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bwillis 11-15-2011 01:26 AM

laminating propellers
What glue and prep techniques are best to use for laminating propellers. I've been told that dampening wood with water and letting it dry to raise the grain is a good practice. Is this true?

KosPilot 12-04-2011 10:41 PM

I have the same question! With this rate of answers, we may have to wait a while... ;) (see other post)

Anyways, since some of the old manufacturers of propellers started as furniture carpenters, maybe some old trade knowledge is still available if looking in that direction.

Dave 12-05-2011 05:51 AM

Yeah, I think you'll find this is more of a propeller collecting forum than it is one of manufacturing or of design theory.

bhunt 12-12-2011 10:25 PM

Laminating Propellers
Many of the experimental prop makers are using hardware variety resorcinol glue or a high grade epoxy such as the West System. Some manufacturers use a cascophen G1131 two part resorcinol glue which is much more expensive and can only be purchased in large quantities. Wood should be straight grained and quarter sawn is best. Slope of grain should be no less than 1 to 10. The best prep for the wood is to plane the wood to open the pores the same day as gluing it. Don't sand it and don't put water on it to try to raise the grain. Hard woods such as maple, birch, oak and walnut are satisfactory for props. This subject could take 4 or 5 pages to fully explain. Hope this helps you get started.
I agree this is not a subject for this forum. You can send me a private message if you need more info.

Garuda 06-19-2012 07:51 AM

Hi guys,

In addition to Bob's excellent response, I did a lot of research work on such issues when I was researching the Garuda propeller, of which I am making a replica.

Many, but not all propellers were planed with a toothing plane, which helps to increase the surface area of the planed surface, and removes the compressed, smooth surface left by machines such as jointers and thickness planers. I have also found that compressed air can help to remove dust etc from the grain of the timber, although a freshly planed surface probably only requires removal of excess debris simply by brushing.

I hope this is also of some help!



bwillis 06-19-2012 05:16 PM

laminating propelllers
Thanks to each of you for you rinsites. I have been laminating sled runners for dog mushers for some 40 years. I have to admit that I do have some delamination problems. I want to solve these for the sleds of course but must solve it before I build propellers. The idea of wetting the surfaces to raise the grain came from Chad Willie of Rhinebeck. In the mean time I visited Iceland where they have very active and skilled aircraft builders. The propeller guy said that glue starved joints are a problem with delamination and to solve that when using West System for instance he applies a layer of resin to each surface and then as it soaks in applies another layer mixed with micro fibers to one surface before clamping. I haven't tried this yet but it does make sense to me.

Garuda 06-19-2012 09:10 PM

You're very welcome. It's great that you find the advice helpful.

It's interesting that you've been building sled runners for 40 years or so. What types of aeroplanes are they building in Iceland? The propeller builder is correct. A joint which is starved of glue will potentially be a weak joint. A common mistake when laminating propellers is to clamp the laminations too tightly. Unfortunately the tighter the joint is clamped, the less glue will be in the finished glue joint. The glue is actually stronger that the timber, and laminations must not be tightened excessively. I also apply the glue to each surface and allow it to soak into the timber. Although I don't use West Systems epoxy, it is available here, and is a common choice. I think the modern epoxy glues are all very similar to each other, and are certainly far superior to glues used in the past. The micro fibres certainly would make a difference.



bwillis 06-20-2012 01:47 AM

laminating propellers
Regarding the homebuilts in Iceland - I saw PA-12 replicas, Stits biplanes, a couple French wooden trainers, a British WWII plywood twin, a Baby Great Lakes and a cabin Waco. Wooden props seem to be the first choice. One fellow claims 145 mph with his 150 hp tripacer with his custom 3 blade wood prop. Another with an L-4 (WWII observation plane, American cub variant brought over from Germany) claims his wooden prop flexes at high power settings to give a flater pitch, sort of contant speed. I flew it and with a 90 hp cont. it really performs with two normal size guys in it. Any thoughts on shape, cord or pitch for performance. Oh yes, The builder of the three blade has a home made router set up for copying blades. It was basically a three dimensional box set up on steel rails with pullys for wheels and a plastic knob that was in alignment with a router blade. The knob was passed over the pattern and the router made a copy on a blank. He swamped ends with the blank and cut both ends identical. I imagine this is old stuff many of you but it was exciting to me.

dairwin 06-24-2012 05:58 PM


Can you advise on what glue you are using? I understand that Resorcinol is used, but I can not find a supplier in the UK?



Garuda 06-24-2012 09:09 PM

Hi David,

I use Techniglue, which may not be available in the UK, since it is made here in Australia. I understand that other adhesives such as West Systems are very similar to Techniglue. The only difference I am aware of is that the Techniglue already has a filler added, which I wanted because I use a system of adding surface area to the glue surfaces, in very much the same way as many of the original propellors were planed with toothing planes. Some other adhesives such as West Systems need to have the filler added, if required.



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