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Old 04-10-2015, 15:20   #1
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Bowsprit replacement?

Iíve just had another wobbly thrown at me, which wasnít on the to-do list.
I have unearthed a ton of rot in the bowsprit, about 18Ē long, (see picture), which Iím sure canít be repaired. So itís a new bowsprit to be madeófrom somewhere.
Iíve never replaced one before, so I ask the following:
What is the best wood to make it from, (or have it made)?
Where might I get a 10 foot x 8Ē square log from?
The sprit tapers to 6Ē square at the crance iron.
Does anyone know where I might be able to get a quote to have it made, preferably fairly local?
Iím in Titusville Florida.
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Old 04-10-2015, 15:32   #2
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

This is the responses I got to my bowsprit. A smaller one, but with a similar problem. Maybe it will help you out, although a lot of it is specific to my boat or my part of the country.

I was lucky in that I just happened to talk to the right guy at the marina who volunteered to help replace it and he was an absolute expert, so I got a better sprit than if I had paid a pro.
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Old 04-10-2015, 15:34   #3
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

Not the best picture of how good it turned out but even only one I have with me.
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Old 04-10-2015, 15:38   #4
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

What these have taught me is that I never want a wooden boat! Fiberglass doesn't rot. Yay for fiberglass, even metal rusts, most of it, I would make my boat of metals that don't rust, carbon, and fiberglass.
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Old 04-10-2015, 15:40   #5
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

I had some rot in the foot of my mast. Here is the bottom part of the mast being replaced:-

https://www.dropbox.com/s/klmtn20r6u...0Copy.JPG?dl=0
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Old 04-10-2015, 15:46   #6
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

My favorite species of wood for this would be an aluminium extrusion.
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Old 04-10-2015, 16:17   #7
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

Some ideas for resources:
www.edensaw.com WA State
Frost Hardwoods in San Diego
Wooden Boat Forums, & Wooden Boat Magazine
And odds are that quick web searches of traditional seafaring locales & institutions will turn up a lot more leads. Like say, the Wooden Boat Foundation/NW Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA. Ditto in Seattle. And many ports in New England, say Mystic, for example.

There are a variety of woods which would work just fine. It's to some degree of what qualities in that which you use that you prefer. As at one time or another, most type of wood have been pressed into service.
Also, regardless of tthe species, you might ask some shipwrights about laminating one.

Also, with the enormity of that rot, it begs the question, where else do some other nasty pockets of it lay? For if it got that large & deep before someone noticed it, then upkeep was more than likely being skimped on in other areas as well. And better to find it now, than to discover other areas in the bow (or elsewhere) in need of TLC about the time that the new sprit's finished.
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Old 04-10-2015, 17:57   #8
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

That is a pretty basic lamination job. You can get clear straight quarter sawn wood from a number of places. You are going to need to invest in some hefty clamps but that is what Harbor freight is for.
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Old 04-10-2015, 18:41   #9
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

Douglas fir is ideal for bowsprit's. Solid or laminated, your choice. My bowsprit is laminated teak but I wouldn't want to have to buy the teak today so Douglas fir would be my replacement choice.

PS
Did I mention Douglas fir
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Old 04-10-2015, 19:12   #10
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

I have not had to replace a piece like that, so take my comment below with a splash of saltwater. But, I have thought of it, as I have been looking at a lot of older boats, many which have wood bowsprits. I have thought of adding a sprit.

Instead of a single solid piece of timber, I think the better choice today would be aluminum or pipe or a laminated wood beam, made or cut to size.

You could make a laminated beam yourself in your garage, using fir boards, epoxy (glue) and hours of time and sanding and shaping to fit your design.

But...

My first choice would be Aluminum for longevity, lack of maintenance, and ease of adding welded on fittings for martingale, roller furler, anchor rollers on a mated platform, etc.

Depending upon the size of vessel, and the length needed, I would look for a tapered aluminum light pole or flag pole stock that has an appropriate size.

Sourcing?
I would use the internet.
I would first look to those who make flag poles (the tall kind seen in front of buildings). They make tapered extrusions.

If that failed to produce something affordable, I would also contact local government and speak with those who are responsible for putting up local light poles, and identify sources. By this, I don't mean the kind at the side of a freeway, I mean the smaller/shorter kind seen in shopping mall parking lots. I would look for a tapered pole that has been salvaged (perhaps struck by a vehicle at the base), to lower cost, or contact a light pole manufacturer to discuss discards, salvage, one offs, etc.).
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Old 04-10-2015, 19:25   #11
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

There is a great article on bowsprit in one of the last good old boat magazine. A guy was adding one to his pacific seacraft 34. A good read for wood selection and execution. Worth a few dollars for sure. Good luck.


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Old 04-10-2015, 19:26   #12
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

On Youtube, you can see a video that shows how a cruising boat owner replaced a wood bowsprit (while the boat was in the water) and how he built it (laminated wood). It is a very good video that shows the steps taken. He used Douglas fir 8" x 12' and did the work ON the boat. He used WEST system epoxy to do the laminating (on the boat).

The owners (Jules and Suzy) both have skills, as they built their boat years before this video. But, if you follow the video, it does look like the laminating and forming can be done by most people with simple tools and time….and elbow grease.

The boat? EMERALD STEEL

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Old 04-10-2015, 19:33   #13
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

The PO of our Formosa ketch had one fabricated of aluminum at a local shop. A 4" square extrusion for the first 4', and two telescoped tubes for the rest. When painted up, it looks good and sure as heck won't rot.
I think he paid about 600 bucks or so.
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Old 04-10-2015, 19:46   #14
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

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I made mine out of old growth Fir. The geometry was a tad tricky figuring out.

After that I epoxied the conditioned the wood, epoxied the piss out of it, and painted it with two part epoxy paint.....I'm sure I have an after photo too............

Laminations are even stronger if done properly.
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Old 04-10-2015, 20:32   #15
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Re: Bowsprit replacement?

X2 on Doug fir. We replaced an approximately 25 foot bowsprit on a tall ship with laminated clear fir. It kept the shipwright busy for two months.



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