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My realistic Hamilton Standard metal propeller letter opener measures 10” long. Photo: Koontz


Management WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH


Project A vintage Sensenich logo sticker from the author’s collection.


A Sensenich propeller takes between 12 and 22 hours to make, depending upon the size. Sensenich makes them in batches of ten or more, except for special orders. The process begins with layers of 1” lumber, scribed with a pattern, then cut and laminated together with Resorcinol glue. After the center hole and surrounding bolt holes for the engine shaft are drilled, the recognizable propeller shape is achieved using a Master Blade designed by Martin Sensenich. Expert craftsmen take over the fi nal steps. Carvers use double handled spokeshaves of diff erent sizes to smooth out the rough wood, followed by hand sanding. Fabric is then glued onto the tip and after a series of varnishing and sanding, is ready for the brass or stainless steel edge cap which is riveted onto the blade. “Balancing a propeller is critical through the entire process,” says Gary, who also worked at the shop. “The propeller receives several more phases of sanding and polishing and fi nally, the Sensenich logo is applied between coats of varnish.” Gary adds, “If it is out of balance, more varnish is added.” Harry Sensenich literally kept his hand in the business until his death in 1964. His brother Martin continued to drop by the shop in Pennsylvania until he died at age 85 in 1990. I’m sure that they would be pleased to know a wooden Sensenich propeller now spins in the breeze over the door of a busy aviation book store in California. Happy New Year 2018!


Giacinta Bradley Koontz is an aviation historian, magazine columnist and author who has received the DAR History Medal and honorable mention from the New York Book Festival. She has appeared on the History Channel and in PBS documentaries.


For more information, visit www.GiaBKoontz.com.


www.DuncanAviation.aero Experience. Unlike any other.


Duncan Aviation project managers provide


customers with personalized customer service and aircraft project expertise. Each has a minimum of 15 years of technical


experience and an average of 25+ years of aviation experience.


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