After a short hiatus in June due to a heavy workload with spar building partner, we took a couple days off to do a final big push in the workshop to cut all the staves for the hollow eight sided birdsmouth masts.
Each stave was 15mm by 32mm for the Caledonia yawl mast. my friends’ masts are a little bit smaller and his were 14mm by 29mm.
All the Sitka Spruce stock was excellent in the pieces we used to cut the staves. Unfortunately with 15mm width, could not get eight pieces from the one good 2×6 I’d reserved for the mast. I had to scarf together the eight piece from other stock that had some knots or other imperfections. Fortunately small diameter Sitka Spruce was easy to plane into the scarfs with the long jointer plane.
The next step was to set up the router table with the birdsmouth 45 degree router bit. Since we are routing 20′ long sections we set up a feather board on each side of the router and a fence on top as well to hold it in place. Such long skinny pieces have a lot of flexibility and wobble if they are not held down against the fence.
Once we had it all set up we made quick work of it and produced quite a bit of sawdust. Fortunately the woodshop had an excellent dust collection system.
The final product looks great. The final step is to cut the taper in each one so that the mast can have it’s appropriate taper.
I am pleased to say that I’ve finally reached what I think is the final big project standing between making this boat ready to launch. My friend Patrice has a Penobscot 17 hull that he purchased a few years ago that had only been used for rowing and also needs spars to unlock it’s full potential. So we are teaming up to build all the spars at once. In his case it will be the schooner rig with standing lug sails. While in my case it is the Gunter Yawl rig. In the fall of 2019 I was able to have two 20′ long beams of sitka spruce milled down into rough sawn 2×12″ pieces in Maple Ridge. It is not an easy wood to procure and until I found this supply I was ready to use douglas fir or even consider using carbon fiber spars. But now that I have it I am pleased to have this beautiful wood.
What do we have to build? For the Caledonia Yawl:
1 birdsmouth construction main mast
1 main boom (solid)
1 main yard (solid)
1 mizzen mast (solid)
1 boomkin (solid)
1 sprit boom (solid)
For the Penobscot:
2 masts (birdsmouth)
2 yards (solid)
2 booms (solid)
Fortunately we’ve been given access to Patrice’s friends wood shop for this step. So we have access to excellent equipment in particular a skookum table saw, thickness planer/jointer and solid router table.
More to come soon as we dive into all the cuts and glue up the spar. We are starting with all the solid spars first as they are easier glue ups and smaller pieces. Once those are done, we’ll then tackle cutting all the staves for the three birdsmouth spars we are building.
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