Mast refinishing "raw" aluminum?

Regarding the DS2 Only.

Moderator: GreenLake

Mast refinishing "raw" aluminum?

Postby whitejw1967 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:06 pm

Hello friends,

I am almost done completely refinishing my '74 DSII. I just painted the topsides and cockpit and put on a nice 3/4" stainless steel rub rail. The mast and boom, however, are that original anodized gold-ish stuff, scratched, faded, etc. So refinishing the mast and boom are my next projects.

I could of course paint it with two-part, but I was contemplating another idea: taking the old plating off and rubbing the mast down to raw aluminum and then coating that with epoxy or clear acrylic. Has anyone done this? What would be the downside to this? It might actually look really good (I like the look of aluminum). Your thoughts?

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Postby GreenLake » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:25 pm

A more durable solution would be to have your mast re-anodized. There has been a previous discussion of this topic which you might find helpful.

An internet search for mast anodizing will find several hits. Whether this would be for you is a question of access to a facility that can handle an object the size of your mast.

The durability of this approach would exceed that of your planned epoxy venture. The problem with the latter is that you will constantly (i.e. every few years) need to refinish the varnish or 2-part PU that you are using to protect the epoxy from UV.

Like paint, you will be adding a layer on your mast, which means adding weight. Given that the middle of the mast is more than 12' above the keel, any weight you add there will need to be offset by 4x that much in additional crew weight (assuming you can get the CG of the crew to balance on the rail and assuming a 45° angle of heel as the highest that you might try to recover from by hiking).

Other than those, I can't think of any other problems with clear finishes for the mast.
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Postby talbot » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:50 pm

I refinished a '74 mast and boom. I agree that reanodizing would be nice, and all costs should be compared to replacement. After refinishing my boom, I found a good used replacement for $50. Sigh. That's less than the cost of the paint.

Not to mention the effort. Getting all the anodizing off is a lot of work. The dinged-up aluminum wasn't all that pretty. The advantage of paint is that it covers up any dings. I have tried one-part Pettit EasyPoxy (bad) and 2-part Interlux racing bottom paint (nice). The epoxy goes on thin and tends to self-smooth. It's very hard, and needs only minor touch-up each year. It did wear through where the boom touches the lee shroud.

I did this at home during the winter in the basement. Bad idea. If you live where it's warm, get the spar all prepped and hang it outside. On painting day, do all coats on the same day a few hours apart. A week later, wet- sand, wax, and re-mount the hardware.
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