Mast Refinishing

Moderator: GreenLake

Do I Reanodize Al-Spar Mast or repaint it and buy a tapered mast later?

Remove hardware and anodize mast for $200?
3
75%
Remove hardware and strip and paint mast?
0
No votes
Let the Al-Spar mast corrode and just buy a tapered mast?
1
25%
 
Total votes : 4

Mast Refinishing

Postby MarcCram » Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:07 am

Hi Everyone,
I've done a lot of reading with the regards to mast refinishing/painting. I'm not a huge fan of painting masts, but it is better then allowing the aluminum to corrode, and it looks better too! But here's where I'd love some opinions.

There is a metal finisher in the Philly Suburbs that has a SAA (Sulfuric Acid Anodizing) tank thats 40' long x 5' wide x 12' deep, plenty deep enough to coat the mast again. I'd have to remove everything from the mast, which isn't a bad thing, considering I'd like to replace the rivets and mast head (to some type of internal halyard).

If I were to repaint the mast, I'd still have to remove all the hardware from it just to do the stripping of the metal, so the time spend on that task is the same. But I would incur the costs of the cleaning/prep materials. Not so much the cost of the 2-part paint, since the whole boat is getting painted this spring anyway (after all the sanding and fiberglass repair).

The lastly purchasing a new mast is a little out of our budget for this season.
--We've only had the boat a month and she hasn't seen the water yet. I want to compete with the boat but first have to teach my non-boating wife (only been married 8 months) how to sail, maybe get her in some US sailing classes before we become competitive.--
I understand a new tapered mast runs $1200 plus shipping and Rudy @ D&R has his masts listed at around $400 (I'd pick it up), Dwyer is the same (they're the same pieces right?). And I'd rather invest in a new main sail before a mast, since I think my sail is 35+ years old.

So, if I haven't already answered my questions, the bottom line is this. Re anodize the mast for $200 or paint it? Oh and the mast is straight with no visible weld damage.

Cheers!
Marc Cram
Cherry Hill, NJ (no flooding here, just a few miles north and east)
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Postby Phill » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:35 pm

X.....None of the above.

The following is IMHO (in my humble opionion) :)

Painting the mast will add weight that will add to the tipping forces whenever you are not perfectly up right, which is most of the time. Also a painted mast will require much more maintenance over the years.

Re-anodizing. Is it really necessary? I have never seen an anodized mast in such a state that some cleaning and a coat of wax was all that was needed to make it useful. I have a 41 year old Alspar that was stock on my boat, and granted it is not pristine, but the anodizing is mostly intact except where it has been scratched. Even the scratches have not corroded to any extent. Maybe a little oxidation that is easily cleaned, and the mast is as good as ever.

I have a tapered mast, only because I bent the Alspar. :cry:
Insurance is a wonderful thing.
Before damaging my Alspar, Lollipop w/alspar, won a Pacific Coast Championship in a 35 boat fleet, against the likes of Len Fiock, Chuck Wilson, Edwardo Grisetti, Bill Fiock and all the California Hot shots, with my 11 year old, 95 lb. daughter for crew. The next year, Lollipop, w/Alspar, and my other daughter, again 11, won the High Serria Regatta, that was a prelude to that years NACR (winds high enough to Capsize some of the names mentioned here). In addition to the above names, Bob Blake Sr. and JR., Rob Bonney, Jim Fisher, and Al Hersey were in attendance.
Sorry for the boasting, :oops: but I want to make the point that it is not necessary to have a tapered mast to be competitive in the DS. If you have a wad of money burning a hole in your pocket, a tapered mast is nice to have. But for my money, not worth the expense for the return in preformance gained. (very very little) The advantage of the tapered mast is that it is bendier in the fore and aft direction, so it bends easier in gusts and supposedly depowers easier. I found that using free swinging and shorter spreaders, I got the same sail shapes and depowering. So the only disavantage of the un-taperded section, is the extra windage, and the heavyier mast tip. Preformance lost? about the same as one bad tack or markrounding.

My list for DS upgrades, in order of most gain to least:
Centerboard, upgrade from Stock DS board, unless you have a boat newer than 1980ish.
Sails, (even good used ones can be competitive local and regionally)
Rudder, same as CB
Hull Stiffening, if you have older, softer hull
Mast, unless you have a mast that has been hinged at the deck level. Then I would move this up to second only to CB. I have seen masts repaired by welding at that area, that are still very competive. Len Fiock has had his mast re-welded near the deck level at least twice, and it hasnt slowed him down a bit. At 75 + years old, won a race at the '05 NACR with that mast.

I think the Myth that "ya' gotta have a tapered mast to win" happened because the oldest versions of the DS came with a very desirable Proctor tapered mast. Most of the early successful sailors, were sailing with those masts. New, up and coming sailers, emulated them and when they were also successuful, due more to commitment and effort, others sought to copy them. and the myth was perpetuated.

Sorry if I got a bit off topic. I just wanted to offer another option.

Climbing sheepishly off of my soap box now........ :roll:

Hope this is helpful.

Again all the above is just IMHO. worth about $.02

phill
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Opinions Are Good!

Postby MarcCram » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:02 am

Phil-
Opinions are good! And based on experiences with other boating forums there is no reason not to highly value the opinions of other members on this forum.

Now back to the mast/boat...
I knowingly bought this boat with the understanding that it needed A LOT of TLC, and I like projects like this.

