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Thread: Mast step/floors repair

  1. #1
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    Default Mast step/floors/partners repair

    I took my Gartside up to the Sunshine Coast while I was doing some house sitting and got in 7 days of good sailing in a variety of conditions both quite challenging and idyllic.
    An overall good shakedown.
    After the first bunch of sails I was working on the rigging and noticed the mast step was wobbly. I unscrewed the step and discover the problem was the two little floors it was mounted on. Not being able to fully repair it where I was. I managed to tighten up on of the screws in the forward floor and I put a small c clamp on the rear floor to stabilize it.

    Now at home looking at the problem. I noticed my temporary C clamp had come off. I drilled out the other plug on the forward floor and removing both the screws going into the stem it came out easily

    At first I thought the rear floor was only attached by one screw dead centre (which I was NOT able to get at the head of as it was buried about 1.5")
    Further wiggling showed it was actually screwed through the lap of plank one and 2 (I guess garboard and the plank up) on either side.
    I noticed this because the screw blew through the side of the floor having obviously not been centred well.
    The corresponding plug in the planking on that side (port) was noticeable loose so I pulled it out.(^%$^&%$ no more red paint!)
    I dug out the other plug, unscrewed it and was able to pull out the floor as the centre screw had lost most of it's hold.

    I see this as being caused by, age and the fact the the lengthened mast has a rather large hole in the mast partners , 3 3/8" while the mast at that point is about 2.5".
    I had the rather thin leather in place and had been using a thick piece of carpet wrapped around the mast as a temporary measure till I acquired some thick leather,
    It held it quite snug.
    However with the strong winds and often lumpy conditions I was sailing in ,plus the extended mast (which I made some use of in lighter airs) it probably wiggled the whole thing around a lot down below.

    So the port, hole through the lap is kind of enlarged and a little squishy around the edges. The other seems okay.

    However I don't know if I like the idea of the floor being fastened through the 3/8" cedar planking(even though it's thicker through the lap)
    Seems like any working of the mast is transferred directly to the screws going through the cedar planking

    I was going to drill out and plug the holes with cedar when the boat's dried out a little regardless

    I was thinking that a stout triangular vertical stiffener on the aft side of the aft floor, notched over the frame and attached to the floor and to the centre plank(keelson/hog?) and the same forward of the forward floor, but attached to the stem and the floor. Might help to firm the step up without having it working directly on the planking.
    I thought one could also have stout vertical piece between the floors and directly under the step as well as, or instead of

    Bad idea/ Good idea?

    Any better ideas?

    The other thing I need to address is the extra large mast partner hole. The plans call for 2 3/4" and it's 5/8" too big at 3 3/8" I think, if possible to fill much of that gap with a rigid material. Though I'm not sure how unless one added a square board with a smaller hole atop (and maybe below too).Need to ad 5/16" all around. I also thought one could clean the edge up, (about 1/8" in to get rid of any roundover) epoxy in a plug and recut the hole entirely.
    My brother suggested adding wood to the mast at that point which would certainly be relatively easy
    .Leathering won't take up the entire gap and will still be loose as the leather compresses. I think the extra large hole allows the mast to rake to much etc. etc. besides the nasty wobbling.






    Last edited by Toxophilite; 08-10-2022 at 10:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Anybody?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    I would make a new maststep, longer, notched over the frames and fully in contact with the keel and stem. Then I would fasten everything togheter with long bolts reusing the existing holes for the frames and the scarf.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Without knowing the boat a bit better,I would question how much of the wear is attributable to the extended mast.Is it not inevitable that it he leverage exerted by the rig has increased the force applied to the step?As I mentioned on the other thread about the boat, I would be inclined to add a couple of oak dowels to keep the step in place and maybe find a length of bronze rod to run a die down so that at least one piece could pass through the step and floors as well as the keel and be secured by a nut at each end.The oversize hole in the mast partners is a bit more difficult to resolve but maybe a rectangle of 1" UHMW polyethylene with the correct sized hole could be bolted to the top.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Is this an open boat? My steps are through-bolted all the way through the keel/keelson. I once tried lags in a cedar boat like I see here but they shook loose and I ended up through-bolting.

    Also, if I'm reading correct, your spar at the partner is only 2.5" while the mortise (?) is much larger? That's an issue, or at least, it's not great. I'm curious about the bury depth between the step and the partner, along with the size of rig you have on the boat.

    Can I see a photo of the whole boat? I'd like to see the issue as a whole. A photo that shows how the partner is connected to the boat, and it's relationship with the step.

    Also, is this cedar on oak?
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Sorry 12' cedar on oak open clinker rowing and sailing dinghy. Standing lug, Paul Gartside 1309

    My brother suggested adding 2 longitudinal pieces and making a box of the floors and the step with the step being still removable. I also think little knees on either side of the floors would be good

    Another fellow I know who built one of these has a 2x sized step fastened directly to the stem/ keel with #12 Monel 2.5" screws. Sounds very strong, one piece
    It's this boat, That I have a thread about, I should've posted over there I guess but it seemed a particular problem.

    Mine is basically according to plan except for the hole in the partners.I'm not sure of the fastening through the planks though.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...llowed-me-home
    Last edited by Toxophilite; 08-11-2022 at 06:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    I'm for through bolting the floors to the keel and stem, carriage bolts, with the head outside and the nut countersunk into the top of the floors. You don't need knees on the floors. A couple of screws through the planking into the floors is common practice and gives the floors some support. Notch the mast step over the floors and fasten it down with a couple of big screws into each floor. Keep the step away from the keel. so water draining down the mast doesn't collect in the step.

