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"
- Name: Brian Karli
- Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States
Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
But, the wooden tail skid is 1 1/2 in.
So, the ears of the support had to be bent back inwards to parallel the sides of the skid.
I did this by clamping the support to two steel blocks equal to 1 1/2 in. The first side was easy. This picture shows the second side being bent with the aid of a big clamp.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sorry this isn't very exciting, but I actually enjoy coppering the ends.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
As you can see from this close up picture, the bellcrank was damaged. Originally, there was a flange attached here that connected (via a ball and swivel) the control stick to the bellcrank. Obviously, this had to be repaired.
I looked at several restored Jennies, and consulted the few drawings that were available, and each one was slightly different. So, I decided to proceed this way:
I took what remained of the original flange and straightend it out. The material wasn't too thick, .032 in to be exact. Onto this flange, I welded two 5 inch long steel pieces, joining them side by side as well as running a bead along the inside where the jagged original flange ended.
I used a block of aluminium to keep the pieces uniform and straight.
The collar that held the flange in place was brazed to the tube and secured with a split pin. I rebrazed this area, too.
Then, a front and back brace was welded into place. The flange was cut to 4 1/2 inches long with 1 1/8 in free for the rod end bearing. Thankfully, I got this measurement from the Golden Age Air Museum's Jenny, for I could not find this distance anywhere on the drawings.
Here's the rod end in place. Eventually, there will be two bushings made to keep the bearing in the center.
Here's where the bellcrank fits in the fuselage.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Rear Seat Pulley
Here's the original piece on the left and the new piece on the right. The bead blaster took care of the ugly brazing slag.
Friday, February 06, 2009
I had one original part, so I transfered the pattern to some MDF.
Cut them out on the bandsaw
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Anyway, the ratan has to make some really "curvy" shapes, so the wood has to be softened some way. I learned a trick from Dylan Schoelzel who spends his time building canoes.
I filled my PVC pipe with water and stole my wife's fabric softner. I added a capfull or two and let the ratan soak for a day and a half. The fabric softener did exactly what it was designed to do, temporarily soften the wood.
While I was waiting, I drilled the holes in the seat back according to the drawing.
When the ratan was removed from the pipe, it was like a fibrous piece of taffy. Well, not that soft, but bending it was easy. One other tip: mark the centerline of the ratan. When you can see the pencil line in the hole, you know you are about to drill in the center of the wood.
I used two clamps and worked my way around, one hole at a time.
After a few holes, I began bending the metal around the ratan.
At the top of the seat, the curve becomes most severe. The ratan wants to twist as you bend it. Two close clamps solve this problem. The ratan stayed nice and straight while the #4 brass screw was twisted into place.
The entire edge was trimmed and tapped over the curve.
Voila! Two Jenny seats.
In case you are wondering (or looking at this website as you build your own Jenny) Paul got this ratan from Frank's Cane & Rush Supply. 7252 Heil Ave. Huntington Beach CA 92647
Phone 714-847-0707. They sell it as a round rod, but they have a neat machine that splits it for you.
Also - I had about 2 hours of working time until the ratan dried back out and became rigid. I was very pleased with the job of the fabric softner!
Lastly, I found out about an original Jenny being restored in Fairbanks, AK. I was fortunate enough to talk with John Morack who sent me this neat picture (among others). This Jenny belonged to Ben Eilson's, a famous Alaksa aviator and mail pilot.
The OX-5 had been replaced with a Hisso back in the 1930's. They just built a set of wings and when everything is restored, it will hang in the Fairbank's Airport, ironically, named after Ben Eilson. Can't wait to see that someday.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Seats and Seat rails
The bottom of the seat pattern is not straight across. There's an angle at the end, which makes the back of the seat recline a bit, so I notched out a relief cut to accomidate the bend.