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Old 09-07-2013, 10:18   #1
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Best wooden mast finish?

Hello, I have a wooden mast and its needing some TLC. I was wondering what the best uv protectant/ colored finish is on the market. I have used Cetol on the rest of the wood but it seems to scratch off in heavy use areas. Paint would be out of the question . Being its made out of spruce, I wasnt sure if some type of varnish would work or oil based stain? Thanks....
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:45   #2
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

Epoxy then paint.?
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:51   #3
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Epoxy would add strength and paint would protect but having a wooden mast is part of her beauty.... Would hate to cover it up with paint. But the thought has crossed my mind lol
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:00   #4
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

Mate i have made a timber mast for my cat. I had the same dilemma as you, but to be honest a clear finish means heaps of maintenance. That being said i do believe there are some good varnishes out there.You may have to remove all the cetol to get a good bond though.Acetone may be a good cleaning agent, although i have no experience regarding this.
I have sheathed the mast in fibreglass, but stupidly allowed the mast to get wet in the rain before it was properly sealed.

the expansion of the wet timber simply split the glass.
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Old 09-07-2013, 14:41   #5
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

If you are dead set against paint, use epoxy then 2 part varnish over that. As you know epoxy does not hold up to UV and varnish breaks down and leaks so the epoxy will save it. As mentioned, cloth with epoxy then 2 part varnish is the bomb. If you use really light fabric you can't see it. I have 4 locker lids done that way and after 6 years in the tropics they look great.
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Old 09-07-2013, 22:09   #6
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

We use Epifanes PP Varnish Extra as a base, typically 9 coats and then follow with Epifanes Clear for an additional 7 or 8 coats depending on the quality of the final coat. I did a complete post on this a while back which can be read here:

*The Bonne Amie Chronicles: Let's Talk About Varnish

We have done both masts, one with Old Salem as a base for Epifanes Clear, and the other with PP Extra. The PP Extra built faster, was able to be hot coated 2-3x per day and took finish coats of Epifanes Clear beautifully.

I apply at least 3-4 coats of a high quality carnuba wax to the finished spar after about 1 week and then re-apply a spray on wax once or twice per year if I am up the mast. Typically we re-apply varnish on our spars every 2 years, two or three new coats over the winter.

You can see images of the varnished mizzen here:

*The Bonne Amie Chronicles: Rigging Preparations

The wax goes a long way towards preserving the finish. On another boat we waxed the spar but not the boom and the boom required new coats after less than one season so this is now a regular part of our routine.

Do not put epoxy on a spruce spar if you want the spar to survive long. I have seen far to many epoxied wood spars hold moisture where the epoxy failed near fittings and rot soon followed. Epoxy is NOT stable when exposed to UV and WILL fail in an astonishingly short time frame.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:32   #7
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

Joe Fish...

I'm sure that your spars are absolutely beautiful, but your posting is the best recommendation for aluminium spars that I have ever seen!

Different strokes...

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:04   #8
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

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Joe Fish...

I'm sure that your spars are absolutely beautiful, but your posting is the best recommendation for aluminium spars that I have ever seen!

Different strokes...

Cheers,

Jim
In 1967 the original wood spar went over the side. That mast was replaced with an aluminum spar designed by Rod Stephens and custom built. That spar weighed just under 500#.

The new mast that was built precisely to the drawings Nevins used to make the original of spruce. The original mizzen was used for detail reference. The completed main mast weighs exactly 208# and was constructed from VGG tight grain 29rpi sitka spruce from the Queen Charlotte Islands, heli cut with no fractures. It's light and strong as hell.

A modern aluminum extrusion may be lighter, but a 58' wood spar at that weight.. well, it's simply a work of art.

It may not be every owner's cup of tea, but for my time and money, I'll stick to this.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:36   #9
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

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In 1967 the original wood spar went over the side. That mast was replaced with an aluminum spar designed by Rod Stephens and custom built. That spar weighed just under 500#.

The new mast that was built precisely to the drawings Nevins used to make the original of spruce. The original mizzen was used for detail reference. The completed main mast weighs exactly 208# and was constructed from VGG tight grain 29rpi sitka spruce from the Queen Charlotte Islands, heli cut with no fractures. It's light and strong as hell.

A modern aluminum extrusion may be lighter, but a 58' wood spar at that weight.. well, it's simply a work of art.

It may not be every owner's cup of tea, but for my time and money, I'll stick to this.
Sounds like an excellent example of what an artist can do with timber, and as I said, I bet they are beautiful. And 208 lbs is indeed light.

