Tag Archives: spar making

Caledonia Yawl Project: Spar Building PartV

The race to be done for my vacation is still on. But I’ve resigned myself to the reality that the first week of my vacation will be spar making and rigging the boat. The finishing line is in sight, but there is still so much to do.

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I’ve tackled the main mast shaping going from 8 sided down to 16 sided, then 32 sided and 64 sided.

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I used a used West Systems thickening powder container as a sanding backer and pulled out some sand paper left over from sanding my floors a couple years ago. I started with 36 grit to cut down the corners. Then 60 grit, and 100 grit sandpaper.

Sanding, sanding more sanding

This was hard work and Vancouver this summer is going from one heat wave to another. Fortunately I went out an bought a large ventilation fan that I mounted to the rafters of the shed. This has worked wonders to help me keep cooler while I work up a serious sweat sanding.

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I then cut the mast head to a smaller diameter with a router. This will create a nice saddle for the shrouds to loop onto the top of the mast.

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I did most of the shaping with the Japanese rasp and finished with the random orbital sander.

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I think the scalloped ends of the plug and birdsmouth look really cool.

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Using this portable guide I drilled the ends of the mortise for the halyard sheaves.

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The tricky part was drilling the hole for the axle at 90 degrees to the mortise.

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I’ve also sanded the sprit boom and the boomkin and finished the ends on those.

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Then onto the mizzen mast. Where I experimented with the difference of using the power planer.

And using the drawknife to cut down from a tapered square to the 8 sided shape.

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My conclusion is that with the drawknife guides it is much easier to control and likely just as fast as the power planer. If kept sharp it is almost easier and certainly quieter and less messy overall. It is way easier to pick up the shavings than vacuum up all the sprayed chips sent out by the power planer. I found it gets me quite close to where I need and then I can just finish it off with the jack plane and the block plane.

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The mizzen mast is now complete. I now have three days to complete the main boom and yard. Then I will lay everything out and varnish them with 6 coats.