Woodwork in the B-17

One would not expect wood in a B-17 bomber but there are several items.

Here are a number of items made by volunteers and they will be permanently installed in the airplane:

The floors in the radio room, bombardier/navigator section and aft fuselage.  Plus all the ammunition boxes, the radio mounting shelves, the radio operator and navigator tables and… 3 doors.  All the wood surfaces are protected with several coats of urethane.  During the assembly and fitting of the wooden floors the volunteer found that making the floors exactly per Boeing drawings does not guarantee a proper fit.

As the result of these discrepancies a couple of floors had to be re-made and carefully be fit in these irregular formed spaces.

 

Radio room 10
Seat and floor below the radio room, in the camera bay.
radio room 2
Radio Operator table. 

 

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Aft-fuselage walkway
ve Polsley 6
Waist Gunner ammo box. Left side of the airplane.

 

 

B-17 woodwork 2
Waist Gunner ammo box. Right side of the airplane.

 

 

 

 

B-17 woodwork 4
Bombardier’s floor
B-17 woodwork 5
Navigator’s table.

.50 caliber machine guns.

 

 A  B-17G,  like the “Champaign Lady” has (12 ea.) .50 caliber machine  guns.

They are mounted as follows:

                                (2) Chin turret guns.

                                (1) Left side flexible cheek gun.

                                (1) Right side flexible cheek gun.

                                (2) Top turret guns.

                                (2) Ball turret guns.

                                (1) Left side waist gun.

                               (1) Right side waist gun.

                               (2) Tail turret guns.

Some earlier models also had a single gun mounted in the radio room which was operated by the radio operator.  It was eliminated from the later B-17G models.

Each of the guns (barrels) is fed from a 450 shell ammunition box.

This comes to about 60 seconds of continuous firing of each gun.

 

 

One of our volunteers made the machine gun replicas for the B-17.  We knew replica parts can be bought but they are too expensive for us.

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The volunteer, Irv Bence, who has a Civil Engineering degree (a real handy man) made the necessary parts for the guns which took a fair amount of patience and his time. Many of the small parts are hand made and they look very good. Hand made means drilling, sawing, filing  or grinding with a Dremmel tool.  The hand grips of the guns are made from walnut and were turned on a wood turning lathe. Irv cut them at home and donated them.

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Left side Flex-Cheek gun.

 

 

 

Ed's pics D 101

Left side Flex-Cheek gun.

 

 

 

The blog is under construction. We will publish more of it soon.