Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fiberglassing the Mast

It's been an unbelievably long time since I finished building the mast and last posted about it here in (October 2007). Things do get in the way, despite best intentions when undertaking a project like this! Anyway, the mast has been hanging from the rafters all this time, covered in the dust of building and fairing the hulls. I lowered it down last week and pulled it out enough to get to the masthead end and begin the tedious task of sheathing it in fiberglass:

Round objects are not the easiest things to fiberglass, but it's not as bad as it would seem if you plan in advance and use the masking tape method to avoid epoxy runs and ragged fiberglass cloth overlaps. As seen above, the masthead section has the additional complication of the shroud hounds to go around, as well as the mast cap and crane.

The other sections, as shown below, are simply round and are best done in by going around half of the circumference at time. After the epoxy cures, the tape is cut away, a weave-filling second coat is applied, and the mast is rotated 180 degrees to complete the other side. I'm working in 4-foot sections, as the roll of 6-oz. glass cloth I have on hand is 48 inches wide.

There are specially-made fiberglass sleeves that fit on like a sock that some people use for processes like sheathing round masts, but with the hounds and mast step protruding from each end of the spar, it seemed to me like this might be difficult to get on. In addition, these sleeves are much more expensive than ordinary glass cloth. At any rate, by using the taping method, this is a straightforward operation and will result in neatly-sheathed spar when it's all complete and the cloth has been filled, faired and sanded. The mast will be painted the same Off-White as the decks.

Below, the top 12 feet or so is now sheathed. The short PVC pipes protruding from the masthead are the wiring conduits, which will be cut shorter and capped off with PVC elbows to keep rain out once the wiring is run.


Anonymous said...

...hmmmm Is glassing the mast part of the program? Don't remember doing so. Is this your add to the design?

Scott B. Williams said...

If you mean by part of the program is it in the plans, then no - but neither is glassing the crossbeams. It's not an add to the design, just a way of ensuring that these components will be long-lasting and as maintenance free as possible. All exposed wood on the exterior of the boat is subject to checking, as well dents and dings from use. Glassing the mast and beams greatly reduces this. Rot in the beams and mast is common on older Tikis built to plan without this extra step.

kgw said...

Looking good, Scott! Fiberglassing is key to a low-maintenance, long-lasting boat. The second owner of my tiki 26 added the full-height cabins, but did not glass them. This means much higher maintenance on the cabins to keep the checking in "check." Sorry for that!