Wooden mast???

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Laser@pcrf.org, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Laser@pcrf.org
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Laser@pcrf.org New Member

    I have a question about wooden masts.
    I am looking at a 110 Oregon pine mast that was designed by Camper Nicholson in 1966 and is part of a 100' Bermuda ketch. There are several cracks along the mast (See photos) My question, can or should the cracks be repaired and can this be a good mast and how do I tell.
     

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  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    There are many different wooden mast construction types, the most common being solid, solid laminated, and hollow.
    Any solid mast is going to have checking over time. It's normal, and that kind of checking should not be filled with any material that could harden as later expansion could cause severe damage.
    Laminated spars can check too, but there normal checking should be quite minor compared to a solid spar.
    A hollow spar ought to show even fewer checks, since there isn't much wall thickness.
    Only an expert surveyor could analyze the spar in question. Likely it's a solid spar and the checking is normal.
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    That appears to be a built up mast. Alan is correct in that checking on this type of mast is normal and that only on site inspection by a qualified person is required.
     
  4. Laser@pcrf.org
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    Laser@pcrf.org New Member

    Par & Allan,

    Thanks for your comments. It looks to me that the bottom of the mast has been repaired or as you said PAR: "built-up". Not knowing anything about it the rest of the stick seems to be solid. I will get a surveyor to look at it but before I go through that expense my question is in principle or anyone from experience :A mast that is more then 44 years old, wood, Oregon Pine. Can I get another 10-20 years out of it? I have no idea if I bought a new alluminium mast to replace this one what it would cost?
     
  5. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    How about a new pine.. (or spruce) :)
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A new mast would have a few sections to it to make up the length. Check with Dwyer Masts and see if they have a section large enough to accommodate your requirements.

    Even if you do get a good deal on an aluminum stick, all the hardware will have to change or need modification to attach to the aluminum extrusion. With a wooden replacement or repairs to your current pole, your rig could remain intact.

    Yes, you could get another 20 years from your mast, assuming it's condition is sound.
     
  7. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Hi Laser@, I do some work on large timber masts & checking is a normal characteristic, however always suspect that some pockets of rot can exist deeper in the mast as the ideal conditions can exist for that, the checking on that mast has been apparently filled before as on closer inspection maybe a line of putty or white lead or some such compound is apparent in those cracks in the photo, & Par & Alan have sugested a survey of the stick & repair under supervision/recomendation of same or NA is advised, the piece of mind for yourself & insurers of the vessel will be dividend enough, replacement of the mast would be quite expensive & repair if feasable a best option for cost & character. All the best from Jeff.
     
  8. Laser@pcrf.org
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    Laser@pcrf.org New Member

    Gentlemen,

    Thank you for all the advice! I will get someone to look at the mast. Keeping my fingers crossed there is no rot.

    Best, Laser
     

  9. diwebb
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    diwebb Senior Member

    Hi,
    the mast appears to be buit up and the straightness of the checks could be delamination at the glue joints that has been bogged up with adhesive and cracked again. A mast of this vintage usuall has some hollow sections and may rot from the inside. I have seen masts of this type that looked fine from the outside but only had a fraction of an inch of good wood on the outside, the core being totally rotten. If the cracks are delamination at the glue joints I woukld reccommend that you have the mast split full length on the glue joints, completely cleaned out on the inside, epoxy sealed on the inside, reglued with epoxy and then sealed on the outside with epoxy and varnished for UV protection. This will give assurance that there are no rot pockets in the mast and will protect against future rot. I have done this with masts in the past with good results.
    All the best,
    David
     
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