What are some features of wooden airplane propellers?


Quick Answer

Early wooden propellers are usually longer, are designed for use with slower engines and have more bolt holes. Some have metal-sheathed tips, while others have fabric tips. Some rarer early propellers use dark woods such as mahogany and walnut extensively and feature offset blades with distinctive asymmetrical curves.

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Full Answer

Propellers for aircraft constructed primarily from wood instead of metal are often sold and collected as decorative pieces and antiques. The earlier and most valuable models date from the first planes through World War I when wood was the primary material used. These predate modern propellers that were produced after 1920, after the introduction of metal propellers.

Early propellers are in demand amongst collectors. They are much rarer than their more modern counterparts, as fewer were manufactured and many were lost or broken due to their age and wooden construction.

The value of a wooden propeller depends on its rarity, its provenance and known history, and its condition. Antique World War I propellers sold in 2011 ranged in price from $1,250 to $4950. To identify a propeller and improve its value, look for the drawing or design number stamped on the hub or the base of the blade. Some vendors also offer replica antique propellers.

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