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Thread: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by lagspiller View Post
    I've thought till now that these birdsmouth masts were only viable in small boats - and haven't bothered to read about them before opening this thread. A very interesting thread - where I also see some fairly large masts in progress and finished. Impressive products in every way.


    So, now I have a question about replacing the solid wood mast I now have in my 22sq.m. with a stiffer, lighter birdsmouth mast. Is a 40ft mast with an even taper from about 5 inches at the foot to about a 3 inch diameter at the top a reasonable project in a birdsmouth? I'm thinking 8 sides for the convienence.
    The original mast was a solid, laminated spar. I broke that and made a solid, unlaminated sitka pine replacement which was 6in at base originally, but has dried to about 5.5 in and is too willowy. It would be a good project if this birdsmouth technique could give something similar to the original in weight and stiffness. What do you knowledgeable guys say to that?

    Whether yea or nay, this has been an interesting read.
    Lagspiller, I can't comment on the performance of these spars, this one being my first attempt. I hope that those with actual sailing experience will feel free to comment. It's my understanding that the strength is slightly less than a solid spar, the advantage being less weight aloft, and in the case of a catboat, less weight in the bow.

    The Duckworks site has valuable information regarding scantlings.

    Another advantage the birdsmouth has over a solid spar is dimensional stability, the spar will not shrink. Nothing could be more stable than rift or quartersawn timbers arranged in a ring. The birdsmouth spar can also be very consistant throughout, well chosen timbers without grain runout, knots or sapwood should yield a spar without any weak points.

    You might be interested in Don Kurylkos mast building for the wonderful boat he's building. The mast is approximately the size you want to build. Here's the link...page eight of "More Photos of Don Kurylkos New Boat", posted by Dave Lesser...



    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...new-boat/page8


    I can't say just how helpful these threads are to me as I move forward. Thanks, KC, Don, Gary, and all the rest. I hope my contribution will be as useful to others down the line.

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 01-18-2014 at 09:13 AM.

  2. #72
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by P.L.Lenihan View Post
    Hi Mr.Ledger,

    It is difficult to imagine a better way to be greeted, upon waking up, then to see the past meeting the present in this fine video demonstration of an adze in use.

    A few questions,if I may.

    1) Is the far end secured some way to the shop floor to prevent the stave from getting kicked forward with each throw of the adze?
    Hi, Peter, sorry I missed this. I was just browsing back on page one and realized that I hadn't answered your questions. So, here goes...


    I was fooling around with a way to hold the staves in position on the floor and came up with the simple solution of putting a wooden handscrew clamp onto one of the legs sopporting the boat, and clamping the far end of the stave to that. To begin with I tried using the adze with the near end unsecured. This worked alright with the first few until I came to the one in the video, which misbehaved as you can see.



    Quote Originally Posted by P.L.Lenihan View Post
    ,

    2) Would securing the stave somehow, near its' worked on end, keep it from hopping around with each throw of the adze?
    What I did subsequently was to screw two 4x4 blocks to the floor, one each side of the stave. This contained the stave and eliminated the sideways movement.


    Quote Originally Posted by P.L.Lenihan View Post

    3) Being able to sight the scarf line accurately would appear to suggest a bent over working postion, the use of a mirror or you've better eyes than I. Which is it?

    Using an adze while cutting something on the floor or something you're standing on requires bending at the waist...which is very tiring if done for any length of time. I much prefer sitting on a nice stool and adzing something in front of me. Working overhead must have been something else, but every ship made needed every frame dubbed fair with an adze so the planking would fit fairly. Add to that a foreman watching and a crew of plankers to keep ahead of.

    As to looking at the line...I couldn't see it while cutting, an occasional glance was enough.

