The Caledonia Yawl Project: mast steps and cleats

Before I start the aft bulkhead, I realized that I need to complete all the fittings that will be enclosed in there. That means that the mast step for the mizzen mast as well as the through bolts for the gudgeons that will hold the rudder pintles. 

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cutting the mortise for the mast step


I used the same process I used for the bow brace for the forestay padeye.
A wedge that is shaped the match the curve of the inner stem with two cheeks make of marine ply scraps that will be epoxied to the inner stem.

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Completed mizzen mast-step ready to be installed

I also threaded two bronze rods on either side of the step to prevent the wood from splitting. And screwed two weeping holes on either side should water make it down the mast. I think this little construction is pretty bomber.

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All ready for final positioning

I then turned my attention to the main mast step. For this I took a piece of cherry that I had chainsawed into slabs from a local tree that was cut up and put out for free. It seasoned for two years under the boat.

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Main mast step mortise

More to come on the main mast step as I am working on a solution for the drainage from the forward compartment.

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Tracing the cleat outline with my helper

Since I had started to mill the cherry slabs for the mast step, I decided to keep on going and cut it up into appropriate sizes for cleats , chocks and other small rigging parts. We cut it on a table saw into slabs that were 1 1/8″ thick and started to trace the templates I got from the Curly Shavings blog who had created a PDF file with a nice sensible outline. By playing with the size of the printing I could create a template for a smaller and a larger cleat. 

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Ready to be cut

I had access to a drill press so I did that part. I’ll borrow a band saw soon.

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First cut, with a jigsaw to complete the proof of concept

Lots more shaping to do. The cherry is proving to be solid, easy to shape and fun to work with. Hopefully it will hold up well over time. My plan is to shape them all down and then have them well oiled. That should be easy to maintain if I keep on top of it.