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Thread: Leathering mast or partner/step?

  1. #1
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I've got a sailing dinghy with an unstayed mast. I need to either leather the mast or the partner and step. The mast is square at the butt, with radiused corners. The partner is a hole in a plywood thwart and the step is a square of plywood raised about 2". Both are okume. The section of the mast that needs protection is about 10" long. I've seen it done both ways but don't really know why one way or the other is preferable. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I would not leather in the step. That should just fit.
    Then I would leather the mast hole in the thwart. Especially if you are planning to fasten the leather with tacks.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    What he said. Don't leather the mast, leather the hole through the thwart.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    Thanks gentlemen, I'll leather the partner, which is certainly easier. But I'm still curious as to why some boats have the mast leathered.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    If the mast partner thwart is used for rowing at all then having the leather project beyond the hole there might be uncomfortable.

    I wonder if it depends on boat storage as well. If the mast is stored inside and the boat left outside uncovered right side up then leathering the mast might make sense.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Yevsky View Post
    But I'm still curious as to why some boats have the mast leathered.
    Maybe because they forgot to check here first?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    Did I miss something? Where did anyone explain why the partner should be leathered and not the mast?

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    northwestern Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I assume it's to avoid weakening the mast with tacks, maybe? Seems like I've seen lots of builders leather the mast, not the step, and their boats still float ok.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Yevsky View Post
    I've got a sailing dinghy with an unstayed mast. I need to either leather the mast or the partner and step. The mast is square at the butt, with radiused corners. The partner is a hole in a plywood thwart and the step is a square of plywood raised about 2". Both are okume. The section of the mast that needs protection is about 10" long. I've seen it done both ways but don't really know why one way or the other is preferable. Thoughts?
    If I am going to "leather" a mast, I lightly sand the varnish or paint in that area, put the cut to size and pre pierced leather in place with contact cement and stitch it up with the stitching line in the area of least stress, generally up the forward or after face according to the rig type. No tacks.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    Avoids puncturing the mast which allows moisture in which initiates rot in the mast. It's usually pretty soft and susceptible to rot while the thwart can be more rot resistant, being lower it can be made of a heavier more rot resistant wood.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I'm with Mr. Welsford. Why on Earth would you prefer to drive tacks into the partners, compromising it for water intrusion, instead of stitching leather onto the mast? You don't want to use tacks on a mast any more than you'd want to use them on oars, anyway. The mast on my sister's Sid Skiff is leathered to good effect: looks good, works well, no rot.

    Alex

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    Never had an oar rot or break from tacked leathers during sixty years of rowing. It's an overstated issue, imo.
    "... and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I have had oars break from weakening due to water intrusion at tacks. Not much fun, when pulling against a stiff breeze and a chop. Never had a problem with sewn-on oar leathers.

    Alex

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I leathered my mast because a single piece of leather, roughly rectangular, and sewn together (no tacks) seemed easier to both do and to replace than cutting a star-shaped thing for the partners, and having to tack that in place.
    My Goat Island Skiff Project Photos:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/999065...7648295059621/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    After a half a day riding in the car I was making a little something to drink just now and had the idea that you could just take the bottom out of a Pampero Anniversario leather pouch and just use the rest to leather a mast. Espcially if you are on your way to the MASCF with a brand new mast that you barely had time to varnish, let alone leather. A couple of wraps of electrical tape and you’d be good for the weekend.

    Last edited by StevenBauer; 10-06-2017 at 05:49 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I'm of the same camp as Mr. Welsford. Having done a fair bit of leather work prior to traditional boat work. I find the BARDGE brand contact cement and needle and palm to be the best method for leathering spars and looms. Also if you can source oil tanned cow hide as apposed to oak tanned, so much the better. Oil tanned will have a softer oily feel. Rub it with some "Oarsmans" Tallow when it gets dry. The contact cement will prevent any creep when pressure is applied during use.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Leathering mast or partner/step?

    I've had good luck with PL Premium for gluing leather on gaff jaws, mast partners, oar leathers, etc. As above use oil-tanned leather if at all possible. You'll need to cut and "star" the leather for the partner hole, where I used decorative brass furniture tacks for looks but glue for actual holding power.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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