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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Front fuel shut off handle

Here is my friend Walter Ivey examining that big piece of Mahogany I told you about. We could probably make two or three dozen fuel shut off handles but, the big piece of wood was available and you can always use the scrap for something else, so why not? Thanks to Garret Millworks in Fayetteville, GA for this piece.

The shut off handle is 1 3/8 it it's thickest point. So, we ripped a piece of Mahogany to 1 3/4 in. You want a little extra here. After marking the center on both sides, use an awl to make a small hole where the lines cross.

This is where the lathe will "grip" the wood. Best thing to do is remove the "grip" and hit it with a mallet to make the teeth bite. It's best to do this with the grip off the lathe rather than wack the wood while it's on the machine and put stress on the gears.

Once the piece is firmly on the lathe, just slowly make the square piece round. The slower the speed of the lathe the better. It will be very rough when you're finished.

The next thing - make a small groove in the wood until the thickness reads 1 3/8 in. That will give you some reference as to your widest point.

Make several "measured cuts" and then whittle down everything until smooth. Now the piece is 1 3/8 in wide the entire way. Increase your lathe speed for this part.

Mark your ends and radius points. The piece is 4 in. long, so mark a center point (2 in.). From here, it will taper at a 8 3/4 in. radius until near the end. remember that pattern we made? Now is a good time to reference it. The ends are 1/8 in wide and there's a 1/4 in radius leading up to it.

Start carving. It's easier to see what you are doing when you put the blade at the botton but look at what is happening at the top. You can see the shape happening as you carve.
Checking with the template as you go.

Since the piece of rough stock was 12 in long, we decided to make two handles.

Cut the ends flush, but leave enough wood to hold everything together. You can cut them apart with a bandsaw later. I think we increased the lathe speed one more time by now.

The ends got turned down to 1 1/4 in and given a 1/16 radius.

It's done!

After the pieces were cut, Walter drilled the holes for the pin.

Three handles and the rear cockpit shutoff wheel (I didn't make that!). One handle was given a coat of linseed oil just to show the beautiful grain.

While I was making Mahogany sawdust in the other room, Walter was making a custom guitar. He has made several and I know nothing about guitars, but I do know about craftsmanship, and Walter's work was very impressive.
Thanks, Walt for letting me use your wood lathe. I really need to get one of my own. Someday....


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