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Old 12-10-2008, 03:11   #1
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white mast

we have a white painted /enameled mast and boom
and in places were the fitting and working areas are the paint is chiped and the the aluminum starts to oxidise and buble up the paint
two years ago we striped the boom and primed it then used hamerite this has done a good job but i can see the signs of the problem starting over

so my question is is ther any resion why i should not strip the pain and leave it plain aliminum i realise that it might oxidise a bit at first but this does not seem to be a problem for mot people with aluminum masts or the other aluminum fittings on our boat?
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:27   #2
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I painted an aluminum garage long ago for my father-in-law. He had me wipe it down first with vinegar. I'm not certain why but 20+ years later. The paint is still good, no lifting, chips or bubbles.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:00   #3
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vinegar = acidic composition.

Hammerite needs a primer prior to use on aluminium.
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Old 12-10-2008, 07:26   #4
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White Mast

I painted my mast 3 years ago, using what I consider good products, 2 part epoxy primer,2 part uerathane enamel. I prepared the mast by sanding and an acid wash. At several areas where the aluminum was pitted, the paint is beginning to bubble. My conclusion is that if the aluminum is pitted it is very difficult to remove all oxidiation by sanding. I do not believe it is possible unless sanding removes the pitted areas, this would require removing a lot of aluminum. Sand/bead blasting (in my opinion) may do it. I have painted a lot of aluminum with success if it is not pitted. 99% of my mast looks beautiful, approx 1 sq. ft does not.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:16   #5
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thank you for thr feedback so far
but i am not asking for tips on how to paint i want to know if there is any good reason not to strip the paint of and leave it plain metal

then it wont need painting ever i dont have a problem with the look of plain aluminum much better than bubly paint!!!
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:37   #6
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I think there does come a time when bare aluminium starts to look so bad, that paint becomes essential. However, I am surprised that a privilege of your boat's age should have that problem yet.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:27   #7
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I'd just throw it out there to be careful of a "pure" white mast. You'll be squinting constantly. We're using a shade of white that's still mighty-white, but just with enough of a tone to not look like staring into the sun.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:58   #8
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All masts used to come unpainted. I don't know if they were clear coat anodized or just naked. They would oxidize, get stains from halyards, etc, and in general look like crap but it didn't hurt their function. The mast on my boat is 40 years old and still doing fine. I just got a new boom from US Spars that is unpainted. Didn't ask them whether it's anodized but it's holding up well after a year.

Some spars were special ordered dark anodized and some of the European mfg. (Proctor) anodized their masts a gold color. I asked LeFiel about getting an unpainted anodized mast and was told they couldn't do it. Seems the EPA has closed down most of the anodizing shops and now no one in SoCal has a tank long enough to anodize a mast. I don't know if anodizing is necessary as aluminum is naturally self protecting through oxidation, however.

Personally, I hate the painted masts. After a few years of hard use, the paint begins to chip, bubble and discolor. To me they look worse than an unpainted mast 4 times their age. Painting seems to be a way to look good till you hank on the sail the first time and then it's rapidly downhill.

So to answer your question, probably. As long as any unlike metal fittings are insulated from the Aluminum, the aluminum should be self protecting. Insulating unlike metals should be done whether the mast is painted or not, btw and use TefGel on all the fasteners.

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Old 12-10-2008, 13:17   #9
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An anodized aluminum extrusion once sanded for paint prep leaves just plain old aluminum to the elements. It will deteriorate faster than if painted and it will not look good after being in the weather for a couple of months. It will start with a white chalky oxidization which will start to be more pronounced in spots where pinholes will start. If it were mine I would repaint it.
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Old 12-10-2008, 13:47   #10
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I was also told by someone in the business that, at least in the US, EPA regulations make it difficult to anodize long masts (as the process requires a large anodizing tank with lots of chemicals and fumes).

A plain (not anodized) aluminum mast will be fine but it will look dull and uneven after about a year. You can polish it with a metal brush to bring back the shine for a lot less money than painting. Or you can just leave it.

The Dashews make their new motor boats out of unpainted aluminum. He has pictures on his site of the boat when new and then after some months to show how the aluminum changes.

