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    We are about to start work on our original wooden mast. Currently we are only doing what must be done to first see how much of an issue we may have. We plan to cruise only and not to race.

    The mast is not terrible, although the joint is open on one side for a a few feet near the foot. I have considered splitting it fully, but really think we might re-evaluate it once we have actually sailed her! I suspect that there has been some attempt to remedy the split in the past, and, as a result, that opening it up may not be 100% simple. The current plan is:

    1. Photograph the existing set up in as much detail as we might need to put it all back together.
    2. Remove as many unbonded fittings as is practical.
    3. Scrape/heat gun as much of the existing varnish off as possible. The plan here is to get back to a consistent wood surface.
    4. Sand lightly with a medium/fine paper
    5. Try to remove the green and black stained bits with a diluted mixture of bleach and water – about 5:1 mix I think?
    5. Wash/dust thoroughly! – Also a good time to really understand the full range of the split.
    6. Dilute International Classic varnish with thinner 1 and apply with a brush allowing to soak in. Repeat until surface is not absorbing further applications.
    7. Leave to dry over night
    8. Apply top coat(s) of the undiluted varnish. Apply at least a second coat after drying time.

    I think I need to try to avoid getting too much varnish in the sail slot, but make sure that it is protected. Any tips for this? Is there any kind of application you would suggest to ease the passage of the sail thought the slot in the long run? I was thinking of some kind of silicon wax perhaps?

    Does anyone know if the mast would have had some kind of collar at the top? There is a ring indentation up there but no fitting of any kind.

    Just how rare is a wooden mast these days? We would like to keep ours in the long run and so making sure it will be good for the future is important. I have limited woodworking skills, but hope to be able to get competent help in autumn should the mast need total refurbishment.

    All and any views gratefully received….


    Colin Parkstone

    I would say that if the joint has failed at the heel it will be suspect over the whole of the joint.

    When you heat gun the mast to remove the varnish, you may find that the glue will fail some more and open.

    I would put a light wedge in the split and see if it goes on its own while your heat gunning.

    In days of old when we did not have Super Epoxy glues, the mast was varnished in the groove before glueing together making sure that no varnish was on the glueing surface.

    A way to varnish the inside of a mast is to run a string down the groove and tie a small rag with varnish on it, then pull it down the mast and Hope!!

    You can glue the mast together again with Epoxy as it is a glue as well as a coating resin, just use the right hardener with the resin which I think is called, Coating Hardener, to get a varnish like finish.

    Dont forget to clamp the mast to a straight edge of some sort so keep it straight when gluing.


    Thanks Colin,

    I will see how things go once the fittings and varnish are all off and we can see what we are dealing with. The varnish seems easy to shift so we should get a good look at the split quite soon.

    I shall post results on how it goes – watch out for a “wanted: new mast” posting 😉




    The exciting news is that the mast is now in two halves…. The less exciting bit is that I need recommendations for Boat Builders not too far from North London! One who can glue the splintered bits back together, has enough space to work on such a thing and might leave me with a workable sail leader slot 🙂

    Things went well, for the most part, but there were some bits I think had (in retrospect) been re-glued in isolation. Here the split moved away from the glue line. I am confident that the result can still be made good but it needs a bit more skill than I have…

    I guess since I am here I might replace the old blocks and in mast rigging. Are there any that are recommended?


    PS Pictures….

    Colin Parkstone

    Try a company called Stanley and Thomas, on the Thames near Marlow I think??


    You may find that you are lucky and the two halves will still fit neatly back together. If not then odd bits of wood the abstruct the join fitting neatly can be removed first. Rough splitting is not a proble in itself and does actually strengthen the join as it gives a greater surface area. Epoxy glue is very forgiving, especially when used with a gap filling additive. Most important though is to make sure it is atraight when glued, any bend on gluing will be permanent.


    Hi, how did the mast repair come off. I have 2 that are both in some serious state of ill repair. Ultimate question is how much the yard charged for the repair? Thanks, Brian

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