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Old 14-08-2016, 16:53   #16
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

THANK YOU EVERYONE! WOW! HOW WONDERFUL TO RECEIVE SO MUCH HELP

The vast amount of information from everyone has been very helpful. Epoxy was a thought of ours as well. We are considering IN CONJUNCTION WITH the Epoxy, fiber glassing with an extremely fine cloth to cover the now 14'9" of CRACK, 17' below the spreaders. We were able to get a razor blade through at some points. The remaining 27'3" of Mast we plan to fine sand and Epoxy all the way to the anchor light but not fiberglass, only fiber glassing over the crack which starts about 2' from the bottom of the mast.

IS THE FIBERGLASS "OVER-KILL"?:
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Old 14-08-2016, 17:20   #17
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

It won't do any good for the crack. A really thin layer of cloth will crack in the same place. What it does do is make a really great base for an epoxy with a poly U top coat. It holds up for years.
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Old 14-08-2016, 18:03   #18
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

180 marine epoxy with uv stabilizer/force epoxy into crack using a syringe wrap spar with cloth tape (gaffa tape) pull tape as tight as you can let cure for 48 hours
remove tape clean off tape residue with prep-sol


if more pressure is needed on split tie a loose loop of rope around the spar then pass an metal bar through the loop and twist /take care not to bruise the wood/you can use many loops if needed
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Old 14-08-2016, 22:13   #19
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

If your crack looks like mine on the outside, you may have this rot on the inside. You just won't know unless you go exploring. Even poking at these cracks with a pick didn't really show the evidence of the rot within.

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Old 14-08-2016, 22:47   #20
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Other sources for info on CF that you could access by PM are "minaret" and "Maine Sail".

Schooner Chandlery have a beautifully restored timber schooner, and they would also be good sources, as suggested by Steady Hand.

Snow petrel is right that this is a very highly stressed part of the mast. Therefore, to me, a growing crack there is not a good deal at all. I am not knowledgeable about timber masts, and if it were me, I'd go to a great deal of effort to find someone to advise me.

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Old 15-08-2016, 02:22   #21
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Is the mast still stepped and under tension? That the crack ran 3 feet in 2 days does not bode well. Is the crack in a joint between two planks, or is it in an individual plank? Do you know if this is the original mast? While you will get a lot of reasonably good information on websites, given the importance of a mast and this particular one's construction, this is one question that needs to be seen in person to be evaluated accurately.
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Old 15-08-2016, 07:39   #22
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

I would not even think of glassing any part of a wood mast or even epoxy coating it
i have built and repaired more masts than i can count and am currently finishing construction of an 80' oval spruce mast
you want to be able to see if there is anything happening as far as cracks or rot glass will hide these, epoxy coating will keep moisture in just as good as it will keep it out and with all the penetration point on a rig its easy to get wet and stay wet
years ago i was contracted to repair or rebuild a large wood mast, it had been glassed over and seemed to be totally rotten on first inspection
fortunately for the owner once the glass was removed the entire construction fell to pieces all i had to do was clean all surfaces and re glue
15 years ago and it still sails
but under the glass on the mizzen was nothing but mush from top to bottom
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Old 15-08-2016, 08:37   #23
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

I'm not sure what the boat cloth will buy you. Especially only on part of the mast, you could end up with water intrusion and rotting. maybe if you removed the mast, removed all hardware and sealed the whole thing, then painted it rather than varnish. Even then, not sure it's a good plan. A lot of fiberglass over ply boats rot readily.
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Old 16-08-2016, 16:55   #24
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Oh, I just saw all these comments. Please do post pics if you can--and do you have the rig plan to share? You should if it is a 1929 Alden... would be a shame not to properly repair the mast. If the original mast, it ads value to your boat and the last thing you want to do is hack it up with a strange mix of modern repair (fiberglass) and certainly don't want to have to replace the mast altogether.