    Cutting tapers, whether it be with an adze or an electric plane has much to do with the sequence and pattern of cuts. you start at the end and take a cut, the next cut is taken a little further from the end and taken right through. Already a taper is forming which can be compared to the desired taper. Subsequent cuts start further and further from the end and continue though. The taper can be adjusted at any point. So, to answer the question...it's feel, a little experience, and the fact that I wasn't coming too close to the line. Fact is, with a scarf like that, if you cut too much it doesn't matter, just make the stave a couple of millimeters shorter and try again...but it never came to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by P.L.Lenihan View Post

    4) When you say the adze is rather sharp, is it sharpened to a fine chisel edge,micro bevel and all or is it sharpened like your big slick shown in a previous video?
    To sharpen the adze I secure it in a vise and use either a file or a diamond hone, or both. No micro-bevel, I never do that on anything...and yes, it gets very sharp, you have to be careful handling it.

  3. #73
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by BBSebens View Post
    That was so interesting, even my one year-old son wanted to watch.

    It looks like great cardio exercise.
    Thanks, Ben, it's all good excercise, which is reason enough to try it, plus it's very satisfying watching chips fly.

  4. #74
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Excellent.

    Same muscles as pulling a bull rake? Close?

    Kevin

    I wouldn't know, Kevin, as I've never pulled a rake.


    I...was a tonger, which only comes in handy if I'm using bolt cutters.

  5. #75
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Matti View Post
    I made Mary III mast the same way, tapering after, mast is 50 feet spruce. Only disadvantage was that I needed helper to carry pieces.
    Spruce is light, mast wooden weight is 115 kg.
    I have no fancy machines, I made birdsmouth with table saw, two 45 decree cuts, after that with hand plane.
    Matti
    Thanks, Matti. That certainly seems a light weight for such a mast. Would you happen to have any pictures of your mast or the build that you could post? I'd certainly like to see any. I'm interested in your opinion of the mast in service.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    I've done about as much as I can for the time being. The weather has been mild, but tomorrow it will get colder. Until there's some consistant mild weather later in the Spring there's no point in trying to glue the mast.

    The staves have all been sawn to a taper, and the sawn edge hand planed smooth, fair and square. Sawing the taper revealed the inside of the scarfs, and I'm pleased with the result...all had nice consistant glue lines with no voids.

    A few pictures...

    ...here we see the pattern stave clamped onto another stave in order to trace the taper line...






    ...cutting just outside the line with a Skilsaw. After sawing the edges were planed off to the line.


    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-20-2017 at 07:30 AM.

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    One last thing. I weighed a finished stave and it came to 44 pounds, which comes to 352 pounds for the eight staves...minus some for planing of...plus some for solid infill...I'm guessing around four hundred pounds give or take.

  8. #78
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Lagspiller, I can't comment on the performance of these spars, this one being my first attempt. I hope that those with actual sailing experience will feel free to comment. It's my understanding that the strength is slightly less than a solid spar, the advantage being less weight aloft, and in the case of a catboat, less weight in the bow.
    I'll try and dig out that article from our hosts' magazine later, but the idea is basically the same as creating a box truss with the addition of small strengthening elements to the back of the staves. In the article they talk about a carbon fibre rod embedded in the back of stave, but I'd think that laying up the back with some biax' glass would do the same thing.
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  9. #79
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Being slack I'd do two half depth cuts with my 7 1/4'' Makita . Very neat Mr Ledger !
    I should have added , "to outside the line then plane to fit."

    Jim, where did you learn to use an adze ? It's not the quickest skill to learn !
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Now that you must wait until Spring for glue-up, will you band the staves in a tight bundle to prevent any warping, etc.? Where can you store such long pieces of wood?
    Lastly, what's the story behind those great honkin' beams in your back yard? One's being used as your spar bench. Did you get them out of some really old building?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  11. #81
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    I should have added , "to outside the line then plane to fit."

    Jim, where did you learn to use an adze ? It's not the quickest skill to learn !
    I made a couple of keels for my current catboat back in the Eighties. I had finished the first keel and cut the centerboard slot and found a massive bark inclusion which made the keel useless, hence two keels. These keels were shapely things, hewn out of ten-by-twelves, which provided plenty of opportunity to practice adzing. I found the tool to be very enjoyable to use and have usd every opportunity since to further my experience.

    The adze head cost me five dollars at a junk store, the handle I made.

