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Old 13-08-2016, 12:26   #1
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REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Spruce 40' Main Mast has a crack that starts at the decking and travels up 11' before becoming invisible. MAST IS HOLLOW, CRACK DOES NOT PENETRATE AS WE CAN SEE, can not fit a typical playing card through crack at any part. How would we mend this while keeping the structural integrity and not create & eyesore? Wiring is on the outside, so is not an issue.

ANY HELP OR SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!
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Old 13-08-2016, 12:54   #2
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Find the end of the crack drill it out and put a plug in it. Work some glue into the crack.
I bet the crack goes all the way through. How much higher are the spreaders? Once the crack gets near that area I would bail. Pull the mast, cut out the crack and scarf in a new piece.
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Old 13-08-2016, 23:51   #3
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Most modern glues are stonger that the wood they glue together. Epoxy should be OK although I don't know about how it'll behave if the mast flexes. Chase out the crack. use a small circular saw or even a jigsaw with the blade trimmed to the most suitable depth. masking tape the edges of the crack and even some paper to cover the mast. Work the epoxy into the crack. push it down well into the crack with a blade the thickness of the crack. fill to flush with the surface. Remove the tape before the epoxy sets. Let it sit with the crack upright. There might be some settling so you might need to do it again. You might consider some permanent binding or clamps (eg hose clamps) around the mast, but you should choose wisely to reflect the character of the boat (ie not hose clamps). Time to start planning to replace it.
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Old 14-08-2016, 00:57   #4
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

It would help to know more about both the spar, & the crack. To include whether she’s keel or deck stepped, number & location of stays fore & aft, number of spreaders.
Also, Pics of; the crack, the step, deck blocking/partners, gooseneck, spreader attachments (lowers), & any other relevant high load fittings on the spar near this area. As with such images & info, some new insight might be generated about why it cracked there, & also for fixes.
Plus, how old is the spar, what’s it made of, type of construction, blocking or no, etc.?

I know that section of a mast, from the deck up to the first set/lower spreaders is the most highly loaded part of the spar, so a crack there is more than a little worrysome. And would have me talking to an expert wooden spar builder. That, or shopping for a replacement.

If the mast doesn’t have internal blocking, & even if it does, perhaps it’s time to take a look at things from the inside via a fiber optic camera? That way you could better determine it’s health. So that you have better information on which to wisely choose a course of action. Though I can’t say from real world experience how plausible the camera idea is. Anyone have feedback on this?

The camera idea is what comes to mind when I think aloud anyway. As it may save you some time & $ on the project, in that you’ll know if the spar is fixable, fiscally, or whether replacing it makes more sense.

BTW, have you been over on the Wooden Boat Forums yet with this? They’d likely have more insight into diagnosing & fixing things. To perhaps include some thoughts on questions which should be asked in order to ascertain the spar’s health in general. As well as ideas on fixes for such dings. Plus links & points of contact to folks who could dispense expert advice on the subject, or fix it for you.



Edit: You might ask Schooner Chandlery to offer up their thoughts on this. As they seem smarter than most on many things wooden boat.

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Old 14-08-2016, 03:00   #5
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

A little oscillating multitool should open the crack up enough to get some epoxy glue into it. Check the glues UV resistance though. Clamp it while drying.

Then add some bronze ringed nails or small screws, unless you want to get creative where small wood dowels or carbon nails could also be used to reinforce the area without the same potentail rot issues as with metal fasteners.

If one glue joint is gone keep a close eye on the others. Maybe add some reinforcing fasteners as well?
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Old 14-08-2016, 07:21   #6
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

you will need some lovely mast clamps also to fit the area of crack.
my mizzen developed a lovely vertical crack during patriciacane-- as mine is 40 yrs old thai cedar, i prolly need to create a new mast or turn to the (shudders)aluminum tree, as i am also seeing sdditional rot in the mast. gag.
i prefer wood.
when the bell falls off mast with screws intact, it is time for a new one.
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Old 14-08-2016, 08:36   #7
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

If you decide to repair the mast, without replacing the cracked piece, DO NOT go sawing into the crack to "open it up for epoxy". Those wood fibers are still at work, even though there is a long split between groups of them. Don't cut them! And if you try driving wedging tools into the crack, to open it, you will only succeed in misaligning the fibers such that the crack cannot be clamped back shut. There is not much you can do to remove any contamination within the crack. So don't expect perfection.

