There are many people you come across who have amazing skills, mostly incredibly modest and matter of fact about what they achieve with little fanfare or recognition. One such person is Dave Brown who lives to the North East of Oxford by Thame. I came across him three years ago at the Roman Way Model Flying Club Annual Model Show.
Dave told me that he first produced a wooden propeller for a model he was building, this was some fifteen years ago, at the time he was trying to buy a suitable propeller but was not able to find one, so, in the best tradition of model making he set out to make one himself, it goes without saying that he succeeded in his task and has continued to make and supply propellers to many other modellers over the years.
He starts off with a shaped block of wood from light weight to more dense wood types to cope with the higher powered engines. Initially he uses a power rotary sander to remove most of the material, and then the fine finishing and balancing is done by hand tools. This is of course the most important part of the process, as the finished propeller must be balanced perfectly to allow it to be used on a model aircraft. A large propeller, 20 inches, takes him about a day to produce, but he can make them to suit all aircraft and engine sizes and power. If the modeller is keen on building replica model aircraft requiring a period looking wooden propeller Dave is the person you need to go to, he has a large stock to choose from off the shelf or he is happy to make one to your special requirements. On the aircraft his propellers really look the part, so much better than a white plastic type, but, as in all things they have their part to play and Dave can supply you with props made from modern materials.
From the photographs you can see Dave on his stand at this year's show, held on the 5th September 2004 at Roman Way. As for the show, the weather was brilliant, even hot, plenty of flying, model tanks and boats on the go all the time, not forgetting cars and the old industrial engines, steam powered as well as petrol driven, all from a bygone age. Hope to see you there next year.