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, January 21, 2009


The base of the seats are 5/8 in. pine which I got at Home Depot. I got the nice sanded stuff on one side. Anyway, two pieces were cut 17 1/2 in wide 5 inches and 9 inches deep respectively.

There's a lightening hole in the center and the curve on the back side was cut with the bandsaw and smoothed with the spindle sander.

Here they are during construction.

The seats are held together with two 5/8 in thick rails 2 inches wide.

The rails are beveled on the sides and cut to the curve at the back.

Here they are in place.

The seat backs are made from 3003 aluminiun .032 in. thick. One of the nice things about being married to an ex-school teacher is that I get to use her leftover pink poster board to make the radius templates! (before you make fun of me).

Here the seat is cut.

Even thought the seat was not finished, I could not resist putting it in place.

The seat has to be fastned to the base yet, with the flange bent underneath and brass screws holding it together. Plus, half-round ratan will be used to strengthen the outline. Stay tuned for that. Enjoy

Monday, January 19, 2009

More seat support stuff

Made the cross piece at Station 5 today. Typical Jenny construction - 1 in. x 1 1/2 in stock with the corners routed.

This piece is held in place with two steel straps, both of which I made out of .032 stock and bent over a block.

Here's the strap. It will fit inside the routed part of Station 5, around the seat rail and then a bolt will secure it onto the cross member. You'll see how this fits better at a later date.

While I was into making straps, I started making the piece that holds the vertical supports. The vertical will get bolted to the floorboard support and the strap will hold everything in place.

Also made the brace for the end of the seat rails. This lends a bit more support to the elevator control horn. The nice thing about this piece - I had a drawing for it!

Out of the bead blaster, ready for drilling and awaiting the primer paint.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seat support vertical pieces

Today's project was figuring out the vertical pieces that support the seat rails. Each vertical piece is notched to fit the rail. Now - the tricky part - the vertical piece is not perpindicular to the rail nor the lower longeron! No 90 degree cuts here. They actually angle inwards. So, you have to make the cuts about 4 or 5 degrees from square.

To save weight, the center of the vertical is removed until 3/4 in. thickness is achieved. The bandsaw and spindle sander took care of this.

I also planed and cut the front seat supports. The rear ones were original, so I had a good pattern. They were 1 1/2 in x 3/4 in. stock. I have to shape the leading edge yet, but that's to come later.

There's a pulley system in the Jenny control system that operated the ailerons. This 3 3/4 in long block was made to accomodate the forward pulley. It is here where the aileron cables make a turn and exit the fuselage.

Now, the fun part. The rear vertical supports must attach (at the bottom) to the floorboard supports and the top bolts to the rail. No real issues here.

But, the forward verticals attach to the floorboard supports also at the bottom, but the top is somewhat different. I have seen two ways of making this vertical. The first way I saw on two different Jennies. The vertical piece was cut flush with the bottom of the rail. Then a long bolt that holds the pulley I mentioned earlier goes through the rail and holds one side of the vertical in place with an l bracket. There is nothing holding the other side. You can see that below in the Golden Age Air Museum's Jenny.

The other method was seen on a Jenny displayed at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola FL (picture below). The location of the vertical was not critical of the pulley and mirrored the rear vertical in shape. It was held in place by a bolt through the rail.

Both examples are authentic. After much measuring and figuring, the Navy method seemed to fit this restoration best. That way, I could attach the vertical to the floorboard support without worrying about the pulley bolt.

More this weekend. Till then...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Seat rails

Built the seat rails today. They were drilled and bolted in place level with the fuselage.

Here you can see the original seat cross supports in place. They came with the project and cleaned up pretty nicely. Also, you can see where the original bellcrank will go when I finish restoring it. This bellcrank came from Robert Summer's collection of Jenny parts. His grandfather worked in the Curtiss factory. Robert was nice enough to let me have it.

Below is Golden Age Air Museum's Curtiss Jenny project. Should be flying by the spring show season. Really looks good, doesn't it?


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Rear Floorboards

Finished coppering the rear floorboard supports this afternoon before the kids came home from school. I also cut out the steel straps that hold the supports to the longerons. You'll see those soon.

Also found this neat picture of the Jenny at the College Park MD museum. I have not seen this Jenny yet, but it looks nice and authentic.

Looks like I have to deal with a bum cylinder in my Bucker Jungmann this weekend, so expect more Jenny work after that is done. Till then...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Floorboards and wires

Ah, it's good to be back at work on the Jenny. Had a nice holiday though. Sorry it took so long.

Anyway, I decided to work on the floorboards again. Each brace had to be custom fit to the curved part of each the lower longeron which took a bit of time. After a quick coat of varnish, it was time to play cobbler.

Here's the front floorboard braces with their copper. You can see how each brace had to be sanded to match the curve of the longeron.

There is a set of wires that needed to be built so the wire wrapping jig was used.

These wires run between Station 5 and 6...or to make it simple - the right and left side of the rear cockpit. Here is the rear attachment.

And the front one.

Another view of the entire assembly.

Both sides were made today, awaiting their solder of course. That's tomorow's project.

Enjoy......and Happy 2009