Instead use the proper epoxy and technique to get the epoxy into the crack/split.
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Old 14-08-2016, 08:54   #8
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

when i was prepping to leave on a 300 mile ¨hailmary death march¨ relocation of my damaged ketch for repairing, i was instructed by my carpenter to merely inject ¨glue¨ and apply clamps or bind the cracked area of mizzen mast with sailorś twine tightly as a clamp, and then reconstruct when i had the time and wood and tools. i was also advised to apply those lovely bronze mast clamps seen on most hollow box constructed masts.
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Old 14-08-2016, 09:30   #9
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Can you put a vacuum cleaner on the butt and observe how epoxy gets sucked into crack. If it does easy may have to do it in stages waiting to harden before moving along the crack ,Cutting it open doesn't strike me as good idea unless you are scafing in segment
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Old 14-08-2016, 09:46   #10
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Last year, I watched a guy make a new mast himself. He did all the measurements and started planing to precise markers on the wood. It was in the same boatshed as where I kept my boat. At that time I was in every day for 4 days and then went in just to see how he was progressing. I watched him turn a 'tree trunk' into an absolutely fabulous mast that was straight and round and tapered. He did everything that he was supposed to do and added the fitting and stays and stuff. The yard lifted it on to his vessel and he took 2 days fitting the base and ensuring it was correctly positioned.

Now, I found out he had never done this before! He knew wood and how to work with it but had never made a mast. I was blown away by the professionalism of the finish. He told me that the reason he did it was simply because of the cost to have it done by others.

The next time I was at the shed, I was told he had sailed away....
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Old 14-08-2016, 10:30   #11
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
when i was prepping to leave on a 300 mile ¨hailmary death march¨ relocation of my damaged ketch for repairing, i was instructed by my carpenter to merely inject ¨glue¨ and apply clamps or bind the cracked area of mizzen mast with sailorś twine tightly as a clamp, and then reconstruct when i had the time and wood and tools. i was also advised to apply those lovely bronze mast clamps seen on most hollow box constructed masts.
Are these the mast clamps (rings) you mention?
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Old 14-08-2016, 10:35   #12
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Are these the mast clamps (rings) you mention?
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now i am drooling as i have a wishing and hoping list 10 miles long beautiful items...
they need to prevent crack from spreading and will keep the glued bits together.
if you havent these, use wood clamps, large, and once cured, bind the mast at the crack with sailors twine after gluing crack. .
some pof our type masts use these at spreaders, and at gooseneck. is interesting to observe different fittings on these hollow box masts. there are also different ways of effecting interior stringers vs reinforcement blocks for affixing hardware.
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Old 14-08-2016, 10:56   #13
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

A large serving mallet can apply heavy twine tight enough to crush the wood. Regularly spaced bands Carefully applied, in situe and then soak in epoxy .Old time masts made of smaller pieces were held together like this so the technique is proven . Made lots of quarter sawn pole masts and spars (classic gaffs so no box)
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Old 14-08-2016, 11:07   #14
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
If you decide to repair the mast, without replacing the cracked piece, DO NOT go sawing into the crack to "open it up for epoxy". Those wood fibers are still at work, even though there is a long split between groups of them. Don't cut them! And if you try driving wedging tools into the crack, to open it, you will only succeed in misaligning the fibers such that the crack cannot be clamped back shut. There is not much you can do to remove any contamination within the crack. So don't expect perfection.

Instead use the proper epoxy and technique to get the epoxy into the crack/split.
I'm with Terra on this one. If you are going to glue it, the conditions inside the crack are the perfect sort for engaging with the epoxy. If it's so thin you cant get a playing card in, I would epoxy repair it. I to think it's likely the crack goes all the way through, although you wont be able to tell. Not sure trying to clamp the crack is necessarily good, the wood has shrunk it seems and the crack relieved the stress in the wood. Now just tie it back together.
or...
Replace that wood entirely with a new piece.
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Old 14-08-2016, 13:24   #15
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Re: REBUILD--Help! Main Mast Crack

I have repaired several masts over the years with epoxy, firstly you state that you cannot fi,t a playing card in the crack, that tells me it is not a big issue [is the crack in a glue up ?],I would rake the crack out with a hacksaw blade, tape the edges and fill with West Systems six-10, a wonderful product that will not sag and is pliable, overcoat with varnish or paint depending, as the epoxy will break down under U.V.
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