Woodwork Workshop: A Classic Propeller Toy


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This toy was well-known before Leonardo Da Vinci was a boy. Perhaps it gave him one of his ideas....

There are also stories of the Wright Brothers playing with one.

The physics that make it fly are tangled up in the shaping of the blade and the speed of the air rushing over it,

when you spin the dowel.

The skill is to refine the blade shape thinly enough to be as light as possible ... without breaking it!

How to make it...

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You will need:

  • A block of soft pine 20cm x 5cm x 1cm

  • A 25cm length of 5mm dowel

  • Wood files for shaping the blade

  • A drop of white glue to stick the dowel in the hole.

  • Paint for decorating.


Session 1: Shaping the blade

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The pine block blade with a 5mm hole drilled in the centre.


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Session 2: Continuing to shape the blade...

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Session 3: Flight testing and refining the shape ...


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Session 4: Painted and ready to fly...

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