Each set of brass or copper leading edges starts life as a flat sheet. Strips are cut slightly over-size, with the tips being individually designed and templated on paper prior to cutting.
The metal is annealed using a blow torch, making it soft and malleable.
The edges are then hand moulded around the propeller itself, being gently hammered to shape using a soft faced planishing hammer and lead bag.
Several rounds of re-annealing and planishing eventually create the perfect form of the propeller’s leading edge in metal.
Once shaping is complete, the edges are then marked and drilled for the screws and rivets to fix them in place.
The surface of the propeller is prepared and the metal work screwed or riveted into place.
The metalwork is gently settled back to its final shape then cleaned and prepared for the rivet and screw heads to be soldered.
Once the heads have been soldered and cooled, the excess solder is removed and the edges gently sanded to remove all impurities and bring out the natural shine of the metal.
A final round of polishing leaves the propeller ready to be painted or lacquered.
For those propellers requiring something a bit classic and a bit special, here at Hercules we happen to be home to some of the world’s top propeller craftspeople. Prior to the integration of leading edge protection systems like our Hercuthane edges, many propellers were protected by brass or copper metal edges that were individually formed, cut and screwed/riveted on.
We are proud to have resurrected the lost skills used by our predecessors, and are offering hand crafted, authentically designed and created metalwork for any of our propellers, whether they’re period refurbishments, reproductions or a brand new design.
Spartan Arrow, Honduras mahogany & copper reproduction
Ryan ST-M, beech and brass Hercules design
Gipsy Moth, beech and brass reproduction
CLASSIC METAL LEADING EDGES