Wood masts are infinitely repairable once you get a handle on what's happening you can work with it almost certainly. Please don't fiberglass it. Yes that would be overkill--as it a sure way to KILL the mast. Your lovely wood mast can go on indefinitely with repairs. Ours, built in 1930 for the 1931 launched boat has been in use ever since and has seen a couple big repairs with no harm. The last owner did let things go a bit and we did a couple major repairs ourselves--one was a big scarf at spreader height where an area of rot had set in and been improperly repaired--with fiberglass and get-rot--by the previous owner, the other a bird's mouth scarf at the top of the mainmast (an extension) that was coming unglued and I re-glued it (an epoxy glue) all along the bird's mouth. Our mainmast with those repairs is fir, our foremast is spruce as your mast is--and our foremast has remained the same since it's build. Very good and strong materials.

You can, very likely do an excellent repair but you won't get good advice without a few pics, measurements, and hopefully a bit of info about the construction of the mast (e.g. where the cracks are relative to glue joints).

Please do share info.

PS, presume you're not sailing the boat, therefore you can--and should--loosen up the tension to make sure someone hasn't put high tension onto your originally low tension rig. This is whee knowing if it is the original mast would be helpful and also having a copy of the rig plan. I have a book of the Alden designs but don't think it's on the boat with me...

You can--and perhaps should--do a temporary wrapping of the mast to support it if the crack is major and still moving. There is a method of taking a line (as small as 5/16" dia for your size boat) and wrapping it figure-8 style to cover area from below to above the crack. It is useful as an underway repair. Feel free to PM if you need information regarding this or any other matter.
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Old 16-08-2016, 17:09   #25
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind River View Post
If your crack looks like mine on the outside, you may have this rot on the inside. You just won't know unless you go exploring. Even poking at these cracks with a pick didn't really show the evidence of the rot within.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
Presume you vacuumed out debris from the rot areas. Otherwise that's awfully clean rot.

Did you happen to take a moisture meter to the wood on the outside before taking it apart? Typically a moisture meter WILL show areas of rot--they will be above the moisture level of the surrounding wood. Picking at things often doesn't do any good. Recognizing the discoloration, feeling softness (your fingernail is often all the picking you need), and getting a moisture meter measurement above the surrounding wood would be a big clue that there's something going on.
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Old 16-08-2016, 18:03   #26
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schooner Chandlery View Post
Presume you vacuumed out debris from the rot areas. Otherwise that's awfully clean rot.

Did you happen to take a moisture meter to the wood on the outside before taking it apart? Typically a moisture meter WILL show areas of rot--they will be above the moisture level of the surrounding wood. Picking at things often doesn't do any good. Recognizing the discoloration, feeling softness (your fingernail is often all the picking you need), and getting a moisture meter measurement above the surrounding wood would be a big clue that there's something going on.
That picture was part of the side of the mast I cut off. I used a circular saw and cut right down the glue line.
I did not use a moisture meter. It was pretty obvious there was a problem.
This first picture was after just a little poking around at the crack. The second was after a lot of poking around!
The previous picture was an area farther down the mast just above the spreader. The block in the center of the mast at the spreader was about half rotted out.
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Old 16-08-2016, 18:35   #27
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

If the crack has grown almost 3' in just two days, & is full depth, both things strike me as big red flags. Stirring thoughts of pulling the mast, as well as finding out what's going on inside of it.

In my earlier post I asked if anyone had ever used a fiber optic camera to inspect the insides of wooden spars, so as to better ascertain their health. Thoughts?
Also, would drilling a small, plug sized hole be a major no no? Both so that the wood which comes out of the hole could be inspected for signs of moisture & rot, as well as creating a point where a camera could be inserted.
After which, the hole would obviously be properly plugged.

And say that the mast absolutely needs to stay up, or be used right now. What if one were to temporarily externally "sister" a removable tapered wooden plank onto the spar where the crack is, & also to the opposite side. Attaching them via everal spaced out seizings. So that you could easily remove them later to effect a proper repair. Much like velcroing a temporary splint in place onto an injured arm or leg.
Is such a (temporary) "fix" viable? Why or why not? And what would be it's pro's & con's.
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