Message #96

Date: Dec 05 1999 07:54:51 EST
From: "Darrel Morisse" <>
Subject: Re: prop refinishing

>I wouldn't want to talk someone into doing something they didn't feel
>comfortable in doing, but refinishing and balancing a prop is easy. In
>the first place, you are not affecting the structural integrity of the prop
>by sanding off the old finish and putting a new finish on. It is just a
>coat that protects the wood surface from direct contact with the elements-
>mainly water. A very sensitive prop balancer that checks both longitudinal
>and lateral balance can be constructed for less than $10 and a few hours
>of your time. The balancing is done by putting additional finish on  the
>light blade with a brush or spray gun. Of coarse, the balancing must be
>done in a closed room as the slightest breeze will move the prop on the
>balancer. This is not magic or rocket science.

Very true.  I know of an old guy who has been an A/P for about 50 years and
specializes in old Piper singles who uses a lawnmower blade sharpener bought
in a hardware store for $5.  It's a cone-shaped thingy that sits on top of a
pointed pedestal.  He claims it works as well as any $500 milspec machine.
After watching him use it, I agree.  There's no black art in maintaining
props and doing your own thing is no problem if good common sense is used.
Many of us have been programmed that if a certified repair station doesn't
do the work, you'll end up falling out of the sky.
Also IMO, spar varnish is nice, but doesn't last and has to be redone every
few years.  Epoxy 2-part varnish by Polyfiber is much tougher and will last
much longer.
Have a great day,