After owning a typical ceiling fan for several years, you may decide that you aren’t in love with the fan blades. Perhaps the design and color scheme no longer match the room. Maybe the blades are starting to become warped and unbalanced. Maybe you realize you’d get better air circulation with longer blades. Whatever the case may be, if you are handy with wood and some basic tools, you can make your own ceiling fan blades rather than purchasing a new one or struggling to replace a whole new fan unit.
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Designing Your Own Fan Blades
One easy way to get the right size for a ceiling fan blade is to use the original blade as a template for your new blade. Another is to design a wooden template out of scrap wood.
To create your template:
- Trace the blade on a large piece of paper, if using the original blade.
- Make sure that you are happy with the same design; this is the time for any modifications if you want them
- Cut the paper template out. Be sure to get the cut exact. You don’t want to end up with an unbalanced fan blade. You may want to make a couple of templates to ensure that you can trace it as many times as you have fan blades.
- Trace the mocked-up blade on the piece of wood you want to use. Repeat on the remaining pieces of wood. If you are using a wooden template, use this to shape your blade.
- Cut the wood following your trace lines.
Types of Wood to Make Fan Blades
Choosing the right wood for a fan blade is important. You don’t want one that is so thin that it will break when used on high speed, or thin enough that it will quickly warp. You also don’t want one that is too heavy for the fan unit or it will not be balanced.
Try to make the blade out of the same panel of wood so that you are getting as close a weight density as possible; different pieces may be slightly different densities which can be problematic for balancing.
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Balancing Your Blade
Ideally, you will cut four or five blades and they will all weigh the same. However, this is never a guarantee. If you choose to make the blades just a smidge bigger than you need, you will have enough extra material to sand down the edges to the desired shape.
Make sure that you sand all the blades as close to the same shape as possible. This will reduce your chances of getting a wobbly, unbalanced fan. Using a wood template is a great tool to ensure the shape is exact every time. You can also stack the fan blades together and clamp them. This will ensure uniformity when cutting and shaping.
After you sand the blades smooth, weigh the blades. The blades should all weigh the same, as well as weigh the same as the original blades. If the weight on any of the blades is higher than another, or higher than the original, keep surface sanding the blade until the weight is accurate. The difference of just ounces can throw a fan off balance.
An alternative to sanding the blades would be to use a planer; a planer strips down the wood. By using a planer, you can guarantee that all the blades will be the exact same thickness.
To finish off your blades you can leave them all natural, clear coat them to protect the wood while maintaining their natural look, or paint them any way you choose. Be mindful that when you paint them the paint will add weight to the blades. Take care not to paint one heavier than another.
Making your own ceiling fan blades can be, not only a cost savings, but also a fun project. Some skill is needed to get the weights of the blades exact. This will take time and patience.