Solid wood Masts – Beautiful Timbers

We popped into the boatyard over at Mayer Yacht Service and saw these masts sitting on horses along the side of the building.

Masts from Base - Solild Sitka Spruce SparWe got to know the owner of the boat that these are attached to while we were having work done in the yard as well.  The boat is a ketch that the owner rebuilt from the hull up, and it has these cool masts.  While the ketch is fiberglass, he obtained the poles from an old schooner so the masts are likely significantly older than the boat itself and they are massive, beautiful timbers.

Over the days that I was going to the yard, the masts were being sanded down to bare wood and having the spreaders repaired or rebuilt.  The picture above shows the line where they are varnished and then sanded down.  The part closest to the camera is likely the part that goes down through the deck to the keep so exposed from down below.  These are massive.  They look like telephone poles or tree trunks.

I am at the end of the mastI was a bit enamored by these due to their size.  Our wooden mizzen, for example, was about half the width of this mast and our boat is 10 feet longer than the one these came off of.  In this photo, I if you look carefully you can see me standing between the spreaders and the top of the mast.  I look like I am a mile away.  🙂   I set the camera on the mast just above the line where they are sanded.  There is another eight to nine feet of mast behind the camera in this photo.  The mast looks square in this picture but it is not, it is just a giant round timber with an attached extension (see the right-hand side of the main on the left) that holds the sail track.  After speaking to the owner of the boat, he was considering putting Epoxy on them and varnish over them to protect them.  I love the idea and I didn’t take pictures of this, but I did see his booms after he applied the epoxy.  They looked great.

If you ever attempt to do this, you can use any epoxy, but if you want that really clear color it is best to use a clear hardener that is less prone to “yellowing.”  I have done this on projects and tend to use West Epoxy just because it is more readily available.  If you do, be sure to use the 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener.  Epoxy doesn’t usually have good UV Protection, so always cover with varnish if you do this, but it is a wonderful way to build thickness in the layers, which makes wood on boats look so good.  I think they look like wood sandwiched in a layer of glass.  Awesome.

The mizzen base - keep stepped - massive

To give you an idea of the size, I took this picture of my hand at the base of the mizzen.  Remember the mizzen is the smaller of the two masts and is still larger than my hand with my fingers outstretched along the butt end of the mast.  The mizzen has these unique notches in it to keep it from rotating.  I guess with a wooden mast; this takes the place of an aluminum receiving base that would prevent an aluminum spar from turning under pressure.  The base of the main, which I didn’t snap a picture of appeared to have a metal portion sleeved over the bottom with a large metal square notch to sit inside of the keel base.  

I thought I would share these photos because I just found them to be pretty cool looking.

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