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Old 21-11-2005, 15:15   #1
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Awlgrip Spars ?

My understanding is Awlgrip appered on masts and booms to cut costs. Anodized aluminum was big money and there may have been environmental pressure due to the process. Now I see some brand new masts that are bare aluminum. What gives ? What are the downsides to Awlgrip on spars ? The inside is not finished. I have seen some badly pitted sticks and booms. Could this have been prevented. By the way - what about the 2 piece mast bit. Any longer term issue.

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Old 21-11-2005, 17:25   #2
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I like the clean look of newly AwlGripped spars, but only until they get a few scratches. After 19 years, my spars need a new coat of AwlGrip to cover scratches and minor oxidation around stainless fittings, so a few weeks ago I got a quote. (Make sure you're sitting down and don't have any food in your mouth.) The quote was $18k to unstep the main and mizzen, remove all hardware, prime,paint,etc. There's gotta be a cheaper way! I think I may bring the booms home and try painting them myself. The masts, I'll just touch up in place.
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Old 21-11-2005, 17:37   #3
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I think 18K would qualify as a downside. Are you sure they didn't think you asked for "replacement" - it sounds like "repaint'em". Jeez

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Old 21-11-2005, 18:53   #4
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Kirby,
Ya know, Awl Grip is really, really nice paint .... but ... it's not the only thing out there. We sell PPG "Pitthane 35" at our store for about 1/4 the cost of Awl Grip ... and I would put it up head to head in a comparison test .. I'm sure there's someone in your area that sells it as well. It's my understanding that Sherwin Williams sells a similar paint that works as well too. By the way, Pitthane isn't sold as a "marine" paint ... it's sold as an "industrial coating" ... and much easier to apply properly than Awl Grip.
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Old 21-11-2005, 19:32   #5
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Paint 'em / r'place 'em. I only wish they had misunderstood. I would not have believed it myself unless I had seen it in writing. I just looked at the quote again to make sure I hadn't misstated the total. The actual painting was about $12k and the unstepping/stepping and hardware removal/replacement was about $6k.

Hey, maybe they thought I wanted them gold-plated! That would be a durable finish.

Thanks, Bob & Lynn. I'll check on Pitthane.
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Old 21-11-2005, 19:47   #6
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THe PPG is a good product, and industrial paints are very resistant to the type of wear that is found on a sail boat, but, the UV resistance is not very good in most of them. I am not familiar with the Pithane 35 specificly, but in general this is the case. I have used a number of brands in industrial applications, and found PPG to be one of the best. Valspar is also a quality material for this type of use. The older, higher VOC 835 has much better UV characteristics than the newer 840. As for Sherwin Williams, I am not very impressed with their products. I have found that all of their industrial line chalks up faster than comparable paints in other brands. As for bare aluminum, I have seen badly neglected 20 and 30 year old boats around this harbor with bare spars, that do not appear to have any corrosion. I do not know the history of these boats prior to 6 years ago, but they were in severe disrepair at that point. I need to unstep and refurb my masts in the foreseeable future, and intend to use PPG on them. I have the equipment, the skills and the space to do this, but if I had to pay a yard in this area, I would not be surprised to see a 10-15000 dollar bill. To properly remove all fittings on a mast, then rebed and install them is a big project, and very labor intensive. Spraying a spar wastes allot more material than spraying a large flat surface. If the spars are anodized, the prep work is a major operation, and the spars have to be etch primed. Not a cheap operation in itself.
Also consider the cost of paint work these days. The paint work on the gas tank on many of these custom Harleys now costs as much as $5000. Granted, the material and artistic talent is for more involved, but you start to see the expense of paint work.
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Old 22-11-2005, 04:50   #7
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Iíve never felt the need (other than aesthetics) to apply a protective paint coatingon Aluminum, which is naturally corrosion-resistant*.

Anodizing is recommended where Aluminum may be subject to mechanical abrasion, such as perforated toe rails. Anodizing is the electrolytic oxidation of the surface, producing a tightly adhered (integral with the metal substrate) oxide scale, which is:
~ thicker than the naturally occurring film*
~ hard and abrasion resistant**
~ has better corrosion resistance than the natural oxide
~ and provides an effective base or key for supplementary protection such as paints.

* Aluminum is corrosion-resistant due to its natural tendency to form a very thin, protective, hydrated aluminum oxide film on surfaces exposed to air. Comprised of a thin inner barrier layer and a thicker, more permeable outer layer, this oxide film measures only about 2.5 nanometers (nm) in thickness on new metal and thickens (to 10 nm) gradually with age.

** Aluminum is susceptible to mechanical abrasion, where the thin oxide film is continually removed, preventing itís self-repair.

Aluminum (-0.8V) is also subject to galvanic corrosion, when coupled to metals with a higher Voltage, such as a 300 series stainless steel (-0.07 V) screw or rivet. The voltage potential between the two alloys will be about 0.73 V (obtained by subtracting the two average voltages), with the Aluminum being the corroded anode. The further separated the two metals (bimetalic couple) are on the Galvanic Series, the greater the corrosive potential. This is why fasteners should always be more Cathodic (more Noble, higher positive Voltage potential) than the larger mass base metal (more Anodic). I recommend you that insulate the screw or winch or cleat base from the aluminum, with a plastic isolator/insulator, and Coat the threads of any fastening with No-Alox, or other anti-oxidant. Copper must NEVER be in contact with Aluminum.
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Old 22-11-2005, 10:55   #8
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Kirby,

That quote is pure and absolute horseshit. If you keep you boat in that yard or allow them to do any work on your boat I would be on the road visiting other yards today.

