Posted by: Mike Randall | June 21, 2009

Building the mast

This is where I’m up to at the moment, building the mast and spars. As I think I mentioned earlier it’s been a bit of an ordeal finding Oregon good enough for spars. In the end I got my timber from a place called Simply Oregon. They mostly do construction grade Oregon, but I was able to go there and discuss with the owner what I was after. Essentially I put in an order for F11 grade Oregon, they noted it was for boat building and would try to set aside clears for me where possible.

My timber was ready after about a week. Once I unpacked it I was pretty happy with all the pieces except one. It had two knots in awkward spots, I was also hoping for a bit tighter grain but as this mast is essentially a hollow box I’m sure it will be plenty strong enough. If not I’ll just make another one.

The timber for the boom though is sweet, It’s tight grained and knot free for the entire 4.5m length, I only hope it doesn’t bend while it dries out! The gaff timber is just as good.

Boom timber

Boom timber

The mast is laminated from 4 bits of timber 25mm thick 100mm wide x 6.3m long with the inner two laminates hollowed out. This is done before anything is glued up.

Cutting the inner bevel

Cutting the inner bevel

I didnt cut the whole thing with the jigsaw, I would have gone made or killed my jigsaw, I just used it to cut a starter hole for my circular saw set to 30° with a ripping guide attached.

Though all this sounds easy and straight forward I found it quiet tricky as the inner hollow varies a little to take into account a subtle taper on the mast. I did finish up with a little variation on the inner bevel angle. Thank goodness this is inside the mast and know one will ever see it.

Inner laminate cut out

Inner laminate cut out

The nasty knots
Here is how I decided to get around the knotty issue on one of my mast laminates. This solution comes straight from my favourite boat building book How to Build A Wooden Boat by Bud C. Mcintosh

The evil knot

The evil knot


Knot removed

Knot removed


New bit glued in

New bit glued in

I figure Bud has built a few boats in his day so I’m more than happy to give this a go.
More to come on the mast build


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