Unique Going Away Gift

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Project by TwoWheelMikee posted 09-21-2012 08:39 AM 1639 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This being my first post on the site… Hello and thank you for taking an interest.

As is tradition in the military, when a member of your unit moves on, it is customary to give them something from the unit… a challenge coin, a litho, a shadow box or something like that. But, every now and again you happen to some old aircraft parts laying around that you can spruce up and attached to a stick of wood. These types of gifts tend to be held in highest regard, in my opinion.

This project was for my previous commander, a good man to work for. I was approached by one of my many bosses… “Hey Sergeant [Mike], you know how to make stuff out wood, right? ‘Cause I have an idea.” Proceeded to take me into his office and show me a collection of old bent propeller blades. He explained to me that he had a background in auto body repair and was going to fix up one of these prop blades. He just needed a way to mount it to something… that’s where I came in. So a deal was struck and I set off taking some measurements. As I left with my notes… “Oh and I need this by Monday.” It was Thursday. Another military tradition. Three days later I had a couple of prototypes in pieces on the garage floor, scarred fingers and this pretty finished product… if I may tute my own horn.

Basic box/finger joint construction, except the bottom of the box is about half way up. The prop blade itself was about 4 ½ feet tall and about 90 lbs. The root, the piece nested inside the box, is some silly metric measurement close to 4 5/16 around and about 5 inches tall. I built the sides and bottom first then waiting until I could use the prop blade to nail to opening in the top. I covered this up with the trim. It’s all 4/4 white oak. I made the fingers for the joint ½ x ½, I didn’t like the look of the full ¾ in fingers. It looked too heavy. I added some ballast in the bottom (blade was a little top heavy) and a means to secure the prop blade and I was done. The finish is a lighter red stain I had on the shelf, a couple of coats of oil and some wipe-on poly. Knocked it down with steel wool then waxed it… I like the hand feel of wax more than poly, plus it gets rid of the plastic look.
Apologize, for the long story. This one was near and dear to the heart… The old CO was worth the effort. Any questions or comments are welcome.

-- Mike, Las Vegas NV, Aut inveniam viam aut faciam

10 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

27089 posts in 2176 days

#1 posted 09-21-2012 09:44 AM

We always like it better with a story. Nice work.

Welcome to LJ’s

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2029 days

#2 posted 09-21-2012 12:32 PM

nice box.i know your co is gonna love it.welcome to lumberjocks.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View a1Jim's profile


116585 posts in 3415 days

#3 posted 09-21-2012 12:54 PM

welcome to Ljs
This is a unique project you did a super job.

-- Custom furniture

View dustyal's profile


1291 posts in 3313 days

#4 posted 09-21-2012 12:54 PM

Impressive piece of art… nicely done. Enjoyed the story… but then I was thinking, how does one “bend a prop”? Hard landings?

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2130 days

#5 posted 09-21-2012 01:03 PM

Nice job. I’m sure your CO will appreciate it. Welcome to LJs and thank you for your service.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Grumpymike's profile


2173 posts in 2153 days

#6 posted 09-21-2012 02:53 PM

Great story, and a great project; there will never be another quite like this one.
Welcome to LJ’s

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3772 days

#7 posted 09-21-2012 03:55 PM

Great looking project, and a great story to go with it. Welcome to LJ’s!

-- Robb

View CueballRosendaul's profile


484 posts in 1978 days

#8 posted 09-21-2012 04:28 PM

Yes, welcome to LJ, and never be sorry about long stories. Cool project.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2014 days

#9 posted 09-21-2012 09:32 PM

Great gift !!! And an even greater story to back it up!

View TwoWheelMikee's profile


2 posts in 1912 days

#10 posted 09-26-2012 09:09 PM

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement.

-- Mike, Las Vegas NV, Aut inveniam viam aut faciam

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