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Old 10-08-2008, 03:07   #1
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Mast Steps

I bought some mast steps and each one has six mount holes. I've never had a lot of luck tapping out holes and the thought of trying to do 60+ of them up the mast is... unpleasant.

The boat next to me has steps that appear to be riveted in place. I have zero experience with rivets.

Can somebody point me in a direction?
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:21   #2
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Hi Jack,
They are mostly riveted on. Use aluminium rivets of the most appropriate size and length. If the mast steps are cast alluminium (most likely) then you wont have a problem with electrolysis. If you are doing it with the mast up, then do it step by step and slowly. Start by measuring and marking . Have a shoulder bag for your tools and little lanyards. I promise that the only tool dropped from the mast that dosnt go over the side, does so because it has smashed through a hatch or head ! The bigger rivets take a fair bit of force with a squeeze type rivet gun. If you have access to a consortina type use that. Test the rivet size and depth by using a piece of material of equal thickness to your mast wall and one of your mast steps. Follow the drill size on the rivet box. Hold the mast step firmly against the material insert rivet into the end of the rivetor, through step and material. Squeeze up till it goes bang, and the shank pulls through.

Now check on the other side of your material that you have a good solid (bulb) swelling and that the whole lot is rock solid. Even if you only have one rivet in , it should pull up very tight. If successful drill the head of the rivet off using a slightly larger drill bit. remove the mast step. Tap the remains of the rivet through your scrap material until it drops out using a pin punch. You can now put them in AND take them out.....
You are ready to go !!

(Dont forget to put a side by side pair at the mast head)

cheers
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Old 10-08-2008, 13:54   #3
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Oh that sounds so much nicer than what I thought I would have to deal with!

The steps are shaped tubes.

Anyway, I will go investigate riveting technology!
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Old 10-08-2008, 14:02   #4
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If for any reason you ever do have to screw a stainless fastener into aluminum then use this product: TEF-GEL I have used it for years with great success. It really does stop electrolysis between the two dissimilar metals.
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Old 10-08-2008, 14:17   #5
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may end up with electrolysis problem eventually but since virtually everything on mast is on with stainless fasteners Maybe not. I used hex head drill point 1/2" stainless #12 screws. They zip right in with minimal effort and no pilot hole needed. I made the steps out of aluminum 1/4"x7/8" bar stock. The whole works cost less than 30 bucks. wouldnt recommend for those with in mast halyards. also wiring in my mast is all in pvc pipe that is riveted in place so hitting wiring wasnt a worry
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:32   #6
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Aluminium mast steps

Forsalebyowner, how did you fabricate these steps? When I have worked with aluminium bar stock it work hardens quickly, and I have found that making a 90 degree or more bend weakens it a great deal. Heating, of course, can melt it easily. Any info would be great, such as measurements, number of holes... Thanks
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Old 05-10-2008, 17:11   #7
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I believe I made a jig on some plywood and bent it there. They arent a tight 90 degree angle more of a tight 90 degree radius on the bend at the bottom. I used 3 screws on the top and bottom. I just made it a little wider than the sole of my shoe for the tread bent the angle off the tread about 10"and had about an inch and a half for the attachment points. I just stood and put a good step up then measured how high my step was then went with that for the spacing up the mast. Ive been up and down them many times and Im 6'-2" and weigh around 260 lbs.
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