SetSail.com - the serious cruising sailor's website

I also agree that you need to find out why the paint is bubbling so quickly. If it was just bad paint prep that's OK but I think you have stainless steel screws and fittings that are corroding the aluminum. This will eventually cause serious damage to your mast. I'd remove all fittings and reinstall them with tef-gel on the screws and an insulator under the fittings. Some folks use cut up plastic milk jugs as insulators others a layer of caulking.

Carl
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Old 12-10-2008, 14:13   #11
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What SkiprJohn said above. And I think your bubbling problem is probably due to salt that has impregnated into the spots that have delaminated. Like mentioned earlier an acid wash of some kind is needed to clean the spots.

In welding aluminum there is an acid wash used to clean the aluminum that works really well. But you need something that will get the salt out like Salt-away or some other chem that eats away salt.

As for anodizing, yes, masts and booms are anodized. Blue Streak Finishers - CERTIFICATIONS AND AWARDS

These guys can dip a whole airplane wing frame......................._/)
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Old 13-10-2008, 01:16   #12
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thanks for all the feed back
you are all problely thinking is much worse than it is
it only in the hard working area were it gets chiped by winch handles and the like it does not spread far the size of a coin at most
the boat is 8 years old and was in charter befor us so was subject to caireless crew etc
it is more pronounced on the cross beem due to ancor chain etc
in two years we will need to redo standing riging so i am thinking ahead
as to looks im happy with tarnished metal and less work as aposed to chiped paint.
plus as Mr fastcat would say it gets a bit of weight of
as i am hoping to use sinthetic rigging to

talbot
rest ashured the qualty fit out of all aspects of the boat is second to none i have seen and would only swap her for the next size up and the money to fund it.
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Old 13-10-2008, 01:45   #13
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Aluminium will self anodise, well oxidise.
The real problem is that electrolytic action is more difficult to control.
If you can strip the mast off the boat, (roof mounted? I think) then a shot blast and powder coating is probably the best long term solution. Check with local suppliers about oven size. There should be some-one in the area with a big enough oven for architectural jobs.
This is effectively a 'Stove Enamel' finish. Very tough, big choice of colours. Do find out which supplier and that supplier accepts 'alumium at sea' as being an OK solution.

And if the standing rigging is coming up consider a taller mast (fit a sleeve at the root to add say three or four feet) and 'plastic' rigging for minimal weight. Sails also need replacing then, all gets a bit big budget but at eight years old, she's worth it.
The latest sail materials, cut by the right lofter to suit your Cat will hold shape for five years and last as long as 'standard' materials. It's mold in the material that eventually kills a sail, and UV that weakens it.

p.s. Still saving, reading lots and trying to make the right decisions myself.
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Old 13-10-2008, 01:56   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
Aluminium will self anodise, well oxidise.
The real problem is that electrolytic action is more difficult to control.
If you can strip the mast off the boat, (roof mounted? I think) then a shot blast and powder coating is probably the best long term solution. Check with local suppliers about oven size. There should be some-one in the area with a big enough oven for architectural jobs.
This is effectively a 'Stove Enamel' finish. Very tough, big choice of colours. Do find out which supplier and that supplier accepts 'alumium at sea' as being an OK solution.

And if the standing rigging is coming up consider a taller mast (fit a sleeve at the root to add say three or four feet) and 'plastic' rigging for minimal weight. Sails also need replacing then, all gets a bit big budget but at eight years old, she's worth it.
The latest sail materials, cut by the right lofter to suit your Cat will hold shape for five years and last as long as 'standard' materials. It's mold in the material that eventually kills a sail, and UV that weakens it.

p.s. Still saving, reading lots and trying to make the right decisions myself.
a bit ott for me i would still be saving if i took this path i am lerning to like things simple and long lasting
that budjet outlay would fund a years sailing for me
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Old 13-10-2008, 13:16   #15
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Just as a cautionary note. There are different qualities of aluminum just as there are for stainless and some are more resistant to saltwater. I've had some low quality aluminum "self anodize" to pieces, i. e. beach chair aluminum.
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