Straighten Up and Fly Right - West Wind Hardwood

…. song written by Nat King Cole

 Where does it start?  Where it always starts…….…Something wood!  About 20 years ago, Jan was scouring one of the local auction houses in Victoria and stumbled across a lovely old woodie airplane propeller.  Not being able to pass up such a find, he placed an absentee bid of $500.  He lost 🙁  So sad; Shelley be glad 😉

A few years later, a close friend mentioned to Jan that a local antique store was going out of business and he’d noticed a great find on sale.  A wood airplane propeller for $200; do I need to tell you it was the same darn propellor.  SOLD!  It hangs in the shop office.

Wood Propellor in the Office of West Wind Hardwood – December 2016
ALL Photos by Jan T Nielsen

Ever since, there’s been a pull to airplane museums.

Sidney, BC >>> London >>> McMinnville, Oregon >>> Auckland >>> Honolulu >>> and back to Sidney

London, Auckland and Honolulu all have beyond description War Memorial Museums.  Oregon has the Evergreen Aviation Museum which hosts the Spruce Goose which I’ve previously written about in Newsletter 43.


BC Air Museum – Visit their website


Imperial War Museum – December 2011


Auckland War Memorial Museum – December 2015


Pacific Aviation Museum – January 2016

We have multiple customers from South Africa who over the years have purchased quality BC softwood lumber; Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce specifically for tiger moth airplanes.

Climate + WWII African Theatre = Thriving Tiger Moth Flight Clubs in South Africa


We are lifetime supporters of the British Columbia Aviation Museum (BCAM) in Sidney, BC, Canada.

Now, the BCAM is building with the intent to display a full-scale, externally complete replica of the 1917 Hoffar H-1 floatplane.  The H-1 is historically significant as it is the first aircraft that was designed, built and flown successfully in the Province of British Columbia.  It was also the first floatplane built in Western Canada.

The replica will be full-scale, externally correct, but lacking interior fittings.  Drawings/blueprints are not available but will be developed in-house from available photographs.  The initial target date was Summer 2017 however as this is quite an ambitious project and in view of the overall complexity of the project, lack of original drawings/blueprints to reference, the target date is now proposed as Late Spring 2018.

Donations specific for the project are welcome!


The article below originally appeared in the May, 1955 edition of Canadian Aviation – by Frank Ellis; re-published in The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada’s Blog.


With pilot training going on apace at numerous Royal Flying Corps training centres in eastern Canada during 1917, there was plenty of military air activity, but private flying of a civilian nature was almost at a standstill. At the Pacific coast however, events took place which were destined to become important on several counts in connection with our flying history.
The boat-building brothers Jimmie and Henry Hoffar of Vancouver had gradually become air minded until the urge to do something about it blossomed into action in the fall of 1916. After enlarging their boat works on the Coal Harbour section of the waterfront, they undertook the construction of a two-seater seaplane of biplane type.

An important item, which also brings the Hoffar seaplane into the historical limelight, is that it was the first successful Canadian-built waterborne aircraft fabricated west of Toronto. The machine eventually came to its end when a submerged log holed the pontoon. The waterlogged craft was soon towed back to the workshop and salvaged but never flew again.

Years later, Jimmie Hoffar confided to me that when they built the machine their knowledge of aerodynamics was insignificant. So little did they know of stresses as applicable to airplanes, they more or less ignored the matter.

Plans they had procured clearly showed that cross-bracing wires should be incorporated into the wing structure, but they discarded the idea as unnecessary.  Obviously the wings must have been exceedingly well constructed to withstand the rigours of flying strains without such bracing wires. There is little doubt that the boat-building abilities of the two men helped toward a sturdy job, without the help of the internal cross wires. Jimmie mentioned that in later years he shivers a bit when recalling the time he was high in the air on wings which he later came to realize might well have folded up at any moment. No matter, the machine did fly and they lived to tell the tale.

The seaplane was the beginning, which later led the Hoffar Brothers into full-scale aircraft construction, to eventually become affiliated with Boeing Aircraft interests of Seattle, as their British Columbia representative. Many years later they built and operated a large plant and slipway on Coal Harbour, near the entrance to Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park. It became a very active plant during the years of World War II.


Henry Stonestreet Hoffar, a well-known Vancouver boat builder, inventor, and engineer and his wife Lillian Alice Hoffar, purchased a retirement property on Tsehum Harbour, Sidney, BC in 1943, naming it ‘Windward’. Over the years, Henry constructed a garage, a house, a cottage, a boat shop, marine ways, a dock and two boathouses on the property. It was here that he built the locally famous vessels ‘Antic’ and ‘Louward’. Lillian was a naturalist who cared for the birds in the surrounding Shoal Harbour Bird Sanctuary.  After Lillian’s death in 1971, Henry willed part of his property to the District of North Saanich, with a life tenancy to his daughter, celebrated Vancouver artist Irene Hoffar Reid, whose works are featured in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. After Henry’s death, Irene moved to the site with her daughter, Catherine Campbell and son-in-law, Hugh Campbell. Hugh operated Henry’s boatbuilding shop (‘Winard Wood’) on the property. The land was deeded to the District of North Saanich after Irene’s death in 1994.  Lillian Hoffar Park was established and is valued for its association with the Hoffar family.  Although all of the buildings have since been removed, remains of the boat ramp, garden beds, a shoreline concrete retaining wall and concrete breakwater are still visible. Commemorative plaques attached to the mature Western Red Cedar tree at the North end of the park are tangible reminders of the Hoffar family’s association with the place. The tree was designated as a heritage site by the District of North Saanich in 2005.

Hugh Campbell (deceased) was a respected customer of ours operating under the name of Winard Wood Ltd.  Hugh was a skilled master boat builder and sadly passed away in 2012.

While Hugh and his family lived on Henry’s waterfront property he managed the fantastic marine ways.  Many a year, Jan brought Puddleduck up for her annual bottom scrub.

Puddleduck Waiting at Hugh Campbell’s Marine Ways– June 1994

Bottom Pretty – June 1994
Hugh Campbell’s Marine Ways

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