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

Friday, August 22, 2008

Coppering has begun

Remember the pile of rough cut ash from the last blog? Well, I took it to Briggs Milwork in Mableton GA where Mr. Briggs ran the stuff through his big planer. Remember, the wood started out as 13/16th and it needed to be planed to 1/4 in. Briggs Milwork specializes in making wood flooring, so his machines were easily up to the task.

Here you can see the ash for the floorboards, a piece to make the tail skid and two engine bearer shims.

Yesterday, I varnished the last of the wooden pieces.
Today, the coppering began! Each piece if wood has 10 oz. copper wrapped around the end. I guess it's for crush value betweeen the steel fitting and the wood, but it looks neat and that's all that matters......Kidding.

Don't forget to drill your hole in the copper before going all the way around.

Finished with an overlapped seam.

Rather than using the big, heavy shears, I found that my wife's paper shears cut the copper rather easily. Good thing I married a school teacher. This thing came in handy.
Here's the day's progress.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


More sanding and varnishing over the last two days.

Here's a better view of the routing. I'm putting three coats of Stitts EP 400 Epoxy varnish on the ash. Between coats, I sand with 220 grit paper. The first coat raises the grain. The second and third gives the shine.

Paul Dougherty at the Golden Age Air Museum sent me an update on their Jenny. They have begun the covering process. They will finish the aeroplane in the colors of Earl Dougherty, a barnstormer and famous West Coast stunt pilot in the 1920's. Paul had done a lot of research on this scheme. By spending many hours pouring through archives in Long Beach CA. (home or Earl Dougherty) Paul determined that the plane was mostly red with big letters on the fuselage and wings. Can't wait to see it when it's done! for more info.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ash for floorboards

The Jenny floorboards are made of 1/4 in ash, three pieces glued together each 7 3/4 in. wide.

I considered using commonly available mahagony plywood, but the floorboards support the control sticks and rudder pedals so they had to be fairly strong. So, I had to find some wide, thin ash.

After much searching, I found Atlanta Hardwoods in Mableton GA.

The Atlanta Hardwoods warehouse was really neat! I saw all kinds of different wood types, from good 'ol common USA oak to some purple African wood with lion teeth marks still in it. My kind of place.

Anyway, the nearest size wood was either 1 in. or 2 in. deep planks. This wood will have to be planed to size. I'll do that later. Also in this pile - the tail skid ash and the engine bearer ash - both of which will require special cuts.

Thanks to local woodworker Walter Ivey for telling me about Atlanta Hardwoods.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Longerons routed & tailpost done

The lower longerons were routed today. The plunge router came in pretty handy!

This took up most of the day. The depths of cut changes as you work towards the tail. The farther back you go, the deeper the rout. Eventually, you're cutting 3/8 in. deep on either side of the longeron. As usual, the setup took longer than the actual cutting.

I'm pleased - the extra effort to measure and mark each cut paid off. I was able to rout four longerons without screwing one up. Whew!

The tail post was finished today. There's a routed section in the center and the corners are beveled to save weight.

Plus, the lower end of the tail post got sanded to shape.

Productive day. More soon


Friday, August 01, 2008

More varnishing

While I was sanding and varnishing the new parts, I decided to clean up these original parts. I think they are seat rails, but I have not identified them individually yet. I took one of them and sanded off the old varnish....

...and added a fresh coat of varnish. Like the original copper end?

Here are some of the other parts that were sanded and given a first coat.

The lower longeron was sanded and given coats two and three.

Also, the wood in the control bellcrank was given a coat of varnish.