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, April 21, 2010

Lots of little stuff today

My helper came to the hangar today and we got a lot of little things done - the last couple of floorboard straps were drilled, painted and installed.

He also helped me remove the fuel tank because I wanted to bead blast the steel straps (see below).

He wanted to hang the strap on the "paint tree".

Which he did and the primer was sprayed.

Also, the last dozen countersunk holes were drilled in the floorboards and the front and back spar carry-through braces were drilled.

Overall, it was a productive afternoon. More soon. Enjoy


Monday, April 19, 2010

Tail post

Ah, the castings have now been painted their aluminum color. They are ready for installation now.

Decided to trim the tail post yesterday. I made this post extra long with the idea of trimming it to size once the rudder and stabilizer braces were in place. I used a coping saw to make the cut.

Then the shape was sanded with the belt sander and finished by hand...

...and given some varnish to finish it off.

Since we mixed up a batch of varnish, Glen gave the rear instrument panel its first coat.

We also made the front floorboard attach brackets. Since the lower longeron curves, the bracket must have an angle to match the wooden support.

More soon. Enjoy


Friday, April 16, 2010

castings and floorboards

Today's project was preparing the castings for paint. Every casting was given a light bead blasting before cleaning with Alumiprep.

Then the casings were washed thoroughly with water and etched with Alodine.

Then they were given a coat of primer paint. These pieces will be painted to match their original aluminum color.

Also disassembled the throttles, painted the shafts and gave the knobs another coat of varnish. The last two floorboard supports were sanded and given a second coat of varnish as well.

While that stuff was drying, I drilled and installed several more floorboard straps.

Here is what the inside of the straps look like.

The rear floorboard straps are done except for the smaller, front strap.

Same thing for the front floorboards. They will be painted black as their final color.

Had a great visit from Danny Mintari on Thursday. Danny was in Atlanta on business and stopped to see our Jenny project. He had spent many hours side by side with his father building their Jenny and he could relate to what I was doing! Even though the visit was brief (I had to take the kids to baseball practice) we swapped stories and told similar tales. He also gave me an update on his father's Jenny which is not too far from completion in Texas.

I also got an e-mail from Randy Charles in Wilmington, OH who built a beautiful Jenny model. Randy wrote:

Hi Brian!

Well my Jenny is completed now. Test flights are scheduled for next week if I get the muffler. I had to special order one from Canada . The Jenny came out at 48lbs. I am attaching a photo of it at the Toledo RC Expo last weekend. Didn’t place as I got docked real hard for not having the “scale engine” on it.. Just didn’t have time to get it made and installed before the show. Two of the judges came to me on Sunday and expressed their feeling on the model and how they were upset that they had not been able to place it. Oh well,, I didn’t build it to compete,, just FLY!!!

Hope all is well with you and the family! I will try to get you a few pics of it in the air.

Here's a picture of Randy and his four grandchildren...and one more on the way next month.




Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Floorboards and Axle Shoes

The axle shoes were fitted today! These castings were made by Phil Mintari and their purpose is to hold the bungee cords in place. The Jenny is back on the gear again and the shoes look great.

Also made the front floorboards support. This piece fits over the spar carry through and was made the same way as the last one - rough cut to the 5/8 in. radius on the router and sanded to final shape with a drum sander on a drill.

The front floorboards were measured and drilled today. I spent a lot of time with this, ensuring that everything fit in the proper place - stick pedestals, rudder bar, torque tube etc. - because once the holes were drilled, there was no turning back!

I was most concerned with the distance between stick pedestals, but everything lined up according to plan. The holes were then countersunk for the brass screws.

Drilled the first two support brackets also.

Here they are holding the floorboards in place.

Also gave the spar carry through floorboard supports a coat of varnish.

John Gaertner sent pictures of the first completed aileron. Very nice.

He also sent a picture of the second aileron not far behind.

More later this week!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Aileron Control Fan & Wheels

We got back from vacation Friday and the kids noticed a box on the front porch. Assuming it was for them, they opened it up.

Puzzled and perplexed, they wondered who ordered such a strange toy? "What in the world is this?" Brighton asked me.

I had sent the rims to Buchannan's Spoke and Rim Co. in Azusa, CA for re-spoking. They replaced all the rusty spokes with new stainless ones and trued the rims. I was very happy with their work. The rims will be painted a a later date.

Finished working on the aileron control fan this weekend. I was fortunate enough to have an original Jenny fan (left side of the picture) loaned to me by fellow Jenny restorer Phil Mintari so I could take measurements for my undrilled virgin casting.

The slot with the hole is where the aileron cable fits.

The way I did this was to drill a 1/4 in hole at the proper angle.

And I ground the slot with the die grinder and the Dremel tool. I'm sure a true machinist out there will cringe when they see this, but the method worked really well.

Here is a photo of the finished slot.

The other aileron cable travels along the other side of the casting, so a slot had to be cut there as well.

This is an original Jenny piece that Rich Davidson at Lee Bottom Airport found on an old, bent original fan. The fan itself was not usable, but the clamp was good and Rich graciously let me have it.

The clamp holds the aileron cables in place.

Here is the entire thing after drilling, grinding and bead blasting. It is now painted with primer and after final fitting, it will be painted black.

John Gaertner sent pictures of the aileron hinges and plates he made.

He also sent pictures of the nearly completed aileron.

More soon



Sunday, April 04, 2010

Floorboard support

We made the rear floorboard support last night, the one that straddled the rear spar carry through tube. The Curtiss drawing called for a 5/8 in. radius which we rough cut on the router table.

We did this with incremental cuts using a round nosed router bit.

Then, Glen finished the radius with a round sanding bit.

Here is a trial fit of the support. We made the piece exactly like the print but with much skepticism. After all, it was a D2 print. Sure enough, the piece was too tall. We put a straight edge to mark the floorboard height and marked the line with a pencil.

Off to the bandsaw! With some finish sanding, the piece fit just right.

I also spent some time trying to get the torque tube exactly straight. This did not go as well as I had planned, so some more heating and adjusting will be necessary the next time I go to the shop.

Also drilled the first hole in the casting fan. The aileron wires travel around this fan, through the hole and attach in the center. You'll see this better in the future when we finish the fan.

Also countersunk the holes in the floorboards and actually screwed the rear ones in. No pictures of that because we have more to do, but I'll get some next time.

Cliff Hartley sent me a link with a really good book about Jenny construction from back in 1917. He found the books on the links page of a guy building a Sopwith Baby replica. I downloaded the book and found some really useful stuff. There were lots of good drawings of Jenny fittings.

Anyway, It's called :

Aeroplane construction and assembly

By James Thomas King, Norval Wilfred Leslie

You can view it by cutting and pasting the link below :

Or clicking on the link:

Cliff also sent me a picture of the Jenny model he built. Thought you might like seeing it. I know I did. He wrote:

Actually I'm thinking of building my third Jenny. I have built two others from old Bud Nosen kits. This is the last one I built and sold right before we moved from Arizona . The Nosen kit isn’t very scale but I redid it and added more scale wing mounts and struts and several other things. I also used some items from Proctor like their scale OX-5.


The kids are off school next week so I doubt I'll get much shop time. We have some fun family things planned and I hope to post some more Jenny progress when they return to school. The kids are getting older every day and soon they will be out of the house, so I better use this week productively.

Till then...enjoy