View Full Version : Repair/Replace Wooden masts/bowsprit

Skipper Hays
09-05-2006, 12:24 PM
I need to repair or replace the masts on my 41ft Island Trader. They are Sitka Spruce box construction.I have large rot areas and splits along the seams.I am thinking abut repairing the rotten areas by dutching in new pieces of Sitka Spruce and then using the West System and fiberglass cloth to fiberglass them and then painting them with an Interlux wood colored marine finish.I want a very strong spar with the least amount of upkeep. My Bowsprit is rotten also. I need to find a good supplier for this wood.Any suggestions or books on the subject will be appreciated.I am thinking about converting to aluminum ....any thoughts ???? Thank you !! Any help is appreciated !!!

09-05-2006, 01:44 PM
I had to replace a solid spruce bowsprit a few years ago. I bought a peice of juniper from the local mill. It works fine, because the original was overly strong, so the soft wood does just fine. I used planks of the same scarfed over soft spots in the mast (after first cutting out the rot), but my mast is solid too. I still think that you can repair your mast this way. Reglue the seams and provide drains to keep the water out. good luck.

Ian McColgin
09-05-2006, 05:30 PM
First, the glass won't help. It will make future rot worse.

Try easing the seams apart at least as far as they naturally go to get a good idea as to what's up. On hollow masts improperly drained, you can have more rot inside, especially along the seams, than you think. So make sure that you're really fixing the whole thing.

I know sitka spruce is terribly expensive, but don't plan to skimp on wood. If you must build a new mast, think fir maybe.

I've done a modified dutchman approach on box spars - top and bottom ends beveled 12:1 in the thickness. If the part being replaced is not the full width of the stave, often the case, the sides should be normal to the faces.

It can't hurt, if you get the mast opened up enough, to CPES the whole interior. That stuff will cause cancer in rocks and certainly will kill anything that tries to grow inside the spar. I'd not CPES the glue surfaces unless you're using Smith's bonding epoxy and priming with CPES is something Smith recommends.