We are re-painting our spars this year with Awlgrip. Our bill is $10k to remove the rig from the boat, remove all the gear from the spars, sand blast, repair as required, prime, paint, re-assemble, and restep.

Our air draft is 93 foot and the rig weighs well over 2,000# so I would venture to guess our spars are much larger than yours. A good rule of thumb for Awlgrip painting is $150/foot for topsides, $450/foot for deck painting, $100/foot for spars here in the US. Those prices include stripping off old gear, minor repairs, prime, paint, and re-assemble

The yard that is doing our painting also painted our hull and decks last year. They are very good. They also have the Hatteras dealership and paint many large motor yachts when needed.

Kirby, I would not accept that quote, I would go shopping.

Send me a PM if you have questions or would like to see photos.

Good luck

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Old 22-11-2005, 11:34   #9
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After adding up the total running length of my spars, maybe the quote isn't so whacked after all.

Main Mast..........65'
Mizzen Mast.......45'
Main Boom.........17'
Mizzen Boom......10'
Staysail boom..... 5'
-----------------------
Total................142' * $100/ft = $14,200


I guess this is a valid argument against owning a Ketch.
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Old 22-11-2005, 11:41   #10
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Kirby,

Quote:
I think I may bring the booms home and try painting them myself.
Do it ! This is much easier than you think. If your booms have already been painted and you are just "re-doing" the paint job then paint them yourself. I would highly recommend the new Interlux Perfection 2 part paint. I have used the Interlux Interthane for years and this new paint they have come out with is a real pleasure to work with. It has a much better working time, flows out like glass and I really mean glass. You can easliy achieve a sprayed finish look with 2 coats. For your size booms and mast, I would guess about 4-5 quarts for the entire job. At 70.00/qt you do the math. Paint one coat, let dry overnight, sand with 220 by hand and apply the finish coat. Of course there is some work in the initial prep but trust me, painting them is easier than you think.
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Old 22-11-2005, 11:42   #11
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Thrifty

Call me Thrifty. It costs zero to lower the mast, a few hours work to remove the fittings and maybe $200- for some paint and rollers and stuff. But I do not intend to paint my mast, it is fine being aluminum. I did paint the mast on my 21 foot boat. Cost about $40- I think. I used a roller. Got to be carefull not to get the paint too thick in the mast slot, that may jam the sail slugs a bit. Remind me often about how much it costs to keep a large boat.
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Old 22-11-2005, 11:58   #12
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Well, from what I have learned so far, painted spars are not anodized spars. I am a little skeptical in believing that spars do not need either paint or anodizing. Begs the question - why did they do it if it wasn't needed. My spars in question were "made" by Hall Spars in Bristol, RI. Hall sells touch-up kits. So far I am hearing it is a cosmetic issue and not structural, although I have seen some badly pitted painted aluminum spars. This makes me wonder about the possibility of variable quality in different extruded aluminum masts. Touch-up is good enough for me if there is no structural deterioration risk. I have other priorities.

Lar
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Old 22-11-2005, 12:10   #13
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Kirby,

I would think you should be able to get the job quoted for $6-8k. Your spars are not that big.

We would probably do our own spars but I have no place to paint it, no way to move it, roll it, or hang a spar that is 95 foot long weighing over 2,000 pounds.

I Awlgripped (sprayed) my buddies 65 foot spar for his C&C 41 but that only weighed a couple hundred pounds. Our rig is a much different animal.

Michael, we have spent about 1% of new replacement to bring the boat back from some serious neglect. That is ending and it looks like we will go under 1/2% of new replacment for the next few years.

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Old 22-11-2005, 13:59   #14
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Any tips on working with a 2-part poly? Brush it, spray it or roll it? I have a small spray setup (compressor/gun) that I use to paint furniture with oil-based enamel. Is that sufficient for spraying a 2-part poly? I think the "2-part" description is causing me a little anxiety - justified or not.

Overall, I'd guess this is like any other paint job.

- Sand the existing finish until dull to give the new paint "bite".
- Sand/fill (if necessary)/prime any bare, oxidized areas. (What do I use as a filler?)
- Two coats of paint
- Reassemble using plastic washers and NoAlox on the threads

Sounds simple enough.
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Old 22-11-2005, 18:29   #15
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This thread is full of items that I would like to touch on. Painting spars and black anodized spars became popular when spars began to be tapered. With clear anodyzing it was difficult to hide the cuts where the tapers are made but black anodizing did not hold up very well.

On a straight tapered spar anodizing is less expensive than than awlgripping and even on a tapered spar it is generally around the same price as awlgrip.

In the 1970's when spars with welded connectors became more common, it became more difficult to get a quality anodizing result. Painted spars were found to hold their finish longer and became so painted spars became very fashionable.

In other words, it was not cost savings that led to the widespread use of awlgrip.

As to the cost of painting spars, I had my roughly 54 foot mast painted when I bought my boat. The mast was down already but it cost roughly $200 to step it. I removed the rigging and masked or removed the hardware. I wet-sanded the old awlgrip. Next the mast was spot primed and the wet-sanded again. The yard did a final degreasing, tacked the mast, and sprayed the mast for me. The bill was roughly $800.00. While if examined very closely the paint job did not look as perfect as a factory paint job. By previous agreement with the yard, there was some aligatoring and a few runs. But it provides a good protective coating, when seen from the deck it looked very good, and has held up well for the past 5 years.

I am not sure why you guys are getting such high quotes but if you are trying to save money I would talk to the yard about doing your own prep and discuss having a serviceable job done rather than expecting a gold plater finish. Much of the big costs are in the prep and the risks involved in trying to get a perfect finish on a mast.

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