  12. #82
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Now that you must wait until Spring for glue-up, will you band the staves in a tight bundle to prevent any warping, etc.? Where can you store such long pieces of wood?
    Lastly, what's the story behind those great honkin' beams in your back yard? One's being used as your spar bench. Did you get them out of some really old building?
    Hi, Rich. I'll just make a nice stack along one wall of the boathouse. I doubt they'll warp any.

    The beams? Last Tuesday I had an appointment at a hospital. Leaving, about a block from my house I saw those beams laying at the side of the road, dumped. All morning I was in suspense hoping nobody would have grabbed them. They were still there when I got home, so my son and I put them in my van and brought them home. They're all thirty feet long, ten-by-tens. Two are hand hewn oak, old, top plates from some building, with rafter seats cut in. The other is Yellow Pine, sawn. The one was sure handy for working on the staves.

    My wife said "Did you drive around and see if there were any more?" God, I love that gal.

  13. #83
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    They're all thirty feet long, ten-by-tens. Two are hand hewn oak, old, top plates from some building, with rafter seats cut in. The other is Yellow Pine, sawn.
    that's quite a score
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  14. #84
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    that's quite a score
    One mans trash and all...

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Good Grief !!! Amazing ! people are SO strange !
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  16. #86
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    I've built a shed out of people's strangeness.

    Found it: Carbon fiber: to strengthen spars/catboat SILENT MAID, 214:46 (May/June 2010)

    Built at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. I think the phone number there is listed as 215-413-8638. I'm not sure as it's been 27 years since I used a phone in the US and haven't called a US number very often since. John Brady would be the fella to talk to and I'm sure he'd be a wealth of information on the subject of catboat masts... If he's still there of course.
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  17. #87
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Good Grief !!! Amazing ! people are SO strange !
    yeah i know right, in this day and age of routers who in the right mind would get a scarf out with a adze???


    ledger rocks
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  18. #88
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Thanks, Matti. That certainly seems a light weight for such a mast. Would you happen to have any pictures of your mast or the build that you could post? I'd certainly like to see any. I'm interested in your opinion of the mast in service.
    This is only mast building picture; http://www.freewebs.com/maryii/apps/...otoid=43532452 , my computer get down and...
    There are, in post one, on launching pics of ready mast; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...5-Gartside-109
    and post 49 are pair of pics when mast was taken of to winter storage ( note huge amount of people in pics, crane man haven't come yet and I took pics, )
    In service the mast have worked well, only two and half season this far. Mast is quite slender 170mm diameter, 70mm on top, the top length is for topsail. http://www.freewebs.com/maryii/apps/...toid=140093172

    I had 7 m long, 2" through sawn spruce "on shelf "(one time I had a idea to build strip plank sailing boat, but I made plank on frame instead.) so I needed only two scarfs to each stave.

  19. #89
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Thanks, Matti. I'm going to take some time and have a good look at your build pictures. I'd recommend the same to anybody. Give this boat a look.

    http://freewebs.com/maryii/

    The work looks first rate and I'm only up to the frames.
    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 01-19-2014 at 09:50 AM.

  20. #90
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    I see you have a Dragon... would you consider a birdsmouth mast for that?
    I have also considered splitting my present solid wood mast and glueing in a lamell the entire length of the mast. That would certainly stiffen it and may be the best option. But I'd consider beginning from scratch and keeping the present mast intact if this birdsmouth construction can be made strong enough in the diameter I need.

    But at present, I'll just continue to follow Jim Ledgers progress and enjoy the thread.

  21. #91
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    lagspiller,

    What is a "lamell"?

    Quote Originally Posted by lagspiller View Post
    I see you have a Dragon... would you consider a birdsmouth mast for that?
    I have also considered splitting my present solid wood mast and glueing in a lamell the entire length of the mast. That would certainly stiffen it and may be the best option. But I'd consider beginning from scratch and keeping the present mast intact if this birdsmouth construction can be made strong enough in the diameter I need.

    But at present, I'll just continue to follow Jim Ledgers progress and enjoy the thread.

  22. #92
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Oh, sorry. I thought that worked in English. Google translate says - Lamell: Lamella, slat, louver, spline....
    A flat wooden slat the bredth and length of the mast... Like when you laminate something.

  23. #93
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Thanks, I didn't notice Norway, but I wouldn't have known anyway!

