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, May 26, 2010

Turnbuckle wrapping

I was supposed to have a meeting at work today, but it canceled. The wife went to the "end of year" party at school for the older three boys, so Brighton and I headed for the hangar.

We glued and clamped the left side turtledeck stringer.

Then we started on the turnbuckles.

We picked a bay closer to the back of the fuselage where Brighton could reach. I showed him how to put the cotter pin in the bolt hole.

He also put the brass wire into the turnbuckle hole.

I decided the single wrap method would work best. Besides, there was a diagram of this method in the Curtiss Assembly and Rigging book, so that settles it for me.

First step is to put the wire through the hole, pull one end around and "hook" the wire inside the other one.

Then run the wire around the eyelet and start wrapping.

The finished end.

On the other side, send the wire through the fork end.

And wrap the same way.

We made half a dozen turnbuckle wraps before it was time to go home. Of course, no job is finished until cleanup is done. Now if I could only get him to clean his room.....



Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Worked on the turtledeck this afternoon. The picture below shows how the turtledeck sits on the upper longeron universal fitting. This is how the Jennies were originally built. Notice the gap. It is sealed by a strip of thin sheet metal. I think this looks awful, so I made a concession to originality.

The turtledeck was removed from the fuselage.

And 1/8 in. slots were cut for the fittings.

This looks much better! I hope you agree.

The side strips were made for the turtledeck today as well. These strips are interesting - the strip not only curves to match the fuselage, but the strip twists! Therefore, you can not make one singular bevel.

I solved this by cutting some extra pieces and sanding the proper angle. Remember, you have eight different angles!

Each angle transferred to the strip. Basically, I marked the point where the angle ended. The end of the strip is pointed.

Then with the belt sander, I sanded to the line. You can envision the sander getting more and more horizontal as it moves down the strip, can't you?

Then the strip was glued in place. You can see how the point of the strip mated with the side strip of the turtledeck.

I sanded both the left and the right strips but I only had enough clamps for the right side. I'll glue the other side later.

The other day, I got a nice e-mail from John Witt from Edmonds, WA, (north side of Seattle - about 10 miles from the Boeing Everett plant). John wrote:

Hi Brian,

I've been reading your blog for many months and wanted to say thanks for taking the trouble to write your saga.

I have been building a Proctor Models Jenny since last August and now have it finished (more or less) and flying. The first scale model competition will happen over Memorial weekend. My Jenny is a U-Control model, not RC, and she's a great, slow and graceful flyer. Your web site provided many details to add to the kit, letting me see how the real plane was done. The model has generally the same structure as your plane, though mine is an OX-5 version. Also, many more details have been added (like the cowl straps) since the pictures were taken, and Cap't Eddie now has a helmet and goggles!

This model doesn't have the cockpit detail done yet, but otherwise is pretty much complete. I have nearly an hour of flight time on it now. It is electric powered and is a very realistic flyer. Like a real Jenny, she likes to have some power all the way to touch down. The drag is so high it slows down very rapidly when you cut the power (1 bent axle!). Here's a link to some of the first flight pictures, taken by friend Brian Taylor who's also building a Proctor Jenny for RC.

Best of luck with your Jenny, and congratulations on the beautiful fabrication work, I'll be with you in spirit.


John Witt

Had a good weekend at the Bucker fly-in. The weather kept a lot of people grounded although you can't tell it from this picture.

More Jenny work soon!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Turtledeck and wheels

Been a very productive couple of days. The corner blocks were cut out for the turtledeck from triangular spruce stock.

Here are a bunch of them.

Each bulkhead gets one in the front and back.

Painted the wheels today. Here they are hanging from the paint tree.

The wheels were sprayed with DP-90, a black two part Epoxy primer made by PPG. Once they are sufficiently dry, they will be given the same black shiny urethane topcoat as the other parts.

Out of some .032 sheet steel, the tail strut U-bolt plates were cut and filed to shape.

I had an original part to copy (on the right) and the reproduction is on the left.

The plate will be brazed to the U-bolt later. This is just a picture to show you how the parts go together.

John Gaertner has the trailing edges fitted to three of the four wings. The last wing should be done soon.

More early next week. Off to the Bucker fly-in this weekend.



Monday, May 17, 2010


Last night, I glued the stringers to the turtledeck.

Here's a picture of the turtledeck drying. Sanding and varnishing next.

Sorry there has not been a post in a long time, but I had a long trip at work and I just got home.

More soon!


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Latest stuff

It was a really busy week (work) but I was able to set up the paint rack and spray some black urethane.

Here are the parts. I still have another rack to paint, but they are expecting rain tomorrow and it might have to wait until later in the week.

Meanwhile, I gave the original rudder bars their final coat of varnish. Here you can see the aluminum leading edge after painting.

Also, Paul Dougherty had the original Curtiss factory stickers remade and two were put on the rudder bars just like they were back in 1917.

Back to the rudder bars - the leading edge was attached with brass wood screws.

Here's the rudder bar in place.

The throttle castings were drilled and installed on the upper left longeron. Here you can see the underside of the casting.

This is a photo of the completed throttle in place.

While I was away flying, Glen Marsh finished making the front instrument panel.

Here is a picture of the reinforcing strips on the back side - screwed into the front panel with brass wood screws.

Danny Mintari sent me pictures of their Jenny in Kerrville, TX. They dropped the OX-5 engine in the fuselage for good and started hooking up systems.

Here is a picture of their wings.

Also, John Gaertner has decided to make a DVD and share some of his expert wood working tips. I can attest to John's the beauty of John's work and I'm sure you will learn a lot from this video.

Topics in the DVD include: Hand Tools, Table/Band Saws, Power Planes, Hand Planes, Lumber Selection, Jigs, Fixtures, Steamer construction and Steaming Wood, Bending Wood, Routing/Splicing Spars and Parts and much more.

There are 3+ hours of material and many great hints and suggestions for the aircraft builder. Available for $49.95 plus $5.00 Shipping with delivery confirmation.

To order go to

More soon. Enjoy