Friday, 30 August 2013

Birdsmouth Past Mast - Day 6

Birdsmouth Mast - weighed a hefty 45lbs this morning - 7 hours later plus lots of elbow grease, it's now 34lbs!  That's 11lbs worth of shavings which were created by hand by your truly...

Today the planing was more successful, accompanied by several trips to the Japanese Waterstones. The plane worked effortlessly taking of shavings some of which were 3 foot long!  (Is this a record?!!)

The bulk of the work was getting the taper down to the required dimensions - once that was accomplished, rounding the octagonal shape to 16 sides and then round went very quickly.  Which serves as a useful lesson to other builders contemplating using a compound taper - it's a lot of extra work.

I did have some issues with different staves having its grain in opposite directions each side of the scarf joint, which meant I had to reverse the planing direction.  I found that the #6 Foreplane worked well when pulled, Japanese style, which allowed me use different muscles rather than just pushing all the time.

Using my spar calipers, I made sure that the diameter was uniform at each station.  Also, I kept the octagonal shape, which made for more consistent planing.  I was even tempted to leave the mast finished in octagonal form - I really like that shape...throwback to my early days with split cane fly fishing rods....

I decided not to reduce the diameter down to the final dimension at the top quarter of the mast, as I was nervous that the extra planing would remove too much of the birdsmouth joint.  However since the mast was coming out so relatively light, I didn't feel that this would be a handicap.
Bottom of mast showing internal plug made also birdsmouth style
I made sure to mark and keep the track (aft) side of the mast straight when gluing up and in the finish, I left this side straight to take the sail track.  It's probably too wide at 35mm, but I'll refine this when I get the track in hand.  I have no idea where to source this - can it be shipped in a coil or is it bought in one long length??

I recall reading on some forum where it was suggested to keep planing until you are finished or bored...I think i took the latter route, but nevertheless, I now have a nice 23' spar hanging diagonally from the ceiling of my 20' x 20' workshop. Phew!!

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