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

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tires, Bungees & stick control

I decided to re-make the stick interconnect tube because I drilled the first one wrong! It happens. Get over it and move on.

Anyway, the back end was started (again) by flattening a piece of tubing.

The end was welded shut.

Brian Eberle was kind enough to cut out the side pieces...for the second time.

They were welded in place.

Here it is.

Here's how it mounts to the rear stick.

The front attach point was started by welding a piece of round tubing to the tube.

Sorry for the blurry picture, but this gives you an idea of the fit. A .060 strap will be welded around the tube for extra strength later.

Tires !! OK everyone - learn from me. Do not use screwdrivers to mount the tires. Sure enough, I nicked one of the tubes. Off came the tire. In went a new tube.

Brian Eberle got a set of tire irons. Boy, what a difference. These tools made the tire slip right on the rim and the blunt edges kept the tube intact.

See, the iron is designed for the bead to slip around the rim.

Now that the tires were finished, I decided to figure out how to mount the bungee cords. I used a piece of rope to practice.

When it came time to use the actual bungee cord, I found that a curved rib stitch cord needle works perfectly to make the starter wrap. I made the wraps (using round waxed rib stitch cord) on the top of the axle shoes because it was easier than trying to wrap the cord from underneath. When the wraps were finished, I rotated the bungee cord so you wouldn't see the wraps.

The bungee cord was then pulled under the peach basket, over the axle, under the peach basket, over the axle and so on... Each time, I put as much tension on the bungee cord as I could. I wanted the cord really tight.

When the last loop was made, I tied the loose end to the prior loop and wrapped with rib stitch cord. Once again, I didn't want to see the wrap.

All finished. Now it is time to put varnish on the cord and cut off ends of the bungees.

The wheels were installed....

There it is! The fuselage is now self supporting.

Progress on the fuel gauges is happening in John Gaertner's shop. He just sent the fuel gauge face for printing. The gauge should be done soon.

More soon.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I decided to figure out how I was going to hook up the throttle linkage yesterday. As you can see from the picture below, when you push the throttle forward, the arm moves backwards. This would cause a rod going from the throttle to the carburetor to "pull" rather than "push".

Sounds easy enough, right?

Not really. See the lever arm on the Hisso engine requires you to "push" forward to get full power and "pull" to get idle power. That's opposite from the throttle quadrant!

So, a linkage had to be engineered to reverse the "pull" to a "push".

First step was to make a plate out of some .065 steel and drill a few holes.

Then cut out and drill the lever arm.

Some welding...

The excess rod was then cut off until 1/2 in. remained.

The shaft is an AN5 bolt. Two little welds on the head of the bolt keep it from turning.

It was getting late by the time I reached this point, so I called it a night. You can get the idea from this picture. The arm holes need to be drilled yet.

Here is how the linkage reverser is going to mount. The rod from the throttle moves the bottom part of the arm backwards causing the upper part of the arm to push forwards.

Some days, things don't always go well. Earlier that day, I decided to check the old water temperature gauge we got for the project.

I boiled some water on the kitchen stove and submerged the bulb. Should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit, right?

The needle didn't move! Oh, well. Guess this one needs to be sent for overhaul.

Been pretty busy at work so I apologize for the long period of time between posts. More soon...I promise.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Tires and hub caps

Finished drilling all the front cockpit supports the other night.

In the mail the other day came an eagerly awaited package! Fellow Jenny restorer Phil Mintari in Texas had the original Curtiss hubcaps remade. These are castings (as were the original) and they sure turned out well. I stuck the hub cap on the axle for show. I have not drilled the hole for the bolt yet.

While we were messing with the hubcaps, we decided it was a good time to mount the tires. These 26 x 4 smooth tires were purchased from Coker in Tennessee.

I did not know which tubes to order, so I asked the Coker salesman what other smooth 26 x 4 tire customers purchased and this is what everyone was using - 350/400 - 19 tube.

Here's everything lined up for assembly. One word of advice - the more people you have available to do this job the better! The tire has to be stretched over the rim. The more hands you have the easier it will be.

First, we applied some tire talk to the inside of the tire. I heard you can use dish washing liquid instead, but we had plenty of talc laying around and that's what we used.

Same thing for the tube.

Here is where the stretching happens. Jacob Biang and Brian Eberle provided muscle and advice. I used four big, flat screwdrivers as prying irons. Slowly work your way around the tire, holding the last screwdriver and working the new one forward.

One word of caution !!! Be extremely careful when inserting the screwdriver under the rim. You might pinch the tube. We learned this the hard way. The tube is somewhat fragile and it's easy to poke a hole in it.

When you add air to the tire, do it gradually to seat the tube. Add some air, let it out, add some more air, let it out....this prevents the tube from kinking inside the tire.

Here they are - new Jenny tires! The talc will be washed off later. Right now, I was just excited to see them in place.

More later. Got a busy week at work ahead.