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Old 14-01-2008, 22:08   #1
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Cleaning up an Aluminium mast

Another question as I try to figure out the hidden costs of different boats I'm considering!

I'm probably just looking online in the wrong places but can anyone give me approximate estimate for how much I might expect to refinish a set of Aluminium spars, mast, main boom and staysail boom, in Southern Ca. I'm guessing the work involved will be:

1) Demasting
2) Stripping the current paint and oxidization (sand blasting?)
3) Recoating (suggestions here welcome!)
4) Rerigging - would think that this would be a good time to throw some new shrouds and stays on too.

The boat is a 38' cutter (other wise in quite spiffy condition ).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 15-01-2008, 00:34   #2
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Please state age, current condition and serial number...

If you could let us know the current condition (perhaps with the help of a few photos) and the estimated age of the rig then we would be better placed to advise.

Just kidding about the serial number.
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Old 15-01-2008, 02:03   #3
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Photos of storm track and mast base included. Hopefully they give a good enough idea of general condition.
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Old 15-01-2008, 03:30   #4
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Do you want concours condition?

Age and previous use can be important here. Aluminium has a certain number of cycles to failure as does stainless steel.

Do make sure that mast and rigging are in a serviceable condition by engaging a reputable surveyor.

If you can find a mast maker or rigger with lots of experience I'd suggest discussing what you want with them.
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Old 15-01-2008, 05:11   #5
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A couple of earlier discussions:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...-spar-677.html

Aluminum spar damage.
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Old 15-01-2008, 05:15   #6
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The word is unstepping the mast not demasting it.
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Old 15-01-2008, 05:59   #7
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To inspect the mast and spreaders you will need to remove the paint. Sand blasting wouldn't be the best way but blasting with other less powerful abrasives could be a good way to clean off the paint so you can then inspect the details and look for cracks. Sand itself under pressure can make a hole very quickly in Aluminum. Here is a link with a video about how the process works:

http://www.sodablasting.com/


If you are pulling the mast to repaint it rewiring the mast head would be a good project too. It's really only possible to do it right when you have the mast off. The rigging may or may not show signs of problems too. You can also inspect all of that as well as the chain plates. Once you have the mast off an up on stands you can do the work easily. Then as a last step you can prime and paint the mast.
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Old 15-01-2008, 09:33   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
The word is unstepping the mast not demasting it.
Ha - thanks! I was having one of those moments where you sit staring at the keyboard with a word somewhere in the back of your mind but refusing to make its way through the fog ...

Those articles on *how* to refurbish a spar are interesting but what I was really hoping for was a price, to the last dollar - or at least within half an order of magnitude or the eventual load on my pocket Given that I haven't done this before I would like to assist professionals if possible.

The mast is probably the boats original (26 years old) and has done at least two crossings between west coast US and Hawaii. The photos above show the only things we found not in "bristol" condition.

-Tom
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Old 16-01-2008, 15:06   #9
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Anyone have photos of corrosion damage?

I'm taking another, closer, look at this boat at the weekend. Does anyone have photos of serious mast damage, or perhaps mast damage that looked serious but cleaned up fine so I could have something for comparison?
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Old 16-01-2008, 15:15   #10
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I think you will find very serious mast damage is pretty obvious when you remove the paint. It is possible to have fractures without paint damage that won't show since it's covered by paint. Damage may have been painted over. Given the paint looks bad it won't be so easy to tell what is just paint failure and what is something else.

Fractures may not be so obvious until cleaned. The penetrating dye makes it easier to see the fractures and if you saw them they should be considered serious enough to repair. The dye can only penetrate if there is a crack. Every crack is serious with aluminum.
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Old 16-01-2008, 15:29   #11
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Tom, I just did the mast on my Cal 29. I will try to go back and get a general idea of the money involved up to this point, but I think that there are too many variables to really give a good idea of what it may cost.
My mast was already unstepped when I bought the boat so there is one point that I can't help with. Another variable will be what method that you use to strip the old paint. Then what coating do you use when you are finished. The list goes on and on.
Like Paul (Pblais) says, sandblasting can be very hard on any aluminum.
After I was pretty much finished with my mast, I found that I need to replace my boom as it is bent.
One thing that I found in doing my mast was the corrosion around the sheaves in the mast head. I had to pry the sheaves out of the mast head (after pulling the pins) due to the build up of corrosion there. I think that this area may get neglected commonly.
I don't pretend to know what I am doing or be an expert (I am certainly not) but I think you came to the right place to get the information you are looking for. I have certainly been helped more than I can say here in these forums.
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Old 16-01-2008, 15:53   #12
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It is the labor and stripping and TRANSPORTATION that can kill you. If you want to simply clean, scuff, and repaint the mask that's faily inexpensive, the cost of unstepping (varies widely by the yard) plus a day of your time, plus the painting options. Any yard that sprays can do it, again prices vary widely.

But if you plan to really do it right (just one opinion) you might send it out for re-anodizing, which is hard to find, harder to transport to, and quite expensive. Once the stick gets over 40' long, transportation even by truck becomes a logistics nightmare.

Best bet? Unless you plan to DIY all the way, ask your yard, or a yard you can sail it into. In any case it will also mean totally unrigging the boat--more expense, but if therigging is more than 20 years old, many insurers would advise or require you to replace it anyway.
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Old 16-01-2008, 16:43   #13
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have a look here to get an idea of what we did to refinish our spars. We are a ketch so had two to do. Voyages of Sea Trek: Refurbishing The Spars
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