The condition of the boom does not match the condition of the mast. The mast was not covered for about ten years, the boom however was stored under the cuddy. And as seen in the photo below after some very light linear cleaning with a green heavy duty scotch-brite pad it came up great, still shines, and there's plenty of anodized surface remaining.
410
The mast after the same gentle cleaning revealed bare aluminum, the only portion of the mast that was still anodized was where it met the deck and below to the mast step. To put it into perspective my parents 1979 Morgan 38 has never had her mast cleaned or waxed and it looks better then my boom. This mast looks more like galvanized steel.
411
412
Looking at other peoples masts, I was in a boat yard in Wickford, RI (just off Narragansett Bay) last weekend and checking out other older boat masts, even those left to rot, weren't nearly this bad.

I hope this provides more insight to my reasoning.

Thanks for the ordered list of upgrades, the centerboard could use a replacement.

Marc
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Postby Phill » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:34 pm

Marc, Thanks for the pics.

Your boom looks better than my boom. Your mast does look a little 'weathered' :roll:

I have seen some of the older masts like yours still in racing service with just a real good scrubbing with steel wool. Some of these masts look like they have never been andonized. Looks less than 'bristol' but still very serviceable. If you are not sailing in salty water you probably could live with the weathered look. I wonder if there is a chemical wash, gentle acid or other product that would deal with the oxidation and leave a better looking surface that could then be maintained with a yearly rub down with wax or even armor all??

If you can get the andonizing done for the price you posted, that would be my vote, if you really want to spiffy up the boat.

I'm sorry to bring up the racing side so much. Forgive my perspective, as I just use that as an example that if it is good enough for some of the top racers in our class, then should be good for all types of sailing.

In your picture you show what appears to be the spreader for some upper stays. Most everyone completely removes these upper stays. If your think about the tapered mast being bendier in the top section, then think about the upper stays restrict the upper section from any bending. That makes the DS more difficult to sail in puffy and strong winds. The upper bend is important for depowering and making the rig more forgiving. When I first got my DS, it had those jumper stays, and I liked how nautical they looked. Old timers suggested I take them off. I didnt at first, but eventually tried just removing the wires, in case I wanted to put them back on. After a couple of sails without the jumper stays, I removed the spreaders and never missed them again.

If you research the posts on this forum, there are lots of threads about this subject and many others that you may find useful.

Happy sailin'

phill
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Metal Improvement Company

Postby MarcCram » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:17 pm

The facility that can handle the mast size is Metal Improvement Company (www.metalimprovement.com). Their site in Bensalem, PA (north of philly) does the anodizing.

After my initial inquiry I was put in contact with a Frank Foran (Frank_Foran -at- metalimprovement.c0m). Giving him the dimensions of the dwyer mast I was quoted $200, not including shipping. I will be delivering the mast myself since they are some what local.

Just an FYI in case someone else wants this done.

Cheers,
Marc
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Postby mark mirkov » Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:26 am

just wondering about how that acid bath will act upon the foam filler material inside the mast
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If it isn't broken don't fix it.

Postby MarcCram » Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:08 pm

Mark-
I discovered the foam after I removed the masthead. I've since decided to let the mast be and give it a good scrub and heavy wax job. My better half strongly advised me to spend our money more wisely since I don't have that endless pocket boats often wish you had.

Marc

mark mirkov wrote:just wondering about how that acid bath will act upon the foam filler material inside the mast
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Re: If it isn't broken don't fix it.

Postby algonquin » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:57 am

I would definitely give it a good cleaning and steel wool buffing before apply the wax seal. In the end a good coat of wax will protect your sails from any grime on the mast from the old natural aged finish. And even if it doesn't look much better you will still have some sail protection. Brad
"Feather" DS1 #818
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Jumper Stay Hardware

Postby MarcCram » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:50 pm

I started scrubbing the mast and as I worked my way up (laying horizontally) and when I hit the jumper stay hardware I wasn't sure if I should leave them on or grind the rivets off and fill in the holes. If I did grind them off what should I use to fill the holes in the mast. The jib won't make contact with that hardware due to height and the only time the main might would be dead down wind.

Any suggestions?
marc
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Postby algonquin » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:04 pm

There is a two part epoxy product called JB Weld. It is available at most hardware stores and big box places like Walmart. Should be less than $5. It works great for filling holes in metal. I recommend reaming the hole so that the surface has a slight concave(countersink) to it before filling the hole. Let the stuff set up hard then sand it flush with the mast. Do a second skim coat over the surface if needed. Brad
"Feather" DS1 #818
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Postby MarcCram » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:54 am

I've worked with JB-weld before on automobiles. Wasn't sure if there was anything better. Time to break out the unibit, I'll post pictures when i'm done. :)
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Postby GreenLake » Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:51 am

I got curious reading the posts so far, and on googling around, I was reminded that there's a Marine formulation for JB Weld available as well.

Curiously, they don't publish a separate materials safety data sheet for it, which could simply mean that the differences in ingredients and formulation are not big enough to require a different data sheet, even though they still might make a practical difference in durability in a marine environment.

However, it could also mean that it's really the same product, just with another label to allow it to be sold to users who are not mechanics....

Just for completeness, there are other epoxy putties designed for use with metals, such as SystemThree's MetlWeld (yes, without the 'a'), but that one doesn't come in the same convenient small tubes for small projects as JB Weld. That would rule it out for me, even though I've generally had excellent experiences with several different epoxies from SystemThree.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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