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ABC Dragonfly ”umbrellastand”… restoration

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  • ABC Dragonfly ”umbrellastand”… restoration

    I recently acquired this propeller - which according to its stamps was made to fit the ABC Dragonfly engine - which has once been sawed into three pieces and made an umbrella stand of it. I’m now trying to put the pieces together again there is about two inches missing at each cut so the pieces are not a perfect match anymore.

    My question is how to do this reassembly?? Fill in and carve the missing lengths or just butt join them as they are? None is an ideal solution but way better than an umbrella stand!
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    Last edited by Robert Lundin; 12-20-2021, 07:40 PM.

  • #2
    I'd keep it as an umbrella stand. Anything you do to try to reassemble it is just going further backwards, IMHO.

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    • #3
      Good point Dave, it is a tricky one.

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      • #4
        I think I recall seeing this item on eBay a few months ago; an interesting piece.
        My own view, for what it’s worth, is that it would look much better displayed as a propeller but only if you can achieve this without doing anything irreversible.
        For example, by all means make up sections to replace the missing two inches and stain them a matching colour but on no account glue, fill or sand the original pieces.

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        • #5
          Thank you all, it is a tricky one for sure. I’ll see if I can data on the original’s diameter and calculate how much is missing. Quite daunting to make the “plugs” but doable. Won’t use glue but probably will need some internal support from the hub outward. Surface will be as is, just a light clean up.

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          • #6
            I think we all respect "provenance" of any object like this. This was once an elegant propeller doing what it was supposed to do - power an aircraft. It was likely damaged doing that, and it might have been best to leave it in its damaged condition, but someone then tried to create a form of "artwork" with the pieces. What I don't know for sure is whether it's better to leave it in that "artwork" condition or try to reverse the whole process, but if the latter it will never re-achieve its status as a wooden propeller powering a aircraft near the time of the dawn of aviation.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Robert Lundin View Post
              ll see if I can data on the original’s diameter and calculate how much is missing.
              According to Bob Gardner’s excellent resource here: http://www.woodenpropeller.com/Britishprops.htm
              A propeller with drawing number AB 8979 should have a diameter of 2745mm. I think this is stamped on your propeller but I can’t quite make it out from the photo.

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              • #8
                Hi,

                If the original prop was not "broken", it is strange to have cut it. Is it proven that the three parts are coming from the same propeller?

                If no other post until 1st January, my best wishes to all!
                Regards,
                PM

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pmdec View Post
                  Hi,

                  If the original prop was not "broken", it is strange to have cut it. Is it proven that the three parts are coming from the same propeller?

                  If no other post until 1st January, my best wishes to all!
                  Regards,
                  PM
                  My guess is that it was a factory reject, so someone decided to make it into an umbrella stand, but a nine foot propeller with a one foot diameter hub would mean an umbrella stand would be over four feet tall, which would overwhelm the umbrellas. So the builder cut off the blades then shortened them on the thick end. That may well have been done 100 years ago (when wooden propellers were nearly worthless), which is why I would suggest keeping it as an umbrella stand.

                  Season's Greeting Pierre-Michel!

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                  • #10
                    The propellertips show no damage from any accident. I’ll check the cut surfaces to see if they match in the different layers of wood.
                    I’ll also have a closer look at Gardner’s list, what an amazing resource! The diameter of the prop as laid out on the floor in the picture is much less than 2,7 meter so perhaps it’s a Frankenstein assembly of two different props, as one of you suggested.

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                    • #11
                      Also, the hub shows no "witness marks" caused by the compression of the metal plate in the hub assembly. That's almost always an indication that the propeller was never mounted for use. Many of the surviving wooden propellers are similar, which is why they survived.


                      Here's what I mean by witness marks. Notice how the metal hub compressed the wood, and in this case even shows elevations in the wooden hub that correspond to holes in the metal hub assembly.


                      IMG_6209.jpg

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                      • #12
                        Hi,

                        The strangest "transformation" I have ever seen FROM propeller(s!)... Two (2!!!) four-bladed props cut to make the sides and 4 of the 8 remaining parts used. Very "subtle" work: he (they?) use one RH and one LH for symmetry!
                        Perhaps I discovered this on this site: The pic is from 2016 May 25th and the "thing" was on eBay.

                        Regards,
                        PM

                        12_600pxH.jpg

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                        • #13
                          Robert, I'd be interested in your "umbrella stand" as is. I think it's interesting left as found. I've got other full propellers that might be of interest. Perhaps we could strike a deal.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by v8sharkie View Post
                            Robert, I'd be interested in your "umbrella stand" as is. I think it's interesting left as found. I've got other full propellers that might be of interest. Perhaps we could strike a deal.
                            PM sent

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