I have received a lot of questions about the making of the new mizzen mast. I did build a boat, but I am not a boatbuilder. I did work with wood, but I am not a woodworker. ( How I wish those two sentences were false modesty. Believe me, they are not.). With that in mind I am reluctant to explain the process. There are plenty of sites where you can get good quality information about the process for building a birds mouth mast. Instead I will show some photographs I took along the way.
First thing I did was dig out an old notebook to see if I had written down any specs from the first mizzen built about 15 years ago. I was please to find the above.
(This second mast was built at a boat shop with a lot of help from very, very experienced boatbuilders and some dedicated young students. What amazes me today is that my Dad and two daughters built the first masts with no experience using a $90 table saw (picture a cheap circular saw mounted upside down in an aluminum stand) set up in the street to rip 16 and 20 foot pieces of wood into staves, cut the v notch and glue it all up on a hot July day. I wish Dad was still around to remind him of what we accomplished that day. I do remember we celebrated that afternoon with a couple bottles of Corona and a lime.)
Test cuts in cheap pine from the hardware
store to check measurements on both the
table saw and router with a 90 degree bit.
1x8x16 clear Douglas fir ripped in to
3/4 x 3/4 staves with the v notch
Dry fitting the staves.
The boat shop's cradle along with the
dry-fitted mast and oak dowel. The
mast is hollow save for the bottom four
feet and the top two and one-half feet.
The dry fitted mast along with
part of the original.
Some wonderful, skilled and dedicated
students helped with the routing of the
v notch and first dry fitting of the mast.
Strakes laid on on glue day.
Tom at the boat shop saw the mast building as
a teaching opportunity for their students. He is
always looking for different skills for them to
develop. Here they are spending epoxy, first clear
and then thickened, a process that needs
to be accomplished before the epoxy fires off.
Epoxied with dowel inserts at the top and the
bottom, the strakes are pulled tight
with hose clamps.
A day later, planing and sanding to shape.
Bringing the mast home
for final shaping and varnishing.
First fitting in SPARTINA. Too heavy
and a little to thick, so a couple more hours
sanding. A slight curve in the mast which
is perfect for the designed rake of the mast.
Many thanks to Tom, the guys and the students at the shop. Varnishing this weekend, hoping for a test sail Monday.