View Full Version : Mast hoops
06-27-2011, 12:06 AM
I about to attempt the mast for the third time.
While on my trip to Mystic Seaport I went through the hoop shop, the strips of wood that were to be hoops were shaped like a V belt for the inner first circle and then thinned flatter near the outer wrap. At least that is what I thought I saw can anyone verify this.
I have seen web demonstration of flat strips bent quite nicely into round circles, but they don't seem to have the same shape as what I saw at Mystic.
06-27-2011, 07:15 AM
The ones that you picture, effectively "D" shaped with the curve to the inside, will slide on the mast easier than rectangular section hoops. The demo on the web could be considered the "lazy" way to make them.
06-27-2011, 01:42 PM
If I were making hoops I would be tempted to laminate from straight cut strips of white oak. Soak and bend on a form till dry and then epoxy and clamp back on the form. The shaped, steam bent and riveted hoops in the pictures are nice though.
06-27-2011, 01:48 PM
Nothing to prevent bending rectangular strips. Then when set to form, shaping the inner corners to the D shape in the pictures with a round soled spoke shave. I'll bet that the old specialists shaped their stock on the bench, knew where to cut the scarfs and then steamed them, but there is always more than one way to skin a cat.
06-27-2011, 10:12 PM
If I were making hoops I would be tempted to laminate from straight cut strips of white oak.....
Mast hoops are NOT to be made of oak but ash, just like cleats, handrails, boat hook handle...or harness horse race (classic) sulkies: ash is one of the few woods that to not make splinters. It also steams very well.
However, unless one goes for "tradition for tradition sake", modern materials can also be used, and fiberglass hoops are sometimes done, with great success (and virtually unbreakable).
Whatever materials, curved inside ("D" section) is proper. Rectangular will lead to having the inside angles bearing onto the mast. Additionally, mast hoops must be leather covered on a proper yacht.
06-27-2011, 11:10 PM
Thanks Luke ...
Wooden Boat Fittings
06-28-2011, 08:15 AM
I once saw a lovely set of masthoops for a dinghy made from woven willow wands, covered in sewn greenhide -- lightweight, practical, and entrancingly beautiful.
06-28-2011, 08:28 PM
Can anyone draw a picture of a hoop strip before it is steamed and bent or even better take a picture of a hoop strip before it is bent.
I have thought about it several times to imagine how to bevel and shape for the overlap while account for the D shape and has tired me out each time. It is clear to me that both ends would need to be beveled, the inside lap would need an 8 to 1 bevel and a D shape along the bevel it would also need to to be some what pointed near the end and the other end would need a 16 to 1 bevel for the outside overlap . Does anyone agree with this description of the strip before it would be steam and bent.
I noticed the hoops on Alerion were only 1 and half loops and about 3/4" in depth x 3/4 width. This is what I want to duplicate.
06-29-2011, 07:57 AM
Maybe too much thinking and not enough trial-and-error?
I would jump right in and start with a D shaped length and then bend it into shape and size, and trim it until it fits. Then you will have a pattern you can use for the rest of the hoops.
Sometimes you can't know how to do something until you do it.
06-29-2011, 08:52 AM
I did an experiment with my kids silly putty last night and shaped a strip. It was easy to understand on how to shaped one. I will post some pictures a little later. My biggest problem so far has been with breaking the hoops while steam bending, I must have the grain the wrong way.
06-29-2011, 09:33 AM
If you're still using it, oak will break more often than ash.
06-29-2011, 06:16 PM
We made ten or so 10" hoops for our boat a few years ago. Used a steam box and a jig to bend them around. The wood should be ash and flitch cut not 1/4 sawn. In the WoodwnBoat magazine there is an article about Lowell's boat Shop in Mass. They give some tips on soaking the wood in water with glycerin and dish washing liquid like overnight etc., instead of steaming. I will post some pictures of the hoops we made. They are removable with screws and nuts, not riveted. I did the final shaping when they were formed and dry, quite easy with the right plane, rasps and sandpaper. We did not achieve the full rounded D shape as we leather bound our hoops for protection. Out of 15 made we lost maybe 2 to splitting.
06-29-2011, 06:39 PM
06-29-2011, 09:27 PM
V&S those look nice, I think I have figured the correct way to shape the wood before bending. I will be using ash this time.
The hoops that were on Alerion only had 1 and a half loops similar to this plastersine one I made.
06-30-2011, 12:05 AM
Having sailed a gaff-rigged yawl for many years with the mainsail laced to the mast I always wondered why anyone would use mast hoops. I think it is just a big boat habit applied to smaller boats. My yawl was 24' long, 4 1/2 tons displacement. The lacing was easy on the varnished mast and it never ever prevented or interfered with getting the sail down when it had to come down. I have no experience with hoops so I am ignorant of any advantage they may provide. But i can not imagine a simpler, more foolproof way of attaching a mainsail to a mast than a lace line.
06-30-2011, 05:09 AM
Well Roger after many years of breaking and jamming hoops we tried lacing and were dissatisfied with the results. So we cut the lacing into robands and have enjoyed trouble free sail handling. Another benefit is not worrying about chaff, plus they are adjustable. One proponent of hoops is the ability to go aloft easily on the ladder. But robands afford the same convenience.
06-30-2011, 05:15 AM
Alerion, I am not sure what size your hoops need to be, I fashioned mine, by using a Pert Lowell one for a pattern. Smaller hoops need less loops, strength is probably the issue. Enjoy your project. But you might be better off with lacing or robands!
07-03-2011, 10:40 AM
Vinny, hello! If you'd be so kind, can you post pix of your robands? BTW, regards to Shawn. Wes
07-03-2011, 12:11 PM
I don't think I have any close up pictures. We used a low stretch yacht braid, cut into equal lengths, depends upon the circumference of the mast. Ours are 28" long each. Just thread them through the grommets and tie a square knot in the ends. You can adjust them accordingly for tension along the luff. We haven't had any problem but once of one coming loose. I could use longer lengths and finish with a half hitch if doing extensive cruising. The knots once set against the grommet will tend to remain there. Again you could seize them to the grommet for a more extensive fit.
07-03-2011, 12:31 PM
I have made hoops from various materials, mostly steam bent wood and white schedule 80 pvc pipe, (I call these "whale bone").
But the shaping I always did in the drill press using a quarter round router bit spinning as fast as the drill press would go.
(An upside down spindle shaper)
edit ; the heavy wall pipe is used in underground water systems and is available in large diameters like 8" If you visit a local underground contractor he will have buckets of scrap.
07-03-2011, 11:48 PM
The mainsail luff lacing must be done a certain way. It is shown in the book Gaff Rig by John Leather. It seems counter intuitive but it works flawlessly. The line begins with a bowline at the topmost eye in the sail, then goes around the mast and back through the next eye, then down next to the luff of the sail through the next eye, then around the mast again and so on to the last luff eye. The tack of the sail is secured separately to the boom. The book also shows a way of lacing the head of the sail to the gaff which worked well for me although it mentions that robands are more reliable because if the lace line around the gaff parts in bad weather the entire head of the sail would come down.
Wooden Boat Fittings
07-04-2011, 02:19 AM
And the 'there-and-back' lacing method works without jamming too (as do robands, of course) --
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