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, November 21, 2009


Turtledeck drawings - you know, I spent a lot of time pouring over these Curtiss drawings trying to get a mental image of how the turtle deck was constructed. I wanted to make the turtledeck exactly as Curtiss made it in the factory. But, things in the drawings did not add up correctly.

For example, I was trying to figure out the two, long side stringers. What was the thickness? One drawing showed a 5/8 in. thick piece running the entire length of the turtledeck. But when I looked at the bulkhead cutouts (where the stringers run) I expected to see a 5/8 in cutout, right?

Well, the first four showed a 11/32 in. cutout and the last four showed a 3/16 in cutout. How could the stringer run the entire way if it was 5/8th in. thick? By my calculations, the stringer would have to taper.

But, the stringer drawing didn't show a taper. Hmmm.

I spent hours calculating, envisioning and pouring over pictures until I could no longer stand it. So, I called Paul Dougherty.. "Make the turtledeck fit your airplane," he said. "The side stringers are indeed 5/8 in. thick the entire way. Cut out the bulkheads to make them fit."

So I did.

Here you can see an example of the bulkhead cutout. Notice the side stringer is not flush with the inner bulkhead. Another stringer sits on top of the side stringer and you have to account for that. I have not made the top stringer yet, so be patient. When you see how it fits, perhaps in the next blog entry, it will all make sense.

If I'm getting too technical here, I apologize. Someday someone else will want to build a Jenny and I hope to save them lots of hours scratching their head and wondering why the drawings don't add up!

Anyway, each bulkhead was individually trimmed to fit the stringers. It was the standard "cut a little, put it back on, remove it, cut a little more and so on" type of construction.

Also - a little tip -don't cut the grove for the center stringer yet (like I did). Wait until you have the sides cut and fitted. Then, lay your stringer on top of the bulkhead, mark it, and cut the groove. You'll get a much straighter stringer that way.

After pouring through the thick MSC and McMaster-Carr catalogues, Paul told me that the best material to make the turtledeck side hinges was found at Home Depot. After a short shopping spree, I brought the brass hinges It will be cut to shape in the near future.
Till then, enjoy.


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