Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Mast

I’ve been able to find a few hours for working on the Douglas fir mast.

On Wednesday I shaped the front and back pieces, making them almost identical; except I made the front piece a bit longer than the back one, because when I assemble the mast, it will have to take the form of a curve, whereas the former piece will remain straight. I chamfered the inner surfaces to form a tapered top and to keep the mast hollow throughout which will reduce the weight and provide a channel for the wires leading to the masthead light.

Today I shaped the side pieces by using a hand saw and a Stanley block plane.

Tomorrow, if I can find enough epoxy, I may glue the side pieces to the back piece; then when possible I shall fit the front piece to the leading edge by gluing and clamping it between the side pieces. I shall use small, thin bits of plywood glued to the inner sides of the side pieces to prevent the front piece from falling between the sides when being glued and clamped to them.

When the masthead light and its wire have been installed and the epoxy has hardened, I’ll round of the outer corners of the mast by using a plane; this will be the time to make sure the cross-sections are correct according to measurements shown on the plan.

At the top and bottom of the mast I’ll insert plugs which will make it airtight, while also providing strength were needed, especially where the slot for the main halyard sheave will be offset at a 60 degree angle from the fore and aft line

Finally, I’ll sand the whole mast and coat it with Deks Ole, which is a wood preservative that soaks into the grain and is easier to maintain than varnish.

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