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Old 14-09-2014, 21:50   #1
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Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

My bow sprit has a soft spot at the front and back. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and was wondering if anyone here has made a new sprit.

It's overwhelming the amount of choices of wood I am reason about. What would you use? I believe the original is white oak. I don't want to replace a bowsprit with only the two known bad spots with a subpar wood. It sounds like a lot of thought needs to go into the wood, the cut, the grain to withstand the compressive forces.

Has anyone used any place in the Bay Area? I have been told about spauldings in sausalito and a place in Richmond. I forgot the name.

The bowsprit is small. It's a flat plank that extends maybe a foot forward and has my forestay and a small bobstay. Nothing like those big dolphin kickers you often see.

Lastly, is it possible to just repair it with penetrating epoxy? Say I dug out the rotted area and filled it? The front one could be cut off and the one on deck is about the size of three quarter coins in a row and about that wide.
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Old 14-09-2014, 22:44   #2
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

You are in the heart of Bow Sprit country, Douglas Fir. Beautiful straight grain stock is available in most real lumber yards. Mac Beath in Berkeley has the best selection.
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Old 14-09-2014, 23:06   #3
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

Myself, I'd use mahogany. But I've been working next to a spar maker for the past week here in Napa. I'll ask him tomorrow to see what he says.

Do you have any pictures?
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Old 14-09-2014, 23:15   #4
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

I'll put some good quality photos up tomorrow. It will give you an idea of what it looks like. Thanks.
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Old 15-09-2014, 00:03   #5
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

northoceanbeach,
Odds are, based on your questions, that doing a little reading on the West System website, & also their periodical site would help out some. In this instance, especially the former & their free downloadable guide to "Wooden Boat Restoration & Repair" @ WEST SYSTEM | Use Guides
The other site's www.EpoxyWorks.com And both of them have search functions to boot.

Though based on what you're saying about your sprit, I can't see how it'd hurt to try a penetrating epoxy, but yes, pictures on your part could help.
Heck, a good fix might even turn out to be as simple as sistering in some decorative looking reinforcing pieces (in addition to stopping the rot where it is, & stabilizing it).
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Old 15-09-2014, 00:12   #6
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

The product I was told about is "git rot". It claims to resstore the structural integrity of rotten wood.

I'll just have to post pictures tomorrow. I don't know anything, but I looked up rotten bowsprits and some bowsprit replacement blogs and this doesn't look anywhere near as bad as most of those.

There is no drips in the anchor locker. Its dry as a bone. No streaks along the bolts holding the sprit to the deck. This boat has a big metal plate along the bow under the sprit and mine isn't rusted. It looks good. Some cape dory sprit replacement article had a plate that was just rusted to pieces. So in my limited experience I don't think the board is rotten except in those two places.

You can tell how much I want to fix this quick and go sailing huh?

But I really do want it done right. I just don't lnow if it needs to be done.
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Old 15-09-2014, 18:57   #7
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

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Old 15-09-2014, 21:11   #8
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

You say there's a big metal plate under the sprit.

It maybe the main support and the wood as just a secondary system. If that's the case, Get Rot, or other systems may be appropriate.

How big is the plate?

From what I see in the picture, I wouldn't trust the wood alone. That's part of what is holding the mast up.
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Old 15-09-2014, 23:13   #9
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

I can't see enough from the pictures to tell how bad the problem is, however, from what I can see, I'm inclined to agree with delmarrey in that I'd not trust things enough in their current state, to take her out for a brisk sail. As he stated, quite rightly so, the sprit's a key component in holding up the mast.

Odds are she's fine, but why take the risk. Also, did you get a chance to read the West System guide which I referenced? It talks about how one repairs such items as yours, including pictures & specifications on scarphing in pieces to replace the damaged sections.

One other thing which runs through my mind, aside from the fact that there's SO much of the sprit & it's design & construction which I can't see, is the fact that if there's a stainless steel plate underneath of the wood, then there's more than a reasonable potential for more rot where the two meet up. Especially anyplace where fasteners penetrate the wood.

