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"

My Photo
Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Drilling holes in the wing

The two remaining king post fittings were cut from some sheet steel. I used the original one for a pattern.

Here is the part fresh from the bandsaw and grinder. The edges were smoothed with hand files.

The sides were bend with a block.

Here are the pieces. The "dog bone" at the bottom was .090 sheet steel.

Clamped in place for brazing.

Original on the left and reproduction on the right. The holes have to be drilled next as well as the bends in the flanges.

We marked the location of the holes for the wing fittings.

And drilled them using the drill jig.

Here is the front top wing king post wire attach fitting.

And the underside.

We also drilled the aileron cable pulley assembly holes.

Lastly, we marked the location of the 3/16 in holes which hold the aileron hinges in place.

Here is one hinge with the bolts installed.

Two of the four hinges were drilled before it got too late that night. We decided to call it a day.

After I drove home from the shop and pulled into the neighborhood last night, it was pretty late (after 11PM). For some reason, I noticed that the wife had the outside lights on so I would not have to fumble my way from the car to the front door. It made me think about all the times I came home late at night over the past few years. Only last night did I realize that each time, without fail, she had the lights on waiting for me to come home.

Building an aeroplane is easy. She has the hard part.



Friday, March 25, 2011

King Post fitings and Ailerons

Hello again. I have not posted anything for a while but three of the four kids got the flu on the same day. To make matters worse, my wife got sick the next day and while I was taking care of all of them, I got sick too. It was awful! The dog was the only one who remained unscathed.

But, we lived and time moved on.

Last week, our museum had a benefit dance. We booked an 18 piece orchestra who specialized in 1940's swing music. The place was packed with dancers and the museum raised a bunch of money.

At the dance, two gentlemen introduced themselves to me. Ken Gulliford came all the way from South Carolina to see the Jenny. Ken is an extraordinary model builder who is nearly finished with a large scale radio controlled Jenny.

Well, since Ken and his son came all that way to see me, I had to show them the Jenny. The next morning we met at the hangar. I could not stay very long because our second son had a baseball game, but we spend a good half an hour together and Ken took a lot of detail pictures for his model. It was a wonderful visit.

Eventually, I was well enough to resume work on the Jenny so I measured the aileron hinge locations.

The slots were drilled in the same manner as before - dremel tool.

One aileron in place.

And the other one.

While I was working, Bob Lindley came by to show some of his friends the project. I needed to take a break, so I gave them the nickel tour.

Back to work - here is a picture of the aileron hinge. The next step is to drill the bolt holes that hold the hinges in the spar.

Today, I decided to tackle the front king post fittings.

I had two extra original rear king post fittings, but they do not work on the front. The angles and the plates are different. I would have to make new ones from scratch. To make matters worse, I do not have drawings for these parts.

The first step was to measure the angle of the king post in relation to the fitting.

I copied the airfoil shape of the rear fitting onto paper and transferred it to some sheet steel. After several tries, I could not get it to bend into the proper airfoil shape. I didn't want to make an expensive die for just two parts so I figured I could hammer one out by hand. I was not pleased with the results.

By dumb luck, I spotted a set of bent Piper Cub wing struts. Do you know that the rear strut is nearly identical to the airfoil shape of the Jenny king post fitting?

The sheet metal pieces I spent two hours making went in the trash.

I cut a section (that was not bent) from the Piper Cub strut and transferred the angle to the tubing.

Using the old paper pattern, the shape was made on the bench grinder.

I decided to use two extra upper wing strut plates as the base of the new front king post fittings. This how Curtiss did it and I was lucky to have a few extra plates. The airfoil piece was lined up in the center of the plate...

...and acetylene welded.

To make the cutout, three holes were drilled at the corners.

The center was routed using a Dremel Tool.

Smoothed by hand with various files.


Here is the front king post in place.

Close up view.

Not bad for a day's work. The other fitting is nearly finished too.

More soon.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Aileron Hinges

Ron and Glen had the unenviable job of safty wiring all the wing turnbuckles last night. The team headed to the fuselage turnbuckles shortly thereafter.

Before the wings can be hung, the ailerons have to be installed. The first step was marking and drilling the hinge points. There are four hinges per aileron.

Now that the hinge fits the slot, a vertical hole will be drilled and an AN3 bolt will hold the hinge in the spar.

Here you can see two hinges lined up

Brian Eberly built several 1/4 in. plywood spacers that were glued to the spar.

The kingpost fittings (shown) sit on these spacers and two holes are drilled for the bolts.

Wife and three of the four kids all woke up sick this morning. Some sort of virus going around. So it may be a day or two till I get to the shop. It's like a hospital around here today. Till then...


Thursday, March 10, 2011


Last evening, we moved everything out of the hangar and put the Jenny in the middle so we could hang all four wings.

We installed the lower wings by inserting the four pins.

Who needs a saw horse when we have Ron?

Anyway, Brian started putting copper on the bottom of the wing struts.

And the rest of us finished drilling all the holes in the spar for the strut plates.

Here is one of the plates. Do not worry. The fittings will be bead blasted and painted after we're finished rigging. No use painting them now. They will only get scratched as we put them on and off several more times.

We have more plates to install, but I couldn't help putting the first strut on the wing.

By now, Brian had the coppering finished and put the center section back on.

It was nearly midnight by now, but the temptation was too great - we gotta sit in this thing!

Here is a view from the rear cockpit looking ahead.

I think he likes it.

Looking out the rear cockpit to the right.

And the left.

It's late. Time to call it a day.

More soon. Enjoy