I'm a great fan of S&S, used to own a S&S 30 and loved her. But my goodness, how could Rod get a spar to weigh that much? When I pulled my nearly 70 foot alloy spar last year it weighed not much more than that, complete with all the wires and the two furlers!

Anyhow, your yacht is lovely in the picture... what a neat little mizzen staysail!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:53   #10
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

Rod was a genius. If you can find a copy of his unpublished partial manuscript it's worth reading. The level of detail he pressed for was astonishing. These were some of the last wood spars designed so they are very detailed. Ours were built by John Guwzwell who is a master spar builder and fantastic sailor in his own right so no effort was spared in their construction, down to forged eyes and all hand made hardware to original.

Four chromed bronze Barient winches add some weight, but that's below boom height so not much of a factor on an 18,000# yacht.

D1's and D2's are Dyform to save weight and halyards are all Amsteel spliced into Maffioli Old Style Classic 75 (DSK75) tails to reduce chafe on the spars. This alone saves a bunch of weight and it does not absorb water. We wrap the halyards where they contact the sheaves with a chafing cover.
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Old 10-07-2013, 14:02   #11
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

I built a new main mast last year. Before I put the lid on it, I gave it the antifreeze treatment all through the inside of the mast to prevent rot. We've had good luck with this treatment in the past. Once the mast was closed up, it was saturated with 3 coats of West clear epoxy followed up with 8coats of spar varnish. All the hard ware, screws, ect. We're bedded with PRC. Now, with a little luck, it'll last another 72 years.
I would be willing to bet that as long as you saturate with epoxy first, any varnish or paint of your choice will be just fine as long as it has a UV additive.
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Old 10-07-2013, 14:48   #12
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

Joe, very interesting stuff. John G certainly has the skills and track record to produce a stunning mast.

We too have gone to all Dyform wire and Dyneema in runners, baby stay and life lines. Not quite brave enough to use non-metallic standing rigging yet, but as long term cruisers we need demonstrated long term reliability before we make that jump. Actually will likely use Dux for the topmast backstay when it comes due for renewal (soon) for that isn't so critical to the rig's standing.

I hadn't known of the Maffioli company before. Downloaded their catalog and was mightily impressed... what a huge range of high tech cordage! Don't know if they are represented in Oz, but I would certainly be interested in some of their products. Thanks for pointing them out in your last posting.

Cheers for now,

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Old 10-07-2013, 15:19   #13
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

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I built a new main mast last year. Before I put the lid on it, I gave it the antifreeze treatment all through the inside of the mast to prevent rot. We've had good luck with this treatment in the past. Once the mast was closed up, it was saturated with 3 coats of West clear epoxy followed up with 8coats of spar varnish. All the hard ware, screws, ect. We're bedded with PRC. Now, with a little luck, it'll last another 72 years.
I would be willing to bet that as long as you saturate with epoxy first, any varnish or paint of your choice will be just fine as long as it has a UV additive.
If the varnish ever fails and UV gets to the epoxy and moisture gets under it, you'll have rot. I've spoken with a lot of spar builders over the last few years and all insist on never putting epoxy on the spars.
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:25   #14
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

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Joe, very interesting stuff. John G certainly has the skills and track record to produce a stunning mast.

We too have gone to all Dyform wire and Dyneema in runners, baby stay and life lines. Not quite brave enough to use non-metallic standing rigging yet, but as long term cruisers we need demonstrated long term reliability before we make that jump. Actually will likely use Dux for the topmast backstay when it comes due for renewal (soon) for that isn't so critical to the rig's standing.
For that very reason we're using wire on the shrouds and only make use of composites for the runners. It only saves about 4 lbs. but more important the runners won't tear up the back of the main or the varnish this way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I hadn't known of the Maffioli company before. Downloaded their catalog and was mightily impressed... what a huge range of high tech cordage! Don't know if they are represented in Oz, but I would certainly be interested in some of their products. Thanks for pointing them out in your last posting.
I campaigned Stars and a few other one designs, as well as navigating on Farr 40's and 30's over the years. Maffioli cordage has been on a lot of those boats. I've always been VERY impressed with their product and will continue to do so until I'm given a very compelling reason to switch. I'm certain you'll have a very positive experience with them.
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:28   #15
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Re: Best wooden mast finish?

Spar varnish like McCloskeys or similar. It stays more flexible than plain varnish. White paint will last a lot longer though. I've seen wooden spars painted with a similar brown color to t he wood... looks good from 20 ft away! and lasts longer....
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