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make a Propeller or large item to carve - R&D way

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  • make a Propeller or large item to carve - R&D way

    Construction of Wooden Propellers for Wind Tunnels 1941 NACA Langley Research Center

    These are massive propellers - all built from 1" board. No one would bid on the project so they did it themselves !! If you build up flats to make bulk - this is one to see. Wow.

    This is still in operation in the Santa Clara area near the end of the airport and the old zep hanger. Famous mil/research air strip. Black birds flew out of there.

  • #2
    Neat to watch, thank you. How old were some of those "kid" workers? 12? 14?
    Lots of times, glue ups for wood carvings are the only possible way to get it done.
    What do you suppose would be done now? Some sort of polymer/glass casting and then a digital finish carving?

    You will see Bill Reid's "Raven and the First Men" in the rotunda of the University of British Columbia
    Museum of Anthropology. It is so big that it was convenient to take the roof off the building for the installation.
    Over on the back wall is a cabinet with the original, maybe the size of a big grapefruit.

    The big carving is a glue-up of 144 pieces of flawless yellow cedar (Chamycyparis nootkatensis).
    The glue lines are invisible. Maybe the shallow surface texturing helps to hide that.
    Brian T


    • #3
      Not a backyard operation, for sure, thanks for the post
      . . .JoeB


      • #4
        Very interesting and the lack of safety makes me shudder.
        Living among knives and fire.


        • #5
          The young ones were likely trade or high school kids in wood working - maybe vocation mode. Or sons and a daughter. I thought the process was wow an thinking of gluing up a rocking horse or such would be like that. I have a booklet on carousel animals that used like setups but specialized blocks that lock into each other.