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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tail braces and cabane struts

I had to fly all last week (work) so I didn't get much "Jenny Time" but we did meet at the hangar today and got the cabane struts fitted into their sockets.

Here Glen Marsh is doing a little sanding on the struts.

While I was away, Glen made the two handgrips out of some spruce.

Here is where they will go. We still have a bunch of finish sanding to do and varnishing, but I'm waiting for the weather to warm up a bit.

We went back to work on the tail today. We drilled the lower bracket onto the tailpost using this nifty little drilling jig.

Also welded up the top fitting onto the tail brace strut. Got another one to weld, but that will probably happen Tuesday.

Dick Scott built a great Jenny model and he sent me these pictures the other day. He painted it to match the Jenny at the Owl's Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine.

Dick gave the museum a copy of the photo below - the one of his model Jenny at the field in the fog. It was a framed 15 X 20 print and they all thought is was a photo of their Jenny! They could not figure out how Dick had gotten that picture. When I told them it was a model that he had built they could not believe it.

Sure is a convincing looking photo, I agree.

John Gaertner got the lightening holes drilled in the stick pedestal castings. We ordered some winkley oilers from a company in England, but they sent the wrong size. Should have the new ones by mid week.

More soon


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Struts, Tail Brace and Instrument Panel

The new wing struts arrived from John Morak today. They sure are beautiful pieces of spruce and I was thrilled with John's workmanship.

He also made a set of king post struts. More about them later.

If you remember, John made a set of cabane struts several months ago and we could not resist putting them in their sockets.

Had a good shop day today. I decided to continue making the rear stabilizer braces. The first step was to flatten the tube until it measured 1/4 in. (the size of the triangular fitting)

Then, the two side pieces were cut.

The bottom of the side pieces needed a slight bend to match the flattened tube.

See the slight curve?

Here's the strut after welding.

And the second one.

The triangular piece was cut out earlier but today we drilled the holes.

This piece gets a 27 degree angle. The only way to bend steel this thick is to use heat...

..before you bend it with a hammer.

Here is how it goes together at the bottom of the tail post.

Glen Marsh was busy cutting out the instrument panel. We laid out the instruments earlier and marked the holes.

To make the holes we used the scroll saw. I know there are lots of other ways to cut holes - fly cutter, hole saw etc. - but each instrument had a different radius and I found it easier to rough cut it with the scroll saw and sand to the line with a spindle sander.

Here is the panel in place.

And the panel with the instruments installed.

Of course the instruments need to get overhauled, but we wanted to drill the holes before we sent them out.

More soon. Enjoy


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Front stick pedestal casting

I thought you might like to see the machine work John Gaertner is doing at Blue Swallow Aircraft. He bored the front stick pedestal to a dimension of 1.25 +- 0.002" using an adjustable boring head and carbide cutting tool.

In this picture, john did the rough cut of the lightening holes on the back of the casting, using a roughing mill for aluminum. He came back with a different mill to smooth the opening, prior to finish sanding on a spindle sander.

Here's the casting. The boss at the top will be drilled and tapped to fit the Winkler Oiler.

Thought you might like seeing this process. I'm fascinated by it. I'm a frustrated machinist and perhaps one day, I can create the results you see here. But for now, I'll leave the machining to the professionals like John.

More soon


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Two days worth of tail work

Well, we got a lot done on the Jenny lately. Glen Marsh joined me and he cut out the pieces for the front instrument panel.

Here they are cut from a sheet of 1/4 in. Mahogany plywood.

We also continued to fit the tail. One piece that needed to be made was the bracket which holds the rear of the vertical fin to the stabilizer. You'll see more about this later in the blog.

One of the pieces missing with the project was one of the U-bolts that hold the front stabilizer to the upper longeron. Making one was easy. I used a 1/4 in. rod and bent it around a steel bar. You can see the edges of the steel bar have been rounded to make the curve of the rod gradual.

Here's a completed rod on the left and the bent rod on the right. The ends were cut off and the new u-bolt was threaded with a 1/4 -28 die.

John Kuck also stopped by and I put him to work building the front instrument panel.

Below is the front panel pieces.

And the rear panel pieces.

The cutouts and final fitting will happen next.

Now, the bracket that held the vertical fin was welded today.

Here's the bracket after welding.

The vertical pieces need to be drilled, but this is how the bracket fits.

The bracket out of the bead blaster and given a coat of primer.

We continued working on the front stabilizer brace. The lower bracket was drilled.

And fits on the small u-bolt. The tube was gradually ground until it fit onto the bracket.

Then the bracket was welded.

Here is the front stabilizer brace. After painting, it will get a wooden fairing.

Lower detail of the brace

Upper detail prior to drilling.

John Gaertner had begun the machine work on the front stick pedestals.

And fellow Jenny restorer Phil Mintari had some new axle shoes cast out of bronze. Once the machine work has been finished, the casting will be ready to use. The bungee cords wrap around this shoe. You'll see this piece in action on this blog soon.