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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bead rolling

I kinda got sick of burnishing so I decided to do some bead rolling. Before I screwed something up that had lots of time consuming little swirls on it, I double checked the dimensions of the Curtiss drawings with the original side cowl.

This is an Eastwood Bead roller I got for a fair price. It's not the biggest, baddest or stoutest bead roller out there, but it was what I could afford.

My #3 son Geoffrey volunteered to help.

The first thing we did was practice. Remember, I didn't want to have to remake something with time consuming little swirls on it! With some scrap aluminum, we tried various bead depths. Too little pressure made shallow beads. Too much pressure made deeper beads, but cut the aluminum on the sides.

Geoffrey turned the handle. I guided the metal....

Enough practice. Gathering courage, we made the first beads on the little cowl access door.

Interestingly, the beads make 90 degree angles. I tried rotating the sheet metal in the die but that distorted the metal. What you have to do is make one line, release the pressure of the die, rotate the sheet metal, put the pressure back onto the die and make the next straight line.

I did not like the way it looked using this method. I wanted a continuous, smooth, seamless bead. But when I examined the original cowl, the beads looked the same way. Guess that is how they did it back then.

That was enough beading for one night. The rest of the time we spent trying to build a jig to make the windshields. More about that later.

Till then...enjoy


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Still burnishing...

Been a busy week at work so the Jenny had to wait a bit, but today burnishing resumed on the rear cockpit sheet metal.

A couple more swirls to go!

The reinforcing wire was installed next. Start by bending the flange up...

...then tap it around the wire.

Done. The wire will be trimmed at the top and bottom.

Getting close.

Yesterday, John Hess stopped by the hangar. It was wonderful to see a face from home. John has a Cessna 170 that he keeps in Central Pennsylvania and he reminded me that I taught his private pilot ground school many years ago! Had it been that long...?

John was visiting Atlanta for the National Cessna 170 Convention and he made it a point to come and see me. That was a nice gesture. We caught up on old times and it was really good to see him.

My good friend and Bucker Jungmeister Airshow Pilot Jerry Wells sent me this Jenny picture from his phone:

This is Jim Nissen's old Jenny now proudly displayed at the Hill Museum in Utah. Thought you might like to see it too.

Off to work again. More later this week.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Tonight's progress

Hooray! The left side cowl is burnished!

Here is the cowl in place. I'm holding the original cowl so you can see the louvers and beading we have to make yet.

We also lined the bottom cowl for burnishing.

Lastly, John and Martha Cole sent me this neat old picture. Look how they are stitching the wing - the same way we are doing it...except they are better dressed.

More soon. Enjoy


The Photographer's Results

You know, I finally know why professional photographers do what they do...

These two photographs were taken by Rod Reilly the other night.

Also, John Slemp set up a photo gallery of the Jenny pictures he took this summer. This one is my favorite:

There are some really good pictures there. I think you will like them. If you want, prints can be made directly from this site too.



Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Burnishing and stitching...and visitors

The gang gathered at the hangar last night and Ron and Brian decided to do more rib stitching.

The wing is too wide for one person to stitch. Ron sat on one end with a bright light shining through the fabric. He fished the needle through...

...and Brian acted as the guide. "More up...left..." and so on.

Then, the knot was tied and the needle passed the other way.

We had some visitors last night. Professional photographers John Slemp and Rod Reilly visited the hangar and took lots of pictures.

Rod focused on the wing stitching operation.

And John photographed John Kuck and I burnishing the side cowl.

Actually, I ended up putting the photographer to work! The side cowl is big and unwieldy, so in between pictures, I had John Slemp steady the one side.

John Slemp was the person responsible for the beautiful photographs of the Jenny when we rolled it outside before we disassembled everything for covering. He is going to make these pictures available on his website soon.

More later in the week



Sunday, February 05, 2012

Cowl Burnishing

More work with the 2 inch scotch brite wheel again...

The front section of the rear cockpit was also burnished and awaiting the perimeter wire.

Here is the completed "joint".

I saw this picture in an old issue of Pro Pilot. Talk about an early corporate aircraft!

Lastly, Bernard Bra sent me this picture. He wrote:

Thank you for all your photos/web, it helps me to build my little Jenny

Bernard/ FRANCE

Hey! Someone else sitting in front of a spinning wheel for hours....I like it!

More soon. Enjoy