Design Constraints – Wood propeller

The following post will describe the 5 main design constraints I intend to follow when making my wooden replica propeller. These constraints will serve to guide my project toward my desired outcome of creating a realistic retro replica propeller.

  1. The first constraint I plan to follow is the aesthetic of my project. I want to create a replica propeller similar to those found on old radial-engine aircraft. these aircraft were some of the first modern aircraft in the sense that they had a traditional cockpit and flight controls compared to the Wright-flyer. These aircraft featured beautiful bottle-noses containing monstrous radial engines. Mounted to these engines was almost always a beautiful wooden propeller. I want to bring the aesthetic that these aircraft embody into my home through replicating this style of prop.
  2. The second constraint I have on this project is the size. I would like to make the propeller as realistic as possible; this means making a propeller that is the same size as props that would go on actual aircraft. Due to the fact that I am going to display this inside I am choosing to replicate propellers on the smaller end of the size scale. The airplane I am pulling the size from is the DA20, which has about a 4 ft diameter prop.
  3. The third constraint I have is the color of the propeller. I enjoy the aesthetic of dark wood, so I am going to use a darker stain to bring out the grains of the wood. This will pair well with the end tip colors I plan to use (either silver and blue or black and red).
  4. I also plan to have the propeller be able to rotate. I plan to accomplish this through the use of press-fit skateboard bearings in the center shaft. The center shaft will be connected to a wooden disk painted the same color as the end-tips of the propeller.
  5. The last constraint I plan to follow is the addition of a metal “bolt plate” an example of this type of plate can be seen above; in real life these plates serve to distribute the tensile load of the bolts across the wood. This would be purely for show on my project, but I feel like the addition of this plate makes the prop more realistic and it adds a nice aesthetic.


“Stock Photo – Wood Aircraft Propeller and Radial Engine.” 123RF,

“Wooden Propellers.” Sensenich Propellers,

“Ultralight Aircraft Propeller.” Arrowprop,

“Stock Photo – Airplanes Wooden Propeller.” 123RF,

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Christopher Lehr
    April 21, 2020 2:41 pm

    Hey Verspohl,

    I think that this will be a very nice piece to have and I would have to ask if it will be possible for you to have two! I would love one of these or to help you make them.

  • Abdulrahman Nashawi
    March 8, 2020 7:21 pm

    Hello Noah! You have a really interesting design that I think is very unique. I like how clear and direct your constraints are. I am curious since you mentioned how realistic you want the project to be, are you planning on twisting, or making, the wood at the same angle? Also, how do you plan to present it in your house? Good luck in making it!

    • Noah Verspohl
      March 10, 2020 10:41 pm

      Thank you for the comment! The propeller will be made using a rectangular block of wood. From here I will use saws and hand tools to “carve out” the curvature. As far as presentation goes I am planning on hanging my finished product on one of my walls

  • Austin Ross
    March 7, 2020 1:46 pm

    Hey Noah!
    This looks amazing and I am very excited to see the initial steps of fabrication with this project. The level of detail that you are trying to acquire will make this piece beautiful for any house to display. Please keep me updated with your progress!


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