  24. #94
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by lagspiller View Post
    I see you have a Dragon... would you consider a birdsmouth mast for that?
    I have also considered splitting my present solid wood mast and glueing in a lamell the entire length of the mast. That would certainly stiffen it and may be the best option. But I'd consider beginning from scratch and keeping the present mast intact if this birdsmouth construction can be made strong enough in the diameter I need.

    But at present, I'll just continue to follow Jim Ledgers progress and enjoy the thread.
    Duncan Gibbs is the one restoring the Dragon, Lagspiller, Mickey Lake has one as well, but he just sails his.

    From what I've observed from the builders here you should well be able to make a suitable mast to the dimensions you gave. One unusual thing about a catboat mast it is that is essentially free-standing. The only standing rigging is a forestay, which hangs slack unless you're sailing upwind. My point is that your mast is probably supported by standing rigging, which would take a lot of the load off the mast itself, giving you a margin of safety that I don't anticipate in my boat.

    Making more shavings...

    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 01-19-2014 at 02:33 PM.

  25. #95
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Yes, Thanks. That was supposed to be a reply to Duncan's post - #78. I don't seem to have the hang of the hybrid posting thing yet...

  26. #96
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Matti View Post
    This is only mast building picture; http://www.freewebs.com/maryii/apps/...otoid=43532452 , my computer get down and...
    There are, in post one, on launching pics of ready mast; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...5-Gartside-109
    and post 49 are pair of pics when mast was taken of to winter storage ( note huge amount of people in pics, crane man haven't come yet and I took pics, )
    In service the mast have worked well, only two and half season this far. Mast is quite slender 170mm diameter, 70mm on top, the top length is for topsail. http://www.freewebs.com/maryii/apps/...toid=140093172

    I had 7 m long, 2" through sawn spruce "on shelf "(one time I had a idea to build strip plank sailing boat, but I made plank on frame instead.) so I needed only two scarfs to each stave.
    Matti, I just looked at the boat from the third link above. Very pretty!
    Last edited by LongIslandBoy; 01-19-2014 at 03:21 PM. Reason: Cited the wrong link.
    "Simplicity, Clarisse! First principles..."

  27. #97
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Jim, was my PDF any help?
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  28. #98
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Jim, was my PDF any help?
    You're darn right it was, Gary, I've been following your instructions to the letter. Thanks!

    Is there some way you could post it here? Judging from the amount of interest shown here I'm sure it would be a welcome addition to our fund of information.

    For the rest of you, Gary has published an article in Junk Rig Magazine detailing his mast build. It's well written, informative and has a nice set of accompanying photos.

  29. #99
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Jim,
    Thx for posting this and organizing the additional information. A great resource which I will need in the future, I only hope I can first complete the platform on which it will rest.
    Best,
    Jon

  30. #100
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    You're darn right it was, Gary, I've been following your instructions to the letter. Thanks!

    Is there some way you could post it here? Judging from the amount of interest shown here I'm sure it would be a welcome addition to our fund of information.

    For the rest of you, Gary has published an article in Junk Rig Magazine detailing his mast build. It's well written, informative and has a nice set of accompanying photos.
    I could do it as a separate thread, which is what I am assuming you mean.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  31. #101
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    I've had a think about it and I've submitted it to Wooden Boat as a possible magazine article. If they were to publish it then I would have the $$ for the safety gear i still need to sail the sea.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  32. #102
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Hello Jim ; what's the length of the mast's bury ?

  33. #103
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    "Did you drive around to see if there were any more?"
    It pays to marry well. Good choice Jim.

  34. #104
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Perkins View Post
    Hello Jim ; what's the length of the mast's bury ?
    I'm not Jim but it should be around 10% of the mast length.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  35. #105
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    Default Re: Making a birdsmouth catboat mast

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I've had a think about it and I've submitted it to Wooden Boat as a possible magazine article. If they were to publish it then I would have the $$ for the safety gear i still need to sail the sea.
    That's a great idea, Gary. I was going to suggest a thread of its own, because it would be easier to find in the future, but a published article would get the most exposure. Good luck with it!

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