Tiger Moth Propeller

Earlier this year I was given a Tiger Moth propeller to repair, and modify, to enable it to hang upon a wall as a display piece.  Not work I had ever done before, though not so dissimilar to many strange pieces which have found their way through my workshop over the years.

This one, manufactured originally from South American mahogany, had served firstly upon a Tiger Moth, and then upon another aircraft, not a Moth but obviously of similar characteristics and fitting arrangement.  The prop had subsequently been damaged on one of its trailing edges.

So the commission was to splice a new piece of similar timber into the damaged area; then devise a means by which the propeller could be mounted for display upon a wall.

The following are shots of the prop in varying stages of repair and modification
click on any image to enlarge & the ‘back-button’ arrow to return
the repaired trailing edge
the original prop as it was when I received it
the eight bolt holes to attach it to the engine mainshaft flange surround the mainshaft aperture.
the new nosecone, turned on the lathe from in-stock African mahogany of approximately the same era.  The spigot is a tolerance fit into the mainshaft aperture.
the finished prop – the oak mounting ring on the rear is to screw it to the wall & the nosecone fits onto the front, covering the fixing bolts which hold the prop to the mounting ring
the full length of the finished propeller. It scrubs up pretty well, for an old ‘un, doesn’t it? :lol:
large as the propeller is, I always find it difficult to imagine how something this relatively small can power a twin wing plane, with a pilot and a passenger, hundreds of feet into the air.

I enjoy doing this sort of work – relatively simple, but not a common commission. :-)  A bit out of the ordinary.  It requires a little thought and the ability to work with quality hardwood species, involving conventional bench joinery, wood-turning and, carving when necessary.  As well as working with the appropriate polishes and finishings.

Material Stock

I may have related the story of the source of some of my wood-turning and bench joinery material on here.     If you have heard this before, I apologise, in advance.      Please allow your mind to wander freely.

Earlier in the year, a local Conservative club closed because it was no longer profitable for it to remain open, given that it was within a mile of the central Conservative club in Northampton; and subject to dwindling patronage.
Prior to the premises being a club, it was an hotel.  And when it was built in the late 19th century, to provide overnight accommodation for the jockeys performing upon the local racecourse, two professional sized snooker tables were installed in the recreation rooms, on the 1st floor.

With the club in the process of closing, I was offered the two tables, in their entirety, for the purpose of  woodturning the sixteen very substantial mahogany legs, twelve mahogany bounce cushion edges, and all of the associated unseen structural timber, used to construct the tables in the late 1800′s.
So, yes you are quite right, all of the timber is well in excess of 100 years old and was probably felled in the middle of Queen Victoria’s reign as monarch.
Oh, plus, there were as many as 60 quality snooker cues too, belonging either to the club or past members; many now deceased.
Many of these cues, which are made from a significant variety of hardwood species, once cut to length, will finish up as light-pulls, or pens; samples of which are available to view, under the Turning tab on the Home page.
It took me, with the assistance of a valuable friend, three days to strip down the tables and remove everything from the premises. And it required a considerable amount of space at my premises, to store all of the timber.
These three items are just a sample of pieces turned from one of the mahogany legs.
The top one -  a presentation bowl.
The middle – a school trophy & pupils minatures.
The bowl on the left  has an arrow piercing it which itself is turned from one of the snooker cues.
click on an image to enlarge – select the ‘back’ arrow to return

Well, yesterday I got some of the framework timber out of stock, believing it to be softwood, with the intention of making some stretcher bars. (I have a couple of 36″ x 24″ canvases to stretch, for a client)
You may imagine my surprise when I discovered that, upon running the first length of timber through the rip saw, it turned out to be not softwood at all, but obeché – a west African mahogany.  Fairly soft, close grained, light in weight, but still adequately sturdy, in a framework, to do the job it was intended for – to support the slate top sections of the table.

Obeché is, however, one of the preferential timbers for picture framing.
Because of its light weight, its close-grained composition, which takes finishes very well, and its ease of use and stability.  And I’ve got almost forty (yes 40) 6″ &  8″ x 2½” x 6′-0″  planks of the stuff in stock: which I thought was just standard European redwood (deal), and would be used for general purpose, low cost, bench joinery.
In my defence, I should point out that the timber used to construct the underside of the tables was darkened with a what I assume the Victorian joiners used for mahogany stain.  (I have heard tales that they stained timber with the shredded tea-leaf dregs from the tea-pot ~ how true that is, I have no idea :roll: )   Plus it was coated in a century old residue of tobacco smoke and human drink – community laden dust.
Or at least, that is my excuse: and I’m sticking to it:lol: :lol:

So now I can use this stock, not for mundane joinery, but to produce my own profile-designed, hand-finished, one-off, client commissioned, frames.
It feels as if several of my Christmases have arrived at once.  :-D

Note:  I won’t be making any more stretcher bars out of the obeché either. 
I’ll buy some general purpose softwood deal in for that.

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However, I would request that before you submit material, you first read the website rules (there are only 3 :-D ) at the end of  ‘As A Guide‘, under the Blogs tab.

I look forward to having you on board and hope that you become a regular and valued contributor.


Apparently, also on the move, with immediate effect, are Tawnycraft of Northampton. I am reliably informed that they are merging with Hinton Wholesale of Cambridge and will commence trading as Centrado Trading Ltd from 1st October 2012 at their new premises in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
I have always been immensely satisfied with the service and products which I have received from Tawnycraft and will miss the proximity of their premises to mine.  However, I sincerely wish them well in their new venture and their service to the framing industry in the future.

Clive and Karl of the the Stanton family, are the people I deal with at Tawnycraft, and for want of first-hand information I can only assume that I will continue to deal with them at Centrado.  I will visit their Northampton premises tomorrow and find out, from ‘the horses mouth’ as it were, exactly what the situation will be.
Ordering procedure, setting up accounts, delivery dates etc.

Any further relevant information, I will post on here, in due course.

Friday 14th September 2012
Tawnycraft are immensely busy at the moment actually making the move to Huntingdon, so my visit was necessarily brief. All of the above is confirmed, with the statement that a new website, brochures, etc will be available early in 2013.

Their new address :-
Centrado Trading Ltd
Unit 10, Glebe Road,
St Peters Road Industrial Estate,
Huntingdon.   PE29 2DL

01480 445480

On the Move

There is currently in circulation an understanding that Steve Goodall, previously of Drytac (HOTPRESS), is relocating to Wessex Pictures.
At present I have no idea which branch he will be operating from but, as soon as I know I will post the info on here.

To those of you who know Steve Goodall, nothing further need be said.
To those who are unfamiliar with this very knowledgeable gentleman, Steve is not only steeped in the world of picture framing, and all of its various subsidiary topics, he is also immensely generous in imparting his wealth of knowledge and expertise to anyone who has a genuine requirement of it.  Wessex Pictures will be immeasurably richer for having Steve representing them in their UK sales field.

Saturday 8th Sept @ 8:00pm
It all took place as of Monday 3rd September 2012 ~ so, it’s a done deal. :-D

Steve’s mobile number, if you wish to place an order for materials with Wessex, is:
07585 138 566
and he can be contacted by Email at :-  steveg@wessexpictures.com

In addition, because Wessex Pictures are a distributor of Drytac HOTPRESS products and consumables, if you wish to receive information about, or obtain either products or consumables, then Steve is still ‘the man’ to speak to. :-D