I mean if the wood is rotting in places where's it's painted, then what's it like anywhere where there are holes in it...
You really need to take things apart & have a good look. In addition to that, at a minimum, re-bedding & repainting/revarnishing everything. If not outright replacing the wood & improving how the various fasteners are attached as per the West System references, & their book on boatbuilding (free on PDF).
If you catch, & fix this problem early, then it won't be a big job, however, if you don't...

One reason that spars & their associated parts are varnished is so that problems, such as rot, can be spotted & dealt with early. Not that spars, booms, & sprits can't be painted, I'm just stating the former as it's not necessarily commonly known.
There's a bonus with epoxies on this. One can coat the wood properly with them, & then varnish overtop of said coating. It gives a good bit tougher finish while retaining the ability to see the wood's beauty.

Dare I ask how long you've had the vessel, & your level of tool/boat care expertise. It'd help in terms of what level of suggestions some of us might suggest.
Ah, & one more resource is Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (cpes) : Noahsmarine.com
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Old 17-09-2014, 14:08   #10
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Re: Bay Area wood works.-bowsprit

I have some experience sailing. I'm pretty good at sailing/navigating/cruising skills. I'm not do good at woodwork, electrical. I have just bought the boat. Some friends in the marina found a nice piece of mahogany at the lumber yard and are going to help me cut and fit.
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Old 21-09-2014, 09:42   #11
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Re: Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

It sounds like you're in good hands. Though, that said, I'd HIGHLY recommend picking up a few of Nigel Calder's works http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...Nigel%20Calder
And for things like sizing your sprit, or just knowing what makes for a solid boat, or components there of, Dave Gerr writes some GOOD stuff http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...+Boat+Strength
And while it's pricey (I bought my copy new, when it first came out), as in on par with my college textbooks, Steve & Linda Dashew's "Cruising Encyclopedia II" is more than worth the coin. Amazon.com: Steve Dashew: Books
If you pick up the Dashew's books used, try & ensure that you get the disc along with the book.

And all of the above tomes, while being great references, are also really good reading. I had trouble putting the "Cruising Encyclopedia" down, even to eat. There's enough incredibly good info in there that a full time (professional) sailor of several decades would still pick up a lot of info.
Ah, sometimes things are a bit cheaper on eBay, or at www.half.com
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Old 21-09-2014, 10:17   #12
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Re: Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

I made a sprit like that using Spartan hardware such as you have there. I used two teak Planks glued together. Today that may be cost prohibitive I suppose. I would probably use CVG (clear vertical grain) Douglas fir... although that is getting quite expensive also. (If you do, be sure they guarantee its Fir not Hemlock or what they call Hem-fir today)
As Minaret said mahoghany would be a good choice also (real mahoghany)
I have used Aircraft Spar Spruce on a bigger bowsprit, it's tough and lightweight, but is quite dent prone.. softer than the good old growth fir.
The key with anything but Teak will be to keep it sealed. In the end it's a lot of labor... maybe Teak is worth it. How wide a plank do you need if you glue 2 or 3 together?

You appear to have no bow anchor roller...? Maybe you could have a metal fabricated sprit/roller made and go whole hog!
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Old 23-09-2014, 14:20   #13
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Re: Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

I got a mahogany plank that's the same thickness and is being cut to width and length.

I have a small bow roller with a chain pin to hold the anchor in place that I am going to place off to starboard.

As I dig out the bungs to reveal the six bolts holding the plank to the deck, there aren't washers in there, but this hard red stuff around the bolts. Anyone know what this is?
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Old 23-09-2014, 14:27   #14
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Re: Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

The thing about penetrating epoxies like Git Rot and CPES, is that while they stabilise the wood and prevent any further rot, I don't believe they add much strength.

So the big question is : do you think the sprit is strong enough right now? If so, I might be tempted to try epoxy to stabilise the wood and prevent any further decay.
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Old 23-09-2014, 19:46   #15
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Re: Bay Area Wood Works.-Bowsprit

Quote:
Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
As I dig out the bungs to reveal the six bolts holding the plank to the deck, there aren't washers in there, but this hard red stuff around the bolts. Anyone know what this is?
If it's brittle, it could be a waterproof glue. You might find washers underneath.
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