    If there's no soft spots those floors and step can be plugged and reused.

    The hole in the partners can be built up with epoxy and a nice piece of leather could cover it. If you're interested I could give you a couple of ideas on how to do it.

    Just a coupla thoughts, good luck,

    Jim

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Feel free to share your thoughts on the mast partners. I'm interested. I was tempted to just add 4-6 5/16" thick hard mahogany strips to the mast as somebody did with my shellback. I was going to epoxy or tightbond 3 them on as my shellbacks's are screwed on and I see no reason to sink screws into the mast thought it saves me glue prep. You think it's better to shrink the hole rather than add shims to the mast?

    The floors and step are fine, the step is already notched over the floors and perhaps the existing setup would've been fine if the mast partner hole hadn't been so large and then mast a c couple feet longer. I still don't like the screws though the cedar planking for the floors though I realize it's common practice.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    With the partners, could you turn up ( hopefully you have access to a lathe) a rebated collar to epoxy into existing so that lip is on top.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    That's an idea. I can ask my lathe wielding brother. I don't have one myself

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Toxophilite View Post
    You think it's better to shrink the hole rather than add shims to the mast?

    The floors and step are fine, the step is already notched over the floors and perhaps the existing setup would've been fine if the mast partner hole hadn't been so large and then mast a c couple feet longer. I still don't like the screws though the cedar planking for the floors though I realize it's common practice.
    It's absolutely irrelevant if you shrink the mortice or enlarge the tennon, just glue on some hardwood stock and sand to fit. The fit will not be very snug anyway, otherwise you need a hammer to install the mast.

    The floors are screwed to the planks because otherwise they can't perform their function of tying the two halfs of the boat together. Your boat is small enough to have continuous frames over the keel, but where this is not the case without the floors all the load is on the garboard screws. If you plan to not screw the planks to the floors they simply become spacers for your maststep and it's better to cut off the ears and eliminate the potential rot pocket. Wich brings me to the next point, the floors must fit the planking and keel perfectly and be bedded to them. I don't think your floors are "fine" if they wiggle around enough to enlarge a hole in the planking. The center screw is clearly not doing its job and that must be fixed, preferably by replacing it with a bigger bolt trough the keel, or at least a bigger and longer screw in a repaired hole.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    When I said the floors and step are 'fine' I was referring to their condition , regarding rot and soundness, as a previous poster said if they weren't soft they could be plugged and reused

    Only the aft floor was fastened to the planking. These floors also exist to support the forward part of the bow floor boards

    I feel they could've been fastened to the keel better but also they believe they weren't intended to hold a 14' mast steady while it wobbled around in an oversized partner hole in very choppy, lumpy and windy conditions.
    I think the oversized partners played a big part in the floors step and floors coming loose.

    Anyway I will be attending to it all using the excellent and helpful suggestions offered here. Which I of course appreciate very much.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Let us know how it turns out.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    The most important thing is to through bolt the floors to the keel. Screws are no good here.

    As for the hole in the partner, an easy fix is to use some cedar wedges while you think up a good permanent fix. Making a new mast partner is probably the easiest and best fix. By the time you're done fiddling around you could have had yourself a brand new one.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Quick and dirty solution to the mast partner issue would also be to laminate new partner right on top of the old partner (or even underneath, though you'd then have rain/water start to collect in that area). Laminated and through-fastened. The new partner would just have a smaller hole. (You might even be able to make it look intentional.) After that, go sailing.

    Your photos show a partner that is nicely indexed just under the inwhales. That part looks great.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    On bigger boats, floors are attached to both the keel & frames & I'd think that would be much stronger than the freestanding ones. I agree with the above that through bolts would be better than screws.

    On the partner size - once again speaking of bigger boats - it's common to use soft (cedar?) wedges to fill up the space around the mast. That also lets you adjust rake if desired.

    ETA - I see Mr Leger beat me to most of this.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    This rig doesn’t have stays. If it did then the spar would be up permanently when you’re out and about. Shims would make sense in that situation. Shims are an extra issue to deal with when you have an unstayed rig like this. (At least, I think it’s unstayed.) It’s better (simpler = better) to just have a mast that fits the partner. Sometimes, when all hell breaks loose on a little boat and you need to get the rig and spars down right freaking now then you’ll be glad you went with the simpler option.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    (Yeadon's post and mine crossed in cyberspace but I think the idea is the same)

    As this is a 12' open trailered clinker dinghy the mast is removed after ever sail. Maybe sometimes a good idea to lower it when out. When you speak of bigger boats do you mean ones that have the mast pretty well always in the boat?
    This boat inly has these two floors only one which was screwed to the planking and only via one bolt on either side.I don't think the floors are functioning in the same way as floors in bigger boats. these are primarily to support the step and provide support for the bow floorboards, or at least that's how I see it.

    Through bolts would require me to either remove much of the brass keel strip or drill through it. Neither of which I'm keen to do at this point. Here is the boat at Plumpers Cove for some perspective.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Toxophilite; 08-12-2022 at 11:08 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    My brother very nicely made me a Blk Locust rebated collar as per Andrew Donald's suggestion as well as a new pair of Blk locust belaying pins(purposely made a little long)IMG_2167.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    My dear brother redid this cool rebated collar and included a bottom piece ring
    It would be glued on once the finch was removed where it would sit/attach

    Is there any reason why making the parters effectively 3/4" thicker would be a problem?




  21. #21
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Thats exactly it but better. Ask him to put a thread on it so you can put your heavy weather mast in

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Mast step/floors repair

    Thicker will put spread the load on the mast - so I'd think it'd be better.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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