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Project by Andy posted 01-13-2012 10:17 PM 3419 views 7 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Its not real…its just a prop :-)

I designed this propellor after wanting one for years. I made it for my son as an anniversary gift.

The overall shape and proportions are based on general details found in books, pictures and online sources.
I learned that the pitch can be a variety of angles and the direction either a right or left all depending on its purpose. Props can be for pulling as in a front mounted application or a pusher if its behind the cockpit. It turns out that most any wood was used at one time or another depending on the factory making them and the available timber. Since I wasnt trying to make a replica, the details were up to me. The only real criterion for me was proportion. I knew I wanted a large one, so I started off with length and balanced everything off that. This one is 83” x 6” wide x 3” thick.

I glued up some pretty clear pine into a billet 8’ long x 8’’ wide x 4’’ thick.
Starting with the hub, I marked center and made two circle jigs for a router to scribe both the outside and then the inside profile. I had to mark stopping points for the blades and blended them in later.

I bored the 8 mounting holes, just made something up that looked logical.
The brass bolt is just a std carriage bolt painted with an antique color and clear coated. It connects to a wall bracket to hang the prop sideways on the wall. The bracket is mounted first to the wall and then the prop is bolted to it. This lets it stand off the wall a couple of inches.

For the blades I made two masonite templates to the exact size and shape. One will do but I found it easier to get everything layed out correctly by using two. Its easy to get mixed up because the ends of the propellor are opposites. One tip is pointing up and one down.

Then there is the angle of sweep, the pitch of the blades to layout.

I bought a model airplane prop, made from wood, to use as a model but it didnt look like pictures of ones for full size planes, so I gave it to my grandson.
I just eyeballed the pitch from pictures, knowing that they vary anyway and found something that worked with the thickness of the billet and looked good to my eye. I cut this on the bandsaw by tilting the table and feeding in from one end for one blade and cutting out the other by pulling it through from the back of the blade. I cleaned it all up and blended it smooth with a drawknife, handplanes, and a palm sander.

The finish is several colors, layered and then glazed with a darker color all to give the effect of an antique.
I have it at my house for a bit to store it, but I dont want to let it go.
I guess I will have to make one for me…maybe white oak..hmmmm
Thanks for looking,

-- If I can do it, so can you.

34 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4420 days

#1 posted 01-13-2012 10:21 PM

I can’t say I ever had a hankering for a propeller, but you’ve made me change my mind!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View will delaney's profile

will delaney

326 posts in 2838 days

#2 posted 01-13-2012 10:22 PM

Never sees to amaze.

View Karson's profile


35148 posts in 4603 days

#3 posted 01-13-2012 10:47 PM

It’s looks great Andy. Didn’t put sculpted edges and splines though.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3154 days

#4 posted 01-13-2012 10:48 PM

Like Charles says, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted one, but seeing yours there I think i need to make one. It is sweet!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View dpow's profile


503 posts in 3046 days

#5 posted 01-13-2012 10:48 PM

Nice prop Andy. Sounds like alot of research and design went into this. Your son will like it. Didn’t you make a smaller version awhile back? Great job, thanks for sharing.

-- Doug

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3280 days

#6 posted 01-13-2012 10:55 PM

That’s the wierdest box I’ve ever seen, Andy! As usual, you did a beautiful job. Are you thinking about building the thing that the props are attached? How about a P51 Mustang? That’s always been my favorite!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3488 days

#7 posted 01-13-2012 10:56 PM

Andy, I can’t figure out how you open this box.

Actually, it looks great!


View Andy's profile


1698 posts in 4110 days

#8 posted 01-13-2012 11:22 PM

Thanks everyone.

@Doug, Yes, this is my second prop, the other one was for my grandson. Here

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3363 days

#9 posted 01-13-2012 11:27 PM

You did well Andy. Your representation looks fairly accurate. If I had a prop. I’d want the rest of the airplane though. I’m sure you found out, but the pitch angle is constantly changing from the tip to the root.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View gbear's profile


517 posts in 4301 days

#10 posted 01-13-2012 11:28 PM

Props to you for another great and unique build!!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4268 days

#11 posted 01-13-2012 11:30 PM

As usual Andy your work is outstanding. Does either you or your son fly? Just wondering about the “want” for a propeller. That is one thing that I’ve never thought of wanting – but there are soooo many other things I want, and now I want a propeller.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Andy's profile


1698 posts in 4110 days

#12 posted 01-13-2012 11:31 PM

@Rance, yes, thats true and not something I wanted to mess with. Plus no one would have noticed but a few with an understanding of these things. Glad you like it. I agree with you and LittlePaw, I would love a classic plane to go with this.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3511 days

#13 posted 01-13-2012 11:46 PM

Wow! That really came out nice…I saw a propellar off an old airplane a while back in an antique store (it appeared to be made of oak) and it was selling for $1800 if I remember correctly…and it looked as good as yours.

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3779 days

#14 posted 01-13-2012 11:58 PM

At first I was going to say what kind of box is this ? :)) This is a real tough thing to make and it looks beautiful as usual you nailed the design you were going for. Very nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4185 days

#15 posted 01-13-2012 11:58 PM

very cool posting. it came out excellent…

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

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