 through 10 are now made.

I hope to get the last station finished tomorrow and the longerons cut and trimmed for the tailpost. Till then...