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Old 31-05-2016, 11:34   #1
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Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

I saw an ad recently for a boat with a Spruce mast. The boat was not a wooden boat..built around late 70s...so, why was the mast wood? Are there any advantages to having a wood mast? What would be the disadvantages? Maintenance? Durability? Also, I don't recall anything said about the boom. Would that also be wood, or not necessarily?
I tried doing a forum search for "wood mast" and "spruce mast" but didn't really see anything of interest. If there is a thread with this info in it, please refer me to that link if you have it..I don't want to rehash a long thread or anything like that.
Thanks.

***Side note: the ad actually reads "hollow box spruce" if that makes any difference.
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Old 31-05-2016, 11:39   #2
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

Not unusual at all, but does take different maintenance than Alu. I had an old Pearson with a wood boom but Alu mast.


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Old 31-05-2016, 12:41   #3
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

The wood mast is going to be heavier for the same application.

Wood can rot out in less than a year of failing to do proper upkeep and aluminum can put up with 50 years of marginal maintenance as long as you avoid galvanic corrosion and improperly drilled holes.

But the wood mast with a good spar varnish finish just looks better.

****************

Hollow box = you can run a LONG pole up the center of the mast from the bottom... sometimes hollow all the way to the top, then capped similar to an aluminum tube mast.
The hollow box mast is usually done in 8 sided box.
The center of a wood mast does very little to add support. It can actually make the mast easier to break if its solid than if its hollow.
Also the slight different grain angles at the glue joint and the gluing process can add significantly to the strength of the wood structure.
All this means you can get a stronger lighter mast by doing it with a properly glued up hollow box structure. It will still be heavier than the aluminum mast for the same boat to use the same sails.
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:13   #4
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

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Originally Posted by TurninTurtle View Post
.. the wood mast with a good spar varnish finish just looks better.
The ad mentions that the mast has been sealed and painted..So, no cool looking wood is visible. It really does not look wood at all..even looking in the saloon does not reveal wood under the deck stepped mast..
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:36   #5
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

hollow box masts were made by taiwanese and other builders in 70s. my formosa has one.
taiwanese boats may not have spruce masts, as spruce was distant from taiwan. mine are thai cedar. 40 yrs old thai cedar. awesome me. taiwanese manufacturing cos also used a new zealand wood.

hollow box masts are rectangular, 4 sided boxes. some have stringers inside for affixment of bales and cleats etc. some have reinforcing blocks built into them.
not all hollow box masts are the same. that is part of the benefit and blessing of ownership of nonproduction boats. no 2 are same.

wood masts and booms made in this manner are not heavy weight wise, and they are flexible and strong. they hurt as much as solid spruce ones when you are hit by em ( ask me how i know this ha ha ha ha), but they are just as strong, and in many cases stronger.

you donot mention the marque boat. could make a difference.

wood masts are easier to repair than aluminum and are less expensive to make and repair., depending on the wood chosen for mast build,. ye do not need a welder to repair wood.
for the most part formosa masts were painted. i will not be painting my repaired mizzen, once the work is done. mine was damaged by furycame patricia inbarra de navidad last fall.
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:48   #6
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

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hollow box masts were made by taiwanese and other builders in 70s. my formosa has one.
taiwanese boats may not have spruce masts, as spruce was distant from taiwan. mine are thai cedar. 40 yrs old thai cedar. awesome me. taiwanese manufacturing cos also used a new zealand wood.

hollow box masts are rectangular, 4 sided boxes. some have stringers inside for affixment of bales and cleats etc. some have reinforcing blocks built into them.
not all hollow box masts are the same. that is part of the benefit and blessing of ownership of nonproduction boats. no 2 are same.

wood masts and booms made in this manner are not heavy weight wise, and they are flexible and strong. they hurt as much as solid spruce ones when you are hit by em ( ask me how i know this ha ha ha ha), but they are just as strong, and in many cases stronger.

you donot mention the marque boat. could make a difference.

wood masts are easier to repair than aluminum and are less expensive to make and repair., depending on the wood chosen for mast build,. ye do not need a welder to repair wood.
for the most part formosa masts were painted. i will not be painting my repaired mizzen, once the work is done. mine was damaged by furycame patricia inbarra de navidad last fall.

Boat in question is a '79 Cheoy Lee Offshore 38. The ad specifically mentions spruce, but that could be a replacement mast, or unknowing owner?? Not sure.
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:57   #7
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

As long as it is sound, no issues with a wooden mast. I remember some early grp boats with wooden masts. My early racing boats all had wooden masts.

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Old 31-05-2016, 15:34   #8
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Re: Wood mast good/bad/indifferent?

cheoy lee may have been spruce. not sure on them, but the formosa prolly were thai cedar as it has a superior duration and better insect repellant and more rot resistance naturally. not to mention much more reasonable shipping from thailand to formosa than from ak to formosa(taiwan).

if the ad says spruce, make sure it is so. some were special orders in spruce.
spruce is good wood, and should last 40 yrs easily, as did my thai cedar ones.
not ALL the wood masts were thai cedar, but in all probability, the formosas´ were.

spruce is almost as good for insect repelling and rot resisting as is thai cedar. i was absolutely blown away to see my 40 yr old original spars were in such great shape, while the rest of boat had so many issues.
i prefer wood masts--i donot weld, and wood is learnable. also cheaply replaced with excellent woods here in mexico. my mizzenboom is ipe/huanacaxtle/perota wood(all same--has different names)
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